Tuesday, 2 September 2014

More early morning coverage

Heysham Obs

Heysham NR
A small amount of ringing included four migrant Robin and a Lesser Whitethroat

A Green Woodpecker, views suggesting a juvenile, was by Heysham NR office mid-afternoon

Middleton NR
Despite rather clear conditions with a variable, mainly northerly, then north-east wind, a reasonable chunk of birds on and over Middleton this morning where the raised road between the western and central marshes gives a really good vantage point.

Meadow Pipit - c100 SE
Tree Pipit - just one heard SE
Grey Wagtail - 7 SE
alba Wagtail - 25 SE
Reed Bunting - 5 perceived migrants SE
Swallow - difficult as high flying birds circling a lot but at least 57 SE
House Martin - 3 SE
Raven - 2
Skylark - 1 E (early migrant?)

Jay - flock of 3 east - at least on dispersal. I read recently about the lack of acorns in some areas this autumn. Could this be the start of a Jay autumn at vis mig sites?

Redstart - female
Blackcap - 20-25
Garden Warbler - at least 2 - doesn't breed here
Sedge Warbler - just 2
Reed Warbler - seemingly zero
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 5
Robin -at last 3 migrants
Chiffchaff - not many - about 5 migrants
Willow Warbler - tailing off now with just 3-4 seen
Goldcrest - two migrants - all records of this species here are migrants

Not a bad night, despite the cold early morning - the first part of the night had a veil of cloud.  In the office trap the highlights were Toadflax Pug, Grey Chi (outside wall) and Rusty Dot Pearl.  The Middleton actinic held an Autumnal Rustic - rare here - and the first Large Wainscot of the autumn plus a pretty late Drinker

Monday, 1 September 2014

Toadflax Pug

Heysham Obs
The intrepid 'pug expert' Brian Hancock paid a visit today and six of the toadflax florets nearest to the office had a pug larva within.  The other revelation today was that we ringed just over 1,000 birds in August - the first time over 1,000 has been achieved in a month.....and only 200 or so of these were the Swallow roost.

 This is not a common moth up here with Heysham by far the best site

Tufted Duck - 8 Middleton
Gadwall - 10 Middleton
Mallard - 1 Middleton!
Sandwich Tern - one red nab
Swallow - 57 SW in morning - NO other vis mig over here in breezy north-westerly
Moth trap
Single Rusty Dot Pearl plus the usual stuff

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Early morning bonus

Heysham Obs
Almost forgot about the best bird - it seems so long ago - Grasshopper Warbler singing for about a minute in the Middleton central marsh at first light.  It did appear as though there might be a small session of light winds early morning before the NW kicked in and in fact this spell did materialise but did not produce quite what was expected (far more grounded warblers than expected and much less vis)!

Just 3 nets were set at Middleton NR and the nets by the office were similarly geared up to ring a few vis mig birds, notably Grey Wagtail

Heysham produced two Grey Wagtail (out of four seen) and the first Goldcrest to be ringed (and second overall) this autumn

Middleton saw quite a flurry of newly-arrived warblers all entering the nets from the 'seaward end' and a conspicuous absence of much vis mig......until it became too windy to catch Grey Wagtail.

Middleton ringing (2.5 hrs) included 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, one Lesser Whitethroat, one Sedge Warbler........and just one Grey Wagtail

Vis mig Heysham/Middleton
Tree Pipit - 1
Grey Wagtail - at least 6, possibly 9, mostly after the wind got up
Meadow Pipit - no sign of this mystifying massive passage on the north Wales coast yesterday with just 10 SE
Raven - 2
Swallow - c100 ex-roost, c20 S
Sand Martin - on noise alone, "a lot" ex-roost
House Martin - 11 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 SE
Pheasant - at least 3 with one narrowly missing a mist net!

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore near (a lowish) high tide
Sorry for late posting - couldn't access site last night
Med Gull - 31 outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge south mudflats, 23 1CY, 6 2CY and 2 adult
Little Gull - ad Ocean Edge mudflats pm

Saturday 30th August

Heysham Obs
Spent most of the day putting moth records on MapMate and nothing has been recived from elsewhere

There was a juv Whinchat on the 'hill' at Middleton NR late afternoon

Friday, 29 August 2014

Rough weather titbits

Heysham Obs
A couple of outfalls checks, one coinciding with IOM ferry:

Med Gull - 23 (11 1CY)
Little Gull - ad
Common Tern - ad
Sandwich Tern - 3 ads and a juv
Gannet - ad offshore
Kittiwake - juv offshore

A Silver Y in trap

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