Friday, 31 December 2010


Heysham Obs
Brambling - one flew over whilst walking from the car to the HNR office

Mossgate park in NE of recording area (thanks Helen)
A good day at the bird feeders in our garden today with 4 siskins visiting, a male bullfinch and up to 6 bramblings.

Single Mottled Umber and Winter Moth in the trap

Thursday, 30 December 2010

More moths

male Winter Moth (thanks Janet)
Heysham Obs
Having just emptied a trap at Millhouses with an amazing 103 moths therein (51 Mottled Umber, 33 Winter Moth, 2 Scarce Umber, 15 December Moth, 1 Satellite, 1 Chestnut), it was not unexpected to find 3 Winter Moth, another Parsnip Moth and one Mottled Umber in the Heysham trap!

North & south harbour walls (thanks Sean)
Purple Sandpiper - at the harbour mouth below the north harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adults
Red-breasted Merganser - 2 in the harbour
Cormorant - 49 on jetty
Starling - c10,000 roosting on wooden jetty in the calm weather

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Insects on the prowl

Heysham Obs
A shortish visit to the office included 1.5 hours with the feeder mist nets and a walk round the top end of the reserve.  It was positively spring-like, full of singing Great Tits and winter-gnat-type-things.  No Bramblings seen/heard today

Heysham NR 1045-1330
Reed Bunting - one briefly at the feeder
Pink-footed Goose - c180 south at 1205hrs
Skylark - one south at 1110hrs
Song Thrush - at least 4 round the office
Goldcrest - one below the obs tower

Moth trap
Two Winter Moth and a Parsnip Moth was an instant response to a cloudy above-zero night (12 moths in the Millhouses trap)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Grey day with nasty black ice

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Red-breasted Merganser - four
Great-crested Grebe- 1
Song Thrush - 1
Twite - 30+

Brambling - at least 2 by the feeder late afternoon

Ice had virtually gone by late afternoon but still needed to take care off the main vehicle track down the entrance hill

Monday, 27 December 2010

A silent nature reserve

Heysham Obs
Alan & John - anything to add, please?

A walk round Heysham nature reserve early afternoon in an increasing southerly & rapid melt brought just 4-5 Blackbird, a Redwing and a Chaffinch, despite a bit of strategic pishing to elicit response from e.g. Wrens

The exception was the feeder by the office where there were at least three Brambling late afternoon and, perhaps ominously, a male Pheasant was strutting around.  In the past, when they were common on the reserve, they completely costed-out any ground feeding

North harbour wall
Twite - increased to 68 and included two Machrihanish-ringed birds (see sidebar), 8 unringed birds.
Linnet - 1 at least with Twite.
Meadow Pipit - wandering about by sand plant.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Fractious Twite & Linnet

Heysham Obs
The Twite & Linnet were a bit fractious on a small amount of available seed until I turned up as peacemaker with a tub full of nyger

Twite - 27, 8 unringed, 5 with red/white, rest this last autumn's birds
Linnet - 2 ringed birds
Brambling - at least one at the office feeder
Teal - male Red Nab
Mallard - pair Red Nab
Wigeon - c160 Red Nab
Med Gull - ad Red Nab

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Female Brambling influx and a flock of Waxwing

Heysham Obs
Happy Christmas everyone.  First please note the colour-ringed Waxwing from Aberdeen which was seen at Leighton Moss about 10 days ago was seen in Ely, Cambridgshire yesterday; 284km in 10 days!   Noting that plenty are still around Leighton, presumably including some of the 'originals' in the flock, it just shows firstly the value of colour-marking and secondly just how 'erratically' mobile they are. 

Heysham Nature Reserve area
Very short mid/late morning ringing session.  Four Brambling were ringed - all 1CY females, along with a few unringed Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Blue Tit.  All the weights were higher than average by about 2-3 grams.  Idle thoughts included wondering if the newly branded BTO ought to change the very negative 5-letter species code of DUNNO to SHUFF - also ticks the 'use of traditional language' box.

Waxwing - 7 flew over heading for Heysham village at 1205hrs - the impression was that they had come from the SW end of the tank farm where there were a few rowan berries not so long ago
Snipe - one grounded briefly by the office
Reed Bunting - one by the NR feeder just as I left
Med Gull - adult north harbour wall
Twite - no nyger seed left when I got there (rabbits?) & 6 Twite were immediately down on the new supply (3 unringed)
Cormorant - 47 wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - one wooden jetty but hard to see on lower tiers of outer section

Nothing of note on Pine Lake (incl. one Little Grebe & Black-headed Gull Brit Mus E?45011 - think we have had this before, but just couldn't clinch the important second letter, but it was a G or C, therefore surely:

EG45011 - 4 - Bowness on Windermere - Cumbria - 23/11/07

06/10/10 - Pine Lake, Carnforth, Lancashire - 26km

Friday, 24 December 2010

Not enough time!

Heysham Obs
Not enough time to do the rounds at Heysham at the end of the day, given potential work/shopping traffic (and also put off by the low afternoon sun which also made southbound motorway driving really tricky, given the screenwash kept freezing), so absconded to Thrushgill via the A65 after returning from work in north Cumbria.  Anyone manage to get out?

7 Crossbill Thrushgill plantation by the entrance gate late afternoon (2+5)

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Cold & Quiet

Please note new mobile number (the old one does not exist now; apologies if people have been trying to contact me this week) for Pete Marsh in the Links on the sidebar.  Thanks

N Harbour Wall
Twite - seed topped up around 1100hrs & no birds seen on tour round area but 20 appeared at 1300hrs
Linnet - one with Twite at 1300hrs.
Song Thrush - 1 on mound plus 1 by Heliport
Med Gull - Czech ringed bird patrolling

ajd & Derek Gallagher

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Blackbirds still prominent

Heysham Obs
Blackbird - at least 20 round the reserve (NE corner not checked) and at least 15 down Moneyclose Lane
Song Thrush - one reserve
Twite - 12 at the feeder on the north wall

No moths!

Any records for the next three days gratefully received

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Nothing known about from today

Sorry, but these things happen after yesterday's London buses scenario

Reserve office will be accessible from about 0930hrs to 1345hrs tomorrow [unless the snow tonight hits this far to the north big-time ], otherwise the reserve is officially closed (although regularly patrolled, as usual, throughout the Christmas period).  Icy ground conditions mean the usual caveat of 'entry at your own risk'

Monday, 20 December 2010

Geese and offshore time!

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall
Twite - 32+
Common Scoter - female offshore
Red-throated Diver - three offshore
Med Gull - adult
Rock Pipit - 1
Cormorant - 56 wooden jetty - very high count for midwinter (peak usually in autumn)

Heysham Bypass
Pink-footed Geese (perhaps plus something else??) - 5000-6000 spread out in fields both sides of the link road between the "Reebok Roundabout" and "Middleton Roundabout"

ajd, Pete Cook & Tom Walkington

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Any takers?

Heysham Obs
A Heysham-ringed Twite was seen at Walney today (the flock of 160 there also included birds from the Duddon & Machrihanish)

Nothing from me today - any postings, please?


Saturday, 18 December 2010


The recent post about still "needing" Black Redstart for the BTO challenge list is not the case - there was one on the non-op land on 6th April - just seems so long ago in this eventful year!    So the only possible additions to the list in the last fortnight of the year would be displaced ducks on the sea off Red Nab/outfalls - not beyond the bounds of possibility with the Wigeon being potential carriers for Shoveler, or a grounded Snow Bunting at Red Nab/by the wheel (the mound does not count).  Havn't counted up yet, but we've done pretty well this year with the only realistic possibilities missed (I think!) being: Jack Snipe, Shoveler, Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Grey Phalarope, Glaucous & Iceland Gull (but a bit like rocking horse dung these days without a rubbish tip) and a grounded Snow Bunting (fly-overs dont count).  Stuff which was most certainly not guaranteed included Hoopoe, Little Grebe (on the Obs Tower pond!), Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest, Wood Warbler, Waxwing, Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, Osprey, Common Buzzard, Hobby, Lapland Bunting (just about!), Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Brambling, Leach's Petrel..........and Pheasant  

Heysham Obs
All the passerines were a product of very intermittent recording from 0940 onwards, both at Ocean Edge foreshore and by the office

Knot - 12,700 by Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Bar-tailed Godwit - 770 by Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Fieldfare - two on tankfarm, then south - usually very scarce in midwinter & weather related in occurrence
Redwing - 6 with above
Skylark - 2 SE, then flock of 6 S, then 3 by Ocean Edge saltmarsh & two by Red Nab
Meadow Pipit - one south over reserve and another 'in-off' then south Ocean Edge, two on the mound, then flew east
Teal - pair on sea by Red Nab
Black-tailed Godwit - two by OE saltmarsh creek
Twite - two flocks visited the feeder whilst topping this up: 1) flock of 14 with two unringed, then 2) a flock of 9 arrived from the north with 5 unringed birds
Med Gull - adult north wall area

Also - Mid to late morning
1 Goldeneye on boating pond Middleton Estate (a few medium patches of water still open)
Outflows area:
1 kingfisher
c150 wigeon
5 grey plover
Half moon bay:
1 jack snipe flushed from under the overhang between field and shore. First I've ever seen here.

An intensive search revealed no moths in the trap - surely the end of the unexpected  mid-December 'run'?

Friday, 17 December 2010

.........and even more south of the harbour!

Heysham Obs
Hard work today - having to 'assess' the hordes of birds just after the neap tide off Ocean Edge - quite a spectacle with a huge counters nightmare of mixed Knot/Barwit (this is where the missing Lune ones are) and Dunlin with a few Grey Plover

Black-tailed Godwit - scarce this back end with a count of 8 off OE actually quite notable!
Med Gull - adult red nab, adult north wall
Twite - 28 in short visit to feeder (3 unringed)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

More south of the harbour coverage

An emphatic 'no' for enabling comments!

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge most of the day on & off
Med Gull - adult briefly on Red Nab, 1CY behind the IOM ferry near port
Kittiwake - adult distantly behind the IOM passenger ferry but flew back out c1/2 mile south of wooden jetty
Ringed Plover - 23, but no colour-ringed birds - looks like the Snettisham-ringed wintering bird may be no more

one Wnter Moth

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Some decent ringing recoveries!

Heysham Obs
Reed Warbler
Z49451 1CY female  19.08.09  Handarribia (Guipuzcoa) Spain 43 21N 1 40W
Caught by ringer  12.07.10 Middleton NR  1186 km N

This was breeding in the small circular reedbed formed over a poorly-drained 'pit' dating from the oil depot days! 

BXC640  1CY  21.September.08  Middleton NR
Dead 06.05.10  Batschuns Vorarlberg Austria 47 16N 9 40E 1158 km SE

The first recovery of any species from this area in Austria. Presumably a north Scandinavian bird on more direct spring passage when this was terminated?

Willow Warbler
ARY109 Juvenile    12.07.10     Middleton NR
Dead hitting glass 08.08.10 Congreave (Derbyshire) 124 km SE

CDR913 1CY male   12.10.10   Heysham
Caught by ringer   20.11.10 Finningley Doncaster (South Yorkshire) 140 km ESE in 29 days

R687685 1CY male   01.11.08   Heysham
Retrap   04.02.09   Heysham
Caught by ringer  24.09.10 Clachtoll Lochinver (Highland) 485 km NNW
Retrap    31.10.10   Heysham

We didnt realise that we had caught this bird again this autumn until the ringing returns were received from the BTO!  This is the most northerly presumed breeding site for 'our' Twite

Despite a fair amount of time spent on the south side of the harbour, the only sightings of interest today, apart from over 300 Shelduck, were

Golden Plover - These are rare on the deck in the recording area so three along the shore by the old Pontins site was notable - they then flew inland

Med Gull - ad behind the Clipper Point

One Winter Moth

Jack Snipe the hard way

Heysham Obs
Did some coastal survey work today and for the sake of "completeness", this included slithering around in the spartina on Ocean Edge saltmarsh. 

Jack Snipe - one OE saltmarsh
Twite - 52 OE saltmarsh
Reed Bunting - 3 OE saltmarsh
Meadow Pipit - one along foreshore OE
Med Gull - adult seen distantly following IOM ferry

No time to cover the north side of harbour

Another December Moth!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Another novelty!

Heysham Obs
Judging by the noise(s), at least one Lapwing was nocturnally present on the 'plateau' this evening - a large area of suitable mown flower-rich grassland in the centre of Heysham NR. This follows 3-4 birds feeding on the short grass by the office during the first of the cold spells this winter - it is 'warmed' by the sunlight for most of the day

One Winter Moth in the trap - the last moth of the year?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Frosty Again

Ringing session by the hut produced plenty of retrapped birds and new birds as follows:
Blue Tit - 1
Blackbird  - 1
Goldfinch - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Greenfinch - 5

North Harbour Wall
Twite - 15 on feed, seen on brief visit towards midday (together with arriving fishermen)

Just one Winter Moth


Saturday, 11 December 2010

December Moths living up to their name at last

North Harbour Wall
Twite - 46 birds feeding in a fairly orderly flock.  All ringed, except c6, with green/white or red/white colours.

December Moth - 4 - this is almost equal to the total of all-time previous records from here and coincides with a very unexpected emergence during the last two mild nights producing e.g. 22 at Millhouses (Wray), including two mating pairs last night (trap not set previous evening) and 'several' at mid-Lancs sites.  Given that it "normally" appears in late October throughout November but, in the last few years, over by early December, we assumed that the pre-cold weather emergence had comprised the full complement of this year's moths.  Wrong!   Also at Millhouses, a fresh Yellow-line Quaker was unexpected and must have just 'missed' the mild emergence period in early-mid November  
Winter Moth - 5

Friday, 10 December 2010


Heysham Obs
Back to dull, warm westerlies with not a trace of snow left on the reserve.  A very quick response to the change in fortunes produced  2 Mottled Umber, 4 Winter Moth and 2-3 'mossies' in the moth trap.  This follows last night's trawling the narrow road at Mealbank, nr Wray, the best site I know for moths during the winter months, and seeing a temperature rise of sixteen degrees from the previous evening's 'driving on gears' and single Winter Moth and Scarce Umber

North wall
2 x adult Med Gull

Ocean Edge
Black-tailed Godwit - 4 - first for a bit

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Short ringing session

Heysham Obs
The feeder nets were set for a short time as the snow melted before our eyes.  Average weights were about 2-4 grams more than usual and the catch saw several retrap tit species & a local Robin, but all the rest of the birds were unringed: single Brambling, 5 Greenfinch, 2 Chaffinch & a Dunnock.  Despite rapidly improving conditions, the nets were taken down after 1.5hrs to allow plenty of time for any birds which might have been put off visiting the feeders to feed.  In this respect, there were plenty of net-familiarised tits feeding & avoiding capture and all the small number of finches appeared to be unringed birds, as has been the pattern all autumn.

North wall
Twite - at least 50 on the seed but intermittent with a lot of disturbance nearby
Med Gull - 2 x Ad & 1CY patrolling the north wall - the 1CY likes perching on lampposts

Wooden Jetty
Purple Sandpiper - one

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Minor displacement megas

Please can observers get out as much as you can around the British Energy/EDF-owned area in this weather so we can try and bolster the BTO challenge species list before the end of the year.  Thanks.  

Heysham Obs
This is the best weather for trying to increase the BTO challenge list as quite a few birds are in places they shouldn't be.  Also good for atlas records from otherwise rather limited suitable habitat (or even dry land in any form!).  Pity we cant count fly-overs (Goosander).  Real shame I couldnt complement Sean's vigil by grilling the nature reserve/inland parts of the BTO area

Woodcock - absolute mega for the mound and therefore SD36V was one observed being flushed by a dog, then flying inland towards Heysham NR
Purple Sandpiper - again just the single on the wooden jetty (& 32 Turnstone)
Skylark - 2 on the waste ground in SD35Z by the wooden jetty - great record!!
Med Gull - two adults and the recently elusive (but surely now wintering) 1CY seen around the harbour mouth
Goosander - flock of 5 high to the south over the harbour mouth
Linnet - one around harbour mouth briefly
Siskin - one flew south as seen at harbour mouth
Kingfisher - one or more was recorded in SD46A, 45E and 35Z
Twite - max of just 11, but an angler's dog in place
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 35 SW
Tufted Duck - a narrow miss for the BTO challenge with a pair remaining on the sea on the north side of the harbour before flying into the bay - a good SD36V record
Bar-tailed Godwit - impressive low tide count of 750 to the south of the harbour
Grey Plover - impressive (for this time of year and the numbers actually to the north of the harbour) was c120 duirng the incoming tide period
Lapwing - 4 on the 'sun-warmed' grass by the NR office (obvious signs of stress)

Late news:  a female/imm Pheasant within SD46A crossing the Heysham end of the bypass last FRIDAY

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A Quiet Day

No news for today - pity as there is a lot of cold-weather displacement at the moment & implicitly, no serious searches made for Sunday's Long-tailed Ducks.  May be some time to look tomorrow, before the sea conditions become rough & unhelpful.

Twite update
On 5th Deecmber, two Heysham-ringed birds seen and photograhed at Grange-over-Sands, one ringed this autumn and one ringed during the last winter period.  Preliminary info. suggests that there was also a Machrihanish-ringed bird and one from Askam-in-Furness in the same flock.  Clearly this flock needs further grilling - this is a complete novelty in terms of location and direction of movement

It begs the question of whether there are any at a site between the two with previous 'history' = Bolton-le-Sands saltmarsh?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Wader Day

Water Rail disturbed on edge of marsh by the alder copse. Two woodcock flushed, one at the back of the marsh on the main reserve and the other in the shelter belt in the Nature Park. Two snipe feeding on the grassland by the office late afternoon.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Chainsaw Day at Heysham

North Harbour Wall
The following taken from local Bird Club website:
Red-breasted Merganser - 2
Long Tailed Duck - 2 (1 male & 1 female/immature)
Mediterranean Gulls - 3 (2 adult & 1 first winter)
Twite - 26. Feed replenished at 09.00 when only 2 seen but no time to wait for return of flock.

From Pete/Malcolm
Middleton Nature Reserve
Moorhen - 1
Woodcock - 2
Reed Bunting - 1
Ocean Edge
Jack Snipe - 1
Reed Bunting - 4
Red Nab
Red-breasted Merganser - 5
Wigeon - 71

Roe Deer - 3 seen together mid-morning on Heysham Nature Reserve below class room bank opposite Pagoda path. (ajd)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Dabbling displacement

Please could others keep the website up to date Sunday to Tuesday inclusive, please.  Thanks.

Heysham Obs
Nice additions to the BTO Business Challenge (seriously deficient in common ducks as Middleton ponds dont count!)

Red Nab
Gadwall - pair with Wigeon
Teal - 2 on Red Nab, 3 on sea off Ocean Edge (all males)
Med Gull - one adult

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 1

Med Gull - one adult

North wall
c60 Twite, but only 15 seen on the ground (4 unringed and one with pale blue over split yellow/blue - the oldest bird we are aware of at the moment)

Moneyclose Lane traffic lights area/NE corner reserve
Waxwing - 2 on top of willow at about 1220hrs

Friday, 3 December 2010

Like gulls on a rubbish tip

Heysham Obs
Very short visit

North harbour wall
The Twite 'bear-pit' was in full swing when I arrived with 68 Twite attempting to feed on quite a small area of available food.   The situation was rectified with the food added to and spread out

Twite - 68, c14 unringed, one Machrihanish-ringed bird, at least 8 ringed prior to this winter, rest recently ringed
Linnet - perhaps surprisingly, none with the above
Med Gull - adult along seawall

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Twite battle for food

Heysham Obs
The feeding area was limited by the snow and there was a veritable noisy, bad-tempered scrum of Twite - more like the behaviour in spring as the territorial hormones get going

North harbour wall
Twite - 38, all but 3 ringed
Med Gull - single adult
Red-throated Diver - one offshore (& 15 Great-crested Grebe in the 20 minutes observation of dropping tide)

Early pm circuit of Heysham NR
Much reduced thrushes (only 15 Blackbird seen) with the only 'notable' being calling Water Rail(s) by the dipping pond.  A Long-tailed Tit flock only comprised three birds - surely not decimated this early in the mini-ice-age part 2?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A wary eye on the north-easterly sky

Heysham Obs
Some minor displacement again, mainly negative (e.g. Twite & inshore waders)

Mute Swan - imm in the harbour
Skylark - 2 grounded at Red Nab
Song Thrush - one north wall mound, 3 reserve
Redwing - one Moneyclose Lane, 5 reserve
Blackbird - 35 again on reserve
Siskin - 6 reserve
Med Gull - adult harbour mouth, adult on mudflats off Red Nab

***23 Twite back on the food early afternoon

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Distant Red-throat

Heysham Obs
No Twite, hardly any Knot, two disgruntled photographers and a way out of range Red-throated Diver were all today had to offer coast-wise

Heysham NR
Blackbird - 35 - influx
Redwing - 3
Siskin - 7

2 Waxwings NE corner of Pine Lake 1040hrs, then flew towards Borwick, but nothing much of interest on the lake other than displaced Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal and two Little Grebe

Monday, 29 November 2010


LDBWS meeting at Hornby tonight is cancelled due to weather.  Sorry, but last night's snow was not forecasted until the last minute & more now possible (=understatement = now hammering down & drifting at High Tatham 2130hrs)

Heysham Obs
Pheasant on the BTO business challenge list - wasnt expecting this dramatic cold-weather movement - male by the office today

North wall
Robin on feeder
Rock Pipit below wall
Ad Med Gull offshore
27000-30000 Knot, depending which way round you counted them
NO Twite, despite walk round mound

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Frozen wastes

Heysham Obs
North wall
Twite - 65
Song Thrush - 1

HN Reserve
Very little around the feeders
Pink-footed Goose - c180 SE

ElsewhereNo sign Waxwings along 46A section of  bypass but 3 by the Overton roundabout late morning

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Byrd scaring

Heysham Obs
One of the problem with Merivas is that the radio can come on full blast when the engine is started, despite the volume having been previously turned down!   Twite dont like 'Turn, turn, turn'!

North harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - one on the skeer below the south wall lighthouse until disturbed by dredger
Twite - maximum of 66 seen, including about 11-15 unringed birds and two from Machrihanish Bird Observatory on the Mull of Kintyre.  Whether these are the two already caught and identified this autumn is unknown.  I suspect that most of these birds have been driven from nearby Ocean Edge saltmarsh by frozen conditions and therefore, as expected, the vast majority of the increase involved birds already ringed this autumn, joining the older 'red over white' birds more loyal to the north harbour wall
Linnet - 5 with above
Meadow Pipit - one
Rock Pipit - one heard in the direction of the wooden jetty

Nothing of interest on the sea & no Meds seen at low tide

Harbour to Ocean Edge and back (& Pete Cook)
Good exercise but useless for birds, with nothing to add to Malcolm's morning visit
Little Egret - one Red Nab
Twinnets - about 30, less than recently (see above), majority Twite
Reed Bunting - 2
Shelduck - 97
Wigeon - 149

Middleton NR
Frozen: 2 Mute Swan, 3 Coot, 1 Moorhen and 5 Snipe

Heysham bypass this end
Waxwing - flock of 6 initially in the Obs recording area right by the bypass roundabout (46A), then moving nearer the second roundabout (46F) [thanks Louise for noticing the birds just after I drove past them!].  At least two late afternoon 'on' Overton roundabout after no sign at the Heysham end of the bypass

Friday, 26 November 2010


Heysham Obs
North wall full of very pleasant friendly regular anglers, plus the usual awkward character in a camper van blocking the single track road.  No Twite or Meds seen

Nothing of obvious note whilst filling up the reserve feeders

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Wot a lot of knot

Heysham Obs
Nothing individually startling today, but the carpet of Knot below the north harbour wall on the incoming tide was the best I have seen there.  Peaked at about 33,000, then 5,000 flew towards the Sunny Slopes groyne.  I went through as many as I could with the scope (or as many rapidly moving things as my eyes could cope with) and I couldnt find a single colour-ringed or flagged bird - really unlucky selection of birds, I suspect. Good u-tube material?

Also significant were up to 400 Bar-tailed Godwit on the outer tideline south of the harbourmouth, along with 210 Grey Plover and 1,700 Dunlin

Little Egret - one flew north past the harbour
Pink-footed Goose - 40 SE
Twite - just 8 plus a Linnet on the seed in the early morning

No Waxwings on a suburban SD46A circuit - best berries are by Trumacar school, but it really doesnt look like we have had any flocks here during the last two days

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Coast to coast

Goldcrest dog-track today - thanks Janet

The coast on both sides of the harbour was given some perhaps overdue (in the case of Red Nab/OE saltmarsh) attention on the incoming tide

Red Nab
Knot - 12,500
Oystercatcher - 1,350
Wigeon - 137
Curlew - 6
Turnstone - 15
Grey Plover - 2
Red-breasted Merganser - 1
Cormorant - 2
Black-headed Gull - 255
Great Black-backed Gull - 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 3
Herring Gull - 22
Common Gull - 1

OE saltmarsh/shingle
Dunlin - 112
Ringed Plover - 17 - no sign of colour-ringed bird this winter so far
Lapwing - 44
Oystercatcher - 31
Redshank - 18
Snipe - c35
Jack Snipe - 2, poss 3
Twite - c45
Linnet - c5
Rock Pipit - 1
Black-headed Gull - 17
Lesser BB Gull 5
Herring Gull - 2
350 Knot landed for a short time before going to Red Nab

North harbour wall/wooden jetty (not a full count)
Purple Sandpiper - one, looked like adult, but distant
Turnstone - 33
Med Gull - 2 adults (one Czech-ringed) with no sign of 1CY
Twite - 23 - not on seed; too much activity in the Centrica compound (14.00 - 12 on seed, of which 3 unringed. ajd)
Nothing of interest seen on the distant parts of the sea

A short tour of the Kingsway & new estate in the NE sector of the recording area (46A) failed to reveal any Waxwings (see late posting for yesterday)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Late quality migrant trickle

Heysham Obs
Some decent birds this morning on a dawn(ish) to late morning visit with mist nets in the office area

Office area 0745-1200
Snow Bunting - 1 south-south east at 1005 with 2 Meadow Pipit - suspect they were flushed from the mound area on the north wall (didnt walk it this morning!)
Tree Sparrow - one by the feeders early morning
Waxwing - heard distantly in flight to the north at about 0845hrs but trees in the way of any visual contact - no sign on the very few berries left in the power station area
Info later received of 5 nearby, feeding in a rowan tree for a short time, at 1145hrs (N end of Kingsway) - treat as presumably the same? (thanks Doreen)
Skylark - c10 SE (not all seen). 
Rock Pipit - one flew north 0800hrs
Greenfinch - all nine of the birds caught were unringed!
Tit spp. - in contrast, all those trapped were already ringed, including three consecutively ringed Long-tailed Tit obviously staying together
Thrushes - not surprisingly, no evidence of any new arrivals after a clear moonlit night with only 25 or so Blackbird and 2 Song Thrush seen on the reserve
Robin - unringed bird caught
Dunnock - ditto

Monday, 22 November 2010

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall/Middleton/reserve
Twite - 23 trapped (10 unringed, 12 retraps, one control from Machrihanish which we have already caught this autumn)
Goldfinch - one ringed north wall, flock of 17 on Middleton NR
Blackbird - c30 reserve
Chiffchaff - Scandinavian-type bird Middleton - sharp 'swee' call
Siskin - one with Goldfinch at Middleton
Purple Sandpiper - one wooden jetty
Song Thrush - 3 reserve
Redwing - 6 reserve
Pink-footed Goose - c150 high to south about midday
Med Gull - ad on Middleton model boat pond nr high tide
Skylark - 1 south-east

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Quick whip round

Heysham Obs
The intention was to cover the mound area/harbour mouth/twite in the very short time available, prior to heading for the birdfair via the NR office, but an angler-owned 4-wheel drive, whose engine mysteriously refused to start, was blocking the single track road.  No comment.   Plan B was a trawl round the reserve.  This saw a reduced number of thrushes compared to the last check and yesterday's south-easterly unfortunately passed us by without any coverage (see Walney, Hilbre, Bardsey etc.).  Maybe the freezing cold east/north-easterlies might produce a last fling this week, but the forecast for Heysham seems to be too much north and not enough east, certainly for our most "needed" species for the BTO challenge, Black Redstart.

Reserve 0915-0945hrs
Blackbird - c30
Song Thrush - 5
Siskin - flock of 11 alder copse
Meadow Pipit - flock of 5 at the northern end of the tank farm
Skylark - 2 separately SE on 'vis mig'

Saturday, 20 November 2010


No reports yet during potentially interesting late autumn migration weather

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fine Morning but where were the Twite?


North Harbour Wall
Twite: 2 trapped soon after dawn, 5 others only seen.
Purple Sandpiper: 1 on wooden jetty

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Cold South-easterly Wind

No Reports so far.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The day that time will probably forget

Heysham Obs
Foul, wet south-easterly - the sort which sometimes produces bedraggled Black Redstarts...or Desert Wheatears for the optimistic dreamers.  Some preliminary analysis of this year's CES results available at

This includes contributions from our sites at Heysham NR and Middleton NR.  A notable correlation with our findings has been the serious reduction of adult Greenfinch (trich. disease), counterbalanced by excellent productivity.  Therefore a majority of the above-average 250+ ringed at Heysham this year were 1CY's during August-October.

North harbour wall
Twite - an Askam-ringed bird for the first time this autumn, but I didnt definitely see the split ring properly, but looked like yellow over green/white, no sign of the two Machrihanish birds, at least 5 out of the 27 ringed birds were red/white, 10-11 unringed
Linnet - 5-6
Goldfinch - 1
Med Gull - adult

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - 2CY on the mudflats
Meadow Pipit - 1

This site does not usually comment on issues, but can birders who can't afford/be bothered to own a pager, yet go and see rare/scarce birds, please make sure they are in full possession of the access arrangements before entering sites.  Thanks.

Good numbers of grounded thrushes but no vis

Heysham Obs
A short ringing session by the office should in retrospect have included some other nets to obtain a reasonable thrush catch.  Indeed, 5 long-winged continental Blackbirds were caught in the feeder nets with the same number escaping as is their want.  A walk round the reserve wetlands to check for Cetti's Warbler produced a good number of grounded thrushes, but little else of interest

Heysham NR
Blackbird - c40 (those caught suggested 2:3 ratio of new birds/off-passage)
Redwing - c40
Song Thrush - 5
Skylark - 1 SE, the only absolutely definite vis mig!
Chaffinch - 5 early on S/SW
Goldfinch - flock of 25 high to SW may have been on vis mig
Wren - at least 7 in the wetland areas

Late news for yesterday
Chiffchaff - silent 'brown' bird Middleton NR
Water Rail - 2+ Middleton NR

Monday, 15 November 2010

A Frosty Morning brings a second Twite from Scotland


North Harbour Wall
Twite: 40 birds around the feeding area this morning. Of these, 35 were trapped (5 Retraps from previous winter periods, 2 'controls', 22 new birds ringed).  The 'controlled' birds were two individuals trapped and ringed at Machrihanish Bird Obs during this autumn - 1 previously caught 24/25 Oct plus 1 additional.
Goldfinch : 2 retrapped, 1 of these ringed at Middleton on 23/08/2010 & the other at Heysham on 22/08/2010
Red throated diver: 1 floating out with the tide reported to me by a visiting birder.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Its still happening early morning

Heysham  Obs
There is some pretty decent migrant weather coming up with a Biscayan depression pulling in some nice easterlies Saturday onwards - anyone able to cover Saturday morning (note the Barred Warbler at Fleetwood today (Monday) plus a significant Twite arrival which Alan will post on later)

Ringing recoveries
An overshooting Twite ringed at Heysham on 21/10/2010 as a 1 CY Male was caught 'back to the north-west' at Askam-in-Furness, Duddon estuary on 12th November.  This assumes of course that it is of western Scottish origin and not one of the very few Pennine birds which has carried on roughly in the same direction whence it came

Some fairly unremarkable returns from the summer with our first and long overdue Lesser Whitethroat control being particularly disappointing - it was from Rossall!!!!

Office area from dawn
Woodcock - one on the grass by the office and another in the mist net ride at dawn
Redwing - at least 10 at dawn & 8 later at Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
Blackbird - minimum 20 at dawn
Song Thrush - at least 3 at dawn
Waxwing - one(?) flew down Moneyclose Lane towards Ocean Edge, calling, at c0900hrs
Chaffinch - 15 SW dawn to o915hrs
Greenfinch - 6 as above
Brambling - one as above

North wall/harbour (thanks Tom)
Twite - 20
Meadow Pipit - 2
Med Gull - single adult
Guillemot - one by the waterfall in harbour (& GCGrebe)

Tawny Owl heard from Westmoor Grove (therefore audible from reserve) at 0630hrs (thanks Doreen)
Carrion Crow - gathering of 19 on Middleton NR

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The calm AFTER the storm

Went to look for storm-blown waifs and strays in the harbour and along the shore but everything seemed to have been blown away!  The only birds of note along the North Harbour Wall and in the harbour were:

Rock Pipit - 1
Twite - 8
Linnet - 2
Great-crested Grebe - 1 catching fish below the "waterfall" in the harbour
Bar-tailed Godwit - 9 near Near Naze

Friday, 12 November 2010

Early morning storm rewards

Heysham Obs
The interesting stuff was all in the early morning, with later seawatching 'just' a slow procession of Kittiwakes and Little Gulls

North wall 0800-1115hrs
Kittiwake - 130 in, 33 out, 5 across/out (i.e. not going in!)
Pomarine Skua - probable adult light morph 'in' chasing herring Gull, but distant at 0820, 2 juveniles together 'in' at 0915
Skua spp - very dark juvenile but very distant 'in' at 0930, not a Bonxie
Long-tailed Duck - female/imm 'out' at 0845hrs
Shelduck - 14 out
Pintail - flock of 5 out
Little Gull - 18 adult, one 2CY out, all mid-morning onwards
Goldeneye - one out, then in
Fulmar - one across/out
Twite - c10 (2 unringed)

Leach's Petrel off Battery car park at c0900hrs, but not seen to fly out past Heysham.  Bonxie off JBP very early morning

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Bonxie heralds stormy conditions

Heysham Obs
What a contrast to yesterday!  The sea was covered 1115-1150hrs, then about an hour late afternoon.  In the meantime a fairly hairy walk around the reserve/harbour/outfalls/dog track circuit with the wind changing direction half way round and increasing to did the waves & spray!  

Bonxie - one blogging offshore at 1130hrs, then floated into bay
Pintail - 4+c20 out
Shelduck - three out
Kittiwake - 2 in lunchtime, 20+1+47 in later, 2 x 1CY outfalls, 1 x ad by waterfall in harbour
Little Gull - ad outfalls
Twite - ONE windblown bird at the feeder!
Med Gull - adult Red Nab pre-tide, 1CY harbour area

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

In situ

Heysham Obs
Three hours this morning didnt produce a great deal of movement as reflected in the small amount of new birds from brief ringing activities plus lack of vis.

North wall/mound
Nothing other than Twite & one Linnet (per John Mason)
Twite - c32 but only 4 out of 22 caught were unringed birds

Ocean Edge saltmarsh/beach
Twite - 47
Linnet - 17+
Little Egret - one

Heysham N reserve 0730-0945
Chiffchaff - collybita-type caught & ringed with zero fat score
Blackbird - perhaps 50-60 on reserve plus another 20-30 along the dog track
Redwing - c10, mainly tank farm
Chaffinch - 32 SW
Siskin - 13+16 S
Goldfinch - 5 S

Middleton NR
Wren - at least 11 (no Cetti's Warblers in pretty thorough search in good conditions)
Grey Wagtail - 1
Water Rail - 2+
Teal - 3

Red-line Quaker & Angle Shades

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Decent coverage

Heysham Obs
North wall area most of the day (thanks Sean)
Med Gull - 3 adults & 1CY
Twite - 41
Rock Pipit - 2
Siskin - 11+9 S
Chaffinch - 1 S
Sparrowhawk - one heading north over the sands!
Stock Dove - 3 in from the north, then inland east
R.B. Merganser - 7 offshore

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Rock Pipit 4, plus another 'in-off'
Twite - 43
Linnet - 27 with above; all on beach by the saltmarsh
Little Egret - 1
Wigeon - 42
Med Gull - adult

Reserve area (NE corner only checked in late afternoon)/dog track/railway line
Chiffchaff - 2 along railway line - one a Scandinavian-like bird, the other typical collybita, but no calls heard, collybita in NE corner of reserve late pm (above bird?)
Blackbird - 35-40 reserve, 20 dog track area, 20+ railway line
Redwing - 20 railway line, 5 reserve
SongThrush - 2 reserve
Water Rail - 1-2 reserve
Woodcock - one NE corner on reserve
Siskin - one by office

Monday, 8 November 2010

Should always properly check 'interesting' weather!

Heysham Obs
A "fair-weather" walk round the reserve late afternoon produced an unprecedented number of flushed Woodcock!  Also quite a few thrushes and a nice Blackcap.....and an interesting sharp 'tac' call from the reedbed bushes (not Cettis or a Wren) which wouldnt reveal itself

North harbour wall
Med Gull - adult & 1CY
Linnet - 7 (2 with rings)
Goldfinch - 1 (unringed)
Twite - 29 (at least 13 ringed, at least 7 unringed)

Heysham N Reserve
Woodcock - 8 flushes during an afternoon walk, which only marginally detoured from the main track, involving an absolute minimum of 6 birds - highest day count for here
Blackcap - male
Redwing - 1
Blackbird - c35
SongThrush - c8

Sunday, 7 November 2010


0.05% of the Knot around the heliport this morning.  Thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
North wall dawn-1000hrs
Twite - 56-60 (41 caught; 20 new (all 1CYs) & 10 from previous winter periods & 11 from this autumn)
Linnet - 2 (one ringed)
Skylark - one grounded
Meadow Pipit - 2 grounded
Med Gull - 1CY & 2 adults around anglers

Middleton IE
No obvious movement overhead
Woodcock - one - first of autumn
Snipe (2), 2 Mute Swan, 7 Coot, 12 Moorhen, 10 Mallard, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye, 3 Teal, 4 Little Grebe

A female Migrant Hawker Middleton IE may, I think, be the latest record from here

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Heavenly migration dribble

Heysham Obs
Vis mig by the office 0730-0900
Chaffinch - c67 SW, mostly very high
Brambling - at least 2 SW
Greenfinch - at least 17 SW
Goldfinch - 6 S
Carrion Crow - 16 S in dribs & drabs - max 6 together
Pink-footed Goose - 46 SE
Whooper Swan - 7 SE really high!
Jackdaw - one flock of 30 S
Skylark - 5 SE

Arrived too late the monitor thrushes:
Song Thrush - 3 inland, one south
Redwing - - 2 inland
Blackbird - VERY few <10
Goldcrest - c5 around office area but the only one seen was ringed

North wall
Twite - 44 (20+ unringed)
Linnet - 2
Meadow Pipit - 6 at 0715hrs, including 3 which flew in-off
Shag - 1CY wooden jetty
Med Gull - 1CY patrolling

Ocean Edge
Little Gull - adult sat on sea

A few scans offshore, whilst completing the WeBS, for the likes of divers produced a complete blank

Friday, 5 November 2010

Lapland Bunting - a lesson in proper coverage

Heysham Obs
Two thirds of the way through the WeBS count, I realised that there was a heady combination of no anglers and a lot of Twite at the feeder........and the rain was holding off in the outer bay.  So a quick change of plan.  This involved setting a 'whoosh' net and one of us walking round the back of the mound and sandworks........BUT it didnt involve checking the southern edge of the weedy bank next to the Twite feeder!!

A single catch was possible before the rain and these were being ringed when the remainder of the flock appeared, was slightly spooked by a released bird and 'pulled' another bird off the abovementioned south slope which flew north on its own towards the heliport giving diagnostic dry rattles.  It must have got up from no far away than 30 metres, but there is no way of viewing this bank from the usual parking area.  I think we had better check this bank in future!  The bird had unfortunately not pitched in on the heliport grass.

North wall/mound area
Lapland Bunting - one grounded (all morning?) on the southern slope of the south bank at the sand compound but was only noticed when spooked by Twite and flying north, calling, at about 1115hrs (John Mason, Pete Marsh)
Twite - c35 (16 caught, 12 of these unringed)
Jack Snipe - one heliport
Meadow Pipit - one heliport
Goldfinch - just the one mound area
Med Gull - single adult and 1CY (surely this will winter now?)
Kittiwake - adult behind the IOM ferry
Guillemot - one half-moon bay at HT (thanks Pete)
Shag - presumed 1CY on the wooden jetty but only the head visible behind a structure!

South side
Little Gull - adult outfalls

Heysham N Reserve
Phyllosc spp - on very briefly in the office buddleia

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Nothing new in the nooks and crannies

Heysham Obs
The coastal area was walked/scanned at high tide and drew a blank other than long-stayers:

Shag - 1CY wooden jetty (hard to see!)
Little Gull - ad stage 2 outfall - the only bird on it
Twite - 23 mound, including 3 x red/white, one blue/yellow and two blue/white from previous winter periods, but only 2 which had been ringed this autumn, rest unringed
Linnet - 4 unringed birds mound
Med Gull - adult on fisher's roof

No obvious sign of any Waxwings in windy conditions

A migrant in the form of Silver Y!  Also Blastobasis lacticolella, Light-brown Apple Moth and 2 Red-line Quaker

Waxwing Sedgewick 0800 at least this morning (in LDBWS area)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Same Waxwings reappear?

Heysham Obs
It was all about S.A.D. on the radio this morning, but you have to try and be optimistic.  Birders have a bit of a double-whammy with this, especially if early November consists of high pressure out in the mid-atlantic and a useless northern depression route - no late Siberian autumn on the horizon (but absolutely no complaints about October here!).  It was really hard to combat the 'its all over end of season' blues this morning - the pass needed updating at Ocean Edge as it was the end of their main season, a power walk round the mound resulted in the first birdless soaking of the day, a seawatch produced some waves and the moth trap contained a xxxx WINTER moth - the earliest record here!   Oh, and the north harbour wall/wooden jetty was apparently named and shamed as being on the twitcher programme (see posting on LDBWS - what was the 'target'?). Positives:

Little Gull - adult stage  outfall
Twite - 15 north harbour wall
Med Gull - adult roosting on Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Even more positive was a visitation from a nice Scottish couple who informed that there were 'about a dozen' Waxwings in a tree in the primary school grounds near the bypass roundabout at about 1415hrs.  Unfortunately, it was chuck-out time as I arrived and no sign amongst the lollipops and amazingly young-looking mothers
Winter Moth (1), Epirrata (1), Red-line Quaker (1)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Well-oxygenated coastal coverage

Heysham Obs
......and well wet

From a dry heated car
Little Gull - adult stage 2 outfall
Shag - 1CY harbour entrance (NB seen in 3 x 10km squares this morning!!!!)
Twite - 10 north harbour wall (one ringed 2008, one ringed last spring, 2 ringed this autumn & remainder all appeared to be unringed

Lured outside by siren-like Grey Phal possibilities (very wet and windy coverage of south harbour and outfalls seawall)
Little Gull - adult stage 2 outfall
Shag - 1CY in the harbour
Rock Pipit - one inner end of wooden jetty

Office area
Chaffinch - 2 battled their way south quite high up
Chiffchaff - collybita-like calls from the willows just to north of office

30 minute seawatch mid-morning produced zilch, not even dross like southbound flocks of Pintail and Shelduck, which are a feature of bad late autumn seawatches

Blastobasis lacticolella is seemingly a good November record plus 3 x Red-line Quaker

Monday, 1 November 2010

Waxwings and Pallas's leaf mines

Heysham Obs
Took the whole morning off to cover the last decent migration morning for some time.  Indeed, arrived at what I thought was 0700hrs and it was 0600hrs, so it even covered the late nocturnal thrush movement!   The morning was a strange evolution of slightly different weather conditions producing slightly diferent birds e.g there was a "Skylark half-hour" mid-morning as there were clear conditions over the bay.  This window closed after about 30 minutes with the onset of a SE wind and cloud spilling in - this produced another dose of Redwings and then a flock of 12 Waxwing at 1115hrs.  The latter appeared from the south and coincided with an extremely noisy family, which erupted from a people carrier, reaching the south end of the dog track.........where there are some rowans.  They landed in the trees along Moneyclose Lane and dropped, presumably on to roadside berries there.  Not able to follow-up due to ringing and they were not seen again as afr as I am aware.  A dog-walker reported four birds with crests eating red barries near the health centre yesterday on the nearby new estate - this was checked out this afternoon & plenty of berries but no Waxwing.  The other very temporary excitement involved a phyllosc-shaped leaf with white and yellow stripes residing in a mist net!!!  Nice selection for the 'winter' atlas!!:

Office area pre-dawn to lunchtime
Chiffchaff - two - both collybita-types, one ringed
Blackcap - 1CY male ringed
Waxwing - 12 at 1115hrs - see above
Brambling - at least 5 grounded at various times
Redwing - c60 grounded first thing, then quickly inland, another arrival of c30 1115hrs -1130hrs
Blackbird - c100 early hours, then gradually melted away inland
Song Thrush - 20 or so first thing, all three ringed were very olive-coloured continental birds
Goldcrest - no evidence of any definite new arrivals round the office
Robin - one lightweight unringed bird the only migrant evidence

Vis mig
Long-tailed Tit - just the one irruptive flock this morning - 27 high to south
Waxwing - see above
Redwing - in addition to above, 14 flew hight to SW, the only birds not grounded/heading inland
Mistle Thrush - conspicuous by its complete absence as it has been on many days this autumn
Fieldfare - as above - just 2 seen at 1115hrs
Chaffinch - 73 SW +/- being temporarily grounded
Brambling - 17 SW +/- temporarily grounded
Meadow Pipit - 9 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 SE, 1 grounded briefly
Bullfinch - 2 high to S
Siskin - at least 33 S
Goldfinch - 9 S
alba Wagatil - 6 SE
Grey Wagtail - 2 around
Twite - one S
Linnet - 2 SE
Skylark - 29 SE, all 1030-1100hrs!!
Carrion Crow - 7 S

North wall
Twite - 12 on the seed mid-pm, including at least 8 unringed, 2 from previous years and one from this autumn
Linnet - one as above

Mostly thrushes (7 Blackbird, 3 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush) plus 1 Robin, 4 Greenfinch, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Long-tailed Tit (both singletons), 3 Blue Tit, 2 Chaffinch

Single Epirrata spp, Large Wainscot and Red-line Quaker

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Just three hours to pull something out of the bag

More to come, I think.

Heysham Obs
The best grounded migrant conditions of the theory.  Rain ceasing at dawn, then poor visibility & a few breaks in the cloud.  However, it was all a bit of a rush, with work to complete under the guise of nice calm conditions in 'October' in north Cumbria with the other observer deskbound from mid-morning.  A separate team was involved in catching and ringing a decent arrival of 'new' Twite

Blackbird - At least 80 on the reserve and the best area wasn't checked - 46 moved south past the office 'bush to bush' between 0800 and 0900hrs
Song Thrush - 18 as above
Redwing - just 5 by office
Goldcrest - small arrival of at least 17
Brambling - 5
Dunnock - lightweight unringed bird caught
Fieldfare - two tank farm, the only ones encountered - it seems to be an aerial exclusion zone around here for this species!
Robin - 7 'ticking' birds along the dog walk track (cf 4 singing birds).
Knot - estimated 25-30,000 off Red Nab
Little Egret - 2 Red Nab

Vis mig  0700-1040
Redwing - 53 SW
Fieldfare 7
Chaffinch - 45 SW
Brambling - 9 SW early on
Pink-footed Goose - skeins of 29, c162 and 410 south S
Grey Wagtail - 1 S (possibly blogging)
Woodpigeon - flocks of 23 plus 6 SE
Long-tailed Tit - 24 spiralled up then re-landed at Red Nab, another "large" flock headed that way, 6 were caught, ringed & released together (the only acceptable protocol with these irruptive flocks) and headed off high to SE and a further 9 were seen by the dog walk track
Linnet - 2 S
Greenfinch - 3 S
Goldfinch 8 SE
Meadow Pipit - 8 SE
Siskin 11
Bullfinch 1 SE

8 Teal, 7 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Snipe

North harbour wall
As I understand, ringing as follows: Twite 17 new & 8 retraps, including two from previous years, 2 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit and the resident Robin!

No indication that any other migrants or otherwise were around

Local mega in the form of December Moth, a just about annual scarce species in the form of Brick, then the dross in the form of Mottled Umber and a late Common Marbled Carpet

The following were on the website/pager/mobile messages:   Waxwing - 6 at Leck, Lapland Bunting - Dalton Crags,  possible candidate for AG Plover at Glasson which needs checking out asap

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Best Brambling early morning for ages!

Heysham Obs
First light to 0910hrs by office
Brambling - 72 SW
Chaffinch - 220 SW
Chaffinch and Brambling flocks not separated - 280 SW (the high ones!)
Song Thrush - 3 inland
Redwing - 9 first thing, then 2+9+6 SW
Siskin - 7 SW
Linnet - 4 SW
Twite - one SW
Woodpigeon - 13+8+5 S
Greenfinch - c15 S
Goldfinch - 17 SW
Meadow Pipit - 2 S
Blackbird - only 8 inland
Starling - just one on the SW (non roost-exit) flightline
Bullfinch - 2+1 high to south
Long-tailed Tit - unringed flock south after landing briefly
Reed Bunting - 1 S

see above re-thrushes
Goldcrest - 3 by office

North harbour wall
Merlin - female, landed on wooden jetty, then headed south
Twite - max of 33 with about 50% unringed

Friday, 29 October 2010

A useless southerly gale

Heysham Obs
..............apart from the Millhouses (nr Wray) moth trap (107 moths, including 16 Sprawler, Northern Winter Moth and Autumn Green Carpet!), none in the Heysham trap

NHW Mound area
Meadow Pipit - flock of 6 grounded
Linnet - 1
Twite - 22 (3 x red/white, 1 x dark blue/white (both these are Heysham previous winter periods), 5 or so unringed, rest either not seen well or recently ringed)
Grey Plover - one close inshore a bit unexpected

South side
Kittiwake - adult behind IOM ferry up until buoy 7, then turned
Med Gull - 1CY Heysham one outfall, adult Red Nab

Negative vis mig count at Ashley's with 3 x Collared Dove (rare here), 4 x Chaffinch, 200 Starling and NO thrushes 0755-0855!!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Short coastal visit

Heysham Obs
A short Twite-ringing session on the north wall produced 6 Twite (three retraps, two from previous years), 9 Goldfinch and 4 Linnet.  About 15 Twite were seen in total a chunk of them appear to have cleared off during the course of Tuesdays wet and windy weather (and, I'm afraid to say, a report of a dog roaming around over the high tide period)

8 Redwings were seen over the reserve at dawn
one Rock Pipit and a dawn Reed Bunting were the only other species of note along the north wall 

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Routine coastal check

Heysham Obs
The wind had dropped by the time the tide started to come in and the only offshore interest was three auk spp (prob Razorbill) flying out together, although Tony had three small Kittiwake flocks at JBP in the afternoon (max 33)

North wall
Twite - 30ish but flushed by dog walker
Goldfinch - 8+
Rock Pipit - one along seawall
Skylark - 2 in-off
Linnet - one in-off, two grounded
Med Gull - two adult in harbour, plus 1CY patrolling

South side
Little Gull - ad on mudflats next to Red Nab
Med Gull - ad just off OE saltmarsh

'Imm' Snow Bunting Far Arnside on the beach on Monday this week - thanks to visiting birders for this info.  Two Waxwings High Tatham 0820 with big Fieldfare movement (& c15 unidentified short-tailed birds accompanying early morning Fieldfare passage - the two recorded landed & called).  All the definite Starlings recorded were in separate flocks but this species could not be ruled out also admixed with the thrushes

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Heysham Obs
The much-needed BTO Business Challenge Stonechat fell today courtesy of a wet bedraggling 'power walk' circuit: reserve-office-dog track-outfalls-harbour-reserve office.   Nothing else, despite stops at the really tasty-looking bushes around the dog walk pond and scanning the non-op for black things with red tails (SE wind too localised?)

Stonechat - female nature park area
Lesser Redpoll - 2 nature park with 5 Goldfinch
Blackbird - only 5 seen!
Song Thrush - 3 migrants Red Nab was it!
Goldcrest - two by the obs tower pond the only ones
Med Gull - ad Red Nab, 1CY harbour area, later on north wall with two adults (one Czech-ringed & neither the red nab bird)
Sparrowhawk - 1CY male flew across the harbour, out to the end of the wooden jetty and then along the outfalls seawall (vis?)
Twite - 32, 12-14 unringed, 2+ from previous years, rest seemed to be from recent ringing efforts
No sign of any Shag, Arctic Tern or Little Gull (but see below)

Post-lunch drive-round
Med Gull - see above
Little Gull - adult Red Nab
Grey Wagtail - colour-ringed bird very briefly Ocean Edge floodwater (definitely ringed HNR)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Pre-dawn agonising

Heysham Obs
The last decent day for a bit for any ringing/vis mig, but both of us had mid-morning guillotines hanging over us.  Pre-dawn Goldcersts calling by the office (2 of them - if it had been more, may have changed plans).  At least 20 Redwing & a similar number of Blackbirds seeping and seeeiping respectively over the office area before dawn - not quite enough to change plans.  Reed Bunting passage at Middleton had been seriously neglected, but it was partially flooded with freezing cold water - maybe not.  So the other option was to assume that there had been an arrival of Twite in yesterdays conditions & the ringing session then was truncated anyway by anglers.  Therefore a repeat before the weather really goes off........

North wall pre-dawn to 1000hrs
Twite - c30, no evidence of a major arrival:  12 ringed, yesterdays control retrapped, c5 autumn 2010 retraps, 3 retraps from previous years.  One of the latter was somewhat tricky and would almost certainly have been identified as a 1CY male with fully adult greater coverts if it hadn't already been ringed.  Wing length of 81mm should completely rule out female yet there was absolutely no trace of pink on the rump and the white on the primaries was 'in-between' a typical male & female.  It had been ringed last autumn as a 1CY male.  Do they sometimes not acquire a pink rump until the second full moult or do some of them do without all their lives?
Linnet - 4 ringed
Goldfinch - 2 ringed
Blackbird - at least 5 heard pre-dawn
Redwing - at least 4 heard pre-dawn
Meadow Pipit - 3 blogging & 5 SE
alba Wagtail - 2 SE
Skylark - 6 SE
Swan spp - 6 distantly SE over the bay, 99% certain Whooper on structure
Med Gull - adult patrolling early on

Heysham N Reserve
See above
Chiffchaff - collybita-type calling mid-am

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Greetings from Machrihanish

Heysham Obs
A small pre-angler Twite catch (22 plus a Goldfinch) included a bird ringed this autumn on the Mull of Kintyre

This morning's male Brambling.  Thanks to John

Other sightings
Twite - c35
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - 5
Pink-footed Goose - 160+38 S
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE, 3 on mound
alba Wagtail - 3 SE
Skylark - 6 SE
Whooper Swan - 8 + 3 SE
Woodpigeon - 13N
Jackdaw - 20N

More from Dan later who was doing VP nearby

Middleton NR
Jack Snipe - 1
Tufted Duck - 7, Teal - 3, Mallard 4, Little Grebe 4

Grounded first light on reserve
Fieldfare - 2 by office
Redwing - 6 by office
Chiffchaff - one giving collybita calls
Goldcrest - 2+
Chaffinch - c20

Ovipositing pair of Common Darter Middleton NR but no Migrant Hawker left

Stoat on the north harbour wall am - went into sand compound - first record for SD36!!!

Ringing comprised 22 Twite (14 new, one control, 4 retraps from autumn 2010, 3 retraps from previous winter periods), one Goldfinch, one male Brambling and three Greenfinch

Sorry about the systematic vis mig planned for today - thought best to take advantage of the early morning angler-free conditions re-Twite ringing.  Certainly no major thrush movements over here & just the one Whooper flock over the bay (no Pinks until very high flock at 1030 over reserve)

Single Waxwing western end Thrushgill larch plantation late afternoon (to 1615hrs at least).  Female/imm Long-tailed Duck Jenny Brown's Point (see also Walney site)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Back on track?

Heysham Obs
The coverage is getting frayed at the edges as the weather doesnt exactly motivate (and the number of 'hits' to this site appear to be at their lowest-ever level).  It really is only the third week of October (but Walney pulled a Yellow-browed W out of the hat this morning!).  This seems to cover the whole western palearctic with Vincent Legrande spending yesterday afternoon asleep on Corvo as the easterlies we want dump such megas as House Martin.  At least there are some Rough-legs and Waxwings and hopefully some local Lap Bunts to look forward to this winter.  This morning saw a return to the cutting edge after yesterdays target tick-box dross, encouraged by it being a national vis mig day

Office 0800-1030hrs
Swallow - singles south 0920 and 0936 - dont think it was the same bird doing a circuit
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 75 SE 0958hrs
Coal Tit - 2 S
Song Thrush - just one south
Brambling - 1 south at 0850
Grey Wagtail - 1 heard (blogger?)
Greenfinch - absolute minimum of 38, mainly east
Dunnock - 2 high to the south at 0905 - late for fidgety behaviour here
alba Wagtail - just 3 SE
Meadow Pipit - 1+1+2+1 SE
Woodpigeon - flock of 5 SE
Fieldfare - ONE!!!! SW at 0908hrs
Goldfinch - 21 S
Chaffinch - absolute minimum of 65, mainly E

Goldcrest - 2
Blackbird - only about 15
Redwing - 1!

North wall
Twite - 29
Linnet - 8
Goldfinch - 9
Shag - 1CY on the wooden jetty

Friday, 22 October 2010

Whip round

Heysham Obs
The usual suspects were in place today during a car-based 30 minute guillotine

Little Gull - ad on mud by Stage 2 outfall
Med Gull - 1CY patrolling the north wall (crunch time for this bird - several previous lingering 1CY's have disappeared at the end of October)
Arctic Tern - juv on Stage 2 outfall
Shag - 1CY on wooden jetty
Twite - just 13 seen this morning (6 ringed)
Linnet - 9 mound
Goldfinch - 4 mound
Rock Pipit - one OE foreshore
Blackbird - arrival of c40 on reserve
Song Thrush - c10 on reserve

Feathered Ranunculus (1), Red-line Quaker (3), Angle Shades (1), Pink-barred Sallow (1)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Summed up by a sheltering Shag

Heysham Obs
Freezing cold west-north-westerly this morning didnt produce anything obvious on the sea.  The longish-staying 1CY Shag had the right idea, cowering on the lee side of the rusty tower on the end of the wooden jetty

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - adult with well-defined masks joined round the nape - not familiar with this bird
Arctic Tern - juv Heysham 2 outfall
Little Gull - adult Red Nab
Grey Plover - 2 Red Nab

Harbour area/north wall/wooden jetty
Shag - 1CY wooden jetty at high tide
Twite - 27 (including 4 from previous seasons)
Linnet - c15
Goldfinch - c8

Heysham village
Goldcrest - 3 by Beech Stores in leylandii

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Arctic Tern still hanging in

Heysham Obs
Alerted by Rob Thorpe's info that an Arctic Tern was still around on 17th (thanks Rob), todays search for flocks of Snow Buntings both grounded and overhead was abandoned as a birdless shivering zero in favour of ducks, waders, gulls and outfall checks.  Not very credible at a so-called migration site in October but better than expected!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls on incoming tide
Twite - 5 by saltmarsh the ONLY grounded shoreline passerines other than a Robin!!!
House Sparrow - 2 in the Red Nab bushes may have been wanderers from the single family group by Ocean Edge reception
Arctic Tern - juvenile stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - adult Stage 2 outfall
Med Gull - yesterdays 2CY & 1CY & Ad
Wigeon - sharp increase to 64
Black-tailed Godwit - 2 - first (noticed!) for a bit
Bar-tailed Godwit - 7

North wall area
Twite - 13
Goldfinch - c8
Linnet - c14
Meadow Pipit - 2

HNR Office
10 minutes vis mig 0815-0825 revealed:
Chaffinch - 8 SW
Goldcrest in the bushes and a count of c5 in the bushes at lunchtime. 
Blackbird - much reduced numbers from yesterday - c15
Song Thrush - c5

Unfortunately the wind direction (NNW) is the worst for any ringing at Heysham and it was felt to be marginally unethical with the possibility of occasional gusts blowing birds around, so no nets were set, seemingly unlike everywhere else!  Even more unfortunately, the short-term forecast looks awful = not really good enough for seabirds (winds have to be VERY strong & consistently WSW/W in late October) but far too windy for any ringing/passerine movements

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Late arrival reveals a Blackbird influx

Heysham Obs
First decent influx of continental Blackbirds today with 45-50 on a walk round the reserve area at lunchtime! 

Grounded around reserve at lunchtime
Redwing - 4
Song Thrush - 4
Blackbird - 45-50
Chaffinch - 10
Treecreeper - 1
Goldcrest - 2

North wall/harbour area (thanks to Sean for last two sightings)
Med Gull - ad & 1CY north wall, well-marked 2CY stage one outfall
Twite - 8 including at least 4 unringed and one pale blue/red-white and one ringed the other day
Linnet - 9 north wall
Goldfinch - 8 north wall
Meadow Pipit - 4 north wall - 2 in-off
Wren - one north wall - no other small passerines other than the resident two Robins
Skylark - one 'in-off'
Shag - 1CY roosting with Oystercatchers by the heliport on seawall
Merlin - female 'in-off' then over the wooden jetty & inland

Red Admiral butterfly by the officve and a nice pic of the only dragonfly seen today - a female Common Darter taken by Janet near Ocean Edge.  Thanks

Monday, 18 October 2010

Little to Report from a Brief Visit

N Harbour Wall
Small Twite/Linnet flock on feeding area - Twite 3, Linnet 14, probably a few others around. All in windy and slightly drizzly conditions.
Med Gull - 1adult patrolling NHW.

Moths - Yellow-line Quaker in hut trap. This is only the second record here (although quite common and widespread elsewhere), the first being in 1996, I think.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Varied vis

Heysham Obs
Office area 0725-0925
Pink-footed Goose - 38 (f) N
Chaffinch - 154 SW, mostly before the cloud rolled in at about 0815hrs
Redwing - 45+2+6 SW
Song Thrush - 5+2+1+2+2 S, 14 out of bushes and east in singletons
Blackbird - little evidence of any new migrants
Reed Bunting - 2 S
Coal Tit - 4+6+4 S
Goldfinch - 2 S
House Sparrow/Richard's Pipit type call - twice very high heading south at 0850 but couldnt see bird
Skylark - 1 SE
Greenfinch - 7 SW
Linnet - 2 SW
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
Common Buzzard - one high over Heysham village drifted NE
Jackdaw - flock of 89 S
Carrion Crow 5 (with Jackdaw)+2+1+2+3 purposefully south
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
Brambling - 2 SW

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bits and bobs highlighted by adventurous Blue Tits!

Please could others update the site tomorrow and Monday.  Thanks

Heysham Obs
Vis mig & grounded reserve area
Just a trickle of 'conventional' vis
Chaffinch - 20 SW
Meadow Pipit - 8 SE
Song Thrush - c15 grounded on reserve (4 ringed & one escaped)
Robin - 4 new arrivals ringed
Blackbird - little evidence of fall & only 2 ringed
Blackcap - very heavy off-passage bird ringed
Goldcrest - quite a few first thing but only one ringed (10-15)
Redwing - c15 first thing
Pink-footed Goose - flock heard
alba wagtail - 5 SE
Blue Tit - flock of 25 high to the south over the mound, then the wheel!
Rock Pipit - one Heysham Head

Grounded on the mound & area
Song Thrush - 3
Dunnock - 2
Wren - 2
Meadow Pipit - 22
alba Wagtail - 5
Linnet - 39
Twite - 5 (including two birds ringed in previous years (red/white & blue/white)).   There is a posting on birdforum about Linnet/Twite at Heysham.  Could "DerekG" please contact me on  Thanks.
Wheatear - 1

Med Gull - 1CY railings, adult behind dredger
Shag - surprisingly a 1CY on jetty then flew into bay
Kingfisher - one reserve

Redwing (2), Song Thrush (4), Kingfisher (1), Long-tailed Tit (2), Greenfinch (5), Chaffinch (2), Blackbird (2), Dunnock (1), Robin (4), Coal Tit (1), Blue Tit (1), Goldcrest (1), Wren (3), Blackcap (1).  Amazing lack of tit captures, given the number wandering around!

Friday, 15 October 2010

...........and now we look to the north-west

Heysham Obs
.....from whence come Whooper Swans, more Pinkfeet, belated Meadow Pipits and 'our' Scottish Twite.......& hopefully another Snow & Lap Bunt or two.  Tomorrow, however, will theoretically see the last 'corridor to Scandinavia', albeit a pretty weak one, for a bit and the radar & vis mig reports suggest a thrush passage tomorrow.  Work in north Cumbria today gave c1000 SW-bound thrushes (via the Tyne gap) in two hours over midday - about 5:4 Fieldfare:Redwing.  We'll see what happens here - it certainly wasnt at Thrushgill this evening

Office vis mig 0730-0800
Chaffinch - 6 SW
Song Thrush - 3 grounded, then inland
Blackbird - 5 grounded then inland
Redwing - 1 SW
Greenfinch - 2 SW

NHW mound area early morning
Meadow Pipit (5), alba Wagtail (7), Linnet (21), Twite (2), Wheatear (1), (continental) Blackbird (2), Rock Pipit (1), plus the two resident Robin.

3 Twite and 8 (out of a flock of 14) Linnet caught by Alan Draper mid/late afternoon

A really good catch for here at this time of year comprising 17 Red-line Quaker, 9 Pink-barred Sallow, Large Wainscot, 4 Silver Y, Dark Chestnut, Parsnip Moth, 3 Epirrata spp, Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Mottled Umber, Feathered Thorn. The forecast suggests this might be twice as many moths as for the rest of the year put together!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Siberian Chiffchaff

Heysham Obs
Not quite so productive this morning, especially vis from the east, with the rather high-layered cloud and perhaps too much north in the wind on both sides of the country.  The two most interesting birds in the nets, a very lightweight orange Robin and the Siberian Chiffchaff both turned up after the thickest darkest piece of cloud & associated spits.  Tom found the best diurnal migrant - a Yellowhammer by the anemometer.  Thanks to Emma for the pics below

..........Trapped and ringed at 1100hrs today.  The key thing was the call - a soft 'pew' like a weak high-pitched Bullfinch.  The plumage (and biometrics) also filled the tick boxes.  Photos are notoriously deceptive - please accept there was absolutely no green tinge to the mantle/rump/head.  We have had a good variety of Chiffchaffs here over the years including some with similar plumage but no calls heard

Song Thrush - 7
Goldcrest - 10
Rock Pipit - 1
Chiffchaff - 3-4
Siberian Chiffchaff - 1
Robin - an orange bird caught weighing 14.8 grams just after very light shower!
Blackbird - c20
Redwing - 15
Mistle Thrush - 11
Yellowhammer - grounded by the anemometer then headed ESE
Water Rail - one by dipping pond
Fieldfare - single grounded  by dipping poind, then headed south

Redpoll - 2 S
Linnet - 2 S
Chaffinch - 31 SW
Grey Wagtail - 1 S
Siskin - 2 S
alba Wagtail - 13 SE
Meadow Pipit - 38 SE
Goldfinch - 4 S
Raven - two flew high out to sea, then u-turned at the tideline & headed inland
Sparrowhawk - male 'in-off' then SE
Coal Tit - 3 S
Pink-footed Goose 72 S early morning

Middleton IE (BE strip)
Garden Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
North wall
Med Gull - 2 adults
Meadow Pipit - 26 grounded
Linnet - 8 grounded
Blackbird - 1

Ringing (all HNR)
From memory - perhaps one or two numbers wrong!  Goldcrest (1), Wren (2), Greenfinch (10), Blue Tit (3), Dunnock (1), Robin (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Siberian Chiffchaff (1), Treecreeper (1 - yet another - I think this is about 10 since the comment after the July one that this would be the first and last of the year!), Chaffinch (4), Long-tailed Tit (4)

Dark Chestnut is a good record for here & first Mottled Umber of the autumn

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Yellow-browed Warbler

Heysham Obs
Ever been ashamed of finding (or "  " in this case) a decent bird?!  Even worse than being a mystery miscreant on mega-private land or finding something of national importance when you should have been at work 100 miles away (I think this happened to someone with a Norfolk Fan-tailed Warbler??) is letting one go through poor judgement from a mist net.  I forgot the furling stick whilst setting the 'top nets' & double-looped one end which meant, of course it was a bit difficult to lower the net for a top-shelf bird, which was exactly where it should have been right above a Yellow-browed Warbler tape!  However it was still well within reaching range but the recent fog had resulted in slightly chilled hands.........

Having escaped from mist net at 0930hrs, the Yellow-browed Warbler was relocated by Tom Wilmer below the Obs Tower and showed well for about 45 minutes before becoming elusive and allowing only one further glimpse.  One of the observers was a perfectly timed Jon Carter!

Quite an interesting morning with complete clarity at dawn and much reduced thrush and finch passage seemingly heralding a 'duff' morning.  Then low cloud rolled in from the north-east, seemed to 'drop' the Yellow-browed along with a sprinkling of 'orange' Robins, a few Goldcrest & the odd new Chiffchaff.  Coal Tits were prominent this morning but only in ones and twos and difficult to numerate

Vis mig
Cormorant - 2 SE
Redwing - c20 at dawn, 27 SW
Chaffinch - c40 SW
Redpoll agg - 2 S
Brambling - minimum of 5 SW
Siskin - 9 SW
alba Wagtail - 15 SE

Meadow Pipit - 21SE
Crow - 16 messing about and eventually landed on non-op land & started eating seabuckthorn berries!
Peregrine - 1 E 0830
Snipe - 2 S
Pink-footed Goose - 8 S
Goldfinch - 18 SE
Mistle Thrush - 6 SE
Coal Tit - at least 15-20 passing through (see ringing)
Skylark - 3 S
Grey Wagtail - 1 S & one blogging

Yellow-browed Warbler - one below the Obs Tower from 0930 to about 1130hrs
Goldcrest - very few early morning ('none' left from yesterday?) but a small influx when the cloud rolled in, probably c20 in total (see ringing)
Treecreeper - yet another new bird caught
Song Thrush - c20 grounded birds
Blackbird - less than 20 obvious migrants reserve area
Chiffchaff - 3, including a bird ringed at Middleton on 21/9!
Greenfinch - slightly more prominent than yesterday but no more than 15 passing through
Linnet - 31 Ocean Edge
Rock Pipit - 1 petrosus-type OEdge

Ringing (almost all on reserve)
Redwing (6), Robin (7 - including three very grey/orange birds), Blue Tit (3), Coal Tit (8), Long-tailed Tit (17), Blackbird (2), Chaffinch (6), Greenfinch (5), Dunnock (1), Great Tit (1), Blackcap (1), Wren (2), Treecreeper (1), Goldcrest (8), Chiffchaff (1)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A west coast migration morning including the great Wren trickle and late morning Goldcrest influx

Heysham Obs
A good variety this morning but no 'scarce' or distant migrant bettering a Chiffchaff giving the Hannu Jannes "eastern abietinus" disyllable.  Again rather clearer than the cloudy BBC radar map but consistent with the BBC Heysham 24 hr forecast (different 'departments'?)

Vis mig 0715-about 1130hrs
A bit slower than of late:
alba Wagtail - 17 SE
Skylark - c15 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 SE
Redwing - 31 SW, c40 at dawn, 60+ at dawn Middleton
Chaffinch - 34 SW
Meadow Pipit - really late (post 1030hrs), then a flurry of about 25 SE with some grounded at Middleton
Goldfinch - 10 S
Song Thrush - not many this mornig with a maximum of about 10 landfalling on the reserve
Bullfinch - 5 high SW
Brambling - 2 grounded briefly, then SE early morning, one midday
Redpoll agg - one north
Jackdaw 1 S+63+2 NW
Rook - 4 NW with Jackdaw
Crow - 7 W
Blackbird 15-20 migrants of which 12 seen arriving
Coal Tit - 3 S & others passing quickly through the bushes in small groups (10-15)
Siskin - heard & 3 grounded by dog pond
Tree Sparrow - flock of 14 NW, followed by a singleton which was briefly grounded

Grounded (all BE properties)
Blackbird - c25
Song Thrush - c15
Chiffchaff - 3-4
Goldcrest - interesting as careful searching produced less than 10 early-mid morning, then an influx when the wind turned to a sea breeze from about 1100hrs (see ringing total) - at least 25, possibly 30 birds involved and mostly below the Obs Tower
Wren - 6 new birds ringed - a lot in the context of this year!
Robin - 3 ringed around the office and 2 at Middleton but no obvious influx of any more migrants
Treecreeper - another new one ringed
Blackcap - one Red Nab, one ringed on reserve, two ringed Middleton

Meadow Pipit (2), Long-tailed Tit (9),  Robin (5), Great Tit (3), Reed Bunting (2), Blackcap (3), Wren (6), Chaffinch (9), Blackbird (4), Dunnock (2), Greenfinch (just one), Goldcrest (12), Coal Tit (2), Treecreeper (1), Chiffchaff (2), Blue Tit (4), Goldfinch (1), Redwing (18)

Monday, 11 October 2010

The good run continues

Today's Firecrest.  Thanks Reuben

Heysham Obs
Quite an 'open' morning, more so than yesterday - a bit fortunate to connect with a grounded 'scarce'!

Grounded NR/Middleton/Red Nab/dog track
Swallow - one S
Redwing - around 100 grounded in the NR office area first thing, many probably during the night
SongThrush - prominent first thing with at least 30 grounded around the NR office area, soon dispersed inland, 8 still Red Nab area midday
Fieldfare - 2 grounded briefly at Red Nab (first of autumn)
Blackbird - small numbers grounded - c25 around office area, 10 Red Nab area
Wheatear - 2 Ocean Edge
Firecrest - ringed this morning having been seen in the field just prior to entering the net set below the obs tower = 1CY female
Goldcrest - only seemed to be about 5 around reserve (3 ringed), one dog track and 4 Red Nab
Chiffchaff - 2-3 by office/below obs tower, one dog pond area, 3 Red Nab, one Middleton NR
Blackcap - 2 Red Nab
Reed Bunting - 7 caught at Middleton NR

Vis mig - this was hard - very hard! - not helped by having a mist net set deep into the vegetation below the Obs Tower.  Skylarks 'impossible' against the blue sky.  Combination of Tom Wilmer & Pete Marsh (Red Nab & NR respectively) with far more over the NR, moving NW to SE on the north side of the power stations than yesterday

Vis mig 0700-0930, after which intermittent
Tree Sparrow - 3+ (flock) south
Pink-footed Goose - 61 north
Swallow - 1 south
alba Wagtail - 61 SE
Siskin - c35 SE plus a couple of heard only registrations
Skylark - absolute minimum of 53 S but 12 of those registrations were of heard only (recorded as single)
Meadow Pipit - 164 SE
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE & one blogging
Chaffinch - 115 S/SW
Redwing - after initial departure of grounded birds, small numbers from the NE to SW totalling just 85 birds in dribs and drabs
Mistle Thrush - 7 SW, one E
Goldfinch - c25 S
Reed Bunting - 5 SE
Dunlin - flock of 9 S over NR (very unusual)
Carrion Crow - 5+2+5 S over NR with 220 southbound corvid spp, including flocks of 60+ & 50+ over Middleton NR, at least some of these being Carrion Crow
Coal Tit - flock of 23 SE over NR & at least 10 other birds in three groups

Quite a decent ringing morning, despite the breeze and incessant sunlight.  Totals:  Redwing (23), Blackbird (3), Chaffinch (6), Greenfinch (10), Goldcrest (4), Firecrest (1), Chiffchaff (2), Reed Bunting (7), Blue Tit (9), Coal Tit (1), Great Tit (2), Robin (2 - both Middleton & no sign of any grounded migrants in the reserve/dog track/Red Nab area), Wren (1), Long-tailed Tit (3), Dunnock (1)

Treecreeper by dog pond
Linnet - 15 OE foreshore

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Lapland Buntings at last!

Heysham Obs
Highlight this morning was two Lapland Buntings 'in-off' at 0950hrs on Ocean Edge foreshore along with lots of Meadow Pipit, alba (a lot of White on call) Wagtails and one or two Rock Pipits.  They remained for about 15 minutes before being flushed by dog walker (Tom Wilmer). 

A pile-driver type thing (apparently a 'pecker') made vis mig very difficult to record this morning, in conjunction with a clear sky and quite high birds.  Much better for Tom at Ocean Edge!
Main grounded theme of the morning was a smattering of orange-breasted Robins with two being caught in a mist net as it was being set pre-dawn and a further 6 unringed birds caught in a limited amount of ringing as dictated by the wind.  There were also 6 along Ocean Edge foreshore - at least 5 more than usual!

Specific grounded highlight was a calling Ring Ouzel on the edge of the tank farm first thing

Goldcrest - 3
Blackcap - 2 (& one Red Nab)
Chiffchaff 1 (& one Red Nab)
Robin - 20+
Redwing - 5 (& 2 Red Nab)
SongThrush - 6 (& 3 Red Nab)
Blackbird - 10
Coal Tit - low single figures (2 ringed)
Jay - one Red Nab possibly not local
Ring Ouzel - one

Vis mig 0700-1000
There were two flightlines recorded this morning - over the reserve (with the same birds coming across the Bay over the north wall mound) and along Ocean Edge foreshore - the vast majority different birds coming in-off to the south of the power station.  Many of the latter birds, including the Laps, landed for a short time before moving on

Redpoll agg - one over Ocean Edge
alba Wagtail - 38 SE & 14 grounded Ocean Edge (4 White, 10 Pied)
Meadow Pipit - 92 SE over the mound/reserve, 105 SE over Ocean Edge (25 grounded)
Goldfinch - 6 S reserve, 20 Ocean Edge
Redwing - 29 first thing over the reserve, 12 over Ocean Edge, then the next birds were at least 60 arriving from the east at 1100hrs
Song Thrush - 5 S reserve, 2 S Ocean Edge
Siskin - 10+ S reserve, 6 S Ocean Edge
Bullfinch - 1 S reserve
Chaffinch - grossly underestimated over reserve with just 45 SW (see above re-racket), 27 Ocean Edge (not on main flightline)
Greylag - 3 S over golf course
Pink-footed Goose - 4 S Ocean Edge & 46 NE
Reed Bunting - 1 S reserve, one S Ocean Edge
Skylark - heard once over reserve, 5 SE Ocean Edge
Carrion Crow - 6 in-off, then east Ocean Edge
Coal Tit - 5+3 south over reserve
Lapland Bunting - 2 in-off at 0955hrs, then flushed & last seen 1010hrs (see elsewhere)
Rock Pipit - 2, one a dark petrosus-type
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE Ocean Edge
Greenfinch - impossible to work out on reserve, 3 S Ocean Edge
Cormorant - one high to south over the reserve
Yellowhammer - 1 SE, apparently taking off from below the Obs Tower (after probably being heard calling earlier) c1145hrs

Little Egret - 2 Ocean Edge
Linnet - 18 grounded on mound area, 24 Ocean Edge with no obvious movement

At least 6 Red Admiral flew purposefully south

Great Grey Shrike Thrushgill in area with no public access this evening.  Lapland Buntings: 2 independently located on the west shore at Sunderland late morning perhaps the Heysham birds, 3 along the seawall between Pilling Lane Ends and Pilling Water.  Richard's Pipit SE along Silverdale shore along with other 'vis'. Two Lapland Buntings just outside the area near Kents Bank.  Garganey - two between Pilling Lane Ends & Pilling water