Tuesday 6 May 2014

Purple patch on the sea

Heysham Obs
The period 0735 to 0805 was either the back end of a spell of a decent un-watched early morning seawatch or just hitting the right time.  It was absolutely dead from 0805 onwards as the dropping tide started to expose sandbanks   Beware: both the Kittiwake flock and the Pomarine Skuas MAY have been missed by people using telecopes on 'half horizon' whilst seawatching.  I never use a scope when on my own in spring and regularly scan the sky with the scope at ready.  Ok you may miss some low over the sea distant small stuff, but can you identify it anyway & you certainly do not miss any flying skuas/Gannets etc?

Sea 0735-0835
Pomarine Skua - three full-tailed lm adults were on view for 'ages' from about 0802hrs as they slowly circling round gaining height until lost as tiny dots with tails over Morecambe.  I'm assuming they went overland but inland conditions were not perfect with low cloud around e.g. Ingleborough
Arctic Skua - in contrast the three birds were in blogging mode.  Dark and light morph got up off the sea and flew into the bay and landed again (0740).  Five minutes later another dark morph flew low into the bay further out and again landed on the sea.  Unusual behaviour in what were good migration conditions over the bay and no obvious food source in the absence of terns
Kittiwake - flock of 35 high in the sky and spiralling around heading north up the centre of the bay but not gaining any further height
Whimbrel - 5+1 'in'
Common Scoter - 18 out
Gannet - singleton out at the same time a flock of 9 were heading in
NO terns!

Middleton NR
Pair of Little Ringed Plover displaying and mating in suitable habitat
Wall Brown - one by model boat pond - looked like male

Rustic Shoulder Knot was new for the year