Sunday, 30 September 2007

Reasonable vis, too clear for grounded birds in any numbers

Heysham Obs
Norwegian-ringed Kittiwake found dead by the outfalls. Vis during the first two hours of the day was reasonable and included the first Brambling of the year

Vis by the office 0700-0915
Chaffinch - 219, mainly SW
Greenfinch - 75S
Goldfinch - 30S
Reed Bunting - 3 SW
alba Wagtail - 17S
Grey Wagtail - 4SE
Meadow Pipit - 48SE (most went S of Power Station?)
Redwing - 15S
Song thrush - 13 high inland or SE
Woodpigeon - 9SW
Redpoll spp - 2 SE, almost certainly on perceived size and low-pitched rather harsh calls, not Lesser
Linnet - 11SE
Brambling 1, prob 2 SW
Starling - 107S
Pink-footed Goose - both flocks headed high NE! - 46+27
Blue Tit - 8S (including high flock of 5)
Swallow - just 11 (most tend to move later, also note lack of Skylark)
Collared Dove - 2 SE
Mistle Thrush - 37SE
Bullfinch - 1S
Siskin - 4S
Coal Tit - 3S
Carrion Crow - one high bird to the S prob a migrant
Jay - jut one S

Poor: 2 Chiffchaff and just one Goldcrest heard. One Wheatear. Only half a dozen migrant thrushes remained during mid-morning check of bushes

Med Gull: 3 x 2nd W 1 x ad north harbour wall
Guillemot - one again in the intake area of the harbour
Kingfisher - one around the outfalls again
Raven - 2 blogging

Great Grey Shrike at Leighton Moss sitting on the various isolated bushes in the reedbed between public and lower hides (also one at Rossall Point first thing). Great White Egret also in the LM area

Saturday, 29 September 2007

A varied morning spoilt by being too cloudy, yet not low enough to drop migrants

Heysham Obs
Managed to forget the obvious - advertise the Ringing/Migration morning on this site! It was not to bad at all althought he 'vis', especially cross-bay, was curtailed by 'medium-high cloud' of the variety which is usually 'useless'. Too high to 'drop' any migrants, especially if there is no precipitation, yet thick and extensive enough to discourage vis mig. Enough grounded birds were around to provide a nice steady variety to show people in the hand, including the noisy/aggressive species!

Unthinkable even 5 years ago, rather like the Egret-fest at Leighton, 4 out of the 5 north harbour Med Gulls were in a line (with 2 BHG) - the furthest bird is the Czech-ringed adult.

3 2nd W & Ad Med with 2 Black-headed Gull. Thanks to Jon Barber. This is an e-mail-reduced pic and better ones may be available Monday.

Plenty of species, including 4 continental Song Thrush, two (partial)migrant Coal Tit, a Grey Wagtail, a Reed Bunting, a Chiffchaff, just one Goldcrest etc..

Vis Mig
Redwing - just 4 heading NE & one heard earlier on
Bullfinch - a flock of 4 moved high to the south
Woodpigeon - 24 S
Collared Dove 2S
Jay 2S
Swallow 3S
Chaffinch 35, many of these flying north!
Goldfinch 6S
Grey Wagtail 2S
alba Wagtail 17S
Greenfinch 28SW
Meadow Pipit 16SE
Mistle Thrush 13SW

Highlighted by a female House Sparrow - the first on the reserve this year - it eventually headed off south-west! One Wheatear on the north wall. At least 5 Blackbird looking like long-winged continental birds. c10 Song Thrush. 1 new Chiffchaff and just one Goldcrest.

4 2nd W and an adult Med Gull on the north harbour wall. One of the 2nd W was a brief visitor to the food, the other 4 birds remained and landed together (see photo).
Guillemot in the harbour

Middleton IE
Increase to 25 Tufted Duck, also 8 Teal and a female/imm Stonechat

Great White Egret Leighton Moss. 5 Barnacle Geese and a Purple Sandpiper over the high tide at Pilling Lane Ends [& 2 leucistic Pinkfeet]. Adult Arctic and juvenile Common Terns on Pine Lake (brief visit - may have been more). Two Scaup at Teal Bay. Wagtail roost at Melling in maize saw c50% White on birds trapped using the 'Livingstone criteria'. The Whites were almost all identifiable on "feel" in the hand i.e. smaller than Pied as borne out by wing length and weight.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Not a lot during an early(ish) visit

Heysham Obs
A combination of a small ringing effort and an 1.5hrs vis produced a very routine fare:

Most of the new birds were Blue & Great tits and common finch species but did include a Blackcap, Coal Tit, 2 Robin and 2 Wren

Vis by the office 0745-0915
Not without minor highlights, notably the high-flying flock of 3 Bullfinch which eventually headed east inland.

Collared Dove - 4+1+1 south
Redwing - just 8 SW!
Blackbird - at least 5 definite long-winged migrants which few high inland. Very early for this species.
Chaffinch - 17 SW
Meadow Pipit - 24 SE
alba Wagtail - 3 SE
Bullfinch - 3 E (see above)
Goldfinch - 5 S
Woodpigeon - 11 S
House Martin - 3 S
Swallow - 1S!
Greenfinch - 15 SW
Jackdaw - 2 N
Grey Wagtail - 1SE
Jay - just 2 S

Outfalls/Red Nab/OE foreshore
The only thing was a 1st W Med way in the distance on the seaward end of Heysham One outfall - ring status obviously not seen! The lack of grounded Meadow Pipt ande alba wagtail was noticeable reflecting the very poor cross-bay passage both this morning and yesterday

The Harris Hawks are being exercised within the non-op land during their 'non-working'=no nesting gulls season. Contrary to rumour, there is no evidence that the Chough was killed by one of these but the disappearance does coincide with the exercising of these raptors around its favoured 'bolt hole' when disturbed from the seawall. On the other hand, this may be just coincidence and a change to easterly sector winds and lower temperatures may have been an influence.

Some reasonable vis on the LDBWS site. NNEW on anything from Leighton Moss! Two Arctic and one Common Tern off Jenny Brown's Point.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Are you sure it is only 27th September?

Heysham Obs
The morning started with scraping ice off the windscreen and a short 'vis' session saw a species composition more suited to mid-October than the last few days of September. The main themes were a very early thrush arrival with the earliest ever Fieldfare (27 years obs.) and an increase in the already perceptible Jay movement

Vis 0730-0930 by the NR office
Redwing - 158, mainly SW. The first was a grounded bird which headed inland at 0730, then swung SW, the rest were all 'vis'
Meadow Pipit - just 41 SE
Fieldfare - 2 SW
Yellowhammer - 1 south (rare here)
Blackbird - at least one migrant flew high inland with Song Thrush
Dunnock - one high to the south
Chaffinch - Just 5 SW
Greenfinch - 47 SW
Jay - 27 south, including a flock of 12
Goldfinch - 8 S
alba Wagtail - 7 SE
Siskin - 1 S
Swallow - 14 S
House Martin - 3 S
Woodpigeon - 6 S
Reed Bunting - 1 S
Tree Sparrow - flock of 7 SE
Carrion Crow - flock of 5 S
Song Thrush - 28 grounded birds high inland to the E. Those seen well appeared to be olive-coloured continental birds and this was certainly suggested by the behaviour (and associated species!)
Ring Ouzel - grounded adult(?) male flew high towards the SE corner of the reserve

See above re-thrushes. At least 10 Goldcrest and at least 5 Chiffchaff

No sign on non-op or on foreshore but plenty of places it could still be.

1st W Med at long range

North harbour wall
Not checked

Turtle Dove Cockersands late afternoon - flew towards Crook Farm. 'Stubble burning' at Cockersands produced 60-70 Skylark and 30-40 Meadow Pipit but no Laps. Great White Egret Leighton area. Ad & juv Arctic and ad Common Tern on Pine lake. Hybrid Ferruginous x Pochard at Leighton Moss late evening.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

No sign of Chough but non-op not visited

Thanks to Simon for photos
Heysham Obs
Chough: I'll have a look on the non-op land tomorrow and let RBA know straight away. Unfortunately the favoured area therein is very difficult to observe. It could, of course, have departed!

Vis mig
A busy day today - little time:

0820-0920 - all birds heading between SE & SW
Meadow Pipit - 55
Chaffinch - 21
Grey Wagtail -1
Swallow - 6
Linnet - 16
Goldfinch - 3
Greenfinch - 14

4 new Robin, 3 new Goldcrest and a new Chiffchaff ringed in a short session with 4 nets

Kingfisher again on Red Nab (5th day). At least one 2nd W Med Gull north wall:

Migrant Hawker photographed:

Great White Egret Leighton Moss, but little else reported today other than some nice vis data from Lancaster University including Jay movement (see LDBWS site)

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

What a contrast to yesterday!

Thanks to Simon Hawtin for todays photographs
Heysham Obs
This morning dawned flat calm, not exactly what was forecasted, and all the ringers and vis miggers were caught out! Vis Mig belatedly carried out and it was excellent including further evidence of tit movement. The other theme was a number of birders searching for Chough and a few 'spin-offs', the most surprising being THREE Guillemot in the harbour - just like the old days!
Vis by the office 0930-1100 (south-west unless stated)
Green Woodpecker - juv headed south - rare here
Meadow Pipit - 454 south
Skylark - 7 south-east
Swallow - 15 (all low) south - prob most following coast
Goldfinch - 17
Siskin - 22
Reed Bunting - 4
Chaffinch - 53
Jay - 1+2
House Martin - 58 (unlike the Swallows these were high)
Great Tit - 11 south
Blue Tit - 36 south
Coal Tit - 19 south
Greenfinch - 11
Grey Wagtail - 8 south-east
Woodpigeon - 3
Pink-footed Goose - 27+45+5 south
alba Wagtail - 14
Dunnock - 2+1 high to the south
Merlin - prob female high to the south
see insects

Two flocks of Long-tailed Tits went through and at least the 6 or so pairs of legs seen were all unringed.


Quite a bit with 5+ Chiffchaff in the vicinity of the hut and probably double-figures if, as seemed, they were moving through. At least 6 Goldcrest by the hut along with a male Blackcap. Plenty of Wren calling
as is often the case when they are on the move. Coastally there were at least 4 Wheatear around and a Rock Pipit on the north wall

Seen up until c0915 on the seawall, then flew on to the non-operational land and was not subsequently reported

Outfalls/Red Nab
At least two Sandwich Tern

Metal-ringed 1st W Med Gull (therefore not yesterdays bird)

North wall/harbour
Three Guillemot
At least 4 Med Gull (3 2nd W & Ad)
No sign of any Shag
Two Red Admiral south along the NHW c1100hrs. Migrant Hawker by the office as early as 0945hrs

Speckled Wood have had a rough time recently!

Great White Egret Allen/EM Pools, Little Egret at Blea Tarn Reservoir, single-figure scattering of Curlew Sandpiper at coastal sites. Surprisingly little vis reported, other than Meadow Pipit over Carnforth Slag Tips, but there were two Rock Pipit at the Stone jetty and 5+ Chiffchaff in the 'dome bushes' there.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Strong onshore winds at last!

Heysham Obs


Three lots of about 45 mins each spanning 0755-1330. Nothing spectacular but a really good array of species

Pintail - 217 out (largest of 6 flocks was 69), Shelduck - 17 out, Pink-footed Goose - 26 south, Common Scoter - 2 out, Red-throated Diver - 1 in, Arctic Skua - dark morph ad in at 1015hrs, Bonxie - one out at 1145hrs, Sandwich tern - 5, Kittiwake - 6, Fulmar - 5, Shag - juv round the wooden jetty, Gannet - 1, Guillemot - 1, Little Gull - one ad in harbour mouth, Mediterranean Gull - 6 in the harbour mouth including a newly arrived 1st W, Knot - 3,500 out, Dunlin - 60 out a couple of wheeling things in poor light/rain one of which was probably a Manx Shearwater.


Showing well this morning - up until 0940 it was by the large grey store in the non-op land (view through fence by the dog walk pond) and then it was on the seawall briefly between Ocean Edge and Heysham outfalls before returning to the non-op land

Ocean Edge foreshore & misc

A nice 'seen from' in the form of a distant Little Egret off Middleton. They are very rare in the Obs recording area. Also two Raven which eventually flew east. This species may be just about to lose its boldface status. A single Jackdaw flew over the roundabout at the end of the bypass.


Afternoon visit to Pine Lke: Arctic Tern: ad & juv, Common Tern: juv, Ferruginous x Pochard female, drake Scaup. Great White Egret still Leighton Moss.

*Sorry about spacing problems above - cant seem to find a way to edit

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Chough spin-offs

Heysham Obs
The extra Chough coverage is kicking in, most notably producing Kingfisher on Red Nab both today and yesterday

Showing very well early morning along the seawall between Red Nab and Heysham 2 outfall (see pics on LDBWS site) but one flush too many at 0930 and it flew towards the non-operational land. It reappeared on the seawall at 1220ish but was regularly flushed and again disappeared towards the non-op land/tank farm. This seawall is a regular dog-walk.

North harbour wall
At one stage, as the IOM ferry was departing port, there were FOUR 2nd W and a single adult Med Gulls around. Later an additional adult was seen with the Czech-ringed bird near Heysham One outfall. 4-5 female Eider offshore. Guillemot on the sea off the harbour early morning.

Red Nab/harbour area
Sandwich Terns on Red Nab reached a peak of 15, but turnover suggested perhaps 18 - a good total for late September. Two late Whimbrel were seen.

c300 Linnet on Ocean Edge saltmarsh and 3 Wheatear.

Inhibited by the early morning weather but 30 mins 0845-0915 produced 21 Swallow an 16 Meadow Pipit heading south

The second Frosted Orange of the year and 3rd-5th Black Rustic. Two late Treble Bar.

Drake Greater Scaup and female Ferruginous Duck x Pochard on Pine Lake this evening. Great White Egret, 24 Little Egret 8 each of Curlew Sand and Spotted Redshank but no sign of the Pec. Sandpiper on the EM Pool. Juv Curlew Sandpiper at Cockersands and perhaps the same at Sunderland given the direction the birds flew from.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Good coverage: Chough relocated

Heysham Obs
This was a funny day which was not too amusing for the ringers as the Grey Wagtail study missed a good morning due to equipment problems. Yet there were many positives, not the least the relocation of the Chough by Malcolm along the seawall by the outfalls! The other main feature was a very varied display of vis mig during a 3.5 hour period punctuated by requests to write down the ringing details of Blue Tits and other social responsibilities such as coffee making! As usual, the Meadow Pipit total probably suffered the most but there was plenty else to see.

Red Nab/outfalls
The Chough was located tearing at pieces of vegetation along the seawall and eating the contents. It remained all day, despite regular short-term disturbance. Does anyone know where it went to roost, please?

Vis Mig
By the office 0730-1100hrs: ALL heading between SE and SSW

Skylark 1
Chaffinch 135
Song Thrush 6
Jay 5
Meadow Pipit 229
Redpoll spp 3
Siskin 15
Greenfinch 27
alba Wagtail 26
Starling 56
Woodpigeon 5
Coal Tit 8
Goldfinch 37
Reed Bunting 2
Pink-footed Goose 21+12+127
Linnet 14
House Martin 68
Swallow 110
Mistle Thrush 8
Grey Wagtail 12
Sparrowhawk 1
Jackdaw 1

Comments: Jays were recorded on the move elsewhere today. The Chaffinch passage was most unexpected at this site so early. There is often a trickle of rather low-flying birds of presumed British origin but this morning saw the largest numbers for this 'early' in the autumn. The Song Thrush were definite migrants as is not unusual at this time of year (see earlier posting). The Coal Tit were definite migrants and the ringing plus observation also suggested some Blue Tit were also on the move but less 'obviously'. Jackdaw are rare at Heysham! Finally the Redpoll spp were by no means 'obvious' Lesser but no detail, other than vague size estimate, could be seen.

3 Chiffchaff & 3 Wheatear but little evidence of anything else from the ringing (2 new Robin and 2 new Goldcrest being the only exceptions)

Two Raven, initially singly, 'blogging'. Two 2nd W Med Gulls during a short visit to the north harbour wall.

Pectoral Sandpiper seen by experienced observers on the EM Pool this afternoon and presumed to be a juv, but views a little distant. Great White Egret & c24 Little Egret still on EM Pool along with 2-3 Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. Drake Greater Scaup or hybrid was on Pine Lake late afternoon but light poor. Bill seemed ok for Scaup but colour tones not easy to discern.

Friday, 21 September 2007

wet wet wet dry sunny

Heysham Obs
A vertical rain day as the wind dropped to zilch. Cleared early afternoon and insects such as Migrant Hawker (2 on Middleton) and Speckled Wood were quickly on the wing. Most unusual was a group of 14 Swallow which 'leaf-fell' on to the water-turbulent seaward end of Heysham one outfall just like a flock of Arctic Tern in spring. They then flew purposefully north.

Harbour/north wall
Guillemot - one on the seaward end of Heysham One outfall
Sandwich tern - one offshore
Med Gull - just two 2nd W seen in a brief visit

Three Robin were on the north harbour wall mound and at least 2 Chiffchaff around the nature reserve centre

Middleton IE
7 Teal & female Stonechat (first of the autumn)

The third record this autumn of (un)Common Wainscot

Great White Egret Leighton Moss EM Pool

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Bits and bobs on the sea

Heysham Obs
A bit frustrating as one observer had long-range views of what appeared to be a juv Sabine's Gull following the 1600 freight ferry but it was not possible to reach the other side of the harbour quickly and this remains just a possibility.

Two lots produced the following:
Black Tern - juv gradually making its way into the Bay early afternoon
Sandwich Tern - 9 offshore late afternoon
Kittiwake - 1+3+1 in

None recorded - no early morning visit possible in poor weather

North wall
3 x 2nd W and at least one adult Med Gull cruising around

Red Nab
3 Sandwich Tern roosting late afternoon (in addition to offshore birds)

No sign of the Chough in a thorough search of the non-operational land.

Great White Egret, 2 Little Stint, 3 Curlew Sandpiper Leighton Moss/EM Pool. Guillemot off Stone Jetty

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Medfest but no Chough reports in poor coverage

Heysham Observatory
Non-operational land/Ocean Edge
A brief check by car in driving rain this morning confirmed that the Chough was not at yesterday's location, as the 1415 sighting suggested it wouldn't be. Quick check of Ocean Edge foreshore area at low tide drew a blank. Plenty of suitable habitat on the un-covered Middleton IE site.

Red Nab
Adult Med at low tide

North harbour wall
FIVE Meds during an early afternoon seawatch, including one flying in-off out of the murk (2 x Ad, 3 x 2nd W). The seawatching was just that.

Wheatear around the reserve car park and another at Red Nab

Non-existent other than 5 Swallows south during a short break in the wet weather

Great White Egret, 2 Little Stint, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, c15 Little Egret EM Pool late afternoon. No wildfowl of interest during a thorough check of the Dockacres complex, so the female Ferruginous x Pochard was, on current info., a one-day bird. Definitely not at Leighton?

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

"Pull back" after 30 years!

Heysham Obs
In 1977, Tony Riden photographed a Chough on Heysham Head following severe November storms. Today, another was found on the Power Station non-operational land this morning. Unfortunately, current security measures meant non-inductees had to remain outside the site and the bird proved technically possible to see from the perimeter fence near the 'dog walk' pond (between reserve and Ocean Edge) but the only connection from there was a call at circa 1200hrs. When last seen it was presumed to be feeding on the Tank Farm, the raised area south of the nature reserve and notoriously un-viewable (e.g. Icterine Warbler most recently=2005). Therefore if you wait around long enough you should see it. It was later=1415hrs seen flying over the screening planting at the south of the BE properties towards Ocean Edge but 'not found thereon'

Ring details:
Ringed: NW Anglesey (site confidential) Pullus male (1/4) 29/5/07
Read in field: Heysham Power Station non-operational land 18/9/07

Heysham north wall
THREE second winter Med Gulls coming to bread/bananas etc. along the north harbour wall - this was the scenario reported the other day but wrongly thought to be an error. The usual adult was not seen and tends to be a high tide bird these days
Not really concentrated on with the Chough scenario and mist/whoosh nets out but upwards of 250 Meadow Pipit (prob many more), 4 Grey Wagtail and 4 flocks of Pink-footed Goose totalling about 140 individuals

Unfortunately tractor activities early morning were a necessity and this led to a delay before Meadow Pipits could be taped and ringed. 3 Grey Wagtail, 15 Meadow Pipit and 2 Robin were ringed along about 5 Greenfinch
Green-brindled Crescent new for the year
Great White Egret Leighton Moss.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Pinks but not a lot else

Heysham Obs
A funny morning with conditions much windier on the coast than for e.g. on Caton Moor. Therefore the lid was put on intended ringing other than 7 Meadow Pipit caught in the whoosh net.

Poor other than PF Geese with c20 Meadow Pipit & 4 Grey Wagtail in two hours. Pink-feet totalled 320 (4 flocks) with 'others' casually noted later on

North wall
A brief visit produced one of the 2nd W Med Gulls and a single Meadow Pipit on the mound! A single Wheatear was grounded at the Half-moon Bay end

No sign of the Rustic spp (see yesterday) and nothing new.

No sign of the Sabine's Gull today. Yellow-legged Gull still at Glasson. Great White Egret still present at the EM Pool (I think!)

Sunday, 16 September 2007

At least the music was good

Heysham Obs
The highlight today was a perpetuated seawatch from 1315 to 1400. The seawatch itself saw a pair of Common Scoter out and a balloon with a tag floating in. Ensemble 415 and the renditions of Vivaldi etc from the Edinburgh baroque festival seemed to be the perfect music to accompany the empty wilderness which represented the sea and the three (Ad & 2 x 2nd W) Mediterranean Gulls feeding on an overripe banana. A Guillemot recorded early morning at low tide was unexpected

Red Nab
Two Sandwich Tern at high tide but no (further) Meds.

Moth trap
A bit of a disaster but the description may be good enough. 'What looked a bit like an Uncertain' was accidentally released with subsequent investigation pointing towards Vine's Rustic [one previous from Heysham & just one other (recent) Lancs claim]. Definite new species for the year were: Black Rustic (3) and Pink-barred Sallow (2) . Lets hope the VR goes back in tonight and is confirmed

Mixed messages from the EM Pools with one report of GW Egret (written in LM book) amidst several negative ones........along with a reduction in Little Egret (18). 6 Little Stint & 4 Curlew Sandpiper reported by reliable observers. No sign of the female Ferruginous x Pochard hybrid on Pine Lake but may have been too early (still at Leighton Moss=roosting site now the Fountain Pool is disturbed with the main Pochard flock??). Juv Sabine's Gull located late evening at Halforth (Upper Kent Estuary), initially in a ploughed field, then surface feeding on the estuarine mud. Remained to at least close to dusk but was latterly a bit flighty.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Pink-foot day

Heysham Obs
Bits of coverage today - thanks to Malcolm, Mark and Doreen.

Outfalls/north wall
Ad & 2 x 2nd W Med along the north wall. 2 Sandwich Tern on Red Nab

Middleton IE
10 Teal & a high count of 32 Mallard

2 flocks of c70 Pink-footed Goose S

Butterfly census
Heysham nature reserve: 40 Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Comma, 1 Small Tort, 1 Meadow Brown (surprisingly no Common Blue)

Weasel Middleton

Wood Sandpiper Aldcliffe. Pale-bellied Brent still at Hest Bank. Adult Meds at Battery and Broadway areas. Great White Egret and 24 Little Egret EM Pools plus 20odd wandering Emperor Geese.

Friday, 14 September 2007

First decent Knot assembly

Heysham Obs
More north-westerly rubbish therefore almost all the day's interest was contained within the WeBS data. Brown Rats and quality birding seem to go hand in hand these days (e.g. Leighton Moss feeder) and about 2,100 Knot were spooked into a superb aerial display by a terrified 1st W Brown Rat which was forced out of the heliport rocks by the tide and ran all the way along the seawall pursued by Herring Gulls. However, surely these sort of observations should be eulogised over in winter when there is nowt else to look at, not at supposed peak migration time! All observations nearish high tide.

Red Nab/outfalls/OE foreshore
No sign of the Little Gull but a single 1st W and adult Med Gull

North harbour wall/wooden jetty
Juv Shag flew on to the wooden jetty where there was a high count of 42 Cormorant and a most unusual roost of c280 Redshank accompanying the more usual 110 Turnstone. An adult Sandwich Tern flew out of the Bay

The Czech-ringed adult and two 2nd W Med Gulls were gathered around the solitary angler near the sandplant gate giving superb views

Not really! One Wheatear on OE foreshore.

28 Pink-footed Geese SW (80 were reported over the reserve late yesterday afternoon which certainly fits in with observations elsewhere). 6 southbound Meadow Pipit casually noted but certainly no major vis pasage

Bulrush Wainscot in the hut trap but it looked very like the one from the reedbed two days ago which was released yesterday! They have occurred naturally before

Continuing the Med theme on the WeBS: two unringed adults by the Morecambe Battery/new Grosvenor groyne and the Belgian-ringed adult on the Strathmore groyne. The veteran wintering Spotted Redshank was also on the Strathmore groyne with 510 Redshank. New in for the autumn was the female Ferruginous Duck x Pochard back on Pine Lake (Pochard influence perhaps one generation back - again the wingbar looked pretty white). It is definitely not, however, a pure Ferruginous Duck. "Usual" stuff on the EM Pool in the form of the Great White Egret, 24 Little Egret and 1-2 Little Stint & 2-3 Curlew Sandpiper. Pale bellied Brent Goose at Hest Bank high tide roost and later seen from Teal Bay on the ebb

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Small 'fall' during early morning thick cloud

Heysham Obs
Taken by surprise by the early arrival of a weak weather front which produced arthritis and crackling pylons but no rain as such. Two nets were set next to the office and it became quickly apparent that there had been a small arrival of Chiffchaff with 3 trapped and ringed (no tape used) and at least another 10 or so around.

Chiffchaff c15, Wheatear c10, Blackcap 2, Robin 'several', Sedge Warbler 1

Predictably non-existent other than one Grey Wagtail, TWO Meadow Pipit, c20 Swallow and a group of 4 Greenfinch which were also trapped and found to be unringed.

Pale Mottled Willow and an unknown micro (watch this space!)

Middleton IE
Female Wood Duck still present

Great White Egret, 2 Little Stint 1+ Curlew Sandpiper, 19 Little Egret EM Pool. Ad Yellow-legged Gull visible from Sunderland over the Glasson side (c1730hrs) but no Curlew Sand. at Sunderland. Shag reported at Morecambe Stone Jetty at 0800hrs

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Unhelpful fog

Heysham Obs
As on Sunday, extensive fog, especially offshore, inhibited any early trans-Morecambe Bay vis mig and the "Grey Wagtail mist nets" failed to produce any! Fog is not helpful when it occurs during a north-westerly airflow as opposed to an easterly, when loads of birds often make landfall on reaching the 'curtain'. No doubt we will be spending October cursing the clear weather! It did clear about 0830hrs and a reasonable variety trickled through:

Southbound vis 1000-1130hrs by the office
Swallow 46
Meadow Pipit 15
Lesser Redpoll 1
Siskin 3
Song Thrush 1
Skylark 2
Goldfinch 38
Chaffinch 1
House Martin 16
Grey Wagtail 4
alba Wagtail 2

In addition, two Blue Tit flew quite high to the south

Grounded migrants
The only obvious thing was a Willow Warbler, the first for a few days!

Middleton IE
The noisy female Wood Duck was showing well on the fence pond and seen to be unringed!

New for the year in the moth traps were Frosted Orange (hut) and Bulrush Wainscot (reedbed actinic). Good numbers of late butterflies by the NR office including 3 Meadow Brown, 5 Common Blue, 3 Small Copper and 6 southbound Red Admiral.

There were the following during a very quick check of Middleton IE: 2 male Emperor, 6 Brown Hawker, 11 Migrant Hawker and 2 Emerald Damselfly (presumably many more).

Moneyclose Lane (reserve to Ocean Edge) saw 14 Migrant Hawker with at least 2 others around the office

3+ Curlew Sandpiper on the Lune still, also 2 on the EM Pool. Ad Yellow-legged Gull still off Glasson. Great White Egret and 24 Little Egret still EM Pools. Late news for yesterday - a Hobby targeting the Swallow roost near the canal bridge with traffic lights on the Borwick-Over Kellet road (at the same time as the Melling bird)

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

First decent autumn vis.........but very high and 'challenging'

Heysham Obs
A bits and pieces day which added up to quite a reasonable one, despite more rubbish weather from the north-west

An early morning ringing session 0615-0800 specifically targeted Grey Wagtail as part of a colour ringing programme and eleven southbound migrants were caught, the highest number ringed here in a day, all 1st winter birds. It was not possible, however, to 'do' vis at the same time. Two lightweight migrant Robin were the only other captures in what was a short and very sweet visit!

About 12 Chiffchaff and a minimum of 6 Wheatear but no sign of any sylvia warblers. Vis was undertaken c1030-1130 and comprised 45 Meadow Pipit (but some perhaps missed at great height), one Grey Wagtail, 5 alba Wagtail, 11 Swallow and 2 House Martin. This was very similar to the results from earlier vis. on Caton Moor and Ashley's Farm (Tatham)

Outfalls/Red Nab
Adult Little Gull, adult Med and juv/1st W Med but not many BHG at all.

North harbour wall
Didnt have time to check the wooden jetty and just saw (one of still??) the 2nd W Med in a very short visit.

A juv Curlew Sandpiper influx to the Lune Estuary saw a report of 11+ and perhaps including these was a later flock of 5 at Sunderland and two on the Conder side. Not reflected at the EM Pools, but small waders difficult to observe, with just one juv Curlew andpiper. Yesterdays apparent reduction in Little Egret was a false alarm and there were 24 today along with the Great White Egret. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was still at Glasson. Finally a Hobby successfully targeted the Melling swallow roost again this evening (c1,200 Swallow).

Monday, 10 September 2007

First of the new generation

Heysham Obs
The only observing today involved a trip to the north wall to receive mobile reception. Incidentally, the mobile coverage (at least Orange) is being fully restored in the area just after 10pm this evening. Best was a juvenile Shag (perhaps not surprising given recent Walney & Rossall observations) on the wooden jetty and the Ad & one 2nd W Med Gulls were along the north harbour wall.

A Painted Lady was by the office late afternoon but nothing of any interest graced the moth trap.

Great White Egret apparently still at Leighton Moss EM Pool but Little Egret numbers are dwindling to low double-figures. The first autumnal Red-throated Diver for the inner Bay was seen off JBPoint

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Deader still

Heysham Obs
Given the time of year, this was possibly the worst potentially reasonable migrant day in 28 years of covering Heysham. The coverage was good, unlike yesterday, but the first two hours could have been spent remaining in bed! There have been plenty of examples of clear mornings flattering to deceive as a look to the north-west sees the clouds building up & between 0800 and 0900 the wind suddenly whooshes up from the NW. However, there is normally some vis in the early clear stuff. This morning saw fog around Heysham and over the Bay and for the first two hours, other than a meagre sprinkling of night migrants, mainly low single figures of Robin and Chiffchaff, 'nothing' moved. Then the weather suddenly changed and the cloud & wind increased:

Just 3 Meadow Pipit, one alba wagtail, 5 Swallow 0630-0830 & a single Grey Wagtail at 0920hrs & a southbound Raven at about 1000hrs. Single Dunnock (see below)

About 5 Chiffchaff, one Sedge Warbler and 'a few' Robin. A singleton Jay on the Tank farm may have been a wanderer as the resident birds have been sticking together as a foursome. 8 Wheatear noted at coastal sites. Wildfowl at Middleton saw three new Tufted Duck (6 altogether) and the first Pochard of the autumn. The escaped/feral female Wood Duck remained on the Middleton fence pond (see yesterday).

Nothing on the outfalls despite check on the optimum incoming tide. The north harbour wall seems to be down to a single 2nd W plus the Czech-ringed adult Med Gulls. Only other loggable birds were two Sandwich Tern

An irritating Grey Wagtail tape played from dawn-0830hrs saw no Grey Wagtail at all, not even flying over and ignoring it. No birds would go anywhere near the two nets when this was playing and all ringing was after 0830hrs! "Highlight" was a vis mig Dunnock which dropped out of the sky into the net and its cross-the-bay (?) efforts had reduced its weight to a size zero 16.9grms. 9 Greenfinch, one Sedge Warbler and one Robin completed the ringing total before wind intervened.

Providing you queued (or were early or late in the day), Great White Egret, two Little Stint, three Curlew Sandpiper and 4 Spotted Redshank available from the Eric Morecambe hide. North Morecambe seafront at high tide saw adult Spotted Redshank and the Belgian-ringed adult Mediterranean Gull. Problematic raptor at Leighton Moss Lower hide area catching (but not hawking for) Migrant Hawker dragonflies has been identified as a juvenile Merlin. There has also been a transient Hobby seen well in the Leighton area this last two days........

Saturday, 8 September 2007

No passerine coverage overhead or around reserve area

Heysham Obs
'Title' altered from 'dead' based on Walney and other sightings - a (by recent standards) decent morning was unfortunately missed by all accounts. Coverage of the outfalls and harbour area just produced the routine Ad & 2nd W Med Gulls on the north wall. The outfalls were birdless on the dropping tide

A duck described over the phone whilst in Cheshire superficially resembling eclipse male Garganey on Middleton will hopefully be sorted tomorrow - it may be an escaped hybrid. Sorted out by Malcolm in the evening - a female Wood Duck. Thanks Malcolm.

Great White Egret Eric Morecambe pool - excellent pictures from Cliff Raby on LDBWS site. Also one Curlew Sandpiper

Friday, 7 September 2007

Early morning Grey Wagtails

Heysham Obs
Early morning ringing
The nets by the office were set for Grey Wagtail and 7 were caught and colour-ringed along with an out-of-habitat migrant Sedge Warbler, Robin and a couple of Greenfinch. Very little other vis with Meadow Pipit passage yet to really kick-start.

Not checked I'm afraid for the fourth day running

North wall
Ad & 2nd W Med Gull

A worn Red Underwing was the third of the autumn

Great White Egret Leighton Moss

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Usual Thursday problem

Heysham Obs
Nothing squeaking in the bushes and nothing squeaking overhead in the one minute either way from car to office. A quick check of the potential escapees on the wall of the 'toilet' moth trap saw several Treble Bar & Double-striped Pug and a Canary Shouldered Thorn. These were counted and ushered on their way & but did not have time to check the egg cases.

A justifiable (at last) posting came in the form of a 2nd W Med Gull on the railings during an even quicker visit to the north wall.

Anyone around to cover Thursdays!

Great White Egret and c20 Little Egret Leighton Moss from which there were also Hobby (probably adult) and Merlin reports from reliable observers.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

more north-westerly rubbish

Heysham Obs
Wrong move today - put two nets up next to the office and as soon as this happened, up went the wind strength. Should have checked the outfalls and area in the time available - did anyone else?

Ringing/grounded by the office
Ringing comprised a scintillating 8 Greenfinch, one Robin, one Blue tit, half a retrap Chiffchaff (still in heavy primary moult (PPs 5-8 still in pin/2) and the only firm identification feature was the call after release (& checking back to the original ringing data)) and a very surprsing retrap juvenile Whitethroat from mid-August.

Around were a single Lesser Whitethroat, an additional Whitethroat and best of all a Raven sat on a pylon for half an hour mid-am.

Vis from just outside the office
All early morning, nothing much after 0800hrs: Meadow Pipit 20, Grey Wagtail 1, alba Wagtail 4, Swallow 25, House Martin 2

Wall Brown yesterday near where the dog walkers park (first for the reserve this year, I think!) . Painted Lady on the remnants of the office buddliea today. Moths unremarkable but did include fairly scarce species in the form of Nutmeg and Grey Chi

Great White Egret and 23 Little Egret Allen/EM Pools

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Goldcrests kick off & early vis Skylark

Heysham Obs
All coverage was on the land or overhead today and, whilst plenty of birds were ringed, there was little evidence of other than short/medium-distance 'British' migrants as one would expect with (light) 'north-westerly rubbish' round a high pressure! These shorter distance migrants, however, are very interesting to ring with a much less predictable recovery pattern than say, Sedge Warbler.

Ringing Heysham NR/Middleton
See above: totals included: Robin (6), Goldcrest (5), Blackcap (5), Chiffchaff (3), Wren (6), Grey Wagtail (7), Whitethroat (2). If the Wrens represent partial migrants rather than a relatively recent (therefore unringed) local brood or two, this is early for this species (normally peaking in 2nd week October)

Additional grounded birds included one Lesser Whitethroat, one Sedge Warbler and at least one additional Whitethroat

Vis mig
Grey Wagtail (c12), Skylark (2), <10 Swallow & House Martin & Meadow Pipit

Great White Egret and Osprey at Leighton Moss, also the first (?) Merlin of the autumn. Hobby and Yellow Wagtail at the Melling maize field area this evening, the former attacking a pre-roost flock of 3000+ Swallow

Monday, 3 September 2007

Speckled Wood still flourishing

Heysham Obs
Just a quick visit to the north wall without opening the gate and this produced the three usual Med Gulls: adult and 2 2nd W

Butterfly census (reserve only)
Speckled Wood (35), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Brimstone (2), Painted Lady (1), Red Admiral (3), Green-veined White (1), Small White (4), Large White (1), Meadow Brown (4), Common Blue (3)

Moth trap
You could tell no-one had been in the office today as I didnt check the 'toilet trap' until 1630hrs and there were still 13 Treble Bar on the wall c/f extremely sensitive to vibration produced by footsteps (I crept in!)

Great White Egret, 3 Spoonbill - but some doubt as to whether these were present today and 4 Curlew Sandpiper on the Allen/EM Pool along with 20+ Little Egret. 3 Garganey Griesdale hide

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Little change

Heysham Obs
Spring tides are a bit of a nuisance at this time of year as they clear all the gulls away from the outfalls/Red Nab area without usually producing 'replacements' from elsewhere. This may have been responsible for fewer Meds.

Outfalls/Red Nab/north wall
Med. Gull: Just the three juvs today, including re-reading the white darvic bird. Additional adult and 2nd W on the outfalls side and 2 2nd W & the Czech-ringed adult on the north wall side
Little Gull: regular adult winter outfalls
Sandwich Tern: About 5 'blogging' inshore/roosting on Red Nab

Middleton IE
Three f/imm Tufted Duck were first recorded yesterday

Heysham Head
Large raptor, unfortunately only seen rather distantly flying away from the observer, was last seen passing Heysham 2 Power station heading SW at c1615hrs. Nothing to suggest it was not Common (which it isn't round here) Buzzard

Sea passage
c6 distant Sandwich Tern and a single Gannet was an improvement of sorts on recent days!

Grey Chi and Common Wainscot (rare & only occurs in autumn here) were new for the year

Ad Med Gull soaring around next to the Midland Hotel, Morecambe mid-pm. Great White Egret, 3 Spoonbill and varying (but reduced) numbers of Little Egret on the Allen/EM Pools. Curlew Sandpiper increase there to ad & 3 juvs.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

One down, three(ish) to go

Heysham Obs
Outfalls area
A 'one-species day' with about 10 Med Gulls on offer. Of the 4+ juvs, three were ringed and the white darvic was read on one of these. Two had metal-only rings and there was no sign of the red darvic bird from the other day. The others comprised 3 adult and 3 2nd winter, presumably including the usual north harbour wall birds. Thanks to Mark for this information.

At least 23 Little Egret on the EM Pools along with Great White Egret and three Spoonbill. Juv Garganey Griesdale hide at L Moss yesterday