Saturday, 19 December 2009

Space invaders

Heysham Observatory
Careful counting either side of the harbour saw at least 63,000 Knot today enlivened by a Peregrine attack. The RSPB have diversified several hundredfold since the early 1970s Leighton Moss shop selling "only things strictly relevant to birds" (which unfortunately did not include any food or drink) - have they tried computer games with Peregrines chasing Knot or a combination of raptors chasing Starlings at a roost?

The other 'space invasion' today was more subtle. There were a lot (for this site) of Lapwings on Red Nab during a prolonged morning survey. It was assumed that these were displaced from nearby frozen fields, but a discrete group of 44 suddenly (not prompted by the tide) did a presentable imitation of a jump jet and headed upwards almost vertically and were tiny westbound dots high in the sky just half a mile from Red Nab. Surely this group involved a cold-weather movement having a 'breather'? This was in sharp contrast to almost all the other 250 or so Lapwing which headed for Ocean Edge saltmarsh in dribs and drabs as displaced by the tide

WeBS etc
Purple Sandpiper - one (at least) on the wooden jetty
Twite - very brief check of the feeder saw c30 plus another 21 south over Ocean Edge earlier on
Rock Pipit - one on Red Nab
Med Gull - large adult on Red Nab for 2 hours, Czech-ringed adult on the north harbour wall railings
Knot - at least 50,000 & perhaps 60,000 estimated on or around the heliport/near naze (see below), 13,000 on Red Nab definitely different
Mute Swan - pair & one juv south
Wigeon - 106 Red Nab
Shelduck - 217 Red Nab

Middleton IE
One small ice-free area held 6 Mute Swan, 5 Coot, 6 Moorhen, one Little Grebe, one Pink-footed Goose
Black-tailed Godwit - one sat on the ice with gulls!

Ring-reading of Knot on the near naze
Despite problems, unfortunately including birders getting out of cars and flushing them, the following were read by Richard. Thanks for these:

SEVEN were ringed on the Dutch Waddensee with two of these having previous history as follows:

25-7-2001 Ringed: De Richel, Holland 53.16.97 N, 5.08.23 E
25-5-2004 Indre Billefjord, Porsangerfjord, Norway 70.21.02 N, 25.03.15 E
21-3-2008 Heysham, Lancashire, England 54.02.00 N, 02.55.00 W
11-12-2008 Heysham, Lancashire, England 54.02.00 N, 02.55.00

5-9-2005 Ringed: Simonszand, Holland 53.29.48 N, 6.24.17 E
19-3-2008 Heysham, Lancashire, England 54.02.00 N, 02.55.00 W
ONE was ringed in Norway as follows:
Ringed: 26.05.2007 Oldefjord, Norway 70 29 28N 25 03 57E