Monday, 10 April 2017

Velvet Morning

I was at the Obs for first light again yesterday morning and perched on top of the dunes it was still cold until the sun was high in the sky. I had clear skies with a 10 mph southeasterly wind.

There was a good selection of vis and I had my first Tree Pipits of the Spring. My vis totals (all northeast) were four Tree Pipits, 46 Lesser Redpolls, 49 Linnets, seven Goldfinches, 91 Meadow Pipits, a Chaffinch, 24 Carrion Crows, a Wheatear, five Alba Wags, a Sand Martin, a Siskin, two Swallows, a Tree Sparrow, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Bunting.

This morning was just the same as the past few mornings in terms of my levels of frustration because of the high flying vis, particularly the Redpolls. Once again they were so high that I couldn't see them, only hear them!

As the tide pushed in there was a few waders on the beach including 79 Ringed Plovers, 42 Sanderlings and 31 Dunlins. There was a steady passage of Knot west, and I presume these birds are heading to the Ribble Estuary to roost; in total I had 460.

The sea was fairly quiet, although I did have my first couple of Sandwich Terns head in to the bay. Other totals included 23 Eiders, eight Cormorants, a Red-throated Diver and eight Common Scoters. Mid-morning I picked up what I thought was a group of five Eiders heading southwest across the bay. I say 'thought' as they were a long way off, but the two males stood out even at that distance. A few minutes later I picked them up again and I could see that it wasn't five Eiders, but three Eiders and a pair of Velvet Scoters! The Velvets came a little closer and then headed west out of Morecambe Bay and into Liverpool Bay.

As expected given the clear conditions grounded migrants were thin on the ground and all I had were six Wheatears and four White Wagtails

Back home in my moth trap I had six Early Greys, a Light Brown Apple Moth, four Common Quakers, two Plume Moth sp. and a Hebrew Character.

It's looking a mixed bag weather-wise this week and I have nine breeding bird surveys to get in before mid-May, no panic at the moment but I do need the weather to improve to make me feel more comfortable!

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