Another morning seawatching and migration monitoring off the point saw me stood by the tower at 0525 with full cloud cover and a 15-20 mph SSW wind. It was very murky out in the bay and during the morning there would be intermittent drizzle.
It was different to yesterday in that there was some vis, but interestingly it was all westerly (autumnal direction) in to the wind. Our totals included a Redpoll, 146 Swallows (some moving out at sea), seven Alba Wagtails, two Meadow Pipits, a Siskin, three Yellow Wagtails (including a male & female that landed on the golf course), 44 Linnets, six House Martins, 51 Goldfinches, two Tree Pipits and six Sand Martins.
Passage offshore was probably quieter than yesterday but included eight Eiders, two Shelducks, 148 Common Scoters, 14 Auk sp., 40 Sandwich Terns, 45 Gannets, 12 Razorbills, 17 Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe, 42 Kittiwakes, 16 Manx Shearwaters, eight Guillemots and a Common Tern.
The best birds offshore this morning were Arctic Skua and Puffin. We had two Arctic Skuas, not together, that Ian picked up and they were a pale and a dark morph. The pale morph bird headed into the bay and climbed as if it was going to attempt an over land crossing, but then it turned and headed northwest towards Walney, presumably as the direction of its over land crossing was blocked with murk. The dark morph bird showed very well as it headed in to the bay later in the morning.
Although quite a rare bird in Lancashire the Puffin didn't show very well at all. I picked it up a long way out with some other auks and surprisingly it took us a few minutes to clinch it as a Puffin, with its pale face and small size being the most obvious features at this distance. It kept diving and it was hard to pick up in the swell when it surfaced, also it was drifting further away as the tide went out. This was the second bird at the obs this week and the one earlier in the week was the first since 2010.
A number of waders headed west along the shore as the tide came in and included 681 Dunlins, 980 Knots, three Sanderlings, a Grey Plover, eight Ringed Plovers and a Turnstone. We had two marine mammals this morning in the form of an Atlantic Grey Seal and a Harbour Porpoise.
The forecast is looking okay in the morning to do some ringing so I will be heading to the reedbeds to try and catch some Acro's.
Feeding frenzy - *When we were walking along Whitburn beach in Sunderland this afternoon I noticed a dense flock of about 150 black-headed gulls on the tid...
2 hours ago