Monday, 30 April 2007

One that got away?

Heysham Obs
Sea/vis from the north harbour wall
Only time for two hours birding today from a single (known) observer - on the NHW between 0730-0930, although a quick check late afternoon suggested no more Arctic Tern movement at that time.

Arctic Tern - 326, possibly 400+. Usually these are easy to document but the strength of the easterly upperwind seemed to inhibit onward migration to the NE and birds went high into the sky before swirling around and returning to the sea surface. Eventually, all birds still present (the 326 count) flew out towards Fleetwood. Some of the birds may have gone overland prior to this but certainly no more than 70-80 or so.

Tern spp - As the experienced observer described: 'a distant white tern with long tail streamers' was with an unfortunately distant flock of Arctic. That is all that could be said about it with no discernable flight mode difference at that range, therefore leucistic Arctic remains an (unlikely?) possibility. Light very good with all the Arctic Terns nearby showing 'consistent' plumage.

Red-throated Diver: 1
Sandwich Tern: 7
Linnet: 2N
alba Wagtail: 3N
Swallow: just a handful early in the morning but impressions of a steady movement later. Sorry to be so vague but a 'work work' day!

Purple Sandpiper still present with 118+ Turnstone

Thanks to David and Jackie Moreton

Shag - just 2 juvs seen today

No proper coverage but the early morning mist nets were unproductive

Ad Spoonbill EM Pool

Sunday, 29 April 2007

More small-scale migration

Common Whitethroat: A definite influx of singing males today. Thanks Simon.

Please note that the 1930hrs LDBWS meeting tomorrow night is at Hornby Institute, not Bare. See LDBWS site for further details

Heysham Obs
Sea/vis c0730-1030
Arctic Tern: 8+11+23+4 in
Arctic Skua: dark morph in 0823hrs
Common Scoter: 6
Guillemot: 5
Gannet: 3
Red-throated Diver: 2
Sandwich Tern: just 4
Whimbrel: 6 in
Pink-footed Goose: 2 in
Auk spp: 1

Swallow: 24
Swift: 1 (belated first of the year)
alba Wagtail: 3

Inshore/wooden jetty
Shag: 3 juvs
Purple Sandpiper: Seen on the wooden jetty over the tide. See LDBWS site under 'Photos' for pics
Turnstone: c135
Common Sandpiper: 1

Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler: Just 3 singing male located this morning
Lesser/Common Whitethroat: 6 of each - definite influx of Common Whitethroat this morning with a further 2 additional birds on the NR

Pair of Garganey
, almost fsp Spotted Redshank and 2 Grasshopper Warbler Aldcliffe area
Ad Spoonbill still at Leighton Moss. Singing Wood Warbler Barbondale. Redstart with 3 eggs & completed Pied Fly nests upper Hindburn

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Record numbers of Grasshopper Warbler

Heysham Obs

Singing male Common Whitethroat - Heysham NR - thanks Simon.

A peculiar day with obvious arrival of some species yet the mist nets in the scrub below the Obs Tower remained resolutely empty

Middleton IE
SEVEN singing male Grasshopper Warbler in the central and western marsh area & immediate surrounds. Please observe from the raised concrete road bisecting the two wetland areas. Also 10+ singing Sedge Warbler [definite arrival], 2 Common Sandpiper, Whimbrel, singing Garden Warbler (new for the year) and several Whitethroat & Lesser Whitethroat. Thanks Malcolm & Jeff.

Seawatching/vis from the north harbour wall
Marsh harrier female 1022 hrs sighted to the south took 10 mins. to get level with the NHW low over the sea about half a mile out in the Bay continuing in Leighton Moss direction.
Arctic Skua 3 (1+2) light morphs in/across; the singleton landed on sea
Arctic Tern 6 'in' (where are they?)
Gannet 3
Manx Shearwater 7
Sandwich Tern 13
Whimbrel 3
Red-throated Diver summer plumage out/across
Common scoter 1 'in' 4 'out' + 1 across

Also: Great crested Grebe 1 'in', Shelduck 8 'in' 3 'out', Red-breasted Merganser pair 'out', Eider male 'out'

House Martin 7
Swallow c25

Inshore/Wooden jetty
Shag 3 juv
Purple Sandpiper with the Turnstone roost. All the recent reports considered to involve this same 1st S bird - giving two definite records from Heysham during the spring passage.

See Middleton. Wheatear: At least 16 in the recording area. Garden Warbler singing below the Obs Tower

Garganey still at Aldcliffe but exact location not specified, along with a staggering 20 Lesser Whitethroat & single Grasshopper Warbler. Spoonbill at Leighton Moss - mobile - last seen on 'flood'. After its towering departure to the south-west yesterday, predictably no sign of yesterdays Ring-billed Gull.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Soporific seawatching

Heysham Obs
Sea/vis 0730-1030 from north harbour wall
Reasonable species list but mostly singletons:
Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Fulmar, Razorbill, Guillemot - one each
Arctic Tern - 2
Sandwich Tern - 2
Siskin - 2
Meadow Pipit - 2
Manx Shearwater - 2
Auk spp - 3
Swallow - c25 plus about 10 later
Sand Martin - 1

12 Wheatear OE foreshore. 3 Willow Warbler ringed

Shag - 3 juveniles
Purple Sandpiper - one on the wooden jetty with 90 Turnstone

Roe Deer by reserve entrance early morning

2nd summer Ring-billed Gull on the Lune Estuary on the mudflats on the west bank opposite the Conder estuary from lunchtime until 1445hrs when flew high into the sky and circled heading SW over Sunderland Point. Osprey high to the north-east towards Wennington as seen from High Tatham at 1940hrs. 15+ Pied Flycatcher of both sexes Upper Roeburndale & one Tree Pipit on territory. Another Tree Pipit at Birkbank

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Even useless weather can produce birds with 'saturation' coverage!

Heysham Obs
.........from 0630-1000hrs along the north harbour wall

Yellow Wagtail - male flew north (first (and possibly last) of the year)
Linnet - 7
Meadow Pipit - 2
Swallow - 24
Siskin (heard)
Greenfinch - 1
Goldfinch - 2
Reed Bunting - very late definite migrant (in-off, then NE) - Scandinavian?

Arctic Tern - 53 'in' (5 flocks)
Common Scoter - 2 in
Common Tern - one blogging
Greylag Goose - 3 north
Skua spp - [original text: distant dark bird in - almost certainly Arctic]. No, this was a bulky bird at extreme range and logic suggests probably the Bonxie seen flying into the Bay at Walney. Sorry for the mistake - getting mixed up with a record from another day.
Sandwich Tern - c24
Whimbrel - flocks of 5+13

Purple Sandpiper - one on wooden jetty
Shag - just one logged
[Little Gull not logged for today]

First Common Pug of the year

Nothing new of major interest reported in LDBWS area.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Overlanding skuas

Heysham Obs
Bits and bobs of seawatching during the day comprising about 4.5 hours between 0900 and 1700 by three observers. A bit slow.

Arctic Skua: single dark morphs in at 1245 and 1445 and a flock of three (2 dark one light) watched from Jenny Brown's Point flying up the Bay after Hey observations had ceased (c1800hrs). These then spiralled high into the sky and headed overland. In addition, two distant all-dark birds wheeling 'in' during the morning were probably skuas.

Aythya spp: female 'out' was not seen until only rear views were available but was narrowed down to Tufted or Scaup
Manx Shearwater: 2 in
Common Tern: 4 seen (first of the year)
Arctic Tern: just 2 seen
Sandwich Tern: probably no more than 35 seen but difficult to be sure
Gannet: 24 in during the morning
Kittiwake: Flocks of 30 + 10
Whimbrel: 8 out
Swallow: 45 north
Goldfinch: 6 north
Meadow Pipit: 3 north
Grey Wagtail: one "in-off" - very late for migrants

Shag: Up to 4 juvs around
Little Gull: Ad still around in the morning

19 Wheatear and two White Wagtail. "Quite a few" Willow Warbler around in the morning but ringing hampered by wind and only 4 trapped along with a 'new' Blackcap. In common with Walney, this has been a record spring for Blackcap so far.

A tiny deer spp crossed the road at the reserve entrance late afternoon - it was not seen very well but could, I suppose, have been a Muntjac. Nothing however is being claimed at this stage. Please keep an eye open and look for tracks. Thanks

Male Garganey at Pine Lake this morning. Nothing new of interest on the LDBWS postings although the two Ad Med Gulls continue to be seen at Leighton Moss

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Reasonable, but what was missed from first light to 0915hrs!

*Please note the LDBWS meeting next Monday is at HORNBY INSTITUTE

Heysham Obs
What a pity that the best migration morning of the spring so far was only "picked up" by one observer from 0915-1115 [and he should have been working!]. An unfortunate combination of key observer's cars being serviced, being out of the area.........or on fixed working hours! The same workshy observer returned 1515-1645.

Sea/vis 0940-1040
This was done from the car with telescope fastened to the window, therefore some 'call-based' vis could have easily been missed:
LONG-TAILED DUCK - adult male in winter plumage flew into the Bay at c1000hrs and is probably on the sea in a low tide channel as I type this. Could not find it on a 'trawl' along the prom mid-afternoon.
Common Scoter - flock of 6 in
Gannet - 10+7+2+1 in (then all out on the 'far side')
Arctic Skua - dark morph in rather distanrly at 0942ish
Arctic Tern - flock of 4 in (how many earlier on?)
Sandwich Tern - c25 - 23 in & 2 blogging
Whimbrel - flock of 7 in
Swallow - 106 north

Sea/vis (phase 2!) 1515-1645hrs
Arctic Skua - dark morph was sitting on the sea next to the yellow buoys on arrival at 1515. It was then mobbed by two passing Sandwich Tern, flew for a short distance then landed on ther sea, floating into the bay on the increasingly speedy incoming tide.
Arctic Tern - the first two decent flocks of 45+40 were already gaining height as they passed the north wall
Sandwich Tern - the maximum count of several pans of the whole sea area from the NHW was c150 at c1615hrs. Most were 'blogging' but numbers increased until about 1620hrs, then most slowly drifted out
Red-throated Diver - 1+3 floating in
Swallow - just 5 north

Interestingly, I had no watch on and the best way of timing the sightings was to check Barrow Town Hall clock as there was no heat or any other haze whatsoever!

Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler - 2, possibly 3 singing males (stay on the concrete roads if you are visiting, please)
Sedge Warbler - 3 singing males
Garganey - pair on the central marsh pond unfortunately flushed but appeared to land on the Tim Butler pond in the NE corner.
Willow Warbler - c30 migrants in the bushes
Whinchat - 4 along the entrance road - well spread out

Other grounded birds
Wheatear - 41 grounded birds found in the usual coastal circuit
White Wagtail - 5 on Ocean Edge football pitch and two on the grass near Red Nab
Common Whitethroat - singing male near Ocean Edge

Ad Little Gull still around Stage 2 outfall (why?)
Shag - at least two around

One Harbour Porpoise close inshore and two beasties together much further out fitted this species

Similar spread to Heysham of the more 'obvious' migrants located at Aldcliffe viz: 5 Whinchat and 23 Wheatear. The pair of Garganey at Middleton were much warier than the Aldcliffe Marsh birds and this was duly confirmed via a pager message indicating the Aldcliffe Garganey were still present. The first Garden Warbler reported this year (from Scorton). JBP late afternoon observations only produced a small 'flock' of Kittiwake - observers were puzzled why they could not see at least the Sandwich Terns i.e. deception caused by crystal clear visibility making the likes of the wooden jetty look much closer (and perhaps larger) than it really was. Rather severe flooding of the Lune valley will unfortunately have destroyed all shingle nests and flooded quite a few Sand Martin holes (water max. c1ft from top of bank at Gressingham colony). 63 Common Toad on the road between Wray and High Tatham 0002-0010hrs!

Monday, 23 April 2007

Very little migration yet again.....although no-one here early morning

Heysham Obs
Purple Sandpiper first summer below wooden jetty
Sandwich Tern - 6
Little Gull - usual ad
Shag - at least one

Vis mig
Rubbish: c1.5hrs on seawall
Swallow - 9
alba wagtail 1

Even worse:
Eider 3m 1f 'in'
Shelduck 2 'out'
flock of 3 Ringed Plover and one Sanderling out mid-afternoon

No early morning visit but just one Wheatear located 'on the rounds' and no obvious arrivals based on singing birds. However, the first Sedge Warbler 'for the Heysham area' was singing at Heysham Moss along with a Grasshopper Warbler

Elsewhere (LDBWS recording area)
Summary of Bittern and Marsh Harrier situation at Leighton Moss on LDBWS website

Sunday, 22 April 2007

More useless winds from due south

Heysham Obs
As was also the case at Leighton Moss (see LDBWS site trip report), this was a really disappointing day for migrants and the key, at Heysham at least, is the long-standing trend of winds from the due south producing few birds. This was despite the 'perfect' intermittent drizzle.

Two year ticks which were a product of good coverage - Whinchat on Middleton IE early morning and a singing Common Whitethroat by Half-moon Bay car park. No Wheatear on the usual circuit, but most of it post-dogs! Lesser Whitethroat singing males on BE property alone numbered at least 6.

Elusive 1st S Med Gull, usual Ad Little Gull (why has it not gone?), at least 4 juvenile Shag, 2 Sandwich Tern (afternoon)

Vis Mig
Vis on the north harbour wall for 3 hours (= work!) produced a nice simple piece of mathematics with Swallow (3), Meadow Pipi (3) and alba Wagtail (3). Less easy were Linnet (2) and Siskin (heard but not seen). More exciting was a Greylag flying 'in-off', perhaps one of those subsequently on Middleton

Middleton IE
3 Greylag, 7 Tufted Duck, and 3 Grasshopper Warbler. Two of these were singing males - please watch from the raised concrete roads.

Nothing new of any interest other than another Whinchat at Sunderland and 6 Swift at Hornby

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Very little happening

Visible migration

Pink-footed goose c100 NW + 10 South
Swallow 12
Meadow pipit 3 + 1 south
Goldfinch 4 south
Linnet 6

Shag 4 juv harbour area
Little gull adult outfalls
Mediterranean gull 1st s wooden jetty area
Bar-tailed godwit below NHW
Red-breasted merganser 'in'
Wheatear 1 NHW + 2 Ocean Edge
Raven 2 over Middleton Ind. Est.
Grasshopper warbler in bushes at Red Nab 0630 hrs

No sign Caspian gull this morning

Friday, 20 April 2007

Major surprise at Middleton

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
A late afternoon visit saw a 1st W/S Caspian Gull, probably female bathing, preening, swimming, flying (etc) on the Model Boat pond with other large gulls. It showed all the requisite features with the slight worry about overall size probably indicating it was a female. It flew towards the outfalls/Red Nab after ten minutes and could not be found as all the large gulls were quite a distance off shore in poor light courtesy of raptorial gull-scaring activities around the power station

Four Common Sandpiper were also on the Model Boat pond [=5 for the day, a spring record!]. 3 Snipe lingering.

Two singing male Grasshopper Warbler - please observe these birds ONLY from the concrete roads. Thanks

The rest of the day was a bit of a disappointment

Wheatear - At least 15
Redstart - 2 males (one ringed)
Willow Warbler - disappointing with just 4 ringed
Blackcap - 3 ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - absolute minimum of 7 singing males in the Obs recording area. An odd feature of this week has been listening to this species daily without any Common Whitethroat

Vis mig 0815-1115 mainly from the north harbour wall
Pink-footed Goose - two late flocks of 65 and 19 north
Collared Dove - 1 north
Cormorant - one high to the north
Goldfinch - 1 north
Linnet - 7 north
Meadow Pipit - 62 north
Swallow - 37 north
Siskin - 1 north

Sea passage
Just three Arctic Tern (first of the year) north together early morning
2 Sandwich Tern early morning
ZERO on the early incoming tide

Common Sandpiper - first of the year on the rocks by the harbour
Shag - 5 juveniles
Med Gull - 1st S by the north wall first thing - female bill structure rules out the return of the wintering bird
Little Gull - adult by Stage 2 outfall late afternoon - presumably the long-stayer

Osprey over Jenny Brown's Point mid-afternoon.

Please note that the email address for Jean Roberts has now been corrected.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

A few decent seabirds including first Manx Shearwater of the year

Heysham Obs
Lengthy coverage of the sea today but starting not quite as early as perhaps we should, despite the low early morning tide. Having just read the recently set-up Walney site:
.........the absence of an earlier seawatch cost us quite a few sightings. If and when the spring seawatching really gets going, comparison with the Walney site, any seawatching data on the Fylde site and the Solway skua data should be interesting. (For the latter see , click on English in the top right corner and then Great Britain along the top and then choose Bowness on Solway from the list).

VELVET SCOTER - 2 males flying out at 1323hrs
Manx Shearwater - At least 6, possibly 8 seen - the first of the year
Gannet - adult
Common Scoter - flock of 6
Red-throated Diver - c15 sightings but possibly only 10 or so individuals - included a flock of 5 'in'
Skua spp - one flew into the Bay, gaining height, in the early morning. It was considered to be a light morph Pomarine but will have to remain as a 'spp'.

1st S Med Gull and adult Little Gull. 5 juvenile Shag. 88 Turnstone on the wooden jetty at high tide (but no Purple Sandpiper)

Just one Swallow north during the coverage from the north harbour wall!

Nothing obvious

Distant Harbour Porpoise late morning

The pair of Garganey still at Aldcliffe - back on the YW Darter pond this evening. Red Kite Langden area

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

A useless 'nice sunny day'

Heysham Obs
Vis mig
Just about the only sign of any migratory life was a small Swallow and Meadow Pipit passage of about 11 per hour for the first two hours (0800-1000) and, in the case of Swallow, impressions of a similar rate for the next two hours. Two Goldfinch flew north

The ringers had a sensible day off and the only definite grounded migrant was a Wheatear on the mound.

Sea passage
Zero unless you count two northbound Shelduck -this was at the optimum start of the incoming tide 0800-1000. I cannot recall the sea being so dead in mid-April on the incoming tide

Better: 1st S Med Gull, ad Little Gull (probably the long-stayer) in with c60 Common and c20 Black-headed Gull. Unfortunately Stage 2 Power Station is on a 58 day 'outage' and it may be some time before nice warm dilute 'soup' starts flowing along the outfalls. The juvenile Shag total definitely reached 4 and could have been 5 - commuting to and from the wooden jetty and feeding sites

Middleton IE
Singing Grasshopper Warbler. Water Rail reported by visiting birders. 5 Tufted Duck.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Quiet day with clear north-westerlies

Heysham Obs
The ringing optimist seemed to be heading for a Norwegian Eurovision entry sort of morning but four migrants were eventually caught, including this Lesser Whitethroat:.

Thanks to John Wood for this photo

Shag 4 juv wooden jetty
Mediterranean gull 1st S around the wooden jetty
Common gull 38
Turnstone 56 wooden jetty
Oystercatcher 520 heliport
Redshank 14 Heliport/wooden jetty

Rest of WeBS (other than Cormorant (13) & large gulls) displaced elsewhere by very high tide

Offshore movement
Ringed plover 7 'in'
Shelduck 2 'out'
Mute swan 2 in/across

Vis mig
alba wagtail 2
Meadow pipit 9
Sand martin 1
Swallow 4
Linnet 1

Ad summer Purple Sandpiper on Morecambe West End Battery groyne with Turnstone & Redshank (probably displaced from Regent Road groyne (next one to the north) by pit bull types being exercised there). Very dodgy Red-breasted Goose on the most SW pit of Borwick Waters fishing complex (formerly Dockacres) - visible from the footpath along the Keer or by paying £1-50 to enter the site. In a similar vein, one of the Mandarin on the pond at Ashley's Farm, High Tatham is 'wild' & not therefore part of the collection.

Upper Hindburn this evening provided the Silly Lane Short-eared Owl, a wandering 1st CY Hen Harrier over White Moss and Pied Fly and Redstart attending boxes. There were still 45+ Fieldfare.

The Pied Fly was ring-read attending the nest (earliest ever in Britain?!) = male ringed as a nestling at Colleyholme Wood, Slaidburn on 10/6/04. Thanks for the details.

NB check Portland BO website this evening to find out what a 'fall' really is as the cross channel birds hit the weak cold front over the south coast this morning !

Monday, 16 April 2007

First Whimbrel of the year

Heysham Obs
Only about a dozen birds ringed including 7 Willow Warbler , 2 Blackcap and a Jay. Redstart male on Tank Farm fence. Wheatear male on willows in Tank Farm; female Ocean Edge

Whimbrel Red Nab
Oystercatcher c550 RN
Common Gull 18 RN
Shelduck 8 RN
Red-breasted merganser male off RN
Eider 3m 2f off RN
Ringed plover RN
Redshank c50 OE

Vis Mig
Meadow Pipit 10 North
Swallow 3 North

Large Red Damselfly Middleton IE

3 Short-eared Owl on moorland to the east of Lowgill this evening

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Crossbill surprise

Heysham Obs
An otherwise routine migration morning livened up by an adult female Common Crossbill in the mist nets. This is the first of this species to be ringed here and it remained until at least 1215hrs. The first (male) Common Redstarts of the year were predictable (one by the office, one at Ocean Edge). A single-figure handful of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were also ringed. Just 4 Wheatear logged

7 Sandwich tern and 3 (adult) Gannet (together)

Middleton IE
Now 2 singing male Grasshopper Warbler. Green Sandpiper on the Model Boat pond

2 juv Shag on the wooden jetty. No overhead vis recording today.

Pair of Garganey still on Aldcliffe but on another pond. Otherwise north Lancs apparently strangely lacking in any passage birds of interest, although the routine Common Redstart arrival was noted at sites other than Heysham (e.g. Leighton Moss). Perhaps the most significant record for what is now becoming a very early spring was a Large Red Damselfly in nearby Cumbria. Time to start checking ponds!

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Nice clear run for migrants but not a lot to concentrate them on the coast

Heysham Obs
The theme of this posting (see also Elsewhere) is an impression that many birds are dropping in on a broad front exactly where they want to be!

New species for the year comprised Lesser Whitethroat (at least 2, including a bird ringed in a previous year & the earliest ever at Heysham by 5 days (I think)) and Grasshopper Warbler. The latter was on Middleton IE. Ringing revealed an early morning spurt of migrants producing single figures of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff in the nets but nothing subsequent to this. This is typical of misty but cloudless mornings. Unfortunately the OE/Red Nab end was not covered but there were 6 Wheatear elsewhere.

Vis Mig
Murkier than yesterday with fewer birds: North Harbour 0700-1000hrs. Evidence of some disorientation in the murk with some Meadow Pipit coming 'in-off' and heading south and another 'flopping' down on the mound for an hour before moving off north:

Meadow Pipit 48
alba Wagtal 6
Redpoll spp 2
Swallow 5
Goldfinch 8
Linnet 17

Sea passage
Visibility poor. 4 Sandwich Tern in and 3 Common Scoter in

2 juv Shag on wooden jetty, outfalls not checked for Little Gull. No sign of Purple Sandpiper with Turnstone numbers down to 18 (this is not unusual with spring passage records)

A few male Orange Tip & lots of Brimstone. Parsnip Moth and Bramble shoot Moth new for the year in the trap (both micros). First (very early) Large Red Damselfly of the year in the NR marsh

At least 6 male and one female Pied Flycatcher in Upper Hindburndale but no sign of any Redstart. Osprey low over Aldclife at 1435hrs - presumably heading north. Pair & additional adult Med. Gull Leighton Moss. At least two Lesser Whitethroat Aldcliffe along with a pair of GARGANEY until at least 1700hrs on the pond which held Yellow-winged Darter last year (c300m north of Aldcliffe Lane). A moth trapping session in the woodland just east of Silverdale Moss this evening saw 4 Barred Tooth-striped, 12 Lunar Marbled Brown, Waved Umber and White Pinion-spotted plus the more usual culprits at this time of year.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Some quality but most definitely not quantity

Heysham Obs
Vis mig
As is typical with the reduced number of Linnet and Goldfinch, this morning's vis was undertaken from the north harbour wall 0800-1000. All birds flying to the north-east

Tree Pipit 1
Goldfinch 5
Kestrel 1
Linnet 15
Meadow Pipit 136
Redpoll spp 2
Swallow 5

Some (but not many) casual observations from the office area later in the morning included a small falcon heading north very high presumably either Merlin or Kestrel, probably the former.

on or over the sea....
Sandwich Tern - at least 2
Red-throated Diver 2

inshore/outfalls/wooden jetty
PURPLE SANDPIPER with c40 Turnstone on the rocks below the wooden jetty
Little Gull: adult & 2 1st W/S
Shag 3 juvs

Grounded passerines
Wheatear 8
very little else with perhaps just 6 Willow Warbler, including one in-off at the north wall. A meagre ringing total also included single Blackcap and Chiffchaff

Middleton IE
Lingering wildfowl in the form of a single Goldeneye, 5 Tufted Duck and two Teal. Also 5 Snipe

2 female Roe Deer on the IE

Small White (2) IE. Single female Large White flew north past the office

Male Pied Flycatcher singing and showing well as I was emptying a moth trap in upper Hindburndale (same bird as yesterday). 66 Fieldfare White Moss, just west of Hindburndale

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Not brilliant - a bit too clear

Heysham Obs
c6 Willow warbler, 2 + new Chiffchaff, 3 Wheatear

Vis Mig (no coverage overlooking the sea) c0900-1100
Goldfinch 45 north
Linnet 32 north
Meadow Pipit 18 north
Grey Heron 1+1+1 high to the north, well spaced
Woodpigeon - flock of 5 high to the NE
Swallow 11 north
Sparrowhawk Female flying NE VERY high

The three Little Gulls are still there - on the tideline by Heysham 2 outfall. Just one juv Shag located

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth flew past the NR office about 1030hrs

No definite sign of the Lune valley Whooper Swans. Short-eared Owl showing exceedingly well in upper Hindburn near Botton Head - travelled at 19mph alongside the car for 1/4 mile!
Nearby, 12+ Bramblings in mixed flock feeding on fallen larch cones. Widespread arrival of Willow Warbler males e.g. singing as I type this at High Tatham

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The last of the quiet mornings?

Heysham Obs
Morning-only coverage with the light wind still firmly in the west along with high cloud cover and crystal clear offshore visibility. Very little around.

Vis Mig
c90 Meadow Pipit with c50 of these during a 30 min slot mid-morning, 9 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch. Two Swallow flew north just as I was leaving + 2 earlier and 2 past wooden jetty.
Carrion crow 2 'in'

No obvious evidence of new arrivals with zero Wheatear, for example

One Red-throated Diver on the sea, just the one 1st W Little Gull and juv Shag recorded on the outfalls/wooden jetty respectively.
Eider 18 'in'; Shelduck 13 'in'

First (2) Early Grey of the year - this species not common at Heysham

At least one, probably two Osprey through Leighton Moss area late afternoon/evening. 3 Whooper Swan still Farleton in Lune valley

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The block continues but..........

Heysham Obs
...............always give even the most useless of seawatches an hour! Nothing at all worth writing in the notebook 0830-0900 but a quality sighting at 0915 in the form of three Velvet Scoter (probably 2 males/one female) flying out and across the Bay towards south Walney before landing on the sea. Two Kittiwake flew 'in'

Vis Mig
Just 13 northbound Meadow Pipit & 3 Linnet during 0830-1000 at the north wall

Nothing obvious

Just one 1st W Little Gull could be found on the outfalls late afternoon. Two juvenile Shag on the wooden jetty in the morning

Only the second Small Quaker since 1990!

The three Whooper Swans still on the Lune floodplain at Farleton late pm. Red Kite seen and photographed again at Hawthornthwaite fell

Monday, 9 April 2007

Still very little migration

Heysham Obs
Seawatching from the North harbour wall
Arctic skua 1 dark morph 'in' 0845 hrs (low tide 1029 hrs)
Red-throated diver 6 including one in summer plumage on the sea
Kittiwake 29 'in' one flock

Shag juvs; 1 in harbour + 1 wooden jetty, later (1330hrs) FOUR juv on wooden jetty
Little gull adult & 2 1st W outfalls
Eider pair

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit: 10 over during an interminable length of time (about 2/hr). Nothing else e.g. hirundines over the sea

Nothing - no evidence of the Willow Warbler trickle through the Lune valley & no Wheatear
A pair of Raven on pylon next to the Nature reserve. These have been seen daily recently

Herald new for the year - this is a hibernating species which seems to need a good long sleep.

Grey seal off the north harbour wall (tide too low for any cetaceans)

Three Whooper Swan still on the Lune floodplain by Farleton mid-afternoon. A scattering of Willow Warbler along the Lune from Aldcliffe through to Crook of Lune at least.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Migration on hold today

Heysham Obs
This was one of those useless slightly (adversely i.e. westerly) breezy sunny Sundays which are a complete waste of the potentially good observer coverage. Not a single grounded migrant was located during a full Common Bird Census of the British Energy properties.

Vis Mig
Just 27 Meadow Pipit, 1 Linnet and 2 Goldfinch north 0800-1000!

Ad & 2 Ist W Little Gull at the seaward end of Heysham 2 outfall during the morning
3 juvenile Shag either on the wooden jetty or in the harbour

First Powdered Quaker of the year in the Heysham trap

3 Whooper Swan still at Farleton on the Lune floodplain. Two flocks of Fieldfare Upper Hindburndale (170 + c200). The only entry in the Leighton Moss book referred to two adult Mediterranean Gull there

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Another trickle overhead..........

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall
Vis mig 0940 - 1200 hrs. Low tide 0918 hrs
Meadow pipit 177
Linnet 15
alba wagtail 1

On the sea
Red-throated diver 1 + 1 'in'
Eider pair
Red-breasted merganser 6m + 4f
Great crested grebe 3

Shag 3 juv on wooden jetty one of which arrived from within the Bay
Little gull adult & 1st W floated 'in' on tide from outfalls to the two bouys then flew back towards the outfalls

Shelduck 34 off Ocean Edge
Ringed plover 14 off OE
Mistle thrush juv non-operational land
Chiffchaff in song at Nature Park
Bullfinch male on Reserve

Middleton IE
Coot 9
Moorhen 3
Little grebe 7
Mallard 3
Tufted duck 2
Teal 2
Snipe 13
Wheatear 2
Sparrowhawk 1

Afternoon visit
Pair mute swan + little grebe on Tim Butler pond
Swallow overhead
Skylark in song
Pair collared dove near anemometer

Red Kite (of unknown origin) Hawthornthwaite late morning (see LDBWS site photos). 3 Whooper Swan still at Farleton in the Lune valley this afternoon. Common Scoter still at Langden intake pool this morni9ng at least (2nd day)

Friday, 6 April 2007

a trickle of migrants on all fronts

Heysham Obs
Nothing special this morning but small numbers and a reasonable variety of migrants in most categories. The only notable 'new' bird was a 1st W Med. Gull accompanying a small increase in 1st year Common Gulls (the wintering 1st W Med. has long gone).

North harbour wall -
Red-throated diver 2 on the incoming tide + 2 quite high 'in'
Kittiwake 10 on sea
Little gull adult & 2 1st W on outfalls and around wooden jetty
Shag 2 in harbour & on wooden jetty
Red-breasted merganser female
Eider 2m + 1f
Great-crested grebe 4
Sparrowhawk flew low into harbour
Common scoter 7 on sea end of No. 2 outfall then flew 'in/across' Bay at 1140.

Grey seal

Vis Mig
0900-1020 by the reserve office:
Meadow Pipit - 33 NE
Linnet - 52 N
Goldfinch - 23 N
Chaffinch - 2 high to the NE almost certainly migrants

0900 - 1100 from the north harbour wall
Meadow pipit 86, most of these were over the sea
Linnet 3
Swallow 3, 1 close in to harbour wall + 2 low & fast over the sea beyond the wooden jetty
alba wagtail 1
Carrion crow 1 south

Not very much. No evidence of thrushes at 0900hrs although the fog had cleared by then. 4 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff ringed. No Wheatear reported.

The three Whooper Swan were still on the Lune floodplain by Farleton. Visit to Upper Hindburndale in the afternoon was very 'wintry': One of the three 'targets' was met - an adult female Crossbill. 240 Fieldfare in a loose flock. Brambling in evidence including 3 summer plumage males 'wheezing' at each other in north Scandinavia conifer forest-fashion from the tops of trees. At least 10 seen at two sites. A flock of Redpoll spp. in larches was frustratingly elusive and no decent views obtained. No sign of the other "targets": northbound Osprey & Red Kite or indeed (see info services) an even larger raptor!

Thursday, 5 April 2007 for something completely different

Heysham Obs
Its amazing what a subtle change in the wind direction, even very light winds, can do. A change to a very light westerly soon after dark produced murky misty conditons by morning, stretching several miles inland. This is the first wind direction out of the north/north-east sector for some time.

The change in wind direction presumably led to a rather late exodus of thrush species from Ireland. There were 'lots' of nocturnal east/north-east-bound calls around 0100hrs and the morning saw a small Blackbird landfall and (for spring, especially this late) a substantial fall of c50 Redwing.

The nets were empty other than 2 lightweight Blackbird - there were apparently no new arrivals of Goldcrest or Chiffchaff. The north harbour wall mound contained 33 off-passage Meadow Pipit but no Wheatear.

Vis mig
Practically nothing with just 4 Meadow Pipit NE during the early morning mist but presumably the Meadow Pipits grounded on the mound & perhaps elsewhere moved on when the weather cleared mid-am

No time to check the wooden jetty/outfalls/Red Nab etc

One or two species have been inexplicably late this year - this morning's Early Thorn was the first of the year

3 Whooper Swan still on the Lune floodplain at Farleton mid-morning.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Kitts, Red-throat.........and Humming-bird Hawk Moth

Heysham Obs
0930-1020 hrs. (Low tide 0742hrs).

Kittiwake two flocks - 90 had floated gradually in on tide for a good 40 mins. in a tight flock, then took off and flew high into Bay wheeling around. Another flock of 30 remained on the sea
Red-throated diver 1 floating in with tide prob. adult
Shag 1 juv on wooden jetty arrived from in the Bay
Carrion crow: one 'in' north towards Grange
Mute swan: pair 'out'
Meadow Pipit: Just c10 NE

adult & 2 1st W Little Gull

Perhaps even above-par, given the crystal-clear weather conditions with an adverse upper-wind, was the capture of 4 unringed Goldcrest and an unringed female Blackbird with a winglength possibly indicating continental origin (131mm)

Off-passage wildfowl
Wigeon 22 on sea off the NHW beyond the two buoys (unusual at this time of year) + 4 pair Red-breasted merganser
4 Great crested grebe & 2 pair Eider in same spot
Shelduck 17 off Ocean Edge
Eider 5m + 3f & Great-crested grebe off OE

Humming-bird Hawk Moth along the north harbour wall at lunchtime (Lou Cross)

Little Auk reported to John Wood by two visiting fishermen on NHW. 'Said it was end Jan/ beginning of Feb on a mid-day high tide only yards off the NHW. It went to & fro on the water frequently diving just below them. They confidently identified it from my Collins guide book'.

Three Whooper Swan still on the Lune floodplain at Farleton in the morning but not there late afternoon

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Quiet Day

Heysham Obs
Vis mig
Just one hour 0900-1000
Meadow Pipit 8
Linnet 4
Goldfinch 3

Grounded / ringing
Given the cold, clear north-easterly rather surprising that two mist nets produced 9 unringed Goldcrest and an unringed Blue Tit

1st W Little Gull at Heysham outfall.
2 juv Shag on jetty

3 Whooper Swan still in Lune Valley at Farleton

Monday, 2 April 2007

Still they pile through..........

Heysham Obs
Vis mig
Meadow Pipit dominated again today. Vis pretty continuous from 0700-1345hrs.

Meadow Pipit: 1,167 NE with peak movement of 411 0910-1010 and 111 from 1010-1020hrs. Another observer recorded 326 from 1015-1115 (i.e. 5 min overlap with the above)
Carrion Crow: 11 north (2+6+3)
Linnet: 33 NE
Redpoll spp: 8 NE
Swallow 1 N
Sand martin 15 NE
alba wagtail (just) 16 NE

Also 3 Raven SE together mid-afternoon

10 Wheatear, but no Goldcrest located and the only (2) Chiffchaff appeared to be territorial males. No ringing, however.

Shag - 3 on wooden jetty during the morning/over tide
Little Gull - adult and one 1st W Heysham 2 outfall
Eider - 43 off the north wall on the dropping tide mid-pm
Shelduck - 55 off Red Nab

Very early examples of Holly Blue (Mossgate Road) and Small White (Middleton IE) were seen within the recording area today

Major milestone: adult Med Gull on the house list (at last) at High Tatham = in field with Black-headed and Common Gulls as this is being typed (1815hrs). 3 Whooper Swan still on Lune floodplain by Farleton. Purple Sandpiper still at the Stone Jetty

Sunday, 1 April 2007

More Meadow Pipits

Vis mig
Highlighted by 155 Meadwo Pipit in one hour 0900-1000

Ad & 1st W Little Gull and 3 Shag

Highlighted by Red Admiral, also Peacock (10), Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone (3)