Thursday, 31 May 2007

Very little coverage

Heysham Obs
The only report today was of a juvenile Shag in the inner harbour

No sign of the Common Rosefinch on Pilling Lane. Two Spoonbill at Leighton Moss and area

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Rock Pipit still present

Heysham Obs
Two hours at the heliport and a few short checks of other areas this morning

Shag - one juv still around wooden jetty
Rock Pipit - on the north harbour wall mound & briefly on seawall this am
Med. Gull - 1st S along the tideline to the south of Ocean Edge with c25 Common Gull

Swift - 32 north along seawall 1030-1130 and 1210-1310
Swallow - 16 north along seawall 1030-1130 and 1210-1310
Wheatear - one at Half Moon bay foreshore

First (3) Cinnabar of the year in the hut moth trap.

Red male Common Rosefinch just outside the LDBWS area visiting a garden feeder and singing from nearby bushes at Pilling Lane near Knott End. Contact the usual bird information services for up to date access information as this involves private land. Several hundred Dunlin & Ringed Plover on both sides of the outer Lune Estuary but just one Sanderling reported with them. TWO Spoonbill in the Leighton Moss area.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Zero to force 4 in 30 seconds!

Heysham Obs
Sea/inshore heliport area
The two hour vigil at the heliport saw the highlight as one of the fastest increases in wind speed I have ever seen without an obvious reason (e.g. squall). Alerted by distant windfarms starting to 'work', at 0942hrs the previously calm water rippled across the Bay and the wind (from the north-west) suddenly increased to about force 4 before settling to cF3 for the rest of the day. Not many birds:

Common Scoter - distant flock of 50-60
Gannet - even more distant 2 out and across
No migratory flocks of small waders seen (c/f Stone Jetty)

Rock Pipit - not particularly good views but enough to see that it was at the dark end of petrosus and perhaps kleinschmittii (not littoralis). It frequented ths mound and adjoining seawall but unfortunately I did not have time to study it. It did not, however, show any sign of display flight or other than sseeep calls. Cannot find any precedent for this record, at least in recent times
Shag - at least one juv

Little Stint on the Stone Jetty groyne at lunchtime with a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover

Monday, 28 May 2007

Yet another surprise if you wait long enough!

Red Nab from Ocean Edge

Heysham Obs
Seawatch north wall 0630ish-1030ish
Gannet- 4
Guillemot - 1
Kittiwake - 1

Arctic Tern - 4
Shag - at least one juv
Rock Pipit - unprecedented record for this time of year of an individual presumably of the form petrosus [unless it is a littoralis which has not budged at all from very similar winter plumage - outer tail feathers not seen very well]. The bird was on the mound and the rocks below the seawall

Ad Curlew Sandpiper still in Conder Creek at at least 0715hrs & again at 1610hrs. The north wind holding up more Sanderling than usual in recent years e.g. 62 at Cockersands today

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Little Gull surprise

Heysham Obs
Seawatch from NHW 0630ish to 1030ish
Gannet - 2
Sandwich Tern - 2
Little Gull - ADULT in
Common Scoter - 6

Shag - 2 juv
No tern species around outfalls but observations at/near HT

Red Nab/OE foreshore
Wheatear - 1 female

Middleton IE
4-5 pairs of Little Grebe with at least one with young (3). c40 House Martin feeding over pools.

Treble Bar rather belated new species for the year. Four Shaded Pug.

Dominated by small wader passage on the Lune Estuary with Curlew Sandpiper at Conder Creek, Little Stint elusively on the shore by Cockersands Abbey and 12 Sanderling (Cockersands) and 5 (Sunderland side). Lots of tundrae Ringed Plover (400+) and Dunlin (1,200+). There are 5 singing male Wood Warbler in the LDBWS recording area, however two of these were reported from a wood which has not been accessible in recent years

Saturday, 26 May 2007

New Med and distant Scoter

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0630-1030ish
Common Scoter - flock of c80
Gannet - 1
Fulmar - 1
Kittiwake - 1
All the above very distant

Shag - there are still two juvs around!
Med. Gull - First summer drifted south along the wall and was last seen passing the wooden jetty
No mention of any tern species
Trickle of inshore northbound Swallow with 2 House Martin
Thanks to Mark and John for all the above records
Evening visit to Red Nab
Wheatear female
Ringed plover 14
Dunlin 2
Whimbrel 1
Curlew 6
Shelduck 21
Red-breasted merganser pair
Great crested grebe 1
Greenfinch juv Nature Park

Middleton IE
A few Marsh Orchid spp. (x ??)

Thanks Malcolm

Spoonbill adult on flood (E end of EM Pool, Leighton Moss). Secondhand, but seemingly reliable information re-the Whitendale Eagle Owls taking a collie (spp.) as prey yesterday. Osprey Dunsop valley c1000hrs. Common Crane still Chipping Moss area - last known position was c674424, about 7km east of Chipping and c10km south of the LDBWS recording area.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
Outfalls/Red Nab/ inshore am
A quiet morning.
Oystercatcher c600 off RN & Ocean Edge
Turnstone 5 south + 6 below wooden jetty
Shag juv wooden jetty
Cormorant flew in from Bay with 'nest mats' in bill & offered to its mate with alot of sideways head movement - display?

North wall seawatch/outfalls/inshore 1200-1400hrs
This was better than expected:
Arctic Skua - light morph 'in' at 1255hrs
Fulmar - one very distantly out and across at c1300hrs
Turnstone - 13 on rocks
Common Tern - 2 on Stage one outfall, seaward end [no Arctic Tern seen]
Common Gull - maximum of c25 on seaward end of Stage one outfall
Shag - the most interesting sighting was a juv flying out of the harbour seemingly heading for its usual roost/preen on the wooden jetty. However the landing was aborted in the fresh wind and the bird simply continued out of the Bay until lost from sight! Are there any left from the epic influx?
Swallow - 2 north

Middleton IE
Two Grasshopper Warblers in territorial dispute

New for the year were May Highflyer and Yellow Shell. Two Shaded Pug were also in the trap.

Quail heard calling from just south of Stauvin Farm, Roeburndale East, this early afternoon. Common Crane on nearby Chipping Moss this evening (not sure where this is - hope in the right county!).

Thursday, 24 May 2007

A quickie

Heysham Obs
1620 - 1710 hrs
Heysham 2 outfall - Arctic tern 10, common tern 2
Heron off Red Nab
Shelduck 13 RN/Ocean Edge

Shag juv wooden jetty
Herring gull on nest on one of the three platforms in the harbour near the 'waterfall'
The first Shaded Pug of the year in the moth trap. This species is very local and coastal in NW England and has only been recorded at Heysham, albeit in increasing numbers, during the last 5 years. Shoulder-striped Wainscot and Common Swift were also new for the year
Thanks to John Holding
Osprey over the Dunsop valley

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A drizzly morning

Heysham Obs
A walk taking in Ocean Edge, Red Nab and the outfalls in poor visibility produced not a lot.

Wheatear OE

Ringed plover 3 OE foreshore

Shelduck 2

Arctic tern 2 off No. 2 outfall

Common gull c10 1st summer

Treble lines at the Observatory in the moth trap. This is the first record for the site. This moth has a curious distribution with evidence suggesting that it has declined in north Lancs with all but two recent records from the limestone areas around Warton/Silverdale. However, the coastal distribution in the Fylde and SW Lancs suggest that it may indeed be thinly scattered, but until now unrecorded, in coastal areas north of the Wyre

Thanks to Alan Draper

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Log entries unfortunately not transferred - sorry

Heysham Obs
No information received today - the first blank entry since we started in mid-December 2006 and due to lack of time because of problems with some management work, not lack of activity. Todays moth catch should be posted tomorrow

The Eagle Owl situation in Whitendale is now in the public domain. Comments can be found on the LDBWS site

Monday, 21 May 2007

Goosander surprise

Heysham Obs

Sea/vis from the north harbour wall
The routine two-hour 'seawatch' was undertaken between 1200 and 1400hrs. A very pleasant 'deck chair in the sun' experience, uninterrupted by notebook entries!

Eider - A group of 3 floating in with the tide was the sum total of the offshore observations other than a few meandering immature gulls. There was no hirundine passage at all in the two hours.

Inshore (north wall)
Turnstone - 6 back and forth along the north wall
Goosander - A quality Heysham rarity in the form of a female which flew south above the NHW and cut across over the large cable-carrier towards Red Nab (1325hrs)
Arctic tern - 5 on outfalls
Shag - 2 juvs on the wooden jetty

Grounded migrants
A Spotted Flycatcher by the Obs and two Wheatear on Middleton IE

Breeding birds
One of the Middleton Grasshopper Warblers was singing intermittently. The 'No Swimming' pond held a pair of Little Grebe with 3 young.

New for the year in the moth trap were: Clouded Bordered Brindle, Small Clouded Brindle, Eyed Hawk-moth. Two 4-spotted Chaser seen Middleton IE

At least one Spoonbill Leighton Moss

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Even worse...........

Heysham Obs
This must be the least productive day at theoretical migration time ever experienced in north Lancashire..........................but what a result at Wembley where at least one local patch birder was celebrating! Congratulations to Morecambe.

Seawatching of sorts 0630-0930ish
Shag - one around
Arctic Tern - 6 on Heysham one outfall

Not a thing moving offshore but was anyone watching in the Walney direction at 0900ish? (Spoonbill circling the Obs)

A very early immature male Emperor dragonfly seen on the 'dog-walk' (Landscape strip) pond

Two Spoonbill still at Leighton Moss (per pager). Male and Female Cuckoo seen/heard upper Hindburndale this evening - they have been scarce this year so far. Absolute zilch recorded on JBP seawatches today, reflecting the earlier complete dearth at Heysham.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Utter rubbish

Heysham Obs
As the modified posting on the LDBWS site implied after last night's weather forecast, seawatching today was a complete waste of time. There was nothing weather-wise to the south of here to push anything into the Bay and more evidence that the windfarm is stopping even minor deviations by Gannet, Fulmar and Manx Shearwater which should have been in reasonable numbers today

Sea coverage north wall 0630-1400ish
Gannet 4
Manx Shearwater 2
Fulmar 2
Arctic Skua dark morph out - the ONLY skua seen in the Bay today!
Red-throated Diver 1
Pink-footed Goose - late flock of 14 to the NW at 0840hrs

Whimbrel - 1
Little Gull - 1st S Heysham 2 outfall low tide
Arctic Tern - c17 Heysham outfalls low tide
Common Tern - 2 outfalls low tide

Male Scoter spp on the sea off JBP before flying out & landing in the 'middle of the bay'. (The) Black Scoter not ruled out but no features whatsoever to suggest this was not just a male Common other than circumstances!

PS I went to the Solway just after midday!!

Friday, 18 May 2007

"Typical" seawatching weather!

Heysham Observatory
Sea 1200-1400
Everything was flying out bar one very distant skua spp at about 1341hrs. This watch coincided with the rapid clearance after a cold front & birds swept into the bay must not have liked what they saw as regards an overland route!

Pom Skua - light morph out and across, then south 1236
Bonxie - one out, close inshore, at 1310
Kittiwake - 7+1 out
Manx Shearwater - one distantly across the mouth
Arctic Tern - one out - the only tern seen
Dunlin - c110 out (about 6 flocks)
Sanderling - 2+2 out
Turnstone - 17+5+2 out [none on the wooden jetty this last few days]
Ringed Plover - c10 out (3 flocks)

Sea 1800-2000
Petrel spp.: almost certainly a Storm Petrel - It was trying to flutter out but was progressively swept into the Bay at about 1830hrs

Shag - 3 juvs

Heliport roost at HT
Oystercatcher - 450
Turnstone - 23
Ringed Plover - 17 (excluding breeding pair)
Dunlin - 5

Reasonable moth catch with the scarce and local Broad-barred White new for the year as also was Silver Ground Carpet and Turnip Moth
Broad-barred White. Thanks to Jean Roberts

JBP: dm Arctic Skua up the Kent channel as soon as the rain cleared at 1200hrs. Another dm Arctic Skua seen distantly offshore about a hour later.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Mutually-exclusive seabirds!

..........but not the black seaduck that we all wanted. A feature of today was that seawatching from Knott End, Heysham and JB Point all recorded different birds from each other! There is no way that the two Heysham observers would have missed flocks of 4+2 dark-morph Arctic Skuas passing between 1030-1130 and subsequently recorded at flying into the Bay at JBP (then 4 up the Kent estuary/2 over Leighton Moss). This has happened before and one common denominator could be the faster flowing sea on the increasingly 'spring' tides could possibly encourage these skuas to remain sitting on the sea 'going with the significant flow' in the right direction. They would be too far offshore to be picked up in this mode off Heysham. Perhaps similarly, the birds which were picked up in flight off Heysham were intent on gaining height and overlanding before reaching the inner Bay, hence unrecorded at JBP! Any thoughts when this posting is reproduced on the LDBWS site later tonight?

Heysham Obs
Sea/vis 0900-1200
Arctic Skua - lm and dm about 300m behind each other heading NE about 0930. 2 lm in close inshore together at c1035. One very distant pale morph skua at 0950 was presumably Arctic but looked a bit 'lightweight'
Bonxie - one very distantly in
Kittiwake - a rarity this spring was a flock of 33 in at c1030hrs
Linnet - 2 late birds north
Swallow - c30 north
Whimbrel - flock of 12 north

No terns seen!

Shag - 2 juvs on wooden jetty after feeding along NHW

Setaceous Hebrew Character new for the year

Grey Seal off NHW

JBP seabirds: 1+4+2 Arctic Skua 'in' - ALL dark morph! See above for comment. Osprey seen from JBP heading out towards Heysham but not 'picked up' there (despite being alerted) & presumably headed inland over Morecambe. Pair Garganey still on Barrow Scout. Two Spoonbill still at Leighton Mos but a bit elusive. No sign of the escaped Night Heron at Lancaster Uni during brief check.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

A tale of two matching two-hour vigils!

Heysham Obs & other seawatching sites
.........both producing a single Arctic Skua and a few Swallows.............but there the similarity ends - one was 'science', the other was pure desperation as the Black Scoter failed to emerge from the depths of the inner Bay (see below)

Sea: Heysham north wall 0730-0930
Arctic Skua - light morph in - already flying quite high - at 0828hrs. DM in around lunchtime
Swallow - a substantial passage in a clear slot between the rain - 291 NE, mainly 0825-0855hrs. This movement included 3 Sand and 4 House Martins

3 juv Shag
2 Common and 11 Arctic Tern around the outfalls

JBP seabird observations when Heysham was not covered
Arctic Skua: 2 dark morph in together about 1130hrs and a light morph in at c1410hrs - all seen flying into the Bay from long range and all flying up the Kent Estuary
Guillemot - one seen over the tide

Stone jetty c1530-1730
Arctic Skua - one flew out at long range before presumably the same headed in at about 1640hrs and was last seen gaining height flying in the direction of the Kent Estuary. Conditions were seemingly not very suitable for overlanding with rain and low cloud. This individual supports the impression that migrating skuas do not really care whether there is water or mud beneath them and low tide mud/seawatching could be productive from JBP or the slagtips! In this respect many birds have been seen entering the Bay from Heysham this spring at or near low tide.

A drake Black Scoter was finally identified as it was found on the railway line near the Eric Morecambe Hide and taken to a vet, before being released whilst there was still some tidal water off JBP. Great disappointment when this bird did not float out past the Stone Jetty.
Thanks to observers for prompt release of the news once the identity was determined. NNEW on the escaped Night Heron but the ring is of identical design to a Spoonbill in captivity at Dalton-in-Furness wildlife park. Two Spoonbill stll at Leighton Moss and the pair of Garganey still on Barrow Scout

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Some half-decent early morning calm-weather seawatching

Heysham Obs
Sea/vis 0630-0930
Arctic Skua - SIX singly 'in'/to the NE - all but one pre 0900hrs (5 dark, 1 light)
Bonxie - One 'in' and then over an hour later perhaps the same 'out', before landing far offshore "near" the turbines
Arctic Tern - 2 + 27 'in'
Kittiwake - 3 'in'
Common Scoter - 4
Canada Goose - 2 north during a quick visit at 1022hrs!
Mute swan 'in' on tide 0900 hrs
Shelduck 4 'in' 3 'out'

Swallow - c150 north
Swift - 4 north

Unfortunately no time to check OE foreshore/Red Nab, although the 'mound' area did not hold any Wheatear & only 2 could be seen at Middleton (c/f Aldcliffe posting below)

Shag - 2 juvs
Common Tern - 3 blogging
No Turnstone left on the wooden jetty at high tide

Harbour Porpoise close inshore for a short time

A very low-key addition to the moth year list, as was also the case with Walney, was Small Square Spot (& there were two more rather early Poplar Hawk-moth). Just two 4-spotted Chaser seen during a quick check of Middleton IE ponds

The presumed escape Night Heron (assuming not an unconventional ring attached to a captured wild bird) has resurfaced on the pond at Lancaster University. Visiting the pond does not currently seem to be a problem, but parking on campus is! Miscellany from Leighton Moss this morning included an Osprey for a short period, female Red-crested Pochard, 2 Spoonbill and a partially leucistic Swift. Drake Garganey still on the 'YW Darter' pond at Aldcliffe this evening along with good numbers of Wheatear and a single Whinchat

Monday, 14 May 2007

No early morning coverage

Heysham Obs
Good numbers of Wheatears (19 located mid-morning & non-op land not checked), extremely variable in size, and perhaps including Scandinavia-bound birds [e.g. yesterdays weather synopsis] as well as Iceland/Greenland. Single White Wagtail on Ocean Edge foreshore - late for this form here. A singing male Reed Warbler on the NR was probably a new arrival.

Sea 1345-1645
Arctic Skua - light morph 'in' at 1450hrs, seemed to go high and overland over Morecambe west end

Common Tern - 2 outfalls
Arctic Tern - 6 outfalls
Shag - 3 juvs

2 Spoonbill, pair of Garganey and a single Egyptian Goose in the Leighton Moss area with an Osprey through at 1300hrs. Last night's weather seems to have clobbered Lapwing chicks in Upper Hindburndale

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Reasonable variety including first Cuckoo for about 10 years!

Wood Warbler ringed at Heysham this morning. Thanks Alan.

Heysham Obs
Todays sightings reminded me of those cricket pitches which are said to offer a little to both bowlers and batsmen but nothing extravagant. The seawatchers had their little bits and pieces and it was one of the better days for landbird arrivals this spring, but the rainbelt was unfortunately too far to the south at dawn for a major 'fall'. No doubt the Heysham N.R. working party and Leighton Moss Spring Fair organisers were grateful for this!

Heysham north wall 0630-1000, 1100-1135
Arctic Skua - 3 dark morph which were also picked up at JB Point whence two flew inland over Leighton Moss and one flew up the Kent Estuary
Little Gull - 1st summer which was presumably the bird also seen at Cockersands
Pink-footed Goose - late flock of 24 north-west
Gannet - 6
Sandwich Tern - 2
Common Scoter - 2

...............but please note the following posting from Walney!
"Morning observations over the tide (0800-0900 & 1050-1150) were highlighted by a single pale phase Pomarine Skua and 8 Arctic Skua (5 dark, 3 pale), all heading into Morecambe Bay".

Swallow and House Martin moving north in small numbers <20/hr>

Shag - 2 juvs
Arctic Tern - 7 on outfalls

Middleton IE
It needs to be re-stressed that away from the formal footpaths, access to this site is not considered safe and is most certainly completely at your own risk. No-one unfamiliar with the site should leave the formal paths or concrete roads.

Wheatear - 5
Grasshopper Warbler - the males have stopped regular singing but one pair was silently active today
Garden Warbler - One, presumably a singing male, logged - they have not bred here for many years

Other grounded migrants
Unringed birds caught in the mist nets included: Wood Warbler along with 7 latish Willow Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, one Lesser Whitethroat.........and a Moorhen! Even better on recent status was a calling Cuckoo from the region of the tall anemometer at midday. The exact recent status of this species will be checked tomorrow when the old reports are accessed

2 Raven within sight of the recording area flying over the bypass at lunchtime

2 Grey Seal offshore

A very irregular species in the form of Marbled Coronet was new for the year in the moth trap along with other more predictable year ticks in the form of Rustic Shoulder-knot, Flame Shoulder and Garden Carpet.
First 4-spotted Chaser of the year on Middleton

Two Spoonbill still around Leighton Moss. Pair of Garganey transferring from Barrow Scout to Griesdale Mere at Leighton Moss - this pair have probably been in the area for 6-7 days. Summer plumaged Little Stint at Cockersands along with two Sanderling. Yellow Wagtail at Grab Lane just east of Lancaster.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

More Arctic Skuas and the second Marsh Harrier of the spring

Heysham Obs
Seawatching north harbour 0630 until at least 1205
Arctic Skua - 10 sightings of dark morph involving at least 6 birds, plus one light morph. Summary: 0725 2 dark morph 'in' distantly, 0822 hrs 2 dark + 1 light morph 'out', 0925 dark morph 'in', 0940 3 dark morph 'in', 1205 2 dark morph in then circling high.
Marsh Harrier female 1000-1005 in from Walney direction rising up over Heysham 2.

Thanks to Nick Patel

Gannet - 2 'out'
Guillemot - 2 'in'
Red-throated Diver - 1 out
Common scoter - 1 out
Dunlin - two migrant flocks 'in' of c60 & c70
Common Tern - 2 'in'
Arctic Tern - no recorded movement - at least one on outfalls

Swallow 27
House martin 8
Swift 5

Shag 2 juv wooden jetty

Middleton IE
Common Sandpiper 3
Grasshopper Warbler - none singing in the windy weather (all paired up?)
Swift 5
Mute Swan 4 including one breeding pair Tim Butler pond
Mallard 6

Friday, 11 May 2007

Seawatching 'in-off' Silver Y!

Heysham Obs
Leighton Moss sold out of 2006 Heysham Obs reports early in the Bank Holiday. This has now been redressed with another print run and more errors corrected! Available at Leighton Shop from tomorrow. Thanks to British Energy for the printing facilities

The 'cutting edge' c/f this (early) morning tide was to check the wind direction and go back to bed.

Sea 0730-0910 north harbour wall
Arctic Skua - light morph blogging then 'in' at c0750
Arctic Tern - highish flock of 41 in, lower flock of 5 in also 35 on outfalls 1630 hrs
Sandwich tern 2 around outfalls pm

2 Common Sandpiper below the north wall 0900 + 3 there 1654 hrs
The first visit for months not to register Shag but 3 juvs on wooden jetty 1645 hrs
c35 Turnstone on the wooden jetty
Dunlin 49 on skeer opposite NHW gate 1505 hrs
Eider male on sea off NHW
Shelduck 7 'in'
Red-breasted merganser male 'in'

Red Nab
Whimbrel 4 + 3 flying off from there East, all calling 1800 hrs
Shelduck 17

Silver Y moth 'in-off' at 0820hrs as seen from the north wall was notable (see below)

The moth trap held the following new species for the year: Silver Y (see above), Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Lychnis

Single Harbour Porpoise (just a very faint chance there were two) off the north wall at c0810
Two Spoonbill still at Leighton - Eric Morecambe pool or Griesdale area. I waited for the late afternoon weather front at Pine Lake and about 50 House Martin were dropped. Checking hirundines on the likes of Pine Lake and/or checking muddy edges for waders is the order of the day this coming Sunday, I suspect, or even during any periods of rain tomorrow.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The vagaries of seawatching

Heysham Obs
Good first hour or so, very little else........

Seawatching on and off from the north harbour wall 0640-1000, 1200-1600
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - completely unexpected was a flock of 3 flying out close inshore at 0720hrs
Pomarine Skua - light morph adults in at 0655 and 0743
Arctic Skua - 2 dark morph in together at 0705, single dark morph in at 0926 and 2 further late afternoon dark morphs seen from Jenny Brown's Point after Heysham observations had ceased - one flew up the Kent estuary, the other inland over Carnforth marsh
Manx Shearwater - 6
Gannet - 15
Fulmar - 4
Kittiwake - 1
Arctic tern - 4
Sandwich Tern - 1
Whimbrel - 5
Swift - 2
Dunlin - first obvious movement of summer plumaged birds - c160 in 5 flocks, mainly north

Black Guillemot - ad summer around the harbour mouth being harrassed by imm Herring Gulls 0730-0740. Last seen flying into the harbour but not seen afterwards, suggesting it had sneaked out again and disappeared. A quick look at the Walney site suggests where it might have got too!
Shag - 4 juvs today
Arctic Tern - 16 on the outfalls at low tide

Grey Seal off NH wall

Two Spoonbill appeared at Leighton Moss before settling on the Eric Morecambe pool from early afternoon

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Skua bonanza

Heysham Obs
Seawatch north harbour wall 0730 - 1000 hrs
Arctic skua - one dark and 2 pale at 0800, 1 dark 1 pale at 0947, 1 dark 1 pale at 0955 [7 in total]

Pomarine Skua - Flock of 14 light morph flying into the Bay - found at 0820 and watched until 0826. The view of the single observer (Ray Hobbs) is that these birds were Pomarine Skua e.g. posting on LDBWS site: "In my opinion these were Poms".

Grey geese 10 'in'
Eider male 'out'
Swallow 4
Guillemot 1st S inshore below NHW

Grey Seal off north wall

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

More activity on the sea than yesterday but........

Heysham Obs
....................a stiff westerly wind should have produced a lot more Gannet, Fulmar etc. but their usual point of origin in these conditions required negotiation of the line of wind turbines. It does seem that especially the "usual" spring sizeable Gannet influxes along the Kent channel line are being prevented by the wind turbines. Seabird coverage by no means as thorough as yesterday but did cover the high tide period a little more comprehensively.

Seawatching from the north harbour wall: 0815-0845, 0940-1030, 1200-1300, 1500-1800
Pomarine Skua - ad light morph flew into the Bay at about the yellow buoy range at c0955 - interestingly only appeared to have one tail spoon. It was beginning to gain height as it passed Heysham N Wall.
Arctic Skua - TWELVE in total seen from Heysham north wall or Jenny B. Point or both [three early morning, nine afternoon/early evening]. Most flew inland or up the Kent channel on reaching the inner bay and the movement, especially during the afternoon was rapid with one light morph tracked from Knott End via Heysham to JBP whence it flew high & overland 1505-1525hrs. Two of the early morning birds and a late afternoon individual were gaining height as they passed Heysham N Wall relatively close inshore
Skua spp. - one blogging in the mouth of the Bay 1729-1735 was probably an Arctic and perhaps the bird behaving similarly at 1635 (light poor by this stage)
Arctic Tern - Rather atypical in these weather conditions was a flock of 47 which appeared to descend out of the sky on to the outfalls before rising equally sharply and heading inland over Heysham harbour. The departure "dragged" the 16 or so 'blogging' on the outfalls up into the air but they quickly returned to their feeding mode
Red-throated Diver - 1
Guillemot - 2
Manx Shearwater - 7 (including flock of 3)
Fulmar - 1
Gannet - 4
Swan spp. Surely a flock of 5 heading NW across the mouth of the Bay at 1703hrs was Mute at this time of year? Were there any Whoopers left around Martin Mere?

Med Gull - 1st summer around the outfalls
Kittiwake - adult Red Nab area
Shag - 3 juvs on the wooden jetty - the pattern seems to be 2 regularly at all stages of the tide joined by 1-3 others over the high tide period
Arctic Tern - 16 feeding on the seaward end of Stage one outfall (see above)

A bizarre moth trap catch comprised a single Sallow Kitten - new for the year and not annual and a micro colloquially known as Parsnip Moth. Nothing else!

The only migrants of interest were the skuas at JBP, continuing the theme of recent days. An Osprey has been reported from Arkholme 'recently'.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Early 'flurry', then one Arctic Skua per hour!

Heysham Obs
All the coverage today was from the north harbour wall but unfortunately post-1530hrs, following the belt of heavy rain was not covered (this is when many of the Poms went through Bowness)

Seawatching 0700-1500
Arctic Skua - 7 passed Heysham, including three at 1330hrs (one close, two together distant - latter also seen at JB Point). Two further individuals passed JB Point together with the nature of the observation suggesting they had passed Heysham after 1500hrs
Med Gull - 1st summer blogging during the early morning
Arctic Tern - Just 4+ 5 on the move with 8 blogging on the outfalls most of the morning
Common Scoter - 4
Fulmar - 2 - together early morning
Gannet - 19 - all but one distantly 'blogging' early morning
Sandwich Tern - 2
Guillemot - 2
Whimbrel - 1
Swallow - 0.125 per hour!
Mute Swan - two south close inshore - there are 4 non-nesting pairs on Middleton IE

Middleton IE - location of singing male Grasshopper Warblers on visits 1-3 and suggested breeding territories (red circles)

Thanks Malcolm

Poplar Hawk-moth and Brimstone Moth new for the year in the moth trap

Yet again nothing new of interest reported in the LDBWS area (see above for JBP).

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Early bits..........then birdless dross

Heysham Obs
There was a mod/fresh southwesterly................but that was just about all which was 'right' and it appears as though the SE-bound overnight cloud/rain had provided a brick wall to any movement up the east side of the Irish Sea or indeed overland. The continuation of the low cloud until late afternoon further inhibited any movement. Apart from an early flurry, it was probably the worst seawatch ever experienced at Heysham (and JB Point) at peak spring migration time in SW winds. The Solway was similarly relatively poor, given the apparently favourable conditions, with just 2 Poms and 2 Arctics in a lengthy vigil

Seawatching north wall 0630-1400hrs
NOTHING of any note after 1115hrs
VELVET SCOTER - two landed on the sea just south of the red buoy.....but did not float past on the incoming tide
Common Scoter - 3 with the above, then peeled off
Gannet - 21
Kittiwake - flock of 11 plus one - the flock of 11 was (about 4 hours later!) the JBP 'highlight'!
Red-throated Diver - c7

Shag - up to 4 juvs on the wooden jetty
Arctic Tern - 3-4 'blogging' on outfalls
Sandwich Tern - one around outfalls

4 Wheatear

New for the year in the hut trap were Heart and Dart, Nutmeg and Bright-line Brown-eye

Nothing worth mentioning so far other than perhaps a single Guillemot off JB Point. No sign of the escaped Night Heron

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Today's sightings

Arctic skua dark morph 'out' 0700 hrs & possibly same bird 'in' 1000 hrs

Arctic tern 0700 hrs max. 100 'in'. 8 'out' & 5 'in' later

Shag 3 juv wooden jetty

Red-throated diver 2
Sandwich tern 8
Whimbrel 1 'out' & 1 Red Nab
Swallow 3 north
Swift 1 north
Wheatear male Ocean edge
Shelduck 10 off OE

Middleton IE
Grasshopper warbler 5
Great spotted woodpecker 2
Wheatear 2
Mute swan 6
Swift 1

Friday, 4 May 2007

A foretaste of skuas to come?

Thanks John for this shot of the harbour entrance/wooden jetty

Heysham north harbour wall
0840-1040 hrs
Arctic skua dark morph 'in' 0940 hrs quite high up

Arctic tern 47 + 6 + 7+ 4 'in' then a further 22 'in' to end of outfalls [& 3 during a very short visit early morning]

Sandwich tern 4 'in'
Shag juv in harbour mouth
Swallow 3 north
Shelduck 2 'in'
Great crested grebe 'in'


Very little in the nets but 3 new Willow Warbler & 2 new Blackcap ringed. 5 Wheatear logged.


2 female Roe Deer on Middleton IE

Elsewhere in the Bay
Jenny Browns Point over the afternoon tide
Unless we hear differently, there were no observers at Heysham after 1040hrs.
JBP was faced with horrendous light conditions and the following reflects the admirable caution of the 5 observers

Skua spp: A flock of NINE was watched for some time in both flight and on the sea. However, they were at extreme range in very poor light and there was no evidence that these birds were interested in attempting an overland crossing and they were last seen floating out of the Bay. Conditions were very murky over the Pennines.
Skua spp, probably Bonxie: A large compact individual seen, again in silhoeutte but almost certainly a Bonxie
Arctic Tern: 126 comprising three flocks in rapid transit (1 via the Kent, two via the Keer) were obviously in addition to the Heysham birds

See below & LDBWS website (& Simon's link) for brilliant Dotterel pics from a trip of FIVE which was on Ward's Stone during at least the morning but not late afternoon unless the single observer did not look far enough over to the north-east of the plateau. The birds were last seen just below the pile of stones on the N/E perimeter of the plateau about half way between the two trig points i.e. hard to find.

One of 5 Dotterel on Ward's Stone. Thanks Simon

In total contrast, an escaped adult Night Heron was in Lancaster below the scaffolded footbridge between Freehold and the St Leonardsgate car park area (access via De Vitre street). This bird was almost certainly seen in Northallerton in January. Pics on LDBWS site.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

The early bird..............

Sandwich Terns chilling out by the north harbour wall. Thanks Jeff

Heysham Obs
As is often the case when the wind slackens off and turns to light/variable, migration loses its impetus - even the Swallows seemed to be flying more slowly today! The loss of the easterly overnight knocked the Arctic Tern passage a little on the head although Jon Carter's observation of a flock of 29 passing through at 1230 shows it is by no means not all over. If there was anyone out there, please could we have your figures. Thanks

Sea/vis from the north harbour wall c0630-1015
Arctic Tern - 226 in with 182 of these prior to 0730 - the birds seen off the Stone Jetty were almost certainly some of these
Arctic Skua - dark morph rapidly in at 0652, light morph flying around high in the sky to the south of the harbour for 10mins or so before descending and heading in the Lune Estuary direction
Sandwich Tern - at least 35, mainly blogging
Common Tern - 2
Gannet - 2
Swallow - 26

Purple Sandpiper on the long skeer again
Shag - at least 2 juvs

3 Willow warblers and a Robin ringed, no Wheatears seen! No Lesser Redpoll passage at all - where are they this spring?

Heysham wooden (partial) jetty as viewed from the Stone Jetty. Thanks John

Stone Jetty
0830-1015 hrs
Arctic tern c90 around the Stone Jetty area - moving very slowly & flock of 29 flew into the Bay at 1230
Sandwich tern 4
Kittiwake 9 floating in on tide
Whimbrel 9 'in'
Swallow 7 North
Bar-tailed godwit 2 on shore + 1 'in'
Dunlin 9 'in'


Grey Seal off NHW & another off the Stone Jetty


Muslin Moth, Pebble Hook-tip and Shuttle-shaped Dart all new for the year as the lack of east winds at last allowed some moths through the window!


Kite, almost certainly Red dstantly over Thrushgill plantation in very poor light in the evening, also 2 Short-eared Owl Botton Head road junction. Spoonbill on the flood late pm along with 1st S Little Gull

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Even larger passage of Arctic Tern than yesterday prior to midday

Heysham Obs
Reasonable coverage this morning with excellent views of Arctic Tern from both the vantage points at the Stone Jetty & North harbour wall. However, the presence of 430 off the NHW on arrival does make you wonder what passed through earlier. The sad thing was that only 3 observers were there to appreciate this spectacular event

Sea/vis 0740-1200 North Harbour wall
GARGANEY: A seawatching first for Heysham in the form of two males flying into the Bay approximately 500m out at c0800hrs. The identification process as they were initially picked up some distance away suggests a crash course on distant i.d. of this species is required!
Arctic Tern: 1,426 north-east, possibly over-conservative in avoiding duplication when some birds backtracked for a short time. Some were undoubtedly missed as they arrived from the SE behind us or over our heads!
Arctic Skua: At c1100 a dark morph was picked up far out into the Bay flying NW to SE. It then 'picked up' a light morph off the sea and both birds changed direction, headed for the wooden jetty then started climbing and circling upwards just south of the Power Stations. They then appeared to head NE at great height. A more conventional sighting of a dark morph heading up the centre of the Bay at 1145hrs
Black Tern: One flew in at 0909 with Arctics. Another was located on the seaward end of Heysham PS at 0930 but it, and the gang of Arctics it was with, did not pass the north wall - presumably went inland to the south of the jetty
Gannet: 1
Common Tern: 2
Sandwich Tern: 2
Manx Shearwater: 1
Auk spp.: 1
Kittiwake: 2
Red-throated Diver: 1
Swallow: c26 in
Linnet: 1 in
alba Wagtail: 1 in

Stone jetty

Arctic Tern - counting stopped as I was rendered disabled for a time by the sheer beauty of these birds as they came within yards of the end of the Stone Jetty.
0830-0900 hrs 219 'in'
0925-1005 hrs 261 'in'

Little tern 1 'in' 0906 hrs + 1 'in' 0928 hrs

Black Tern 1 'in' 1000 hrs this appeared to be fly catching from the sea surface close inshore in the company of c30 Arctic tern doing the same thing over the same area without making any inward progress for about 15 mins.

Sandwich tern 6 'in'

Whimbrel 17 'in'

Sand martin 1 north
Swallow 7 north
Great crested grebe 'in' summer plumage
Shelduck 4 'out' 1 'in'
Red-breasted merganser pair 'in'

2 juvenile Shag

5 Wheatear OE foreshore but not checked until 1210hrs, and 2 early morning on the NHW. I do not think any ringing was attempted and we obviously desperately need some help in this area

Loads of miscellany on the north wall including just one Red Admiral, queen wasp out to sea, several Large and Small White.

Unfortunately, JBP still in the 'shadow' with the east winds sending the terns and skuas overland before within visual range of there. Just 21 Arctic Tern reported by 1130hrs and no evidence even the 'central Bay' Arctic Skua made it. Their turn should come in next week's weather. Female Yellow Wagtail following the horse around the paddock next to my house at High Tatham from at least 1530-1730hrs.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Good, but did I miss a Black Kite by not staying at home!

Heysham Obs
Sea/vis 0700-1530 plus 1715-1915

Arctic Tern - 2,102, easily a record day count with some of the strongest movements in the last hour of seawatching. Maximum flock size 151. Many of these birds cascaded down on to the outfalls from the SE, and, especially in late afternoon when faced by a low-tide channel cul-de-sac, rose high in the sky within viewing range of Heysham and headed off NE

Unlike the early years of recording this movement, when there was little evidence from the Fylde of coastal passage, today suggested an even higher passage rate along that coast, including (and rather oddly?) large numbers past Starr Gate. These were either mainly different birds to those passing Heysham or perhaps were birds which had started to climb into the sky up the north-easterly-orientated Lune flightline and either saw the churned up water (=, as tide races, favoured feeding) at the end of the outfalls and changed their mind or did not like the look of the route anyway. Anyone with any ideas on this may wish to reply to the post on the LDBWS site.

Given the north-easterly orientation of the movement, it was not surprisng that JBPoint only recorded two flocks - 18 & 70 - which headed up the Kent estuary

We are not photographers - the best we could get before the battery went flat. Unusually, just one bird in this piece of airspace

Arctic Skua - 2 light morph together at 0813, dark morph 1246 - all flew/floated into the bay
Osprey - One fishing in the channel just SW of No 8 Buoy, then flew up the Kent channel towards Humphry Head at 1735hrs. First of the year
Black Tern - one flew in with a flock of Arctic Tern at 0743hrs. First of the year
Common Scoter - 8
Common Tern - 1(!)
Fulmar - 1
Manx Shearwater - 5
Red-throated Diver - 3
Sandwich Tern - 8
Kittiwake - 5

Swallow - 226
Sand Martin - 5
Swift - 1
Whimbrel (just) 3
Kestrel - one north up the centre of the Bay

4 juvenile Shag
Purple Sandpiper flushed off the long skeer (opp sand plant entrance) by an angler late afternoon
Med Gull - at least one first summer with a late afternoon influx of c70 Common Gull

Again, impossible to really quantify - there were 5 migrant Whitethroat in the feeder area next to the hut. One of the two Wheatear on the north harbour wall was watched descending from a great height. 'New' Grasshopper Warbler just in the recording area by the sub-station at the end of the bypass. No ringing.

As predicted c/f numbers on Portland Bill etc., 8 Red Admiral butterflies flew rapidly north along the harbour wall during the afternoon/early evening
The first Blue-tailed Damselfly of the year was in the NR marsh

Bull Grey Seal off the north harbour wall, catching a huge flatfish spp late afternoon

Northbound Black Kite seen just outside the recording area, and almost certainly flying north through it, perhaps via rather close to my house, at Ribblehead viaduct. Spoonbill throughout the day and a late afternoon high northbound Osprey at Leighton Moss. Two ad Med Gulls still present and the even rarer (in Lancs) Great Black-backed Gull nesting on the public mere.
The photogenic Grasshopper Warbler (see LDBWS site) still at Aldcliffe