Saturday, 20 September 2014


Heysham Obs

Heysham Nature Reserve
A quick trawl round the reserve for night migrants yielded 15 Robins, 11 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Blackcap, 3 Song Thrushes.

Middleton Nature Reserve  Dawn - 10am

Crossbill - 3 at 0730hrs
Meadow Pipit -111
Grey Wagtail - 3
Swallow - 42
Song Thrush - 5
Snipe - 2 west
Collared Dove - 1
Tree Pipit - 1
alba wagtail - 12
Linnet - 3
Woodpigeon - 3
Reed Bunting - 6
Chaffinch - 8
Skylark - 8

Ringing highlights:
Sedge Warbler (late for this species)
5 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaff
2 Willow Warblers (one a grey-green colour/northern variety)
2 Robins
1 of the 5 migrant Song Thrushes

Friday, 19 September 2014

Typical west coast migration day

Heysham Obs
Fidgety Dunnock migration and the like is hardly going to stop people deserting Lancashire and heading for the east coast.   This morning had a very west coast feel!

Vis mig dawn to 1000hrs Middleton
Meadow Pipit - 710 SE, big downturn in numbers after 0900 after being similar to yesterday up until then
Grey Wagtail - probably only six with other registrations being an off-passage bird visiting the sewage works on several occasions.  None of these visited the tape and that is probably because three of them had already been ringed at nearby Heysham NR, one was too far to the north and the last two appeared as the net was blowing about!
alba Wagtail - 36 SE
Linnet - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 20 S
Swallow - exactly 50 SE
Reed Bunting - difficult with some grounded birds but at least 18 SE
Goldfinch - 16 headed high to south and perceived as migrants
Tree Sparrow - singleton S
Little Egret - one high to east
Dunnock - 2+3 calling and flying south

Grounded Middleton NR
Blackcap - 4 ringed the only sightings
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed and at least three others
Willow Warbler - two ringed the only records
Goldcrest - 1-2 only
Song Thrush - 4 migrants, three few inland - all very early on
Robin - two ringed and no other evidence of migration
No tit flocks encountered to see what was with them

Grounded Heysham NR office area only
Garden Warbler  - one ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed
Goldcrest - one ringed
Robin - two ringed 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A great day to be outside watching migration in action

Heysham Obs
One of the Grey Wagtails ringed at Middleton on 12/9/14 was seen at Seaforth Nature Reserve today - the third individual to have been seen there over the years (50ish miles to south).  Thanks to Tony Conway

Wasn't sure what was going to happen this morning.  At 0714hrs, I was beginning to think staying in bed would have been a better option.  The wind was increasing and billowing the net set for my study species, Grey Wagtail.  Then at 0715hrs, the floodgates opened and the bushes were liberally sprinkled with the sounds of Chiffchaff and Blackcap.  Just two mist nets were set so the vis could be concentrated on and they produced 75 birds!!

Vis mig 0700-1100
Little Egret - flock of 6 high to the west, then appeared to split up (maybe ex-roost birds going to the shore to feed, but not seen it before and not on a direct line from Ashton Hall roost)
Meadow Pipit - exactly 2,047 recorded flying SE
alba Wagtail - 22 SE
Skylark - 4 SE
Reed Bunting - 6 SE
Linnet - 8 SE
Goosander - flock of 3 SE
House Martin - 1 SE
Swallow - 370 SE (many probably missed early on)
Woodpigeon - 4 S
Chaffinch - 17 S
Jay - 4+1+1 S
Starling - 249 seemed to be purposefully heading south!
Greenfinch - 4 S
Goldfinch - 74 S
Grey Wagtail - 16 SE, many of these after 0930
Lesser Black-backed Gull - a high gang of 32 SE
Grey Heron - 1 high to the E
Jackdaw - 4+6 S
Cormorant - 4 high to SE
Kestrel - 1 S

Grounded migrants Middleton
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Stonechat - one male
Blackcap - 8 ringed
Chiffchaff - 6 ringed
Song Thrush - flock of three first thing flew inland
Goldcrest - at least three
Willow Warbler - 4 ringed, 3 long-winged birds
Lesser Whitethroat - presumed curraca ringed (photographed)

Garganey - two flew across to the Tim Butler pond early on
Common Buzzard - one briefly by the sewage works (also seen yesterday)
Stock Dove - 2
Jay - one probably/ possibly just off-passage
Gadwall - at least 6
Mallard - three flew in from the direction of the shore

Heysham NR migrants at lunchtime
Goldcrest - 5
Chiffchaff - 5
Blackcap - 1-2

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Evening update

No heron returning at or after dusk this evening. Suitable compensation however in the form if two garganey whizzing about between the central marsh ponds and even responding to iPhone playback by circling over our heads!

More indeterminate birding!

Heysham Obs
A visit to Middleton this morning saw a silent compact medium-sized heron spp with "no" foot projection fly out of the willow/reedbed area and head low to the south over the sewage works.  This happened about 0615hrs so there was no chance of any plumage details, but it was light enough to see the structure of the bird except for the head and bill end.  I'll be back there this evening to see what happens at dusk...................    Not a good two days for clinching potentially decent records!

Middleton pre-dawn-1000hrs
Not quite what was expected with no Grey Wagtail movement at all until the sun and breeze started to affect the nets, but there was a very early pronounced Meadow Pipit (and to a lesser extent alba Wagtail) passage.   Autumn moves on a notch and this feeling was enhanced by Skylarks and Pink-footed Geese on the move.  If this is a sign the Grey Wagtail passage is finally tailing off, it has been an excellent autumn with 126 ringed and the chance of a handful more.   There was a small arrival of night migrants, notably Phylloscs, but also including some Goldcrests which managed to avoid the nets.

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - 463 SE
Grey Wagtail - just 10 SE, all after 0745hrs (the first two were ringed)
alba Wagtail - 45 SE
Reed Bunting - 11 SE
Goldfinch - 23 S
Chaffinch - 7 S
Skylark - 5 E
Pink-footed Goose - 9+59 SE
Jay - 2 together high to south
Jackdaw - flock of 6 south
Tree Sparrow - singleton south
Swallow - about 5 ex-roost and then the first sighting was two south at about 1000hrs!!

North Harbour wall vis 1020-1050
Swallow 11
Meadow Pipit 44
Grey Wagtail 1

Grounded at Middleton NR
Goldcrest - c5
Song Thrush - two together flew high inland at dawn
Willow Warbler - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - 6 ringed and one off-passage retrap
Robin - 3 ringed
Dunnock - 3 ringed, presumed migrants
Blackcap - just the one ringed
No obvious presence of any other warbler spp in what were quiet and calm conditions

Grounded at North Harbour wall
Robin 4
Linnet 4

See above re-heron
Water Rail - at least one
Gadwall - at least 4
Tufted Duck - male model boat pond

Painted Lady at North Harbour wall

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

An unsatisfactory day

Heysham Obs
None more so than the Redstart/Black Redstart which was seen disappearing into the storage area next to the Twite feeding area,  Thanks to Andrew for a diligent search

Middleton NR
No ringing possible this morning with a Common Whitethroat the only notable record during unsuccessful Clouded Yellow searching

Heysham NR
Grey Wagtail - at least 14 SE (9 ringed, including flock of 6, but effort disrupted by human activity)
Treecreeper - 1
No vis mig coverage & no grounded migrants with most of yesterdays Chiffchaff departed

North Harbour Wall
Wheatear - 2
Shag - juv on sea. then wooden jetty
see above
Sample vis mig 0915-1015
Meadow Pipit - 76 SE
alba Wagtail - 21 SE
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE, including flock of 3
No hirundines!

Moths & butterflies
Nothing of interest in moth trap
High single figures of Red Admiral sooth in pm

Monday, 15 September 2014

Weather disrupted morning

Heysham Obs

An unexpected wind gusting to 15mph followed by some rain soon put paid to any mist-netting attempts but not until after a flock of 4 Grey Wagtails was ringed.

Middleton vismig   Dawn to 0800hrs
Rock Pipit 1 south
Meadow Pipit 90 SE
Reed Bunting 3
Swallow 2
alba wagtail 6

Heysham Nature Reserve
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 15
No Goldcrest
Green Woodpecker - 1 below the classroom.

North Harbour Wall 0915-0945
Wheatear - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
alba wagtail - 1
Linnet - 2
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 2
Grey Wagtail - 1
Meadow Pipit - 3
alba wagtail - 4
Swallow - 1