Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sutherland and Caithness - May 2007.

Above: 1st summer Glaucous Gull - Brora, Sutherland - 23rd May 2007.

Will add some more images in due course from a fortnight in North Scotland.

Temmincks & Little Stints - Alston Reservoirs, Lancs - 27th May 2007.

Above three videograbs: Little Stint.
Lower three videograbs: Temmincks Stint

Managed to get back to Lancashire from a fortnight in North Scotland arriving onsite at the superb, recently created scrape at the Alston Reservoirs, Longridge, successfully catching up with both Stints at 20:20hrs. Pity the views from Pinfold Lane were so restricted, the Temmincks being partially obscured by long grass. A lovely duo. A mad, and ultimately futile dash to Chipping for the Crane present for the past two days resulted in utter failure unfortunately.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bowness-on-Solway Skuas - 8th May 2007.

Above: The same dark phase Pomerine Skua in all photos.
My first and long overdue visit to Bowness-on-Solway for the Skua passage was a spectacular success with all four species seen within the first 50 minutes!
Our arrival coincided with the first two Skuas of the day in view, a dark phase Pomerine and dark phase Arctic. Not a bad start. Within ten minutes a Bonxie had flown upriver and i was well suited to have three species under the belt so quickly.
Fifty minutes in and a flock of four Skuas appeared in view: 1 dark phase Pomerine, 1 dark phase Arctic and a smaller Skua that got the alarm bells ringing amongst the small number of birders present. We were watching this bird, having collectively concluded we were watching a Long-tailed Skua minus the elongated tail feathers, when the fourth Skua of the group appeared within the same scope view...... a full adult Longtailed Skua complete with fantastically long tail feathers!!!!
My entire focus was now on this bird which i followed as it flew purposefully upriver. What a bird, really Tern like in flight and all plumage features visible including upperwing coverts contrasting with darker flight feathers, dusky belly and pale breast and that fantastic jizz. a real moment of elation amongst those present. Brilliant!
Between 13:50-17:00hrs the following were recorded:
13:50hrs: 1x dark phase Pomerine & 1x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
14:00hrs: 2x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
14:04hrs: 1x Bonxie flew east.
14:27hrs: 1x dark phase Pomerine Skua flew west.
14:40hrs: 2x Long-tailed Skua, 1x dark phase Pomerine, 1x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
15:30hrs: 2x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
15:44hrs: 1x pale phase Pomerine Skua with no spoons flew east.
16:28hrs: 1x dark phase Pomerine Skua flew west. Closest bird of the day. Photographed above.
16:30hrs: 12x Skua sp distantly on water eventually flew east at 17:00hrs. All Pomerine. A fantastic sight, though distant.
16:35hrs: 2x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
Suffice to say this will be the first of a few annual visits to this site!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Arctic Terns - River Ribble, BAE Warton - 2nd May 2007.

The huge passage of Arctic Terns moving through Morecambe Bay saw me head to the Ribble Estuary at Freckleton/Warton for the tide in the hope that some would be moving upriver intent on migratiing overland to the North Sea.
Between 11:35-12:36hrs, I was rewarded with 52 Arctic Tern as follows: 1 at 11:37hrs, 1 at 11:40hrs, 3 at 11:41hrs, 1 at 11:42hrs, 1 at 11:50hrs, 10 at 11:52hrs, 10 at 11:54hrs, 18 at 12:03hrs, 1 at 12:05hrs, 1 at 12:21hrs, 3 at 12:35hrs and 2 at 12:36hrs.
No more were recorded up to 13:15hrs, coinciding with the falling tide, so I called it a 'day', concluding that I must indulge in this fabulous migration spectacle annually from now on.
Other species seen in the area included 2 Common Tern, 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover and a Greenshank. A female Hen Harrier briefly seen heading NE over fields near Naze Farm was unexpected.
Afterwards I drove to Mythop Flood on the outskirts of Blackpool where good scope views were had of a Wood Sandpiper. I'll add an image of this to the blog entry when more time allows.