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

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Nice easterly and cloud but no rain

Thanks for the coverage, Tom - big Redwing day tomorrow (see e.g. Pennine vis mig from today)? 

Variable 10-25 east wind with low almost blanket cloud cover.Murkey out to sea.Unfortunately no rain although if forecast was right, the rain last night was well to the east of us.Sods law.

Nature Reserve office vis 0730-1000hrs

All movement SE unless otherwise stated

Merlin  - male south followed half hour later by male(same?) east
Lapwing    - 42    one flock high
Snipe    - 1 east high
Swallow    - 9
Grey Wagtail    - 1
alba Wagtail    - 27
Skylark    - 27   all after 0930
Meadow Pipit    - 97
Starling    - 82
Song Thrush    - 1 east high
Chaffinch    - 46
Greenfinch    - 7
Goldfinch    - 25
Siskin    - 2
Linnet    - 3
Reed Bunting    - 3

Nature Reserve
Strong wind and very leafy trees for time of year hampering play

Starling     - 631  left a presumed roost site very early on
Chiffchaff     -  2 very vocal in area of office
Blackcap     - 1
Goldcrest     - just 1
Treecreeper     - 1 calling  (corner bushes)
Coal Tit     - 2
Songthrush     - 6  obvious migrants
Blackbird     - just 4 obvious migrants
Moorhen     - 2 between office and obs tower,later one of these in top of bramble

Ocean Edge/Red Nab 1015-1200

Wigeon                 16 south
Grey Wagtail          1 south
alba Wagtail           7 south, 4 grounded (Pied)
Skylark                  9 south
Meadow Pipit        14 south, 6 grounded
Rock Pipit              1 south
Swallow                 4 south
Linnet                     2 south

Red Nab bushes

Chiffchaff      - 2 very vocal birds quickly heading up Moneyclose lane with LTT
Goldcrest      - 1
Coal Tit      - 2
Chaffinch      -10 grounded
Siskin      - 1 grounded

Apologies for posting late last couple of nights,   Tom Wilmer


Friday, 8 October 2010

Coastal vis would have been better in hindsight

15-20 SE wind with almost unbroken cloud cover, then becomming sunny from 0930hrs.Not alot of evidence of night migrants and it became apparent that vis watching may have been more productive from a more coastal location rather than the Nature Reserve office area.

Nature Reserve office vis 0730-0930hrs

Cormorant     - 1
Woodpigeon     - 14   one flock
Collared Dove    - 3    together
Grey Wagtail     - 2
alba Wagtail     - 28   largest group 9
Meadow Pipit     - 32
Starling     - 14
Songthrush     - 2  high E then grounded
Chaffinch     - 41
Siskin     - 19   largest flock 10
Linnet     - 2                                               All SE or ESE

Nature Reserve

Starling      - 317  SE very early on presumably from a roost site
Chiffchaff      - The only evidence of any was 1 singing briefly
Jay      - 1 flew from tank farm to Moneyclose lane then later at Red Nab bushes
Moorhen   - 1 in flight from observation tower, past reserve office then past the classroom!
Blackbird      - One concentration of 10
Songthrush      - 3 new-in, flighty birds
Coal Tit      - 4
Blue Tit      - An irruptive-type flock of 13

Red Nab Bushes

Goldcrest      - 2
Bullfinch      - 2
Long-tailed Tit      - 15

Red Nab/Ocean Edge

Skylark      - 7 + 2 south
alba Wagtail      - 3 south
Linnet      - flock 12
Peregrine      - 1
Teal      - 1
Shelduck      - 118
Bar-tailed Godwit      - 120
Knot      - 360
Grey Plover      - 2


Little Gull        - 1 ad

North Harbour Wall   1045-1200hrs

Pink-footed Goose    - 6 south
Skylark     -  41 south   largest groups of 10 and 9
alba Wagtail     - 4 south
Meadow Pipit     - 27 grounded
Wheatear     - 1
Linnet     - 4
Shag     - juv/1stw  roosting on wooden jetty
Med Gull     - ad patrolling sea wall

Dogfish     A superb specimen being put back to sea by a fisherman

                                                                                                            Tom Wilmer


Thursday, 7 October 2010

whistlestop, then wader delight

Heysham Obs
Any coverage the next two days, especially vis for a couple of hours or so would be very very good.  Thanks (away)

Little Gull Ad Red Nab along with 280 Knot just about it for today

In Pete's absence I (Sean) saw the following from the South Harbour wall over the high tide today (from 0815 to 1445hrs.  Due to it being the highest tide for a while (9.7m) it seemed to flush birds from other roosting places around the Bay, hence larger than usual numbers of Dunlin and a few other surprises, including Black-tailed Godwit and Sanderling.

Sights of the day though must be reserved to a Great Spotted Woodpecker in off the sea and stopping briefly on the Mound on the North Harbour Wall before going south and a Peregrine chasing Dunlin towards the north in the Bay, but then having lost them after bombing down it switched its attention to a Guillemot, knocked it out of the air, but dropped it into the sea!!  Not sure if the same guillemot turned up later in the Harbour or a different one.......

South Harbour Wall
Shag (1 first winter)
Cormorant 60+
Pink-footed Goose 8
Eider 2
Peregrine (north over sea chasing Dunlin, then almost caught a guillemot!!)
Kestrel (out to east over sea flying south)
Oystercatcher 5284
Black-tailed Godwit 1
Grey Plover 11
Dunlin 390
Sanderling 4 wink.gif
Knot 997
Turnstone 120+
Curlew 152
Redshank 40+
Med Gull 2 (1 adults & 1 1st winter)
Common Gull 2
Common Guillemot 2 (1 in Harbour, 1 north out in bay) smile.gif
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (unusual record and very strange seeing in off sea)
Meadow Pipit 70+
Rock Pipit 1 (on jetty)
Skylark 20+
Wheatear 1 (on jetty)
Lesser Redpoll 1
Linnet 10+
Pied Wagtail 17+
Goldfinch 12
Greenfinch 4

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Wrong kind of rain stopping at dawn

Heysham Obs
It was followed by a quite blustery westerly which calmed down for a short, clear period, before turning more to the south and increasing.  Not the best direction after rain.  Where was this rain on the met office charts?  Water Rail the star of the morning.  Bizarre!

Chiffchaff - 3 (2 caught and ringed)
Blackcap - one ringed
Wheatear - 4 Half moon bay (off-passage from at least yesterday) and one on the NHW mound
Meadow Pipit - 24 on the mound
Rock Pipit - one on the mound
Linnet - 16 on the mound
Blackbird - at least 17 migrants by office
Song Thrush - biggest numbers of the autumn so far with at least 22 migrants around office/reserve/flying inland

Vis mig
0700-0900 by office
Chaffinch - 51 SW
Grey Wagtail - 2 together SE at 0710hrs
Greenfinch - 36 SW
alba Wagtail - 23 SE
Water Rail - one flew past the office and over the classroom!!!!Reed Bunting - 3 S
Linnet - 6 SE
Goldfinch - 35 S
Bullfinch - 1+1+2 high to S
Meadow Pipit - 22 SE
0910-1010 north harbour wall
Meadow Pipit - 44 SE
alba Wagtail - 16 SE
Linnet - 2 SE

Little Gull - adult winter roosting at Red Nab
Med Gull - 1CY harbour mouth but no sign of adults, despite two outgoing boats
No sign of any Shag on wooden jetty

Yellow-browed Warbler trapped and ringed on Walney in main Obs garden

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

First Yellow-browed of the autumn (anticipating next week's weather!)

Heysham Obs
This morning started like that iconic piece of football philosophy 'You dont know what you are doing' and a cessation of drizzle and lull in the SSE wind led to two mist nets being set only for the wind to veer south and really get up well beyond the forecast. Nets down, what to do next?  The easiest thing was to sit there and see what flew over.  Indeed, I feel really sorry for the met office as we have obviously got the weather forecasted for SW Scotland, whilst two days ago received the weather=rain not supposed to stray north of the Midlands (see Gary Woodburns site for a colourful rendition of the self-same rain far to the north on the east coast).  Tricky times.

Then it improved!   After a bit of early vis, it soon became apparant that there was a bit of grounded stuff with multiple Goldcrest for the first time this year and an assortment of Chiffchaff calls which seemed to indicate 4-5 birds.  At 0850, from the isolated bush at the start of the top path came a familiar call which you know isnt a Coal Tit when you really hear it!  It didnt show other than a brief silhouette, but managed three diagnostic calls.  Then better view of the white underparts and two wingbars and glimpse of the supercilium along the top path at about 0950hrs.  Then it appeared to join a passing Long-tailed Tit flock and had to return to make another phone call.

Yellow-browed Warbler - one by office, then along top path
Chiffchaff - 4-5, two giving collybita calls, one giving a strident monosyllabic 'swee' and (probably) two giving a slightly dysyllabic 'sweeoo'.
Goldcrest - at least 8 - welcome back!
Treecreeper - 1 ( corner bushes)

Vis mig 0700-0850ish, then a bit intermittent!
Quite a bit of 'cross bay' vis which presumably didnt like the wind strength along the route south of the power station
alba Wagtail - 83 SE
Meadow Pipit - 67 SE
Chaffinch - 64 SW
Greenfinch - at least 34 SW
Carrion Crow - 2+5 S
Goldfinch - 10 S
Heron - one south
Cormorant -  2 high to SE
Greenfinch - 47 SW
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Song Thrush - 1 S (the only evidence of migrant thrushes this am)
Linnet - 4 SE
Chaffinch - 15 SW
Meadow Pipit - 7 SE
Reed Bunting - 1 S

Monday, 4 October 2010

Two species of bunting but still not the one we want!

Heysham Obs
This was a good routine Obs. coverage of an open 'flyover' morning with quite a change in the vis mig during the final hour with Skylark & Siskin taking over from the usual early morning fare.  Come-uppance with the only Grey Wagtail after saying what a good site we had - a Rossall/Knott-End and everywhere else-like 'bounce' out of a slightly billowing net!

Vis mig 0700-1030hrs
Yellowhammer - one from the north-east, then grounded = fem/imm, then headed ESE
Meadow Pipit - just 12 SE
Chaffinch - 334 S/SW
Grey Wagtail - one early, then one right at the end of the period - S
Goldfinch - 69 S
Linnet - 25 S
Woodpigeon - 14 S with a smaller bird with them - looked like Stock Dove but the views could not absolutely rule out feral pigeon - on a line quite a way to the east over the golf course
alba Wagtail - 65 SE (plus c40 out of PS roost very first thing, which may of course have included prospective migrants)
Greenfinch - the first day of really obvious passage, as opposed to low-level blogging, albeit with the ringing data showing quite a turnover - 52 S/SW
Dunnock - 1+1+2+1 flew off high to south
Reed Bunting - 6 S, all but one in first 30 mins.
Carrion Crow - 5+1+3+6+3 south
Bullfinch - 1+2 south
Brambling - just 2 SW, very first thing
Starling - one S! (c400 out of roost heading east first thing)
Siskin - 35+ SE, all but one in last 1.5hrs
Skylark - 51 SE - all in last hour
Coal Tit - 5 south, two caught & ringed

Pink-footed Goose - c110 S over the sea at 1245hrs

Chiffchaff - a 'brown' bird caught & ringed which gave  quite subdued disyllabic call on release.  The only warbler/crest seen this morning but 'collybita-calling' Chiffchaff  by the dipping pond mid-pm
Redwing - 2
Blackbird - 3 definite migrants
Song Thrush 1+ migrants

Just two nets operational by the office until 1030hrs - Dunnock (1), Greenfinch (13), Chaffinch (9), Coal Tit (2), Blue Tit (4), Great Tit (1), Chiffchaff (1).  No retraps!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Golf weather

Heysham Obs
After the clearance of the incessant morning rain:
Reserve circuit mid-pm
Chiffchaff - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 33 in two flocks with no groupies other than Blue Tits
Song Thrush - one probable migrant
Blackbird - two possible migrant
Water Rail - at least two noisy birds in the marsh

Middleton similarly
Water Rail - at least one
Meadow Pipit - two south
Stonechat - female

Spruce Carpet - a different one from yesterday - not a common species here (yet?)

3 Speckled Wood & Red Admiral reserve

Saturday, 2 October 2010

This will do on a morning with little expectation

Heysham Obs
A bit laid back about this morning being other than going through the motions and even stopped for 'cheap' petrol along Caton Road, then noticed more than a touch of east in the 'southerly' wind as Heysham was being approached.  Highlight, following a few musical 'teu' calls from overflying Reed Bunting, was a harder 'teuk' at 0750hrs.   Surely time to retain my place on the 'serial Lap Bunt on call' blacklist, but the trill was a softer rippling and the "middle of the wings" were 'white'!

Vis mig from the office 0700-1000, intermittent from about 0900
Chaffinch - 329 SW (no Brambling today)
Meadow Pipit - 39 SE
Alba Wagtail - 34 S
Reed Bunting - 8 S
Skylark - 4 SE
Goldfinch - 44 S
Carrion Crow - 29 S, including flock of 9
Sparrowhawk - one high to the south
Pink-footed Goose - 130 S (very early on)
Linnet - 13 S
Tree Sparrow - 2 SE
Black-headed Gull - flock of 5 purposefully S
Starling - 27 S
Collared Dove 1+1 S
Snow Bunting - probably a male S at 0750hrs
Siskin - 7 S
Greenfinch - about 20 appearde to be 'vis' birds
Grey Wagtail - one found in mist net & obviously slipped through the vis scrutuny!, 2 south along the seawall
House Sparrow - one S

Chiffchaff - just one by the office
Goldcrest - ditto
Rock Pipit - 3 half-moon bay

The only reports was of the 1CY Med Gull along the north wall and two Little Egret Ocean Edge

Seriously different vis mig scenarios at all five local sites this morning with Chaffinch passage being the only reasonably comparable denominator!   Over 1000 Meadow Pipit over Crag Bank, just the other side of Morecambe, which did not go over Heysham or along the western side of the Lune. Yellow hammer SW over the Lune vis mig site at Heaton.  Black Tern on the pager for Leighton Moss along with Great White Egret

Friday, 1 October 2010

Tawny Owl surprise

Heysham Obs
A racket from Long-tailed Tits by the entrance gate was followed by a Tawny Owl hoot!  Investigation revealed a large brown bird hiding in a bush.  Rather scarce on here to put it mildly.

Tawny Owl - one by gate
Treecreeper - one with above LTT flock
Goldcrest - one by gate

Inshore late afternoon
Shag - two 1CY on wooden jetty
Little Stint - juvenile with large number of Dunlin
Little Egret - one Red Nab
Wigeon - 4 Red Nab
Little Gull - ad winter on outfalls
Rock Pipit - one or two mobile birds around mound area
Med Gull - adult on sand off Ocean Edge
Wheatear - at least one Ocean Edge
Robin - at least two boxed out on the shore at Red Nab - being chased around