Friday, 25 March 2011

Ozone-layer vis

Heysham Obs
A well-recorded day, which was more like late April than late March, with post-hibernation butterflies everywhere. An attempt was made to catch spring passage Meadow Pipits by the office and this sufficed to indicate just how many were up there in the bright blue sky and how difficult it was to count them in traditional vis mig fashion.   The use of a tape saw an absolute minimum of 300 grounded.  This comprised a running total of birds feeding in the short turf next to the office, before heading on their way.   Spring birds seem to respond to taped song rather differently to those in autumn.  They land in very spread-out fashion, have a bit of a feed, then head onwards.  There is no concentration around the tape, as happens with (mainly young) birds in autumn.....and they are harder to catch for ringing.  8 ringed out of c300 landfalling!

Vis mig north wall 0700-1040
Meadow Pipit - just 110 (see above)
alba Wagtail - 28
Skylark - 4
Reed Bunting - 1
Goldfinch - 7
Linnet - 6
Greenfinch - 1
Siskin - 3
Redpoll spp - 3
Sand Martin - 1
Rock Pipit - 1 (vis bird, not the resident)

Dunnock - singing male on the mound!
House Sparrow - new species for both SD36V and 35Z (single on the mound first, then south wall)
Rock Pipit - resident apparent petrosus-type still here
Red-breasted Merg - 12 offshore
Great-crested Grebe - 5 offshore
Eider - 65 offshore
Purple Sandpiper - one wooden jetty (just 59 Turnstone seen pre-high tide)

Ringing by office
Meadow Pipit - c300 grounded, 8 ringed
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed
Lesser Redpoll - 3 ringed
Goldcrest - one heard

Middleton NR
Common Snipe - 8 flushed from small area

One Grey Seal offshore

Small Tortoiseshell - at least 6 round the office area & 20+ Heysham Head.  Comma - one Heysham Head. Brimstone - one at each of Heysham head, Middleton and Heysham NR.  The moth trap was good, despite a clear night, with TWO more Twin-spot Quaker (the ones this year so far are the 2nd-4th records, with the only previous being in 2006), a Red Chestnut (rare here, with none apparently since 2002 and about 6 previous records) and another Shoulder Stripe