Sunday, September 25, 2005

Watchpoint 25-09-2005

Members only watchpoint 25-09-2005.
Sunday 25th September 2005
0705 - 1130hr (DCB, JS, HC)
Weather and Sky:
A short period of early rain starting before first light soon ceasing but very low cloud persisting until well into the morning together with increasing wind but becoming sunny. Wind: initially SSE F3 @ 0530hr, becoming S F3 by 0730, SW F3 in lee (F5 with horses on the water) by 0830, and W F 5 by 1000, variable from WSW - WNW F3 /4 until 1130hr. Temp: 10 @ 0530, remaining similar to 0900, then increasing 12 by 1000 and 14 by 1130hr. Precipitation: light rain between 0615 - 0700hr. Visibility: 15km, increasing later. Cloud: Low stratus 8ok, initially with blocking over the Lancashire - Yorkshire watershed. Cloubbase c 1400ft asl. Ocasional vertical visibility to floccus and altocumulus, with open sky above. Stratus gradually withdrawing to the east, with clean edge to open sky advancing from W and NW. Followed by open sky, with also advancing variable massive cumulus upto calvus from west. Pressure: quickly falling overnight with 1005 by 0530, then troughing out at c0830 with 1004 and then rising with 1005hpa by 1130hr.

On site at the watchpoint by 0655hr this morning, hopefully as I mean to go on now!! A quiet first hour which unusually contained nearly all of the Swallow movement, followed by "all hell let loose" and more with virtually uncountable numbers of Meadow Pipits flooding south and south east out of the valley to our north - west. It seemed that a lot of the birds were crossing the moor, reaching the watershed ridge, then veering SE along its lee, possibly preferring this to the F5 blow from the other side. Not only were the birds streaming as last, but smaller numbers were fronting south, out to our north-east and as more depth of field was visible in this direction, appreciable numbers could be seen on the move, in near perfect vision conditions. The low cloudbase kept the birds at visible and audible levels. The three counters, Howard, John and myself at peak time, were just over welmed as the peak wave passed through. These birds from the North-west Jean, could even be some of yours from yesterday and more besides. How far do pipits travel in a day? With the masses we also had a group of four Snow Buntings teu ing through SE, not far overhead at c0825hr. Albas were noted going S in small groups of up to six and Goldfinch were also very definitely on the move. The peak died down just a quickly as it arrived and before the open sky invaded from the west. A couple of distant Wheatears were noted in the gloom of the low cloud, both looked bulky birds. Wader wise, a group of nine Ringed Plover were on the shore at first arrival, these looked dinky and dark, tundrae? Yesterdays Golden Plover push (assumed the islandic birds?) was still continuing with eight groups, biggest 25, passing over / bye. The low cloudbase this morning made them much more visible than yesterdays totally open sky. Also as the interface of the retreating cloud was overhead, two groups of Snipe totalling 14 motored through in the clear, going due south, much higher than might have been expected. At the end of the watch a small group of three passed above the gates, more usually W, and much lower in the now cleared conditions. As the sun came out, so did the Red Admirals, all off in haste, south and south east, with most struggling and failing to overcome the WSW blast over the wave wall.

Moving Birds:
Cormorant 1 > SW
Lesser Black-backed Gull 43 > S
Starling 28 > S / SE
Grey Heron 1 > S
Swallow 85 > S
Chaffinch 46 > S / W
Goosander 4 > SW
Meadow Pipit 1988 > S / SE
Greenfinch 4 > S
Sparrowhawk 2
Yellow Wagtail 1 > W
Goldfinch 52 > S / SE
Kestrel 3
Pied Wagtail 27 > S / SE
Siskin 6 > SE
Ringed Plover 9
Wheatear 2 > SW
Linnet 5 > W / SW
Golden Plover 64 > SE
Mistle Thrush 17 > W / S
Snow Bunting 4 > SE
Snipe 14 > S
Rook 2 > W
Black-headed Gull 65 > S
Carrion Crow 23

Total: 2496 individuals, 25 species, 4:25 hours, three observers.



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