Thursday, 28 August 2014

Morning window

Heysham Obs
A bit of blind faith in the forecast this morning as set off in cloudy drizzle for a bit of early morning coverage.  Quite the opposite at Heysham where the sun was a bit of a nuisance with respect to mist-netting.  Didn't seem to be a great deal of grounded stuff and just one Willow Warbler and one Robin were ringed on the night migrant front, but there was a decent number of unringed finches and a flock of 3 Grey Wagtail

Vis mig 0630-0830
Grey Wagtail - 4-5 (3 ringed)
flava Wagtail -  one south at 0830hrs
Meadow Pipit - 11 SE
alba Wagtail - 8 SE
Swallow - 13 SE
Tree Pipit - one SE

Med Gull - 4 x 1CY (one metal-ringed with '90' in sequence), 1 x 3CY
Little Gull - moulting adult
Sandwich Tern - heard in the mass!
Black-headed Gull - c1500

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Heysham Obs
A couple of early morning sessions splitting resources at Middleton and Heysham did not quite go as planned.  There was nowhere near as much Grey Wagtail passage as anticipated but a helicopter going backwards and forwards overhead did not help.   At least the catching was fairly efficient with 2/3 at Middleton and 3/4 at Heysham finding the nets with the third bird missed at Middleton due to being spooked by that dreadful creature, a retrap juvenile Blackbird.   More an odds and ends morning with Grasshopper Warbler and Tree Pipit among the species ringed

With some rubbishy weather likely to see out August, it might be time to provisionally reflect on a few ringing totals so far and some of them are quite impressive for here:

Record numbers (already):
Chiffchaff - 94
Whitethroat - 205
Reed Warbler - 33

Well above average (given the stage of the autumn)
Lesser Whitethroat - 48
Blackcap -101

Better than expected, given a poor spring passage (or failure to connect with the passage)
Willow Warbler -  145

Below par possibly due to rapid departure of adults and young in warm still weather
Sedge Warbler - 104
Grasshopper Warbler - 8

Another dreadful year compared to last century but on a par with last ten years
Garden Warbler - 4

Heading towards a record total after an excellent breeding season (expensive now they have to take B rings!)
Dunnock - 73

Good numbers so far with a majority of captures usually on autumn passage (September and early October respectively)
Robin - 75
Wren - 51

Middleton NR
Tree Pipit - 5 SE
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE
House Martin - 15 SE
Swallow - c53 SE
Grasshopper Warbler - migrant juvenile caught (local birds long gone)
Collared Dove - flock of four north
Raven -1
Gadwall - flock of 8 with a smaller duck with them which was quite possibly a Garganey, but flight views inconclusive - the birds left the site high to SE
Parrot-type-thing - one again seen in silhouette and therefore unidentified -  from the racket could easily have been Ring-necked Parakeet

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bits of coverage

Heysham Obs
A bit unsatisfactory today as there were clearly things on the move, notably and obviously Swallows, but the coverage was too late.  Thanks to Steven Feasey for some pics taken here and Middleton in recent weeks (see below)

Middleton NR 0830-0930
No ringing
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE together
Meadow Pipit - at least 5 singletons SE
Swallow - 27 SE
House Martin - 6 SE
Whinchat - 1
Blackcap - 5+
Whitethroat - at least 2
Willow Warbler - 2
Chiffchaff - 3

HNR office area
Chiffchaff - 3
Blackcap - 2

Outfalls/Red Nab at high tide
Family parked on the end of the rocks with 3 dogs - thee first time there have been any problems this year that I am aware of - these were not from Ocean Edge and therefore had not seen the notice

Med Gull - at least 14 on the saltmarsh (3 2CY, 10 1CY, one adult) and 2 1CY on outfalls = 16 minimum
Swallow - 17 south
Nothing else of interest

Middleton pm
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE appeared to be migrants!
Swallow - at least 120 in the roost with 60 ringed (just 4 adults) - birds not flock-cohesive as in previous weeks - presume migrants unfamiliar with site?
House Martin - at least one with the swallows

Moth trap
Another Rusty Dot Pearl

Wheatear at Red Nab

Peacock and Red Admiral Heysham NR

Red Darter HNR

Red Darter HNR near Ocean Edge

Clouded Yellow MNR

Clouded Yellow MNR

Small Copper MNR

Monday, 25 August 2014

Incoming tide watch

Heysham Obs
Thousands of gulls seemed to be strewn all over Red Nab/outfalls and area on the incoming tide, despite Heysham one outfall seemingly out of action.  A fairly lengthy watch showed that stuff is easily missed as it passes through/is displaced by the tide

Heysham outfalls 0900-1130 on and off
Black Tern - highly mobile juvenile seemed to disappear as the tide started to come in
Sandwich Tern - at least 8, possibly 9 - flew south as tide came in
Med Gull -  c17 x 1CY, 1 x 2CY, 4 x 3CY/Ad
Little Gull - moulting adult which also disappeared on the incoming tide!
Whimbrel - 1
Wheatear - 4

Heysham NR
A Long-tailed Tit flock was accompanied by 5 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff and a Garden Warbler

Two Rusty Dot Pearl disturbed from tall vegetation on a tramp round the outer rim of the reserve.  Trap useless in easterlies. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Ye of little faith

Heysham Obs
After what appeared, leaving a slightly windy High Tatham at 0515hrs, to be going through the final CES (& supplementary nets) motions on a slightly breezy sunny westerly morning turned out to be rather better than expected.  A large slow-moving area of cloud sat to the north-west and spilled over covering the sun and produced a couple of tiny spells of drizzle.  Most importantly, it knocked the wind on the head.

Middleton NR CES etc
Grey Wagtail - 10 SE (7 of these ringed)
House Martin - group of 4 SE he only other noticeable 'vis'!
Redstart - 1CY male ringed
Other migrants ringed comprised: 7 Whitethroat, 7 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Robin and singles of Lesser Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warblers.  None of these were a result of a tit flock entourage (in contrast to the last visit) - there were no tit flocks heard or seen this morning.
34 juvenile Goldfinch were also ringed!

Common Buzzard - one over Middleton NR pm

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Very septembery

Heysham Obs
The final CES at both sites tomorrow and preparations this evening included a small Swallow catch in conditions which were less than perfect.  The morning saw a cold start followed by Grey Wagtails, Robins and Blackcaps in the mist nets.

Heysham NR early am
Grey wagtail - 6 ringed, at least another 3 missed
Robin - 4 ringed
Blackcap - 6 ringed
A few odds and ends included single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler and two Whitethroat

Middleton pm
Really devoid of warblers in a fresh north-westerly - looks like a 'duff' morning tomorrow for the CES unless the tit flocks do their stuff and drag a few birds on to the site
Swallow roost - c60 with 19 ringed including about 5 adults using the only sheltered net site which was a bit enclosed

Wheatear - two south end of Middleton NR near old pontins site pm

Friday, 22 August 2014

What was missed?

Heysham Obs
A real struggle this morning as under the weather and didn't arrive until 0900hrs to be greeted by Willow warbler contact calls and later two Tree Pipit taking off from around the pond and heading inland over the gold course.  What was here earlier?

A couple of hastily erected mist nets confirmed what seemed to be happening, the remnants of an early morning arrival in the process of disappearing inland.  Four unringed Whitethroat and two migrant Robins were caught immediately, then nothing migrant-wise for the next hour and the nets were brought in

Office area 0900-1030
Tree Pipit - two together headed ESE, having been grounded, at 0915hrs
Grey Wagtail - one SE
Swallow - c10 SE
Willow  warbler - at least five calling at 0900hrs, soon melted away
Whitethroat - 4 unringed and one ringed bird caught - no others seen/heard
Dunnock - unringed bird caught
Robin -  two unringed birds caught

Not bad with Yellow-barred Brindle notable for here, with other stuff including Bordered Beauty, Agriphila latistria and Rusty Dot Pearl,