Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Watchpoint 13-04-2005

Members only watchpoint 13-04-2005
Wednesday 13th April 2005
0810 – 1000hr
Weather and Sky:
A very gradually improving morning, a real doldrum day with us here, right in the centre of an absolutely flat weather col. Calm winds with falling sleet gradually improving to rain, sky obscured throughout and poor visibility. Wind: initially NW F1 @ 0630, reducing to flat calm by 0800hr, remaining similar until 0930 when air picking NE F1 up (it was hardly F1 – could only be distinguished by the drift of steaming breath) and remaining similar. Temp: initially 4 dp 3 @ 0630, remaining 4 (3deg C @ wp) dp 3 through out. Despite the cold temperatures and sleet, feeling remarkably warm. Precipitation: light rain overnight. Vertically falling large flakes of sleet at watchpoint initially, softening to light rain by 0900hr and further reducing to drizzle by 1000hr. Visibility: initially variable 18km max NW and E, reducing to variable 5.5km max NW and E. Cloud: initially low stratus (unusually high base and = nimbostratus? ), all hill routes and Pennine ridge open initially but upon cessation of sleet, base becoming very ragged, also st fractus, closing all ridge routes but low cols remaining open. Remaining similar but starting to lift by 1000hr. Pressure: despite the col, falling steadily over night to 1013 by 0630 and continuing to fall 1009 by 1000hr.

Absolute deep initial silence and tranquillity in the skies initially with only the songs of Woodpigeon in the wood and the retching song of Stock Dove (I hope it wasn’t really being sick!) at the shed, breaking the un-natural silence. Occasionally a Goldeneye would bray, but no sound from vis on the wing at all. The night migrant Wheatears and Willow Warbler had gone. A doldrum day in all respects with virtual cessation of Meadow Pipit flow and infact cessation of virtually all bird movement with the exception of the albas which were the "birds of the day". These in relative terms were moving much more strongly than usual with a good total of 18 mainly NW, none were on the deck. Despite the sleet and rain, these were still bounding fourth at varying flight levels and ranges. Things noted were that firstly, preferred flight direction had shifted from N to NW (quite a few were using the wave wall as a leading line – both high and low) and secondly, two of the birds, that could be heard were making the smooth "zilip"!!! flight calls (first of the year) with which I have over the last few years become much more confident with. If anyone has the time or inclination, most definitely worth checking out the wagtail congregations to see what can be found. Otherwise things were very thin, with a lot of the interest coming from the wall to wall, surround sound of the resident wading birds wading birds, all very much in evidence once the rain began to stop.

Moving Birds:
Meadow Pipit 4 > NW
alba 18 > NW


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