Friday, 31 July 2009
Picking up the early morning tide seemed far more sensible than staring into the sun in late afternoon.........and there was a quite unexpected mish-mash of interesting odds and ends. More early morning pre-dog neap high tide watching would seem a good idea.
Red Nab/Ocean Edge/outfalls
Greylag - the most unexpected - 18 sat on the mudflats just off Ocean Edge
Little Egret - first of the autumn in OE saltmarsh creek, TWO mid-pm
Greenshank - adult OE saltmarsh creek
Med Gull - THREE juvs, 2 adults and a 2CY [& many of the BH gulls were out of range along Middleton sands]
Black-tailed Godwit - 51 feeding on the muddy bits between the rocks on Red Nab
Bar-tailed Godwit - adult with above
Knot - adult with above
Dunlin - one metal-ringed adult with above
Turnstone - 14 outer edge of Red Nab
Whimbrel - 4 Red Nab
Common Sandpiper - one Red Nab
Kingfisher - one Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - one feeding offshore
'Tame' juvenile Kestrel along the foreshore
North harbour wall 0840ish
The time period to check for the two Storm Petrel seen off JBP was thwarted by attending to an angler who had run out of fuel & had no mobile
Med Gull - two different adults from Red Nab area - one the Czech-ringed bird = 8 in total for this area today
Sanderling - adult summer flew out
Manx Shearwater - one 'ambling' across and out
Two Storm Petrel watched for a reasonable period off JBP before making their way out of the Bay 0815ish [feeding on seaward end of Heysham outfalls overnight and flying in with the tide??]
Thursday, 30 July 2009
North harbour wall early(ish) morning
Med Gull - what appeared to be the Czech-ringed adult flew past once
Turnstone - 53 - good number for late July (c50 last night)
Red Nab/Ocean Edge late afternoon
Bad light, bad angle of birds so some stuff probably missed
Med Gull - juv & 2CY & Ad
Whimbrel - 4
Black-tailed Godwit - none
A surprisingly good catch - indeed so unexpectedly good, the door was carelessly opened and quite a few went straight out of the window, seemingly mainly the lively and sometimes abundant Shaded Broad Bar. Of note were 6 Silver Y, a Diamond-back Moth, a second brood Cochylis atricapitana, a single Barred Rivulet and 3 Herald. Straw Underwing (17) still outnumbering reduced numbers of the usual plague species
HNR office buddleia
2 x Small Tortoiseshell, 1 x Peacock, 1 x Red Admiral, 3 x Large White (sheltered during westerlies)
Ruff & juv Med Gull Conder area. Ruddy Shelduck EM Pool
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Ocean Edge/Red Nab incoming tide
Black-tailed Godwit - By far and away the largest ever count for this area....but it has been expected c/f periodic large flocks on Morecambe foreshore and the EM Pool at Leighton is "out of action" by all accounts due to the water level (600+ counts routine there these days). 229, mainly moulting adults & all examined were islandica, were on the shoreline near Red Nab, then flushed & rose really high in the sky over Potts Corner before returning to feed on the shore off Ocean Edge west field
Med. Gull - 2 juveniles together, 2 adults and a 2CY. None ringed.
Whimbrel - 6
Dunlin - one juvenile
Didnt have time to check Ocean Edge shingle etc. with all the excitement (see yesterday)!
North harbour wall high tide
Med Gull - Ad & 2CY & juv - these were all almost certainly different birds to those on Red Nab
Whimbrel - 3
Absolutely dreadful catches at the moment, with Straw Underwing the only species up to scratch & nothing of remote interest the last three nights
Ruddy Shelduck still EM Pool
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Ocean Edge saltmarsh and shingle beach
An adult Little Ringed Plover was a complete surprise today as it flew from the inshore shingle at Ocean Edge and inland over the caravans. Also on the shore tideline were 7 Ringed Plover (not including the hoped-for returning colour-ringed bird yet) and an almost fledged chick!
Red Nab & outfalls
Med Gull - TWO juveniles and a 2CY [no adults seen] - some minor disturbance by pedestrians may have shifted some of the gulls towards Sunderland
Ruddy Shelduck still EM Pool
Monday, 27 July 2009
After a considerable gap, unthinkable as recently as five years ago, the first tern species appeared since 3rd July. The problem is the demise of the Lune colony. Meds seemed down today, given a search at optimum time, but a touch of the Catherine Tate's re-searching shimmering sleeping gulls at the wrong angle for 2CYs etc.. Typical behaviour by the juv Med; 'sleeping' on Red Nab, then returning to feed on Heysham 2 outfall after all the other gulls have gone into total roost mode at high tide. Youthful enthusiasm?
Red Nab/Ocean Edge latter stages of incoming tide
Sandwich tern - adult Red Nab
Med Gull - FOUR: 2 adults, one 2CY & one juvenile
Whimbrel - 5
No obvious sign of any Storm Petrels but a much longer seawatch needed
First collection on the office buddleia which is sheltered from SW/W winds: two Small Tortoiseshell (the most I've seen together since 2007), Red Admiral and 2 Large White. Grayling car park. First Wall on a census for three years - hopefully more will be seen this autumn
Ruddy Shelduck still being high-profiled at EM Pools
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Red Nab/Ocean Edge pre-tide (a bit early for gulls)
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 2CY on Red Nab
Whimbrel - 4
The increasingly scarce Tawny-speckled Pug along with Orange Swift made their first appearances of the year as did the autumnal brood of Small Phoenix. Straw Underwing continues to dominate.
Four visible and the noise suggested others Crossbill WNW over Millhouses (nr Wray) this am whilst emptying moth trap in rather enclosed space at a pre-rain 0645hrs. Early juv Wood Sandpiper at Aldcliffe flood this evening. Ruddy Shelduck keeping a low profile (literally) & difficult to see on the EM Pool
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Reasonable conditions for mist-netting at both Middleton and the Heysham CES? Not too bad weather-wise until mid-morning, but the number of warbler sp, especially at Middleton, was almost unbelievably low - more like early-mid August after a starry-night clear-out of any migrants. I suppose it is getting towards August, and the correspondingly early large 'local young bird-fest' in the nets during late June (as opposed to the usual first half of July) suggests that many of these birds have already lifted themselves skywards and headed south after an earlyish and trouble-free breeding season and not a lot since to hang around for. Any comments from other ringers?
Middleton IE 0645-1015 (3.5hrs)
Kingfisher - juvenile ringed (first of autumn)
Swift - 37 S
House Martin - 17 S
Swallow - 34 S
No Grasshopper or Reed Warblers heard/seen/caught!
Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - 6: 4 x ad, 2 x 2CY
Whimbrel = 5
Orthotelia sparganella was the star of the show this morning - caught in an actinic trap in the reedbed. It is the fourth record for VC60 (West Lancs), with two of the previous ones at Leighton and the other in the south of the VC. It is best described as elusive and limited to wetland areas with bur-reed, the larval food-plant
Meds - are they really worth examining?
Anyone who has read & agrees with the Punkbirder Birdwatch article on the theme of 'car potato' gull subtleties when people might be better off pioneering new bushes and coastal fields to thrash for migrants (& they do put their money where their mouth is), please move on!
2CY one: Most of the views of Meds are of sleeping birds on Red Nab. Take care! One 2CY looked like a 'round-ended' "adult". In other words the outer 5 or so primaries were in moult stages 3-4 = 'half-grown' in English. The next stage of ageing this bird was to examine the tips of these growing primaries. If white = advanced adult or 3CY=moulting into adult plumage from 2nd summer. A wing-stretch (convenient!) saw these growing primaries had black terminal 'spots' visible, therefore = 2CY moulting from 1st summer to 2nd winter. Back-up = wait for it to show the bill and, bingo, it was a rather dirty orange-red = 2CY.
2CY two: much easier: at least 4 old original primaries still not moulted, plus some dusky bits on the wing coverts
ADULTS: One required caution. It had a similar stage of moult to the first 2CY. Therefore because there are no old primaries to assist the ageing, this bird MAY be a 3CY which has moulted all the "recognisable" 2nd summer features. Indeed, the advanced stage of the moult (sorry for confusing bad english in earlier text) might suggest a non-breeding 3CY. Therefore 3CY birds post-moult become "adults" for the rest of their lives although at least one bird of known age retained blacker legs throughout the 3rd winter than one would have expected on an adult. Subtle, and one is again reminded of the Punkbirder article!
Friday, 24 July 2009
Ocean Edge foreshore/Red Nab/outfalls 1125-1200hrs
Storm Petrel - one careering around between the red buoy and the seaward end of Stage 2 outfall (at least) 1135-1145ish, then lost behind incoming IOm ferry. No subsequent sign as the 'soup' rapidly dispersed on the incoming tide. It may have been there all morning - didnt notice it 1125-1135 due to checking gulls.
Med Gull - FOUR: 3CY new in - virtually full summer plumage still, with just a little peppering on the forehead and no evidence of any moult of at least the outer primaries as seen at rest. 2 x adult and 1 x 2CY, the latter really hard to see!
Whimbrel - 2
Honey Buzzard light morph (sorry, not Osprey - my fault re-secondhand report) flew SE at upper Roeburndale late morning. Ruddy Shelduck still EM Pool
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Red Nab/Ocean Edge incoming tide prior to torrential rain
Med Gull - 4 adults, two of which flew over the caravan site towards the Lune & one had a metal ring above the knee (presumed returning Czech bird which seems to favour the outfalls for a short time before settling into a north harbour wall-based routine)
Greenshank - TWO adults Ocean Edge saltmarsh channel
Redshank - 188 between Red Nab & OE saltmarsh
Whimbrel - 2
Highlights of a meagre catch were Barred Rivulet & Southern Wainscot
Ruddy Shelduck EM Pool mid-am
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
..........knocking a ringing session at Middleton on the head. What a poor month for the ringing effort here after a good start in late June. The problem is that it is wind-prone but the openness is also why it has so many Grasshopper Warblers! An evening trawl round was so unbelievably dire and birdless, we nearly twitched the Giant Hogweed plantation on Heysham Business Park east
Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Dunlin - one juv
Whimbrel - 3
Med Gull - 2 adult & one 2CY (definitely no juvs lurking around in thorough check on the later stages of incoming tide)
Actinic trap at Middleton included: 7 Drinker, 2 Southern Wainscot, 2 Least Yellow Underwing, 7 Pinion-streaked Snout, 1 (early) Bulrush Wainscot, one Straw Underwing and one of the local fleabane-feeding pyralid Ebulea crocealis
The catch in the hut trap included 2 Bordered Beauty, one Dingy Shears, one Poplar Grey (rare here) and topped, as usual, by 13 Straw Underwing. No Large Yellow Underwing in either trap sees a continuation of a welcome poor year for this disruptive species!
Ad Med x 2 Glasson
Monday, 20 July 2009
Red Nab/Ocean Edge near high tide
Med Gull - 2 x juvenile Red Nab, Ad Red Nab, 2CY Red Nab, Ad off Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Gannet - two sweeps of the outer bay saw 2 wheeling along the horizon
Whimbrel - 1
Great Black-backed Gull - single young with 1/2-grown flight feathers by the vent on the old Fisher's building roof
Lesser BB Gull - reassessment: at least 16 pairs, many with young, on the roofs on the WEST side of the harbour
Heysham Nature reserve
A few butterflies, including several Gatekeeper and two Red Admiral & 2 Comma
Perhaps worth mentioning that the dominant species at the moment, but quite scarce in the rest of Lancashire/VC60, is Straw Underwing. White Plume moth new for the year
4CY Yellow-legged Gull on Lune by Sunderland car park late afternoon
Sunday, 19 July 2009
The pyralid Catoptria margaritella is a familar sight at sheet and light trapping on the local moorlands and also in the MV traps nearby this 'habitat' e.g. Millhouses & High Tatham. It is pretty scarce away from these areas and the first record for here materialised this morning. Also the first Barred Rivulet for the year.
Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore
Med Gull: 4 adults (2 Red Nab, one off OE saltmarsh, one on mudflats S of OE) & one 2CY
Whimbrel - 2
Common Sandpiper - 1
Saturday, 18 July 2009
..........whilst the latecomers managed one each
Some stunningly desultory seawatching at various times in a wind which was too far to the north west was won by Malcolm with two seabirds
Gannet - one out 0700ish
Manx Shearwater - one in then out 0700ish, one out 0900ish
Fulmar - one across the mouth of the bay
North harbour wall
Common Sandpiper - one
Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore
Med Gull - 3 adults, one 2CY
Really poor recently in this area; due a Pec at the EM Pools at the very least
Friday, 17 July 2009
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Sunday and Monday am look possibilities for Storm Petrel
Best from the end of the north harbour wall, checking off the seaward end of Heysham one outfall and the area around the red buoy. Perhaps most likely Sunday pm
Middleton industrial estate
60 Swifts south between 0800 and 0930 - does this mean summer is over?
7 Swallows south
1 Meadow Pipit
5 Pied Wagtails SE
2 Willow Warblers (adult and juv)
Sedge Warbler (3 adults, 1 juv)
Reed Bunting (juv)
Other birds (minimum numbers, these are just the ones seen/heard):
2 Grasshopper Warblers reeling, 4 Reed Warblers chuntering, at least one Lesser Whitethroat singing, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Ringed Plover, Coot feeding young, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Woodpigeon.
50+ Lesser Black-backs, 3 Herring Gulls and a Black-headed Gull at the sewage farm.
Warning: Guard gull! Nearly had my head taken off by a Lesser Black-backed gull the other day when I wandered into the Tim Butler territory to investigate dragonflies.
Gothic a welcome new species for the year (millenium?!) % another Dingy Footman.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
More Middleton Red-veined Darter pics from John Rayner. Thanks John
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore
Black-tailed Godwit - 8 islandica adults in the channel alongside OE saltmarsh. Not all that common here.
Med Gull - FOUR adults on Red Nab (could only see that one was unringed) plus 1 x 2CY, probably the usual fairly black-headed one
Male Yellowhammer showing well early morning in LDBWS area at western side of Wakebarrow Scar, visible from road. SD597877
Monday, 13 July 2009
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Red Nab/Ocean Edge 1215hrs
Med Gull: 2 x adult, 1 x 2CY
Little Gull: 1 x moth-eaten 2CY
Heysham NR dragonflies
Common Hawker - one male
Brown Hawker - 2
Common Darter - 5
Butterfly census HNR (rather windy)
32 Meadow Brown, 4 Speckled Wood, 24 Small Skipper, 3 Large Skipper, 2 Small White, 1 Red Admiral, 4 Gatekeeper
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Efforts today were concentrated at Middleton IE with ringing in the central and western marsh and a very well-attended dragonfly workshop organised by Graham Jones from the wildlife trust. What a change to get an excellent day for dragonflies i.e. could be found & studied, not whizzing all over the place in sweltering conditions, especially as it was forecasted to be cloudy. Thanks Graham.
Ringing at Middleton
Promising number of Willow Warblers for this site this early in the "autumn" and another three Grasshopper Warblers ringed [16 so far this year including 4 adult males]. The following were ringed: Grasshopper Warbler (3, an adult female and two juveniles), Willow Warbler (8), Whitethroat (3), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Sedge Warbler (5), Reed Bunting (3), Dunnock (3). A Reed Warbler was caught bearing a ring from elsewhere.
At least 6 male Red-veined Darter including one male showing signs of immaturity. One tandem pair with the female ovipositing. Other dragonflies included 4 Black-tailed Skimmer, 3 Four-spotted Chaser, 3 Emperor, 20+ Common Darter (majority tenerals), 1 Emerald Damselfly and abundant Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselfly.
3rd summer Yellow-legged Gull still at Glasson
Friday, 10 July 2009
Awful heat haze & just 2 ad Meds noticed
Toadflax Pug the pick - a quite common moth here
Nothing (temperature marginally too low & wind too strong) until two female dog 'walkers' threw a long rubber thing, like a refugee from Ann Summers, into the pond which the dogs enthusiastically retrieved:
Red-veined Darter - one shot off the edge to the opposite side of the pond
Black-tailed Skimmer - 2 shot off the edge to the opposite side of the pond
Nothing as yet
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Red Nab high tide
Med Gull - 3 x adult summer, 1 x 2CY (black-headed bird), mostly facing away in the WWNW wind
No obvious sea passage in the 5-10 minutes!
Lychnis notable for here plus another Dingy Footman
3rd summer Yellow-legged Gull still Glasson/Lighthouse cottage area yesterday evening
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
A reasonable catch in the hut trap, although no large numbers of any one species. Another, or the same(!), Dingy Footman, also V Pug, Lime speck Pug and Toadflax Pug.
An early ringing session cut short by increasing wind. Only 14 birds, including one unringed Grasshopper Warbler and 3 young Willow Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, one Common Whitethroat and 2 Sedge Warblers.
3rd summer Yellow-legged Gull off Lighthouse Cottage, Cockersands
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Red Nab/outfalls/Ocean Edge foreshore
Med Gull - 5 close together on Red Nab near high tide: 3 adult summer, one with metal ring on tarsus, the other with metal above knee (returning Czech-ringed bird?). 2 x 2CY
Whimbrel - 3
Common Sandpiper - 2
Dingy Footman new for the year (at northern edge of its current range)
A portable trap set in the wetland area produced a perhaps predictable ratio of 11 Southern Wainscot to one Smoky Wainscot (& 6 Drinker). The hut trap held 8 Smoky and no Southern Wainscot
Hobby Leighton Moss early morning
Monday, 6 July 2009
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Med Gull - the only worthwhile sighting inshore at high tide was a summer adult on Red Nab
Middleton IE (taken from Colin Whittle census)
Red-veined Darter - 8+ males on the model boat pond,
Common Darter - 33, nearly all teneral
Brown Hawker - 1
Black-tailed Skimmer - 17 on model boat pond (4 female), 7 central/western
4-spotted Chaser - 78 throughout (rare on model boat pond)
Gatekeeper - 3
Common Hawker - one male
Hobby Leighton Moss. Two Ruddy Shelduck Aldcliffe, then flew south
Saturday, 4 July 2009
In the absence of further apparent influxes so far to the north, I am assuming that the current increase in Red-veined Darters is due to the emergence of locally-born examples. This is backed up by two teneral males two days ago. A small number of teneral darters last weekend were presumed to be Common Darter, but there has been no indication of any increase in mature/maturing darters other than Red-veined! This does not mean that some of the individuals are not remaining from a presumed migratory influx at the beginning of June (a good week before any local emergence, on the evidence of previous years). The absence at the excellent and well-recorded (e.g. current 2 x Lesser Emperor) habitat at Brockholes Quarry does support the case for no further migrants after the initial influx, as do the lack of RVD sightings from the northern half of Britain on the BDS site. Whats happening at Fleetwood Marsh Nature reserve, which received early migrants, including an ovipositing female? However, recent news concerning two individuals at Brockholes Quarry and 3 at Walney Island (first records) does suggest some continued migration
Middleton IE model boat pond
Red-veined Darter - at least 10 males at 1050ish in 22C, scattered all round the edge of the pond and flying towards the middle on a regular basis. No obvious 'cross-overs' from one side of the pond to the other; all seemed to be spread around on territory with quite a bit of conflict at the boundaries.
Black-tailed Skimmer - 10+
Ringed Plover - 1+ chick with previously unrecorded pair
Grasshopper Warbler - 3 singing males
Reed Warbler - at least 4 singing males present this last week
Med Gull - adult summer plus 2CY with significant amount of black on head
Whimbrel - one (plus 16 moulting adult Curlew)
Spoonbill - two on the Allen Pool this morning
Friday, 3 July 2009
Common Sandpiper - harbour mouth
Med Gull - adult over harbour and NHW
Sandwich Tern - 2 'out'
Sand Martin - 5 SW high over end of wooden jetty
Redshank - 8 inc 2 juv & 1 Turnstone wooden jetty
Med Gull - adult summer without any rings Red Nab, then flew towards Sunderland Point after being pursued by a rottweiler and smaller dog spp.
Whimbrel - singleton as above but about twice the speed (first of autumn?)
Thursday, 2 July 2009
The regulars responsible for most of the public domain records are busy at the moment. According to anglers etc., quite a few birders and 'insecters' have been around this last fortnight, but not a sign of any records. Please could you leave sightings in the letterbox on the nature reserve car park fence, notably Red-veined Darter updates and especially ovipositing incidents. Also any Black Guillemot sightings. Thanks very much.
Red-veined Darter: A very brief visit coincided with some high cloud & just 4 males seen briefly plus a pair in tandem (but not seen to oviposit).
Later Pete C. made a visit in 26C at 1900hrs and there were 10 Red-veined Darter including an ovipositing pair on the model boat pond. By far the latest hour these have ever been seen active - they must have known the weather forecast!
Black-tailed Skimmer : at least 12 on the model boat pond
Broad-bodied Chaser: Male in the central marsh
4-spotted Chaser: 60+
No Common Darter seen!
Gatekeeper - at least one
Red Admiral - 2
Silver Y - influx with 50 + seen
A few interesting records including C. phragmitella, Diamond-back (2)
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Interesting captures in the trap included: Eyed Hawk-moth, Double Lobed, Small China Mark, True Lover's Knot (quite a few in traps away from the moors at present), Latticed heath, 9 Common Emerald, 5 Double Dart, a single Diamond-back Moth.........and just the one Large Yellow Underwing!
A series of binocular sweeps revealed a minimum of 9 male Red-veined Darter over the water on the model boat pond plus a single sighting of an ovipositing female. Two of the male RVD were immature, one obviously so at close range. In addition, 2 male darter spp, presumed to be this species seen in the far corner but rather briefly.
14 Black-tailed Skimmer, mainly model boat pond
One male Broad-bodied Chaser on the fence pond was chased by an Emperor. c40 4-spotted Chaser & c8 Emperor on the fence/central marsh/new scrape areas
The first Brown Hawker and Gatekeeper of the year
Birds Middleton IE
4 singing male Reed and 2 singing male Grasshopper Warbler [Middleton and two moth trap-emptying sites have produced a 'full-house' of northern singing warblers this am with 10 species]
Nothing of interest yet in the area. [2 male Lesser Emperor at a central Lancashire site with no access as advised by the risk assessment]
There virtually all day staring at a computer screen with everyone else similarly busy.
Single 2CY Med Gull in late afternoon check
7 Double Dart was notable otherwise just a good catch of perhaps the usual suspects, apart from the second ever example, following the other day, of both the widespread Fan-foot species on the same night. Heart and Dart are in rather low numbers so far.
7 Little Gull Leighton Moss