Friday, 24 October 2014

Double sparrow surprise

Heysham Obs
A 'small bird' addition to the annual ringing species list could have been so good, but it was a House Sparrow - in the company of a single Tree Sparrow - a most unexpected combination outside a limited amount of dispersal in early autumn ('very' in the case of House Sparrow).  There were a few grounded bits this morning with a 'big' olivy-ish (64mm wing) Chiffchaff giving a consistent piping Dunnock call on release.  Not sure what these are labelled as these days now the abietinus cliché has been discredited

Grounded office area
Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - at least 7
Chiffchaff - 2
Tree Sparrow - 1
House Sparrow - one male

Vis mig
Just a few Chaffinch but no time to monitor

North Harbour Wall
Linnet/Twite - No sign of the group of 21 Twite from yesterday, 4 only positivily indentified, but much human disturbance and very difficult lighting conditions.  These 4 appeared to be new arrivals looking a little lost and not using the feeding area.  20-30 Linnets around with 16 new birds trapped and ringed plus 3 retrapped birds.

Red-green Carpet and November Moth agg new for year, Feathered Thorn and Red-line Quaker made up the quartet

A few bits to add to yesterday later on

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Much better

Heysham Obs

Snow Bunting - At 1358hrs one flew low to the south calling past Middleton Towers towards Potts Corner where there was a dog walker in high vis, so presumably carried on towards Sunderland Point
Whooper Swan - flock of 29 south, then landed on mudflats off Potts Corner, then south again about 1345hrs
Twite - up to 21 on seed after first seen yesterday afternoon.  Please note that ringing takes place here and please approach cautiously if this is the case on your visit

More detail later

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Power walking

Heysham Obs need to stop.  Nothing at all blown into the outfalls/harbour area but it was an excellent fitness walk after yesterday's car-potato birding.

Inshore stuff
Pink-footed Goose - 62 + 50ish SW
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 1CY
Kittiwake - 1CY Red Nab
possible obscured Shag on wooden jetty
Grey Wagtail - unringed bird by harbour waterfall

No vis mig of any note and no grounded stuff of note by office

Grounded as wind dropped late afternoon HNR
Goldcrest - 5
Chiffchaff - 1 (by office)
Blackbird - 15
Redwing - 5
Song Thrush - 4
Treecreeper - 1

Feathered Thorn new for the year here plus a latish Pink-barred Sallow

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Difficult conditions with the wind too north-westerly

Heysham Obs

Various times by various observers
Skua spp - distant very dark one (not Bonxie)
Diver spp - one not seen well enough
Little Gull - 2 ad outfalls am
Tern spp - probably juv arctic glimpsed on outfalls
Auk spp - 1
Med Gull - 1CY and ad
Manx Shearwater - group of 3
Kittiwake - group of 3 & a 1CY
Pintail - flock of 19 out

Angle Shades and Red-line Quaker

Monday, 20 October 2014

An unremarkable day

Heysham Obs
Joint 'highlights' were a Caloptilia stigmatella in the moth trap and a 'new' 2CY Little Gull which made a brief appearance in the morning but didn't seem to stay with the outfalls hordes.  A circuit of the reserve in slightly easier conditions than yesterday was unproductive, save some seemingly noisy and 'resident' Chiffchaff in the same places as yesterday

Med Gull - 1 x 1CY, 1 x 2CY, 1 x Ad
Wigeon - 64
Little Egret - 2
Linnet - 60 OE foreshore
Little Gull - 2CY off the end of the outfalls in the morning
Chiffchaff - 3 reserve
Meadow Pipit - one flew south in afternoon - the only vis noted!
Mallard - after being commendably 'wild' for years, three seen coming to bread at the model boat pond

Moth trap
The above and a Black Rustic & Red-line Quaker

Just out of the area, but possibly the bird from within the other day, a 1CY Shag on the Morecambe Stone Jetty groyne with two Cormorant

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Displaced geese

Heysham Obs
Can anyone explain, please, why a cooperative effort between the shooting community and volunteers from the birdwatching community to do a comprehensive goose count is accompanied by "lots of people shooting" (per Fylde-based goose counter)?   This was evidenced even at Heysham where at least 8 skeins flew north-west from the direction of the north Fylde at a time of year when this certainly would not be the norm - indeed it might be unprecedented in such large numbers.  There are no local feeding flocks at this time of year, therefore origin was definitely south of the Lune.  Surely shooting of Pink-footed Goose (or at least in the vicinity of fields used by PFG) should not take place on the count day?

Pink-footed Goose - c600 NNW in eight skeins between 0745 and 0830
Med Gull - 2 x 1CY, 2 x 2CY Red Nab, ad Red Nab
Mallard - 3 OE saltmarsh
Little Egret - 2 Red Nab/OE
Blackcap - male NE corner reserve
Chiffchaff - 5-6
Goldcrest - 2-3
Gannet - 2 adult out
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Manx Shearwater - gang of 6 out
Common Scoter - 6-10

Hopefully more later but passerine searching conditions very tricky

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler

Heysham Obs
Decided to put in an hour by the office to see what the vis mig was like whilst also being in a good area for newly arrived grounded stuff.  Initially it appeared slow, so decided to keep a species list as well as the vis mig totals

Grounded Migrants
Yellow-browed Warbler - heard giving a sequence of calls in the willows by the obs tower pond - a quick sprint uphill and really good views enabled the right tarsus to be seen - unringed - therefore a different bird to midweek.  Watched for a good five minutes but in the rush had left phone at the office and people needed calling.  Thereafter not quite so good views as it moved further back in the willows.  I decided to return to the office and set a mist net as it was also apparent that Goldcrests were on the move.  One further call at 0935 was the last definite example as four further single calls were quite possibly from playbacks, although it was odd that all were single calls.  No sightings in increasingly windy conditions
Goldcrest - 15-20
Chiffchaff - at least two, probably three - one ringed which was "Garden-warbler-coloured" but calling like collybita
Stonechat - female passed through very quickly at c1025
Blackbird - c10
Song Thrush - c5

Vis mig
Goldfinch - 15
Chaffinch - 109
Meadow Pipit - 4
alba Wagtail - 7
Woodpigeon - 3+11
Little Egret - one south
Reed Bunting - 2
Redwing - just 18
Greenfinch - 10
Coal Tit - 2 high to south
Cormorant - one SE
Bullfinch - flock of 6 high to south - the largest vis mig flock I've seen here
Skylark - H + H + 8

Routine stuff in order of appearance:  Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Magpie, Herring Gull. Great spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Curlew, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Ferla Pigeon, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit.

Speckled Wood - 2
Common Darter - 1