Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sprinkling of migrants

Heysham Obs
Ringing was undertaken at Middleton & by the office at HNR

Middleton IE
Too far inland to receive any of the landfalling migrants by the time we had to finish (1000hrs) but a few visible migrants
Tree Pipit - one ringed
Grey Wagtail - 7 colour-ringed out of about 14 heading S/SE
Swallow - c20 SE
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
House Martin - 35 SE
alba Wagtail - c15 SE
Goldfinch - a few whizzing about, some of which could be on passage

Heysham nature reserve
Willow Warbler - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed
Redstart - 2 ringed (quite scarce in autumn here)
Grey Wagtail - 5 colour-ringed (12 in total today from the two sites) & at least one other over

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 3 adults
Sandwich Tern - 1
....but no Little Gulls in the calmer weather - should be back inshore tomorrow?
Wheatear - at least one

North harbour wall
Med Gull - Ad & 2 x 2nd W & 1 x 3d W

Moth trap
Continuing the conifer fest, Pine Carpet was a new species (I think) for Heysham NR. 15 Silver Y were disappointingly not accompanied by any other migrants. The only other unusual records were Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (not annual) and a second brood Bright-line Brown Eye
60 Crossbill Foulshaw and 3+ Osprey still there. [Ortolan Walney Island]

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Another terrestrial & aerial day

Heysham Obs
A bit of vis this morning, notably Swallow

Middleton IE vis mig passage
Tree Pipit - 1 SW
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Linnet - 1 SE
Raven - one high to the NE (first record for a bit)
Swallow - c150 SE
House Martin - 15 SE
alba Wagtail (first evidence of movement as opposed to loafing around) - 18 SE
Grey Wagtail - 8 SE (4 colour ringed)
a lot of blogging Goldfinch may have included some movement

Grounded migrants
Wheatear - 13 coastal birds
Willow Warbler - c10 reserve/dog walk track & 4 ringed Middleton
Whitethroat - just the one ringed at Middleton - the only one seen!

Middleton IE
Tufted Duck - 5
Pochard - 1
Shoveler - late news for yesterday - 4 flying over Middleton

The first Spruce Carpet for here - surely the last of the easy moths missing from the Heysham list. Also 6 Silver Y and a Rusty Dot Pearl on the migrant front [Gem at nearby Sunderland]. More notable residents included Red Underwing and Pinion-streaked Snout in the hut trap and Oblique Carpet in a wetland actinic trap.

Found out that the metal ringed Ad Med Gull at Broadway is indeed 36W minus the darvic - the metal ring was read on 17/8 - this bird was present today at Broadway along with a 2nd W.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Mainly terrestrial coverage

Heysham Obs
No coverage of Ocean Edge/outfalls that I know of today - anyone able to contribute?

North wall brief visit
Med Gull - 2 adults coming to bread

Heysham Nature Reserve CES etc.
Goldcrest - first two of the autumn (ringed)
Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff - small numbers
Whitethroat - 2 ringed
Grey Wagtail - one colour-ringed and at least one other over

Middleton IE
Grey Wagtail - c11 south east with 4 of these colour-ringed.
Lesser Whitethroat - adult ringed
Garden Warbler - one ringed
Swallow - c20 south/south-east

Red-green Carpet was a surprise - early & scarce here. 36 Double-striped Pug might be some kind of record!

Juv Little Tern & Shag still at Morecambe Stone Jetty but the former very elusive when not flying/feeding. 8 Sandwich Tern offshore

Thursday, 28 August 2008

They're back

Heysham Obs
Please see yesterday's note about observing ringing this autumn

North harbour wall
Med Gull - the Czech-ringed adult and 3rd winter were patrolling the wall again after an absence of 1+ weeks
Shag - juv wooden jetty (another at SJ - see below)
Ringed Plover - 43 heliport

Very poor with just one adult Little Gull of note at high tide. However, Ocean Edge saltmarsh area not checked.

Frosted Orange new for the year. Also present were local species Toadflax Pug (2) and Agriphila latistria (2).

Toadflax Pug - photo John Girdley

Dark-morph Arctic Skua 'in' 0838 (no systematic early morning seawatching at Heysham) at Morecambe Stone Jetty, juv Shag by Bubbles groyne early am and the juv Little Tern fishing of the SJ on the dropping tide at lunchtime.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Decent wader numbers on accreting saltmarsh

Heysham Obs
I have just been perusing the latest Birdwatching magazine and it encourages people to go out and attend ringing sessions at observatories etc. now the autumn migration is under way. Unfortunately it does not make clear that in order for the welfare of the bird to be absolutely paramount, it is very difficult for a lone ringer to be suddenly faced with people hoping for a lengthy instruction/demonstration. Obviously, at a public site like Heysham NR, we have many people stopping to have a look at one/two birds being ringed before moving on, and this is not a problem. Unexpected lengthy stays, however, can lead to perhaps small delays in mist nets rounds etc. etc. as people are shown the fine detail of a majority of the birds caught and questions are being asked & answered. We have many single-ringer-operation sessions at Heysham. So PLEASE let us know if you are likely to be visiting and wanting to observe ringing for the duration of the session. This is so we can try and arrange for a second (or third) person to "do the explaining" and allow the timing of the mist net rounds etc. to remain "a tight ship" as regards the bird's welfare. Thanks. See contacts on the right of this page.

One hour of coverage improved with time as a 'watching paint dry' seawatch was followed by a reasonable collection on the outfalls/Red Nab and then a nice mixed bunch of small waders on the embryonic saltmarsh beginning to form on the 'seaward' side of the main OE saltmarsh channel. It is still largely in the 'wet mud'/enteromorpha stage, with a scattering of glasswort and spartina, which small waders seem to like.

North harbour wall 0910-0940
Gannet - one distant
Fulmar - 2 out fairly close
a procession of juv LBB Gull out
Shag - one juv on wooden jetty
again a complete lack of Med Gulls

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore
Common Tern - ad & 2 juvs
Arctic Tern - juv
Kittiwake - 1st summer->2nd winter
Little Gull - the usual three
Med Gull - same adult as yeterday
Ringed Plover - 113 in the area described above
Dunlin - 44 as above
Turnstone - 4 as above
Little Egret - one flushed from OE saltmarsh by dog - flew south
Wheatear - 6

The first Red Underwing of the year in the moth trap and a high count of 5 Holly Blue in the mist netting area by the office

Juvenile Little Tern by the Morecambe Stone jetty lunchtime at least (to at least 1245hrs), also 5 Med Gulls north Morecambe foreshore/playing field. Freckleton (Ribble) "responded" to the '48 Little Egret at Leighton' LDBWS site posting with a total of 81!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Dribble of seabirds & a Prescott moment

Heysham Obs
Highlighted by TWO juvenile Shag on the wooden jetty late afternoon - unusual in August

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls - 3 visits
Little Gull - 2 ad/2nd W at long range
Common Tern - juv
Arctic Tern - juv
Med Gull - adult Red Nab
Wheatear - 2

North harbour wall - 3 visits
Arctic Skua - dark morph out
Fulmar - 2 out
Manx Shearwater - one out
Kittiwake - one out, 12 behind a late afternoon freight ferry and one blogging around the harbour
Eider - 2 females
Shelduck - 8 (flock) high into the Bay - this species seems to flag itself up during rubbishy autumnal seawatches (often with Pintail)

Heysham head
Gannet - adult summer early evening, then sat on rocks

There has been no sign of any patrolling Med Gulls for a week or so - presumably they are in the wet fields somewhere, but there has been a secondhand report of a 'seagull' being killed after swallowing a hook. Any info on this anyone, please?

Agriphila latistria at this long-term regular site but nothing else of interest.

48 Little Egret seen to leave the island mere roost as viewed from the Leighton Moss lower hide this morning. This is a north Lancs record but currently being exceeded by 60(+?) at Freckleton. Not sure of the situation at Ashton Hall but this roost has not seen any dramatic increases above the low teens after being the original egret roost in this area. 2nd W Med Gull Warton floods

Monday, 25 August 2008

Storm Petrel an unexpected highlight

Heysham Obs
Probably should have been here a bit earlier in the morning - most of the stuff in the first half hour of seawatching. A very narrow window in the afternoon before the first band of rain sent the wind critically just south of south-west and any seabirds dried up/were too far out to sea

North harbour wall 0715-0915 minus 0815-0835
Shag - juv on wooden jetty for short period
Kittiwake - 1st summer patrolling the north wall
Gannet - 17 out - all before 0745hrs
Manx Shearwater - 16 out in one straggling group 0730hrs
Arctic Skua - dark morph out 0810hrs
Sandwich Tern - 2 in
Eider - 2 females in harbour then along NHW
Whimbrel - one disturbed from the seawall whilst unlocking gate
Wheatear - one

Ocean Edge/outfalls 0820-0830
Little Gull - the usual 3
Med. Gull - one adult & also one juvenile on quick check at 1030hrs (& 2 juv Common Gull around)
Common Tern - one juv
Mute Swan - two have been on Red Nab the last three days
Wheatear - 3

North harbour wall 1400-1630
Storm Petrel - one into the Bay about 1430ish just after a ferry and the tide starting to move
Arctic Skua - light and dark morph adults out together 1415hrs
Manx Shearwater - 3 out together 1410hrs
Gannet - 1 in c1620
Sandwich Tern - 2 out

2 Greenshank Sunderland tidal road.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Routine sightings in poor visibility

Heysham Obs
The collection of gulls on Red Nab on the late afternoon tide were really difficult to go through due to heat haze, state of moult, sleeping position and unfavourable sunlight - there could have been more than 2 Meds, for example

Cumulative total from Ocean Edge foreshore/outfalls and Red Nab
Little Gull - 2 x 2nd W, 1 x Ad W
Med Gull - 2 apparent adults - one the regular small bird
Common Tern - juv
Sandwich Tern - one
Arctic Tern - adult - rather surprising record

HNReserve dipping pond
Kingfisher mid-afternoon

Middleton IE
Now two Tufted Duck but no sign of yesterdays Aythya, perhaps a hybrid involoving Pochard

Yet again too windy for the census at Middleton but this did include a single Wall Brown and a late 4-spotted Chaser. 3 male Emperor and an ovipositing Migrant Hawker were also observed. A walk round the reserve by Colin mid afternoon saw: 27 Meadow Brown, 2 Gatekeeper, 5 Common Blue, 2 Small Copper, 4 Peacock, 1 Brimstone, 3 Large White, 1 Small White, 9 Speckled Wood, 3 Red Admiral, just one Migrant Hawker, 2 Brown Hawker, female Common Hawker and c100 Common Darter (but no Ruddy or Black seen)

A poor catch included Agriphila latistria and a probable Acleris variegana but no migrants

Med Gull - four from Glasson seawall - 3 Ad-types and a 2nd W. 3CY Yellow-legged Gull but no sign of adult. Tree Pipit south over High Tatham at 0935 - this record assisted by yesterdays departure of the extremely noisy nest-bound juvenile House Martins!

A sprinkling of migrants

Heysham Obs
Wasted time watching flocks of giant poodles and other inbred 'pedigree' mutts being misidentified (on two occasions) as the noticeably absent Audouin's Gull. I suspect someone was taking the micky and taking great delight in watching ornithological stampedes with scopes flailing in all directions. It only takes one loud incomprehensible shout (in this case two)! The grotty Lincolnshire coast throws into sharp perspective the recent improvements at Morecambe - it is now a relatively high class resort with Colin Crompton's bus shelter morgues long gone.

Prior to that a bit of coverage:
Middleton IE
Whitethroat: Whilst scanning the skies for hirundines a passerine was picked up about twice the height of an electricity pylon. It descended in four "leaf-falling" stages and landed on a bramble bush revealing itself as a Whitethroat. After leaping about for 5 seconds, it flew inland. This was preceded by two together moving rapidly inland at low level
Swift: 1+3 south
Swallow: c60 south, including loose flock of 40
Grey Wagtail: 2 south
Kingfisher: 1
Grasshopper Warbler: two recently fledged young were ringed - a surprise
Little Grebe: 4 very small young - late broods are regular here
The only phyllosc was a single Chiffchaff (c/f Willow Warblers reported elsewhere)

Convolvulus Hawk-moth and Gem in Morecambe in the last 24 hours. Add the Cosmopolitan and this represents three rare migrant moths in a very small area. I wonder if the very severe thunderstorm the evening before the Cosmopolitan was trapped was responsible for "downing" these high-flying migrants in a very localised area? There has been no general influx of scarce migrants anywhere near this latitude to relate these observations to. The first Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing of the year was in the hut trap

Two Yellow Wagtail at Bank End. Moulting Little Tern reported Morecambe Stone Jetty

Friday, 22 August 2008

Treecreeper highlight

Heysham Obs
Despite the grotty clear sunny north-westerly, the CES had to be done final-date-wise and produced a Treecreeper, the second record for the year.

No coverage of the coastal sites received

A sizeable catch was perhaps surprising and included 4 Silver Y, 2 Gold Spot, 2 Copper Underwing, 1 Cabbage Moth & one Toadflax Pug of the migrant/dispersive/relatively scarce species for this site

Late news for yesterday included the general consensus that the 3CY gull on the Lune Estuary IS a Yellow-legged Gull with significant lower neck streaking not ruling this species out at this age class. The adult Yellow-legged Gull was also seen. Several Meds (including juvs) on the north Fylde reflecting the availability of wet fields as opposed to the 'usual' concentration on Heysham outfalls in drier Augusts.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

"Highlighted" by Common Tern.............

Heysham Obs
..............a sad reflection of the current post-spring passage status of Common & Arctic Tern in this area

Ocean Edge/outfalls/Red Nab early morning
Med Gull - ad seaward end Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - two at rest at long range on mudflats

Same site lunchtime
Sandwich Tern - one adult
Common Tern - one juv
Med Gull - small adult on Red Nab

Late afternoon NHW brief check
Shag still on wooden jetty

Eight Silver Y, but no startling migrants today! Tawny-speckled Pug new for the year

Another photo of yesterdays Cosmopolitan from Alan Draper. This is quite a well-marked individual. If this was a Bordered Straw or Painted Lady, it suggests that it is not a pale primary migrant of southern European/North African origin but dont know whether this principle applies to Cosmopolitan

The LDBWS site is back up running & included a Short-eared Owl yesterday at Aldcliffe & 31 Little Egret and still 50+ Swift at Leighton Moss Lower Hide area last night. No news on any sightings at this evening's Leighton egret roost of the reported Great White Egret (Carnforth marsh) earlier this afternoon

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Cosmopolitan surprise

Cosmopolitan, Heysham hut trap overnight 19/8/08-20/8/08 (top two Reuben Neville, bottom John Girdley)

Heysham Obs
A bit mediocre in many respects (e.g. breeding bird productivity), this year is certainly producing some 'one-offs' (previously White-throated Sparrow and a very early summer plumaged Sabine's Gull). This morning's offering, was, as far as I know, the first NW England Cosmopolitan moth

Red Nab/outfalls
Sandwich Tern - one
Little Gull - ad & 2nd W
Wooden jetty
juvenile Shag at high tide
Ad Med Gull
(very) juvenile Common Tern

COSMOPOLITAN, Hedge Rustic, Silver Y and the first Agriphila latistria of the year.
Butterfly census HNR
A bit windy but: 12 Red Admiral, 3 Peacock, 6 Brimstone, 24 Meadow Brown, 12 Common Blue, 15 Speckled Wood, 5 Small White, 8 Green-veined White, 1 Large White, 1 Comma, 8 Gatekeeper. Thanks Doreen.
Seemingly the Big Z, but cannot access LDBWS site

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Unpredictable morning

Heysham Obs
A visit to OE foreshore and the north harbour wall in a theoretically promising WSWF3 on the latter stages of the incoming tide did not produce what was expected!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Stage 2 outfalls late stages of incoming tide & very brief pm visit to Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - 1 Red Nab
Little Gull - ad W outfall....... & the 2 x 2nd W were present during a very brief late afternoon visit
Whimbrel - one
Yellow Wagtail - juv on Ocean Edge football field with c35 Pied
Common Sandpiper - one Red Nab
Sanderling - moulting ad with other small waders on mudflats by Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Ringed Plover - 83 with Sanderling
Dunlin - 37 as above
No Meds at all - unprecedented at this stage of the tide at this time of year [incl. NHW]
Absolutely nothing offshore in 30 minutes of watching the mouth of the Bay (including behind incoming IOM ferry)

North harbour wall
Arctic Tern - juvenile blogging inshore
NO Meds (see above)!
No obvious sign of any Shag on wooden jetty
Absolutely nothing offshore in further 20 minutes

Single Dark Sword Grass & Silver Y plus the first Gold Spot of the year

Ad Yellow-legged Gull reasonably close & very distant views of a 3CY gull which may on structure and mantle colour have been YLG, but which sported a "necklace" of winter plumage, which at long range appeared latticed like a Black Brant! (large - dwarfed the nearby AD LBB!)........ as seen from the Sunderland tidal road looking towards Glasson. The light however was dodgy - a lot of 'orange sky' silhouette. The personal zero Med day continued, despite loads of BHG on the Lune Estuary, but JC had one at Aldcliffe in the evening..

Monday, 18 August 2008

Afternoon small wader influx

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Little Egret in the channel - reaching 'taken for granted' status at long last here, or at least this particular bird is, having been inexplicably scarce until this year. Later on Red Nab right over the tide period and still there 2 hours after high tide - some kind of record as regards "availability"!

Outfalls/Red Nab
Little Gull - 2 x 2nd W, 1 x 2nd S->Ad W
Med Gull - ad
Sandwich Tern - 3
Common Sandpiper - 1 Red Nab
Ringed Plover -the dizzy heights of 82 reached on the mudflats just to the south of Red Nab as the tide was starting to drop
Dunlin - 41 with the Ringed Plover
Whimbrel - one with the above waders
No sign of any Wheatear on the foreshore

North harbour wall
Ad Med Gull (probably Czech bird)
No sign of Shag

A Black-tern-less thrash (c/f quite a scattering to the south of here) round the 'pits' produced a consolation prize in the form of a juv Common Tern on Pine Lake. Since the spring passage, Common/Arctic Tern occurrences have been rock bottom in this area with far too much disturbance for any nesting attempts on the Lune

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Comprehensive early morning outfalls/Red Nab coverage

Good coverage by Mark & Malcolm before I have even left the house (comprehensive washing up)!

Red Nab/Stage 2 outfall
Med Gull - 3 adults (including small bird) and two juveniles which were definitely not ringed below the knee [one possible metal ring above knee left leg]
Little Gull - at least one 2nd W
Sandwich Tern - 4

Wooden Jetty
Juvenile Shag
Turnstone - 221 (+/-10 or so) at high tide but couldn't see Shag

North harbour wall
Czech-ringed adult Med on railings along with newly moulted 3rd W=Ad W. Not necessarily two of the birds on the 'other side' earlier on
Golden Plover - adult 'out'; scarce on passage here
Gannet - one distant bird [nothing pushed in by rather too slow-moving showers]

Middleton IE
No obvious migrants in the WeBS count: Tufted Duck (1), 16 Coot, 5 Moorhen, 7 Mallard and 7 Little Grebe

2 Wall Brown early morning on Middleton IE i.e. probably many more. 4 Gatekeeper, 3 male Common Blue, 13 Meadow Brown, one late Small Skipper, 2 Small White, 6 Speckled Wood on the Hey Nature Reserve in marginal afternoon conditions. Also 3 Migrant Hawker & 30 Common Darter NR pm.

Three second brood Devon Carpet trapped at Lord's Lot wood - the site where they were discovered this spring. Sorry about photo (now deleted) - this was a Small Phoenix - a result of an 'in the dark' mix up with pots.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Juvenile Shag returns

Heysham Obs
Combined effort from low to post-high tide including a major contribution from Wigan RSPB group. Thanks for this.

Ocean Edge to the harbour mouth
Shag - presumably the same juvenile as the other day reappeared on the wooden jetty late morning
Med Gull - at least one adult and one juvenile
Little Gull - 2 1st S->2nd W, one 2nd W->ad W
Little Egret - 1 in OE/Red Nab channels
Kittiwake - 2 1st S on outfalls post-ferry
Wheatear - 1 OE, one harbour area
Gannet - one far offshore
Whimbrel - one Red Nab

Moth trap
One Silver Y

Juv Yellow Wagtail Aldcliffe the only new sighting of note. Ad Med Broadway area.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Gull grilling

Heysham Obs
During August, it is usually one or two juvenile Common Gull as the pitfall for the unwary amongst a small number of juvenile Med Gulls. This year it is currently the other way round with at least 6 juv Common Gull today and 2 juvenile Meds.

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Stage 2 outfall 0820-0920
Common Gull - minimum of 6 juvenile, some looking quite 'contrasty'
Med. Gull - 2 juveniles but not possible to see whether ringed. 2 unringed adults (one small)
Little Gull - 2 1st S->2nd W
Gannet - just the one from 4 well-spaced offshore 'sweeps'

Coastal recording area WeBS highlights
Med. Gull - one of the juvs was on Red Nab and had a "whitish" ring which did not appear to be lettered, & probably therefore a metal, on the right leg during very brief view before it settled down. Ad Heliport
Sandwich Tern - 4 Red Nab
Turnstone - 182 on wooden jetty

Middleton IE
A ringing session again saw very few Whitethroat (2 ringed) but a reasonable catch included 6 House Martin and 5 Willow Warbler

2 Little Egret Hest Bank

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Gannet influx

See yesterdays posting re-these two recent additions to the Heysham list - Stenoptilia zophodactylus (note the diagnostic white legs) and Plain Pug. Thanks John

Heysham Obs
Offshore from Ocean Edge/north harbour wall
Gannet - very difficult to work out how many but a minimum of 27 and maximum of 41
Manx Shearwater - 4 very distant birds together
Mute Swan - one south

Red Nab/Ocean Edge inshore
Little Gull - the usual three
Med. Gull - one adult
Sandwich Tern - 3

Wooden jetty/north wall mound
Wheatear - one mound
Turnstone - 62 on wooden jetty

Barred Rivulet the most notable, also one Silver Y

Ad Yellow -legged Gull alongside the Lune Estuary between Glasson and Sunderland on the Fylde side late afternoon

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Quite a few waders

Heysham Obs
Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore on a neap high tide
Mute Swan - imm on the sea far offshore!
Little Gull - the usual three
Sandwich Tern - 2
Greenshank - one juv Red Nab
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh channel
Ringed Plover - 31 Red Nab
Dunlin - 6 Red Nab
Knot - one Red Nab!
Med Gull - Ad W
Whimbrel - one

A small plume moth Stenoptilia zophodactylus, a mainly southern species, was found in the hut trap on 8/8. The occurrence here has a degree of logic as the preferred larval foodplants are common, especially Yellow-wort, which is otherwise a rare plant in the north-west (also Centuary spp.). This is the first record for VC60. Thanks to Steve Palmer for determination. A Plain Pug at a sheet and light session at Middleton IE on 22/7 was the fifth record for VC60 with one of these nearby in SD46B. Last night saw the first autumn brood Treble Bar in a small catch with cool overnight conditions

Red Admiral increased to 7 on the office buddleia but the only other species were Large & Small White (i.e. no Peacock or Small Tort.)

Tree Rat Moneyclose Lane (scarce here!)

Osprey Leighton Moss then flew off. Four Meds at Glasson - 3 adult (one green ringed) and a juvenile. Ad Yellow-legged Gull by green No 9 buoy between Glasson and Sunderland low tide late afternoon

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Heysham Obs
Outfalls/Red Nab early morning rain
Little Gull - 2nd S->Ad W
Med Gull - Ad W
Whimbrel - heard

Same area pm - sunny
Not a single bird on Stage 2 outfall which was strewn with anglers sitting inside the railings

30 Little Egret in the Leighton roost last night (40+ at Freckleton, unknown number at Ashton Hall). Chough Warton Crag quarry this afternoon. Ad Med Aldcliffe but no obvious sign of Garganey. 8 Crossbill over Silverdale Moss.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Distant Bonxie

Low single figures of moulting Little Gulls are a feature of late summer/autumn at this site. Thanks to Mike Watson for these pics.

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0750-0850hrs
Bonxie - distant bird out and across
Gannet - 7 feeding in the mouth of the Bay
No sign of the juv Shag on the wooden jetty - last seen about 1645hrs yesterday

Red Nab/outfalls
Common Gull - 2 juvs on outfall
Med Gull - 2 adult and a juv on the foreshore off Ocean Edge - just 2 adults in pm
Little Gull - the usual 3 birds
Sandwich Tern - influx of 15 early evening

Dead so far

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Sabines returns late afternoon and first juvenile Shag of the autumn

Thanks very much to Margaret Breaks for sharing this montage. On end of Stage 2 outfall from c1610hrs-1710hrs today

Heysham Obs
This was a very frustrating day for visiting birders as, in clear but windy conditions, the adult Sabines Gull reappeared c1610hrs (Mike Watson) and was seen on and off for about one hour, always very distant at the seaward end of the Power Station outfalls and sitting out of sight on the rough sea. The last sighting involved a quite lengthy observed flight which was presumably continued out of sight 'behind' the waves along the shipping channel. No further sign by at least 2000hrs
Combined effort offshore intermittent 0840-2000hrs
Gannet - 37, mainly distant in several hours!
Manx Shearwater - one out
Kittiwake - 2 out
Sandwich Tern - 10 out
Common Scoter - male out, 7 in then out
Arctic Skua - light morph out, then sat on the sea, then wheeled back into the bay again in increasing wind c0905-0920. It or another seen chasing gulls at long range late afternoon.
Combined effort inshore
Med Gull - 2nd S->3rd W north harbour wall (2-3 'second year' primaries still unmoulted). 3 adults Red Nab area probably included the 'newly re-aged' 3rd W=Ad having completed wing moult and certainly included the small bird seen several times recently
Shag - Juvenile on the wooden jetty c1600hrs then later in the afternoon as the tide came in
Little Gull - the usual three birds: 2 1st S->2nd W, 1 2nd S->Ad W
Whimbrel - one Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - 2 Red Nab early morning prior to passage
SABINE'S GULL - Ad S intermittently at the seaward end of the outfalls from 1610hrs to c1710hrs but elusive in rough sea and dreadful light
The two Garganey still at Aldcliffe. See links.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Always check Heysham over the tide when wet and windy...........

Nice flight shots from Mike Watson (top two) & Margaret Breaks after it started to feed on Heysham 2 outfall, followed by a desperate distant record shot as part of the initial documentation on Red Nab. Mario Chin has a better 'at rest' shot on the LDBWS site photos section.

Heysham Obs
Late afternoon saw the rain and wind producing the good(s) big style!

Ocean Edge late morning
1st S->2nd W Little Gull on sand

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Stage 2 outfall 1600-1845
SABINES GULL - what at that range looked like Ad summer on Red Nab from at least 1600hrs, then on the outfall from about 1730hrs. There should be some decent flight pics later [Mike Watson & Breaks family websites via the links when they have time to upload them] . It drifted into the Bay about 1745hrs and there was no further sign by 2030 at least.
Med Gull - 2nd S->3rd W, also Ad W later
Little Gull - 2 x 1st S->2nd W, 1 x 2ndS->Ad W
Little Egret - one Red Nab c1630 for ten minutes or so
Sandwich Tern - 2
Whimbrel - 2

Barred Rivulet (2), Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (2) and Pebble Hook-tip led a reasonably varied catch

10 Crossbill (have to use 'spp', especially given recent events up north) south over Sunderland Point into the Fylde! Two Garganey on Aldcliffe Pools.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Hummingbird Hawk-moth tops the bill

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Stage 2 outfall/Red Nab incoming tide
Med Gull - No sign of darvic-ringed bird - just one 2nd S->3rd W
Little Gull - 1st S->2nd W outfall
Wheatear - 3 even in late afternoon

Impression of small numbers of Willow Warbler early morning but too windy for ringing & no proper census

3 Red Admiral but just 2 Peacock on office buddliea

An autumnal feel about the catch with significant numbers of a reduced number of species and Sallow & Flounced Rustic making their first appearance. Humming-bird Hawk Moth in Heysham village within the recording area (per Malcolm)

Chough Warton Crag quarry in the morning - quite a few coastal Wheatear suggesting that there might have been quite a movement of other less obvious migrant landbirds

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Quality pond life and a new plant

Autumn Gentian at Heysham Power Stations - Reuben Neville

Heysham Obs
Some extremely skilful stone-throwing by a gang of three moved some awkward-angle gulls in a heat haze on Red Nab right in front of the telescope but unfortunately a darvic-ringed 1st summer moulting to 2nd W Med eluded reading as I had left the digicam in the office!!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab incoming tide mid-afternoon
Med Gull - 2nd S->3rd (Ad) W, adult winter and 1st S->2nd W. Please be VERY careful ageing Meds at this time of year, especially at rest. You need to pay special attention to the unmoulted flight feathers c/f non-adults. The 1st S was identical to the one on the Lune (hardly a long flight away) yesterday and indeed headed inland in that direction over OE caravan site as the tide came in. It appeared to have 4 characters on a white darvic on the right leg. Hopefully we can clinch this moulting bird before it moves on.
Sanderling - 2 (accompanied by 6 Dunlin and 16 tundrae Ringed Plover)
Little Gull - a non-adult on Stage 2 outfall (too heat hazy to age from OE but prob 1st S->2nd W).
Whimbrel - 2
Sandwich Tern - one

Middleton IE
Single Tufted Duck and 10 Little Grebe

12 Wall Brown on Middleton. Unfortunately none on the reserve but a good number of butterflies included: 7 Gatekeeper, 9 Small Copper, 6 Peacock, 4 Comma, 5 Red Admiral, 6 Holly Blue, 22 Common Blue. A good moth catch included 2 Barred Rivulet and 3 Silver Y.

The first Autumn Gentian for the area were found today on bare ground with no public access

Chough seen this afternoon in Warton Crag quarry and belated news of a Wood Sandpiper down the main dyke at Leighton Moss. No apparent increase in the island mere Little Egret roost (20+)

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Not a lot apart from ants

Heysham Obs
Another late afternoon dose of flying ants concentrated gulls over the reserve etc. and produced an adult Med. Gull during a brief check.

Lunchtime check from OE foreshore with the tide well out produced:
Whimbrel - 1
Little Gull - 2nd S->ad W

The trap produced the first Copper Underwing of the year with 7 Ruby Tiger being a good count for here. A worn Silver Y was the only migrant

Amazingly some warm and sunny weather (again unforecasted) produced the first two non-Large White this year on the now profuse buddliea outside the office - a single Peacock and Red Admiral!!

Lunchtime check of Sunderland produced the usual adult Yellow-legged Gull in its usual lowish-tide location just upstream from the 'football buoy' as viewed from the tidal road. 6 Crossbill SW over Caton Moor this morning. Colour-ringed 1st S->2nd W Med Gull on Lune by the 'bluethroat site' at the south end of Aldcliffe [seemingly white darvic with black letters = NW mainland Europe]. Unringed moulting adult Med Gull by Morecambe Stone jetty [& Sandwich Tern]

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


Heysham Obs
The 'highlight' so far of a day producing far earlier than forecasted rain was two flocks of Canada Geese comprising 14 & 27 which flew east over the Obs recording area early morning

Ringing produced a juvenile Reed Warbler at Middleton and a welcome family of four Bullfinch at Heysham NR

Vis comprised c10 Swift, 15 Swallow and c8 Meadow Pipit SE

A quick lunchtime visit to coastal sites saw a Wheatear on the heliport, 2nd S->ad W Med Gull on the north wall and 1st S->2nd W Little Gull on the sea off Ocean Edge. Very few gulls Red Nab area but late in the tide cycle.

A good catch included the following new species for the year: Ypsolopha scabrella, Phoenix, Canary-shouldered Thorn. Two Silver Y were the only migrants.

Ad Med
in fields ast Cockersands & a few other coastal Wheatear. 28 Little Egret in the Leighton roost.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Good butterfly day

Heysham Obs
Red Nab/Ocean Edge/Stage 2 outfall incoming tide
Med Gull - small adult
Little Gull - 2 x 1st S->2nd W, one 2nd S->ad W
Common Gull - juv

Heysham NR butterflies
Brimstone - c6. Gatekeeper - 5+. Holly Blue - good numbers around at the moment. Grayling - 2 on the non-operational land in a quick search. Red Admiral - 3. Painted Lady - 1.

3 Bordered Beauty.

Nothing on LDBWS site but no pager batteries!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

High spring tide and some decent late afternoon insects

Heysham Obs
More jetskis than birds by late morning, but earlier sightings as follows (thanks Mark, John and Colin x 2):

Stage 2 outfall
Med Gull - juvenile giving good comparison with juv Common Gull
Little Gull - two 1st S ->2nd W , one 2nd S->Ad W

Red Nab pre-tide
Whimbrel - one
Med Gull - 2 ads, one the Czech bird

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2nd S->3rd W to bread

Highlighted by at least one Wall Brown in the NE of the nature reserve, a rare insect here these days. Grayling on the track to the container by the office. Also single Gatekeeper Middleton IE & 3+ on HN reserve. An unspecified number of Red Admiral & Peacock - probably just one-two of each?
Bordered Beauty, Nutmeg, Dark Sword Grass in the moth trap.
Still no Ruddy Darter sightings this year. 4 male and one female Migrant Hawker on the reserve along with 2 male Common Hawker for comparison. 3 Brown Hawker on the reserve. A few Emperor on Middleton IE.

Wood Sandpiper Allen Pool but mobile and disappeared early afternoon. Sanderling & 1,200ish Dunlin on Lune at Sunderland. Ad Yellow-legged Gull & somewhat contentious 3CY large gull together at high tide off Glasson

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Ploughing through the gulls (again)

Heysham Obs
Apologies to G Morgan & R Carter for late entries - the sheet of paper left in the letterbox only just passed on to me due to warden being on holiday.

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/Stage 2 outfall
A bit disappointing given the optimum stage of the incoming tide & onshore wind
Little Gull - just the 2nd S moulting to adult seen
Med. Gull - 2 winter adult (possibly 2nd S ->3rd W having now lost all the old primaries??) and one juvenile
Common Gull - one juvenile
Whimbrel - one
Common Sandpiper - one
Wheatear - 2 at 1800hrs
Nothing stirring offshore in 20 mins

North harbour wall
Med Gull - adult (Czech-ringed) and juv - very mobile
Wheatear - one heliport
Whimbrel - one
Nothing stirring offshore in a further 20 minutes

5 Large White on the office buddliea is a lot for here - no other butterflies, as has been the case all week

Perhaps related to the above, was the first real sign of any proper migrant activity since 2006 - one Diamond-backed Moth, 2 Dark Sword Grass and 3 Silver Y out of a catch which was poor in numbers (c75) but also included the first Six-striped Rustic and Orange Swift of the year

Ad Yellow-legged Gull Glasson but 'nothing' with small waders i.e. c750 Dunlin. Later 1,100 Dunlin gone through at Sunderland, either on mudflats or at the sides of the main channel & they included a moulting adult Sanderling and Knot. Dark Sword Grass in High Tatham moth trap

Friday, 1 August 2008

Juvenile Common & Med Gull

Heysham Obs
Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore mid-am pre-high tide
Med Gull - 2 adult and one juvenile (possibly two)
Common Gull - 2 early juveniles
Little Gull - 2 1st S moulting to 2nd W
Whimbrel - 3
Little Egret - 1 flew out of Ocean Edge saltmarsh channel and headed south

Outfalls and north harbour wall late afternoon
Med Gull - juv on the sands by the outfalls then two more juvs in the channel off the NHW accompanying the Czech-ringed adult - one of these appeared to be darvic-ringed on a very brief silhouetted view of dangling legs. One 3rd W Med Gull also along the north wall on its own.
Common Gull - one juv on Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - 1st S moulting to 2nd W Stage 2 outfall

The first Olive of the year

Ad Med MHS playing school field. Nothing new of interest on the Lune Estuary on either side (c/f White-rumped Sandpiper on Wyre)