Sunday, July 03, 2005

Watchpoint 03-07-2005

Members only watchpoint 03-07-2005
Sunday 3rd July 2005
0820 - 1115hr
Weather and Sky:
A fair-weather morning after some overnight rain, with only visible detriment being increasing cloud. Wind: WSW F3 rising F4 by 1100hr. Temp: 12 dp 10 @ 0700hr, 13 dp 10 by 0830, 14 dp 11 by 0930hr and 16 dp 9 by 1115hr. Visibility: improving from 40km NNW (Settle), 64km E (Drax) to 60km NNW (Leck Fell), 102km E (Humber Bridge) max. Cloud: initially cumulus mediocris 3ok, more especially in streets to north east and milky cirrostratus to northern and eastern part of sky with raw cirrus and persistent contrailing to remaining area. Remaining similar but with deepening cumulus with some to congestus by 1115hr (5ok). Cloudbase: c1400ft initially, remaining similar until 1000hr, then c1900ft by 1100hr. Pressure: gradual rise during am with 1013 @ 0700 to 1014 by 1100hr.

Very quiet for the first hour followed by a sudden, broad fronted and long lasting movement of Swifts with a minimum total of 1491 passing WSW. Up to 0915hr only 37 Swifts were noted, all generally going south-west. By 0930hr the scope scans were each producing totals of between 20 to 50 Swifts all going WSW. Most but not all were lower but many were well above the horizon. For the record the Swifts received full attention throughout the visit and to avoid any double counting three consecutive scans were completed in sequence:
One, with scope: From SW (225deg) back into the flow to E (90 deg).
Two, with scope: From SW (225deg) forward into the flow to N (0deg)
Three, with binoculars: Overhead and close in.
Again for the record four birds passed so close to my head that the sweeping wooosh was quite frightening – not wishing to get bonked on the head!! Where did the Swift whack into you Tony?

Peak scope scans above 50 were:
0928hr (54)
1007hr (69)
1035hr (64)
1040hr (61)
1045hr (62)
1050hr (57)
1100hr (58)
1109hr (83)

Birds were again moving at all ranges on broad front but more were moving over the col out to the east than that out to the west / overhead, but many of the overhead ones as well as those closer in would in any case have been missed. Again a case that more observers would have been able to record many more birds. Most birds were in charging direct / stepped flight, with very little backtracking or deviation. Cause?

Moving birds:
Swift 1491 > mainly WSW
Grey Wagtail 1 > SW (second)
Starling c90 > W
Golden Plover 25 > SW, 12 > SE
Common Gull 1 > SW
Other Gulls: not counted
Meadow Pipit 12 > W
Curlew 4 > W

Quite a lot – a very birdy morning!


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