Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Low key start for seabird migration

Heysham Obs
Very short time spent seawatching saw a flock of 12 Kittiwake heading into the Bay then landing in a closely-packed group on the water. Kittiwake migration, often including some very large flocks, is a feature of the forthcoming month with 800+ on one day last year. On a slightly higher key were flocks of 14 + 4 Red-throated Diver seen flying out of the Bay from the SJ by Ian Hartley. This is an early date for obvious passage birds. ALL mobile seabirds seen from anywhere between Heysham & SJ will be reported here (& reference also made to JBP records).

Ad & 1st W Little Gull outfalls

2 Shag in harbour (thanks to Tom Wilmer for this record) & 3 seen later on the wooden jetty by Ian Hartley

No sign of north harbour wall Meds by Tom or myself - adult at least presumably definitely gone

Red Kite reported by Redwell Fisheries at 1330hrs (B6254 Carnforth to Kirkby road, about 2 miles east of Over Kellet)

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

..and slowly they disappear

Heysham Obs
No sign of the adult Med Gull along the north harbour wall for a few days and no sign either of the 1st winter today, despite wasting some Rossisky bread

The Shag seem to be down to 2 individuals, unless others were lurking around the wooden jetty/outfalls

In contrast, the ad and 1st W Little Gull were both still on Heysham 2 outfall

Avocet increasing to 4 on the Allen/EM Pools. Drake Scaup off north Morecambe

Monday, 26 February 2007

Large gulls back to 'normal'

Heysham Obs
A similar visit this late afternoon failed to reveal any unusual numbers of large gulls with perhaps 50 scattered around, mainly adult LBBG, including 'scoping' the 3km or so tideline impact zone of last night's 4-wheel.

Ad & 1st W Little Gull Heysham 2 outfall in the morning

93 Shelduck on Red Nab

4 Twite along Ocean Edge foreshore

At least 2 Shag and 1st W Med Gull harbour area

Thanks to John Wood for most of this info.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Unexpected gull roost

Heysham Obs
So you think you know your local patch! A visit to the southern end of Ocean Edge to see what was on the tideline in late afternoon saw (an unprecedented??) 520 large gulls (approx 35% LBBG, 40% imm HG and 25% ad Herring Gull) on the mudflats/tide edge along with c250 Black-headed and one Ad Med Gull. A 4-wheel drive was careering around the mudflats to the south, probably celebrating the Countryside Agency now setting the tone re-behaviour on SPAs, and this may have led to some 'corralling' in the Heysham direction but most new arrivals were flying straight over the nearby old Pontins site.

If this roost continues for the next few weeks, it is surely a candidate for one of the many white-winged gulls which will presumably head north with (or without) migrant LBBGs.

At least one Shag was in the harbour and the 1st W Med Gull was along the north harbour wall. A high tide visit saw the 1st W Little Gull flying around the outfalls but no sign of the Ad which was probably sat on the sea out of sight.

60 Greenfinch were on the feeder by the office - plenty here c/f the trend elsewhere being very few at garden feeders

Middleton IE: 4 Mute, 9 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, 5 Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebe, 23 Teal, 20 Common Snipe, 15 Coot, 9 Mallard

2 Avocet Allen/EM Pools. Male and 2 female Scaup Glasson area

Saturday, 24 February 2007

24th February 2007

North Harbour Wall
1st winter Mediterranean Gull
Adult and 1st winter Little Gulls

Heysham Harbour
5 Shags

Adult Kittiwake behind IOM ferry
Red-throated Diver flew out of the Bay

Water Pipit from Lillian's Hide, Leighton Moss during early part of the afternoon. 10 (+?) Whooper Swans in Lune valley flood-plain fields, as the other day, opposite Farleton

Friday, 23 February 2007

Back into the swing

Heysham Obs
Coverage in both morning and afternoon produced: Unringed adult male Med Gull almost in summer plumage roosting on Ocean Edge saltmarsh at high tide. Usual 1st W Med Gull attending anglers on the north harbour wall. Ad & 1st W Little Gull still on the outfalls. 6 Shag still around, comprising a group of 5 in and around the harbour and one on the wooden jetty

First Avocet of the season at Leighton Moss. Purple Sandpiper seen all day at the Stone Jetty, either at the low tide site (morning) or on the Bubbles groyne (afternoon)

Thursday, 22 February 2007

22 February 2007

2 Shags still around, but little else of note at Heysham.

Industrial estate ponds:
Model boat pond - 3 Oystercatcher, Mute Swan, 2 Goldeneye.
Fence Pond - Pochard
New pond - 6 Tufted Duck

No moths at all in the Heysham trap.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Another blank

Heysham Obs
No visits made to the office by the people who would usually update this site (flu (4th day) & work absence) so late postings possible tomorrow

Please note that the neighbouring Stone Jetty now has a sightings logbook in the cafe in recognition of that dangerous combination, as regards records being 'lost', of a good number of casual short-stay visitors of both the people and birding kind. Please include any Heysham sightings therein if it is more convenient

A very high number, described as circa TWENTY, presumed littoralis Rock Pipit attracted by a tape at very high tide at Aldcliffe Lane Ends. Mainly rather unobtrusive on floating flotsam. Spot Red & Greenshank Conder, 2 Bewick's Swan Jeremy Lane plus two Stonechat at Fluke Hall which may be early migrants

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Morecambe's Eiders pay a visit

Heysham Obs
Just 4 Shag noted in the harbour this morning and 1st W Little Gull on Heysham 1 outfall. NO obvious sign of the Meds on the north wall but the 'low/low' spring tide may have resulted in some of the Morecambe Eider appearing within view (115). More unusual off there was a flock of 20 Wigeon.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh held 11 Snipe. Observers checking on the latter stages of the incoming tide for Jack Snipe need to ask at Ocean Edge reception before traversing the site. Thanks

ELEVEN presumed littoralis Rock Pipit at Aldcliffe Lane End at high tide (see tomorrows late posting). Purple Sandpiper off the end of the Stone Jetty again this morning. 6 Sanderling reportedly there at lunchtime (there are winter-period precedents during high tides but usually when also wind-driven).

The moth trap at High Tatham contained 2 Small Brindled Beauty (at its only known location (=4 clustered tetrads in SD66) in Lancs and one of only 2 in NW England), 2 Pale Brindled Beauty, 1 Chestnut & 1 March Moth

Monday, 19 February 2007

First recording gap after 68 days?

Heysham Obs
..........and so we fall at the 69th hurdle. Not a bad run of daily data provision from Heysham, albeit having to rely on quick visits to the Med Gull(s) and Shags on some days!

Purple Sandpiper on the end of the Stone jetty at low tide this morning. 2 Greenshank and 2 Spotted Redshank Conder Pool, 2 Bewick's Swan Jeremy Lane & 3 Scaup in the Glasson area. 5 presumed Scandinavian Rock Pipits at Aldcliffe - the highest count of a poor winter for this species - unless the Colloway side is more attractive.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Distant (Cumbrian?!) Red-throated Diver.

Heysham Obs
Ad & 1st W Little Gull still on the outfalls [very unusual they have remained in calm weather & not the odd Kittiwake]. Ad & 1st W Med Gull along the north harbour wall. 5+ Shag in the harbour. Very distant Red-throated Diver flying out & possibly another distant bird floating in. Flock of 70 Pink-footed Geese heading NW.

Middleton IE WeBS etc: 21 Teal, 5 Mallard, 5 Tufted Duck, 14 Coot, 1 Little Grebe, 4 Mute Swan, 4 Moorhen, 1 Goldeneye, 16 Snipe, 1 Woodcock, 1 female Stonechat.......and the first singing Skylark of the year.

The most startling records were on the theme of apparent movements of (typically early but not usually this early) passerine species. Stonechat at Cockersands increased to 6 and a flock of 40 Skylark were recorded at Wenning Foot on the Lune - an area where there were none in the winter survey (strictly coastal or coastal stubble). A Greenshank was reported on the Lune floodplain and the two at Conder, along with 2/3 Spotted Redshank were also seen today. An adult Med Gull coming into summer plumage was also seen at the Conder.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

A bit of biodiversity for a change?

Heysham Obs
Routine at the harbour/north wall with Ad and 1st W Med Gull and at last 5 Shag

Peacock butterfly along the "dog walk/landscape strip" running from the nature reserve to Red Nab. Also a bumble bee spp, presumably Bombus terrestris

Green Sandpiper appearing at Aldcliffe from an unknown winter bolt-hole. 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 Greenshank at Conder and male/female Scaup on Glasson Marina
A queen Red-tailed Bumble bee was just outside the LDBWS recording area (but in the NLN recording area of SD47) at the Netherwood Hotel at Grange this afternoon along with a Hawfinch. Dotted Border moth on my outside window at High Tatham as I type this. Ad Med Gull with large gull flock between Burrow and A65/A683 junction early afternoon

Friday, 16 February 2007

Sneaky weather front goes into reverse

Heysham Obs
The available time coincided with a wet reversing frontal system this afternoon. In wimp/unoptimistic mode, I chose the lowest common denominator to keep the daily entry going - at least 6 Shag in the harbour.........unless anyone else was on the prowl?

Purple Sand in both feeding area and HT roost on the Stone Jetty during the course of the day. At least 11 Whooper Swan in the Lune valley floodplain fields just west of Farleton [the next to Claughton version] along with few Mute Swan. Viewable distantly from along A683.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Are Shag numbers still in double-figures?

Heysham Obs
6 Shag, as yesterday, by the waterfall in the harbour and a further 3 along the north harbour wall. Not all the potential nooks and crannies could be checked, notably anything around the outfalls. No sign of the Med Gulls along the north harbour wall for quite a lengthy spell today. Thanks for the info, Howard.

That current rarity, a Red-throated Diver, made an appearance off Morecambe Stone Jetty this morning. The main feeding area for Purple Sandpiper was disturbed for a lengthy period and there was no sign

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

No Kittiwakes left

Heysham Obs
First chance to really get a good look round myself this afternoon and I can confirm that all the likely bolt-holes for off-passage Kittiwake were checked and none seen. Most unusual - a significant influx (as happened in Dec/Jan) usually leads to a few 1st W birds hanging around until the late spring.

Ad Little Gull seaward end Heysham One outfall, 1st W Little Gull inner end of Stage 2 outfall. Just 6 juv Shag by the harbour 'waterfall'. Ad and 1st W Med Gull north harbour wall.

Common Buzzard "seen from" the recording area near Heysham Moss. There were no sightings in/seen from the Heysham Obs recording area last year!

Excellent pics taken today of the Purple Sandpiper on the LDBWS site from Simon Hawtin. A distant herd of swans on the Lune floodplain opposite Farleton this morning comprised at least 11 Whooper and at least 8 Mute and some which could not be seen properly. There was also an adult Med Gull well into summer plumage roaming around with a highly mobile Common/Black-headed Gull flock. 3 Spotted Redshank at Conder Pool.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Roost and no roost

Heysham Obs
Observation just before dusk revealed that the Starling roost at the harbour/pier was either non-existent or at best very small. The incidence of strong winds and rough seas during the course of this winter must surely be relevant!

In contrast, there was a roost of c50 Pied Wagtail "somewhere in the region of Heysham 2 Power Station".

Earlier coverage by John Wood revealed: adult and 1st W Little Gull Heysham one outfall, 7+ Shag in the harbour and 114 Wigeon alongside Heysham 2 outfall

Purple Sandpiper still at the Stone Jetty - showing at the end at low tide

Monday, 12 February 2007

Not a lot of coverage

Heysham Obs
Not much time for anyone to get out and about today, other than a short visit to the harbour which produced 9 Shag. Pair of Bullfinch by the office.

Purple Sandpiper at the end of Morecambe Stone Jetty at low tide at lunchtime

Sunday, 11 February 2007

A few extra thrushes

Heysham Obs
Middleton Industrial Est Wetlands 8:30 - 10:30am
4 mute, 9 coot, 4 moorhen, 1 little grebe, 4 goldeneye (1 male), 10 tufted, 13 teal, 10 mallard (including one white domestic version), 18 snipe.

There was a distinct impression of newly-arrived thrushes along the entrance road and around the office in the drizzle/rain this morning. Two olive-toned Song Thrush were being chased off by a more rusty-coloured territorial bird which was otherwise in song and there was a cluster of 10-15 unringed Blackbird. The ringed resident Robin by the office chased off two unringed birds in quick succession. This is all very odd so early in the year but the conditions were spot on for landfalling any trans-Irish Sea movement

Otherwise: 8+ Shag in the harbour, 1st W Med Gull attending anglers on the north harbour wall late afternoon and adult Little Gull on the end of Heysham Stage one outfall

Purple Sandpiper at the seaward end of the Stone jetty at low tide. Mandarin drake on the canal between Hatlex bridge and the A6 bridge to the north continues to be a year-listing circus act as people wait for it to show authenticity by swimming away from them.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

No real indication of any cold weather movement

Heysham Obs
A couple of high-flying Song Thrush may have been cold-weather displacements but there was no other evidence e.g. increase in Blackbird

Usual stuff: 10+ Shag harbour, Ad Little Gull outfalls, Ad & 1st W Med Gulls north harbour/harbour mouth. Again, no Kittiwake seen

By far the most interesting sighting was a male Yellowhammer at Brookhouse, at least 15km from the known range. Purple Sandpiper still at the Stone Jetty along with "400+" Eider. Incidentally, looking at these Eider numbers, a King Eider was found at my old stamping ground at Clachtoll, north of Lochinver today. That WOULD be nice off Morecambe - not at all beyond the bounds of possibility, especially a less obtrusive Queen.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Nothing new

Heysham Obs
Ad & 1st W Little Gull, at least 11 Shag, Ad & 1st W Med Gull in the harbour/north wall/outfalls area. NO Kittiwake seen! 62+ Wigeon & 120 Shelduck off Red Nab.

Purple Sandpiper at the Stone jetty still the star. Surprising THREE Spotted Redshank at Conder Pool

Thursday, 8 February 2007

The white stuff did not reach us..........yet?

Heysham Obs
No evidence whatsoever of any cold weather movements - the snow was nowhere to be seen, even on the fell tops

At least 8 Shag still in the harbour but only one Kittiwake could be found. Adult Med Gull in the harbour mouth and 1st W Med Gull along the north wall. c70 Greenfinch (including a tight flock of 36 which flew off east) on the Heysham NR feeder - there is usually an influx in early February. Outfalls/Red Nab not visited

The Purple Sandpiper at the Stone Jetty is most definitely topping the bill - indeed it is pretty well up there on its own - and was seen well at various times today. Beginning to really miss Lancaster Tip and its only been gone a month!

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Too busy for birding

Heysham Obs
A vehicular saunter down the north harbour wall produced both the adult and 1st W Med Gulls and there were at least 5 Shag and 2 Kittiwake in the harbour. Outfalls not checked.

The main news was the continued presence of the 1st W Purple Sandpiper, both feeding at the end of the Stone Jetty and roosti9ng on the groyne by the car park. There were at least 40 Black-tailed Godwit (unexpected) and a drake & 2 female Scaup (expected) close inshore between the Battery and Golf club as seen from a moving car late afternoon. Nothing new on Pine Lake.

Day off

Heysham Obs
Just the 1st W Med Gull seen today along the north harbour wall

Purple Sandpiper at the end of the Morecambe Stone Jetty am

Monday, 5 February 2007

Med Gull restored to health

Heysham Obs
The 1st W Med Gull was along the seawall this afternoon devoid of its fishing line. An adult Little Gull was in the harbour (very unusual in calm weather). Just 4 Kittiwake and 5 Shag seen

A niggling light northerly, the worst direction for the feeder net, led to a ringing attempt being abandoned after one round. Single Greenfinch, Blue & Great Tit were ringed and about 5 other birds were retraps. There are far more unringed tits around than is usual at this time of year.

Purple sandpiper at the end of the Stone Jetty this morning and a few Scaup still offshore at north Morecambe. Good numbers of duck on Pine Lake but the only thing remotely unusual was a pair of Gadwall

Sunday, 4 February 2007

The hazard of angler's lines

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
The 1st W Med Gull had nylon line 'wrapped round its leg' (no further details = as reported to me). The adult Med Gull was also present along the north wall, with at least 4 Shag and 6 Kittiwake in the harbour. It may be possible to 'whoosh net' the Med Gull at the Twite ringing site and untangle the fishing line.

A tawny owl was heard hooting over Heysham golf course at 2350 hours - Doreen Carman

Elsewhere in the Lancaster area
50 Twite by Waterloo Cottage on the Lune Estuary (just north of Conder estuary on the east side). Med Gull 36W in the Broadway region of Morecambe foreshore. Single figures of Scaup off the north Morecambe promenade. Practically nothing else of interest reported e.g. no interesting displacements to Pine lake due to freezing conditions, a comprehensive report on the LDBWS site indicating that Leighton Moss was 'dead' and no calm sea/decent vis. distant Red-throated Divers seen from coastal vantage points. However, the forecast for the next two-three days suggests that Pine Lake is worth checking for Smew etc.

Heysham Obs 2006 report
20 taken to Leighton Moss this afternoon

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Fog and the disappearing Knot

Heysham Obs
Cannon netting
Unfortunately 30,000 [number reported to me] Knot at the heliport roost did not like the fog and disappeared into the murk in sizeable dribs and drabs, heading for Middleton. Due to some technical difficulties, the cannon net catch amounted to 9 Oystercatchers

Sightings in the fog
The 1st W and Czech-ringed adult Med Gulls patrolled the north wall:

Thanks to Sean Gray for these pictures taken today

There were at least 8 Shags in the harbour

Moth trap
The third moth of the year, found in the trap this morning, was the same species as the second: Dotted Border

Report update
The 2006 Obs report is available at Heysham NR office tomorrow from 1030 at the earliest but Leighton Moss availability will be delayed until Monday due to computer registration difficulties.

Nature reserve working party
There is a conservation management working party at Heysham NR tomorrow, starting at 1000hrs, if you are interested.
Some late news - the Little Stint was still on the flooded field at Aldcliffe (but not there tomorrow)

Friday, 2 February 2007

Annual report time

Heysham Obs
Middleton Industrial Est Wetlands. 9 – 11:30
4 Mute, 14 Coot, 3 Moorhen, 1 Little grebe (seemed very lethargic - never moved in ten minutes I walked around the “no swimming” pond), 5 Goldeneye (2 adult male), 13 Tufted, 49 Teal, 12 Mallard, 12 Snipe, 1 Heron.
Also: 1 female Stonechat, 2 Reed Buntings (first I have noted in 2007) and 1 female Merlin

Minimal coverage, most in relation to tomorrows proposed Knot cannon-netting. 10,000 Knot on the heliport, 4 Twite at the north harbour wall mound feeder and 1st W Med Gull patrolling the north harbour wall.

Goldeneye displaying at Middleton. Thanks Cliff

50 copies of the 2006 report printed today - should be on sale at Leighton, by Monday at the earliest, for £4 and via Heysham office for £3-50.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Heysham Obs
The first bird I was aware of today was a Tawny owl calling whilst out moth-trapping this evening (yes, moth trapping on 1st Feb!). So many thanks to other observers for the following:

Ad & 1st W Little Gull

10+ Shag & 1st W Med Gull & c8 Kittiwake

380 Pinkfeet NW during first hour of the day

The 2006 Obs report will definitely be ready by the end of this weekend and, unless there are problems with the printer, it should be available from the NR office on Sunday. This is a colourful 25th year report, hence the slight delay beyond the usual January publication.

The second moth of the year - a Dotted Border - was in the Heysham trap

Up to 4 Hawfinch reported at Woodwell, at least one multiobserved. Several reports of NW-moving Pink-footed Geese

Small Brindled Beauty moths trapped at High Tatham (last night) and Old Moor Road, nr Wennington, this evening.