Monday, May 02, 2005

Watchpoint 02-05-2005

Members only watchpoint 02-05-2005
Monday 2nd May 2005
0745 - 1115hr
Weather and Sky:
An improving fair weather morning with wind moving SW, temps rising, cloud initially stable but becoming variable and continuing to develop adversely, visibility increasing and pressure slowly coming up. Wind: initially S F2 @ 0615, similar at 0730, but by 0800 had swung SSW F2 and continuing to swing WSW F3 by 1100hr. Temp: 10 dp 9 @ 0615, 12 dp 10 by 0800, 14 dp 10 (12.4 @ wp) by 0900 and finally 16 (14 @ wp) dp 10 by 1100. Visibility: very hazy, 10km max NW, 19km max E initially, gradually improving to 48km max NNW, 64km max E by 1100hr. Cloud: initially stable altostratus 5ok @ 0615, altostratus breaking to 3ok o/a by 0800, with stratocumulus 4ok spreading from the west (base 2/3000ft). Stratocumulus becoming established, then breaking to cu humilis 2ok before developing mediocris with some congestus to far north and north-west. Pressure: rising very slowly overnight and through morning with 1007 @ 0615 and 1008 by 1110hr. Commencing to rain heavily in conjunction with much stronger wind and cloud developing to cumulonimbus stage by 1530hr.

A good morning, with plenty of obvious movement and lots of birds to see by searching. Swallows were moving from first arrival as well as birds crossing my car > northwards on the way there – always a good sign. Most of the movement was low, towards the north-west and despite the calmish winds seemed to searching for shelter – or maybe the flying insects in that shelter to refuel on the wing? Birds crossing the water would frequently dip and scoop in, without changing direction before rising, off and on their way. Specifically noted that the resident pair of birds were back again today (first time noted) and in and out of the broken window. Meadow Pipits were also on the move from first arrival, with the first really notable push for some while.

Wheatears however were the birds of the day, with a massive (for here), widespread influx / fall / moving congregation or whatever you want to call it. At 0835 a loose group of c ten birds were noted on and off of the wave wall at about 6 / 700m range near the hide, these were watched for some minutes as some moved of low over the water N of W and others seemed to arrive from the SSE. Vision was into the brightnes and the early light, whilst very stable was very hazy and what could be seen through the scope had the fine detail and colour stripped away but it was instantaneously apparent that the loose group of birds contained some, very much bigger than the others, some tall standing with heavy low bellies, others more horizontal and the like – a reight mish-mash of structures, atitudes and colouration. Tonally in shades of grey which is essentially what vision was reduced to, at least two, very obvious males and three females had dark shading of underbody colouration extending as far as I could make out to the whole underbody extent together with brilliant far extending bulky superc and contrasting moust st. Not much chance of the primary tips on these Mick! although the lanky? look was watched for, no real difference could be appreciated between the ones seen on the wing at this range. As happens here at this time of year if you get one group of Wheatears it is essential to look around all the ""standard"" spots, which from experience Wheatears habitually congregate (several of these can be seen from the watchpoint – together with others, out of view and unchecked nearby) – I suppose it’s the same everywhere else. This produced a further six on the screes to the SSW, three on the broken walls across the water to the SW and 15 on the broken walls across the valley to the E. So far as could be seen all of the groups of birds contained similar structural, size and tonal variations to that described above but always erring to the robust . As all of the groups seemed to be gradually on the creep, the above countings are a sample only and very inexact science! The direction of move so far as could be ascertained was N of West, all low, gradual and on the hop between walls fences and prominent featuers. None of the birds came closer than c700m. By 0910hrs not a Wheatear was to be seen at all, although a little later on a further ten in bits were noted in similar localities and circumstances.

Otherwise Dunlin and Ringed Plover were still on the move with 2 X 3 going through and a Turnstone was present. More importantly yet another Collared Dove went NW. Also a bit of a finchy day with many more Linnets in evidence and also on the move.

10 on wave wall
3 on broken walls to SW
6 on screes to SSW
15 on broken walls to E
= Total @ 0845 = 34
+ at least an additional 10 in bits later on
= o/a Total c44 Wheatears.

Moving Birds:
Wheatear c44 > WNW~NW
Swallow 102 > N~NW
Dunlin 3 > NW
Goldfinch 5 > N
Ringed Plover 3 > NW
Linnet 23 N~NW~W
Golden Plover 68 > N
Meadow Pipit 39 > N ~ NW
House Martin 5 > NW
Sand Martin 2 > N
Collared Dove 1 > NW

Dunlin 1 (total 5)
Reed Bunting 3
Turnstone 1
Willow Warbler (no song – birds gone?)



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