Sunday, August 28, 2005

Watchpoint 28-08-2005

Members only watchpoint 28-08-2005
Sunday 28th August 2005
0800 - 1130hr (count 0830 – 1030hr) (DCB, HC, JP, JS, MD)
Weather and Sky:
Initially an improving morning, mainly overcast but wind soon picking up to give impossible conditions later. Wind: initially @ 0645hr variable F1, becoming SW F4 by 0830, then WSW F5 by 1030 and WSW F6-7 by 1100hr. Temp: initially 12 @ 0645, becoming 14 by 0830, and 17 by 1130hr. Precipitation: mainly dry – just a few odd spots of rain. Visibility: 18km initially but improving later. Cloud: initially altostratus 8ok, breaking to altocumulus / altostratus, with some stratocumulus and low fractus pouring off the moors to the SW and W, but as usual, never proceeding far from the main South Pennine mass. Pressure: rising slightly over night, but starting to fall off during the morning with 1017 @ 0645 to 1016 by 1130.

One of the first mornings with true autumnal spirit here albeit a slow start with hardly anything until 0900hr. Initially, on the approach road Meadow Pipits were much in evidence with 30 – 40 coming up from the field edges and road sides, suggestive of an earlier move but once at the watchpoint only 35, but all going west were seen throughout. A Stoat was seen scampering along the pitchings with two Meadow Pipits in hot persuit, both taking turns to stoop and hurry it on! Swallows were a different matter, with increasing movement from the first one seen at 0915hr. All were going west and south-west, many were struggling as the wind picked up, with some of the later ones shooting up like rockets when meeting the increasing F6 blast over the wave wall, to then try again with some taking the easy way out, proceeding in the lee of the embankment and off to the west. Throughout this period Swallows were continually coming out of the valley, traversing the in-by ridge to the south and going south-west. Often birds were noted on the low barbed wire fences, and even the dry stone walls at the top of the hill, before going on. Just about all of the Swallow movement today was low, in juncus / heather hugging fashion. At one time a very large party of Swallows were over the high in-by before disappearing. Whilst watching the Swallows a single Wheatear was picked out on one of the high walls. Totally unexpected were a group of eight + Swifts (really thought last nights would be the last!!!) at 1035hr wheeling soaring and swooping over the valley to the SSE – an obvious rich food source here?. They were not seen to arrive or to depart, but it would be expected that they would go off and into the wind? They had disappeared ten minutes later. At 0900hr a single Grey Wagtail, picked up on call initially approached and went on high west. Interesting that to date – very few Pied Wagtail on the move. Todays most interesting birds were two Jays in succession at 0912hr, passing nearby, below us over the in-bye col to the north. Both were on the same track, going WNW – hopefully a sign of irruption to come – secretive woodland birds "out of habitat" always good to see tackling the open moor!! (report still outstanding but last Sunday we had a Great spotted Woodpecker crossing the moor, again to the west). And last but not least a Cormorant arrived from the SE at 1012hr. It immediately started diving – must have been hungry, but must soon have sussed the fishless, peaty water and within a few minutes it was on its way NW. The same bird or another passed SE a little later on. Unidentified, were two groups of distant wader sp., the ones that got away.

Moving Birds:
Meadow Pipit 35 > W (movers)
Swallow 190+ > SW and W (low and very dificult to count – many missed?)
Swift 8+
Sand Martin 1
Jay 2 > WNW
Cormorant 1 > NW
Wheatear 1
Starling 200+ in in-bye (three groups)
Grey Wagtail 1 > W
Wader sp. two groups.

Some Other:
C Crow c25 incl one part white
LBBGull 55
Black headed gull 20
Common Gull 3



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