Sunday, 21 April 2013

A Few Little Gulls and Assorted Spring Migrants

It was another early alarm call for me this morning to spend the morning seawatching and monitoring visible migration at the obs. Once again it was cold in the 15 mph south-southwesterly wind and with the shelter of the tower casting a shadow over me it was still cool even when the sun came up. I spent three hours at the Point and it was interesting, if perhaps a little slow at times, making it hard to stay any longer than three hours.

Walking up to where I would seawatch from there were a nice selection of waders on the beach yet to be disturbed by the scourge of modern birding, dog walkers! The waders included 21 Grey Plovers, nine Turnstones, a Whimbrel, a Knot, 63 Ringed Plovers, 184 Dunlin and 30 Sanderlings.

There was some vis this morning and interestingly a lot of it was westerly (out of the bay), which is usually an autumn direction, before changing to the usual direction for spring, easterly. The vis included a Whimbrel, 11 Meadow Pipits, five Linnets, six Tree Pipits, two Alba Wagtails, six Swallows, nine Siskins, five White Wagtails, a Redpoll, four Carrion Crows, 49 Goldfinches, four Collared Doves and a Yellow Wagtail. Because of the southerly wind I was having to shelter at the front of the tower and this meant that it was difficult to count the vis moving behind.

There was some reasonable passage at sea and as my title suggests the main feature of the morning were Little Gulls. Sea passage consisted of 223 Common Scoters, 74 Arctic Terns, six Sandwich Terns, 50 Red-throated Divers, four Red-breasted Mergansers, five Gannets, ten Eiders, seven Manx Shearwaters, 317 Little Gulls, 80 Pink-footed Geese and a dark morph Arctic Skua.

The Little Gulls were feeding along with the Manxies and Arctic Terns, and the Arctic Skua gave a great aerial performance chasing and harrying an Arctic Tern. The turn of speed and manoeuvrability of the Arctic Tern was impressive, but it was even more impressive for the Skua because of its large size. Awesome!

A Harbour Porpoise close in added to the enjoyment of the morning and the only grounded migrants I had were a Goldcest in the cemetery and a Chiffchaff in the willows by the pools. I checked the water depth of our net rides in the reedbed but it was right at the top of my wellies so it needs to drop a bit yet, or I need to get my waders out. I flushed four Snipe from the reeds and had a calling Water Rail.

 Tufted Ducks

Red-breasted Merganser

The forecast is looking okay in the morning so I might just have to have a couple of hours seawatching before chaining myself to my desk!

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Tufted Duck would do me nicely here :-)