Friday, 2 October 2020

Short and Sweet

It 'felt' quiet this morning, as I walked along the sea wall to my sea-watching/vis mig point at the farm fields next to the school, within the Obs recording area. Sometimes it can feel quiet, and be the opposite, but this morning it felt quiet, and it was quiet.
I had a conversation with Ian during the  morning, as I walked the farm fields checking the hedgerows for any grounded migrants, and I said that I had given it an hour and decided to give it up, and Ian replied that giving it an hour is a good barometer to see if ones 'it felt quiet' hunch is correct. And I quite agree, and I gave it an hour and a half, and it was still quiet.

So, let's rewind a bit to see what I didn't see during my short and sweet outing this morning. The morning dawned with six oktas cloud cover, with a cold 15 mph north-easterly wind. Northerlies are an awful wind direction for us, unless there is more easterly than northerly in it, and this morning there wasn't.
As I walked to my observation point, I thought I might at least have a Wheatear or two on the sea wall, but I didn't, but I did have a Turnstone that perplexed a dog walker, as I could see him looking at it, and by his expression I could tell that he wondered what it was. 
I got into position and started to see and hear a trickle of visible migration. To cut to the chase, I had four Grey Wags, six Alba Wags, 460 Pink-footed Geese, 71 Meadow Pipits and two Skylarks all heading anywhere between east and south. 
A good number of the Meadow Pipits were coming in off the sea, and I have always wondered if on clear conditions they can cross the Irish Sea, and by default Liverpool and Morecambe Bay, from the Mull of Galloway (via the Isle of Man) or Walney Island (western extremity of the Furness peninsula), and make landfall in North Wales, or anywhere east of that line.
Today Walney Island was very clear, but I couldn't make out the North Wales coast, so maybe they were setting off and deciding to make landfall, as they couldn't see across Liverpool Bay to Merseyside or North Wales. I don't know the answer, and I'm glad that I don't, as it keeps the magic of migration alive for me!
The sea was equally as quiet with just four Pintails, 20 Common Scoters and two Guillemots entered into my notebook. After about an hour I gave up looking on the sea, and had a walk along the hedges of the farm fields as I mentioned earlier. I didn't detect anything grounded other than five Robins perhaps, and my telephone conversation with Ian had confirmed there wasn't much grounded stuff about, as he had checked the coastal park and cemetery, with just a couple of Goldcrests for his efforts.
However, it was whilst walking the hedges that I recorded the best bird of the morning, and it was a new species for me at this particular sub-site, in the form of a female Goosander! She was flying across the peninsula from west to east, so from the sea to the estuary. Nothing very exiting in the grand scheme of things of course, but it did brighten up my morning.
Later in the afternoon Gail and I had a walk along the coast along the edge of the golf course, and we had two Stonechats, a Wheatear and a Swallow. So, a few migrants at least! 


The forecast for tomorrow is for a 10 mph NNW wind, with light rain from just before first light. There is a chance that it might produce something, so if it isn't absolutely throwing it down, I'll head out because I quite enjoy looking for migrants in the rain.  

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