Sunday, 30 November 2008

A flattish calmish sea yields very little

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Fog and foggier

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

Red Nab
Wigeon 71
Shelduck 51
Kingfisher 1

North harbour wall
Med Gull adult
No Twite during afternoon visit

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

Observers: John Wood, Alan Draper & Malcolm Downham

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

Friday, 28 November 2008

Ringed Shag details sorted out

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

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

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

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

Jay - 2

Light-brown Apple Moth and Blastobasis adustella in the trap

Observers: John Wood, Malcolm Downham, Alan Draper

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


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

Cattle Egrets still at Whasset area

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Twite continue to arrive.

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

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

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

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

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

Observers: Alan Draper, Malcolm Downham and John Wood

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

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Plenty of coffee to keep warm.

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

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

Observers: John Wood and Malcolm Downham

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

Monday, 24 November 2008

Filling Winter Atlas/BTO Challenge tick boxes

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

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

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

Observers: Malcolm Downham, Alan Draper and Pete Marsh

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

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Guillemot leads the way

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

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

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

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

Observers: Alan Draper & Pete Marsh

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

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Odd Common Scoter behaviour

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

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

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

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

Observers: Malcolm Downham, Gavin Thomas and John Wood

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

Friday, 21 November 2008

Usual stuff

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

Shag - 3 juvs by waterfall

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

Stoat - one chasing rabbit in NR car park

Observers: Alan Draper, Pete Marsh

Long-tailed Duck still on Glasson canal by Mill Inn

Thursday, 20 November 2008

False alarm

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

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

Ocean Edge & area
Twite - c50
Linnet - 3+

Observers: Pete Marsh & John Wood

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

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Flying visit

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Ad Med on the mud

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Routine fare

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

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

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

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

Observers: Pete Marsh & John Wood

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

Monday, 17 November 2008

Dull, dank, dreary, drizzly, dead

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

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

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

Feathered Thorn

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

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Pre-tidal bits and bobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Good coverage on the incoming tide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 14 November 2008

WeBs trawl & a few extras

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

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

Feathered Thorn in trap

Todays observers: Emma Garston, John Wood, Pete Marsh

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

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Routine trawl round

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

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

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

Observer: Pete Marsh

3 Waxwing still at Levens (see yesterday)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Some good bit and bobs

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

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

Redwing - 18 flew inland from the tank farm early morning

Red-throated Diver - 2 in

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

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

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

Two Feathered Thorn and one Large Wainscot in the trap

11 Waxwing Levens at Greenbank, off Church Road

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

No morning squalls to coincide with the tide

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

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

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

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

Observer: Pete Marsh

Polish-ringed Med Gull P96 by Lancaster Football Club ground

Monday, 10 November 2008

Useless southerlies

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

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

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

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

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

Observers: Jean Roberts, Alan Draper, Pete Marsh

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

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Not wild enough for this time of year!

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Long-tailed Duck highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 7 November 2008

Purple Sandpiper highlight

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

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

Vis mig
Skylark 1 N
Greenfinch 7 SW

Thursday, 6 November 2008

"Lovely weather isnt it?"

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

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

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

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

Purple Sandpiper & 4 Rock Pipit Stone Jetty

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Busy morning but no surprises

Thanks for these, Dan

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

See for further details

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

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

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

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Excellent coverage, not a lot of reward

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 3 November 2008

Numerically-challenged early morning!

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

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

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

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

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

30 Little Egret roosted at Leighton Moss

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Advance notice of weather

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

Quiet morning unless you are a dredger

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

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

Blackbird - c40
Song Thrush - 3
Redwing - 5

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Long-eared Owl heads varied cast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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