Monday, 23 October 2017

One sibe for another?

No sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler after its window of departure after dark last night but the day was almost certainly not without interest with a rather sandy coloured Lesser Whitethroat which will be hopefully be able to be determined by Martin Collinson and the Aberdeen DNA centre.  Once again the rain conspired to miss Heysham other than the odd spot here and there and it was possible to run the office mist nets for most of the day.  Thanks very much to Ian Hartley for assistance.  Wing formulae will be published later.

Please do not copy and paste any of these on social media without permission.  Thanks.

Common Tern - 1CY still on outfalls
Med Gull - Ad & 1CY outfalls
Chiffchaff - 4 round office first thing (2 ringed)
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Treecreeper - one ringed
Goldcrest - 9 ringed

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Low key life of brian

The problem today was the wind first thing was most definitely way north of west and although it later went slightly more west there was clearly no prospect of anything to add to the local year list  (or was there - where did Ian's great northern diver past rossall come from?)

Not too bad in the circumstances
Common Tern - 1cy outfalls over the tide at least
Yellow-browed warbler - fairly easy to hear, very difficult to see with wind blowing straight on to favoured bushes on the only viewable side - to mid pm
Chiffchaff - one with above
Starling - 72 south
Kittiwake - two flocks totalling c35 headed in ahead of the iom ferry, three more behind it
Med gull - at least two ad and three 1cy in area
Shag - 1cy on sea harbour mouth 0845 only then swam out of view south side

Saturday, 21 October 2017


Yellow browed warbler
Still present next to office calling regularly in association  with chiffchaff but hard to see in wind!  Present in same area to 1735 at least

Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 6 plus

Friday, 20 October 2017

Messy weather produces two Gems

Thanks Dan
The first one was in the moth trap at nearby Sunderland Point (a Gem) and the second was heard as I was getting out of the car at Heysham NR office - a vocal Yellow-browed Warbler.  Just occasionally birding is easy! 

Goldcrest - at least 20
Song Thrush - c15
Redwing - c5
Chiffchaff - one by office, one in what has been christened (not by me) 'chavvy scrub' by half moon bay
Stonechat - two by half moon bay then on to heliport area
Yellow-browed Warbler - one by office from early pm to at least 5pm and, unless it got away in the first hour of darkness, probably going nowhere for a day or two
Water Rail - three calling from scattered locations away from usual areas at Middleton
Blackcap - female by office with tit flock

Vis mig (not a lot)
Grey Wagtail - 1
Skylark - 2
Swallow - two blogging Heysham Head
House Martin - two south Middleton
Chaffinch - 18
Reed Bunting - 6
Redwing - 6
alba Wagtail - 11
Meadow Pipit - 5
Egret spp - two high to north in distant escape flight only over Middleton in am (not large)

Merlin - female with prey north wall and later HNR chasing finches
Linnet - 23 north wall
Med Gull - ad and 1cy behind ferry
Eider - 342 at low tide round skeers - 2/3 male - very good number for this time of year

More odds and ends to come

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Single observer decisions!

Plumped for a vis mig session from the concrete road between the western and central marshes at Middleton and that wasn't a bad choice but what was elsewhere?  I'll have another session later, but it is absolutely typical sods law that the main ringing team is not available on the two peak late autumn migration days (today and tomorrow).  

Vis mig Middleton 0800-0930
Skylark - 31 SE
Meadow Pipit - surprisingly plentiful this late with 43 SE
Reed Bunting - 7 SE
Sparrowhawk - 1+1 high south
Grey Wagtail - 3 together then a singleton SE
alba Wagtail - 26 SE
Goldfinch - 24 SE
Greenfinch - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 65 S
unidentified Chaffinchish finches - c60 S
Linnet - 23 SE
Lesser Redpoll - 2 SE
Carrion Crow - 46 S (incl flock of 21)
Jackdaw - just the one flock of 16 S - prefer clearer and calmer weather!
Blackbird - 18 dropping from height from the north and landing in bushes
Redwing - 705 almost all north to south with quite a bit of landing but 'dried up' after 0910 with just the odd singleton
Fieldfare - 16+17+15 S
Song Thrush - just two dropping from height into the bushes
Mistle Thrush - 3 S
Starling - ex-roost stuff early on ignored.  61 S in dribs and drabs, some with RE
Pink-footed Goose.   This was unexpected:  1205 high to NE (not to local fields) in 7 skeins plus 18 S
Raven - 1 high S
Jay - 2 S possibly just local
Woodpigeon - at least 21 migrants to south - lower birds difficult to classify here

Blackbird - c30 in the area (plus the vis birds above)
Ring Ouzel - 1CY male on view for 5 minutes before heading for brick building
Song Thrush - 5 in addition to the vis birds
Chiffchaff - one moved rapidly inland
Goldcrest - just 4 within audible/visual range as above
Cetti's Warbler - singing regularly eastern end of central marsh but no others heard
Green Woodpecker - heard once

Kestrel blogging

oiled Great-crested Grebe hauled itself out of to the seawall by Heysham 2 outfall

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Partial migrants on the rampage

One of the highest non-Swallow-roost ringing totals for here today without any relationship to a 'fall' of migrants.  Therefore the composition was more 'west coast cat food' than 'eastern promise', exemplified by eight un-ringed Wrens.  There was a decent movement of Coal Tit, but very difficult to document as they were in the corridor of migratory uncertainty ranging from those accompanying 'grounded' roaming tit flocks and noisy 'top of the bushes' single-species movers.  There were certainly no noisy high-flying flocks as on some previous irruptions and, as implied, many of them were mixed in with similar numbers of un-ringed Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit.

Blackcap have been conspicuous by their absence for several weeks, so five un-ringed birds were welcome, and equally welcome was an un-ringed, presumed male on wing length, Cetti's Warbler in Middleton central marsh.  The first Brambling to be ringed for several years was also trapped on Middleton

Ringing (new birds)
Included:   22 Goldcrest, 15 Greenfinch, 12 each of Coal, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, 8 Wren, 5 Blackcap, 4 Redwing, 2 Lesser Redpoll and singles of Brambling, Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler
Redwing Middleton (thanks Janet)
Redwing 40
Song Thrush 9
Skylark 29
Siskin 2
Meadow Pipit 19
Alba Wagtail 14
Grey Wagtail 2
Chaffinch 9
Raven 1
Jackdaw 6

Gadwall - 22
Jack Snipe - flushed by Janet
Cetti's Warbler - new bird ringed Central Marsh
Brambling - 1 ringed
Redwing - grounded flock of 20

Redwing 25
Wood pigeon 11 SE
Jackdaw 70 S
Corvid sp 100 SE
Pink-footed Goose 30

Heysham Head
Brambling heard

Outfalls etc
Med Gull - 1CY

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Ophelias bits and pieces

Shame there were no squalls this morning to spice up the seabirds and send them further into the Bay but we didn't do too badly.  Indeed I posted this a bit prematurely as the day gave new meaning to "the afternoon dropping tide being best for Leach's Petrel".  They do not seem to have a problem with mudflats and therefore low tide and lack of water is not an issue.

Pomarine Skua - juv wheeled in at quite close range at 0845hrs - didn't think there would be any juvs this autumn after my experience of the Arctic breeding season!
Leach's Petrel - one 9ish and one located off the stone jetty at 1130 and seen again 30 mins later off the north wall & see below
Velvet Scoter - male floated in with the tide during the last hour of flow with a rough sea, but hasn't been relocated as yet
Pintail - 7+5 out
Wigeon - 8 out
Shelduck - about 160 out
Med Gull - 7 behind IOM ferry (2 x 1CY, 3 x Ad, 2 x 2CY), ad red nab at same time and three 1CY already on outfalls
Little Gull - ad appeared to come in with IOM ferry but may have been the usual bird wandering

Chiffchaff - one by gate 38!

Later update

Yes well they are not easy to phonescope!  The 1555hrs bird off the north wall and this was followed by three others as seen from the SJ during the last 1.5 hrs of daylight

Eider - 120 off north wall low tide