Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Oxenhope.... 2012-08-18

Seven images all Copyright 2012
Text to follow
Trans-Pennine Common Tern Migration
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Oxenhope, Bradford (W Yorks, England)
Saturday 18 August 2012
Counting period: 6:25-14:00
Weather: wind South4, cloud-cover 8/8, visibility 45000m, temperature 18 ℃, becoming W F5, 8ok, 100000m+, 21degC, QNH 1009 rising 1012
Observers: Dave Barker, Howard Creber, Lester Ward, Chris King

Moving Birds;
Cormorant 12 -
Common Gull 2 -
Meadow Pipit 18 -
Canada Goose 15 -
Lesser Black-backed Gull 928 -
Wheatear 3 -
Golden Plover 15 -
Herring Gull 4 -
Greenfinch 2 -
Lapwing 2 -
Yellow-legged Gull 1 -
Goldfinch 1 -
Snipe 3 -
Common Tern * 52 -
Siskin 7 -
Curlew - 15
Swift 16 -
Linnet 10 -
Black-headed Gull 358 -
Swallow 17 -
Lesser Redpoll 5 -

Totals: 1486 individuals, 21 species, 7:35 hours

Comments: Overnight rain clearing well before first light in to the Dales and Lake District leaving strato base to the north, elsewhere stratocumulus stratiformis 8ok and remaining similar. Airedale trans-Pennine tern migration at great height witnessed for the first time here on this scale (HC, DCB) with a single flock of 52 passing due east to west... forensics still to do on the many long range photographs taken! These confirm Common Tern. LBBG's exceptionally strong with the vast majority south today. Several groups of Cormorant very high west. Otherwise passerines very poor, with the exception of a couple of noteable small siskin and redpol groups south.

On Saturday 18th Aug, HC and myself had an experience never before
encountered in these parts in our joint 90+ years birding, just thirty
years of which has been vis related with much less than that actually

At c 0745 HC noted a flock of birds very very high up in the sky
wayout to out east. This sector of sky is above an area frequented by
seasonal congregations of Lapwings and as the flock appeared
stationary and twinkling, we initially virtually discounted it as the
regular lapwing sausage up high in usual morning flight.... However it
didnt look quite right and we stuck on it for a while. Suddenly the
flock took off and shifted in the sky moving very rapidly. Very
obvious now that the birds, not lapwings were initially coming
directly towards us in a considerable tight flock and had veered off
slightly for whatever reason. HC still on them with his scope,
shouted, "these are terns Dave" me straight on them again, soon had
them in the camera with focus snapping and fireing away.....
continuing at great height but dropping slightly, they had obviously
changed course very slightly when the water came into view and
appeared to be loosing hight in a very long descent to look at it!....
this they did, coming in above the wall at the SE end. Immediately the
flock was gaining height again going off on the same course without
deviation in an equivalent ascent, soon becoming very high up almost
at cloudbase level, thus they continued picking up speed very rapidly and lost to us as they headed off
towards Lancashire.... Other team members just arriving as the birds
were on their way out were simply transmogriphyed!

We initially estimated c60, which when counted on the snaps equated to
an excact 52. At that stage they were just commic, or maybe not even
all commic, who could tell using traditional technology at c1.4km
closest range!.... however forensics on the snaps some of which reproduced above do suggest all were

We have been aware of and looked for this tern passage for many years as those on
either coast tell us they record flocks spireling up until lost from view and
heading off cross country twinkling in the sky, but so far as I am
aware the inland continuation at height over these parts at least, has never
before been recorded....?

Sorry this posting is a bit belated as have been having great problems
with my google blog page over recent weeks.



Blogger Craig Round said...

I can but dream here at Lutley Dave! 1 spring Common and a flock of 6 'Commic' the best of it in 18 years patch watching! Though interestingly the 6 Commic were in all likelihood Commons and heading west on 27/8/11!

August 22, 2012 12:09 am  
Blogger David Sutcliffe said...

Well done, what a great record that is and good to get the pictures as well. Fantastic.

August 22, 2012 1:22 pm  
Blogger Brian Sumner . said...

Absolutely amazing, never had more than 6 over local in a lifetimes birding.

August 22, 2012 6:42 pm  
Blogger Dave Barker said...

Thanks Craig, Dave and Brian... text now added... sorry its late, but sighting in perspective its taken HC and myself 90+ years hard birding to catch anything like that with terns, an elateive shock to us both, but do suspect that with more dedicated 'skywatching' we might have been lucky sooner..... still watching and hoping for more!! Dave etal

August 22, 2012 8:08 pm  

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