Monday, 31 March 2008

Firecrest etc

Heysham Obs
Just to reiterate the comment in the info. on the right hand side of this page. We really are short of a ringing assistant prepared to help with net setting or even coming along later to help with logistics such as taking nets down and writing down ringing details. This does not mean you will be forced in any way to become a (time-consuming) ringing trainee, but if that is what you do want, valuable experience can be had here. This is all done outside the office, so can double up as a check for migrants in nearby bushes or listen/look for vis migs. Anyone interested, please contact Alan Draper [see right hand columns]

In many ways a frustrating morning with the available ringer aware of Twite attendance at the feeder and understandably going for a final late winter (unsuccessful) whoosh netting session as the Twite unfortunately took advantage of the weather to depart. Just two seen early on and an unringed flock of 6, presumably migrants, which passed through without 'recognising' the food

Unfortunately, from a ringing decision point of view, there were also quite a few grounded migrants around, based on just one hour to spare this morning. There was no way that anyone setting a whoosh net at dawn could have anticipated this, as it appeared to be too clear for a sizeable drop of night migrants. The arrivals included 10 minutes on & off viewing of a Firecrest, probably but not absolutely certainly a female, in the hedge line by the office, then in the ivy-based willows around the Obs Tower pond, then over the back of the Obs Tower pond, whence lost from view. First picked up on call which is 'obvious' when you hear a genuine one a few times!

As singing Chiffchaff postings on the LDBWS site have indicated, quite an arrival this morning but the main, if not the most obvious, species was Goldcrest e.g. 200+ Calf of Man at the same migratory latitude.

The most unusual feature this morning, however, in a Heysham context was a flock of 27 Jackdaw [and 9 Carrion Crow] heading north - unprecedented in spring and related to the Nordic influx???

Grounded by the office
Firecrest for 10 minutes at least around the office & Obs Tower pond 0815 [& 6+ Goldcrest, 4+ Chiffchaff].

Vis 0800-0850 office all north(ish)
Meadow Pipit - 72
Woodpigeon - 5
alba Wagtail - 2
Mute Swan - 1
Redpoll spp - 1 (IOY)
Goldfinch - 6
Jackdaw 27 & Carrion Crow 9 [together] - unprecedented in spring

North harbour wall
Twite 2+6 passing through
Greylag - 4

Dominated by common migrants and the desire of anyone with any spare time to get to Marton Mere! Ross's Goose Aldcliffe Marsh, two LRP Freeman's Pool and one LRP Conder Pool. A Red Kite was reported at Littledale.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Comma ventures forth

Heysham Obs
The first 'insect day' for some time produced lots of bumble bee spp and a single Comma in the NE corner of Heysham NR. Some attritional seawatching in the early morning and during the Radio 3 early music hour produced a few Kittiwakes, Red-throats and single Gannet & Sandwich Tern.

North harbour wall 0730-0930 & 1300-1400 BST
Red-throated Diver - one in 0800, 2 in 0900, 1 out 0922, one in 1310
Sandwich tern - one out 1330
Kittiwake - 16+20 in 0845, 30 in 0854, 2 in 0910, 16 out 0917, 16 out (having floated in with tide) 1330. Therefore minimum of 68.
Gannet - adult out 0830

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit 13 N 0730-0930, 2 N 1300-1400

Goldcrest - 5 on reserve circuit
Chiffchaff - 3 on reserve circuit, one a singing bird which has been round a few days & 2 definite migrants together
No Wheatear reported today

North harbour wall feeder
Twite - 5 early morning (2 ringed), later 10-11.
Linnet - 7

Ross's Goose, Barnacle Goose and two Whooper Swan Aldcliffe Marsh

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Red-throated Diver visits the harbour

Heysham Obs
A Red-throated Diver toured the harbour before returning to the channel off the north harbour wall. All observations before the rain swept in late morning.

Vis mig mainly from from north harbour wall 0700-1030
alba wagtail - 14 north
Meadow Pipit - c67 north
Goldfinch - 2NE
Jackdaw - 1SW

North harbour wall
Twite - 6 on feeder

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 1 on jetty

Red-throated Diver - one floated out, 2 inshore (including one earlier in harbour)
Kittiwake - flock of c250 swirling about and then landing on the water in the region of the moored freight ferries 1 mile or so south of the harbour c1000-1030 at least

Grounded migrants
Single figures of Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail plus:
Wheatear - 2 OE foreshore
Stonechat - 3 (2 males) Middleton IE - very late passage birds as has been the case elsewhere in this area this month - these same birds may have been around for a week.
Chiffchaff - 1 Middleton IE, 2 reserve

Middleton IE
Goldeneye 1, Tufted Duck 2, Teal 5, Coot 11

Ross's Goose Aldcliffe Marsh. Pale-bellied Brent Goose Sunny Slopes groyne. Swallow Leighton Moss. NNEW any action at JBP over the tide - wind too southerly at Heysham

Friday, 28 March 2008

Another good Kittiwake passage

Heysham Obs
Most of these were recorded by Jenny Brown's Point observers whilst we were at work, knowing the bay was being 'covered'! 321 off JBP during mid-afternoon - best to include the Heysham birds mentioned below amongst them to be on the safe side. A 15 min seawatch & extensive scan was made as the JBP observers were just about to give up & there appeared to be no more Kittiwake on the move [but a flock of 7 Red-throated Diver]

North harbour wall 1200-1300 (immediately post-rain)
Kittiwake 1+2+14 in
Red-throated Diver 1+1 in 1200-1300 plus s.p. flock of 7 in, then landed at 1530hrs
Meadow Pipit - 4 in & no movement of any significance noted at Heysham today
Twite - 12 at the feeder (4 ringed), increasing to 15 (4 ringed) at 1530hrs

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - one male

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - one, later two adults

2 Hebrew Character & a Brown House Moth

Ross's Goose, Barnacle Goose and two Whooper Swans Aldcliffe, visible from both sides of the Lune. JBP had c321 Kittiwake during the afternoon tide period when there was no equivalent (i.e. up to 20 mins or so before JBP sighting) coverage at Heysham, plus 4 RTD. 4 Scaup still at Conder. Chough still in Warton Crag quarry at 1715hrs & 873 Common Gull flew through Pine Lake 1730-1800 hours & about 1/3 of that number of BH Gull but no Meds!

Sorry its late 'cos quite a bit of stuff

Heysham Obs
Just checked site at 0130hrs having just been out on the town - misunderstanding, thought someone else was updating today. Apologies!

Vis mig intermittent 0700-1000, then 1045-1115
Meadow Pipit - just 134 recorded during first period, then 69 in 30 minutes passing 'through' a wide-angle 30x scope trained half-horizon at Piel Castle i.e. a seawatch! Casual glances away from this scope saw several birds flying above and, in conjunction with JBP observations, a lot of birds were missed late morning. However, an afternoon visit indicated the movement had finished
Goldfinch - 1 north!
Sand Martin - 1 north
Pied Wagtail - 4 north
Pink-footed Goose 80 north

Kittiwake - 62 were blogging, having arrived in 5 groups during the early low-tide period, before disppearing up the Bay. Two flocks at the same time during the later 30 minutes - about a mile apart (one close inshore, the other in Cumbria!) 32+61, giving a day total of 155. Unlike Meadow Pipit, the movement ceased thereafter with NONE seen off JBP when observation started about midday.
Sandwich Tern - the first of the year making its way slowly and distantly out of the Bay at 0955hrs
Red-throated Diver - 6+1+1 in during 0700-1000, 2 in sp in together at 1100hrs = 10 in total

Sandworks feeder
14 Twite (2 ringed), 2 Linnet and an inquisitve Meadow Pipit

100 Eider, 4 GC Grebe and a flock of 27 RB Merganser off the NHW at low tide.

Ross's Goose still Aldcliffe. 4 Scaup Conder area.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Chiffchaff at last but otherwise...........

Heysham Obs
Heysham NR
Not a lot, but it did include the first (two) singing male Chiffchaff of the year and a Wheatear on the PS non-op land. A female Blackbird was trapped with a continental wing length, along with two male Goldcrest & unringed Blue and Great Tit. Just 8 Meadow Pipit over!

Middleton IE
Male Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, at least 3 pairs of Little Grebe [two pairs fighting on the new scrape]

Absolutely zilch worth mentioning from the coastal area - a long time since that has happened and it was pretty well covered during the morning.


Early Thorn (above), Hebrew Character & Common Quaker in the trap

Ross's Goose, Barnacle Goose and 2 Whooper Swan on Aldcliffe, but first two not visible from west side of river. 32+19 Kittiwake at JBP in poor visibility, the conditions hampering any attempt to seawatch at Heysham

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Kittiwakes missed but 'picked up' at JBP!

Heysham Obs
It's the spring seawatching season with a vengeance at the moment and the good thing about this is that if observers at Heysham or the SJ are unavailable, there may be someone at JBP to "rescue" the data (and vice versa). This is what happened today and no doubt a 'healthy' situation of observers at all three sites trying to correlate e.g. skua sightings will again be a feature of the spring.

Vis. (from office and north harbour wall) 0730-1000 hrs
Meadow pipit 9
Pied wagtail 10
Grey Wagtail 1

North Harbour Wall 0730-0830:

10 Twite (3 with pale blue over white rings) and 4 Linnet.
1 Red-throated Diver "in" at 0815.
19 Red-breasted Merganser (one flock of 17) in main channel.
7 Great-crested Grebe.
2 male and 1 female Eider.

NHW 1015-1100hrs
Purple Sandpiper below wooden jetty
Turnstone min. 161
Common Scoter F 'out' 1100 hrs
NOTE: NO Kittiwake seen prior to 1100hrs, thereafter observers had to leave

Heysham Head
Sparrowhawk 4 together diving/chasing 0900 hrs & 1 soaring above Non-Op land 0950 hrs

3 Hebrew Character, 1 March Moth, 1 Clouded Drab and 1 Common Quaker in the trap this morning

Common Quaker

Jenny Brown's Point: 2 Red-throated Diver & three divers perceived to be larger circled around for 30 minutes before heading overland. 1025 accurately counted Kittiwakes from 1155-1500hrs plus three other smallish 20-30ish flocks whilst the divers were being watched = c1,100 for the day. 3 Scaup Conder Pool. 8 Whooper Swan still just NE of Gressingham bridge. Ross's Goose, Barnacle Goose and two Whooper Swan Aldcliffe Marsh (& PFG flock)

Monday, 24 March 2008

Early morning Kittiwake

Heysham Obs
A significant movement of Kittiwake during the calm early morning ceased abruptly as soon as I texted a few people & the wind started to get up! None seen between 0910 and 0945hrs when both observers left. This involved flocks entering the Bay or descending from height, sometimes landing on the water before heading off high to the NNE. There was no evidence at all of birds turning round, leading to duplication.

North harbour wall 0715-0945
Kittiwake: 75+120+15+210+17+21+11+80 as described above = 549 (the fact the first three add up to the fourth is definitely a coincidence!)
Red-throated Diver: 12-13 (1 out, 2+7+1+2 in)
Red-breasted Merganser: 24 (largest group seen for many years) +3+2 in
Eider: 6
Mute Swan: 2 out close inshore

Passerine vis mig during the above seawatch
All north
Pied Wagtail - 3
Meadow Pipit - just 11
Grey Wagtail - 3
Crow - 2+3 north over the Bay - one of the two appeared to have dark grey body feathers indicative of a hybrid but this was not seen clearly enough to be certain.

Wooden jetty
The incoming tide displacement allowed a comprehensive count:
Purple Sandpiper - 2
Turnstone - 151

North harbour wall feeder
Twite 6 and Linnet 2 early morning

6 Common Crossbill Thrushgill plantation mid-morning and 10+55 Kittiwake off JBP c1130-c1300hrs. Pale-bellied Brent Goose Sunny Slopes groyne area & single Ross's and Barnacle Geese on Aldcliffe plus the two Whoopers (viewable from both side of river).

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Sub-zero birding (allowing for wind chill)

Heysham Obs
A successful ringing session on the heliport

North Harbour Wall 0730-0830
Red-throated Diver - 2 fishing in the channel then flying "out" and 1 flying north across the Bay.
Great-crested Grebe -8 fishing in the channel.
Mute Swan - 1 floating out as far as the end of the harbour wall then flew back "in".
Eider - 26 on the far side of the channel near the sand bank (18 males).
Red-breasted Merganser - 4
14 Gulls flying "in" in a tight knit flock but rather far out to identify accurately - behaviour suggests Kittiwake
Twite - 4 at the sand plant, 2 with local rings.

Vis 0730-0830
Meadow Pipit 4
Skylark - 1
Pied Wagtail - 1
Linnet - 3

Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull

Wooden Jetty
one Purple Sandpiper

530 Knot and 5 Oystercatcher were cannon-netted at the heliport this morning. Provisional data on ringed birds:

1)Ringed in North Wales (Bangor harbour, Llanfairfechan or Wig) in Jan or Feb this year
2)Ringed 14/2/1998 at Heysham heliport
3)Probably ringed on the North Solway in 2003. Confirmation to follow
4)Not confirmed this yet however I think it is another one from SCAN in North Wales
5)Ringed sometime since 2006 in Posangerfjord, Northern Norway

Grey Seal mid-channel off NHW

A surprise in the form of Polish-ringed Med Gull p96 paired to another adult on the Lune near the Golden Ball. Ross's Goose, Barnacle Goose and 2 Whooper Swan on the Aldcliffe side. Wheatear Borwick Waters late afternoon [but no Sand Martin at all on Pine Lake or other pits]and news of a male Ring Ouzel in Croasdale on 19/3. Chough seen at Warton crag quarry at least 1715hrs

Saturday, 22 March 2008

More Kittiwakes

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately car trouble prevented the early morning tidal coverage for seabirds.

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull: adult & 1st W early morning, 1st W remaining for the day
Kittiwake: Adult until at least mid-afternoon
Wigeon: just one seen today

Brief check from OE at lunchtime saw a tight flock of 32 Ad Kittiwake on the water in the shipping channel, identified when they rose briefly! You have to be careful estimating these flocks at this time of year as they are sometimes joined by a few Ad Common Gull, also presumably heading north. Eider off NHW.

Evening check saw 1st W & ad summer Red-throated Diver off the wooden jetty

Leaving my camera in HNR office, went to check for the Ross's Goose from the Golden Ball side, following a request. Bad move: missed a photo-op of an adult (or perhaps 4th summer) Yellow-legged Gull with excellent comparison in flat light with argenteus Herring and graellsii Lesser Black-backed Gulls [group of c70 gulls on Heaton Marsh]. Started dispersing & few left when returned with camera! Ross's Goose and Barnacle Goose with c500 PFG on the Aldcliffe side of the river. Chough Warton Crag quarry late pm. Pale-bellied Brent Goose Sunny Slopes groyne area. Ad Med Gull Lilian's Hide. 12 Whooper Swan (& a few Mute) still present in a field just N of Gressingham bridge on the Melling side

Friday, 21 March 2008

Rewards for the early birders

Heysham Obs report 2007 almost ready to print - will be available next week. Apologies for delay this year - my fault

Heysham Obs
Surprisingly good early on given the N wind

North harbour wall 0740-0840hrs
Little Gull - one blogging ad
Red-throated Diver - 3
Eider - 2 in
Kittiwake 21+63 in, 46+18 out - probably all different birds

Wooden jetty
Turnstone - 57
Purple Sandpiper - 1

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - 5 (3 ad 2 1st W) but soon dispersed
Kittiwake - 1st W & ad but soon dispersed

Middleton IE
3 Teal, 13 Coot & nesting Mute Swan

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
2 Bar-tailed Godwit

Ross's Goose Aldcliffe Marsh, northern end, but elusive and mobile, also single Barnacle Goose and 2 Whooper Swan

Thursday, 20 March 2008

A Tale of Two Twite

Heysham Obs
An earlyish morning circuit with the tide slopping over the various seawalls produced nothing worth logging other than two windblown Twite on the nyger seed by the sandworks entrance. This included a 30 minute, 3 LBBG seawatch. A second (afternoon) circuit did not even produce any Twite. No moths in the trap.

3 ad Med Gulls passed through Pine Lake with 350+ other gulls this late afternoon. Two were together and the one on its own appeared to have a white darvic, surprising as I would have thought Dutch ads would have been back on territory by now. Goodness knows what is going to happen to all the Sand Martins (e.g. 25 Pine lake late pm) in the next few days as insects will be at a premium and wind-chill pretty excessive. As regards human behaviour - why not build up brownie points at home in what is surely going to be a static weekend as regards anticipation of sudden break-outs needed later in the spring/year?

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Highlighted by Twite & Golden Plover passage

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Ad Mediterranean Gull on the sea with passage Black-headed Gulls (see OE below) - not the Czech bird which left on 9/3/08
Red-throated Diver - 5 in sp flew out together, 2 wp/imms on the sea
Common Scoter - 4 in

Vis Mig 0730-1130 intermittent NHW
Meadow Pipit - 89 north
Pied Wagtail - 23 north
Grey Wagtail - 2 north
Twite - 24+3 north over the sea [after visiting the feeder] - 12 remaining around the feeder area
Golden Plover - flock of 28 north (VERY scarce here; c1 record per year!)
Curlew - 7 high inland
Linnet - one north

Ocean Edge foreshore/Red Nab
c300 Black-headed Gull a surprise [see NHW]
77 Shelduck
6 Wigeon
No sign of any grounded passerine migrants in calm crystal-clear weather

Heysham Nature reserve
14 passage Snipe in the sedge bed (after none all winter)

Grey Seal and Porpoise (first of the year) off the NHW

March Moth & Hebrew Character in the trap

Chough in quarry at least 1635hrs. Red Kite south through the Dunsop valley & 4 Crossbills there. Whilst sorting out nestboxes in Upper Hindburn, there was a Treecreeper in full song. These sort of records, of species which are very difficult to prove breeding once the leaves hit the trees, are worth noting and forwarding as roving records of singing males [also 22 Fieldfare]. Pale-bellied Brent Goose Sunny Slopes groyne area

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Another struggle.

Heysham Obs
Red Nab
Wigeon 12
Shelduck 82

Ocean Edge
Ringed Plover 9

Vis mig
Pink-footed Goose 12 NE far out over Bay
Meadow Pipit just 9 NE

Middleton Industrial Estate
Greylag Goose 3 on boat pond flew off south.
Jackdaw 4 at boat pond
Kestrel 2

Avocet arrival at the EM Pools with 16 present. Chough seen in quarry at least 1655hrs. Extra drake Scaup on Conder pool. Check of northern LDBWS recording area pretty fruitless with single Brambling at a heavily disturbed Old Park plantation [massive felling programme still, rather like Thrushgill - same company?]....... & 2 Little Grebe and a drake Pochard at Wyndhammere the only remote interest on the small lakes/tarns. Barnacle Goose and 2 Whooper Swan still Aldcliffe saltmarsh

Monday, 17 March 2008

Migrants struggle through

Heysham Obs
For the first time for ages, saw nothing of any interest myself in the recording area today with the 'usual suspects' either gone or playing hide and seek on a late afternoon 'round'. The blocking weather continues and the medium-term forecast looks like it might get even less favourable for incoming migrants [other than stuff arriving in lightish, albeit north/north-west winds tomorrow & Wednesday]

Visible migration
Meadow Pipit - 50 per hour until mid morning, then about 25 per hour
from c1100hrs
Pied Wagtail - at least 20 north in the morning

Two male Wheatear Ocean Edge foreshore mid-morning but soon moved on (thanks to a visiting couple for this & most of the vis records)

North harbour wall
"At least 15 small brown birds" around the nyger mid afternoon

Chough present in Warton Crag quarry during at least the morning. Up to 6 Avocet seen today on the Allen Pool (per John Wilson). Pale-bellied Brent Goose on the tideline by the Sunny Slopes late afternoon
Singing male Chiffchaff Lower hide area of Leighton Moss. Adult summer Med Gull by Lancaster Bus Station this morning, then flew towards the Lune [legs not seen]

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Blocking north-easterly

Heysham Obs
Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull and two ad Kittiwake

Wooden jetty area
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on rocks below wooden jetty

Heysham NR
Female Stonechat by the office

North harbour wall
Meadow Pipit - just 4 north in about 30 minutes
Twite - 10 on the nyger seed but easily disturbed, 11 there late afternoon (6 unringed!).
Swan spp - flock of 6 NW very distantly & high over the Bay at 1115hrs, probably Whooper on jizz.

Taiga Bean Goose with 1080 PFG 'next to' Pilling Lane Ends car park in fields. Barnacle Goose [with 500 or so PFG] and two Whooper Swan Aldcliffe Marsh -easily visible from the Golden Ball side, also ad Med Gull with bill pattern matching bird seen at Battery the other day. Another ad Med Gull in fsp at Holmere. 20+ Sand Martin Pine Lake am but none late afternoon [but 10 at Leighton Moss]. 2 Little Egret Heaton Marsh. Flock of 44 migrant Golden Plover at White Moss, upper Hindburndale [also 4 Meadow Pipit N in 30 minutes -see above!]. Canadian-ringed 1W Pale-bellied Brent Goose still on the tide edge by Sunny Slopes groyne at low tide [with 50-60 Eider]. Chough present in Warton Crag quarry for most of the day, on and off & was showing well at 1715hrs. First Belted Beauty moth of the year (male) at Sunderland Point/Middleton saltmarsh

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Meadow Pipits and earliest ever Sand Martin

Heysham Obs
This was a strange day with the word 'variable' applying to density of cloud cover, visibility and also the light winds. Later in the afternoon a north-easterly kicked off. The Meadow Pipit data was cobbled together from five sources and we are grateful to visiting birders for some of this

Visible migration
Meadow Pipit - About 60 per hour early morning, falling to 40 per hour 1000-1100, then the movement appeared to have ceased for the day. However 1330-1430 saw c 75 northbound birds and the following hour saw 30 heading north, then the wind kicked in and the movement appeared to stop. Presumably this oscillation was to do with the variable cloud density to the south? c200 seen but some of the early morning missed.
Sand Martin - one through early afternoon - the earliest record of what is not a common migrant here
Pied Wagtail - c20 north 0900-1030, none later
Greenfinch - one north at the NHW, therefore definitely a migrant
Goldfinch - one as above species

Grounded migrants
A Song Thrush was on the NHW mound and two Robins were seen there in 'migrant mode' - one flew 'in-off' and landed on a skeer! A lunchtime circuit of the reserve suggested that Goldcrests were not a feature today = none. Female Stonechat on the PS non-operational land.

Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull surprisingly elusive & 2 Ad Kittiwake

Wooden jetty
Two Purple Sandpiper on rocks below wooden jetty (per Manchester coach party - thanks)

Other north harbour wall records
2nd S Med Gull on skeer by NHW mid-morning, then flew south towards incoming ferry & no sign since
Twite - 10 on the nyger seed. Two Twite also overflew Red Nab.

Middleton IE
Two Greylag landed mid-morning (feral origin - not common here). 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal and a singing Skylark - not common in the recording area these days, but, perhaps surprisingly, no migrant Stonechat

PS non-operational land
Female Stonechat

Moth trap
Just one Clouded Drab [c/p 103 of 14 (& one escaped micro) species at Millhouses!]

Barnacle Goose & Greenshank Aldcliffe and three Cranes reported over Lancaster heading west at 0745hrs. Avocet possibly up to 5 on the Allen/EM Pools and a small increase in Sand Martin at Leighton Moss (but still single figures) [also migrant SM through Hest Bank early morning]. NNEW Chough as yet. Pale-bellied Brent Goose on the shoreline just north of the Sunny Slopes on the incoming afternoon tide [34 dogs on the beach between Sunny Slopes and Stone Jetty]

Friday, 14 March 2008

Little evidence of migration, despite drop in wind wasnt a helpful direction (WNW).

Heysham Obs
Vis Mig
70 Pink-footed Geese N at 0745hrs
3 Meadow Pipit N (2 at 1000hrs, one at 1115hrs)

North harbour wall
2nd S Med Gull on the big skeer by the sandworks entrance
Twite - just 2 unringed birds late afternoon seen in the whole recording area today

Wooden Jetty
Single Purple Sandpiper on the rocks below

Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull and 3 adult Kittiwake

Few and far between of late but a March Moth and a small brown escapee (Brown House Moth?) were in the trap this morning.

Now 4 Avocets on the flood at east end EM Pool. Pale-bellied Brent Goose Sunny Slopes. Chough in at about 1530hrs.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Run of the mill

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall lunchtime
A double ferry arrival produced just a single following adult Kittiwake
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 205 NNW over the sea
Med Gull - 2nd summer around the harbour mouth

Wooden jetty
Single Purple Sandpiper with Turnstone

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - ad type & 1st W
Kittiwake - ad

Pale-bellied Brent Goose at Sunny Slopes groyne [& 1750 Oystercatcher, 63 Redshank & 74 Knot - none of which were there in yesterdays high seas, c/f Brent sighting yesterday on Carnforth Marsh]. Gull showing all the features of juv/1st W Yellow-legged on the sea, later sat on the shore by the Battery car park, with other large gulls for comparison. NNEW Chough. Still just two Avocets, a single ringtailed Hen Harrier proving surprisingly popular (posting as a Bowland resident) and 10 Bearded Tit Leighton Moss/Allen Pools

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Kittiwake flocks and Stonechats

Heysham Obs
The wind was strong on the incoming tide but, in the absence of significant squalls, not very productive bird-wise. It was also a fraction too far to the NW mid morning. Later it backed westerly and produced a few Kittiwake flocks. A check of the gull roost on Middleton produced a gang of very wind-blown Stonechat!

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - 8 late-morning - 7 adult and one 1st W, increasing to 9 adult & one 1st W nearer high tide
Kittiwake - 1 adult

North harbour wall seawatch 1030-1115 (intermittent), then 1300-1330
Kittiwake - Flocks of 16+44+28+36 in plus about 4 singletons closer inshore
Fulmar - one in
Eider - 2 in
Bar-tailed Godwit - flock of 8 out (unusual)
Large Gulls, mainly LBBG - c75 out along the seawall
Little Gull - 3 adults 'blogging' offshore whilst 9 ad +1 1st W on outfalls, therefore 13 in total for the day

Middleton IE
Loose flock of 5 Stonechat (3 males). 4 Goldeneye, female Pochard and 7 Tufted Duck

Ringing recovery
At last we have a Goldfinch recovery from over 500 ringed! One ringed at Middleton IE 21/8/07 was found dead at Freshwater, Isle of Wight 3/12/07 (356 km)

c190 Kittiwake
JBP probably including the birds seen at Heysham. Also a Pale-bellied Brent Goose on the seaward edge of Carnforth Marsh which was probably the Sunny Slopes bird displaced by rough seas, possibly on the overnight tide. Unfortunately too distant to see whether it was colour-ringed to confirm this, but it certainly was not present around the Battery/Sunny Slopes area

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Highest Twite count of the winter

Heysham Obs
Red Nab
Twite - 52 on the detritus
Stonechat - female
Reed bunting -female

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - ad
Mediterranean gull - usual 2nd S mobile

North harbour wall
Above 2nd S Med Gull cruising around

2 Spotted Redshank Broadway groyne. Pale-bellied Brent Goose at Battery groyne, then disappeared - perhaps back to Sunny Slopes. Sand Martin Pine Lake. Chough in at 1520 - straight into crevice, then out again after squall & roosted about 1700.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Three gulls and a Twite flock

Heysham Obs
Extraordinarily clear in the low pressure with individual stones on Piel Castle visible from the north harbour wall along with the 'usual' Barrow Town Hall clock and a whole load of platforms on the Barrow side of the Bay I didnt know existed. Pity about the birds.

North harbour wall(seawatch 0950-1020)
The only bird of note on a half-hour seawatch was the 2nd S Med Gull passing through the scope a few times as it followed the Riverdance's more active sibling, the Moondance, out of port

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/Stage 2 outfall mid-morning
Little Gull - ad on S2O but no sign of the long-staying 1st W
Kittiwake - ad on S2O
Twite - 5 being pushed along OE foreshore by a dog walker

Pale-bellied Brent Goose by Sunny Slopes groyne and unringed adult summer Med Gull by the Battery groyne, both mid afternoon [see pic on LDBWS photo section for comparative bill pattern purposes]. Chough into Warton Crag quarry at 1515hrs.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Czech Med putting in winter overtime

Heysham Obs
Heliport roost
The Czech ad Med Gull IS still with us - on the Heliport with the 2nd S at HT

Red Nab
16 Twite (min. of 8 ringed, 5 unringed, rest unknown) on the detritus
82 Wigeon

Ad Kittiwake joined a freight ferry on its way out but absolutely nothing on a 30min seawatch c1-1.5hrs before HT.

Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull mid morning but not there from one hour before HT

Ross's Goose was on Aldcliffe early morning, moving to Colloway before being flushed by jetskis and later in the day was located OOA along Bradshaw Lane, North Fylde. Chough flew in at Warton Crag at 1614hrs. Pale-bellied Brent Goose Sunny Slopes groyne. At least 8 presumed littoralis Rock Pipit [some obviously this form, coming into summer plumage] on the Lune Estuary, plus one pipit (on the shore where the path to Stodday sewage works joins the cycletrack by picnic area) which showed characters of Water Pipit, but unfortunately no pictures available. Negative on any tideline pipits at Bank End or from the Cocker Estuary to Lane Ends. 3 Sand Martins at Leighton Moss in late afternoon - any at Pine Lake?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Early WeBS

Ben My Chree slowly and carefully negotiates the turn into the harbour at midday - note the height of the tide on the wooden jetty. Just one Kittiwake behind it, but up to 70 have been seen following this year, especially during January, along with a few Little Gull and also two juvenile Pomarine Skua sightings, which almost certainly involved following this boat into the Bay

Heysham Obs
Pretty thorough check of (high tide loafing) gulls in the harbour failed to locate the 1st W Caspian look-alike by the waterfall in the harbour yesterday afternoon [as seen from the NHW] (which unfortunately flew off before the features could all be gone through and ticked or crossed from the gate 38 side). Maybe it will return nearer low tide when the waterfall becomes a 'feature', on the other hand it may just be a very "snouty, white-headed" argenteus.

North harbour wall
The WeBS coincided with the IOM passenger ferry and it was being followed by a single 1st W Kittiwake

Red Nab
1st W Little Gull sat on the sea

Wooden Jetty
Two Purple Sandpiper on the top at HT - took flight briefly with 6 Turnstone

Ocean Edge west field
2nd S Med Gull roosting on the grass with BHGs - never seen it so far round this side & presume it was the usual bird!

Middleton IE WeBS
Mute Swan 4, Coot 13, Mallard 7, Pochard 2, Goldeneye 3, Teal 6, Tufted Duck 6, Little Grebe 2, Grey Heron 2. There were also 8 Redwing, almost certainly grounded returning migrants as there have been none during the winter and the weather was SE wind & rain first thing. Thanks Malcolm.

Morecambe WeBS stuff: Two Spotted Redshank on the groyne on the bend just S of the Strathmore, one with very white foresupercilium & forehead, the other less so. Pale-bellied Brent Sunny Slopes groyne. Female Scaup off Scalestones Point but elusive in rough sea. NNEW on the 'wee wire hopper' but will have been forced off the Lune saltmarshes by the tide [only c50 PFG visible from the Heaton side mid-pm]. Chough in at Warton Crag 1628hrs and showed really well in bright sunlight, also two 'Nordic' Jackdaws in the field 'below' the crag during mid-afternoon and one later on the crag face (per N Patel et al). Ringtail Hen harrier receiving a lot of attention at Leighton Moss & still only 2 Avocet

Friday, 7 March 2008

Black-tailed Godwit surprise

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall seawatch 0925-0955
Kittiwake - 15+6+21 in in very quick succession, perhaps the one flock which had fragmented
Black-tailed Godwit - flock of 5 out. This and Little Egret are perhaps inexplicably rare in the Heysham area c/f status just either side.
Red-throated Diver - 2 adult summer in together
Med Gull - 2nd summer cruising all over the place but no sign Czech-ringed adult

Wooden jetty
Two Purple Sandpiper & c80 Turnstone

Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull Stage 2 outfall afternoon and seen to land for the first time for a month!

Ad white-morph Ross's Goose of unknown origin Aldcliffe Marsh from mid pm, also 2 Whooper Swan. TWO Spotted Redshank Broadway groyne plus female Scaup offshore. Chough into roost at 1620hrs.

Ross's Goose in strong winds & fading light!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Meds get together

Czech-ringed EX78711 [above tarsus right leg] signing out from the winter? It was not seen tomorrow and left on 7th March in last two years. Only photo possible due to imminent moving car!

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
The two north harbour wall Med Gulls (Czech ad & 2nd S), which have been in parallel universes for most of the winter, started to wave heads at each other today

c15 Twite at the feeder

Ocean Edge/Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull Stage 2 outfall
Wigeon - 63 Red Nab

Pale-bellied Brent Goose on tideline off Sunny Slopes late afternoon low tide. 2 Avocet still on EM Pools. Chough in to roost about 1720 at Warton Crag - roosted to the west of the usual site. Thorough search for Fleagarth Wood Firecrest drew a blank, but it could, of course, have been an early passage bird. No Sand Martin Pine Lake (3 Goosander)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Czech-ringed Med returns

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall at lunchtime/late afternoon
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult on the railings at lunchtime, almost in summer plumage, with the 2nd summer bird on the mudflats late afternoon
Twite - 21 by the mound (at least 11 unringed)
Linnet - one with the Twite
Purple Sandpiper - at least one on the wooden jetty - lower tier middle section
Pink-footed Goose - 36 or 37 SE over the sea

Outfalls/Red Nab
Little Gull - 1st W Stage 2 outfall the only one left
Wigeon - 73
Shelduck - 71

Another Avocet at last to keep the long-since-arrived one company on the EM Pools. Chough was in the Warton Crag roost at 1720hours but not sure of the arrival time. No Sand Martin Pine Lake but a bit cold & 'open'. At least 12 (but perhaps no more than 13) Whooper Swan still in the Lune Valley between Gressingham bridge and Melling. 16 Little Egret in Ashton Hall roost

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

No coverage

Heysham Obs
No coverage today

Adult Long-eared Owl calling in the 'lower' plantation where they bred last year on the Leck Fell road. Very quiet call & wont be much use going in the forecasted noisy windy conditions. Any listening/watching MUST be done from the Leck Fell road. No taping please. 557 islandica Black-tailed Godwit at Broadway area of Morecambe - an unprecedentedly large number for there. Also the usual Spotted Redshank. The Chough arrived into the Warton Crag roost just before 4pm

Monday, 3 March 2008

First Gannet

Heysham Obs
A seawatch 0855-0925 was a bit more entertaining than of late

North harbour wall seawatch
Gannet - adult in
Little Gull - 3 1st w together in
Kittiwake - 5 + 17 out distantly
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 37 out [not sure of significance, but unusual]
Common Gull - 17 adults in

No sign 2nd W/S Med Gull on the one morning visit

Stage 2 outfall/Red Nab area
Little Gull - 5 adult, one obvious 2nd W, 1st W at 0930hrs. Late afternoon: 2 1st W & 2nd W.
Kittiwake - one adult all day
Twite - 22 Red Nab but only seen in flight

The Chough came in at 1547hrs this afternoon, very early, and spent very little time perched up before disappearing, perhaps avoiding hail. Pale-bellied Brent Goose Sunny Slopes area

Sunday, 2 March 2008

2nd W/S Med returns!

Heysham Obs
Used Heysham office as a base to make a big dent in the 2007 Annual Obs Report - sorry it is late this year - entirely my fault. Unfortunately two groups of people sent in what should have been the right direction for at least Little Gulls didnt reciprocate and report their sightings, despite an ever so polite request. So a quick dash round from 1515hrs was all the known coverage of the coastal areas. Pity, because putting 2 & 2 together suggested quite a few Kittiwake moving today and the early morning tide would have been worth a look.

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2nd W moulting into summer plumage cruising the wall as usual!
Kittiwake - Adult along the wall with the Med Gull and another adult in the harbour mouth. A tightly packed flock of 45 on the sea, slowly drifting into the Bay (1530hrs)
Goldfinch - one on the (Twite) nyger seed which was being decimated by rabbits!

Stage 2 outfall
A very brief look late afternoon saw at least 2 adult-type and 2 1st winter Little Gull

Middleton IE
Pair of Mute Swan nest building! 4 Tufted Duck, 1 female Pochard, 12 Coot, 3 Goldeneye, 6 Mallard, 1 male Teal (usually this bird with a female), 1 Little Grebe (low number for this time of year), just one Snipe and 2 Stonechat, presumably passage birds.

Chough was already roosting in Warton Crag quarry at the usual site at 1700hrs. 1st W Kittiwake Pine Lake (very) late afternoon. Female Firecrest "about 6 minutes" along the Fleagarth Wood to Jenny Brown's Point footpath from the entrance c300m along Hollins Lane (SD465746) mid-morning. Tight flock of 28 Kittiwake lingering of Crook Farm, Lune Estuary mid morning (see intro. comment above) & the usual 3 Scaup on Conder Pool. Pale-bellied Brent Goose still Sunny Slopes groyne

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Wintering Meds absent but Little Gulls remain on Stage 2 outfall

Heysham Obs
Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - 17 first thing (2 1st W) reducing to about 6 mid-morning, 2 at 1430hrs then they increased again to 12 (2 1st W) on the late afternoon tide
Kittiwake - 2 ads late afternoon

North harbour wall
The only notable birds from three visits were a 1st W & Ad Kittiwake behind the dredger late afternoon

Quite a few immature large gulls around/passing through in the 30 minutes spent checking 'both sides' in the morning [but nothing much later on], especially feeding in the surf along the north wall. This is a good time, and following a good winter, for 'white-wings'.

There dont appear to be any of the resident winter Meds left.......but it is March and the Med Gull discussion group indicates that the colonies are being occupied in the Low Countries for e.g. with major passage counts to the SW e.g. Iberia.

Chough reappeared in Warton Crag Quarry at 5pm (per pager message at 2300hrs). Two Whooper Swan Aldcliffe & Greenshank JB Point. No GWE reports but single Little Egrets at Griesdale and Jackson hides. Usual dearth of Saturday activity! Did anyone have time to check Pine Lake for Sand Martin in the 'ideal' late afternoon drizzle?