Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The bird of the year slips through the fingers?

Heysham Obs

Morning seawatch
Red-throated Diver - 1
Gannet - 1

North wall 1430-1645
This was a cock-up and a good example of why you should follow up everything, just in case.

Pomarine Skua
Four (all light morph, two with full tails, the other two were the same size but "tailless") were picked up distantly in the mouth of the bay, sitting on the sea, at c1500hrs and dismissed as "gulls"!!! They took flight about 5 minutes later and the initial niggle of "why are they sat so close together on the sea for gulls?" was answered. These circled round and drifted/gained height towards Black Combe as soon as what transpired to be the last of the squalls had passed.

dark-rumped Whimbrel
After an hour of increasingly flat sea and dropping wind, chilled out on a seat by the seawall using binoculars, trying to get rid of the oilseed rape pollen clogging my system after a morning working on the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire border and a round the houses via Harrogate return, courtesy of an overturned lorry on the M62. Therefore a Whimbrel calling to my right near the sandplant entrance was presumed to be in transit and ignored. About 15 minutes later a Whimbrel call was heard and a bird seen in flight, having been displaced from the inshore skeer by the incoming tide. It headed south along the seawall and I casually glanced at it with the naked eye as it was level with me at about 60 or so metres range. NO white on the rump which was concolourous brown (to the naked eye) with the mantle and tail!!!! A quick check of this feature with binoculars saw me then erroneously attempt to scope the bird, therefore a valuable second or so whilst there were possibilities of at least binocular views of the head pattern were missed. On reaching the harbour entrance, the bird swung "right" and began a shallow gradual climb as it headed north-west towards the south Furness coast. It was calling all the time IF I had had the scope set up and IF I had bothered to check the bird out on the skeer, I might have clinched the head pattern and other subtleties allowing confident identification as Hudsonian Whimbrel. The only hope of anything definite coming out of this is if it is quickly relocated on the Cumbrian side. Fingers crossed
Arctic Tern - 1 out

2cY Rose-coloured Starling seen at Arnside in the promenade bushes at 1245hrs by at least four obsevers