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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Storm blown migrants and Waxwings still

Another bitterly cold wintry day today (Saturday 23rd March) nothing in Hamilton Dock and I then headed to Ness Point expressly in the hope of maybe seeing a Little Gull, which are often blown in close inshore with easterly stormy conditions. The strong east wind was causing the waves to crash over the rocks at Ness Point mid morning and further north, they were crashing over the "new" sea wall. It was bitterly cold, especially as I couldn't find my gloves. The waves were even crashing around 10- 15 feet over the sea wall making walking potentially hazardous to say the least. I stayed safely at Ness Point and whilst scanning through the Gulls flying very close in just metres from the defence rocks, I was delighted to see 1 adult winter- plumaged Little Gull. I also saw 5 Purple Sandpipers fly in from the north and settle on the finger. I tweeted this out immediately and a little while later I was joined by Andrew E. The wader numbers had grown to 9 Purple Sandpipers feeding around the rocks on the finger. We then looked at the Gulls feeding close in just off shore and noted the Little Gull feeding again with them. A noticably smaller bird, with a more languid flight, dark black underwing and more paddle shaped wings. But this bird had a very noticable pink flush to the underparts, a second adult winter Little Gull, this was joined by another adult winter Little Gull, my third. So there were now currently 2 adult winter Little Gulls flying together. This latter bird had white underparts and then flew north just past the finger and way south and out of sight. The pink- breasted Little Gull (and no it didn't unfortunately have a wedge shaped tail!!) was again joined by another adult winter Little Gull (my fourth)and then another (my fifth), so there were now 3 birds often flying together flying south and then wheeling back north then south again low over the water and the occasional bird would settle on the sea too. So 5 adult winter Little Gulls seen by me in total. Several kittiwakes mostly adults were seen amongst the bird and they flew south, around 10 adult kittiwakes plus 2 dark "W" winged immatures. At 12.30pm I was back home having escaped the incoming blizzard, Andrew stuck it out and later observers (Rob Wil & OFB) were rewarded with an incredible 10 Little Gulls flying just off the Point. However, just as OFB rang at 12.30pm, an olive- green Chiff Chaff flew low over the lawn and stopped on the ground in the south- west corner of the garden. Despite the dreadful wintry conditions this was probably a freshly arrived migrant from the continent assisted on its way by the strong easterly winds! Justin L tweeted to say he'd just seen 31 Waxwings opposite the Chemists at St. Peter's Street (formerly owned by my grandfather) I checked and could see none, however just as I was parking outside Hoseasons along Raglan Street at 3pm, a large number of Waxwings flew onto the telegraph line by the telegraph pole, I very carefully counted them 5X and the tally always came to an incredible and confirmed 61 Waxwing in total, my largest tally this winter. Around 5 flew to a nearby bush and eventually all the Waxwings flew to bushes nearer the entrance to Hoseasons.

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