Thursday, 29 September 2011

Which flies faster - Sandhill Crane or Cory's Shearwater?

The moth trap was out overnight and I had 16 moths of 9 species, nothing new and probably just what could be expected on a late September night. The full list was

4 Light Brown Apple Moth
3 Spruce Carpet
1 Pine Carpet
1 Garden Carpet
3 Red-green Carpet
1 Blair's Shoulder-knot
1 Rosy Rustic
1 Green-brindled Crescent
1 Silver Y

A Great spotted Woodpecker bounded over the garden as I cleared things up.

On the way to work 4 juvenile House Martin were over the Front street in the town, feeding over the shop roofs and not showing any sign of heading south.

Off patch, a very rare Sandhill Crane that had been present in Scotland earlier in the week headed south and was seen at various spots on the Northumberland coast. I perched myself up on the roof at work waiting for it to fly over. Though a bit of a heat haze, there was an excellent panoramic view where I was, and if (when) it went past,  I should see it well.  After 5 minutes it was reported at Marsden heading south, I had made the right decision, it wouldn't be long ....... wrong.
One hour, thirteen minutes later it came on the Rare Bird pager, it was going over Hartlepool Docks, 17 miles to the south! I have no idea how it managed to sneak past me, or other people at spots down the coast. Apart from the resident birds, all I had was one lonesome Swallow heading south.

It was a bit like 2 weeks ago  when I was at Saltholme, Teesmouth and a Cory's Shearwater was heading south past Marsden/Whitburn. We reckoned it would take about an hour to get to Hartlepool but by the time the message had appeared it was going to be tight. A mad dash got us there 51 minutes after it had been seen at Whitburn, but we had missed it by a minute, it had just gone 'round the corner'.

So what have I learned, basically Cory's Shearwaters fly faster than Sandhill Cranes.

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