Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Afternoon dropping tide produces the goods

Heysham Obs
In contrast to the last few weeks, the only conscious passerine observation involved a few wind-blown Pied Wagtail. Seabirds were the order of the day and we're long enough in the tooth to know not to bother with spray-filled high tide periods but to check for Leach's Petrels on the dropping tide. It worked, with a close Grey Phalarope as a significant bonus

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
No obvious (!) sign of Brents
No sign Little Stint
Little Gull - Ad & 2nd W outfalls

North wall seabirds
Grey Phalarope - one "ambled" past very close inshore at 1527 but was lost below the seawall and couldnt be relocated in conditions which were difficult when facing into the wind . It could easily be along the outfalls as it didnt appear to remain in the harbour mouth area. Head and wing patterns clearly seen and the mantle was uniform pale grey (two observers). A combination of the features noted by both observers suggested a 1st W.
Leach's Petrel - singles flew out, all at about 300-350m, at 1340, 1447, 1458, 1524 and 1705 (the period 1600-1700 was not covered as far as we know). The first two and fourth bird were definitely juveniles, the other two less certainly so.
Manx Shearwater - one out, then back in ahead of a squall at 1540
Fulmar - one distant
Skua spp. - one chunky-looking dark bird, probably a juv Pomarine, out at about 1115hrs. One wheeling in very rapidly and distantly at 1440 looked more like a juvenile Arctic.
Little Gull - 3 adults out together
Shelduck - 38 out
Pintail - 7 out
Red-throated Diver - one out - first of autumn
Arctic Tern - juvenile out close inshore late pm after a distant 'commic' had headed in late morning

Shag - 6+ on wooden jetty, but too windy to check properly
Med Gull - 2 adults, one 2nd W and one 1st W
Guillemot - 1st W

Late record : Honey Buzzard south over the Salter Fell track at c1330hrs Sunday 21st Sept.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Two new BTO challenge birds on Red Nab

If you thought the Hobby was bad.....the Brents were getting buffeted around and disappeared (c1220hrs) before I had time to really go for the quality shots

Heysham Obs
Wednesday afternoon looks promising for Leach's Petrel from the north harbour wall, but it all depends on the shape of and track of the depression and I'm not 100% confident its going to do as forecasted. Should be clearer tomorrow pm. The weather should also spice things up on the outfalls (perhaps even Heysham One - Shhhh!)

Red Nab/outfalls
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - two juveniles to 1220hrs, then disappeared as the camera was being set up (see above for 'click and hope')!
Little Stint - Juv flushed by Peregrine from OE mudflats, landed briefly on Red Nab before being flushed again (with c45 Dunlin). Returned to the mudflats off OE after the tide and showed well there with Dunlin & Ringed Plover [but camera left in office]. This is by no means a regular species here
Little Gull - ad & 2nd W

North harbour wall/wooden jetty
Shag - Difficult to keep the scope still and birds (=& Cormorants) were obscuring each other, but at least 6 juvs
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult located along with a 2nd W reported by a visiting birding group.

Vis mig 0700-0830
Cold and windy (WWNW 4, increasing 5 at times)
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Pink-footed Goose - one skein of 75 S
Meadow Pipit - 8 SE
alba Wagtail - 9 SE
Chaffinch - 13 S/SW
Greenfinch - 11 S/SW
Knot - 250 S
Coal Tit - 3 S

Grounded around the office
Chiffchaff - the usual off-passage bird plus one other
Goldcrest - 3
Song Thrush - 3
Blackbird - one behaving as though it might have been a migrant

At last! One Feathered Ranunculus - normally a regular 'standard fare' species. We have had NO Lunar Underwing this autumn as yet; not so long ago this species peaked at 837 individuals for the autumn, but has obviously crashed out near the north-western edge of its (mainly coastal) "ubiquitous & common" range. A trap has also been run virtually nightly at Sunderland Point and this has also drawn a blank.

Several skeins of Pinkfeet reported on LDBWS site. Otherwise just a single Curlew Sandpiper at the EM Pool and the first (2) Bearded Tits on the Leighton grit trays of note.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

A scattering of migrants & plenty of Pink-feet

Heysham Obs
The last settled day for a bit saw calm conditions following an overnight weak weather front, followed by a light-mod. north-westerly. Quite a reasonable selection of birds but the vis, assuming it was passing over here like Caton Moor (see LDBWS site posting for today), was a little too high to record all but Pink-footed Geese. These were flying south at a height which was above the recording level for the likes of Meadow Pipit.

Willow Warbler - one ringed (Middleton)
Chiffchaff - probably less than 5 (2 ringed)
Goldcrest - c10 (5 ringed)
Reed Warbler - juv ringed (nature reserve)
Blackcap - small influx; one at Middleton & 4 ringed on HNR
Coal Tit - irruptive singletons totalling c10, but no flocks recorded (4 ringed)
Robin - just one unringed bird trapped
Wheatear - an influx with 8 scattered around the coastal sites

Vis mig
Grey Wagtail - c7 (5 colour-ringed)
Meadow Pipit - very few at low level - just 7 SE at Middleton and 3 attracted down to the HNR tape
Pink-footed Goose - 12 flocks totalling about 1,250 birds (dawn to c1000hrs) - mostly heading due south & NOT apparently coming from 'over the bay'.
Linnet - 5 SE
Skylark - 9
Siskin - flock heard & 1 SE

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 3 adult
Shag - up to 4 juveniles on wooden jetty

No sign of the Pec Sand at Leighton Moss during the morning but 2 x Little Stint and 1 x Curlew Sandpiper there. Further (post 1000hrs) Pink-footed Goose movements e.g. Farleton confirming that most of the movement was from the N/NE, not from "across the Bay"

Saturday, 27 September 2008

More Coal Tit & finches starting to take over from Meadow Pipits

Heysham Obs
No ringing this morning (too risky with damaged ankle ligaments), so a lengthy vis mig session by the office plus checking stuff moving through the bushes. Also pretty good coverage around the rest 0f the recording area, though, with a some bits and bobs as seen below. However, the situation on the ground suggested reduced numbers of night migrants compared to the last 2-3 days:

This was located at lunchtime along the north harbour wall and the views suggested female/imm Black Redstart. However it was spooked by two cyclists before full details were obtained and caution was necessary as the bird was slightly silhouetted, therefore perhaps appearing darker than the reality (per Mark Prestwood). Hopefully it will be found tomorrow in the large area of suitable, often private, habitat.

Grounded on reserve/dog walk/Middleton IE
Whitethroat - one Middleton
Chiffchaff - at least 7
Goldcrest - very few - perhaps no more than 5
Song Thush - 7, most flew inland
Redwing - 1, then inland

North harbour wall/harbour area
Shag - FOUR juvs on wooden jetty at high tide.
Med Gull - at least one ad
Linnet - 27 grounded
Guillemot - two floated into Bay & another at high tide
Gannet - one flew out of the bay at high tide
Dunnock - one by Gate 38 was unexpected

Outfalls area
Little Gull - Ad & 2nd W still present

Vis mig, mainly from office but some NHW & Middleton 0730-1030
Jackdaw - flock of 61 south over Middleton - the first of the autumn
Redpoll agg. - 17 SE, mostly early on
alba Wagtail - 87 SE plus at least 100 on OE foreshore/Red Nab early on (at least 6 White Wagtail). One moribund bird NHW, died later.
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Meadow Pipit - just 34 SE, probably including the 20+ grounded early morning on NHW mound.
Chaffinch - 44 S/SW
Linnet - 27 SE
Siskin - 41 SE & at 4 lots of "heard only"
Greenfinch - 28 SW
Goldfinch - 18 S/SW
Coal Tit - 22 south
Dunnock - 1 S
Greylag - 3 low to the S
Skylark - 4 SE

Middleton IE
Tufted Duck (13), Mallard (7), Moorhen (14), Coot (7), Little Grebe (3 plus two small chicks), Mute Swan (2), Snipe (14)

Comma Middleton - one also seen there yesterday. Large and Small White Nature reserve.

Pectoral Sandpiper located on Allen Pool at 1450hrs. Possible Honey Buzzard south over Morecambe. No small calidrids Sunderland side of the Lune on the dropping tide but Ad Med Gull. At Med Gull Broadway

Friday, 26 September 2008

Coal Tit passage

.....well at least they sound a bit like Yellow-browed Warbler. The problem this morning was the available birders/ringers couldnt do everything and what suffered was coastal searching of the nooks and crannies during the optimum early morning. The most noticeable new feature of the day was a movement by Coal Tit, as also recorded by myself on Caton Moor 'vis' duty.

Chiffchaff - quite a few with estimate of 15-20 on British Energy land (5 ringed there plus one at Middleton IE)
Goldcrest - still fewer than might be expected with c10 around (just 3 ringed in what would normally be very good conditions for this species)
Robin - no new birds ringed and no obvious evidence of new individuals
Willow Warbler - one ringed
Snipe - 4 at Middleton with 2 of these ringed!

Vis mig from Middleton IE
Grey Wagtail - at least 7 (3 colour-ringed)
Meadow Pipit - c120 - nowhere near the numbers at Caton Moor (600+ in first 2 hours) as the cross-bay vis was inhibited by poor visibility
alba Wagtail - c20
Linnet - 5
Chaffinch - no perceptible movement
Goldfinch - as above e.g. very few at Middleton
Reed Bunting - c6 SE (3 ringed at Middleton)
Swallow - 2 SE - the first for a few days
Coal Tit - at least 20 SE including a high-flying flock of 6 (4 ringed)

Juv Shag and ad Med Gull Morecambe Stone Jetty. Ad Med Broadway & Spotted Redshank Teal Bay but no evidence of anyone working coastal bushes or copses as yet. Unfortunately the medium-range weather forecast suggests this is last chance saloon for Y.B. Warb or similar.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Obliging Hobby but still a little too clear

A tale of two photographers today. The first (four) photos of todays juv Hobby are cxxp, the fifth was received today from a well-known quality photographer. The Hobby was mobbed by Magpies until it sat near the mist net ride, which Magpies keep away from!

This photograph was taken at Seaforth NR, Crosby, Liverpool on 21/9 and the bird was ringed at Middleton IE on 8/9. I am surprised it was not further south than this. Thanks to Steve Young for both the pic and ringing recovery.

Heysham Obs

The promised fog did not materialise although there was some heavyish cloud out to sea first thing. We got it wrong by not setting nets at the migrant arrival point below the Obs Tower as migrants comprised an early "rush" of mainly Goldcrest and Chiffchaff, followed by very little else as the skies cleared. On the basis of the 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Yellow-browed ratio at Seaforth, we missed one of the latter!


Redstart - female type non-op land
Garden Warbler - 2 eating blackberries in tank farm
Stonechat - male Middleton IE
Blackcap - 1 female with the above
probable Reed Warbler - 1 - only seen briefly on edge of tank farm but looked like (juv) Reed
Goldcrest c13 - seemed to 'melt away' after early morning
Chiffchaff - c23 on thorough search of British Energy land late afternoon
Redwing - 1 south end of tank farm
Robin - a few migrants (2 ringed) but quite a lot of early singing
Song Thrush - c5
HOBBY - 1 juv which sat around for 2.5 hours, initially on the cream store (found by John Girdley), then when harrassed by Magpies it went on to a nearby fence, then moved again & and sat untroubled next to the mist net by the Obs Tower pond for two hours (Magpies dont go near mist nets!). After a lengthy preening session it left this perch about 1015hrs

Heysham Head held a Wheatear, three Chiffchaff, a Whitethroat and at least one Goldcrest.

Unfortunately the mound area and Red Nab bushes were not checked first thing.
Meadow Pipit - just 41 SE
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE (one colour-ringed)
House Sparrow - one high to the west, unseen (I dont think it was a Richard's Pipit!)
alba Wagtail - 10 SE
Skylark - 2 SE

At least 4 Red Admiral south by 1200hrs

Two Little Stint & a Curlew Sandpiper Cockersands. Osprey fishing Pine Lake "about a week ago" (per resident)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Still too clear & windy

Heysham Obs
This is a very disappointing waste of a potentially good weather synopsis as it has been far too clear and windy, but it should change for the better tonight with lighter winds and poorer visibility. Decent searching weather should hold until the weekend

No vis recorded this morning, but three nets were erected for most of the morning and only produced 2 new Robin and 2 new Goldcrest of overnight migrant interest. A small scale Meadow Pipit passage seemed to involve no more than 70 or so birds in the first two-three hours of the day

North harbour wall/outfalls at low tide
Med Gull - single adults 'both sides'
Shag - just one juv on wooden jetty (& only 2 Cormorants) but no sign of any other Shag in harbour - where are they feeding??

3 Crossbill SE over Caton Moor at 0755hrs. 3rd W YL Gull Glasson & juv Curlew Sandpiper Cockersands

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Early morning blues

Heysham Obs
Twisted my ankle, one of just three birds trapped escaped prior to ringing, the Meadow Pipit/Grey Wag tape machine wouldnt work, freezing cold (3 C on the car temperature guage 0615hrs), too clear, failed to satisfactorily identify an interesting calling fly-over. Apart from that, the vis was not too bad.

Vis by the office 0700-0930hrs
Grey Wagtail - 5 SE
Meadow Pipit - 415 SE
Chaffinch - 4 S
Linnet 12 S
Reed Bunting - 2 S
Redpoll spp - 2 SE
Cormorant - one high to the SE
alba Wagtail - 20 SE
mystery bird = a pipit giving rather clipped consistent disyllabic calls 12 times, recalling a cross between Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail call. Couldnt work out which bird of 5 (rest Meadow Pipit) at just above electricity pylon height. It was absolutely definitely one of this group of pipits, not a proximate alba Wagtail etc. - these were the only birds going over in this area of the sky at the time. Interesting.

Robin - quite a few first thing with no Robins starting to sing until about 0900hrs, but lots of ticking and chasing. c15 migrants around the office?
Goldcrest - about 5 round the office
Chiffchaff - 2 passed through quickly & presumably the same off-passage bird seen regularly
Jay - one blogging - difficult to work out status at present as they appear to breed locally

[Juv Stilt Sandpiper about an hour away at Campfield Marsh N Cumbria - 2nd day]

Monday, 22 September 2008

Routine morning, not so routine afternoon on the wooden jetty

Heysham Obs
Re-'Comments'. Partly as a response to feedback, this is a factual, informative site, not one devoted to comments and opinions. Therefore, whilst thanking people who make contact via the 'comments' option - I tend to treat them as alternative private e-mails and dont 'open them' to the worldwideweb! Please therefore could you e-mail me privately, Colin, about the link to your site. I was in a rush this afternoon playing 'catch-up' with several postings from the last few days and forgot that the 'comments' were not generally available. I'll put your site on the Links list if you wish. Thanks.

Unprecedented influx in calm weather
There were 11 juvenile Shag (with the possibility of some more being out of sight behind the favoured 'tower') on Heysham wooden jetty on this evening's high tide. ALL previous influxes have been later in the autumn than this during howling gales and the only other influx even remotely reaching double-figures was two years ago during a very stormy late autumn (e.g. Leach's 'wreck'). There were also 67 Cormorant - a site record. Any anglers/fishermen offer an explanation as the last conversation I had with any of the north harbour wall crowd was about the "complete lack of fish"?.

Early morning coverage
A bit windy for mist netting and the one sheltered net produced an astounding single Chiffchaff and Greenfinch. The vis was reasonable for the first hour, then died a death after about 0845hrs. Nothing special, but the first hint of autumnal Greenfinch movement plus what were probably the first lot of Pinks for here (see below!). Almost all the vis was from across the Bay and, given the NE wind, it is pretty certain that a lot more stuff was passing through south of the Power Stations. Quite a few records added for the last few days and more detail of yesterdays dragonflies to come.

Vis from the office 0645-0900
Meadow Pipit - 107 SE
alba Wagtail - 49 SE
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Grey Goose - 40, presumably Pinkfeet, SE across the Bay and south of the Power Station as seen from Caton Moor!!!
Chaffinch - 5S
Goldfinch - 9SE
Siskin - 2SE
Coal Tit - 1S
Skylark - 1SE
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE
Greenfinch - 9 SW
Song Thrush - 4 grounded birds flew separately high inland

Chiffchaff - at least 6 around the office - the ringed bird was a fatless unringed new arrival
Goldcrest - 4+ around the office first thing

Inshore coverage late afternoon
Shag - see above
Med Gull - adult Red Nab, 3 adult and one 1st W north harbour/behind dredger [5 different birds]
Little Egret - one turfed out of Ocean Edge saltmarsh by a disobedient dog called Kenneth, whence it flew to Red Nab
No Little Gulls

1CY female Cetti's Warbler trapped and ringed at Leighton Moss (off the Lower Hide to causeway path). Two juv Curlew Sandpiper Sunderland mudflats. Ad Med off Glasson. Honey Buzzard heading south by Jubilee Tower 1615hrs (record shots)

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Bits and bobs in murky weather

Heysham Obs
Intermittent vis mig coverage due to mist netting activities at Middleton and by the office

7 Chiffchaff ringed after a noticeable lack in yesterdays clear weather
4 Goldcrest ringed
3 Blackcap ringed
2 Common Whitethroat ringed

Vis (mainly Middleton and grossly underrecorded due to ringing)
Grey Wagtail - 4 were ringed and at least another 6 were seen
Common Buzzard - one flew south just to the east of Middleton IE at about 1100hrs - rare here but the third this month
Tree Pipit - 1SE
Swallow - 19 SE
Meadow Pipit - 46 intermittently noted during the morning , then increasing to a further 160 in an hour just after midday
Chaffinch - 6 SW
alba Wagtail - 3 SW
House Martin - 4 SE

Med Gull - 2 x 1st W and 3 x Ad (including Czech-ringed bird) north harbour wall early morning
Kingfisher - one ringed at Middleton

At last a decent day with Colin Adams giving good coverage. More details when I have time. See link under comments but dont bother with the /?bit, it doesnt work! SEVEN species recorded including late Common Hawker, latish Brown Hawker & Common Blue damselfly & a couple of female Black Darter. Thanks Colin.

Dark-morph juv (0745hrs) and adult male (0930hrs) Honey Buzzard flew past Caton Moor vis mig site & perhaps the same over Hala, South Lancaster at 1000hrs (& three others on the fringe of the area over Bowland Knotts late morning (1 & 2)). One mid-afternoon at Brockholes Quarry sums up the known local(ish) records today. Juv Hobby Leighton Moss Lilian's Hide mid-afternoon. Crossbill over the Lune cycle track near Stodday.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

If you sit here long enough, something will happen

Heysham Obs
This was definitely a singing Robin morning with the unwelcome sweet music, a result of nothing to chase and chastise, a feature of the first hour after dawn. Reverted to 'vis'........again hardly anything. The problem was the remains of the weather front were still just to the north and the high cloud meant visibility was also too good. Plus a "nothing" wind direction (vaguely south). Should have gone for the Cretz! However:

Jackdaw - two landed on the pylons at 0900 adding a very difficult species to the BTO challenge list (99.99% of British Energy land records are fly-overs, mainly in autumn)
Common Crossbill - Juvenile came in from the NW, landed on the willow by the Obs. Tower pond for about 3 minutes (0940) before heading south

Grounded included:
Common Whitethroat - 2 late juveniles ringed = about 10% of the annual ringing total for this species which has had a dreadful year
Garden Warbler - one off-passage, fat level 3 bird ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - one seen by the office mid-afternoon (unringed)

Guillemot by the heliport at high tide. At least two Shag on the wooden jetty and three adult Med Gulls along the north harbour wall at high tide. Thanks to Jackie and David for these records

Vis from the office
Bullfinch - not sure what to make of these - 1 high to the SE, then 3 high to the west
Meadow Pipit - 44 SE
Grey Wagtail - 7 SE
alba Wagtail - 9 SE
Linnet - 6 S
Goldfinch - 14 SE
Siskin - 10 SE
Chaffinch - 16 S/SW
Woodpigeon - 3 SE
Swallow - 10 SE
Dunnock - 2 S

Both Lancs pagered Honey Buzzards during the morning have been to the south of here today with one over Carleton early am and one over Brockholes just prior to midday. Adult Honey Buzzard joined 5 Common Buzzard in a thermal over Lancaster at 1.35pm before heading south and another 'dark morph' was seen in the Trough near Sykes. Just outside the LDBWS area is a Black-necked Grebe on Barnacre reservoir. Nothing from the hides at Leighton Moss other than a Curlew Sandpiper on the EM Pool and just 15 Little Egret in the roost. Aerial raptor searches there suggested 8 different Common Buzzard.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Unhelpful weather but not totally dead

Heysham Obs
A little blip in the anticipated "easterlies for the foreseeable future" as a weak weather front produces F2ish west-south-west!

North harbour wall late afternoon
Sorry for the late posting here:
Shag - a very surprising minimum of 4, probably 5 juvs on the wooden jetty at high tide. This is the first major influx which has not been a result of onshore strong winds and is perhaps related to low double-figures recorded in the Walney area recently.
Med Gull - THREE adults sat in a line on the railings near some anglers at high tide. Two of these were known 3CY and had noticeably darker blackish-red legs than the 6CY Czech-ringed bird

Shag - juv feeding in channel off NH wall
Little Gull - ad & 2nd W on mudflats by H 2 outfall
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh creek
Med Gull - ad near LGs

Middleton IE
Tufted Duck (12) & Snipe (3)

Willow Warbler - 1
Garden Warbler - 1
Wheatear - 2
Chiffchaff - 3-4 around office, one of which was brown & giving high pitched quite piercing calls (but not 'soft' like Bullfinch). Presumably abietinus
Goldcrest - 2-3
Raven - singleton blogging [no more posts of this sp. unless obvious movement]

Vis mig intermittent 0700-0930
Meadow Pipit - 54 SE
alba Wagtail - 38 SE
Linnet - 27 SE
Siskin - 2W
Reed Bunting - 2 SE (1 grounded for a bit)
Chaffinch - 38 S/SW
Goldfinch - 20 S & several blogging
Swallow - 27 S
House Martin - 2 S
Tree Pipit - 1 SE
House Sparrow - 1 grounded for a very short time before heading south
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE (one colour-ringed)

Honey Buzzard Birkbank, then south at 1110hrs - no further details yet on morph etc.. 6 Curlew Sandpiper EM Pools.

It's the vismig season. Compare sites by visiting the Vismig link and Dave's vismig site.
Hone your bird counting skills - visit the counting game link opposite.

Chiffchaff fall and late Yellow Wagtail

Heysham Obs
A bit like the old days without the fitness level for me today. Pre-dawn mist net setting (just two), a Grey Wagtail tape, and then concentration on 'vis' between mist net rounds. This was a short session due to work committments (dawn-0900hrs)

Chiffchaff - good numbers with at least 20 passing through the bushes within view of the NR office (4 ringed)
Goldcrest - just 2 (one ringed)
Robin - a lot of ticking birds first thing but just one ringed
Blackcap - thin on the ground this autumn so far, so a single low weight/low fat bird ringed was actually notable!
Kingfisher - one heading for the Obs Tower Pond at some unearthly hour (hence forgetting about it)

Vis mig
Yellow Wagtail - one quite low to the SSW at 0750hrs - sounded like flavissima
House Sparrow - one heard but not seen very high in sky heading south at 0840
Chaffinch - 42 SW
Meadow Pipit - just 152, mainly SE
Grey Wagtail - 4 S/SE (2 colour-ringed)
Siskin - 12 S/SE
alba Wagtail 19 SE
Redpoll agg. 1 S
Linnet - 6 S
Greenfinch - 1 S
Goldfinch - 71 S
Swallow - 18 S/SE
Mistle Thrush - 11 E
Raven - 2 E & 1 NW (not sure what the status of these was)

Nothing yet but keep your eyes on the sky as plenty of Honey Buzzards on pager, albeit all but one east of the Pennines [Red-backed Shrike still Rossall]. Black-necked Grebe Conder Pool. Lesser Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher Freeman's Wood

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Crossbills head a varied vis mig

Heysham Obs
Intermittent vis from 0715-1100
Meadow Pipit - 672 mainly NE-SSW early on then, when it cleared over the Bay, most were on the usual NW-SE heading. Another 300 or so probably missed, assuming regular passage throughout
Siskin - 114 SE
Tree Pipit - 1 SE
Mistle Thrush - 47 high to the east with a further 9 SSW later
Song Thrush - 2 high inland
Chaffinch - 16 S
Goldfinch - just 8 S
Skylark - 3 SE
Starling - 26 S
Woodpigeon - 11 high to the south
Linnet - 6 S
Reed Bunting - 3 S
Sand Martin - 1 S
Swallow - 40 S
alba Wagtail - just 6 SE
Grey Wagtail - only 5 SE (none ringed)
CROSSBILL - 2 SE quite low at 0942hrs
HOUSE SPARROW - flock of 5 high to the SW at 1000hrs
House Martin - 7 SE
Collared Dove - 4 S
Coal Tit - 2 were ringed; almost certainly passing through

Willow Warbler (1), Chiffchaff (c5), Robin - 'several', RAVEN - flock of three then later a singleton which landed on a pylon (qualifying for the BTO/Business challege). A Treecreeper was trapped below the Obs Tower which had been ringed in that area on 22/8. No Wheatear on a very late coastal search.

Meadow Pipit (36), Robin (3 & one escapee!), Willow Warbler (1), Goldcrest (1), Chiffchaff (2), Coal Tit (2), Blue Tit (1), Great Tit (1), plus retrap Treecreeper & Blue Tit.

Little Gull - 2nd W Stage 2 outfall

Middleton IE
Newly-hatched Little Grebe - late breeding is the norm at this site

For the first time I can remember, plagued by mosquitoes whilst sat by the NR office entrance - miles from any water. A couple of Silver Y in the moth trap but, as elsewhere in North Lancs, the autumnal noctuids are very slow to appear wih no Lunar Underwing or Feathered Ranunculus yet. Meadow Brown and Small White by NR office

Dark-morph juvenile HONEY BUZZARD south over Lancaster University at 0740hrs. 3 x Curlew Sandpiper Allen/EM Pools. Juv Black-necked Grebe still Conder Pool

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Weather front in the wrong place again

......blocking stuff from the east

Shag and Carrion Crow have a bit of a run-in on the picturesque wooden jetty. Photo by Mike Watson. This is the ringed bird but we have not been able to get anywhere near it to read the number

Heysham Obs
Vis mig intermittently 0800-1000
Meadow Pipit - 105 SW
Siskin - 1 SE
alba Wagtail - 11 SE
Chaffinch - 10 S
Snipe - 1 SW

Collared Dove - 1 SE

Grounded/off passage
Mistle Thrush - 11
Chiffchaff - 3
Whitethroat - 1
Goldcrest 1!!
Robin - in excess of 20 migrants, including 3 on north harbour wall
Linnet - 38 OE football pitch
Pied Wagtail - 17 OE foreshore (no White)

Med Gull - 2 ads around harbour mouth
Shag - one on wooden jetty
Little Gull - 2nd W stage 2 outfall
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh creek

Osprey Conder Green area & Black-necked grebe still on Conder Pool. Unstreaked acro, probably Reed Warbler, Stone Jetty bushes. 320 Meadow Pipit south at High Tatham 0700-0730hrs

Monday, 15 September 2008

Cloud too far to the east at dawn?

Heysham Obs
**The sand works is back in operation at the end of the north harbour wall after several weeks, if not months, of inaction. Please make sure that your parking neither blocks any of the gates nor prevents lorry access. Thanks

This was a poor morning with relatively little happening during dawn to c0930 coverage. A few bits on the WeBS.

Vis mig
Grey Wagtail - 3 (2 colour-ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 37
Swallow - 26
Chaffinch - 5
alba Wagtail - 3

White Wagtail - 2 Ocean Edge football pitch (& 16 Pied)
Linnet - flock of 41 OE
Wheatear - 5
Chiffchaff - just 3 left on reserve
Goldcrest - 10
Sedge Warbler - one ringed by the office - getting a bit late for here

Wooden jetty/harbour
Shag - 2 juveniles
Med Gull - three adults following dredger

Outfalls/Ocean Edge
Little Gull - one ad-type
Mute Swan - 2 counting for the BTO/Business challenge

The 2008 Scottish-born Honey Buzzard with a radio transmitter roosted overnight [almost certainly Sat/Sun as opposed to Sun/Mon] in a deciduous wood between Nook and Lupton along the A65 = in the LDBWS area. Black-necked Grebe still Conder Pool. The ex-36W Ad Med Gull in the Broadway area

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Honey Buzzard and Redwing unexpected highlights

Heysham Obs

In the early afternoon, a Honey Buzzard was located by Dan Haywood off Ocean Edge caravan park and was watched heading south towards a point between Fluke Hall and Fleetwood. So other observers stood a chance of interception, it was phoned out to RBA immediately as a 'probable' and the identification was a few seconds later confirmed with 'scope views by myself. The subsequent reaction suggests that, even if there is a small delay, you dont phone out 'probables' but wait until the i.d. is confirmed!!!

Shag - 2 still wooden jetty
Little Gull - 2nd W

Med Gull - two adults

Vis mig - almost all birds heading SE
Siskin - 23
Tree Pipit - 2
Meadow Pipit - 248
Skylark - 1
Swallow - 258
House Martin - 5
Chaffinch - 20
House Sparrow - 6 (4+2)
Grey Wagtail - 25
alba Wagtail - 6
Common Buzzard - one south 1050hrs, one south c1300hrs - rare here
Sparrowhawk - one in-off then south
Coal Tit - flock of 5 south

Collared Dove - 2
Linnet - 1

Mistle Thrush - 27 but probably off-passage

Whitethroat - 1
Chiffchaff - 15-20
Goldcrest - 9
Willow Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Robin - fewer than in recent days with a lot of singing birds, indicating lack of competition from migrants
Redwing - one
Wheatear - 6
Jay - 4+ 1 - the group of 4 was 'new in' but no definite evidence they were moving through

Nets at Middleton & Heysham produced: Grey Wagtail (13), Goldfinch (2), Swallow (2), Blue Tit (2), Reed Bunting (2), Willow Warbler (1), Chiffchaff (4), Wren (1), Robin (1), Reed Warbler (1)

Middleton afternoon

Gadwall - 1, Swallow at 40/hr south, 1 Snipe, 9 Tufted Duck

Red-line Quaker new for the year & rather early

Small southerly movement of Red Admiral - c16

Juv Hobby seen well for c20minutes around Botton Mill/Thrushgill. Osprey south along the Lune late afternoon, earlier ringtail Hen Harrier over Sunderland/Cockersands fields. Five Buzzard of unknown origin over Bare in the morning. 44 Little Egret roosting at Leighton Moss

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Lots of coverage, poor return

Heysham Obs
The weather was not very helpful today with the wrong decision made re-ringing at Middleton in a niggling wind instead of the sheltered Heysham NR. Remnants of a north-bound weather front with a westerly airflow inhibited any cross-Bay vis, especially Meadow Pipit which all seem to be going down the east coast!

Middleton IE
Grey Wagtail - about 9 birds seen but only one ringed in windy conditions
Meadow Pipit - 6 SE
Swallow - 24 SE
Tufted Duck - 14
Little Grebe - just one left?
Ringing: 2 Chiffchaff, one Sedge Warbler (first for a bit), one Blackcap, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, 10 Long-tailed Tit

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls/wooden jetty
Kingfisher - the highlight was the first coastal one of the autumn on Red Nab
Black Tern - negative
Little Gull - one adult & one 2nd W
Med Gull - two adult
Shag - juv on wooden jetty
Sandwich Tern - 5-6 Red Nab
Little Egret - one in OE saltmarsh channel

Moth trap
15 Silver Y and the second ever (and second this year) Spruce Carpet!

Juv Black-necked Grebe Conder Pool. Otherwise deadish in this area.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Autumnal vis & flighty Vestal

This 1st W Grey Wagtail was photographed by Reuben Neville and shows that the black ring (left leg lower ring) is quite difficult to see. There are quite a few of the sequences which have the black ring as the lower of the two. See column to the right for comment on this.

Heysham Obs
Outfalls/Ocean Edge - quick lunchtime check on dropping tide
Black Tern - juv still on S 2 outfall
Little Gull - ad as above
Wheatear - one
Linnet - 37
Vis mig - not a lot as observed mainly from Middleton
Grey Wagtail - 13 SE (8 of these colour-ringed)
Meadow Pipit - just 25 SE
Swallow - just 5 SE
Siskin - 2 SE
Skylark - 1 SE
Coal Tit - hyperactive bird by the office
Garden Warbler - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - probably about 10 around
Goldcrest - 2
Coal Tit one hyperactive bird by the NR office

A VESTAL was on the window frame & allowed identification before disappearing out of the window

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A milestone reached at last

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge foreshore/Red Nab/outfalls 0800-0900
Little Egret - TWO in the OE saltmarsh creek - fighting over territory - the first time more than one has been recorded here!!!
Black Tern - juv still outfalls/Red Nab - still there 1820hrs
Little Gull - Ad W - & Ad & 2nd W there 1820hrs
Meadow Pipit - 36 SE
alba Wagtail - 3 SE but only 3 on the grass= Pied - early evening saw c40 pre-roost wagtails which included 2 definite White
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Swallow - 5 SE
Shelduck - 135 off OE - a notable increase

No Meds or additional Little Gulls in careful search & 15 minutes scrutinising the horizon did not produce hundreds of Manx Shearwater (see Walney site) but one Lesser Black-backed Gull

Nothing posted of interest other than 1st W Med Gull at Morecambe Stone Jetty & late Swift at Leighton Moss

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Jamming in on passage birds

Heysham Obs
Seawatching in autumn, unless there have been a few days of gale-force SW/W winds producing Leach's Petrels, can be like watching paint dry. For the systematic one hour early morning coverage Walney give the open sea coast, read cursory glances at a time usually stretching the definition of early morning.
For no apparent reason other than a bit of luck, a Great Skua was connected with this morning.

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge/checking the sea/listening for vis 0730-0815
Great Skua - one flew out of the Bay at 0755
Common Scoter - flock (3M) out at 0745
Sandwich Tern - one out
Black Tern - juv roosting on Red Nab
Little Gull - Ad & 2nd W roosting on Red Nab
White Wagtail - 5 on Ocean Edge football pitch (& 22 Pied)
Meadow Pipit - 42 SE in the above time period, 37 SE 1145-1215
alba Wagtail - 5 SE
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Swallow - 43 SE 1145-1215

North harbour wall/wooden jetty
Shag - one juv but a lot of the Cormorants had already left on the dropping tide
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult

Black-necked Grebe Conder Pool and Ad Yellow-legged Gull visible from Sunderland tidal road. Two experienced observers failed to find any Meds watching the Lune from Glasson. Female Marsh Harrier at various sites Cockersands to Fluke Hall.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

New Black Tern

Heysham Obs
Rain a little earlier than forecasted yet again!

Black Tern - a new juv; quite 'contrasty' with a pale rump - still there in torrential rain late afternoon
Little Gull - adult & 2nd W

Grounded OE foreshore
White Wagtail - one adult male
Meadow Pipit - 10
Wheatear - 1

Vis before the (first lot of) rain
Singles of Mead0w Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail.

Black-necked Grebe still Conder Pool. Juv Marsh Harrier Leighton Moss

Monday, 8 September 2008

Again a little disappointing

Heysham Obs
Considering this is THE decent day of the week for ringing activities and vis mig, following a clearish (perhaps too clear) night, there was relatively little happening, especially first thing. Middleton and Heysham were both mistnetted

Vis mig
Grey Wagtail - at least 18 mainly SE (8 colour-ringed - should have been more)
Meadow Pipit - c10 SE
Tree Pipit - 1 SE
Swallow - 20 SE
House Martin - 2 SE
Jackdaw - one heard (perhaps one of the small Middleton village population)

Just single figures of Willow Warbler, Robin, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. An unringed adult Lesser Whitethroat of unknown status ringed at Middleton. No coastal morning coverage for Wheatear. One Chiffchaff took about an hour to travel from the Heysham mist nets to those at Middleton!

100+ Goldfinch between Heysham NR and Middleton (8 ringed)

Nothing yet

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A bit disappointing

Heysham Obs
Nothing mind-boggling this morning with the weather being very uncooperative as any large-scale ringing was negated by a strong early morning wind which abated rather too late. Given the windy conditions, a 'whoosh' net was used for the Grey Wagtail colour-ringing project and this resulted in one bird too many i.e. it was sat on the metal pole or elastic whilst the other 7 were in perfect position. You cannot fire the net under these circumstances and only two remained when it was safe to do so.

Little Gull - Ad & 2 x 2nd W (one looks like an ad but we know differently from its moult history!)
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult
Common Tern - juv

Spotted Flycatcher - one in the sycamore near Gate 38
Wheatear - 13 along coast/non-op land
Tree Pipit - 1 over Middleton IE & 1 grounded at Heysham Nature reserve
Grey Wagtail - 8 down to tape for a short time (2 ringed) and 5 later SE
Chiffchaff - 11 scattered around (including 5 with Middleton LTT flock, 2 by the Moneyclose Lane traffic lights)
Whitethroat - one by office pm
Lesser Whitethroat - one
Robin - 'lots' - including 6 on the rocks at Red Nab
Goldcrest - just 1!
Meadow Pipit - 17 SE
Swallow - c20 SE
Goldfinch - flock of 83 at Red Nab
Linnet - 8
Eider - 2 off NHW

Black-necked Grebe Conder Pool. 6 adult & 1 2nd W Med Gulls on nearby Lune Estuary, one Ad on Conder Pool & another by Greyhound Bridge, Lancaster. Ad Yellow-legged Gull & Ruff Lune Estuary. Little Egret over Asda early morning.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

North-easterly blast

Thanks for the comments - the site will stay as it is!

A Lapwing ringed as a chick on the Power Station non-operational land in May 2000 was read in the field on the mudflats near Sunderland village in autumn 2006. It was there again today.

Heysham Obs
Grounded = circuit of reserve & OE area & NH wall
Wheatear - 11
Chiffchaff - 6+
Goldcrest - 4
Robin - loads of ticking birds - 30+

Outfalls/OE area
Med Gull - juv->1st W & later on an ad
Little Gull - Ad & 2nd W
alba Wagtail - 41 Ocean Edge (wet) coastal grassy area - 5 definite White, rest appeared to be Pied apart from two difficult birds.
House Martin - c30 feeding in Red Nab area

Inshore north wall/wooden jetty
Eider - 1
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult
Shag - 2 juvs on wooden jetty as tide was coming in mid-pm - one of these was attacked by an already settled (as opposed to newly arrived & 'muscling into space') Cormorant - not seen this before - & flew into harbour . This bird is ringed on the right leg if anyone gets a chance with it on the stanchions in the waterfall area of the harbour...... The last three numbers should suffice for a juv.

Middleton IE
Willow Warbler
Tufted Duck - 7

Not a lot
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
Swallow - 4 SE

Juv Black-necked Grebe still Conder Pool & 6+ Green Sandpiper still Aldlciffe area. 4-5 adult and one 2nd W Med Gulls in Lune Estuary roost as viewed from Waterloo Cottage area, also 2nd W Stodday area. Ad Yellow-legged Gull still present in neap high tide roost. Up to 100 off-passage Sand Martin at each of: Aldcliffe pools, Dockacres complex/Hare Tarn and Warton floods - late for such numbers - feeding close to water surface at all sites [with other hirundines].

Friday, 5 September 2008

Perhaps not as much as there should have been

Heysham Obs
Half decent conditions for passerines this morning but the rain was perhaps a little too early. No incoming tide watches, therefore no Shag records or completely ruling out Black Tern has moved on

Redstart - female type Red Nab
Wheatear - 8 mound/Ocean Edge/non-op land
Tree Pipit - 2 grounded on reserve & another flew E
Meadow Pipit - a small pulse of south-east-bound birds just prior to the main rain totalling 56 in 5 groups (max 27)
White Wagtail - 3 'in-off' & joined the Pieds (26) on Ocean Edge. One alba SE over reserve
Swallow - 4 NE
Robin - influx with many ticking birds scattered around (8+ on reserve circuit)
Willow Warbler - 1 reserve circuit
Chiffchaff - 2 reserve circuit, 3+ dog track
Goldcrest - 2 reserve circuit, 4+ dog track
Sandwich Tern - 2 'in'

Little Gull - Ad & 2nd W on mud by Stage 2 outfall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult NH wall & 1st W seaward end of Stage 2 outfall
Eider - female harbour mouth

SEVEN Green Sandpiper Aldcliffe area. Egyptian Goose Warton floods. Little Tern and double-figures of Sandwich Tern off Stone Jetty. NNEW Black-necked Grebe Conder Pool

Thursday, 4 September 2008

wet and wetter morning

Heysham Obs
Never seen the grassy area on Ocean Edge 'seafront' as wet, even in midwinter. Thanks to Bob & Joyce Calder for a fair chunk of these records

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Black Tern - juv present at least lunchtime, then headed south and had not obviously returned by 1600hrs
Little Gull - Ad & 2 x 2nd W
Sandwich Tern - one

At least 12 between Ocean Edge saltmarsh and Half-Moon Bay with another 4 on the PS non-operational land

Wooden jetty/north wall/heliport
Juv Shag with metal ring on right leg flew on to jetty from north about 1200hrs (see elsewhere). Later TWO birds.
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult and juv->1st W late afternoon (photo on LDBWS site)
Common Sandpiper - 1 - late for here
Sandwich Tern - 1

Middleton IE
Wet! 5 Tufted Duck but no Teal in this season of plenty as regards waterbodies

TWO juvenile Shag together by Morecambe Stone Jetty c1300hrs, also 9 Sandwich Tern & migrant Reed Warbler in the dome bushes. Wood Sandpiper Cumbrian end of Silverdale Moss and Osprey Leighton Moss

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Good inshore selection

Heysham Obs
So far, the wind is too southerly for any sea passage (1415hrs), a bit better late afternoon - but a bit late!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Black Tern - juv stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - 2 x 2nd W, 1 x ad & also 1 x juv which appeared to follow IOM ferry in
Med Gull - one (small) ad
Wheatear - at least 6
Gannet - one far offshore
Sandwich Tern - one

Med Gull - 2 x 2nd W, 1 x Czech-ringed Ad
Ringed Plover - 49 - 2 metal-ringed

IOM ferry
Kittiwake - 6 behind it

North wall/harbour mouth/wooden jetty
Shag - 2 juvs on wooden jetty by the rusty tower
Cormorant - 47 wooden jetty
Med Gull - juv in harbour mouth & area for 5 minutes or so
Wheatear - 1
Kittiwake - loafing 1st S
Gannet - 2 late afternoon
Sandwich Tern - 2 out after spending short time on heliport

Juv Black-necked Grebe still Conder Pool. Ad Med Stone Jetty

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Routine fare

Heysham Obs
Two quick looks at the outfalls/Red Nab on the incoming tide and one 5 minute look from he locked gate on the north harbour wall.

Wooden jetty
One juv Shag as viewed from the gate

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Outfalls
Little Gull - usual three
Sandwich Tern - 3
Med Gull - 2 adult

Vis from the office
Very little; 3 Grey Wagtail, 3 Collared Dove and a pair of Raven inland. There have been no semi-resident Raven so far this late summer/autumn and both recent sightings have been purposefully 'through'.

Ringing next to the office
Just the one shower dodging net for a short time produced one Chiffchaff!

2 Silver Y and Frosted Orange of note (latter scarce here)

Black-necked Grebe JUV still present Conder Pool

Monday, 1 September 2008

Good inshore selection, nothing offshore

Heysham Obs
Two visits to the outfalls/Red Nab on the incoming tide and one visit to the NHW/wooden jetty view

Outfalls/Red Nab
Black Tern - juv on the first visit but didnt remain on the outfalls for 2nd visit
Sandwich Tern - one
Kittiwake - one 2nd W
Med Gull - 3 x ad, one juv-> 1st W with what appeared to be metal ring above tarsus on left leg
Little Gull - 2 x 2nd W, 1 x Ad
Common Gull - 2 juvs

North wall
No Meds!
Shag - 2 juv on wooden jetty, one of which arrived via close inshore along the north harbour wall

Vis mig
3 Grey Wagtail over first thing

Just 2 adult Kittwake out in 20-25mins

Black-necked Grebe Conder Pool (no further details as yet e.g. age)