Sunday, June 07, 2009

Oxenhope 07-06-2009 Swift Action!

0830 - 1230hr
E F5 rising E F6, 8.5degC rising 12, 65km, 8/8 stratocumulus / altostratus, dry throughout QNH 1005 falling then rising.

Very little except LBB Gulls (NW) for the first couple of hours, then suddenly in conjunction with skys breaking slightly and the wind rising E F6 birds started to come.... masses of Lesser black backs at first soaring high cross wind SSW with some lower with flight following the shelter of the hills. These were followed almost immediately by Swifts in abundance on a broad front travelling WSW at very high speed, strangely with the wind! Some were low, most at moderate height and even some exceptionally high. Scoping in both directions confirmed the broad front as far as I could see. At one time I estimated c200 hawking over the water... an awsome sight for this reservoir. They diddnt stay long before moving on but they kept coming at a similar rate. As time went on the flow gradually turned south at lower altitude and by 1215hr some were even going east into the blast which was beginning to slacken. There was still much Swift movement as I was leaving, sadly no option as another site to look at in the afternoon. Swifts were very obviously stirred up with a big weather move in go... probably none local birds following the better weather in response to conditions yesterday and same system continuing further south today. Starlings were interesting with seemingly two flows in evidence, firstly most birds in flocks up to 22 going moderate height in direct unfaltering flight SW and secondly low E and NE in much smaller numbers... some of these could be seen to be juveniles.

Moving birds:
Lesser black backed Gull 803 > SSW / S and NW
Swift c1260 counted but continuous scoping would have located many more > as described above.
House Martin 1 > N
Starling 120 > as described above
Black headed Gull 15 > S
Goldfinch 12 first flock of the autumn