Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Freezing fog omen for the New Year's Day list

Heysham Obs
A week ago I would have said 100 species in the LDBWS area was relatively straightforward with the problem being low sun!! Not now, and the main problem has been the disappearance of or prospective unavailability due to poor offshore visibility of 5 "Heysham species". Potential lack of raptor flying weather also comes to mind.

Available & seen today
Med Gull - 2 adults on the railings at high tide
Twite - 38 on the NHW seed this morning at least
Linnet - 1 with the above & 4 on the mound pm.


Unavailable if visibility poor
Red-throated Diver

'Disappeared somewhere'
Purple Sandpipers - but has anyone checked at LOW tide?

The star of the show today, but completely "irrelevant" as regards a NYD list [e.g. part of Pine Lake 'package'], was the appearance of a pair of Gadwall with the Wigeon at Red Nab. This species makes the BTO challenge list by the skin of its teeth.

See LDBWS site for some notebook fodder useful for tomorrow. NO reports of the European White-fronted Geese in poor visibility (or the Greylag flock). Two Spotted Redshank and Greenshank Conder area. 6 Scaup still off north Morecambe. 85 Whooper Swan Fluke Hall Lane. Lune valley Whooper not visible in fog i.e. probably at yesterdays distant location.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Nothing as yet

Heysham Obs
Looks like the first blank for quite some time - anyone out checking for year list, please?

Twite: A flock of 6 seen today on the shore by Cockerham Sands Caravan Park consisted of 5 with autumn 2008 Heysham rings and one unringed bird

One slightly unusual ringing recovery just received. August is not usually a month associated with cross bay or indeed any distant movement of adult Greenfinch (e.g. moult). One ringed on 23/8/08 was recaptured on Walney on 29/8/08 (19km in a straight line over the Bay). A Magpie ringed here on 13/8/97 was found in a Larsen trap at "Heysham" on 6/8/08. Wonder where this is?

Heysham Head
1 siskin (f) (MD)

Nothing not on LDBWS site (see links)

Monday, 29 December 2008

Twite desert the north wall

Unfortunately a combination of at least one photographer lacking field craft, anglers, general walkers & nice-ish weather has led to the Twite deserting the north wall feeding station. Hopefully they will be back in the new year (no ringing has taken place recently).

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall, pre-tide & early dropping tide
Linnet - one
Red-throated Diver - 7 offshore in a quick sweep - all very distant
Shag - absolutely no sign of any - yesterdays report looks like it was not the regular remaining bird from the autumn influx, but a 'one-off'
Guillemot - no sign
Med Gull - 2 adults on the railings
Purple Sandpiper - no sign of any roosting on the wooden jetty

Ocean Edge area
Twite - 32 on the saltmarsh but elusive and wide-ranging (this is the usual number on here - the flock of 40-60 on the north wall, sometimes supplementing the OE birds has gone AWOL)
Wigeon - 131 again

The Egyptian Goose has been seen regularly at Leighton Moss this last few days - mainly Lilian's, Jacksons or in the field by the level crossing. Tundra Bean and 2 Barnacle Geese off Pilling Lane Ends. 4 European White-fronted Geese still off Aldcliffe in the afternoon but very mobile in the morning (possibly just due to 3 roaming dogs?). Now SIX Scaup off north Morecambe.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Blinding low sun favours the morning observer

Heysham Obs
The mid-stages of the incoming tide were a whole lot more productive than the afternoon visit but a common denominator was the absence of any small finches.

North harbour wall mid-morning and mid-afternoon
Med Gull - 2 adults on the railings on both visits (one Czech-ringed)
Shag - one on the wooden jetty in the morning (& 16 Cormorant) but no sign around the waterfall area on the dropping tide (as was also the case yesterday)
Guillemot - a float-in singleton at 1040hrs
Red-throated Diver - at least 4 offshore in the morning
Song Thrush - unusually, 2 in the sandworks mid-morning [**need to add to atlas roving records]

Observers: Jeff Butcher, Pete Marsh

At last, a quality new arrival in the form of 4 European White-fronted Geese joining the Greylags at the north end of Aldcliffe Marsh (visible from the Golden Ball side as well as the Aldcliffe side). Med Gull off Glasson, 8 Whooper Swans just south of Melling, 1st W female Scaup Freeman's Pool

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Midwinter ticking over in undramatic weather

Heysham Obs
Med Gull - 2 adults, including Czech-ringed bird
Guillemot - one in harbour
Red-throated Diver - one fairly close inshore
Linnet - 6
Twite - one

Thanks to John Mason for providing coverage

Red Nab
79 shelduck
89 wigeon
13 common snipe

8 Whooper Swan Lune valley between Gressingham Bridge and Melling. Absolute minimum of 7 Common Buzzard from Lilian's Hide Leighton Moss mid-afternoon, but forgot to check the sightings book on departure (often contains sightings which are not put on websites/pager). 5 Gadwall Pine Lake. No sign of any Waxwings Cove Road, Silverdale but a bit late in the day to check. Spotted Redshank & 2 Greenshank Conder area

Friday, 26 December 2008

There is only one Twite (at the time of the original posting)

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall lunchtime
Twite - one on the seed!! - 14 later
Med Gull - 2 adults on railings
Red-throated Diver - 2 in a single sweep offshore
Shag - no sign

Observers: Alan Richards & Pete Marsh

Heysham Head
1 treecreeper with/following small flock of Long tailed Tits (MD)

4 Scaup Scalestones Point area, singleton Freeman's Pool. 8 Whooper Swan Lune valley between Gressingham and Melling. Belated report of Rough-legged Buzzard (& 5 Buzzard) at Leighton Moss [morning sighting from Lilian's Hide] (per pager)

Thursday, 25 December 2008

No red noses but plenty of Red-throats.

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0920-1200 ish
Red-throated Diver 16 minimum
Shag 1 juv harbour entrance
Twite 52
Eider 1 'in' + adult male close in
Shelduck 6 'out' - 1+1+3 'in'
Med Gull 2 adult
Great Crested Grebe 2
1005 Grey Plover 16 'out'
1015 Pink-footed Goose c160 North
1028 Guillemot 2 end of wooden jetty
Defeated by Ducks - 13 'out' may have been Mallard? + 2 'in' which could have been anything! Always find seawatching a challenging experience (John Wood)
Meadow Pipit 1 over

Heysham Head
c250 dunlin (south 10:30 - looks like they didn't get as far as John on NHW) MD

Scaup - 2+ whilst driving along Morecambe prom, 8 Whooper Swan between Gressingham Bridge and Melling including one with darvic ring on right leg. No apparent sign of any Waxwings arouind Lancaster tax office and surrounding likely habitat (but Peregrine perched on cathedral)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Brief not a lot of encounter

Heysham Obs
A quick 40 minute trawl round the north harbour area/Ocean Edge foreshore, incorporating the lunchtime incoming IOM ferry, was not very good

Shag - no sign (single Cormorant at the waterfall)
Twite - c40 north wall feeder, but disturbed & not seen well
Red-throated Diver - after an age, one located far offshore
Guillemot - no sign
Med Gull - still just the one adult in the inner harbour
Purple Sandpiper - one seen after about 20 minutes searching below the wooden jetty
Kittiwake - none today behind the ferry
Wigeon - 131 off Stage 2 outfall

Middleton Industrial Est
2 mute
5 coot
4 moorhen
1 little grebe
8 tufted
1 pochard (f)
22 teal
8 mallard
16 snipe
3 bullfinch
140 Gloden plover (south 1:15)
Pinkfooted geese
160 (south 12:30)
91 & 49 (North east 2:00)

Waxwing - 9 behind the tax office , Lancaster. No sign of any Whooper Swans in the usual Lune valley site (4 Mute). 4 Tree Sparrow at Heaton village feeders.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

High numbers of Twite maintained

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0925-1230hrs
Twite - 85 (21 unringed)
Red-throated Diver - 4 on sea including 1st W in harbour entrance then just below NHW + 1 'in' & 1 'out'
Shelduck - 1 + 1 'in'
Greylag Goose - 1 'out' then same one 'in'
Guillemot - 1 1015 hrs 'in' same 'out' 1034 hrs.
Pink-footed Goose - under wooden jetty then alongside NHW - injured bird & another injured bird on sea off wooden jetty (seen at same time)
Red-breasted Merganser - pair
Med Gull - adult (& still just one when IOM ferry arrived)
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on rocks under wooden jetty (right at seaward end)
Kittiwake - 1st W behind IOM ferry
Shag - at least one and possibly 2 juvs

12 Little Egret in the Leighton roost

Monday, 22 December 2008

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall

28 Twite, adult Mediterranean Gull, juvenile Shag

Stage 2 outfall
Ad Little Gull was a loom through the gloom late afternoon

Waxwing at north end of Leonard's Gate, Lancaster. Possible Red-necked Grebe Lune Estuary lunchtime (seen off Glasson floating out). Scaup Freeman's Pool.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Reasonable inshore coverage of dropping tide

Heysham Obs
Around/off harbour walls
Twite - 17 (all Heysham 2008-ringed) north harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - one (flew) out distantly and one closer inshore on water
Pink-footed Goose - injured bird under wooden jetty (qualifies for BTO challenge!)
Shag - juv harbour mouth, later waterfall area (with 2 Cormorant)
Guillemot - one close inshore
Purple Sandpiper - one at least under the wooden jetty on rocks
Shelduck - 3+1+1 out

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - adult mid-afternoon [none yesterday in calm weather]

Red Nab
1 Kingfisher

Ocean Edge salt marsh
268 lapwing(nicely spaced for easy counting)
30 mixed twite & linnet flock

Mottled Umber and Winter Moth in the trap

Waxwing - three "behind tax office" (cobbled street to east of Dalton Square) at at least 1030hrs

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Lapwing invasion

Heysham Obs
Red Nab
Little Egret

Ocean Edge
Lapwing 265 - record count, I think.

Nature Park/Moneyclose Lane
Collared Dove 2

North harbour wall
Twite 46, then over to South HW
Shag juv harbour entrance
Great Crested Grebe 2

North harbour wall afternoon incoming tide 1315-1335hrs
Med Gull - 2 ads to stale bread - one Czech-ringed
Goldeneye - 1 out
Guillemot - one close inshore
Red-throated Diver - 2 distant on the sea (& c6 Great-crested Grebe)

Middleton Industrial est
2 mute
6 coot
2 moorhen
1 pochard (f)
7 tufted
18 mallard
6 teal
2 golden eye (m + f)
4 snipe
1 bullfinch

Two Winter Moth in the trap

2, later 3 Waxwings Willow Lane/Milking stile lane junction (Lancaster Marsh estate) 1140 at least with 3+ still at Greaves (Lancaster) as per location a few days ago, 2 Storeys area, 2 Town hall/tax office area (possibly the same). None Clarendon Rd/Parliament St area of Morecambe west end (c/f belated report from last week). 10 Whooper Swan (& 2-3 Mute) between Gressingham Bridge and Melling on east side of Lune floodplain (as usual)

Friday, 19 December 2008

Twite surge followed by Little Gull weather

Heysham Obs
South-westerly gales and driving warm-sector rain have limited appeal - the 0.1% of nearctic passerines who make landfall this side, as opposed to drowning, in late September/October (see Punkbirder site for a met. analysis of this last autumn's fare), mega-close large shearwaters and scopes steamed up for the next month off Cape Clear in August (fond memories of the great 10, 939 (or possibly going round in circles) Cory's day) and bringing Little Gulls on to Heysham outfalls during the winter months.

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - the first for a bit - 2 x ad-type and one 1st W during brief check at 1400hrs

North harbour wall
Twite 60 - all but c5 ringed, mainly blue above + 2 yellow above black /blue split. One had just a metal ring.
Linnet 1 with Twite
Med Gull adult
Red-breasted Merganser M & F
Eider M
Shag juv harbour waterfall
Wigeon 52 off S2O

Absolutely nothing registered by 1745hrs

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Ten minutes

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Twite - 15
Linnet - 2
Med Gull - distant adult
Shag - one by waterfall (with single Cormorant)
Purple sandpiper - one on rocks at the end with Turnstone

Purple sandpiper - single Morecambe Stone Jetty this morning. 4 Waxwing reportedly somewhere at Leighton Moss but no other details

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Snippet of coverage

Heysham Obs
Not a lot to offer today and the Trumacar stores billboard sometimes comes to the rescue on these occasions. Today saw a Freddie Starresque "Heysham Man Denies Hanging Dog" - good 'Have I Got Noose For You' material (the blanked-out words bit)? This sort of thing really does bring out the worst in some people - mention of this to others today prompted all sorts of black humour, when Daily Mail/Telegraph/Express upper lip horror was surely appropriate. Incidentally, what is the origin of a "hang-dog expression"?

North harbour wall
Twite - 29 on the north harbour wall feeding station
Med Gull - one adult north wall

A rare trip south of the Lune saw zero of note other than a female Merlin on Jeremy Lane

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Purple patch

South harbour wall - incoming tide 1000 - 1115 hrs.
Purple sandpiper 3 and quite possibly 4 on rocks below wooden jetty.
Knot colour ringed on rocks below wooden jetty - details to R de Feu et al
Shag 1 moved slowly out of harbour + 1 'out' past end of wooden jetty
Guillemot 1 'out'
Red-throated Diver 2 together 'out'
Grey Plover 2 H1O
Twite c35 SHW then over to sand plant.

North harbour wall very brief early afternoon visit
Shag - presumably one of the above on the wooden jetty
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult on the railings
"Twinnet" - no reason why not all Twite - 41 in flight over the mound. Yes there is - there were two Linnet still on 18th (see above)

18 Waxwing at Cove Road, Silverdale at 1345hrs; 2 Spotted Redshank, Leighton Moss.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Heysham Obs.

Pink-footed Goose : 3 flocks 08.20 - 08.30 NW over Lake District. Total c1150 plus further c 150 at 09.55.
Twite: groups of 9 (all ringed) & 15 (majority ringed) around sand plant. Not settled - fishing disturbance yesterday plus work in sand plant? 9 caught including 1 further Duddon bird and 1 new bird.

Waxwings: 8 at Bridge Road, Lancaster (am) & 14 at Cove Road Silverdale (time?)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Heysham Obs.

House Sparrow male & female at feeder.

North habour wall 1030-1140 hrs
Med Gull adult
Guillemot 'in' 1100 hrs on tide - flew out 1115 hrs
Common Scoter 7 'in/across'
Great Crested Grebe 1 'in'

Midd IE
Mute Swan 2
Coot 8
Moorhen 7
Mallard 11
Teal 14
Tufted Duck 9
Pochard 2 (1m)
Goldeneye 2 (f)
Snipe 8
Redwing 10
Fieldfare 2
Pink-footed Goose 160 North 1230 hrs

Saturday, 13 December 2008

A gloomy day

Nothing from me on Sunday or Monday - could someone else please update. Will forward your texted stuff tomorrow, Malcolm - sorry dont have phone with me!

North Harbour Wall
Twite c35 at Sand Plant gate.

Wet and bedraggled Short-eared Owl in hawthorn next to the Allen Pool car park. 4+ Waxwings just to the south of Hornby school but really difficult from P.R.O.W.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Early WeBS

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Med Gull - one adult
Twite - 34 on seed with 11 unringed; rest all Heysham-ringed birds
Red-throated Diver - 2+ offshore

Shag - 2: 1 in harbour with the other alongside the wooden jetty

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 1

Red Nab
Wigeon - 128 - highest count of this winter period
Med Gull - one adult on sea

Cannon netting
460 Oystercatchers were caught this morning including one which had been ringed in Iceland & about 9 British-ringed birds from other than Heysham

by office
No proper birding but 3 Redwing casually noted in the tank farm and a further two along Moneyclose Lane. No report of Waxwings.

Observers today: Alan Williams, Pete Marsh & largish cannon net team - the latter didnt see anything (per Mark Breaks)!

Rough-legged Buzzard seen well from Lower Hide flying towards Public Hide this morning at 1100hrs. Purple Sandpiper on seaward side of Bubbles groyne, visible from Lifeboat station area only. Med Gull Ad Broadway and male & 2 female Scaup by Scalestones Point. Red-throated Diver close inshore by the Stone Jetty at 1115hrs. Waxwings: 17 at 1600hrs Hornby main street by Alpaca shop & one at Scotforth

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Waxwings at last!

Heysham Obs
To miss out on both Yellow-browed Warbler and Waxwing this back end would have left this site with a serious lack of migratory cred, as the White-throated Sparrow and other 'megas' recede into history.

By the NR office
Waxwing - 5 flew from the direction of Heysham Head and appeared to land in the tankfarm at 1010hrs. At 1150, they were at the top of the tall willows bordering the car park before flying back to the tankfarm, where they could be heard calling. No further searches made by known observers
Fieldfare - 2 seen
Redwing - 2 in tank farm

Red-throated Diver - 5 - a good winter count for here

Med Gull - 2 ads north harbour wall (one with Czech ring)
Shag - at least one actively feeding in the SW corner of the harbour
Twite - 35 on the seed - 22 ringed. Flock flying in from the harbour direction at Ocean Edge at c1100hrs almost certainly same birds
Goldfinch - one on seed

Observers: John Wood & Pete Marsh

55 Twite Bank End. Two Little Egrets reported well up the Lune valley at Greta Foot - no detail on how well they were seen - they flew off towards Leighton late afternoon

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Cold weather thrush displacement

Heysham Obs
To repeat....Fieldfare are very rare here outside the autumn passage period - i.e. even absent on spring passage in many years. Therefore whilst todays numbers might not seem a big deal, they are most unusual.

1000-1045 hrs - Office
Fieldfare - 35 over
Redwing - 34 over
Kingfisher - 1 flew towards tank farm
Snipe - 5 flushed from marsh
Great Spotted woodpecker - 1
Bullfinch - male
Sparrowhawk - female

North wall and Ocean Edge very briefly
Red-throated Diver - one out
Shag - there ARE two juvs still around
No finches... high level of verbal and mechanical racket in the sand works as the infrastructure is being demolished. It would be good if they could leave the remaining sand to acquire sand dune vegetation.......... [no immediate plans to use this area]
Med Gull - adult off the seaward end of the outfalls

Observers: John Wood, Reuben Neville, John Clarke, Pete Marsh

Waxwing sitting in a tree in the centre of Glasson (0925hrs). 17 Waxwings near the White Lund Honda garage at northern end of A683 "Heysham" bypass 1300-1345hrs, but not there later. Plenty of suitable habitat, including in nearby housing estates. No sign Quernmore Hooded Crow during midday search

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Earlyish and late north harbour wall coverage

Heysham Obs
Possibly due to an aggressive spam filter/deleter, I have definitely not received 7 e-mails sent this week. There may be others. Please could you re-send [or text 07989866487]. Apologies, therefore, for lack of responses. Thanks. Pete (see contact details in RH column)

North harbour wall
0940-1040 hrs
Red-throated Diver 2 'out'
Eider 2 'in'
Med Gull adult
Twite 13 very flighty near Sand Plant Gate as JCB removed wooden sleeper fence.
No Shag on wooden jetty

Blinding sunlight!
Med Gull - two ads to bread, including Czech-ringed bird
Shag - none at all in the harbour or on the wooden jetty - is this it until next autumn? (one Cormorant at the waterfall)

Observers: John Wood & Pete Marsh

Mostly a numbers game from Pine Lake (32 Shoveler, 227 Pochard) & Glasson area (125+ Tufted on marina) & small areas of open water left at Leighton Moss (120+ Gadwall), with additional interest being a female Scaup on Glasson marina (displaced from Freemans pool??). NNEW on Hooded Crow, any interesting raptors at Leighton Moss or any non-Little Egret in the roost there. No obvious sign of 2nd W Med at Claughton.

Monday, 8 December 2008

The weather front stops and takes a seat

.........which leads to a dreary, grossly underrecorded day all over north Lancs.

Heysham Obs
Harbour area
Med Gull - one adult
Shag - 2 juvs

The distinctive 2nd W Med Gull photographed a Pine Lake a few days ago was on the roof of the farm at Claughton (by A683) with hundreds of other gulls this morning

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Sunday drivers!!

Heysham Obs
.....left me little time to cover the incoming tide as the efficient midweek Crook-of-Lune-Slyne rat-run was transformed into a second-gear Sunday brake-light fest, along with a predictable shambles at Halton mini-roundabout. This latter location needs its own highway code (or ten commandments, as a lot of the miscreants seem to be churchgoers)

North harbour wall
Med gull - ad
Twite - 24
Red-throated Diver - 1
Shag - 1

Half moon bay/nature reserve
Redwing - flock of 85 south at 1030hrs
Redwing - 13 on the tank farm late afternoon

Observers: Malcolm Downham, Alan Draper, Pete Marsh, Mark Prestwood

6 Hawfinch Woodwell. 3+ Waxwing NE Warton with 9 two hours later near Cotestones.....which flew back towards Warton. Displaced wildfowl included 60 Shoveler on Holmere & a further 30 on Pine Lake. Rough-legged Buzzard reportedly seen from the Lower Hide early afternoon, before flying 'into the wood'. Hooded Crow Stock-a-bank mid-afternoon but very mobile, solitary and wary. 8 (+?) Whooper Swans in the usual location between Melling and Gressingham bridge. 4 Bittern seen from Lower Hide at the same time this early afternoon, but no sign of the supposedly proximate RLB by this observer.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Record count of Ravens

Sorry Malcolm, the wrong part of the vari-focals was looking at your text & mistook 7 for 2!

Looks like we're heading for our 50,000th hit today (since December 2006) - not bad for a recording area which couldn't even muster a YBW this autumn and now competing for attention with hundreds of other birding blogs, albeit mainly personal rather than aimed specifically at a recording area.

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall

A careful search at low tide in clear calm conditions produced:
Red-throated Diver - 3 in Cumbria i.e. miles away!
Eider - 7+5+1
Mute Swan - 6 imms 'in'
Meadow Pipit - 2 'in-off' (unexpected)
Med Gull - ad offshore
Finches - food all frozen - no birds

Harbour/wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - one under the wooden jetty on rocks
Shag - one on the stanchion next to the waterfall (SW corner harbour) & anothe by the end of the wooden jetty
Guillemot - one close inshore as the tide started rising

Middleton IE
SEVEN Raven flew over
Fieldfare - 18 (rare outside the autumn passage period here)
Redwing - 25
plus: Water Rail (1), Snipe (2), Moorhen (9), Coot (8), Mute Swan (2) in mainly frozen wetland area

Observers: Malcolm Downham, John Wood and Pete Marsh

Hooded Crow 0940 hrs in field above conifers west of Quernmore Church cSD516604. Rough-legged Buzzard photographed early afternoon at Leighton Moss but only available briefly. No Waxwing reported locally for today, but c5 Carnforth Booths yesterday and c13 at Hornby/Butt Yeats on Thursday

Friday, 5 December 2008

A bit of coastal coverage

South Harbour Wall seawatch 0935-1030 hrs
Red-throated Diver 2 'in'
Guillemot 2 'in' one landing on sea.
Med Gull - adult off outfalls
Shag - 2 juv harbour intake

Sea 1205-1235 north harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - on lower tier of wooden jetty
Med Gull - two adults (including Czech bird) to bread
Red-throated Diver - one out - the only non-gull in 30 minutes!
Linnet - one at seed
Goldfinch - one at seed

Ocean Edge foreshore
Dunlin - 520 off south end
Twite - 67, but could not check for rings
Wigeon - 67

Cormorant - 1 South
40 Plover sp, presumed Golden, high to the south first seen towards Heysham Head (1107hrs).

Observers: John Wood & Pete Marsh

Hooded Crow by Stock-a-bank again at least 0845-1100hrs, but not later in the morning. Osprey reportedly over M6 by Carnforth junction (Birdguides)!

Thursday, 4 December 2008


Heysham Obs
A very brief visit to the North harbour wall saw:

Twite - c22
Linnet - c2
Med Gull - ad

Hooded Crow still by Stock-a-bank - all sightings have been in field at the SE quadrant of the cross-roads but has been absent for up to 1.5hrs. Waxwing along the cycle track just norht of Barge's depot at c1015hrs. Chiffchaff, possibly a N/E bird, Freeman's wood. Purple Sandpiper Morecambe Stone Jetty. Small CWM at High Tatham with 420 Fieldfare west & two flocks of c100 Starling.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Nuthatch over

Heysham Obs
A major Heysham rarity in the form of a Nuthatch over the car park at 1000hrs (Emma Garston)

North harbour wall
Med Gull adult
Twite - c15
Mute Swan - 1+2 'out'
Great Crested Grebe - 2
Red Breasted Merganser - 4
Wigeon - 83 off S2O

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper on the rocks

Coal Tit 2
Bullfinch M
Crow 4

Observers: John Wood, Emma Garston & a.n.o.

Hooded Crow, probably the one seen at Birkbank a few weeks ago, in a field with other corvids at Quernmore today. It may have been displaced by snow cover from a more obscure area, hence no interim reports. A singleton at 1310 and then 6 at c1500 Waxwing at Carnforth Booths today. Purple Sandpiper Stone Jetty area. 3 Scaup off north Morecambe/Bare seafront at high tide.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A broken ankle day

Heysham Obs
Jean out of action (slipped on ice and broke ankle) so is anyone able to help with WeBS gaps - one Fylde coastal stretch and one Lune stretch?

Thursday morning looks interesting. It looks like Pete will be snowed in at High Tatham, but more coastal observers may be able to go on the prowl with the name of the game being any cold-weather movement.

North harbour wall
One Ad Med but no Knot on heliport

One Waxwing at Carnforth Booths at 1400hrs.

Monday, 1 December 2008

No Waxwings in the recording area suburbia

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall
Whooper Swan - 0915 hrs 12 North - 8 ad + 4 juv
Shag - Juv stanchion in harbour
Great crested Grebe - 2 offshore
Med Gull - at least one adult around
Pink-footed Goose - 1000 hrs 117 South picked up a long way out towards Flookburgh + c60 South way out of Bay towards Walney.
Purple Sandpiper - 1020 hrs 1 on rocks below wooden jetty as tide was rising.
Common Scoter - male 'in' 1024 hrs
Linnet - 5 on mound which has a lingering smell of diesel
Twite - 6+ in flight

Starling - 8 South
Bullfinch - male over into Tank Farm area.

Timed tetrad visit in SD46A=top section of the recording area
Subtitled: Waxwing search of Heysham suburbia. In this respect it failed, but lots of nooks and crannies were located, including quite a lot of Yellow-browed Warbler habitat. The tetrad includes the coast from about half way down the north harbour wall to the start of Sunny slopes - the count was done at high tide. The following were seen/heard in the two hour slot: Great-crested Grebe (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Kestrel (1), Peregrine (1), Water Rail (1), Moorhen (3), Oystercatcher (5,100), Ringed Plover (4), Lapwing (2), Knot (6,000), Curlew (1), Redshank (44), Turnstone (13), Med Gull (1), Common Gull (17), Black-headed Gull (82), Lesser Black-backed Gull (5), Herring Gull (12), Great Black-backed Gull (1), Feral Pigeon (10), Woodpigeon (3), Collared Dove (22), Great-spotted Woodpecker (2), Meadow Pipit (1), Pied Wagtail (3), Wren (13), Dunnock (22), Robin (42), Blackbird (89), Song Thrush (4), Redwing (9), Mistle Thrush (4), Goldcrest (3), Long-tailed Tit (51), Coal Tit (4), Blue Tit (29), Great Tit (11), Treecreeper (1), Magpie (39), Carrion Crow (7), Starling (111), House Sparrow (161), Chaffinch (25), Greenfinch (8), Goldfinch (3), Bullfinch (2), Reed Bunting (1).

A promising Waxwing area, berry-wise, is the southern end of the new Mossgate estate near the NHS building on Plover Road. The Reed Bunting was odd - calling from some waste ground on its own - similarly, another small area of 'rataside' held the Meadow Pipit. The House Sparrow were in 7 largish concentrations around the older (a relative term) properties with many areas devoid of them. The drive on to Heysham 'Headland' suggested the private notices applied to all bird species. Not one of the Dunnocks was seen, indicating the importance of calling birds.

Observers: Pete Marsh & John Wood

Just some late news so far on 10 Waxwing in Hyde Road, Torrisholme at midday yesterday - none during brief visit today, but a few berried trees around. 7+ Waxwing Black Dyke Road, Arnside today (report of up to 40 yesterday). 2 Waxwing at Carnforth Booths at 1430hrs but not at 1515hrs. [Two Cattle Egrets at Preesall, Fylde, outside the area, on Sunday - see photos on LDBWS site] and one Cattle Egret reported via Birdguides as being in the Leighton Moss roost at 1620hrs this evening (& 18 Little Egret)

Sunday, 30 November 2008

A flattish calmish sea yields very little

Ad Med on the NHW railings this afternoon. Thanks Gavin.

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - one in, one close inshore
Med Gull - two adults around
Pink-footed Goose - 120 north then back south
Twite - 19 in afternoon, one with autumn 2004 ring (Ocean Edge birds - see below?)
Linnet - 3 (getting late for this species in this area)

South harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - 1 in 1145 hrs
Pink-footed Goose - 53 North well out over Bay
Shag - one on the stanchion in the harbour

Red Nab/Ocean Edge am
Twite - c20
Med Gull - adult
Wigeon - c65
Snipe - 2 on Red Nab (c/f BTO challenge)
Grey Plover - 1 Red Nab (ditto)

Woodpigeon 2 high SW
Pink-footed Goose 1 SW
Redwing 3 over (& 6 along Moneyclose Lane)
Bullfinch M over
Half-Moon Bay
Kingfisher - one this pm
Todays observers were: John Wood, Gavin Thomas, Malcolm Downham, Pete Marsh

One Cattle Egret left the Leighton Moss roost this morning at 0745hrs. It was not possible to view the roost last night due to fog and anything roosting there would have required sophisticated homing instincts. This bird flew north, not the direction of the two previously presumed Cattle Egret, which was NE. NO Cattle Egrets located feeding anywhere today & no egrets arriving from the north into the Leighton Moss roost this evening (c20 Little Egret). Waxwings have been present at Black Dyke Road, Arnside all week and comprised 28 today. Early morning report of Waxwings from Booths at Carnforth, but nothing since. The Rough-legged Buzzard reportedly showed to a select few at various parts of Leighton Moss today. Wintering Common Sandpiper still in Conder area. 26 Waxwings flew over Galgate. 3 Scaup close inshore at Teal Bay at high tide & female Scaup remains at Freemans Pool. 46 Twite Bank End with many bearing autumn 2008 Heysham rings

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Fog and foggier

Heysham Obs
Coastal birding and other activities seriously impeded today - ask Cheltenham Town FC as they trundle back down the M5 after a wasted journey & wasted energy

Red Nab
Wigeon 71
Shelduck 51
Kingfisher 1

North harbour wall
Med Gull adult
No Twite during afternoon visit

Middleton IE
2 Mute Swan, 9 Coot, 8 Moorhen, 13 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, 4 Teal, 3 Snipe, 21 Redwing

Observers: John Wood, Alan Draper & Malcolm Downham

6 Waxwings at Carnforth Booths until at least 0915hrs, increasing to 7 in the afternoon - but often absent. 2nd W Med Pine Lake a 'new' bird. Some confirmation that the Cattle Egrets do in fact roost in situ near Whasset (in trees behind the lime kiln) and seen there & in nearby fields today, but not very cooperative for photographers.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Ringed Shag details sorted out

Heysham Obs
What is thought to be just the one ringed, long-staying, juvenile Shag was sorted out today. Thanks to all involved in this rather tortuous ring-reading process! Just in case their has been more than one bearing a ring, the limital dates when the ring was actually read are used for the 'formal' ringing details. However, a ringed juvenile Shag has been present since late August:

Ringed: Puffin Island, Anglesey Pullus (from brood of 3) 7/6/08
Read in field: Heysham Harbour area: at least 26/10/08-at least 28/11/08

This is the most regular source of ringed Shags in this area, but, as the vast majority are NOT ringed, not necessarily the main source of all records!

Harbour area (apparently crane-barge and dredger-free)
Shag - two juvs; 1 in Harbour (ringed bird) + 1 wooden jetty
Shelduck - 1 'in'
Twite - 44 south harbour wall area - including 1 yellow-ringed Duddon bird

Jay - 2

Light-brown Apple Moth and Blastobasis adustella in the trap

Observers: John Wood, Malcolm Downham, Alan Draper

Waxwing - 6 at Booths, Carnforth late afternoon, but mobile and often absent. 29 on Black Dyke Lane/Road in Arnside this afternoon (per pager). 2 Cattle Egret almost certainly seen emerging from the Leighton roost this morning - the only Egrets to fly NE - seen later in the Whasset area, but mobile e.g. seen looking south near Ackenthwaite from B6385, as well as from the Whasset-Beetham road - these are either side of the published site for the last few days


Middleton coverage
Heysham Obs
Coverage today by Malcolm Downham at Middleton IE
4 Pochard, 4 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Snipe, 6 Mallard, 9 Coot, 4 Moorhen, 2 Mute Swan, 10 Redwing, 2 Jackdaw (one either showing characters of the N/E form or aberrant)

Cattle Egrets still at Whasset area

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Twite continue to arrive.

Heysham Obs
Twite-ringing on north harbour wall
38 caught by 1000hrs of which 16 were unringed and one a new bird (in addition to 2 already caught) which had been ringed at Askam in Furness in late October. This shows that birds are still arriving. At least the same number again present early morning but ringed/unringed ratio unknown

SHW/Harbour 1040-1120
Goosander M 'in' over WJ & NE along NHW
Red Throated Diver 'out'
Purple Sandpiper 1 WJ with c15 Turnstone
Med Gull adult

Ocean Edge
Jack Snipe 4 different individuals
Snipe 65
Linnet/Twite 69
Kingfisher 1
Knot c7000

Red Nab
Wigeon 64
Shelduck 14
Kingfisher probably same as OE.

Dredger update
It was raised yesterday, but at the current time it is very slowly sinking again and being counteracted by pumping.

Observers: Alan Draper, Malcolm Downham and John Wood

6 Waxwings Booth car park, Carnforth this morning. Cattle Egrets still present at Whasset (both sightings per pager). [Just OOA, Little Bunting trapped in Knott End garden at 1000hrs and still present at dusk! ]

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Plenty of coffee to keep warm.

Heysham Obs
Office Vis. 1010 - 1115 hrs
Pink-footed Goose 59 South over GC
Starling 3+25+20+2 North & 4 West
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 on Reserve

Middleton IE AM
Mute Swan 2
Coot 9
Moorhen 7
Mallard 4
Tufted Duck 6
Teal 5
Gadwall 1
Little Grebe 3
Snipe 15
Heron 1 (over)
Redwing 4
Bullfinch 4

Observers: John Wood and Malcolm Downham

The two Cattle Egret were still at Whasset from at least late morning onwards but apparently absent in early morning frost. They follow the cattle! Extreme negativity elsewhere in the LDBWS area, although the Snow Bunting at Jubilee Tower was seen first thing (but not later) - no Waxwing seen anywhere locally, no Chiffchaffs at Bentham, no shrike at Aldcliffe, no reports of the Cockersands Snow Bunting, no reports of Rough-legged Buzzard at Leighton in pretty decent flying conditions. A Chiffchaff (unknown race) was by Skerton Weir and the female Scaup was still on Freeman's Pool. [Three Long-tailed Duck flew out of the Bay as seen from Rossall Point & Black-throated Diver seen on the sea there - incentive for a bit of seawatching tomorrow??]

Monday, 24 November 2008

Filling Winter Atlas/BTO Challenge tick boxes

Heysham Obs
Red Nab
Woodcock - in the bushes - flew towards the non-op land
Kingfisher - on the rocks
Grey Plover - on the rocks
Med Gull - Ad on the rocks

North wall & offshore
Twite - c30 [& c5 Linnet]
Red-throated Diver floating out well offshore
Med Gull - 2 ads

Inner harbour
Robin & Dunnock by "Gate 38"
[No Shag sightings today]

Observers: Malcolm Downham, Alan Draper and Pete Marsh

Two Cattle Egret between Milnthorpe and Whasset alongside the B6384 - second day. Waxwing still on Borrowdale Road (by No 61) all or most of morning. Up to 12 (more usually 11) Waxwings at Booths at Carnforth. Single Snow Buntings roadside near Jubilee Tower, usually on the Lancaster side, all day and on the rocks by Cockerham Sands Caravan park. 9 Whooper Swan on Lune floodplain between Hornby and Melling. Late news for yesterday concerns a reported Great Grey Shrike on the bushes between the cinder road and main track at Aldcliffe. NNEW on Conder Long-tailed Duck.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Guillemot leads the way

Heysham Obs
Twite pics
Thanks to Gavin Thomas for these taken yesterday. The singleton is an ancient bird by Twite standards bearing a ring combination from autumn 2004. The other pic shows (right to left): an unringed bird, Heysham autumn 2008 bird, Askam in Furness autumn 2008 bird

Not much sign of birder activity on a cold dreary morning!

North harbour wall
Twite - c16
Linnet - 6
Goldfinch - 2
Med Gull - ad patrolling
Large Gulls - steady southbound 'passage' along the north wall

Harbour mouth
Guillemot - one just inside the harbour
Great-crested Grebe - as above
Med Gull - second adult seen

Observers: Alan Draper & Pete Marsh

9 Waxwings between Asda and the Morecambe road roundabout 0945-1010 at least but not 1120, although mobile singleton seen late morning. Long-tailed Duck still by Mill Inn, Conder, on canal. No sign of any Buzzard spp. which could be attributable to the RLB (i.e. no "possible/brieflies", but plenty of Common Buzzard) in Leighton area. Max of 13 Waxwing by the bus stop next to Carnforth railway station/Booths car park but not seen after mid-afternoon. Single Waxwing briefly on Borrowdale Road, Lancaster. 4+ (probably 7)Whooper Swan Lune valley between Hornby and Melling.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Odd Common Scoter behaviour

Heysham Obs
A Common Scoter followed an unusual flightline bringing it close inshore along the north harbour wall wall

South Harbour Wall/Harbour
Shag - 2 juv at Harbour waterfall + 1 Wooden Jetty
Eider - 4+1+1 'out'
Med Gull - adult patrolling Harbour entrance/Outfalls.
Pink-footed Goose - At 0935 hrs, c120 north from Fylde towards Ulverston, initially fairly high then very low over the sea into the wind:1032 hrs 28 north again, well out - nearer to Barrow.
Common Scoter - 1002 hrs, female 'in-off' turning NE along NHW.
Shelduck - 4 'in'
Golden Plover - 1 NE 1055 hrs - scarce here

North harbour wall early afternoon
Twite - 35 on the seed, including a pre-2008 Heysham-ringed bird, surprisingly the first one seen this winter. Also one ringed at Askam-in-Furness earlier this autumn. Also: 5 Linnet, 3 Goldfinch, a Robin and 2 Magpie around the seeded area.
Med Gull - 2 adults following the IOM ferry out

Middleton IE AM
Mute Swan 2
Coot 13
Moorhen 9
Mallard 8
Tufted Duck 15
Teal c45
Pochard 3
Little Grebe 1
Snipe 9
Redwing 6

Observers: Malcolm Downham, Gavin Thomas and John Wood

Rough-legged Buzzard distantly multi-observed at rest in a tree on Warton Crag from the Griesdale Hide, Leighton Moss followeds by very brief flight views. 19 Waxwing at Arnside National School in the morning but at least one blank afternoon visits as the berries are exhausted. 3 Waxwing Booth's car park at Carnforth at about 1455hrs. Long-tailed Duck still on the canal by the Mill Inn at Conder. Female Scaup Freeman's Pool

Friday, 21 November 2008

Usual stuff

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Twite - 18 of which 6 were unringed (rest Heysham autumn 2008)
Goldfinch - 6 (2 ringed)
Linnet - 2 (1 ringed)
Med Gull - ad

Shag - 3 juvs by waterfall

Ocean Edge
'Twinnet' - c40 (mainly Twite)
Rock Pipit - one

Stoat - one chasing rabbit in NR car park

Observers: Alan Draper, Pete Marsh

Long-tailed Duck still on Glasson canal by Mill Inn

Thursday, 20 November 2008

False alarm

Heysham Obs
Trumacar stores
The billboard proclaimed: "Heysham school welcomes Siberian visitors". This was literally just after noting some nice juicy rowans fringing Trumacar school and earlier being in receipt of info. on the Arnside National School flock of 19 [see 'elsewhere']. A call to the media maestro, Jon Carter, resolved that it was indeed a teacher exchange with Siberia!

Harbour/North wall area
Linnet - 6 on the seed (one ringed)
Twite - just one unringed bird on the seed at lunchtime
Kittiwake - juv out at 1000hrs
Shag - 2 juv by the harbour waterfall
Med. Gull - adult

Ocean Edge & area
Twite - c50
Linnet - 3+

Observers: Pete Marsh & John Wood

19 Waxwings Arnside National School on Church Hill (one apparently died hitting a window yesterday afternoon (when there were 12, as was the case first thing this morning)). No sign of the AGP at Cockersands but 2 adult Med Gulls coming to roost. Imm Long-tailed Duck on the Glasson canal just E of A588 along Mill Lane just below the lock by the childrens play area (until dusk).

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Flying visit

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Ad Med on the mud

Ocean edge/outfalls/wooden jetty
"Twinnet" - 60ish OE saltmarsh & football pitch area
Med Gull - ad outfalls area
Shag - juv just about visible wooden jetty

Morning nature reserve circuit
Blackbird 20
Mistle Thrush 14
Redwing 9
Bullfinch 1M
Treecreeper 1
Long-tailed Tit c10 including 9 unringed birds

Observers: Lou Cross, Pete Marsh, Jean Roberts, John Wood

Juv AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER (new species for LDBWS recording area, albeit perhaps the most widely-predicted (including by the finder!)) Cockersands early-mid afternoon. f/imm Long-tailed Duck still on canal just E of A588 bridge. 12 Waxwings Church Hill, Arnside late afternoon

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Routine fare

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed ad

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - ad with quite a bit of black on the rear of the head feeding off OE at HT.
Wigeon - 59
'Twinnet' - at least 40 in the middle of OE saltmarsh

Wooden jetty/harbour
2-3 juv Shag commuting between intake & wooden jetty

Vis 1020-1130
Starling - 70 N in 4 flocks
Pink-footed Goose - 162 S in '3 lots' all at 1105hrs

Observers: Pete Marsh & John Wood

At least two Chiffchaff still at Bentham sewage works, one collybita & one-two N/E birds. Rough-legged Buzzard reported over Warton Crag before 'landing in wood' at c1230hrs. Atleast one Waxwing mobile at Arnside. Long-tailed Duck still on Glasson 'arm' canal just SE of A588 road crossing

Monday, 17 November 2008

Dull, dank, dreary, drizzly, dead

Heysham Obs
A circuit of the non-operational land for the first time for a week saw no leftover Desert Wheatears - just the usual late autumn theme of "Long-tailed Tits accompanied by naff-all".

North harbour wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult on railings
Shag - 2 juvs on wooden jetty (at least)
Twite - 58
Linnet - 3

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Snipe - the star of the show with one on Red Nab and 6 on the open mudflats!
Little Egret - one on saltmarsh

Feathered Thorn

Long-tailed Duck f/imm still along Lancaster Canal (Glasson arm) just SE of A588 - park at Mill Inn

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Pre-tidal bits and bobs

Late news: A (late) Swallow reported flying south over the reserve in the afternoon

Heysham Obs
North wall/harbour area
Med Gull - ad
Shag - at least 2 juv

Ocean Edge foreshore
Twite - c50
Linnet - c10
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
Little Egret - 1+
Snipe - 2+

Reserve/vis mig dawn-1015hrs
Starling - small movement of c435 SW
Meadow Pipit - 1 SW
Fieldfare - 3 dropped in by the dipping pond from the east
Redwing - minimum of 10 first light - flew inland (one ringed) & 110 SW (including 60 at Middleton)
Blackbird - surprisingly very few grounded birds

Middleton IE
32 Teal, 11 Tufted Duck, 13 Snipe, 8 Mute Swan, 17 Coot, 9 Moorhen, 9 Mallard, one Goldeneye, one Little Grebe (no Pochard)

A small Twite catch surprisingly contained 8 unringed birds out of about 12 captures. Obviously still quite a bit of turnover, with at least 10-15 unringed birds amongst the c50 on Ocean Edge foreshore this morning. 107 have been ringed this autumn, plus 3 already ringed elsewhere, plus c6 retraps from the 28 ringed this spring (perhaps surprisingly, no older Heysham-ringed birds seen/caught this autumn) [and another ringed elsewhere seen in the field, but not captured]. A Middleton ringing session, to hopefully ring some Reed Buntings, had to be cancelled due to inaccurate wind-strength forecasts from just about every source! An unproductive session on the more sheltered reserve produced unringed singletons of Redwing, Goldcrest (see above), Song Thrush and Chaffinch plus a few retraps

Todays observers: Malcolm Downham, Jean Roberts, Brenda Cookson (& providing above photo - thanks), Mark Prestwood, John Mason, Pete Marsh, Alan Draper

Significant movement/arrival of thrushes at High Tatham with the hedges filled with Blackbirds and: 782 Fieldfare, 65 Redwing west 0720-0820hrs [& 6 Redpoll agg., 330 Starling, 33 Woodpigeon, 14 Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch]. Waxwing elusive at Levens with up to 4 briefly. 2 Waxwings Burton in Lonsdale in the afternoon. Two N/E Chiffchaff (with nominate collybita & female Blackcap) High Bentham sewage works & another collybita Freeman's Wood. Four-five Med Gulls on the Lune Estuary, including P96 along Lancaster Quay. Long-tailed Duck between canal bridges 5-6 at Glasson. No reports of the Dalton Great Grey Shrike, despite favourable conditions. Female Scaup Freeman's pool. [Surf Scoter Ad male off Starr Gate, Blackpool 1010-1125hrs, then flew north & landed further out & no further sign]

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Good coverage on the incoming tide

A system has just been started whereby species which are usually worthy of mention on the local pager service are in red boldface.

Heysham Obs
North & south harbour wall/wooden jetty/seawatch 1000-1200hrs
Shag - 4 juvs on wooden jetty
Med Gull - two ad
Purple Sandpiper - one wooden jetty
Twite & Knot - very few of either (per security/photographer respectively)
Guillemot - one floated in
Auk spp. - 2+1 out
Red-throated Diver - 1+1 out & one close inshore on the sea
Grey goose spp. - 5 north

Ocean Edge area
Little Egret - two on saltmarsh
Kingfisher - one Red Nab

Middleton IE
4 Mute Swan, 9 Coot, 5 Moorhen, 7 Mallard, 4 Pochard, 7 Tufted Duck, 4 Teal, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebe, 22 Snipe

Arrived at 1015hrs to find at least 6 separate lots of dogs running about all over the reserve, despite the off-lead area being provided. "Old notice fatigue" i.e. the d.o.l. notices have become unread parts of the fixtures and fittings? In this context:
Blackbird - at least 17 seen from the office 1000hrs, mainly on the tankfarm, suggesting a small arrival - but little chance of any remaining undisturbed on the reserve itself. How many first thing?
Starling - half an hour by the office door comprised three very pleasant "Good mornings" from off-lead dog walkers and two flocks heading SW comprising 425 birds - surely late 'vis'?

Observers: Pete Marsh, Malcolm Downham, John Wood, Jeff Butcher

Cetti's Warbler along public causeway Leighton Moss 100m from the road this morning - no information other than it was (at least) heard calling by a least two people. Unconfirmed report of up to 20 Waxwing still at Levens. Female Scaup still Freemans Pool

Friday, 14 November 2008

WeBs trawl & a few extras

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall/wooden jetty
Shag - 2 juv Shag wooden jetty
Twite - c70 north harbour wall, later presumably the same on Ocean Edge as anglers set up shop in the vicinity of the feeding station
Knot - a careful count of 26, 500 flushed from the heliport about one hour prior to HT, but only 4, 500 left during the actual WeBS count
Med Gull - one adult

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Shag - a further juv off Red Nab
Rock Pipit - 2 on the foreshore (& 4 Meadow Pipit)
Snipe - 15 flushed by the tide from OE saltmarsh but no Jack Snipe
Little Egret - one actually sat on the football pitch for a short time before the inevitable flush sent it towards Middleton
Ringed Plover - Colour-ringed individual Ocean Edge foreshore - see interesting ringing history on NLRG link
Reed Bunting - 4 flushed out of saltmarsh

Feathered Thorn in trap

Todays observers: Emma Garston, John Wood, Pete Marsh

4 Waxwings Church Road, Levens, increasing to 18 by early afternoon, 21 by late afternoon (& rumours of up to 30). Hebrew Character in moth trap at Millhouses, Wray!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Routine trawl round

Heysham Obs
The coastal areas were given a short run-round with most of time being spent on the finches (& see below). Several birding blogs have been accessed recently featuring the usually most mild-mannered of people ranting and raving [using BBC language] at Man U supporting shrike twitchers vs. Lincolnshire kale fields, bushes which are not holding any Pallas's warblers, fog-bound Rossall seawatches, people tape-luring Greenish Warbler on their local patch, as well as about 25 species of dog [Rossall again]. Should I succumb to the appropriate linguistics - better not - but spent a significant part of this morning cleaning sticky, sugary, red-dyed sweet and sour sauce off the scope, courtesy of a Range Rover which reversed across the road in front of me as I left a Chinese takeaway last night. Two emergency stops in three days, hope they dont come in threes. The rice was still edible.

North harbour wall
Twite - 77; at least 16 unringed, plus a Duddon bird ringed this autumn (probably one of the two already trapped) and Duddon-ringed bird from autumn 2006 (the first time this has been seen)
Linnet - 12 (1+ ringed)
Goldfinch - 2 (at least one ringed)
Med Gull - one adult

Wooden jetty
One juv Shag at long-range from the red gate

Observer: Pete Marsh

3 Waxwing still at Levens (see yesterday)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Some good bit and bobs

Heysham Obs
Some VP work nearby saw an excellent, if slightly uncertain record, in the form of a purposefully high-flying Hooded Crow definitely flying over the NE edge of the recording area. However, can distant birds which 'look ok' be deemed unequivocally 'pure'? The Twite ringing effort was impeded by a visiting carload of birders who immediately exited the car on arrival (fieldcraft??!). Please approach with care and use your vehicle as a hide - remember that the opportunity to closely observe the birds at this site is solely due to the feeding station. Thanks.

Vis mig
Starling - 77 high to south (one flock)
Short-eared Owl - one 'in-off' at the wooden jetty, then inland (1015hrs)
Hooded Crow - one high to the SE over the NE section of SD45E, then over the by-pass 1000hrs
Pink-footed Goose - 11+26 S

Redwing - 18 flew inland from the tank farm early morning

Red-throated Diver - 2 in

Shag - 3 wooden jetty, none in harbour (HT)
Med Gull - at least one ad north harbour wall

The whoosh net on the north harbour wall caught 9 retrap and 2 new Twite and 3 new Goldfinch. Very few unringed birds attending the feeder by the office (4 new Greenfinch and two new Chaffinch ringed)

Todays observers: Jean Roberts, Alan Draper, John Wood, Pete Marsh

Two Feathered Thorn and one Large Wainscot in the trap

11 Waxwing Levens at Greenbank, off Church Road

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

No morning squalls to coincide with the tide

Heysham Obs
The usual suspects in small numbers during two short seawatches. The only novelty was my turn (long overdue) to meet a car driver (of statistically the most probable age/sex) who decided to slowly cross in front of me from Ocean Edge direction, presumably in response to the lights changing to amber, as I was crossing over from the heliport side to the O.E. road. It is a very wide junction here and easy to correctly pass through green lights, but end up crossing 2/3 of the distance on amber or even a bit of red. The mobile survived a high speed encounter with the glove compartment.

Seawatching 0845-0930
Kittiwake - 17 out, mostly dribs and drabs (max 6 together)
Little Gull - 2 ads out
Razorbill - 3 out together
Pintail - 37 out (flock)
Shelduck - 16 out

Seawatching 1230-1300
Little Gull - 3 Ads out
Kittiwake - 2 out

Shag - at least 5 juvs around harbour/wooden jetty
Snipe - 5 in the high tide roost by Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Jack Snipe - one flew off the saltmarsh and nestled amongst debris on the upper tideline (as opposed to staying in the open like the Snipe)
"Twinnet" - 16 or so north harbour wall and a similar number OE saltmarsh - category = "windblown small finches seen very briefly in flight"
Knot - c17,500 in spectacular aerial display by the heliport, as well as sitting thereon. No flags/colour rings seen [see via NLRG link].

Observer: Pete Marsh

Polish-ringed Med Gull P96 by Lancaster Football Club ground

Monday, 10 November 2008

Useless southerlies

Heysham Obs
A teeny bit of west in the wind during the early morning was not strong enough to produce anything, then it backed into a useless southerly.

North harbour wall/harbour area
Med Gull - adult in harbour mouth
Shag - one on the platform by the waterfall

Outfalls/Red Nab
Wigeon - 57
Little Gull - adult feeding in rough water in the boat channel late pm

5000+ Knot flushed by unknown culprit - flew out of the bay

A single fire of the whoosh net on the north harbour wall, before it became too windy, produced: 5 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch and just one (unringed) Twite. 20+ mixed finches around

Observers: Jean Roberts, Alan Draper, Pete Marsh

Vis mig from High Tatham 0815-0855 produced: flock of 6 Waxwing west at 0840 (thank goodness they call in flight!), Starling 500, Brambling 2, Chaffinch 23, Fieldfare 582, Redwing 40 [no Woodpigeon but flock of 20 SW en route to Lancaster]

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Not wild enough for this time of year!

Heysham Obs
Eider - 4 out
Kittiwake - flock of 17 adults out
Little Gull - Ad hovering around seaward end of Heysham 2 outfall for a short period, then disappeared

Twite - c10 on seed & a few Linnet early am, later 45 "Twinnet", mainly Twite, & 2 Goldfinch but didnt like the AC/DC tracks emanating from the dredger security guards car, so no detail on rings/flock ratio!
Med Gull - ad in harbour
Shag - 4 juvs in the harbour and another juv by the outfalls
Kingfisher - one by the outfalls

Redwing - one flew inland from tank farm - no real evidence of an arrival of thrushes in the windswept bushes

Todays observers were: Malcolm Downham, John Wood, Mark Prestwood and Pete Marsh. Please let me know, for future postings, if you should have been somewhere else and dont want to be named!

Long-tailed Duck Conder Pool (female/imm) plus Long-tailed Duck (ad male) for 2-3 minutes 0900hrs on Leighton Moss public pool, then flew off (& otter). No further info. from any of the other pools. The Freeman's Wood search [see yesterday] produced one Chiffchaff & 2 Blackcap.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Long-tailed Duck highlights

Prospective seawatchers tomorrow: Please remember that there is no access beyond the red gate on the north harbour wall.

Coastal sites
Long-tailed Duck - winter adult male flew from in the bay and landed between the two outfalls at 0945hrs - no further sightings
Golden Plover - juv Red Nab with Lapwing - valuable BTO challenge record!
Twite - just 7 on NH wall seed (3 unringed)
Linnet - 2 on nhw seed
Goldfinch - 4 on nhw seed
Robin - one on nhw seed!
Shag - 3 juv at harbour waterfall + 1 below NHW which flew over wooden jetty
Guillemot - one on sea off Harbour entrance
Shelduck - 2+4 out
Med Gull - one adult north harbour wall

About 15 Blackbird along Moneyclose Lane - more than yesterday's rock bottom

Vis 0900-0915 office
Redwing - 6 SW
Chaffinch - 11 SW
Greenfinch - 9 SW
Woodpigeon - 2 S
also a late Meadow Pipit in-off and heading SE as viewed from the south harbour wall

Middleton IE
Gadwall - 1
Black-tailed Godwit - 2 on edge of model boat pond, then flew off
Pochard - 1
Tufted Duck - 3
Snipe - 19
Teal - just 3
Redwing - 6 grounded
(& 8 Coot, 4 Moorhen, 2 Mute Swan, 6 Mallard but no sightings of Little Grebe)

See LDBWS site for posting on early morning vis at High Tatham. Juv female Scaup and Green Sandpiper Aldcliffe [& possibly intriguing phyllosc. spp with Goldcrests Freemans Wood this afternoon]. Massive gathering of 1,200 Black-tailed Godwit Warton floods. Great Grey Shrike still Dalton Crags - seen the last two mornings but information got no further than Leighton Moss sightings book. Common Sandpiper still Conder Pool. Ad Meds at Pine Lake late pm before flying to the Keer roost and also along Morecambe promenade by the Lifeboat Station

Friday, 7 November 2008

Purple Sandpiper highlight

Heysham Obs
Not a lot else, with a thrush arrival in the east of the area (e.g. High Tatham) not reaching here.

Coastal observations
Shag - juvs along the north harbour wall and by the harbour intake
Purple Sandpiper - one on the wooden jetty
Shelduck - 2 out
Twite - 43 on seed, at least 9 unringed & at least 30 with Heysham site rings from this year ........also one ringed 8-15 days ago at Askam on the Duddon

Vis mig
Skylark 1 N
Greenfinch 7 SW

Thursday, 6 November 2008

"Lovely weather isnt it?"

Heysham Obs
Far, far too clear and this is the last chance of anything for a bit. A few bits as follows:

Vis mig
Skylark - 12 N
Meadow Pipit - continuing this late movement - 18 SE
Chaffinch - 13 SE
Fieldfare - 8 NE first thing
Redwing - 20 inland first thing
Mistle Thrush - 1 SE
Goldfinch - 14 SE
Redpoll agg - 1 SE
Lesser Redpoll - one flew inland
Siskin - 1 SE

Woodcock - one
Song Thrush - 15
Blackbird - 37
Redwing - 6
Goldcrest - 22 (8 ringed on Middleton - most of those on the reserve already ringed)
Siskin - 2
Meadow Pipit - 6 OE foreshore but no ringed bird

Shag - juv off the north harbour wall
Twinnet - c50 on the seed first thing (per harbour security guard)
Water Rail - at least 5 on Middleton IE, sounding like newly arrived i.e. noisy
Long-tailed Tit - about 6 flocks, including 12 unringed birds trapped on Middleton

Purple Sandpiper & 4 Rock Pipit Stone Jetty

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Busy morning but no surprises

Thanks for these, Dan

Heysham Obs
A major ringing session on the north harbour wall today. Thanks very much to the harbour authorities for allowing this to take place before the weather breaks, despite the dredger rescue operation nearby. One bird had been ringed at Walberswick, Suffolk in December 2006 and two had been ringed on the Duddon estuary at Askam, either last Thursday or during the previous week. The Plain English Society have complained about the next bit so here is the re-write: 44 have been ringed during the past week (since 31/10). The maximum observed flock size has been 89. Therefore, because there were only 11 retraps in the catch of 66 birds this morning (52 unringed and three 'controls), this indicates quite a turnover of birds, as you might expect during the peak autumn migration period for this species. This proportion of about 20% ringed was also the same as observed yesterday, therefore is not due to a net-shyness bias towards unringed birds. Indeed, the impression was that all birds present were in fact caught this morning!

See for further details

Vis mig
The high thrushes and Starlings were mainly heading north, but the general movement of grounded thrushes etc. through the bushes was to the south. A bit of a 'Heysham moment' with Starlings, but otherwise small numbers of other species with Woodpigeon a surprising absentee until a small mid-afternoon flock. Thrushes observed movening inland have been included here, rather than under 'grounded'.
Starling - 2,404 north
Redwing - 38 N
Greenfinch - 9+ SW
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 22 SE at pylon height
Carrion Crow - 4 N
Blackbird - 20 or so flew inland
Song Thrush - 4 high inland
Reed Bunting - flock of 7 in from the NE, landed, then headed S (largest group seen here) plus a further 2 S
Skylark - 3 SE
Meadow Pipit - 8 SE (see also grounded)
Chaffinch - 26 SW
Goldfinch - 15 SW
Coal Tit - 2 high to the S
Bullfinch - single high-flyers to N & SW
House Sparrow - one heard
Pink-footed Goose - 52 + 109 south
Mistle Thrush - 22 S (unknown status)
Snipe - 1 dropped into NR marsh (c/f BTO challenge qualifier)
Woodpigeon - 7 W

Blackbird - c120
Redwing - 67
Song Thrush - 17
Blackcap - one ringed - they have been really scarce this late autumn & possibly a different bird seen in the field
Goldcrest - more than yesterday - c28
Reed Bunting - 4 in the reedbed
Robin - no perceptible increase - one new bird ringed
Treecreeper - 2
Meadow Pipit - 18 on OE foreshore, including a metal-ringed bird with a split-second view of consecutive or near-consecutive letters "ek" in the address - then it flew off
Pied Wagtail - 11 OE
Long-tailed Tit - getting on for 100 (including the flock of 22 - see 'vis')Brambling - female nature park with Chaffinch
Chaffinch - c20
Siskin - 2
Grey Wagtail - 2
Kingfisher - one ringed - caught by the dipping pond

Twite - at least 66 on the north harbour wall & c25 at the same time on Ocean edge saltmarsh
Linnet - at least 6 on the north harbour wall and c25 with the Twite on Ocean Edge
Little Egret - OE saltmarsh
Shag - one juv by the harbour 'intake'

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Excellent coverage, not a lot of reward

Too clear, cloud too high, no birds. A real shame as the site received the best coverage of the whole autumn.

Crossbill - two heading north mid-morning comprised the highlight of the day
Chaffinch - c18 SE
Greenfinch - c5 SE
Skylark - 2S
Starling - c120 N
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE

Goldcrest - c11 (4 ringed)
Redwing - c12
Song Thrush - c10
Blackbird - c50
Robin - presumably mostly birds on non-breeding season territory - c30 noted - but one orange and grey bird in-off at OE foreshore & trying to hide under the car was obviously a migrant!
Long-tailed Tit - unringed flock of 13 gave a slight degree of respectability to the ringing effort

Linnet - c25 OE foreshore & c11 north harbour wall
Twite - c25 Ocean Edge saltmarsh (with Linnets) & at least 72 north harbour wall, including presumably 'the' yellow-ringed bird from the Duddon seen two days ago. NO access along here for the general public at the moment as the dredger is retrieved. Please do not drive along the narrow section of road and clog things up for vehicles wanting access for the rescue operation.
Med Gull - ad north harbour wall
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh channel and then the first ever individual (north) past the north harbour wall!

Adult Great Grey Shrike (returning?) to Dalton Crags, but incredibly elusive and wide-ranging. Todays observations suggest that absence from the open limestone area may indicate it is in the clearings in Dalton Wood itself, not further afield on the great expanse of pavement/scattered scrub. The pavement area can be scoped from about 1/4 mile along the Keer Falls/Arkholme road and has been successfully seen at long-range from there in previous years, notably in the scattered trees breaking the skyline to the "left" of the N-S wall. See LDBWS site for record shots on a larch in a clear area of Dalton Wood. Chiffchaff Silverdale Moss

Monday, 3 November 2008

Numerically-challenged early morning!

Heysham Obs
Quite a few thrushes early morning as the nets were being set, but how do you come up with any meaningful figures? The clear conditions meant most were high-tailing it inland in the pre-dawn half-light. Tomorrow and Wednesday will hopefully be not so clear first thing as per forecast (see yesterdays posting)

Redwing - 30+
Blackbird - 60+
Song Thrush - 10+
Goldcrest - 5 new birds ringed
Bullfinch - one ringed
Treecreeper - one ringed
single figures of unringed Blue Tit, Chaffinch & Greenfinch caught

Vis mig
Skylark - 2
otherwise nothing 'tangible' other than early morning inland thrush movement i.e. Chaffinches & Greenfnches appeared to be off-passage

Twite - 63 Ocean Edge saltmarsh - about 1/3 ringed
Linnet - 3 with the above & one on the NHW nyger!
Shag - juv on wooden jetty
Med Gull - Czech adult north harbour wall
Siskin - 2 Middleton IE(!)
Long-tailed Tit - c60 in 5 flocks Middleton IE

An annoying late social wasp around the office entrance for a short time. One Common Darter Middleton IE

30 Little Egret roosted at Leighton Moss

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Advance notice of weather

Anyone able to spend any time covering the Heysham area for migrant passerines during especially Tuesday to Thursday this week could be rewarded (Friday is too late unless there are 'leftovers') - the conditions are superb, especially if we get intermittent drizzle as suggested for Tuesday & Wednesday. Good coverage should definitely produce Firecrest and Black Red., with a real chance of something more interesting such as Pallas's. The previous Pallas's and Dusky Warbler records from Heysham were on 5/11 and 4/11 respectively.....

Quiet morning unless you are a dredger

A discrete image of a semi-buoyant dredger and attendees. Thanks John

Heysham Obs
Pretty low-key coverage today & using Blackbird numbers as an indicator, much quieter than yesterday.

Blackbird - c40
Song Thrush - 3
Redwing - 5

Ocean Edge etc
Twite - 23
Linnet - 7
Med Gull - adult off the outfalls

North harbour wall
Other than the sinking dredger (oil sealed from spillage):
Twite - max of 19 - see North Lancs Ringing Group link for a bird which had not been ringed here
Goldfinch - 5
Med Gull - 2 ads & 1st winter
Shag - two juvs on the wooden jetty at high tide

Nothing discernable but no-one here in the first hour of daylight

A slow trawl from High Tatham to Lancaster resulted in 20 minutes 'vis' from the Post House (by M6): Fieldfare - 255 N, Redwing 87 NNW in several small groups. This is consistent with the line taken yesterday - no other movement noted other than 14 Redwing N in 30 minutes at High Tatham. No apparent sign of the Waxwings at High Bentham

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Long-eared Owl heads varied cast

............but predictably no sign of the Arctic Tern during early morning calm, clear, frosty conditions.

North Harbour wall
Twite - 44 ringed the last two mornings with 4 retraps from February 2008. NO birds have been seen at all from previous years from a minimum of 89 birds checked (all together on the fence on 30/10)
Linnet - still a few around with 3 ringed this morning, one yesterday and 11 seen on 30/10
Pink-footed Goose - 650-700 north, with some of these splitting off & heading NE first thing (shooting on the Fylde?)
Rock Pipit - one
Meadow Pipit - one

Ocean Edge/outfalls/offshore
Goldeneye - first of the autumn
Eider - 9
Twite - c24
Linnet - c6
Rock Pipit -1

Grounded on reserve/non-operational land/Moneyclose Lane
Long-eared Owl - one in the tank farm - harassed by Magpies - probably still present but NO access
Blackbird - c80
Redwing - c40
Song Thrush - c10
Treecreeper - 1
Jay - 2, probably migrants
Woodcock - one, quite possibly 2

Middleton IE
Jack Snipe - 2
Snipe - 14
Pochard - 2
Little Grebe - 5
Tufted Duck - 6
Goldeneye - 2
Blackbird - at least 20 migrants
Redwing - 18
Bullfinch - 3
Coot - 14

Vis mig
Quite a bit to the east of here, mostly thrushes and Starlings heading north. When birds are travelling in this direction, the skies over Heysham tend to be a no-go area and this was the case this morning. Cursory glances at the sky between 0730 & 1030 produced:
Chaffinch - 18 N
Redwing - 24 N
Fieldfare - 36 N
Starling - 240 N
plus the abovementioned PFG

Two Waxwing late afternoon Riverside caravan park at west end alongside the River Wenning. Fieldfare - 2,000 N in 90 minutes Hala (S Lancaster) plus 250 Redwing - a narrow corridor of birds today over Lancaster and apparently also including a flightline down the Lune valley

Friday, 31 October 2008

Cold and colder

Heysham Obs
Vis mig 0755-0815
Pink-footed Goose - 43 NW(!) 0800hrs, then turned SE
Starling - flock of 23 SW
Skylark - 2 SE

Outfalls/Ocean Edge
Arctic Tern - juv still present but right on the seaward end - not a good place if it is going to enter a tick-box tomorrow (winter atlas)......but on the inner end of S2O at lunchtime
Med Gull - 1st W dip-feeding with other gulls along the boat channel off the outfalls. All five of the local Med Gulls were around when the IOM ferry came into port at 1210hrs (3 x adult, one x 2nd W, 1 x 1st W). The 2nd W flew rapidly out to sea, the remainder patrolled the north harbour wall. Loads of Black-headed and Common Gulls behind the ferry (c180), but no Kittiwake!
Rock Pipit - one OE foreshore (& at least one Meadow Pipit)

A Grey Wagtail was seen on Red Nab this afternoon which was ringed as one of 11 juvenile/first winter birds on either 4th (4) or 11th (7) October 2007. We did not start the individual colour ring scheme until 2008. This raises some interesting questions. Was it born (2007) and has it subsequently bred (2008) fairly close to Heysham? Where did it spend the 2007/8 winter as it was most definitely ringed during a period of passage birds with no evidence of off-pasage birds until mid-October? One assumes from the time of day, mode of sighting and time of year that it is a prospective wintering bird in the Heysham area for 2008/9, with the already raised assumption that, as an adult, it has not wandered far from the breeding opposed to 2007/8, when, as a young bird, it may have moved a considerable distance to the south. Interesting.

Twite: 30 ringed plus 3 retraps & a Linnet North harbour wall

An Epirrata on its last legs in the trap

Male Scaup Glasson basin & Common Sandpiper still in the area. Significant movement of Redwing and Fieldfare to the west in at least the east of our region from midday along with Starlings. Nothing new on Pine Lake late afternoon.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Starlings on the move

Heysham Obs
A very 'bitty' morning as regards coverage saw just 30 minutes vis and a brief check of both sides of the harbour. Best bird was a belatedly reported Short-eared Owl at Red Nab which was chased off by crows in the afternoon

Arctic Tern - still Stage 2 outfall
Short-eared Owl - one Red Nab pm (in-off?), then chased off by crows
Shag - 3 in the harbour
Med. Gull - two adults & 1st winter harbour mouth/north wall
Little Egret - OE saltmarsh
Twite - minimum of 89 at the north harbour wall feeding station, indicating a significant arrival (& 11 Linnet & 2 Goldfinch) - apologies for keeping off the site but we didnt want problems with photographers during the ringing effort on 31/10 & 1/11.

Vis 0900-0930
Starling - 420 SW (5 flocks)
Chaffinch - 17 SW
Goldfinch - 2 SW
Coal Tit - 3 S

c15 Goldcrest encountered Red Nab to the reserve
thrushes - hardly any but didnt arrive on site until 0835hrs