Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Red-listed football field

Some of the 17000 Knot on the helipad today

Heysham obs and area

Two of our key red-listed species were plastered over Ocean Edge football field today, comprising 72 Linnets and 150 Starling.

Chaffinch 5 >S
Greenfinch 15 >S
Starling 23 >NE, 27 >SW
Sparrowhawk high >W

Red Nab
Large unringed adult Med Gull, probably the elusive regular wintering bird.

North Wall
adult and second winter Meds (around anglers and the heliport end)

Feathered Thorn, 2 Angle Shades and Light Brown Apple Moth
The feathery antennae of this Feathered Thorn shows it is a male.
Great White Egret still at Leighton Moss

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

End of season............or is it?

Heysham Obs
The radar suggests another pulse of thrushes to come in the next day or so but will the weather synopsis allow a significant landfall in this area? Today had a real 'fag end of the autumn migration season' feel........but we'll see what the next few days brings. Various weather forecasts just checked are somewhat contradictory as might be expected when highs and lows are vying for position and the north-west is in the zone of uncertainty. Looks reasonable for some late season overnight moth trapping!

Vis mig by the office 0830-1100
Greenfinch - indeterminate movement to and from the feeder undoubtedly included some passage birds (see ringing)
Jay - 1SW
Mistle Thrush - 5SW
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 1 high to the W
Redwing - 11SW
Chaffinch - 2S
Meadow Pipit - 3SE
Starling - 5S, then 295 NNW in 14 flocks
Woodpeigeon - flock of 31S
Grey Wagtail - 2S was a surprise & perhaps they were prospective winter residents appearing to be on vis mig when seen

Thanks John for most of this

15 lightweight Greenfinch trapped with 13 of them being female, an equal mixture of adult and 1st W. This is typical of captures later in the passage period.

'Loads' of Knot!

North harbour wall
22 Wigeon floating in on the sea was unusual. Single adult and 2nd W Med Gulls. 8 each of Goldfinch and Meadow Pipit on the 'mound'.

Late Red-line Quaker and Pink-barred Sallow in the moth trap along with Angle Shades. 10+ wasps on willows in the mist net ride by the office.

The road is VERY dangerous between the traffic lights and the reserve - please stick to 20mph, especially on the blind bend - there are a lot of non-car owners with young families on Ocean Edge. Sympathy and a quick recovery to the people involved in the accident today.....fortunately not involving pedestrians.

Ad & 2nd W Med Gulls at Bank End. NNEW on the Great White Egret - a BBRC rarity such as this should really be phoned in on a daily basis.......please.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Another example of the 10 metre tide and solitary Sanderling

Heysham Obs
Landbirds were at a premium today in a stiff westerly wind and the bushes were conspicuously devoid of Blackbird with no more than 10 around the office/visible tank farm. A few bits on the coast but little time to seawatch.

Vis from the office 0830-1015
Thanks for persevering John

Greenfinch - 36SW
Chaffinch - 4SW
Jay - 1SW
Starling - 184NW, 77N and 12SW - none of these sightings suggested dispersing roosting birds

Two Raven passed through as is becoming a virtually daily event

15 minutes from Ocean Edge foreshore near HT revealed a flock of 16 Kittiwake and 2 Razorbill flying 'out'

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Highlighted by a Sanderling accompanying 11 Ringed plover and 5 Dunlin. 41 Linnet were also on the upper tideline (the only tideline!)

Wooden jetty/north harbour wall
You are hardly worthy of a caravan and some tarot cards by predicting a juvenile Shag on the wooden jetty during westerly winds and indeed one obliged today along with what I think is a record 58 Cormorant. Just one 2nd W Med Gull was noted today but no bread used.

A flock of 17,500 Knot was estimated from all different angles & came to roughly the same number! This roost does considerably vary in numbers each day

Angle Shades in the moth trap and yet anoth in a good recent run of daytime fox records by the Obs Tower.

Great White Egret seen from the Griesdale Hide, Leighton Moss this afternoon. Three Scaup (eclipse ad drake and two adult female) on Glasson basin/marina. "Stubble burning" at Cockersands revealed just 35 Skylark, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Stonechat.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Yet more Blackbirds

Heysham Obs
Office-bound from dawn during quite atrocious conditions which cleared to reveal significant numbers of Blackbird and some finch vis mig. There was a lull in the wind as the weather cleared and a single mist net was set at the feeder & a small amount of vis undertaken.

Vis mig from the office 1115-1145
Chaffinch - 4 SW
Greenfinch - 28 SW +/- landing by the feeder to join other birds
Goldfinch - 26 S
Siskin - 2S

Grounded by the office
An absolute minimum of 48 Blackbird were seen in the bushes around the car park area, including 35 in one 'sweep'. A further c25 were estimated on the visible part of the 'tank farm'. This was the largest number of Blackbird I have seen this autumn and its a pity a full census could not be carried out as it would surely have beaten the previous highest of c150. These dispersed rapidly during the clear weather in late morning and the dog invasion

The mist net round was just that as the wind increased whilst extracting the catch, which included 7 new Greenfinch.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
The 10 metre tide watch flushed 6 Snipe and one Jack Snipe. Kingfisher in the area (as is usual these days)

North harbour wall
3 x 2nd W and one x adult Med Gulls were present early afternoon but no wind-blown Shag despite a high count of 44 Cormorant on the wooden jetty. No sign of the Black Guillemot as is usual in the afternoon

The star bird of the day was an eastbound Greylag over Ocean Edge

The rain cleared to leave sunshine and high temperatures for this time of year. Apart from an increase in wasp numbers after they appeared to have died off during last week's frosts, sightings included a 'large bluish dragonfly' on the reserve which was surely Migrant Hawker along with at least 9 Common Darter on Middleton IE. A Red Admiral was by the office late morning. The moth trap contained a late Silver Y and Feathered Thorn

Great White Egret (and 8 Little Egret) still roosting on the island at the northern end of Leighton Moss this evening. Two Jack Snipe predictably flushed by the tide on Glasson Marsh along with 7 Twite and 2 Rock Pipit agg. Male and female Scaup on Glasson Marina and two distant Scaup off north Morecambe

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Woodcock bonus

Heysham Obs
Thanks John & Malcolm for sussing out that the early morning conditions could produce another dose of migration - it did! Highlighted by a Woodcock flushed from bracken below tank farm at 1115hrs - first of the autumn. Tomorrow will hopefully see some attention switched to the sea for the first time in ages. At the very least, some of the large Razorbill passage along the Cumbrian/Lancs open sea coasts might divert in.

Vis. from by the office 0815 - 1145 hrs. All SW unless stated.
Starling 23
Greenfinch 35
Fieldfare 46 + 42 over Middleton IE
Chaffinch 142
Jackdaw 1
Goldfinch 21
Mistle thrush 6
Redwing 7 + 4 over Midd. IE
alba wagtail 4 SE
Song thrush 1SW + 1 S
Grey wagtail 1 E
Meadow pipit 2
Linnet 16 SE

Visible from the office during the morning: 2-3 Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk & 2 Great spotted woodpecker.

Approximately 50-60 Blackbird were located on BE properties with observations by the office suggesting some movement through the bushes in a generally southerly direction, but no birds "taking off" and flying inland as is the case during clearer conditions

North harbour wall
One 2nd W Med near the heliport

Middleton IE
Goldeneye 2 f/imm - first of autumn
Snipe 25
Jack Snipe 1

Nothing on the pager/LDBWS website other than a 1st W Spotted Redshank at Sunderland - ominous silence from Leighton Moss with respect to Great White Egret etc this last few days. Is it still hanging in there for the "winter" atlas starting on 1st Nov?

Friday, 26 October 2007

Ring Ouzel accompanies further Blackbird influx

Heysham Obs
Contributed nothing today as Alan, Andrew, John and John had more faith and covered the site in cloudy conditions and a SSSE wind.

A further Blackbird influx, giving a minimum of about 60-70 for BE properties (early afternoon count) with the cloud cover (& food!) appearing to keep most of them in situ. They were accompanied by a noisy 1st W (probably male) Ring Ouzel which was heard but not seen on the tank farm before eventually giving good views as it flew low over towards the golf course via the office area at 1110hrs. Not much evidence of other thrush species. 8 unringed Long-tailed Tit were caught (7 in one flock). The lack of Goldcrest this month has already been mentioned, but perhaps more unexpected was the total non-event replacing the usual marked passage of Wren, especially surprising given the number of mornings mist nets have been in operation. Two unringed Goldcrest and a single unringed Wren this morning therefore worthy of mention!

Vis from by the office 0900-1100
Starling - 20S
Mistle Thrush - 11S
Collared Dove - 2SW
Goldfinch - 9E, 4SW
Chaffinch - 18SW
Redwing - 1SW
Coal Tit - 2S
Greenfinch - 6SW
Linnet - 1S

Red Nab/Ocean Edge area
44 Wigeon

North harbour wall
Single figures of Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Pied Wagtail grounded. 2 x 2nd W and adult Med Gulls coming to bread

15 Twite at Cockersands yesterday. 10+ Brambling by Tower Lodge, Trough of Bowland

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Autumn nearly over for landbird passage?

Heysham Obs
The cloud cover grounded a small number of thrushes, mainly Blackbird along with a single rather 'grey and white' Chiffchaff which was giving collybita-like calls. Yet again, Goldcrests failed to materialise in any numbers in what looked pretty good conditions. Have they just passed us by or was the northern breeding season so bad? Previous poor autumn have followed high winter mortality and poor/non-existent spring passage. Not so this year.

North harbour wall area
Four Med Gulls still with two of the 2nd W birds being mainly high tide visitors these days. The adult, and especially the remaining 2nd W, can be found at most stages of the tide. No sign of the Black Guillemot today. 14 Goldfinches and 5 Linnets feeding on the thistles on the mound, 5 Meadow Pipits and 5 Pied Wagtails also on the mound.

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
A low tide visit saw a Kingfisher in the main saltmarsh channel at Ocean Edge

Middleton IE
Male Stonechat, 6 Reed Bunting, 2 Water Rail (at least), a funny call (WR could not be ruled out) and c35 Blackbird in the western and central marshes

Vis mig from by the office
Chaffinch 72,
Brambling 2
Greenfinch 64
Goldfinch 16
Siskin 11
Fieldfare 3
Redwing 9
Blackbird 10
Song Thrush 1
alba Wagtail 20
Grey Wagtail 1
Meadow Pipit 7
Reed Bunting 3
Starling 28
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 1

4 Chaffinch and 1 Greenfinch up to 11am but things picked up a little after that - details to be posted later.

Two new species for the year in the moth trap in the form of Red (typo, not an id error, Autumn Green has never occurred at Heysham) Green Carpet (rare here) and Feathered Thorn. Mottled Umber was also new for at least the autumn but there may have been one in January - will check

Nothing of interest as yet from this area

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

High speed migrants

Heysham Obs
This was an odd morning. There is obviously a long history of clear mornings producing migrants very first thing but they soon melt away and you are left with nothing. Not, however, usually as quick as this morning which for 20 minutes or so looked as though it was going to be quite productive! The guillotine fell at 0900hrs and very little stirred thereafter other than the 25 or so off-passage Blackbird and a handful of Redwing and Song Thrush.

Vis mig from the office
Quite a bit was missed very first thing.

Total 349 birds, 19 species in 2hrs 15 mins (0745-1000):
Woodpigeon 12,
Skylark 7,
Meadow Pipit 1,
Grey Wagtail 1,
alba Wagtail 9,
Blackbird 35,
Fieldfare 18,
Redwing 33,
Mistle Thrush 6,
Carrion Crow 5,
Starling 25,
Chaffinch 58,
Brambling 16,
Greenfinch 71,
Goldfinch 20,
Siskin 22,
Redpoll 4,
Bullfinch 5,
Reed Bunting 1.

Most birds S but Carrion Crow, Starling, Mistle Thrush flew E.

14 Goldcrest accompanied a very early morning Long-tailed Tit flock and a further 4-5 were seen. Approximately 50 'new' Blackbird which either disappeared south past the office or rose up and flew inland/SE - this left c25 off-passage birds noted during the afternoon. All Redwing have been added to the vis total other than c10 on the 'tank farm' and low single figures on the reserve in the afternoon

Pretty dire.
New birds: 1 Redwing, 2 Blackbirds
Retraps: 1 Goldcrest, 1 Bullfinch

Harbour area/north wall
Low single figures of off-passage Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Pied Wagtail but no sign of any Twite. Black Guillemot showing very well in the early morning, including landing on the wooden jetty but was not to be found in the afternoon. Ad and 2 x 2nd W Med Gulls on the railings in the morning, "two Med Gulls" reported in the afternoon

Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore
Ad Med Gull on Red Nab, also 57 Wigeon and 375 Shelduck in the area. At least 40 Linnet on the edge of Ocean Edge saltmarsh but no Twite could be discerned with them

One Red Admiral in rapid transit and a Peacock, which should be hibernating, seen around the office. No sign of the Small Copper after a cold night. Just two Common Darter & no Migrant Hawker in a lunchtime walk in sunny conditions

Excellent posting on a female Bittern eating a rat the front of Leighton Moss lower hide on the LDBWS site. Great White Egret seen this morning on the Allen/EM Pools

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Autumn hawkbit sustains Small Copper

Heysham Obs

The highlights of today were a very late Small Copper and a reasonably late Swallow.

224 birds, 15 species in 2 hrs (0730-0930):
Woodpigeon 2
Swallow 1
alba Wagtail 4
Redwing 4
Jackdaw 1
Carrion Crow 15
Starling 65
Chaffinch 43
Brambling 2
Greenfinch 42
Goldfinch 28
Siskin 10
Linnet 5
Bullfinch 1
Reed Bunting 1

c50 Blackbirds and a few Redwing.

New birds: 5 Chaffinch, 2Greenfinch, 1 Dunnock, 2 Blackbird, 1 Wren
Retraps: Long-tailed Tit, 2 Robins, Blackbird, Great Tit, Greenfinch.

North Harbour area
Black Guillemot, 2 2nd winter and 1 adult Med Gull but no sign of yesterday's 1st winter Med Gull.

Great White Egret at Leighton Moss, Marsh Harrier in the Pilling area, 2 Scaup at Teal Bay

Monday, 22 October 2007

New first winter Med

Heysham obs
A fairly quiet morning with routine vis and much smaller numbers of grounded thrushes than yesterday in rather cloudy conditions with a SSE breeze.

Redwing 15 (E and NE)
Fieldfare 6 (E)
Chaffinch 34 (S)
Pink-footed Goose 75 (N at 0755hrs) + 43 SE at 1500hrs
Siskin 4 (S)
Starling 474 (S)
alba Wagtail 6 (S)
Greenfinch 25 (S)
Brambling 1 (S)
Meadow Pipit 3 (S)

7 Siskin in alders near the classroom. Blackbird numbers probably no more than 50.

North Harbour Wall
Early afternoon visit produced no Twite or Black Guillemot but a new first winter Mediterranean Gull with a poorly defined mask. Also present were 2 second winter and 1 adult Mediterranean Gull.

Red Nab area
43 Wigeon and 300 plus Shelduck on the mudflats. c10 000 Knot off Red Nab.

A Great White Egret on the Allen Pool.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Blackbirds but not a lot else

Heysham Obs
..........especially when you forget to bring home the 'vis' figures. Apologies to the various contributors but as I was packing up I had to deal with an uncharacteristic incident at this site involving a dodgy off-lead bull terrier spp, terrified children and a lost purse. Thanks to a whole host of people for contributions today, pity it was a bit below par by recent standards

The main feature today was a combination of grounded and vis in the form of at least 150 Blackbird on British Energy property during pre-dawn cloud cover and the gradual departure of these birds at a consistent angle of 45 degrees i.e. high to the east as the sun broke through after about 0900hrs. There were also at least 45 Redwing and 15 Song Thrush (fewer than recently in relation to other thrushes). The only other grounded migrants, however, during good coverage, were two Blackcap and just TWO Goldcrest. A few of the vis migs landed temporarily during the cloudy period, notably 5 Siskin. A Water Rail was calling in the wetland area.

Vis mig
Very 'mixed up' this morning with the only real consistency being 250+ Starling to the south and early morning thrushes comprising (I think!), 45 Redwing, 15 Fieldfare and about 8 Song Thrush. Finches were in very low numbers for the first time this week and the small fare was heading in all directions! Less than 10 Chaffinch were seen, excluding a distant flock of 21 which were either Chaffinch or Brambling. Another mixed flock of Rook and Jackdaw and small numbers of 'pure' Jackdaw flocks (details tomorrow). Two high-flying Coal Tit to the south and 14 Meadow Pipit was more than expected
Mistle Thrush 8 SW
Redwing 78 SE
Fieldfare 26 SE
Collared Dove 3 N, 2 SE
Rook 12 SE (with 7 Jackdaw)
Jackdaw 7 SE + 8 SE +48 NE + 15 SW
Corvid sp 14 E, 8 NE (probably Jackdaw)
Meadow Pipit 14 SE
Starling 312 S
Chaffinch 14 SW
Song Thrush 14 S
alba wagtail 3 SE, 1 N
Grey Wagtail 1 S
Goldfinch 1 S
Coal Tit 2 S
Finch sp 21 S (probably Chaffinch)
Reed Bunting 1 S
Siskin 5 S

A flock of 12 Twite was briefly near the heliport - this is early but coincides with some at Cockersands. 14 were also reported on the north harbour wall mound flying off at 1030hrs (but a same-size flock of Linnet also reported!). Two 2nd W and one adult Med Gulls on the north harbour wall along with good numbers of Knot on the mudflats. The Black Guillemot is proving elusive and not seen by people there for a lengthy spell early-mid-morning or during the afternoon but has been belatedly registered alongside the wooden jetty by an observer at c1030. This suggests that it has a 'bolt hole' somewhere and not simply flying backwards and forwards offshore. Red-throated Diver off the north harbour wall.

Two Migrant Hawker still on the reserve late afternoon along with a worn Speckled Wood. c5 Red Admiral seen during the day.

Nothing of major rarity notified in this area yet but plenty of reports of good numbers of thrushes, notably Blackbird & Fieldfare. Returning Polish-ringed Med Gull was seen for the first known occasion this autumn on Lancaster Cricket Club pitch

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Corvid day

Heysham Obs
A slightly different theme every day just recently! This comment is obviously inviting people to come up with exceptions (please e-mail the link to the left) but it does appear at Heysham that the very occasional and by no means annual occurrence of a truly mixed corvid flock with approaching equal numbers of Jackdaw and large birds involves Rook. If the occurrence is a compact flock of Jackdaw trailed by half a dozen or so larger birds, these are almost always Carrion Crow, as are the vast majority of single or small group migrating large corvids. It needs to be added here that Heysham is fortunately Jackdaw-free and therefore migrant flocks are easy to identify

Vis mig from by the office
This was not very conscientious today for several reasons, most notably the birds were frequently very high in what were clear still conditions until late morning

Chaffinch - 128 mainly SW
Brambling - flock of 6 early morning
Siskin - 21 SE
Bullfinch - 2+1 S
Redwing - 67 SW
Greenfinch - 43 SW
Goldfinch - 59 SE in 13 small flocks
Song Thrush - 2 S
Carrion Crow - 14 S
Skylark - minimum of 4 S
Meadow Pipit - 9 SE
Jackdaw - 72+12+5+44+56+2 mainly (eventually) E
Rook - 57 mixed in with the 72 Jackdaw - these arrived from the N then swirled about before heading E. At least 2 adult Rook.
Woodpigeon - 7 SE
Pintail - 3 north - the first record over the site in calm weather - usually a 'highlight' of rubbishy autumnal seawatches in SW winds
Reed Bunting - 1 S
Starling - 13 S
alba Wagtail - 7 SE
Blackbird - 16 flew S past the office
Magpie - two birds flew very high to the NE
Lesser Redpoll - 6 SE
Linnet - 1 SE
Mistle Thrush - 1 S
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 7 without any 'baggage' such as Firecrest were seen to be unringed during their short stay in bushes by the office before heading S

No Fieldfare!

Thanks to two visiting birders from Whitworth for checking the grounded bids around the reserve. A total of about 75 Blackbird, including c50 sill on the reserve mid-morning. 45-50 Redwing still remained mid-morning but the number of small night migrants was very poor with just two Goldcrest seen, no warbler species and a single unringed Robin trapped. The first (two) unringed Blue Tit for a bit were trapped.

Middleton IE
Numbers of wildfowl are rather low at present, suggesting disturbance over and above the 'routine'. Highlighted by a Common Buzzard flying west (the first definite record from the Obs recording area this year) and the first Jack Snipe of the autumn. 9 Pink-footed Geese flew NE

North wall/harbour mouth
The Black Guillemot was present at least early morning along with at least one 2nd W Med Gull

Two Red Admiral and a Comma by the office & Small Tortoiseshell on Middleton IE

Great White Egret Leighton area. For what it is worth, Eagle Owl, which has already zapped at least one local Tawny, still at Ingleton

Friday, 19 October 2007

Unhelpful cloud spilling in high from the west

Heysham Obs
A little disappointing by recent standards with cloud cover streaming in from the west inhibiting vis, with Fieldfare not reaching this area in any numbers by 1100hrs at least. A young Reed Warbler with a fat score of 3, indicating it was not a new arrival, was, off the top of my head, probably the second latest record for here

Reed Warbler. Thanks Alan.

Vis mig from by the office 0745-1100
Chaffinch - 198 SW
Greenfinch - 69 SW
alba Wagtail - 19 SE
Fieldfare - 16 SW
Song thrush - 8 S
Great-spotted Woodpecker - one which appeared to be heading south
Starling - 220 SW
Linnet - 1 SE
Redwing - 46 SW
Lesser Redpoll - 4 SE
Reed Bunting - 5 S
Woodpigeon - 24 SE
Goldfinch - 28 SE
Siskin - 38 plus a flock heard but not seen SE
Brambling - 4 SW
Bullfinch - 1+1 high to the SE
Skylark - 3 SE
Carrion Crow - 2 SE
Mistle Thrush - 6 high to the SW
Collared Dove - 2S
Grey Wagtail - 1S
Rook - adult south
Coal Tit - 1S

No Meadow Pipit!

Grounded migrants
Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff (collybita calls), Goldcrest c10, Blackbird c40, Song Thrush c15, Reed Bunting 1. Quite a few trilling Dunnock but no obvious visible migration, however a lightweight unringed bird was trapped. A single lightweight unringed Robin was also trapped. About 20 birds were ringed, mainly Greenfinch but including 4 Goldcrest

Late news indicating that FOUR Meds were still coming to bread on the north wall on 17th Oct (2 2nd W, 2 Ad)

Some good 'vis' over Bolton-le -Sands (see LDBWS site). Surprisingly little moving over the Trough of Bowland or Barbondale based on two other LDBWS site postings, but at least 12 grounded Brambling near Tower Lodge (Trough). Great White Egret at Leighton Moss. Lingering waders included 2 Curlew Sandpiper on the Lune Estuary.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Worth the effort

Heysham Obs
A painfully slow start was speeded up by a swig of lemon, honey and presumably all sorts of remedial chemicals. Hopefully they were not hallucinogenic as this certainly appeared to be a very good morning. The lateness did not appear to be a problem as most of the action was after 0900hrs as it warmed up. A decision was taken not to set any nets and concentrate on the 'vis'. This was probably an error as, amongst several birds in the catching area, before disappearing into the inaccessible tank farm, were two Jays and an unresolved (legs not seen but presumably the same bird as the other day) Lesser Whitethroat. 65 species were recorded from the vis mig seat in two hours...........and didnt include Starling or any wildfowl/waders!

A Lesser Whitethroat was heard calling and then seen before disappearing towards the net ride/tankfarm area behind the office. Legs not visible but plumage looked the same as the other day.

At 1025 a male Firecrest gave superb views, especially when it raised its crown feathers during a handbags with a Great Tit over whose branch it was. This moved through the bushes opposite the office with a Long-tailed Tit-led flock and was last seen disappearing below the Obs Tower. Other grounded birds within audible range of the office included a Chiffchaff, c10 Goldcrest, c10 Blackbird and 2 Continental Song Thrush

Vis mig from by the office 0840-1040
Swallow - 1 S
Whooper Swan - 4 S
Pink-footed Goose - 93 S
Chaffinch - 146 SW
Greenfinch - 89 SW (many dropping on to feeding station)
Goldfinch - 39 SE
Meadow Pipit - 36 SE
Grey Wagtail - 5 SE
alba Wagtail - 8 SE
Rook - one high to the NE on its own calling all the time
Brambling - 4 SW
Twite - 1 S
Fieldfare - 3 SW
Siskin - 93 SE
Lesser Redpoll - 9 SE
Bullfinch - 1 S
Carrion Crow - 6 high to the east
Woodpigeon - 18 SSE
Skylark - 25 SE
Kestrel - 1 E
Jay - 3 S
Coal Tit - 3+4+1 S (no other tit species showing irruptive movement)
Song Thrush - 4 together high to the south
Redwing - 7 SW
Mistle Thrush - 15 (eventually) high to the SW. Some of the vis on this species has been queried, often due to the habit of landing on pylons before heading off (usually) SE. This flock of 15 was in a different league - at least twice the height of the pylons and arriving from the NE before circling around calling and then eventually heading SW. Both these and the Song Thrush flock pitfalls for the unwary c/f recording as Redwing and Fieldfare.
Jackdaw - two incredibly high flocks (barely visible with the naked eye) of 67 and 74 heading NE
Collared Dove - 1 SW
Dunnock - 2 S
Crossbill - 2 together high to the south about 1000hrs
Linnet - just one S
Great-spotted Woodpecker - one purposefully high to the south
Tree Sparrow - flock of 3 S

...........but no Starlings - this is often the case in clear weather

The above PFG correlated with c100 seen over Bare. 11 Whooper tracked from Leighton to Blea Tarn reservoir late morning. Great White Egret reportedly seen at Leighton Moss. Up to 10 Bearded Tit have been on the grit trays along the causeway but no reports of the Cetti's Warbler in ideal conditions

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Better than the weather suggested!

Heysham Obs
A stiff, cold, north-westerly blasting into the previously regularly sheltered vis mig watchpoint. One hour was long enough but this was not without routine interest. Similarly the odds were very much agaonst a new moth species for the year............or indeed the first Speckled Wood for a few days!

Vis by the office 0815-0915
Chaffinch - 42 SW
Greenfinch - 37 (descending on to the peanuts at last!) SWish
Meadow Pipit - 1 SE
Woodpigeon 37 (including flock of 31) S
Mistle Thrush - 17 SE
Redwing - 23 SW
Goldfinch - 5 SE
Golden Plover - one high to the south - scarce here!
Carrion Crow - 3 S
Song Thrush - 3 SE

An 'open' morning saw very few thrushes with perhaps 10 Blackbird and 5 Song Thrush, most of which headed inland over the golf course. There were 6-7 Goldcrest by the office at 0815 but no further sightings in that area.

Adult Med Gull Red Nab, adult and 2nd W Med Gulls north harbour wall. We seem to have lost the other two regular 2nd W birds...........exactly the same thing happened last October when they (?) were 1st winters. A real pity these were not colour ringed prior to departure, so that data on subsequent wintering as well as possible breeding site could perhaps accrue - maybe next year now we presumably know the occurence pattern.

A Large Wainscot was new for the year in the moth trap and a Speckled Wood was struggling acroos the car park mid afternoon

Great White Egret Leighton Moss. 3 Spotted Redshank reported at Teal Bay following 5 on the EM Pool yesterday - this species is certainly getting more common in this area

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Blackbird bonanza

Heysham obs

Overnight rain seemed to have grounded quite a few thrushes, with 41 Blackbirds and 27 Song Thrushes emerging from the bushes after 0830hrs.

Vis 0830-1000hrs
Blackbird 50 all south
Song Thrush 30 all south
Redwing 2 south
Starling 3 s
Woodpigeon 11 se
Carrion Crow 6 se
Jay 3 s
Chaffinch 68 sw
Greenfinch 34 sw
Goldfinch 5 se
alba wagtail 6 se
Siskin 4 se
Linnet 1 se
Reed Bunting 1 s

North Wall
unringed Twite briefly on the mound at the North Harbour Wall
1 Linnet on nyjer seed at the mound.
Black Guillemot off the harbour
adult and 2nd winter Med Gulls at the North Harbour Wall

Monday, 15 October 2007

Excellent vis, one decent landbird!

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately no vis coverage until 0945! This was a pity as a lot of visible migrants were moving ahead of the afternoon weather front, almost exclusively on a NE to SW heading. Sunderland was covered from 0900 and undoubtedly included some of the birds over Heysham. In addition, '200+ medium/large finches', almost certainly a mixture of Greenfinch, Chaffinch and perhaps Brambling headed SW over the office from dawn to 0945.

Vis from the office 0945-1200hrs (SW unless stated)
Chaffinch - 366
Redwing - 36
Song Thrush - 5
Starling - 488
Swallow - 3
Goldfinch - 5
Brambling - 4
Greenfinch - 17
Linnet - 1 SE
Skylark - 14 SE
Redpoll spp - 2 SE
Mistle Thrush - 2
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 2
House Martin - 7
Grey Wagtail - 1
Blackbird - 2
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Sparrowhawk - male high to the SE (in-off?)
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE
Siskin - 26

Vis nearby Sunderland west shore 0900-1100 for comparison
Siskin - 72
Skylark - 89
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - 110
Greenfinch - 84
Redpoll - 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Starling - 370
Pink-footed Goose 18

Thanks Garry - all heading in a southerly direction

Unless you are in the elite group with photographic (and the aural equivalent) memory, birding has a habit of making you eat humble pie. The vis was going well - a cloudy morning, no crackling pylons and all calls clear & identifiable - we really do know our stuff! Then, at 1105, a bird dropped out of the sky in silhouette and landed "in" the isolated bush near the office [didnt think anything of it at the time & assumed Chafficnh]. Then a series of calls - distant Kingfisher on the Obs Tower pond - no, demented Dunnock - no, too high and staccato for a late Redstart. Investigation produced an extremely agrophobic female/imm Black Redstart. Why did we not recognise the contact call of a 'familiar enough' migrant! It spent as much of the next two hours (1105-1305) in sallies from the lower branches of the isolated willow as on the more traditional fences. It also kept disappearing and certainly did not seem to favour continuous presence in open ground. Unfortunately only a dreadful mobile 'happy slap' available and the bird suddenly disappeared just after 1300hrs.

Other grounded birds included about 9 Goldcrest and single figures of thrush species. What was probably a Treecreeper was heard briefly near the Nature Park (the bird caught the other day?)

North wall
At least one 2nd W and the usual Czech-ringed adult Med Gulls
Thanks very much for this, Sean
Great White Egret on the EM Pool 'flood' along with single Curlew Sandpiper.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Latest ever Lesser Whitethroat and Pink-foot puzzle

Thanks to Doug Carman for photos of today's Lesser Whitethroat. Anyone with any comments on this bird, please e-mail Thanks. [wing 68mm 2=5/6]

Heysham Obs
An inauspicious start as yet another broken mist net pole, before anyone could help to retrieve the situation, led to 20 minutes of poor concentration on the sky as the 'vis migs' piled over. Almost certainly the 'loser' in the numbers game was Chaffinch. A dull rather brown Lesser Whitethroat in the mist net was presumably not of British origin. Also notable were 20 Bullfinch heading high to the south/south-east in groups up to 4

Vis mig from next to the office 0800 (ish)-1100
This was good but difficult to concentrate all the time due to conversation & mist net rounds. The impression that Great Spotted Woodpecker are indulging in 'some' movement over and above the usual was reinforced by yet another unringed bird (3 in the last week or so), 3 'southbound' birds and an individual pecking telegraph poles near Lighthouse Cottage, Cockersands, later in the day.

Green Woodpecker - perhaps the same silent juvenile as the other day flew rather low from the pylon bushes towards the tank farm
Chaffinch - 399 (thats what it added up to!) - SW
Brambling - absolute minimum of 12 SW
Siskin - 67 S
Pink-footed Goose - 826+22+850+750+100+40+1100 north or north-east!!
Carrion Crow - 5 S plus 16 high to the NE with Jackdaw
alba Wagtail - 14 SE
Greenfinch - 109 SW
Starling - 476 high to the south & other less definable birds ignored (c150). First really noticeable movement of the autumn.
Goldfinch - 90 S
Redwing - 76, mainly SW
Song Thrush - 7 high to SW
Reed Bunting - 2 S
Meadow Pipit - just 11 SE
Bullfinch - 20 S/SE - 4+3+2+1+2+3+1+1+1+1+1
Redpoll spp - all but one sounded like Lesser - 8 S/SW
Jackdaw - 18 NE with Carrion Crow (the FIRST flock this autumn!)
Mistle Thrush - 5 SE
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3 S
Skylark - 2 SE
Rock Pipit - 1 S
Fieldfare - 4 S
Grey Wagtail - 1 S
Dunnock - a lot of contact calling but just two seen to fly high to the south

This was disappointing. The Lesser Whitehroat was very unobtrusive and was never heard to call in the field. A single Chiffchaff was by the office but searching the reserve and dog-track only produced a reasonable number of thrushes and a few Goldcrest. Blackbird were estimated at about 50 for the whole BE properties with Redwing and Song Thrush in the 15 each region. Note that the favoured thrush site - the tank farm - cannot be covered. Just 10 Goldcrest were reported and just 3 'blogging' Jay.

At least 3 2nd W Med Gulls on the north harbour wall. No guillemot spp seen in the harbour

At least 30 Common Darter and two Migrant Hawker by the 'dog walk' pond. At least 2 Red Admiral seen. Brick and the bittersweet-feeding micro = Acrolepia autumnitella

The first record for Heysham and the most northerly so far in Lancashire. Search Bittersweet (or Deadly Nightshade) for leaf mines. Thanks for the picture John (Girdley).

Great White Egret and (briefly) Cetti's Warbler Leighton Moss area. A late Hobby reported Meathop area (still plenty of Migrant Hawker?). Two Whooper Swan back in the Lune Valley near Wenning Foot. No sign of the Great Grey Shrike reported near Wray but a greyish Chiffchaff and at least one Brambling. Disappointingly, no scarce passerines other than the Cetti's and late Lesser Whitethroat reported in ideal searching conditions. It was 'as you were' in the Cockersands stubble with c50 Skylark, c100 Meadow Pipit, 2 Stonechat and single figures Linnet and Reed Bunting. I dont think Thrushgill was covered.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Looks like we might have missed some stuff

Heysham Obs
I've changed the header after accessing other sites. The wind was subtely different at dawn with a slight hint of SE along with quite a bit of drizzle. Unfortunately no time to search for grounded migrants, although Middleton was well-covered and did produce some stuff (see below). Walney had a Firecrest and Bardsey had a Black Redstart influx today and the wind is southerlyish overnight. It IS clear above at present (2015 hours).

Vis Mig
30 minutes (0820-0850) produced 22 Starling and a Siskin!

One Chiffchaff calling near the office

Middleton IE
5 Reed Bunting together and a male Stonechat. Nearby a Wheatear. Wildfowl included 13 Tufted Duck, 10 Teal and 3 Little Grebe plus an increase in Mute Swan to 5.

No joy here. Careful opening of the door revealed an Epirrata, a scarce species complex at Heysham. Unfortunately 'distant' views of flying genitalia as it disappeared out of the window were completely out of my (and everyone else's?) league as regards separating the three species: Pale November Moth, November Moth and Autumnal Moth. No other moths!

Yellowhammer in an inefficiently harvested maize field along Grab Lane, Lancaster. Great White Egret still Leighton Moss area

Friday, 12 October 2007

mist and murk but the wrong wind direction

Heysham Obs
This weather has two uses, lottery-winning odds of dropping a nearctic passerine or producing excellent late autumn moth trapping conditions, not so much at open sites such as Heysham, but in wooded areas. It also can produce migrant species and two Silver Y were in the trap this morning

Vis mig 0905-1005
A few birds struggled through the murk but nowhere near as many as by my own house at the western end of the "Aire-Wenning gap" flightline. Plenty of Redwing/Fieldfare and a few Siskin/alba Wagtail/Chaffinch prompted a belated visit to Heysham:

Redwing - 2
Redpoll, presumed Lesser - 1
Chaffinch - 6
Greenfinch - 7
Siskin - 5
Meadow Pipit - 3
alba Wagtail - 2
Song Thrush - 2

Most of these were heading in a general north to south direction!

Really poor with ringing comprising one new Robin and two each of Greenfinch and Chaffinch tempted down from overhead vis mig. The bushes around the office were the quietest for some time.

North wall
Three 2nd W Med Gulls during a brief visit which did not include the mound end

A secondhand report of a Great Grey Shrike from the valley to the south of Cold Park Wood, near Wray 'a few days ago'. A visit saw the area crawling with birds e.g. winter thrushes, Bullfinch. Access by turning right at the Post Office in Wray and view the area to the right after the pond (=on left hand side) c1/2 mile up the road.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Rubbish weather, routine sightings

Another pic of Sunday's Yellow-browed Warbler. Thanks Dave

Heysham Obs
The cloud and mist and murk.....and then rain, all in a south-westerly airstream came much further to the south than forecast and put the lid on any vis or appreciable incentive to search for grounded migrants.

Ringing recovery
Ringed: Nestling: 7/7/06 Kårøy (6730N- 1205E), Røst, North Norway.
Found dead: Heysham south harbour wall 30/9/07

Vis mig
An early morning flock of c140 Pink-footed Goose NE

Single figures of Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush. Nothing on OE foreshore or the NHW mound.

4 x 2nd W and one x adult Med Gulls along the north harbour wall/harbour entrance (none during a careful check of the outfalls/red nab)

Black Guillemot still in the harbour mouth

Kingfisher flying THROUGH Ocean Edge caravan short-cutting between Red Nab and the saltmarsh

12, 580 Knot on the heliport (careful count - first "impression" was about 7,000!!)

A record (?) 375 Shelduck off Red Nab/OE foreshore

A couple of rewards for the Morecambe part of the WeBS in the form of a juvenile Brent Goose, almost certainly showing enough 1st W plumage on the flanks etc. to determine as Light-bellied. However, the underparts were not seen as it sat on the water. Next to the west end groyne (between S Jetty and Battery) at HT. Secondly, re-acquaintance with adult Med Gull 36W (Belgian-ringed) by the Strathmore. As has already been reported previously, a Reed Bunting was also on the west end groyne! Great White Egret still at the EM Pools this morning

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Good early morning vis, then fizzle-out

Heysham Obs
Reasonable coverage this morning but, as often happens on clear mornings, most of the action was in the first hour. The 'highlight' was the first Treecreeper I can find in the records, certainly the first to be ringed this year. This species seems to have reverted back to its "occasional July juvenile, occasional late autumn, usually with tit flock" status following two years of presumed proximate breeding and retrapped adults

Vis 0730-1030ish
Recording commenced too late as there were large numbers of mainly finches as soon as arrived at the site:

Reed Bunting - 7 S
Lesser Redpoll - 30 S ( a good count for autumn - 6 'lots')
Siskin - 94 S (including flocks of 42 and 30)
Chaffinch - 245 SW
Brambling - at least 10 SW
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
alba Wagtail - 71 SE (just one at the right height/location to be identified as White, rest unspec)
Meadow Pipit - 156 SE
Redwing - 18+2 SW
Bullfinch - 1+1 S
Collared Dove - 1 S
Greenfinch - 83 SW (all very high and not interested in the peanuts c/f other autumns)
Goldfinch - 72 S
Linnet - 5 SE
Coal Tit - 8 S
Long-tailed Tit - constantly within audible range but the only definitive migrant flock was 17 high to the south
Mistle Thrush - 6 SE
Skylark - absolute minimum of 30 SE (couldnt match call to bird(s) with most of them & these were recorded as 'one bird')
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 2 headed south but may have been local birds on the rounds
Carrion Crow - 2+3+2 high to the south
Jay - 2 S
House Sparrow - 1 S
Song Thrush - 8 S/SE

Any movement by Blue Tit seems to have ground to a halt recently, despite suitable conditions. Two unringed Great Tit were caught but no obvious evidence of any movement.

A party of 5 Goldcrest moved inland past the office first thing but only one subsequent sighting. Two (unringed) Chiffchaff by the office frist thing. 10+ Blackbird behaving like migrants and similar numbers of Song Thrush (excludes those on vis)

North wall/harbour
Adult winter Black Guillemot showing well along with at least 3 2nd W Med. Gulls. 20+ Meadow Pipit grounded on the mound along with a Wheatear

Middleton IE
At least 2 Water Rail in the new scrape. 26 Tufted Duck and a female Stonechat. One Chiffchaff.

Double-striped Pug in the moth trap - unusual in October. 17 Migrant Hawker and 50+ Common Darter with both species in tandem/ovipositing at Middleton IE. Red Admiral butterfly by the office but no sign of any Speckled Wood in e.g. the mist net ride today

Bittern at Haweswater (Silverdale version). Great White Egret EM Pool and roosting overnight on the island in front of the lower hide. Hybrid adult Ross's Goose x Pink-footed Goose with c4,500 Pinkfeet around Eagland Hill, then flying to roost on the shore off Pilling Lane Ends.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Not the right morning to take off!

Heysham Obs
Forecasted 20mph southerlies suggested a good day to have a bit of a lie in. Unfortunately the weather did not obey and by all accounts it was still first thing with poor visibility. Reports filtered through doubling the Bardsey Island Yellow-brows, then at least one passing through a Lancaster garden (see below)...then grounded Richard's Pipit at Walney.

Late News
5 Whooper Swan S(ish) 'mid afternoon' over the sea
North harbour wall
The only known coverage today revealing the same pattern as the Stone Jetty (see LDBWS site) of grounded visible migrants diappearing when the weather cleared.

Noted on the mound/sand pit 9.30ish this morning.
1 Wheatear
25+ linnet
15 Alba Wag (all seen well were Pied)
20+ Meadow Pipits
4 Goldfinch

Noted at lunchtime
1 Meadow Pipit
1 alba wagtail!

Med Gulls comprised 3 2nd W and two adults
Guillemot still in the harbour but no obvious sign of the Black Guillemot during either visit
c6000 Knot heliport

Thanks Cliff

Yellow-browed Warbler south Lancaster in the Bentham Road/Lancaster end of Uni cycle track area 0900hrs. This appeared to move on but it or another was found in a mist net in the same area at 1040hrs. Great White Egret and 9 Little Egret EM Pool. Two Whooper Swan Leighton Moss. What was presumably a late Common Sandpiper was seen in long range flight only in the NE corner of Pine Lake but could not be found again on a 'complex' shoreline. This needs checking out if anyone has time. Also Goldeneye but no terns left.

Monday, 8 October 2007

almost certainly another one!

Heysham Obs
An excursion around the non-operational land looking for Black Redstart also involved checking the willows on the west side of the 'tank farm'. This is the inaccessible migrant 'black hole' to the south of the Nature reserve office. A Yellow-browed Warbler was located on call opposite the security lodge, seemingly associated with Long-tailed Tits. 10 seconds or so through the foliage almost certainly (therefore not absolutely 100% certainly) involved at least one view of the left leg and it was unringed. However, there was never an occasion when both legs were visible at the same time, therefore a bit of overnight soul-searching 'downgrades' this record to "almost certainly a different bird" to yesterday. The bird did also seem to have paler, less yellow-suffused wingbars than yesterday's bird but comparing in-hand and field views is not really safe. It appeared to move towards the top of the tank farm, giving a further contact call, and could not be found later

Other grounded birds
Very little vis today due to the cloud cover and intermittent light drizzle so some species such as Grey Wagtail and Meadow Pipit were grounded.
For the first time I can remember at this time of year, there were NO Greenfinch sightings during the 'normal' vis period 0700-1000 and this indicates just how high a percentage of this species in October are visible migrants and therefore absent during this morning's conditions (as also indicated by the lack of retraps):

Chiffchaff: at least 7
Goldcrest: Odd - c30 in the scrub/woodland near 1/2 Moon Bay yet very few on the reserve (less than 10).
Bullfinch - the last few days have seen occasional vis mig birds - today's birds were grounded and FOUR (a good daily total for here) were ringed
Grey Wagtail - three grounded birds (or perhaps prospective wintering birds - time will tell as two were ringed)
Song Thrush =- at least 12 grounded birds
Stonechat - male on the S end of the tank farm late morning
Meadow Pipit - 5 on the NHW mound
Robin - good numbers of extra birds with individuals hemmed in by residents on the non-operational land and also on the mound

Vis mig from next to the NR office
Very little: 5 Chaffinch, 4 Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, 3 Meadow Pipit, one Lesser Redpoll.

North harbour wall
Just one 2nd W Med seen in a quick visit and no sign of either Guillemot species

Todays ringing included 4 Bullfinch, 3 Chiffchaff, two Grey Wagtail, a Great-spotted Woodpecker and 7 new Long-tailed Tit.

Ringing totals (excluding pulli) to date comprise the following above par: Blue Tit (85), Great Tit (34), Grey Wagtail (34), Goldfinch (48), Lesser Whitethroat (28), Reed Bunting (39), Grasshopper Warbler (12), Bullfinch (11) and below par: Robin (55), Greenfinch (96), Wren (30), Willow Warbler (73), Whitethroat (54), Redstart (1), Garden Warbler (2). This includes a mixture of migrants, CES records and late summer wetland ringing at Middleton IE. The most obvious feature this year has been the contrast between good Lesser Whitethroat numbers and poor Common Whitethroat, both breeding population and productivity. So far this autumn, there has been more movement by tit species following a run of very poor years. The ringing is organised by Alan Draper with regular help from Andrew Cadman, Jean Roberts and Pete Marsh.

Brief sunlight in late afternoon saw a few Red Admiral, 2 Comma and a few Common Darter but no Migrant Hawker.

Great White Egret Leighton Moss area, also 9 Little Egret and the juvenile Marsh Harrier

Sunday, 7 October 2007

More like it!

Yellow-browed Warbler ringed today. Thanks to John Mason for the photo. About 17 records here, most in the late 1980's/early 1990's when there was less vegetation to search through

There is one more day of suitable weather for birds of eastern origin. If you have some time tomorrow worth searching coastal sycamores etc. (or any urban clumps near to all-night lighting) [further arrival of Yellow-browed Warbler today with several west coast/Irish Sea island sightings]

Heysham Obs
The Robins were ticking again! Thanks to Malcolm, Jon, Dave, Jean John, John again, Shaun, Pete and a few others I am not able to name......for coverage.

Very good coverage produced: Yellow-browed Warbler (caught in the nets next to the office at 0900hrs), Garden Warbler (a fat-looking one commandeering a bramble bush at the south end of the tank farm - probably off-passage in an area not recently checked), 15-20 Goldcrest, a least 7 Chiffchaff, including a bird giving 'soft', Bullfinch-like calls.......but looked like a collybita! Thrushes were at a premium with just c10 Song Thrush, a few extra Robin, one Blackbird acting like a migrant (!) and 3 Redwing. Two Wheatear on the coast.

North harbour wall/harbour area
The usual 5 Med Gulls were performing and the Black Guillemot was again present in at least the morning. Single Guillemot still in the harbour. Perhaps the same mobile Kingfisher was seen on three occasions between the NH Wall and Heysham Head

Vis mig from the office
This was difficult due to conversation, a minor YBW twitch etc., but the sky was kept an eye on to a greater or lesser degree from about 0730-1100hrs but a lot of stuff was so high that the totals could be as much as 50% underestimated from 0830ish onwards

Meadow Pipit - 33 SE
Chaffinch - 24 SW
Lesser Redpoll - 2 SE
Song Thrush - 4 S (ish)
Goldfinch - 17 S
Siskin - heard x 2 plus 2 seen SE
alba Wagtail - 9 SE
Merlin - female ESE
Kestrel - 1 S, 1 SE
Starling - 12 (flock) high to the south. Ignored the rest.
Grey Wagtail - 3 S
Greenfinch - 11 SW
Bullfinch - flock of 3 high to the SE
Redwing - 10 SW
Brambling - 1S
Mistle Thrush - 4 SE
Skylark - 5 SE

In addition, there was some fidgety behaviour by Dunnock with the piping and trilling calls and similarly Coal Tit but it was difficult to quantify this other than 2 unringed Coal Tit were caught.

Late autumn moths in the trap comprised: 1 Silver Y, one Green-brindled Crescent, one Black Rustic, one Lunar Underwing, one Red-line Quaker and 4 Pink-barred Sallow. Two Red Admiral & a few Common Darter Middleton IE but surprisingly no Migrant Hawker reported from anywhere today

Great White Egret EM complex along with 5 Spotted Redshank. Great Grey Shrike visible from the causeway on at least two widely-spaced occasions. Cetti's Warbler seen and heard calling near to where it was released the other day = L Moss causeway near the public hide BUT the legs were not seen to absolutely confirm it was the same (ringed) bird. Up to 6 Bearded Tit were seen on the grit trays but not there early morning. 1st W Common Tern still on Pine Lake. Single Crossbill, 200+ Siskin, 50+ Lesser Redpoll & 13 Brambling Thrushgill plantation area (no general access here).

Saturday, 6 October 2007

The Black Guillemot returns!

Heysham Obs
The day dawned with singing Robins. This is not good. Singing Robins mean nothing else in the bushes to chase and chastise. Good migrant mornings are accompanied by lots of 'ticking noises' and chasing sessions, including any other passerines invading the inner sanctum of bushes at the centre of the territory. This applied to yesterday when the first Robin song (as opposed to 'ticking') from those around the office was not until at least a couple of hours after dawn.

The 'vis' was far too high, the pylon was crackling making birds even more difficult to hear and there were several other birders providing coverage. Melmerby cafe (en route to work in Northumberland) seemed a whole lot better prospect than the supermarket brand "muesli" in the kitchen which doubled up as substandard mammal trap bait. Good move - secured the last ever bowl of Fig and Date Compote in 2007 (off the menu in 'winter')

North wall/harbour area
The male Black Guillemot, now in winter plumage, returned and was chased off the wooden jetty by feral pigeons and ended up in the water next to the jetty during at least the morning
Guillemot - one in the harbour still
Med. Gull - 3 x 2nd W along the north wall and two adults (one may have been the other (less regular) very faintly-marked 2nd W?) on the heliport

Vis mig from the office intermittently 0700-0900
Difficult, as described above, due to height of birds and crackling electricity wires.
Reed Bunting - 2 SE
alba Wagtail - 14 S
Chaffinch - 44 SW
Dunnock - 2 S
Starling - 32 S
Greenfinch - 5 SW
Woodpigeon - 17 SE
Meadow Pipit - 20 SE
Redwing - one flock of 16 SW
Grey Wagtail 2 SE
Linnet 12 S
Goldfinch - 15 SW

Not much pre-0900hrs around the office. Wheatear on the NHW mound

Red Nab
51 Shelduck and the first (13) Wigeon reported this autumn
Kingfisher by the outfalls

At last! The first Lunar Underwing of the year.

"Stubble burning" at Cockersands produced a Short-eared Owl along with 53 Skylark, 3 Reed Bunting and a surprising 104 Meadow Pipit. The Great Grey Shrike seen again by a reliable observer from the public causeway at Leighton Moss. What has been described as a 'grey' Willow Warbler with white underparts was trapped and ringed nearby. Great White Egret and two Avocets on the EM complex. Male Ring Ouzel at Aldcliffe

Friday, 5 October 2007

A nice varied morning of common bird migration

Heysham Obs
A nice change from the slog down to Flamborough's Old Fall Plantation. A calm, rather clear morning with a light SE wind saw a lot of migration, most of it overhead and quite high.

Vis Mig from the office intermittently 0700-1000
The alba wagtails were too high and/or not directly overhead and only 5 were definitely White. Highlights:

Meadow Pipit - 115 SE
Chaffinch - 38 SW
Brambling - 2 SW
Siskin - 31 SE
alba Wagtail - 64 SE
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Goldfinch - 29 S
Greenfinch - 77 SW
Coal Tit - 3 S
Skylark - 30 SW
Starling - 29 S
Blackbird - 2 SE
Song Thrush - 3 S
Jay - 2 S
Lesser Redpoll - 15 SE - Reinforcing the impression some of the birds seen/heard last week were almost certainly not Lesser were four small groups of obvious Lesser (on call & size) this morning
Crossbill - An extremely noisy flock of 9 to the SE at 0910hrs. These were heard for 'ages' in the direction of the wooden jetty before they appeared!
Reed Bunting - 1 S
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3 separate birds appeared to be heading south fairly high and purposefully (but birds 'doing the rounds' are a regular sight)
Redwing - 2 SE
Linnet - 10 SE
Long-tailed Tit - 3 flocks totalling 51 birds S
Woodpigeon - 11 S

Goldcrest at their highest numbers this autumn but this is not anything dramatic with perhaps 20 around early on. No phylloscs for the first time this autumn. Two Blackcap seen. Main feature was at least 3, probably 4 rapid-transit flocks of Long-tailed Tit (max. 16).

The two nets by the office were run and caught too many birds with respect to trying to monitor high vis at the same time. Most of these were Greenfinch (c15 new ones) but included 3 Goldcrest, a rather grey, orange-breasted Robin and a continental Song Thrush. An unringed adult male Great-spotted Woodpecker caused a bit of excitement and earache!

Two Red Admiral south during the vis mig watch (early in the day for butterflies). Comma by the office later on. Migrant Hawker by the office.

Great White Egret Leighton Moss area, also up to 9 Bearded Tit on the grit trays. NNEW on the late Avocet. The Bearded Tit population is very low this year with a max of c20 pairs and very poor productivity in 2007 (only 13 juvs ringed). No sign of yesterdays Purple Sandpiper at the Stone Jetty

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The perfect weather!

Heysham Obs
This was a good day - rubbish north-westerlies at Heysham, so no guilty conscience, yet the self-same weather provided some nice survey conditions for our work on the Humber........and (perhaps a little fortunately, given the clear conditions and following wind for at least half the night) a worthwhile detour to Flamborough.

Nature reserve
Collisions with the pylon lines seem to be fortunately rare. This Knot seemed a little stunned but unharmed as it wandered about next to the classroom

Coastal areas
Kingfisher at Heysham Head, only the second record in many years of watching this area (not the outfalls as published earlier - this is a separate bird & was not reported today). More Knot, indeed c8,000 of them, on the heliport. Wheatear Half-Moon Bay. Thanks for these, Malcolm

Welcome arrival in the form of a Purple Sandpiper by the
Stone Jetty. A late Avocet (passage, not 'leftover') on the pager for the EM complex plus a Curlew Sandpiper and the long-staying Great White Egret.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A vis of two halves

Heysham Obs
Visibility still too good to drop any significant numbers of night migrants and the large Long-tailed Tit flock failed to interest any 'Yellow-brows' which might have passed through as it was checked early and late morning. What was needed was an early morning bush searcher.

Vis by the office 0700-1000
Most of the first 1.5 hours was NE to SW finches and subsequent time mainly NW to SE Meadow Pipit and alba wagtail. The Livingstone paper was applied to the underparts of overflying albas and, providing they flew directly overhead, a good number could be identified as White.
Reassurance was found by subsequently examining the more sullied underparts of the grounded Pied Wagtails around Ocean Edge! A single call from something more interesting, but the bird could not be located in the short time you have observing the sky

Chaffinch - 58 SW
Brambling - 12 SW (including flock of 11)
Redwing - 25 S
Song Thrush - 15 S
alba Wagtail - 78 SE, 35 identified as White, the remainder unspecified
Siskin - 51 S/SW
Starling - 102 S
Cormorant - flock of 4 high to the SE
Grey Heron - one 'in-off' then high to the SE
Meadow Pipit - 51 SE
Greenfinch - just 13 SW
Pink-footed Goose - 117+60 NE, 17 SW
Collared Dove - 4 S
Carrion Crow - flock of 4 high to the S
Reed Bunting - 4 S
Woodpigeon - 5 S
Linnet - 8 SE
Bullfinch - flock of 3 high from the north, then SW, then turned SE, before joining two Chaffinch heading S! Way above pylon height
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Mistle Thrush - 2 SE
Dunnock - 2S
no tit movement today in cloudy conditions

3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, perceived increase in Wren from early morning 'noise' (!), 2-3 Goldcrest

North wall
2 x 2nd W Med Gull

Other coastal sightings
3 Wheatear this evening and Kingfisher still around the outfalls

Late Large Yellow Underwing and the first (2) Red-line Quaker of the year. Why have there not been any Lunar Underwing to date?

Female Cetti's Warbler trapped and ringed at Leighton Moss near the E end of the public causeway. 3rd record for Leighton and this area. Great White Egret still around. Juv Common Tern still Pine Lake.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Overnight Song Thrushes

Heysham Obs
A pre-dawn arrival saw a clear sky and no evidence of thrushes landfalling at dawn before reorientating and heading inland. This is a feature of many cloudy/misty October mornings. On the R & M day, several (continental) Song Thrushes were present on an essentially cloudy morning and these subsequently moved around at net level before departing and 4 were ringed. This morning appeared to be clear and thrushless with the only chance being high-flying vis. However, during the second hour (not the first) after dawn, Song Thrushes suddenly rose out of several bushes close to the office and headed off high to the south. A total of 21 were logged and there is absolutely no way these birds could have arrived in these bushes at or just after dawn as they were under constant observation during the 'vis' watch. Therefore the assumption is that they landed during the night (the site is fairly well lit) and took a bit of time to wake up before heading off. The difference between this morning and Saturday was the clear skies and this undoubtedly prompted the steep take-off with no chance of any being mistnetted.

Vis from the office dawn to 0930hrs
Chaffinch - 72 SW
Greenfinch - 38 SW
Collared Dove - 10 in 4 groups high to the south - a good count!
alba Wagtail - 45 SE
Meadow Pipit - just 28 SE
Grey Wagtail - 2 (one ringed!) SE
Redwing - 2 E
Goldfinch - 68 S
Siskin - 4 S
Coal Tit - 2 S
Skylark - 1 SE
Linnet - 10 SW
Dunnock - 2 high to the south
Carrion Crow - 4 high to the SW perceived as migrants
Reed Bunting - 2 S
Bullfinch - yet another high to the south
Sparrowhawk - 2 south
Not a single Mistle Thrush seen!

A little bit more than yesterday which is not saying much. At least 4 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 21 Song Thrush (see above), 7 presumed migrant Blackbird, possibly more. Quite a bit of tit activity, notably an unringed flock of 35 Long-tailed Tit, but no definite irruptive behaviour other than by the two Coal Tit.

Included some of the LTTs, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and a Grey Wagtail

North harbour wall
At least 2 2nd W Med Gulls

No reports of the Leighton Moss Great Grey Shrike which has plenty of places to go out of public view but the juv Marsh Harrier still present. Possible update here later. Male Crossbill over Caton Moor vis site and 4+2 Crossbill in Thrushgill Plantation but no public access to where seen [Richard's Pipit over the Rossall Point vis site]

Monday, 1 October 2007

'Difficult' vis, few grounded birds

Heysham Obs
Vis made a little difficult by a nearby generator combined with many of the birds being very high. The main species which was underestimated was probably alba Wagtail with a lot of fast-moving intermittently calling birds. The majority of the vis, unlike yesterday, comprised 'cross-bay' birds from the north-west to south east and therefore thrush species and Chaffinch were in much lower numbers. Redpoll were interesting. Very used to Lesser Redpoll flying over this site (especially spring) and there was a definite contrast between the 6 which accompaned Goldfinch = 'typical Lesser calls' and the more staccato, harsher, lower-pitched calls from the birds arriving flying very high from across the Bay with Meadow Pipit and alba Wagtail. Again, they appeared to be on the large side but no detail could be seen on them. Tape lure?....but a lot of effort for the possibility of one-two birds per hour at best.

Vis by the office 0745-1100 (NW to SE unless specified)
Meadow Pipit - 245
Redpoll - 6 definite Lesser (flock with Goldfinch) and 2+1+3+4 unspec.
Grey Wagtail - 3+1+1+1
alba Wagtail - 57
Chaffinch - 87 SW
Greenfinch - 59 SW
Song Thrush - 5
Swallow - 31
Linnet - 44
Goldfinch - 44
Collared Dove 1+3
Siskin - 1+2+1
Bullfinch - a singleton high to the south
Redwing - just 2+1 SW
Woodpigeon - 16
House Sparrow - 1+1 south
Jay - 2 south
Great Tit - 2 south
Starling - 52
Kestrel - 1 south
Sparrowhawk - 1SE
Coal Tit - 1+1+1 high to the south
Skylark - just 1

Very little but 2 new Chiffchaff were ringed and a White Wagtail was on the NHW mound. Male Stonechat on Middleton IE

23 Tufted Duck on the IE model boat pond
At least 3 2nd W Med Gulls NH wall
Guillemot in harbour

At least 3 Migrant Hawker on the reserve along with several Common Darter and a geriatric Large White

Great Grey Shrike and Great White Egret still Leighton Moss along with a juv Marsh Harrier. Little Stint on the Kent Estuary