Friday, 31 October 2008

Cold and colder

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

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

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

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

An Epirrata on its last legs in the trap

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

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Starlings on the move

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A bit wintry!

Heysham Obs
Not a great deal of new stuff to reward the early shiverers

Ocean Edge/outfalls
Arctic Tern - juv still Stage 2 outfall (3 days to go before it could become a 'winter' atlas mega)
Shag - Two juveniles, one on the inshore gull bathing pool on Red Nab!
Little Egret - one next to the main saltmarsh channel
Med Gull - adult following the 'Shield' out of port

Vis mig 0850-1030
Pink-footed Goose - 25 SE
Redwing - 7 SW
Greenfinch - 3 SW
Snipe - 4 SE
Mistle Thrush - 3 SW

North harbour wall
Rock Pipit - 1 off-passage
Shag - 2 juvs (4 in total for the area)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

At last, some proper late autumn migration!

Heysham Obs
The nearctic element to this autumn leading to a run on "Bring back Atlantis" (providing its in the Western Palearctic) T-shirts - it should be easier to get to than Corvo, has somewhat masked the fact that the last fortnight or even three weeks has been absolute rubbish at most observatories, other than the trickle-down of the earlier huge Yellow-browed Warbler influx into the northern British Isles and a Grey Phal-fest for some. The exception was the short North Sea-crossing window on about 16th-17th which was the reason we had an influx of Redwing and Fieldfare battling against westerlies on this side on 18th-19th. Today, at last, some normal October service was resumed with a calm frosty morning. The missing element this morning was evidence of trans-North Sea migrants with few thrushes other than the first relatively significant dawn Blackbird arrival of the autumn. [NB news just received: radar observations at Skegness detected some movement this morning post dawn and also at midday today] It looks like the North Sea corridor will open again the the next day or two and Norwegian reports indicate the possibility of Waxwings being included in the fare............and the latest pager messages (1430ish) already seem to be bearing this out (several east coast sites scoring between north Yorks and Norfolk).

Vis mig 0730-1015ish (quite a few gaps)
Brambling - flock of 6 SW first thing - sorry forgot to post!
Pink-footed Goose - 125+110+75+36 S/SE
Whooper Swan - 3+17 SE (second flock very high)
Jackdaw - flock of 9 S (& 8 Carrion Crow)
Carrion Crow - 3+4+8 (see above) S
Chaffinch - 44 SW
Goldfinch - 15 SW
Greenfinch - only 18 SW
Reed Bunting - 1 S
Skylark - 26 SE
Bullfinch - 1 high to S
Siskin - 5 SE
alba Wagtail - 4 SE
Meadow Pipit - 1+2+4 SE (late for this spp)
Twite - 5 'in-off' joining the NHW flock (see below)
Linnet - 2 S
Redwing - just 2 SW
Woodpigeon - 37 S/SW
Song Thrush - 2 S

Grounded migrants/movement at a lower level than above
Long-tailed Tit - at least 120 passed through generally to the south in 7 definitely different flocks, possibly at least two more unduplicated flocks
Coal Tit - at least 16 migrants to the south (plus two more sedate ringed birds)
Chiffchaff - a greyish individual which remained silent
Goldcrest - absolute minimum of 20 around the office with at least a further 10 down Moneyclose Lane
Blackbird - 30+ first thing - most flew inland
Blue Tit - 2 unringed birds trapped but no obvious movement
Wheatear - one on the NHwall mound (thanks John!)

North harbour wall
Twite - maximum of 36 during 10mins of observation, including 5 'in-off'
Linnet - one
Med Gull - 3 adults
Shag - at least three juveniles scattered around near high tide

Arctic Tern - juv still present mid afternoon

Drake Scaup Conder Pool, also Common Sandpiper still in the area plus 2 Greenshank [no sign Common Scoter]

Monday, 27 October 2008

a bits and bobs early morning

Heysham Obs
Missed some vis due to the closed Halton-Slyne rat run but surely nothing dramatic

North harbour wall & area 0730-0800
Shag - now five juvs around the harbour waterfall and having exclusive access to the food as everything else scared off by nearby dredger activity
Med Gull - the elusive 1st W was patrolling the north wall and at least one adult was also seen
Whooper Swan - 6 high to the SE
'Twinnet' - none at all early am, 8 Twite later
no Shelduck moving at all

Vis mig 0730-0900 (north wall to 0800, office 0805-0900)
Siskin - 22+16 SE
Chaffinch - 41 SW
Redwing - 1 SW
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
alba Wagtail - 3 SE
Greenfinch - 2 SW
Goldfinch - 4 SE
Linnet - 3 SE
Coal Tit - 5 S

Grounded by office
Goldcrest - at least 8
Blackbird - 3 migrants - flew inland
Redwing - 2 along Moneyclose Lane

Ocean Edge/outfalls
Arctic Tern - just the juv seen in very brief visit

A few Woodpigeon on the Caton Moor vis but otherwise a trickle of Chaffinch

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Good numbers of Shelduck & Whooper Swan for here

Heysham Obs
Not windy enough.

North harbour wall/seawatching from outfalls side to 1100hrs
Diver spp - one out & one landing by yellow buoys early afternoon
Whooper Swan - 24 SSW 0857hrs and 5 ad & 1 imm similarly 0908hrs
Mute Swan - 2 out close inshore
Rock Pipit - 1
Linnet - 3
Twite - 3
Pintail - 11 out
Shelduck - 228 out
Shag - 4 juvs at the waterfall (& one Cormorant) - one of these has a British ring which should be readable if/when it sits on the lower tier of the platform - and indeed the last four digits were duly read by Jon Wright and Richard Du Feu late afternoon. This should be enough to trace a juv i.e. definitely ringed in 2008.
Med Gull - 2 adults

Stage 2 outfall/Red Nab
Kingfisher - 1
Wigeon - 23
Arctic Tern - ad & juv
Little Gull - 2nd W early am only
Merlin - early afternoon

Middleton IE
12 Coot, 9 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 2 Mallard, 12 Teal, 3 Snipe

Large Wainscot and Brick in the trap, the latter new for the year

Female Scaup Freeman's Pool and Common Scoter Conder Pool

Saturday, 25 October 2008

A little window prior to the rain

Heysham Obs
Try NHW seawatching first thing tomorrow & hope there is already stuff in the bay before the wind heads NW - a few coastal Leach's to the north of here

Wind completely useless for seawatching - far too far to the south - but a bit of effort produced a reasonable selection, albeit nothing definitely 'new in' apart from perhaps the 2nd W Little Gull. Another landmark achieved this autumn - the only coastal migration site with daily coverage in the whole country not to have received Yellow-browed Warbler......... or more accurately, didnt find what must have been (based on mid/late autumn Chiffchaff numbers) at least one somewhere (Walney "fell" yesterday - so they are still around at this latitude)?!

North Harbour Wall seawatch 0930-1030 hrs (Rain from 1010)
Shelduck 2+5+5 'out'
Eider 1 'out'
Med Gull - 3 adult
Shag - 1 juv wooden jetty
Great-Crested Grebe 3 close in to seawall
Ringed Plover 11 Helipad

Quick check NHW area 1115hrs
Shag - 2 at the waterfall in harbour (& at least one Cormorant)
'Twinnet' - flock of 16 in flight only over the mound - both sp. calling

Stage 2 Outfall in atrocious conditions, viewed through the murk from O Edge
Arctic Tern - ad & juv
"Commic Tern" - only seen briefly but presumably the juv Common seen yesterday
Little Gull - one 2nd W

Late afternoon glimpse of S2O in even worse conditions
Arctic Tern - juv the only tern seen
Little Gull - adult (definitely not the morning bird)

Office -area
Chaffinch 6 SW - one flock

Dead as regards new arrivals apart from a female Scaup on Freeman's Pools. Mass transfer of Black-tailed Godwits etc. to Warton Floods - scope & high-powered wide angle lens from Warton Crag road layby. Still two Curlew Sandpiper Allen/EM Pools before the rain - getting late for these.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Much much better!

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Snow Bunting, probably male [based on extensive wing flash], flushed by vehicle from the seaward base of the sandplant bank - flew low 'over the top', trilling & left for other observers to follow up (0950hrs). This was on the return journey from the harbour mouth & the bird had presumably moved over from the sunny side or just arrived, as it was not present 10 minutes earlier. No further information received on whether it had been relocated but not obviously on the NHW at lunchtime, but there are 'blind spots' in the sandworks.
Purple Sandpiper - A solitary individual on the seawall by the harbour mouth - flew along towards the heliport
Shag - One on the wooden jetty and three around the waterfall area (& 4 Cormorant). All juvs
Twite - minimum of 5, later 7
Shelduck - 71 out in five flocks in 25 minutes intermittent observation
Med Gull - three Ad joined incoming IOM ferry
Great-crested Grebe - two in the harbour

Stage 2 outfall
Arctic Tern - Juvenile joining the long-staying adult
Common Tern - juvenile with quite a bit of ginger still late afternoon at least
Little Gull - ad briefly, then flew out to sea

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Razorbill and first Jack Snipe of autumn

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0855-0925 & brief lunchtime visit
Razorbill - one out
Med Gull - 3 adults
Shag - one juv on wooden jetty, one by the harbour waterfall
Twinnet flock - just one Linnet seen!

Outfalls/OE foreshore
Arctic Tern - adult still present s2o
Little Egret - one in saltmarsh creek

Middleton IE
Jack Snipe highlighting a morning visit which also produced 16 Coot, 3 Pochard, 6 Tufted Duck, 16 Coot, 10 Moorhen, 10 Mallard, 5 Teal, 1 Little Grebe and 5 Redwing

Totally dead as regards new birds of interest with a couple of Goldeneye elevated to the media spotlight (LDBWS site)! 144 Fieldfare, 32 Redwing and 3 Chaffinch SW at High Tatham 0745-0815 just prior to rain

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Is this still the autumn passage season??

On the forecast for the next few days, possibly worth checking the nooks and crannies of sheltered water/flotsam etc for Grey Phalarope (and make sure offshore detritus isnt a moribund Frigatebird). Not sure whether the direction and strength combined will produce a dose of Leach's - clearer by Saturday pm with early Sunday morning perhaps looking the most promising..........but it can all so easily change! On the current projected synopsis, if there are any birds Saturday pm, EARLY Sunday am at Heysham NHW could produce close views as they fly out in the recent veer to NW after an overnight SW/W gale. Please dont waste your time seawatching at Jenny B.P. Sunday morning as per 1st October!

Heysham Obs
Very static scenario this morning apart from:

Shelduck - 9 south
Skylark - 1 SE
Song Thrush - 1 SW
.......from 20 minutes seawatching and 30 minutes "vis"

North wall/harbour
Shag - two juvs - very mobile
Med Gull - 3 adults dip-feeding in the harbour mouth
Linnet/Twite - 39 in flight only - just enough time to count them - "fair number" of Twite on call

Outfalls/Red Nab/OE foreshore
Arctic Tern - ad still s2o
Mistle Thrush - 11 on football pitch


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

This weather is wearing thin

The adult Arctic Tern still present today. Thanks to Mike Watson for the picture (see link to blogspot for more photos)

Heysham Obs
.......No grounded migrants, no new "yanks" nationwide, no Pallas's Warblers within at least 1000 miles of even the east coast...and no helpful weather on the horizon apart from possible transatlantic fall-out from Thursday/Friday depression. At Heysham this morning, just a few thrushes struggling through, the same birds close inshore and miscellaneous odds and ends overhead/out to sea

North harbour wall 0810-0840hrs
Gannet - juv out
Whooper Swan - 3 SE from over the bay (0820ish)
Med Gull - 3 adults
Shag - one juv
Shelduck - 3 out
Common Gull - 26 out
Linnet/Twite - about 10 in flight briefly

Ocean Edge/outfalls/Red Nab
Arctic Tern - ad still S2O

Moneyclose Lane
Redwing - 16 flushed from roadside bushes - flew inland

Monday, 20 October 2008

No squalls, no birds

Feathered Thorn in the trap this morning. Thanks Reuben.

Heysham Obs
North wall area
Shag - 3-4 juvs, including one in the harbour by 'waterfall'
Med Gull - 2-3 adults
Kittiwake - 2 juvs following late afternoon ferry
Red-throated Diver - one on sea at lunchtime

Outfalls/OE foreshore
Arctic Tern - ad on S2O all day
Little Gull - ad S2O morning only

Grey Seal off NH wall

Feathered Thorn & Red-line Quaker

A few semi-grounded Fieldfare and Redwing - see LDBWS site plus a RT Diver off the Stone Jetty early morning

Sunday, 19 October 2008

More Redwing but no SW gale!!

Heysham Obs
Vis mig
Malcolm had 840 Redwing over Middleton IE 0945-1115 which may or may not have included some of the same birds as the Obs vigil

From outside the HNR office door, a vis mig count carried out by John Wood (inside when wet):

0715-0730 - barely light. Redwing calls from bushes & a few Robin + Blackbird calling.

0730-0745 Cormorant 4+1 SE just above pylon height.
Fieldfare 2 NW
Redwing 5 SE from out of bushes.

(0740-0830 rain - thick drizzly stuff on a moderate SW breeze).

Redwing 2 W
Chaffinch 1 S

Redwing 7 SW

Redwing 4 SW
Chaffinch 1 S
Sparrowhawk on Reserve.

Redwing 2 S + 7 SW
Fiedfare 64 NW then E + 1S
Woodpigeon 2 SE
Goldfinch 1 SE
Greenfinch 4 S/SW
Chaffinch 19 SW

0845-0900 Chaffinch 5 SW
Greenfinch 2 SW
Redwing 1 heard
alba Wagtail 1 S

Redwing 22 SW + 13 SE
Greenfinch 4 SW
Song Thrush 1 SE
alba Wag 2 SE

Redwing 44 SW
Song Thrush 1 SE
Greenfinch 7 S

Redwing 51 SW
Fieldfare 22 S
Greenfinch 9 SW
Bullfinch 5 SW then E
Goldfinch 6 S/SW
Reed Bunting 1 SW
Chaffinch 6 SW

Start of thrush movement. Southerly movement was over Moneyclose Lane area, SW/SE was over Obs. Tailing off after 1030.
Redwing 141 S + 65 SW
Fieldfare 60 SE + 150 S
Starling 1 SE - with Redwing.
Chaffinch 7 SW
Greenfinch 4 SW

Redwing 142 S + 190 SW
Greenfinch 4 SW
Chaffinch 2 SW
Sparrowhawk 1 SE about pylon height.

Redwing 299 SW
Fieldfare 25 SW
Starling 32 N + 9 S
Song Thrush 2 SE
Coal Tit 2 S
LTT & Goldcrest first of morning.

Redwing 18 S
Greenfinch 6 SW
Chaffinch 1 S

Redwing 14 S + 48 SW
Starling 21 SW
alba Wag 1 heard
Greenfinch 4 SW
Meadow Pipit 1 Northish - off passage?

Selective totals up to 1100
Redwing 974 plus another 360 during intermittent coverage 1200- 1400hrs
Fieldfare 324
Greenfinch 44
Chaffinch 43

Outfalls/OE foreshore
Arctic Tern- one Ad still H2O
Little Egret - 1+ in OE saltmarsh creeks (prob. 2)

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 3 Ad & 1st W
Shag - one early morning but surprising lack at high tide
Twite - 4+ with Linnet

Middleton IE
Pochard (1), Tufted Duck (10), Teal (c20), Coot (10), Moorhen (4), Mute Swan (2), Little Grebe (1)

Highlight of any vis mig reports so far was a Brambling SW over High Tatham and the lowlight the complete lack of early morning (pre-1000hrs) movement over the higher vis mig vantage points. Ad Med P96 is back on the Lune near the cricket ground and a 2nd W Med was near the Golden Ball. Juv Curlew Sandpiper on Sunderland mudflats

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Redwing struggle

Heysham Obs
A stiff SW wind increasing to fresh/strong at 0945hrs saw small number of Redwing struggling in at low level from the SE and either pitching in or heading north towards Heysham Head. None of the westerly movement out over the bay which is a feature of calm, clearish weather arrivals

Vis very intermittently by the office 0815-0945 (i.e. quick visits to OE & NHW)
Chaffinch - 25 SW
Greenfinch - 27 SW
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
alba Wagtail - 18 SE
Bullfinch - 3+2 S/SE
Twite - 2 S
Linnet - 6 S
Redwing - 270 from SE (see above)
Goldfinch - 13 S

Short vis session lunchtime for about 20 mins
Bullfinch - 2 SE
Meadow Pipit - 1SE
alba - 1 SE
Chaffinch - 4 SW
Greenfinch - 5 SW
Goldfinch - 3 SW
Redwing - 18 eventually back inland

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Heysham 2 outfall (brief)
Little Gull - ad S2O
Arctic Tern - a major surprise was the return of the adult after an absence of a few days - feeding with Little Gull offshore?
Twite - flock of 4
Linnet - 22+
Little Egret - just one seen
Kingfisher - one Red Nab

North harbour wall (very brief)
Linnet/Twite - an uncooperative flock of 37 including at least 6 Twite and, on the basis of calls, probably more than this [Linnet consistently at about 23 the last few days]
Med Gull - Czech Ad & the other two Ad
Shag - one sat in splendid low tide isolation on the wooden jetty

Redwing/Fieldfare movements see e.g. LDBWS site. Usual ad Med ex-36W Broadway area of Morecambe

Friday, 17 October 2008

Long-tailed Tits on the move

Heysham Obs
Unhelpful cloud positions - a line squall to the north-east for much of 0800-0930hrs - didnt help the NE to SW 'vis', although the cross-bay route was fairly open and the alba Wagtail/Meadow Pipit ratio suggested the passage of the latter is finally grinding to a halt. Overnight grounded stuff appeared to be rock-bottom, but three hyperactive (eventually) south-bound Long-tailed Tit flocks passed through and some Redwings made landfall mid-morning

Vis mig from by the office 0815-1130, with some lengthy gaps late in the session
Long-tailed Tit - 11+15+36 eventually south
Blue Tit - 9 south with the last LTT flock
alba Wagtail - 56 SE
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE
Woodpigeon - 18 SSE (3 flocks)
Carrion Crow - 1+1 high to the south
Sparrowhawk - 1+1 high to the south
Chaffinch - 52 SW
Grey Wagtail - one heard
Bullfinch - 2 high to SE & heard later (possibly 8 subsequently silent high-flyers?)
Greenfinch - 42 SW
Goldfinch - 51 S/SE
Reed Bunting - 7 SE plus 3 probables which did not call
Redwing - 1+4+35 in from the ESE, then landed near dipping pond
Song Thrush - 2 inland (presumably grounded overnight)
Skylark - 2 SE
Starling - 33 S
Linnet - 18 SE
Siskin - 3 SE
Jackdaw - 21 S (one flock)

Goldcrest - just one heard by the office
Chiffchaff - one by office
Blackbird - just 3 seen of unknown status
Some "grounded" stuff mentioned under 'vis'.

Kingfisher - one Red Nab
Shag - 3 juv on wooden jetty
Med Gull - 3 ad harbour area mid-pm, but all separate e.g. one roosting on the old Fisher's roof, one following IOM ferry out and the other along the NH wall
pretty certain no Purple Sand amongst the 93 Turnstone on wooden jetty

No obvious sign of the Firecrest on Willow Lane. Common Sandpiper Conder area this last three days at least. Two juv Shag & Ad Med Gull central Morecambe

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Record Little Egret count....but Redwings not quite here

Heysham Obs
342 Redwing over High Tatham in the first 25 mins of the day with clarity to the east and thick shower clouds to the west............but only two separate birds over Heysham by 1000hrs. Little Egrets reached record numbers for here with four fighting it out for feeding space in OE saltmarsh creeks!

Vis 0805-0835 & intermittently to 1000hrs
Meadow Pipit - 1
Redwing - 2
Chaffinch - 26
Greenfinch - 25
alba Wagtail - 6
Redpoll agg (almost certainly not a Lesser on call) - 1
Coal Tit - 1+1 S
Whooper Swan - 5 southish way out to sea

One Goldcrest heard and one Blackbird flew inland!

OE foreshore/Red Nab area
Twite - 4
Little Egret - 4
Linnet - 32

Tree Rat Moneyclose Lane

6 Whooper Swans have returned to the Lune valley - in Melling fields all day. 342 Redwing west over High Tatham 0710-0730 (max flock 117). female Firecrest and at least 4 Chiffchaff, Milking Stile Lane Lancaster just east of nursery (access off Willow Lane, Marsh Estate). Ruddy Duck still Pine Lake yesterday.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Calm early to mid morning bonus

Heysham Obs
The main feature this morning was an influx of Song Thrush as the calm weather gave way to a mod/fresh south westerly mid-morning. This was very odd as a vis mig vigil next to the office 0800-0915 did not record any thrush species and these are normally a feature of the early morning. The other major feature was a record count of at least FIVE Great-spotted Woodpecker on the reserve with all of these flying to off to the south. Autumn passage Stonechat have been thin on the ground this last few years and two separate birds is notable.

Vis mig by the office 0800-1030
Song Thrush - 37 low to the south-east over the office, mainly 0945-1030hrs
Blackbird - first evidence this autumn of continental birds was 12 accompanying the above Song Thrush, one of which was mist-netted and proved to be a 131mm-winged female
Long-tailed Tit - 12 unringed birds trapped together, plus two other similarly hyperactive flocks totalling c30 by the nature park. First evidence of movement since the post-breeding season flocks with all recent captures being retraps
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 5 individuals all eventually flew off to the south
Chaffinch - 17 SW
Goldfinch - 6 + flock of 80 of unknown status
Greenfinch - very scarce the last two (cloudy) days with just 3 SW
Bullfinch - 2+1+1 high-flying birds either SE or E
Meadow Pipit - just 3 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 SE
alba Wagtail - 16 SE
Skylark - at least 6 SE - very high
Carrion Crow - 2 SE
Coal Tit - 17 south in 5 flocks of up to 6 birds
Dunnock - quite a lot of fidgety birds early on with a flock of 3 heading south from the brambles by the reserve office

See above re-tits & thrushes
Goldcrest - just 8 seen/heard
Stonechat - females on the north wall mound and by the office
Wheatear - one on the mound

Shag - 3 juv on the wooden jetty
Med Gull - at least one adult north harbour wall
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh creek
NEGATIVE news on the adult Arctic Tern
Twite - three unringed birds at the mound (no mention of any Linnet)

Juv Shag Stone jetty, otherwise zilch!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Late Meadow Pipit movement

Heysham Obs both senses of the word i.e. most of it between 1000-1130hrs after which the rain eventually arrived.

Vis mig from various places 0845-1130
Meadow Pipit - 294 SE (all but 7 after 1000hrs)
alba Wagtail - 44 SE
Chaffinch - 8 SW
Goldfinch - 12
Coal Tit - 5 south (3 of these trapped and ringed as they landed by the feeder)

Wheatear - one mound
Chiffchaff - two new arrivals trapped and ringed (low weight & fat)
Goldcrest - surprisingly few with just 3 trapped and only two others noted on a circuit
Song Thrush - 2-3
Meadow Pipit - 15 Ocean Edge first thing & 8 or so on the mound

Med Gull - two adults, including Czech bird
Shag - one juv
Little Egret - one predictably in OE saltmarsh channel after yesterdays comment
Arctic Tern - adult still Stage 2 outfall

An Epirrata spp in the trap - surprisingly very scarce here.

Nothing at all from this area of interest

Monday, 13 October 2008

Routine fare

The heliport/seawall roost from Half-Moon Bay. Unfortunately more and more people are accessing this seawall without being challenged and the roost is regularly disturbed. Thanks for the photo Malcolm
Heysham Obs
A quick shoot round prior to work

North harbour wall/wooden jetty
Med Gull - three adults sat in a line on the railings until flushed by a guy on a bike with an English flag waving about - flew towards the harbour mouth!
Linnet/Twite - flock of 23 including at least 2 Twite by the sandworks entrance until flushed by the above
Shag - juv on the wooden jetty, not flushed by the cyclist

Ocean Edge foreshore/Stage 2 outfall/Red Nab
Arctic Tern - adult still on Stage 2 outfall
Linnet - 4 on the football pitch
Wigeon - 31 Red Nab
........otherwise pretty dead with no evidence of any Dunlin remaining amongst the Redshank on the accreting saltmarsh or migrant passerines. A regular dog walker informed that he hadnt seen a Little Egret "for about 3 weeks" which fits with other observations of the area.
F/imm Ruddy Duck fast asleep on Pine Lake this afternoon. Juv Shag Stone Jetty. Redwings over Lancaster early on last night. No obvious sign of Y.B. Warbler during an encounter with a Long-tailed Tit-based flock at Botton Mill area this afternoon

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Bits and bobs

The now 'long-staying' Ad Arctic Tern photographed yesterday by Mike Watson. Thanks for this, Mike.

Heysham Obs
Nothing mind-boggling but a fair selection of birds. Today was in the top ten of personal 'best days birding in this area' but this was mainly due to discoveries elsewhere (see below)

Ocean Edge foreshore/outfalls
Twite - one saltmarsh edge
Linnet - 12 football pitch
Rock Pipit - one by slipway
Wheatear - large bird along foreshore
Arctic Tern - adult still on outfalls
Wigeon - increase to 31 on Red Nab

Heysham NR & area
Goldcrest - c10
Song thrush - 6
Chiffchaff - 3

Middleton IE
Pochard - 1
Gadwall - 1
Tufted Duck - 16
Stonechat - 1 female
Snipe - 16
Blackcap - female ringed
Chiffchaff - one ringed
Goldcrest - 3
Reed Bunting - 6 unringed birds and two retraps

North harbour wall
Shag - 2 juvs
Med Gull - 3 adults

Vis mig dawn to c0930hrs
Meadow Pipit - 116
Greenfinch - 3
Coal Tit - 2
Grey Wagtail - 4 (one colour-ringed)
alba Wagtail - 28
Chaffinch - 2
Skylark - 34 (a lot for here early morning)
Goldfinch - 1
Linnet - 23
Siskin - 8
Song Thrush - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 14+11

Yes!!! Yellow-browed Warbler with a Long-tailed Tit-based flock near Botton Mill 1440-1450 (intermittently), then headed towards Stairend bridge before heading down the west side of the Hindburn valley [terrain too uneven to keep up with flock]. Just one call attributable to this bird, but it was a bright individual with broad tertial fringes and eliminating Hume's Warbler was not a problem. Also 30 Redwing and a single flock of 44 Siskin in this area, but Thrushgill plantation appeared rather dead and coneless. No further sign of this flock in the next 3.5 hours. Early-morning two hour vis mig session on Caton Moor was reasonably good and highlighted by Snow Bunting (0837hrs) and Rock Pipit (0914hrs) - both SW. Nothing at Leighton Moss other than huge numbers of people & single lingering Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper on the EM Pool & Marsh Harrier on the main reserve, but no-one "interpreting the pager news" & checking the slag tips for Lap/Snow Bs.. Late Garden Warbler Freeman's Wood area. Anyone else do moorland edge vis this morning (where it was clear c/p coast)?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Bits and bobs of interest amidst the general dross

Heysham Obs
Very little evidence of numbers of migrants around today, either overhead or in the bushes. Three interesting new records though.

Miscellaneous highlights
LONG-TAILED DUCK - f/imm flew into the Bay late morning as seen by Mike Watson, Mark Varley et sl

'Commic Tern' - 6 juvs, almost certainly all Common, flew out together mid morning

Coal Tit - c48 flew south over HNR office, including a high-flying flock of 27 the ad Arctic tern still on Heysham 2 outfall and 2 juv Shag & 3 adult Med Gulls along the north harbour wall

Goldcrest - c8
Chiffchaff - one
Blackcap - lightweight female trapped and ringed
Song Thrush - c6 grounded before flying inland to the SE
No other thrush spp. migrants

Vis (note that there are other crows etc. doing 'nothing'; these are perceived vis mig records only)
Swallow - 2
Greenfinch - 11
Chaffinch - 8
Goldfinch - 12
Sparrowhawk - 1 very high eventually flew SE
alba Wagtail - 3
Crow - 3
Coal Tit - 48
Bullfinch - 3
Meadow Pipit - 2

Dolphin spp. dead on the beach between the heliport and sandworks along the north wall. Coastguards informed.

Absolutely nothing of interest reported in this area other than further evidence of Coal Tit movement.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Wrong place, wrong time, wrong weather

Heysham Obs
An M6/M5 fest left Heysham to other observers today as the site was on the edge of the "Scottish weather", as opposed to the clear Cornish conditions sending the Alder Flycatcher on its way. In other words a complete waste of a peak migration-time October day in both cases (especially with four available observers at Heysham).

Ad Arctic Tern still lingering (per Reuben)

One hour's vis mig by the office
Grey Wagtail - 1
Greenfinch - 6
Chaffinch - 5

North wall
Shag - 2 juvs
Linnet - small number on nyger seed
No Meds!

Firecrest reportedly with Goldcrests by Lilian's Hide on 8/10 (Leighton Moss book). Ad F Ferruginous x Pochard hybrid Pine Lake. 2 more juv Shag Morecambe Stone Jetty. 14 Little Egret Aldcliffe - highest single count of feeding birds on Lune Estuary

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Right(ish) time, wrong place?

Heysham Obs
Turned down the sleep-deprived M6/M5/A30/Land's End/Stanstead/Cork/Garanish Point offer (thanks Stuart) for the following:

Tawny Owl
This 'mega' was heard from the office in the Ocean Edge/western golf-course direction first thing

Vis mig by the office 0730-1010
Possibly a bit late as there were fair numbers of Chaffinch in the first 15 minutes
Chaffinch - 152 S/SW
Linnet - 3 S
Meadow Pipit - 19 SE
Greenfinch - 40 SW
Redpoll agg. - 2 SE
Collared Dove - flock of 5 south
Magpie - 3 trying to look like migrants high to SE
alba Wagtail - 14 SE
House Sparrow - 1 S
Woodpigeon - 8 E
Carrion Crow - 8 SE
Jackdaw - 2 SE
Goldfinch - 10 S
Reed Bunting - 2 S
Siskin - 1 SE
Skylark - 13 SE
Bullfinch - 1 S
Coal Tit - 6 SE
Dunnock - 1 S
Pink-footed Goose - 84+23 SE at 1010

Chiffchaff - one brownish-grey bird ringed which unfortunately did not call but certainly the 'abietinus umbrella' on plumage
Goldcrest - 10-15

Ocean Edge foreshore/outfalls 1100-1115hrs
Shag - juv visible distantly on wooden jetty
Arctic Tern - ad still on outfalls
Skylark - 13 SE
Siskin - 2 SE
Song Thrush - 3 obvious migrants

Reasonable selection including a 'small' Large Wainscot

Juv Shag Morecambe Stone Jetty. No postings on LDBWS site or pager for this area by 1400hrs.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Lingering ArcticTern

Heysham Obs
Dead today - left the post as late as possible to se if we could compete with other west coast sites - not a chance - we've had our transatlantic surprise for the year, I guess (W-T Sparrow). Pretty impressive, especially (perhaps) the 14, or was it 15, Ring-necked Duck in-off at Inishmore (Galway)

Vis from by the office
alba Wagtail - 5
Coal Tit - 5 & another excitable flock of 11 by Trumacar stores
Meadow Pipit - 5
Chaffinch - 5ish
Skylark - 1ish
Mistle Thrush - 7 vaguely SW

Goldcrest - 1. A few extra Robin. One sharp "tack" agg.. One Redwing below the classroom

Arctic Tern - adult surprisingly still lingering am at least

One Red Admiral & one Small Tortoiseshell & one Speckled Wood

Ex-hedgehog on Moneyclose Lane

Yellow-browed Warbler ringed next to the causeway at Leighton Moss but no reports since release. Condition suggested it was not a new arrival. Single Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper EM Pool.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Tuesday 7th October

Seen from returning Seatruck ferry 1630ish...................
Kittiwake - 5 behind the ferry up to 5 minutes out of the harbour mouth, then peeled off (1 juv)
Shag - just two on the wooden jetty with excellent views!
Little Gull - adult joined rear of ferry on the turn into the harbour
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult and 1st winter behind/around ferry entering port

2 x Red-line Quaker

Monday 6th October

"Noticeable numbers of annoying YBW like calling Coal Tits - approximately 15-20 along Moneyclose lane Several Skylark still going south PM 2 Swallow - S 3 Goldcrest"

per Garry Sharples LDBWS site - real chance to grip everyone off missed here Garry!!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Brief coverage, then sorting the Irish away-day!

Heysham Obs
Quick posting having sorted out a nice Seatruck deal - saves messing about with Ryanair or the dreaded A55/A75. This one has to be gone for! The figures (esp vis) may be refined with further notebook info.

Red Nab/OE
Arctic Tern - the adult still present early morning (but no sign of any Little Gulls etc)

Goldcrest - 7 ringed
Chiffchaff - 3 ringed
Robin - 2 ringed

Middleton IE pm
Nice selection, including what is becoming a very rare bird here: Pheasant. Other sightings included 21 Tufted Duck, female Stonechat, 25 Snipe (morning maxima).

Insects Middleton IE
One Black Darter, 8 Migrant Hawker and a late Meadow Brown. Also one Small White, one Red Admiral and single figures of Common Darter

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit 20-30ish
Grey wagtail - 3 (one colour-ringed)
Skylark - 5
Linnet - 3
Pink-footed Goose - flock of c32
Sparrow - probably House - 1S
Dunnock - fidgety birds on the move today e.g. 5+ at Red Nab

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Juv Arctic Tern joined by adult late afternoon

Heysham Obs
Wind a little too far to south for most of the day but a few bits and bobs accrued, mainly following in boats. JBP might score today Leach's-wise but only the chance of the odd one, I suspect. Just on the pager (2015hrs) : Leach's Petrel at Sandside (Kent Estuary)

IOM ferry 1210hrs
Little Gull - a newly-arrived juv followed it right into port (unusual)
Med Gull - 2nd W behind it, then flew 'out' - same as last few days?

Dredger mid afternoon
Kittiwake 5 (2 x juv)

North wall area accumulation during the day
Med Gull - 3 adults & the above 2nd W (including Czech-ringed Ad)
Shag - maximum of 8 juvs on the wooden jetty

Stage 2 outfall as viewed from Ocean Edge accumulation by late afternoon
Arctic Tern - juv still on Stage 2 outfall joined by adult late afternoon
Little Gull - ad & 2nd W & 3 x juv Little Gull Stage 2 outfall
Med Gull - 1st W for a short period

Leach's Petrel Sandside, Kent Estuary, as befits the southerly element in the wind, this afternoon. Where were the JBP observers today?

Friday, 3 October 2008

Gadwall top limited coverage

Heysham Obs
The early morning 'vis' was so cold and poor that it only lasted 20 minutes. Thanks to Pete and Malcolm for coverage during the rest of the day.

Vis mig by the office 0730-0750
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Chaffinch - 6S

North wall
Two adult Meds early morning
8 juvenile Shag at lunchtime (& one Ad Med.)

OE foreshore/outfalls early morning
2nd W Little Gull

Middleton IE
2 Gadwall, 17 Tufted Duck, 22 Snipe, just 2 Teal, 9 Coot, 7 Moorhen, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Little Grebe

Comma on Middleton IE

Possible Yellow-browed Warbler heard to call just the once at Freeman's Wood by an experienced observer but not possible to thoroughly search for it. Poor 'vis' Caton Moor but 8-10 Redwing in a south Lancaster garden

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Twite reappearance

Heysham Obs
Bits and pieces of coverage today

North harbour wall 1000-1020hrs
Red-throated Diver - one out
Med Gull - 3 adults (2 of these 3rd W)
Linnet - just 2 left
Shag - no more than 5 on the wooden jetty at any one time [with another 3 off the Grosvenor area with one of these in transit from there to the wooden jetty] = minimum 8 individuals seen today.

Ocean Edge/outfalls
No Dunlin this morning but 17 Ringed Plover on the mudflats of OE south end
Little Gull - 2nd W Stage 2 outfall
Twite - one at OE south end, flew towards saltmarsh

Pink-footed Goose
120+30+100 casually recorded flying south during morning. 82 S during afternoon

The trap held: 7 Red-line Quaker & single Black Rustic, Green-brindled Crescent, Angle Shades, Garden Rose Tortrix and Agonopterix spp..

Little Stint, 4 Curlew Sandpiper & Barnacle Goose Pilling Marsh. Curlew Sandpiper Cockersands, 4 Spotted Redshank Conder Green. Migrant Short-eared Owl headed south during the Caton Moor vis mig watch. No news at all from Leighton Moss area as yet today.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Predictably no offshore seabirds

Heysham Obs
Yesterday afternoon's vigil was a "necessity" in order to produce the goods and did involve a lengthy period of 'watching paint dry' between the first and second Leach's Petrel. Anyone attempting to seawatch today will totally redefine this phrase. Just dont bother, unless you are checking the sea, wooden jetty or outfalls. It is good to know that the wind is unambiguously useless = too NW - means you can get on with some work!

North wall area - two brief visits
Rock Pipit - first of the autumn grounded briefly on the north wall
Med Gull - two adults harbour mouth
Shag - 11 - 2 on the wooden jetty and 9 flying singly towards this roost from the direction of Heysham head as the tide was coming in - surely feeding in channels around the Grosvenor skeers? All juvs.
Arctic Tern - yesterdays juv still around

Outfalls/Ocean Edge foreshore
Little Gull - Ad & 2nd W H2 outfall
Med Gull - 1st W on H2 outfall
Dunlin - just 23 left (& 26 Ringed Plover) feeding next to Ocean Edge saltmarsh - in retrospect we should have checked this flock of small waders more regularly this autumn. Hopefully this good feeding habitat on the edge of the accreting saltmarsh will remain for a few years.

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - 18 recorded moving south between showers (286 similarly in 2 hours at Caton Moor).

Bonxie JB Point but, not surprisingly, nothing else of significance [& 2 Razorbill, 1 Guillemot]. Juv Arctic Tern Pine Lake but 'dragged off' by roost-bound Black-headed Gulls (did this arrive yesterday?)