Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Autumnal unpredictability

Heysham Obs
I didnt set my most productive moth trap last night (courtesy of Val at Millhouses) as 'it was too windy from the west as opposed to anything with south in it'.  Cue one of the best migrant moth nights ever in Lancashire (Ni Moth, Scarce Bordered Straw, Bordered Straw, Vestal from two traps I have heard about!). 

Similarly, a glance out of the window at dawn, notably the swaying branches on the oak tree, seemed to suggest extra sleep was in order as the only obvious consideration was "you dont get seabirds on the first day of an autumnal blow"!  An hour later, whilst checking the home moth trap (best migrant 'yet another' Rusty Dot Pearl), it was immediately apparent that there was a lot of "surprising" vis mig happening.  A phone call to Jean Roberts.........but she was already in position on Caton Morr at the start of a 2,000+ Meadow Pipit movement in a F4 gusting 5 westerly cross-wind.  I decided to do a sample vis mig, followed by a sample seawatch at Heysham:

Vis mig 0900-0930
Chaffinch - 57 SW
Meadow Pipit - 14 SE
alba Wagtail - 9 SE
Goldfinch - 5 SE
Siskin - 10+c13 SE
Reed Bunting - one calling from bushes
Greenfinch - 9 SW

Chiffchaff - at least two
Wheatear - one Ocean Edge beach

North harbour wall 0935-1005
Eider - flock of 15 offshore
Razorbill - 2 out - quite close inshore
Meadow Pipit - 32 SE
alba Wagtail - 8 SE
Linnet - 5 SE & 6 on the mound

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Outfalls most of the rest of the day
Curlew Sandpiper - one with a flock of 550 Dunlin, most of which were out of range as regards detailed check & CS was picked up in flight with the nearest group
Med Gull - 3 different adults at various times, including one which followed a freight ferry to the green buoy before flying back offshore.  At least one mobile 1CY
Little Gull - just the one seems to be left - the adult