Thursday 24 September 2020

Of light and shade, and far away places

 The wind started SE but by evening had swung round to NE. Light rain for much of the morning then some sunshine and very heavy showers in the afternoon.

Jean's report for this morning:

The blog should be entitled "The Best of the Rest" because we missed most of the vis, which occurred in the first hour and a half of daylight (see for reports from other areas). Arrived at Heysham NR just 20 minutes before the rain began and in that time (07:40-08:00) there were:

Meadow Pipit 72 (3.6 per minute)

Goldfinch 2

Alba wagtail 7

Siskin 1

3 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff were calling and a Blackcap seen.

In the short, dry spells between the heavy showers, Meadow Pipits were still coming through and several flocks of Pink-footed Geese. So in 2hrs 40 mins (between 08:40 and 11:20) there were:

Meadow Pipit 253 (1.5 per minute)

Pink-footed Goose 113

alba wagtail 2

Grey Wagtail 1

Siskin 1

Ocean Edge 

A notable 15 adult Mediterranean Gulls were loafing on the shore towards Potts Corner. A juv was on Red Nab. 

40 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin scurried about near them.

Low tide channel

Eider 67 - numbers are slowly building up.

Great-crested Grebe 11

Red-breasted Merganser 6

Other records (MD)
South shore
Wheatear 2
Rock Pipit 3
Grey seal 1

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute 4 adult 4 cygnet
Coot 5
Moorhen 4
Little Grebe 1
Mallard 1
Gadwall 2
Teal 1
Water Rail 2
Common Snipe 1

Cetti's Warbler 1 singing
Chiffchaff 1 singing plus at least 3 calling
Common Whitethroat 1 seen
The sun chose this moment to shine through
leaving the Whitethroat in silhouette.
Still, a distinctive profile.

Visible migration:
to south/southeast 
Pinkfoot 367 ( including 144 in the afternoon)
Swallow 2
Skylark 9 (one flock)
Meadow Pipit 72 (same number, but different birds to Jean's)
Jay 3 (north)

Lighthouse area early evening
There were some very dark clouds and distant rain and hail showers visible, but the sun was bright and created some spectacular views, one of which was a revelation to me.
Kevin took these splendid pictures:
Silver skies over Fylde

Dark skies over the south lakes

This next one is special, to me at least, I had no idea that this view was possible from here. This is looking out past Knott End/Fleetwood. White clouds had moved behind distant "hills" allowing them to be seen in silhouette.
Revealing the unmistakable profile of Snowdonia
in north Wales!

Once Kevin had shown me the location, I could make it out, even in less favourable conditions. You learn something new every day!

Footnote from Kevin:

I used a map measuring tool to find out the distance from the harbour to Snowdon, and it's 80 miles! I also realised, on close inspection, that the view was probably a mixture of the Carneddau range, the Glyders, with Snowdon behind them .It's very satisfying to see that the straight line does indeed just miss the tip of Knott End/Fleetwood.