Friday, 31 August 2007

Surreal seawatch

Heysham Obs
A 30 minute early afternoon Heysham seawatch produced:

Storm Petrel - 1 'blogging'
Med Gull - 2 juveniles out close inshore
Cormorant - 1 out

......and nothing else (apart from a possible coconut floating in), despite a fresh onshore wind! As oft-repeated, the location of the windfarm appears to be inhibiting 'routine' seabirds from entering the Bay, such as the half-dozen Fulmar which might have been expected.

Harbour/north wall pre-incoming tide
Med Gull - 5+ juvenile (BEWARE three juv Common Gull as well, affording excellent comparison), one (Czech-ringed) adult and 2 2nd W
Little Gull - one adult on seaward end of Heysham One outfall, visible through the gap in the wooden jetty

Red Nab/Heysham 2 outfall pre-tide
Additional adult Med Gull on Heysham 2 then Red Nab.

Heliport at high tide
All three of the 'north wall Meds' were roosting (Ad & 2 x 2nd W) plus two Sandwich Terns dropped in briefly.

Pine Lake produced juvenile Little Gull and adult Common Tern late afternoon but the Little Gull appeared to leave high to the west during a clear slot. Great White Egret, 3 Spoonbill, 20+ Little Egret and adult and at least one juv Curlew Sandpiper on the Allen/EM Pools.
A Slavonian or Black-necked Grebe reported at the reed edge between the L Moss Public and Lower hides yesterday

Thursday, 30 August 2007

What is being missed on the EM Pool/flood?

Heysham Obs
The usual Thursday problem with coverage! Whistle stop visit produced Ad (Czech-ringed) and 2nd W Med on the north wall.

A veritable Copper Underwing bonanza in the trap by Heysham standards....three! One of these was Svensson's CU, therefore a new species for the year

Great White Egret and 3 Spoonbill still on EM Pool but former 'distant'. GWE present all day, therefore obviously different from Marshside bird. Also 24 Little Egret, adult and juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and an Osprey nearby at the Island Mere trees at lunchtime. However, many waders are too distant for EM Pool observations and an experienced birder in the flood hide could pay dividends. Ad Med. Gull by the Stone Jetty.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Grey Wagtail passage....and one flava

Heysham Obs
No time to do the outfalls and, disappointingly, no reports of the darvic ring numbers on Med Gulls, assuming they are still around

Middleton IE
The last forecasted "calm" morning for a bit saw a ringing session quickly negated by a combination of a breeze and sunshine and terminated by two very noisy motorbikes which spooked most of the Reed Buntings and the large Goldfinch flock. Highlights included two further Lesser Whitethroat. Interesting to compare the above-par Lesser Whitethroat 2007 ringing totals so far (27) with the below par Common Whitethroat (54). This certainly reflects the (at least) local breeding populations with Lesser 'in' a good week before Common this spring and in really good numbers. Common Whitethroat ringing totals usually about 4 x that of Lesser.

Vis mig (Middleton) (0630-1015)
Comprised: a flava wagtail, 6 Grey Wagtail c15 House Martin, 2 Meadow Pipit and about 5 Swallow. This is the first obvious wagtail passage this autumn

Half-moon Bay
4 Wheatear

'Dog-walk' pond
Kingfisher this afternoon (no fish? c/f good Emerald Damselfly population)

NO sign of any Clouded Yellow. Two late Southern Wainscot highlighted a meagre night with the portable moth trap in the reedbed. Two Ruddy darter reported on the Nature reserve along with several Migrant Hawker. Two male Emperor still flying at Middleton.

Two unringed adult Med Gull by the Stone Jetty this lunchtime. Great White Egret, 3 Spoonbill, adult Curlew Sandpiper, c25 Little Egret on the Allen/EM Pools & juvenile Curlew Sandpiper reported in the evening

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Good numbers of birds ringed

Heysham Obs
Outfalls area
Ringing apart, just the one set of observations has been forwarded (thanks Shaun) comprising:

Med Gull: minimum of 4 juvs but all at long range on the seaward end of Hey One outfall, 2 adult and 2 2nd W (presumably, but not necessarily including the north harbour wall birds)
Little Gull: adult
Kittiwake: 2 adults

Middleton IE
A ringing session this morning was 'autumnally productive' with warblers a little thin on the ground in the 68 new birds caught and 10 unringed Reed Bunting and 21 Goldfinch had a very 'September' feel about them. Warblers ringed comprised: 5 Willow warbler, 3 Lesser and 3 Common Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap and single Sedge Warbler and Chiffchaff. This is our main ringing site, other than the CES, during the 'summer months' - perhaps we ought to carry on a little longer! No obvious visible passage with just 2 Swallow caught

A disappointing moth catch did include the belated first Gold Spot of the year. A single Clouded Yellow was again seen on the 'dog track' between the reserve and Ocean Edge on 26th. No news either way (=NNEW of previous postings c/f request for clarification!) today

Great White Egret, at least 25 Little Egret and 3 Spoonbill targeting the small flatfish bonanza on the Allen/EM Pools. Also Curlew Sandpiper (age??) and Green Sandpiper there. 3 Spotted Redshank Conder Pool and a 2nd W Med Gull on the Lune estuary. Unringed adult Med Gull at the Stone Jetty and Begian-ringed adult Med at Morecambe Broadway. No Yellow Wagtail at the Melling maize field this evening but 4 were seen there on 26th (at least three of which were juvs)

Monday, 27 August 2007

Lots of Meds but darvic rings not read

Heysham Observatory
Outfalls area
FIVE juvenile Mediterranean Gulls on Heysham Two outfall this lunchtime/early afternoon including two unread darvic rings (one red and one white). Anyone able to help read these tomorrow, please? (I wont have time). One of the juvs was metal-only ringed which will probably be impossible to decipher (unless digipic taken?). Also one adult Med Gull and the adult Little Gull

North harbour wall
The 'usual' two 2nd W and Czech-ringed adult Med Gull along the north harbour wall = 9 Meds in total in the area today

By far the main event of the day was a Great White Egret which joined 26 Little Egret and 3 Spoonbill on the Allen/EM Pools. It was discovered early morning and remained all day. A single Curlew Sandpiper was in the same area late afternoon. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was on the Lune Estuary by Glasson. The Belgian-ringed adult Med Gull was again by Morecambe Broadway along with two Little Egret

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Clouded Yellow surprise

Heysham Obs
Now two Clouded Yellow along the path between the reserve and Ocean Edge, colloquially known as the 'dog track'

2-3 juv/1st W Med Gulls were new in. No sign of any Black Guillemot

General birds
Pretty quite other than a trickle of southbound Swallows e.g. a search of the coastal sites saw no Wheatear. A mist netting session around the office area saw two Whitethroat and a Black cap but little else caught other than a flock of 10 Blue Tit

The second Mouse Moth of the year was in the trap

Wood Sandpiper overflew Conder Green calling and flying east. 2 Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint Allen/EM Pool along with a record Lancs count of 24 Little Egret and the three long-staying Spoonbill. Two further Little Egret along Morecambe foreshore. Juv Garganey still at Leighton Moss Griesdale hide and Ad Yellow-legged Gull still at Glasson. Ring Ouzel Whitendale but no sign of yesterdays Marsh Harrier

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Black Guillemot return....but which one if either...

Heysham Obs
A Black Guillemot was fishing between Red Nab and the wooden jetty this morning and was last seen 'near the jetty'. This was a bit alarming as there are large numbers of monofilament nets in this area, all apparently legal. It is also a habit that, as far as I know, was never recorded during the tenancy of the pair. These invariably fed for a short period in the harbour mouth but otherwise flew offshore. We'll see what happens in the next day or so.

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/ Harbour/ north wall
Different adult Med Gulls along the north wall (Czech-ringed bird) and on the sandflats off Ocean Edge south shore. 2nd W Med Gulls in the harbour and on Red Nab. Adult Little Gull on the sea off Red Nab at high tide but rather surprsingly no Sandwich Tern

A Gannet followed the dredger in and records from Rossall suggest a bit of systematic seawatching may have been productive

Not very good weather for searching for the Clouded Yellow and there were no reports. Some 'in-off' reports from the SE of England today (along with scattered Camberwell Beauty) but this does not explain why one was seen here yesterday. Rather late records the main theme in the moth trap with single Marbled Beauty and two Straw Underwing.

Juvenile Garganey seen at Leighton Moss probably the best unless the numbers game = 21 Little Egret at Leighton Moss interests you. Black Tern (elusively or just few reports?) on the public mere at Leighton yesterday and at least 1245ish today. 3 Spoonbill still present on the Allen/EM Pool [why did I write 'spring and early summer visitor' in the revised fairly imminent WTWB in LCC - this is the first time they've done this!]. Adult Yellow-legged Gull visible rather distantly from Sunderland-Overton tidal road

Friday, 24 August 2007

Clouded Yellow a major surprise

Heysham Obs
Another insect day with the only bird of note being a Garden Warbler trapped during an otherwise quiet final CES visit early morning.

A male Clouded Yellow was nectaring on ragwort by the NR office at 1120. In the context of this year, a very significant record and, as such, the origin is by no means obvious. It remained for about 10 mins before flying south but was seen in mid-afternoon just north of the dog-walk pond by other observers. Unfortunately no cameras available

A Mouse Moth was a reasonably significant new record for the year as they have become rather scarce in recent years. Similarly the second record of the year of Olive.

2+ Black Darter in the NE corner of the reserve with another near the dog-walk pond. 10+ Brown Hawker and 10 or so Migrant/Common Hawker around the reserve - certainly including both species. Male & female Emperor on the dog-walk pond. 10+ Emerald Damselfly on the dog pond. No Ruddy darter.

At least two juvenile Yellow Wagtail around the northern end of the large maize field at Melling (Lune valley) this evening. 3 Spoonbill and further Osprey report from Leighton Moss.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

a nice sunny day

Heysham Obs
The top sighting today, a reflection of the catastrophic decline in the last two years, was a Wall Brown butterfly on Middleton IE along the road between the western and central marshes

Heysham NR
Sprinkling of Chiffchaff (5-10), one or two Whitethroat and a scattering of ticking, presumed migrant Robin. At least one Jay. Kingfisher in the NR marsh mid-afternoon (thanks Doreen).

No report of any sightings of note from one birder known to have checked the outfalls etc.

Heysham NR
Two Holly Blue, male Brimstone & at least two Small Copper but no Gatekeeper were seen during a quick walk round. Dragonflies comprised two Migrant Hawker and a single Brown Hawker - perhaps fractionally too early in the day for this group. Butterfly transect results from the reserve: Common Blue 12, Small White 10, Large White 1, Speckled Wood (just) 5, Meadow Brown 25, Small Copper 3, Peacock 8, Red Admiral 1, Brimstone 7, Painted Lady 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1 (the Holly Blues did not behave for the census)

Middleton IE
See intro. Dragonflies were thin on the ground in good conditions. 6 Migrant hawker, one male Ruddy Darter, 2 Brown Hawker, 2 geriatric male Emperor and a similarly old and tired male Black-tailed Skimmer. c30 Common Darter and c10 Emerald Damselfly were casually recorded

The last few mornings have seen the top species as Treble Bar as we have managed to check the catch before they all shoot out of the window! Dark fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis heparana) appeared to be new for the year

Nothing new at Leighton Moss other than an increase to 5 Ruff (i.e. 3 Spoonbill, 18 Little Egret). 7 Painted Lady seen along the Cockersands seawall.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Little happening

Heysham Obs
Didnt have chance to check the bushes for Greenish Warbler, so the only birding comprised:

Outfalls area via harbour
Nothing other than a distant Ad Med Gull on the foreshore

Copper Underwing new for the year

3 Spoonbill, several Little Egret and an Osprey in the Leighton Moss area

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Whinchat surprise

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
2nd W Med Gull & adult Little Gull & adult Sandwich Tern on the foreshore & 5 Wheatear and a 1st W Whinchat (definite c/f recent 'chattering' on the LDBWS site!) on the rocks. 8-10 Wheatear Heysham Head (thanks Malcolm)

North wall not covered at all

Middleton IE
A short ringing session before the northerly wind suddenly increased at c0900 included 6 Common and 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Reed Bunting but just the one Sedge Warbler. Quite a few flocks of Linnet & Goldfinch & several ringed.

A new moth for the year in the hut trap was Ypsolopha scabrella
Belgian-ringed Ad Med Gull 36W off north Morecambe again [please do not send this bird in, it is fully documented (see for e.g. Heysham Obs & LDBWS ringing reports)]. 2nd W Med Lune Estuary. 3 Spoonbill and c18 Little Egret Leighton Moss area.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Robin time

Heysham Obs
A calm morning allowed the CES (Constant Effort Site) nets to be set below the old Obs Tower 0600-1000. There were plenty of migrant Robins ticking around the nature reserve and the autumnal feel was enhanced by most of the calling phylloscs appearing to be Chiffchaff. 7 Robins were trapped and ringed along with 3 Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler

No known coverage of the foreshore areas

Better, with higher quality year ticks than the previous night in the form of Red Underwing and the seemingly declining Tawny-speckled Pug. Local species included Bordered Beauty

3 Spoonbill still at Leighton Moss

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Little Gull reappears

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
2 x 2nd W Med Gull in the morning, one of these plus the Czech-ringed adult Med in the afternoon. No sign of any Black Guillemot since the male was back to its old solitary routine chasing Feral Pigeon (and perhaps, by default, Turnstone) on the outer section of the wooden jetty on 14th August.

Outfalls/Red nab
Adult Little Gull in the morning at least. An afternoon high tide count at Red Nab saw a routine 5 Sandwich Tern but a juvenile Kittiwake was new in. Common Sandpiper also seen.

Square-spot Rustic and Rosy Rustic rather belatedly new for the year in the hut moth trap. Also the first of the autumn brood of Common Marbled Carpet. Riveting stuff.

Two separate checks of the Lune Estuary early and mid-morning produced a combined total of 3 adult and two 2nd W Med Gulls. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was also off Glasson quay. 3 Spoonbill and 18 Little Egret at Leighton Moss. The only tern in the area away from Heysham was a Sandwich at Teal Bay!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Meds and a lost tree rat

Heysham Obs
Red Nab per-high tide
Unringed adult and juv Med Gulls

North harbour wall just after high tide
Czech-ringed adult and two 2nd W Med Gulls

Grey Squirrel along the north harbour wall

3 Med Gulls at Bank End (nr Cockerham) high tide roost and 3 Green Sandpiper in the Aldcliffe area

Friday, 17 August 2007

Dire seawatching

Heysham Obs
I know it is deceptive, but the line of wind generators really do look like an extension of that other nuisance, Walney Island, with respect to seabirds entering the Bay. About 1.5 hours over the last 4 days or so has, apart from a surprising flock of Common Scoter, not produced a single seabird (inc. tern!). It is difficult enough to get them to "turn round" or be blown round against the preferred direction without this windfarm. Stick to spring seawatching unless there is a period of howling onshore gales which do not go round to the NW!

North wall
No sign Black Guillemots. Ad & one 2nd W Med Gulls.

Quite a few Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler scattered around but probably none of these exceeding single figures.

Butterfly census
Highlighted by 4 Gatekeeper and a fresh Painted Lady

3 Spoonbill and up to 18 Little Egret Leighton Moss area. 2 2nd W and one adult Med Gull north Fylde coast.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Black Guillemots still absent

Heysham Observatory
North harbour wall
Two adult (one Czech-ringed with 5 old primaries) and 2 2nd winter Med Gulls. Note the second winters are in the final stages of moult with the outer primaries in stage 3/4, giving the birds a very blunt-ended appearance c/p adults at rest.

Meds. can be awkward at this time of year. If there is any doubt as to the stage of wing moult in resting 'adult-like' birds with 'black wing-tips' i.e. whether the black-tipped outer primaries are old unmoulted feathers = 2nd S moulting to 3rd=ad winter or as described above = 1st summer moulting to 2nd W, the bare parts can be quite helpful. The legs on 2nd W/2nd S birds are dark reddish brown and this can sometimes remain as an obvious feature as late as the 3rd W = otherwise adult plumage, allowing 3rd W to be identified (and the feature checked on ringed known 3rd W). 2nd W birds also have quite 'washed-out' orangy-red bills but these are usually indistinguishable from adults once 2nd summer plumage is attained.

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Very unproductive with just one Sandwich Tern and a high class of holidaymaker this week snaffling all the Daily Mirror from the caravan park shop. Surely the Ad Little Gull was not a one-day bird?

Quite a few Med Gull in coastal areas on and south of the Lune Estuary as wet fields disperse birds which are 'usually' on Heysham outfalls (numbers there well down)? 3 Spoonbill and 'a lot' of Little Egret EM Pools.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

A few migrants

Heysham Obs
Completely caught out by calm passerine migrant weather and no birders arrived prior to 0900hrs! Quite a few Willow Warbler calling from the bushes (10-15), two Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat together in the brambles opposite the office and 5+ Wheatear on the coastal bits

Outfalls/Red Nab
4 Sandwich Tern and a 2nd W Med Gull

North harbour/heliport
2 2nd W Med Gulls and at least one adult but no sign of any Black Guillemot in a 20min visit just after HT.

The first (2) Sallow enhancing the autumnal feel

Another picturesque shot of Monday's Scalloped Hook-tip (Reuben Neville)

3 Spoonbill & 16 Little Egret Leighton area. Up to 340 Dunlin at Sunderland just 'contained' a juv Knot with a Black-tailed Godwit nearby i.e. no sign of yesterdays Curlew Sand & Little Stint.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Meds back on patrol. Belated first adult Little Gull

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Czech-ringed adult and two 2nd W (still growing outer primaries) Med Gull on the railings along the north wall just after high tide showing down to about 2 metres!

A flock of 21 Common Scoter was very unexpected - flying out

Wooden jetty
Male Black Guillemot chasing Turnstone and Feral Pigeons on top of the jetty! No sign of female in 10 mins observation

Adult Little Gull new in. Two Sandwich Tern but no Meds amongst 350 BH Gulls

Moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper and adult Little Stint with c350 Dunlin Sunderland before being flushed by fisherman and flying towards Overton out of sight. 3 Spoonbill and up to 18 Little Egret Leighton Moss area

Monday, 13 August 2007

New moth species

Heysham Bird Observatory
Wooden jetty/harbour/heliport area
Both Black Guillemots on the sea below the wooden jetty
Ad Med Gull roosting on the heliport at HT, another Ad on the sea off the north harbour wall

A dark morph adult Arctic Skua was distantly making its way out of the Bay during a quick check on the WeBS count

Red Nab area
2nd S moulting to ad W Med Gull

Scalloped Hook-tip in the trap this morning. This birch feeder was recorded yesterday at Lord's Lot Bog and, unless recent records contradict, represent the 4th and 5th for VC60 (northern 2/3 of Lancashire). Definitely not accidental transport of yesterday's individual! Small Wainscot new for the year

Scalloped Hook-tip. Thanks Reuben

Three Spoonbill & 14 Little Egret Leighton area. Ad winter Spotted Redshank & Greenshank on the Strathmore groyne off Morecambe at HT, Belgian-ringed Ad Med Gull nearby

Sunday, 12 August 2007

National moth night highlights

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Four Med Gulls here: Czech-ringed adult, unringed adult and two 2nd summer moulting to adult winter. No sign of last winter's 1st summer

No sign of the Black Guillemots during this early morning visit

Moth trap
The rather subdued highlights in the toilet trap were Southern Wainscot (smaller than yesterday's individual) and a latish example of that Heysham specialist, Straw Underwing.

North Lancs. NMN highlights so far
In retrospect we should have really highlighted how good a cloud muggy drizzly period is just prior to the rain proper! Early indications suggest that some may have been put off by the weather. For those who went for it, it was an excellent night, although the rain arrived just too early to sheet and light the Roeburndale oakwoods. The first hour of darkness provided the best moorland moth trapping conditions this year, as is so often the case just prior to heavy rain.

In so far: Blomer's Rivulet (Yealand garden trap), Four Pale Eggar, three Confused, Ling (form of Wormwood) Pug and a Grey Mountain Carpet on sheet and light Leck Fell (2115 to 2215), Barred Chestnut and no less than 5 Striped Twin-spot Carpet in an actinic set on Warton Crag LWT section, Scalloped Hook-tip (4th record for VC60) at Lord's Lot Bog, Red Carpet & Buff Footman (range extension) at Greenbank Farm near Thrushgill, Yellow-barred Brindle at High Tatham, a late Silver Ground Carpet at Leck village

Birds: same again at Leighton Moss with 3 Spoonbill and up to 14 Little Egret. TWO Yellow-legged Gull adults on the Lune Estuary near Glasson.

a few bits

Heysham Obs
The Black Guillemots were reportedly still present mid-afternoon

Reasonable catch included Toadflax Pug, Southern Wainscot & Chinese Character

3 Spoonbill & 13 Little Egret Leighton Moss. Osprey carrying a fish Melling, Lune valley this evening. A pre-rain National Moth Night trapping session up Leck Fell included 3 Confused, 4 Pale Eggar and a Grey Mountain Carpet

Friday, 10 August 2007

Predicting falls and airy-fairy weather forecasts

Heysham Obs
Yesterday dawned clearish and coolish with an extremely light north-easterly airflow which turned round to an equally light southerly airflow during the first 2-3 hours of daylight. This change of wind direction in slack conditions has regularly produced small falls at Heysham and yesterday was no exception. This morning was supposed to have dawned cloudy +/- a tiny amount of drizzle and a light south/south-west airflow - reasonable conditions to drop a migrant or two. Nothing of the sort: crystal clear departure weather overnight with a southerly airflow and a bank of cloud on the horizon. Result: a deathly silence in the main trapping area around the office as 'nothing' remained from yesterday and just three birds trapped, none obvious migrants (the one Lesser Whitethroat probably of local origin at this stage of the autumn). This changed slightly as the cloud arrived in late morning and appeared to drop one or two Willow Warbler and Whitethroat.

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Little Egret, Greenshank and a flock of 21 summer/moulting Grey Plover along with a more routine adult Med Gull

Harbour area
No time to check today but BOTH Black Guillemot were in the harbour mouth yesterday

Flounced Rustic was new for the year

Reliable sources indicate that the Little Egret count in the Leighton area has reached 19 (record Lancs count) although the number easily visible i.e. feeding in viewable areas has been 12-13. Three Spoonbill still in the area. Ad Med Gull Teal Bay

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Twenty-one today!

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
A male Southern Hawker was a long-overdue new species for the site and took the list to 21, not bad for a northern site. 16 of these breed at the site. A single Ruddy Darter was along the lamppost dyke in the western marsh and there were good numbers of Emperor and Brown & Migrant Hawker scattered around as well as a latish Black-tailed Skimmer on the model boat pond. A Wall Brown was a welcome sight.

The three singing Grasshopper Warbler on the last visit a week ago were silent (presumed departed) and the only evidence of this species was a single juvenile, which may not have been of local origin, trapped and ringed. Quite a few Willow Warbler trickled through (10-15 at a site not renowned for this species) but vis mig was limited to just 4 Swift and an earlyish Tree Pipit. A Spotted Flycatcher sat on a fence near the model boat pond was unexpected A Kingfisher made a brief appearance.

Heysham Nature Reserve
As suggested by the dissipated but still noticeable Willow Warbler presence at Middleton, the bushes nearer the coast contained a higher concentration of migrants during a trip to the office at c0800hrs. Around the office were: 10+ Whitethroat (5 in the buddleias), 3 unringed 1st winter (post-juv moult) Robin, 15 or so Willow Warbler.

Heysham Head
Two Wheatear (one two days ago) plus 3 Small Copper

Southern Wainscot continued to feature in the hut trap and rendered even more noticeable by the virtual lack of Smoky Wainscot this year.

No coverage of the shore sites so NNEW on the Black Guillemot for a few days now. Anyone out there assuming they were being recorded and therefore did not publicise their sighting? Thanks in anticipation.

3 Spoonbill. 12 Little Egret and an Osprey Leighton Moss area. Adult Yellow-legged Gull and one Little Egret visible from Sunderland tidal road looking towards Basil Point at low tide.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

End of daily reports until September

We have a really unfortunate situation where the main insect etc. recorders just cannot access the site. Therefore postings for the remainder of August will be intermittent and it is hoped to start daily sightings again in early September. This is not sounding the death knell but facing reality in the short term. Apologies to people who routinely access the site on a daily basis, but have you any contributions to make yourselves?

7th September
A Garden Warbler was ringed - the first of the autumn for a species which does not breed in the Heysham area

8th September
Wormwood Pug new for the year along with Lesser Swallow Prominent, a scarce species at Heysham!

Thanks Reuben

Monday, 6 August 2007

Cool and antless

Heysham Obs
Red Nab/outfalls
Shimmering heat haze made the gull id very difficult in conjunction with 'non-standard' moulting plumages but 1 x Ad, 1 x 1st S and 1 x juv Med Gulls were noted

One Black Guillemot which promptly flew out to sea

Small Phoenix, Udea lutealis, Six-striped Rustic and one I cant remember were new for the year

6 or so Black-tailed Skimmer still on the model boat pond

Ad Med Gull by the Stone Jetty. Ruddy Darter at Bankwell:

Sunday, 5 August 2007

A good insect day

Heysham Obs
Dog walkers were fleeing the site in their droves due to flying ants this afternoon - a density I have not seen for many years.

Wooden jetty
Both Black Guillemot reported

Aerial observations
Very few gulls on the outfalls due to the ants. Ad & 1st S Med gull located anting

Red Nab
2 Whimbrel

Insects (nature reserve)
Butterflies: Plenty of Red Admiral and at least 5 Gatekeeper
Dragonflies: The coverage benefited from a visiting expert who was able to work the reserve in decent conditions (at last) whilst Colin covered Middleton IE. 6 Ruddy Darter, at least 4 Black Darter, 2 Common Hawker, 1+ Migrant Hawker and a few Brown Hawker
Moths: Orange Swift was new for the year and Dog's Tooth an irregular visitor

Insects (Middleton IE)
Butterflies: Grayling seen
Dragonflies: 14 male and 2 female Emperor, 3 Black-tailed Skimmer, pristine-looking 4-spotted Chaser was unexpected, 2 Emerald Damselfly (at the very least!), 2 male Ruddy Darter

Elsewhere (Insects)
Millhouses, Wray moth trap: a 'tick' for me in the form of a male Four-spotted Footman (the fourth VC60 and about the 6th county record if you ignore bits ceded to Merseyside and GM)

male 4-spotted Footman. Thanks Gary

At least three White-letter Hairstreak at Stairend bridge but the one visiting the thistles was extremely worn as might be expected by this time.
8 Common Hawker along the sheltered northern edge of Thrushgill plantation
2 Manchester Treble Bar moth at Loftshaw Moss, west of Lowgill (NB wet and potentially dangerous but the moth does occur on drier ground either side of the Lancs/Yorkshire border near the Great Stone of Fourstones)

Elsewhere (birds)
Four Crossbill, presumably Common at Thrushgill but only heard calling and seen in flight silhoette. NO access due to logging activities. Also family party of Siskin with the young only recently fledged

Usual recent fare at Leighton Moss with no increase on the 13 Little Egret and the three Spoonbill still remaining

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Dreary day

Heysham Obs
Request for help: This site has survived 'in spite of' with just one day missed since the inception in mid-December. The problem has been that two of the key people (including the warden) cannot access the site from home computers. They have been given the username and password but end up in a loop with red writing saying they have not got the appropriate password after they have clicked 'sign in'.

Any solutions to/reasons for this please? Thanks.

Brief visit to the harbour mouth/NH wall
One Black Guillemot visible on top of the wooden jetty early afternoon in conditions not encouraging a lengthy stay. An adult Med Gull was along the NHW and in the harbour mouth but it could not be seen whether there was a metal ring above the knee = the returning Czech bird. Two other adult Med on the outfalls along with 5 Sandwich Tern in the Red Nab area

Grey Seal off the harbour mouth

Thanks Jon for today's info

13 or so Little Egret and 3 Spoonbill Leighton Moss area

Friday, 3 August 2007

Tedious Med search

Heysham Obs
Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge mudflats
2,000 moulting Black-headed Gulls, just two Meds this lunchtime on the incoming tide as viewed from Red Nab (Ad & 1st S).

No evidence of any movements today

Again the very low numbers of common species was the main theme. Top was Straw Underwing with just 8 and Common Rustic comprised just one! Sandy Carpet (I think!) and Rosy Minor new for the year.

Sandy Carpet. Thanks Reuben

Up to 3 Spoonbill and 13 Little Egret Leighton Moss area. Adult Hobby targeting the embryonic Swallow roost at Melling maize field this pm. Red Kite in the X of Greet area flew over Whitray towards the head of the Dunsop valley. Untagged.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Second record of Buff Footman

Heysham Obs
Wooden jetty/harbour
Reasonably good search of the harbour area failed to reveal any Shag but the 2 Black Guillemot were by the wooden jetty

Checked rather too late i.e high tide. Two juvenile and a 1st summer Med Gull were sat on the sea but no sign of any Little Gull

30-40 Swift over Middleton IE. Scattering of presumed migrant Willow Warbler and Whitethroat

A female Buff Footman was eventually identified - the second record -pic tomorrow.

The three Spoonbill and 12-14 Little Egret still at Leighton Moss

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

First 'autumnal' Little Gulls

Heysham Obs
Thanks to John Mason for all the bird info.

Outfalls/Red Nab
TWO juvenile Med Gull today along with a 3rd W (as yesterday) and 1st summer. Two 1st S Little Gull were undoubtedly those recorded at JB Point a few days ago - now they are here they should stay! Two Sandwich Tern and at least two Whimbrel.

Wooden jetty/harbourmouth
Two Black Guillemot on the water at least 0830hrs. Dare I say that dredger activity may have displaced the last remaining Shag [from last autumn] away from the area?

The reedbed trap was run and produced more Southern Wainscot and a few Small China Mark. The hut trap saw a battered Bordered Beauty and another Nutmeg.

The declining Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet was in the reedbed trap along with the pyralid Small China Mark; the other is the battered Bordered Beauty. Thanks Reuben.