Saturday, March 19, 2005

Watchpoint 19-03-2005

Members only watchpoint 19-03-2005
Saturday 19th March 2005
0750 - 1030hr.
Weather and Sky:
An improving morning with initially low cloud above c1100ft asl, giving only poor visibility for a considerable period of the visit. More or less dry with little and variable wind. Wind: initially WNW F2 @ 0630, swinging NW F1 / 2 by 0800hr, then remaining light and variable / calm around NW throughout. Temp: initially 7 dp 7 @ 0630, rising 9 (7 @ wp) dp 8 by 0815hr an 11 (9 @ wp) dp 9 by 1030hr. Visibility: initially c10km below cloud base @ c1100ft asl at 0745hr, but from watchpoint only c500m until c0930 and sometimes later, when variable cloud base lifting to c1500ftasl and then varying down to 1300ft until leaving when visibility c5500m. Cloud: fog stratus and stratus throughout with variable base as described above with cloud block down over Pennine foothills initially but only over higher tops and ridges later, when stratus base rising and becoming translucent to sun, otherwise 9ok throughout. Pressure: static overnight @ c1025 and during morning similar, before starting to drop off after lunch time.

Despite the low cloud, an unbelievably poor morning for the vis. Since the last visit a very large increase of bird numbers in the area and on the moor generally. Skylark seemed to be just about the only species tackling the cloud and on the move with birds just below and in the cloud base continuing to move in various northerly and westerly directions a total of 25 – 30 was estimated as seen and heard. Some going west, were just above head height. A few albas were noted going northish. Otherwise despite intelligence from the south-east Pennines of the approaching mipit wave none had reached us prior to leaving at 1030hr, and only about 15 were seen in the area. None were noted in the roadside in-bye, fields or moors either on the way to or from the visit. A single Wheatear was however noted here. Gulls were virtually none existent.

Big increase in Curlew, Lapwing, Snipe and Golden Plover activity, later on often with wall to wall sound over the moor and from the in-bye, uncountable. Skylark song also frequent.

Moving Birds:
Skylark 25 – 30 > W – N – E
alba 7 > northish
Golden Plover 39 > N
Woodpigeon 9 > W
Meadow Pipit 6 > N + 15.

First Arrivals:
Twite 3+
Blackbird 6 (influx)
Wheatear 1