Thursday, 2 May 2013

Clear moonlit frosty dross saved by the French

Heysham Obs
A look out of the window at a clearly outlined Ingleborough, courtesy of the moon, at 0400hrs nearly sent me back to bed.  Definitely not the conditions for land-falling night migrants contra some forecasts.  However, the lure of the early morning Lesser Redpoll passage and the incredibly high ratio of birds ringed elsewhere.................

Due to problems with the CD, this was a disaster with a concentrated passage between 0515 and sunrise completely missed.  Plan B - a presumed Common Redpoll on a 'foreign' CD also failed to impress and it was only when Lesser Redpoll was played on the MP3 that half a dozen belated birds were ringed

Then it was Middleton CES time and this was an excellent little three hour/four net session for so early in the year with a French-ringed Sedge Warbler highlighting.

Needless to say there were few night migrants this morning although two, possibly three singing male Reed Warblers seemed to 'drift in' and establish their territories during the morning and the CES indicated a trickle of presumed migrant Willow and Sedge Warbler

Odds and ends mainly very early morning
Sandwich Tern - 17 offshore
Arctic Tern - just one seen this morning, 15 on the outfalls later
Little Gull - adult outfalls late afternoon
Kittiwake - 2CY outfalls late afternoon
Guillemot - c5 late afternoon
Bar-tailed Godwit - 329 on tideline off Ocean Edge
Grasshopper Warbler -singing before dawn on the tank farm, but just once thereafter - presumably paired and nesting
Green Woodpecker -one by the office first thing
Canada Goose - two casing out the pond near the office
Tree Pipit - one north
Lesser Redpoll - 35-40 north
Linnet - 16 north
Goldfinch - 20 north
Swallow - one north! - too early for them?

Reed Warbler - up to 3 singing males by mid-morning, following none for the first two hours or so
Ringing: 8 Sedge Warbler (including French bird), 5 Willow Warbler plus retrap, one Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Bunting plus 2 retraps, one Goldfinch, one retrap Blue Tit

Harbour Porpoise seen very early morning and then late afternoon, presumably the same beastie

April ringing
This was the worst in the 30-odd year history of the Obs for phylloscopus warblers, especially Willow Warbler.  Whilst this was partly due to observer unavailability, it was also due to the big fall day being just too wet to risk operating mist nets as the birds piled in  (Thursday 25th).  Only 237 birds were ringed of which 110 were Meadow Pipit, 33 Goldcrest, 32 Lesser Redpoll, 13 Chiffchaff (c/f internet postings on much reduced numbers on territory) and just 9 Willow Warbler