Sunday, 22 December 2013

Winter seabird selection

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately the best site for sheltered seawatching at the moment, now most of the north wall is closed to cars, is from the harbour entrance, including by Gate 38.  However you sacrifice field of view and about 250m of distance for shelter and that caused a bit of a problem with the morning's highlight

Little Auk - what was presumed to be this species was seen twice with a 40 minute gap between sightings presumably related to being brought into the bay by the tide and flying and landing again with the process repeated.  Therefore it was seen flying 'out' twice but presumably floated in unseen on the rough sea.  The second view was relatively good with a Guillemot for direct comparison and comprised a small 'whirring' thing with fast 'flickering' of light and dark which "didn't seem to have an obvious bill" and was perhaps too small for even a Puffin.  Hopefully it can be completely nailed by someone in the next few days
Razorbill - First winter in the harbour mouth, then appeared to fly out
Guillemot - at least 25, including a gang of 11 close inshore and 3 in the harbour
Little Gull - flock of 5 adults and a single 1CY
Kittiwake - 47 offshore, two in the harbour and one on the outfalls, biggest flock 17
Red-throated Diver - 6 sightings on the incoming tide, minimum of 3 seen
Great-crested Grebe - 11 sightings on the incoming tide, at least 3 individuals
Med Gull - single adult

No finches seen

N Harbour Wall  09.30 - 11.30
The feeding site was half flooded this morning and partly washed out. A few finches flew up from the area on arrival. Some work on the site with pick and shovel has hopefully created some channels to divert the water. Fresh seed put down (in very strong wind) brought back a larger mixed flock of c50 Goldfinch/Linnet.  I was not able to identify any Twite owing to the conditions causing watering eyes and buffeting bins!