Sunday, 21 April 2019

First light and out

An eleven bird first round then half a dozen dribs and drabs and then that was it as regards landbird migration through the mist nets.  A quick round the houses produced a couple of interesting sightings but nothing to suggest any further effort other than checking the turning tide in about an hour

Lesser Redpoll - eight out of about 10 ringed first thing, one other heard later
Willow Warbler - 7 ringed
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Reed Warbler - singing male Hey NR reedbed new in
Lesser Whitethroat - at least one migrant
Whinchat - male heliport
Arctic Tern - flock of four in, fishing briefly, first thing - appeared to climb up
Sandwich Tern - just four at low tide \
Cetti's Warbler -male still singing Hey NR
Tree Pipit  one NE
Linnet - 4 NE
Meadow Pipit - 2 NE
Wheatear 4 north wall mound

Heysham skeer
Eider c80
Great Crested Grebe 8
Red- breasted merganser 4
Knot just 19
Dunlin minimum 196
Dunlin showing a nice range of plumage stages.

Where are the migrating hirundines!! - none seen last two mornings

Hopefully a worthy update to follow

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Punching above the conditions?

Didn't look very promising this morning - you could just about see the other side of the Bay, full moon, clear above and inland and sun on two of the nets quite early on.  A text from Ian at Rossall prompted an early telescope view of the low tide channels and the Pom behaved, making steady progress up the Bay as opposed to spiralling up unseen along the Lune flight-line.   Then the Lesser Redpolls dropped in with each small catch being taken a short distance off site by the spare ringer to continue their north-easterly journey rather than sit around attracting others away from the nets.  A trickle of Blackcap and Willow Warbler augmented a decent ringing session for here

Pomarine Skua - one flew NE above the near channel at 0635hrs after being past Rossall 0612hrs
Arctic Skua - dark morph blogging in Kent channel 0730ish
Sandwich Tern - c30 early on soon dissipated
No other sea passage observed ie no Arctic Terns in c2hrs on and off checked

Vis mig
All about Lesser Redpoll with c35 probably more NE (16 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 7 NE
No hirundine passage observed by 1045hrs

Lesser Whitethroat - at least 7 singing males around, some in transit
Grasshopper Warbler - one presumably on territory Middleton along the golf course edge
Blackcap - 5 ringed
Willow Warbler - 7 ringed
Chiffchaff - 1 ringed
Sedge Warbler - at least 2 singing males Middleton presumably on territory
Whitethroat - singing male by HNR office - arrived about 0900 (IOY)

Rock Pipit - pair in harbour nest building
Guillemot - still by waterfall area, despite dredger activity

Muslin, Powdered Quaker, Herald and Hebrew Character Middleton actinic. 
Large Red Damselfly- 2 Middleton Nature Reserve

Two queen wasps seen

Loads of Orange Tip males around - c20 seen


Friday, 19 April 2019

Slightly clearer but the turning tide produces the goods

When the wind is in the east at this time of year and the visibility at least as far as the Kent channel, a seawatch on the turning tide often produces the goods, not the least by kickstarting skuas which have been sat on the sea.  Sea absolutely dead after 0845, possibly due to increased murk to south (per Ian)

Pomarine Skua - light morph in close inshore at 0825hrs flying higher than and ahead of two of the dm Arctics.
Arctic Skua - probably five dark morphs eventually in but not absolutely certain re duplication, so best to record as 3-5
Common Scoter - flock of 22 in
Arctic Tern - 106 in, biggest flocks 30 x 2 40 mins apart
Common Tern - one blogging, following three boats into port
Sandwich Tern - c15 blogging
Red-throated Diver - 2 in
Swallow - 15 in
Meadow Pipit - 5 in
Lesser Redpoll - 12 NE (ADA3086 caught)

Not very much cp to yesterday but
Reed Warbler - one ringed by office
Wheatear 7

Holly Blue butterfly seen YESTERDAY near HNR office


Thursday, 18 April 2019

The perfect migratory landbird recipe providing the alarm works!

In the earlier years, 18th April was on more than one occasion THE favoured major spring migration morning, dominated by Willow Warblers.  Recent years have seen some not very helpful weather at this time, but this morning was pretty good with a lot of offshore murk.  However it needed an early start and the alarm failed; fortunately I managed to wake up at 0520 and realise what was happening, but there was still a 16 or so mile journey via picking up Jean before we could set nets/observe vis mig etc.   On arrival, it was apparent that significant numbers of Willow Warbler were racing through, giving bits of song and the odd hu-eet before heading north-east and inland.

Although the ringing totals were minus about 30 Willow warbler and almost certainly a Redstart, missed during the civil twilight to sunrise mist net round, a reasonable catch of just over 30 birds was made, before it went quiet with the sun blazing on two of the four nets [New birds:  22 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, one each of Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher].  This is the first year here since 1980 that more than 50 Chiffchaff have been ringed in spring and we have a bit to go yet.

Most unexpected was a heavy Meadow Pipit passage for this time of year - not known this before so late into April so have the easterlies pushed Scandinavian-bound birds over to this side or are we still filling territories in the Highlands of Scotland?  

Vis mig/big sit by the office, minus an hour or so seawatching/coastal coverage produced:
Ring Ouzel - female chased into gorse by a male Blackbird
Redstart - male early on
Pied Flycatcher - female ringed

Tree Pipit - 4 NE
Lesser Whitethroat - three migrants
Grasshopper Warbler - probably two different singing males with an hour between song periods and unlikely backtracking from the general north-easterly progress if it involved just the one bird
Blackcap - two singing males passed through - this species has been in rather low numbers so far this spring
Chiffchaff - at least 8 migrants, one with pollen

Willow Warbler - at least 75 passed through by the office and probably many others over the rest of the recording area
Osprey - a very high northbound bird was almost missed!
alba Wagtail - 4 NE
Meadow Pipit - 249 NE
Siskin - 2 NE
Redpoll - 5 NE
Swallow - 26 NE
Sand Martin - 2 NE
House Martin - 1
Linnet - 24 NE
Sparrowhawk - one probable migrant
(51 species in total)

Sea coverage - not a lot of time spent - quite murky
Arctic Skua - blogging dark morph
Sandwich tern - 13 out, none lingering today
Wheatear - 10

Rock pipit 2 near lighthouse, but also crossing to north wall roundhead.

Additions to Middleton Nature reserve
Coot 1 - "no swimming" pond
Grelag geese 2 Tim Butler pond

Wednesday, 17 April 2019


Coverage was a bit patchy today with the impression that early stuff could easily have been missed on the sea

Redstart - Male ringed Heysham Nr
Whimbrel - one North wall
Sandwich Tern - 6
Swallow - 14
Arctic Tern - 2
11 new phylloscs ringed plus one Chiffchaff ringed elsewhere (KLA)
Meadow Pipit - 25 N
Linnet - 6 N
Little Gull - adult blogging early am

Middleton NR
Cetti’s warbler - 5 singing males
Raven - 1
Snipe - 1
Teal - 2

Harbour area - 18:30 - 19:30
Steady swallow passage, minimum total 50
Guillemot near waterfall
White wagtail, one, probably two.
Two "active" Rock pipit near lighthouse

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Grounded migrant morning

Nice bit of murk this morning produced a mainly Phyllosc-based arrival.  Exceptions were singing Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers at Middleton NR and two Lesser Whitethroat at Heysham, one of which was ringed

Willow Warbler - 50 plus
Chiffchaff - 15 plus
Sedge Warbler - 1 (IOY)
Grasshopper Warbler - 1 (IOY)

Lesser Whitethroat - 2 (IOY)
Blackcap - at least two new migrants
Swallow - 18 north
Meadow Pipit - 22 north
Tree Pipit - 1 north
Wheatear 9
Sandwich Tern - minimum 29 on buoys north and south of harbour and Red Nab

No sign of 2CY Med nor any sea passage

Monday, 15 April 2019

Brief Avocet stopover

So nearly overlooked three early morning Avocet as they flew in with a small gang of Oystercatcher before feeding on the incoming tideline along Ocean Edge, then heading north

A Collared Dove flying in off was first spotted head on about a mile out in orange silhouetting light and was initially a head scratcher!

Two Arctic Tern (Ioy) prompted a 1.5hr seawatch with virtually nothing else

Sandwich Tern - one in then 45 appeared on red nab and shore after HT
Med Gull - 2cy outfalls late pm
Wheatear 14