Monday, 31 December 2012

No inshore seabird stickability

Heysham Obs
Year-listers are going to have to do some work tomorrow - nothing on a plate in the harbour like last year.  Tricky long-range views of Guillemot (on sea) and Red-throated Diver (probably in flight) if you give the sea half an hour.   The midday IOM ferry will probably produce Kittiwake and also guarantee Med Gull if they are being awkward and therefore probably the best time to visit and also  do your seawatch.  Twite/Linnet/Goldfinch available on/around the feeding station.  PLEASE DO NOT WALK DOWN THE FEEDING STATION 'CORRIDOR'.  This will disturb the birds and progressively make life difficult for everyone else if oft-repeated by different carloads as they might clear off for the day.  I can't find any Purple Sandpiper which is not unprecedented during unsettled midwinter weather.

North wall various times during the morning
Twite - c48
Linnet - 6-7
Goldfinch - c12
Med Gull - regular "pelagic" adult followed IOM ferry before flying 'out', the usual two adults along the north harbour wall mid-afternoon
Kittiwake - at least 7 adults behind IOM ferry, 3 followed it right into the harbour before flying 'out'
Guillemot - 3  on sea
Red-throated Diver - one 'out'
no pipits seen
perhaps surprisingly no Little Gulls seen on outfalls or offshore

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Seawatching bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
Another 30 mins of seabird coverage produced a few rewards today

North harbour wall 1020-1050hrs
Guillemot - 2, possibly 3 on sea
Red-throated Diver - one 'out'
Little Gull - 2 adults slowly out very distantly
Kittiwake - adult 'in'
Finches - a flock of c50 in flight was the best on offer - impossible to  view the feeding station due to vehicle traffic
Med Gull - 2 adult

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Unproductive scan

Heysham Obs
Spent the time today on a seawatch instead of 'power walking' around 36V and what a waste of time!

North wall 1030-1115hrs
Med Gull - just a single adult fisher's roof
Turnstone - 16 wooden jetty and no purps
Twite - c40 but not settled due to  people
Linnet -  at least 3
Goldfinch - c12
Offshore - absolutely zero in 20 mins continuous scanning

Friday, 28 December 2012

One hour of warm and misty miscellany

Heysham Obs
Still have not felt the need to wear gloves or wear a coat since christmas, despite theoretical wind 'chill' doing the north harbour wall circuit. 

North harbour wall & seawatch 1015-1045hrs
Twite/Linnet/Goldfinch -  too much disturbance to spend time checking them - c50 mixed finches seen, possibly more
Rock Pipit - one along the seawall between the gate and harbour mouth
Med Gull -  THREE  adults, two in the harbour and one headed south during a seawatch.  Also presumably the 2CY on the old Fisher's roof but at a bad angle to see wingtips
Red-breasted Merganser - 3 south
Guillemot - 2  on sea - one close inshore
No sign of any Purple Sandpiper on wooden jetty nor any incoming ferries to check

Heysham Nature reserve
Whilst helping to search for a lost teenager (thankfully found), a single Siskin flew south.  Incidentally the missing dog posted the other day turned up just before dusk, having played a round of golf over the road

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Seabirds starting to stir

Heysham Obs
Nothing out of the ordinary during a brief visit to the north harbour wall other than two Twite with metal rings on the right leg but no colour rings on the left leg.  Will be interesting to see where these are from - one was a 1CY on gc details.  Birds a bit restless due to centrica yard activity and not time to examine the whole flock on the ground.  However, an hours seawatching by Ian on the incoming tide revealed a Guillemot influx and some distant Common Scoter, the first of the latter since the spring!  Howling onshore gales now seem to be an option for the three days prior to New Year, so there might be some storm-driven seabirds after all for the year-listers

North wall circuit 0900-0945
Twite - at least 65, at least 7 unringed out of about 30 examined, two  with metal-only rings
Linnet - at least 6
Goldfinch - at least 9
Starling - 20 on seed
Pied Wagtail - one on seed
Robin - two
Med Gull - adult, 2 adults later
Red-throated Diver - one on the sea in a sweep

North wall seawatch 1000-1100hrs (thanks Ian)
Guillemot - 3 definite & two auk prob this spp, one very close inshore
Common Scoter - distant flock of 12
Pink-footed Goose - c80 SE
Red-throated Diver - one close inshore

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

And then there were two

Heysham Obs
A rather belated visit coincided with a dog walker walking the 'twite corridor' and the (remaining?) birds were very restless. The first record of more than one Kittiwake for ages!

North harbour wall
Kittiwake - 2 adults behind a supply boat, just possibly a third
Med Gull - 2 adults
Twite - only 17 seen on seed, others heard but nowhere near yesterday's numbers (2 unringed)
Linnet - at least one
Goldfinch - 12 together on seed
Red-throated Diver - 2 offshore

Another Mottled Umber

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Shirt-sleaved christmas

Heysham Obs
Happy Christmas!

A nice mildish morning saw little need for coats or even jumpers whilst doing the circuit of SD36V after feeding the Twite.  Trouble is that this weather does not produce a great deal, but finch numbers reached a new height this morning with c90 down on the seed at once. Oddly, no Meds seen.

North harbour wall
Twite - 79-81, including Machrihanish-ringed bird with metal above green/white and a metal-only ringed bird of unknown origin (c11 unringed)
Linnet - 7 (2 unringed)
Goldfinch - 6+
Mistle Thrush - one spooking the finches
Pink-footed Goose - 52 NW
Red-throated Diver - 2 on sea offshore, one very distant
Robin - 2

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wigeon - 135
Lapwing - 330

Middleton NR circuit
Jack Snipe - one in mown wet area near Tim Butlers (NE corner) - the only snipe spp seen
Teal - at least 10 Tim Butler pond
Tufted Duck - 14 scattered around
Pochard - 2 males model boat pond
Goldeneye - female model bpat pond
Mute Swan - 4 juvs
Coot - just 4
Little Grebe - unusually none
Mallard - none
Grey Wagtail - 1 (unringed)

Mottled Umber - 1

Monday, 24 December 2012

Trilling frustration

Heysham Obs
Did the usual bracing wake-up call of the mound north wall circuit this morning and I had just got back to the car when a familiar trilling noise was heard just the once, seemingly from up in the sky in the harbour direction.  However, just couldnt find anything so the record has been binned (there are a lot of extraneous noises around the harbour) and an opportunity to add to the iconic SD36V list missed

North harbour wall/mound area 0910-0940
Twite - 56-58 with 9 or 10 unringed - definitely no more, c/f the 15/60 reported the other day
Linnet - 5
Goldfinch - 2
Red-throated Diver - 2 flew 'out'
Pink-footed Goose - 320 NE
Med Gull - 2CY Fisher's roof roost
Bad news on Meadow Pipit - none seem to be left - sandworks searched

Sunday, 23 December 2012

strong wind fails to deliver

Heysham Obs perhaps is usual on the first day.  I cannot see any sustained onshore winds likely to produce a variety of waifs like last back end for any new year's day listers.  Last year 100 species in this area was a 'doddle' - easily achieved on 1st Jan without even trying i.e. didnt do any of the north fylde, courtesy of shag, guillemot, kittiwake, little gull (missed glaucous but jammed in on rock pipit) bonuses at heysham and glossy ibis/great white egret/marsh harrier bonuses at the leighton roost. You only need 6-7 or so 'guaranteed extras' over and above the usual fare and the usual difficult stuff like treecreeper to easily make 100.  I cannot see where they are coming from this time round (although marsh harrier looks like being available again), so anyone havng a go will need some careful planning and luck. 

North harbour wall
Nothing offshore or inshore with a gang of turnstone below the north wall failing to 'deliver' any purple sandpiper and, as far as I know, there have been no december sightings to date

Twite - 13 (one unringed)
Goldfinch - 8
Linnet - 4 ringed birds

One winter moth (trap at Millhouses, nr Wray held pale brindled beauty, red-green carpeet, chestnut, satellite, 6 winter moth and 43 mottled umber)

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Kittiwake famine is over

Heysham Obs
Very easy to take Kittiwakes for granted during the usual regular incidence of sustained periods of onshore winds.  Even though the winds may not always be strong enough to produce a motley collection of inshore storm-driven waifs, which usually find the 'waterfall' food supply in the harbour, they usually 'encourage' birds to follow boats to within visual range of onshore observers.  However, when these winds are absent or not quite sustained enough, as has been the case this autumn, Kittiwakes can be completely absent for lengthy periods.  This happened during the freezing weather in early 2010 (none between 1/1 and 12/3) and this autumn has been similar with none since 16/10

North wall brief car-based visit
Kittiwake - adult following an orange 'rescue boat' as far as the wooden jetty
Med Gull - adult as above
Twite - 10 on seed and others heard (2/10 unringed)
Goldfinch - 1+ heard

Awful weather!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday fare

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall SD36V power walk
Song Thrush - 1 mound
Wren - 1 mound
Twite - 61 in a 'pure' flock, then probably 11 different birds mixed in with:
Goldfinch - 5
Linnet - 1
Wigeon - solitary female on the sea - nothing else of note on single 'sweep'

No chance to see Twite ring details (food put out 0900hrs)

Winter Moth in the trap - looks quite productive for moths if you have shelter this next few days!

stena underperformer

Heysham Obs
A miserable wet day saw 10 bedraggled twite on the seed and an outgoing ferry called Stena Performer producing the obvious blog title as there were no Meds following it out, most unusually - but they have been suspected of heading for wet fields on this kind of day before

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Twite return with extras

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall SD36V circuit
Med Gull - the usual three (2 ad & 1 2CY) following a departing ferry out as far as the wooden jetty before returning inshore
Twite - 67 all together on the seed allowing a quick check:  6 unringed (possibly 7-8) c/f yesterdays comment, one with metal-only on right leg (not a recent ring and not a Linnet!), rest all Heysham-ringed as far as could be seen
Linnet - 3 with above (2 ringed)
Goldfinch - 5 with above - not checked for rings
Song Thrush - 1 (but again no pipits)
Great-crested Grebe - 3 in a low-tide sweep

One Mottled Umber (the 42nd of the morning - 41 at Millhouses!)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

More successful Twite ringing

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Song Thrush - 1
Twite - 30 were caught of which 18 were already Heysham-ringed, including quite a few birds from previous years.  Perhaps surprisingly, there were 12 unringed birds, marginally more than have been seen in the field recently.  There was at least one small flock which was not caught and ringed, nor examined in the field for ringed/unringed ratios.  The wary behaviour of this flock and observations on previous days suggests that possibly all the current Twite have now been ringed.  Will be interesting to see if any more unringed birds materialise this winter
Goldfinch - one unringed bird caught plus a few retraps
Linnet - one retrap, possibly more around as light very bad for speciating Linnet/Twite in the field
Med Gull - 2CY
Nothing of any interest seen offshore and no Meadow or Rock Pipit sightings reported   

Monday, 17 December 2012

Showery north wall

Heysham Obs
Perhaps predictably, the location of the particular anglers mentioned yesterday was strewn with newspaper, plastic bottles and discarded fishing line

North harbour wall
Twite - a brief scan of 77 finches on the seed before they flew produced 13 Goldfinch and 64 'twinnet'.  About 15 mins later, a smaller flock of pure Twite landed on the food and comprised 48 individuals with 10-11 unringed and the rest Heysham-ringed, mainly from this autumn
Linnet - minimum 4
Goldfinch - 13
Robin - 2

Heysham NR circuit
House Sparrow - one on NE pylon
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 17

Office area
Winter moth in trap and irritating bluebottle type fly (for 3rd day)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Twite hit the height

Heysham Obs
Usually a rant-free site but excuse the minor one today, please, after experience with a visiting angler this morning.  I was informed that scoping the Twite checking colour-ring details was 'in the way' as he had decided to park as close as possible to the narrow road.  Many of the anglers are good company, but there are certain non-local visitors who seem to think that their 4-wheel drive monstrosities blocking the single-track road is their 'right' and "someone" will remove all their rubbish if they either leave it strewn about or do that "someone" a favour by tying the bag of rubbish to a fence.  Who are these people?

Twite - 57-60, at least 8 unringed
Linnet - 5
Goldfinch - 4
Song Thrush - 1

Mottled Umber 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Red-line Quaker surprise

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall
Twite - 19
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch 4
Red-throated diver - one offshore
Med Gull - 2 adult and one 2CY on the old Fisher's roof at high tide

A Red-line Quaker found on egg packing which was definitely checked yesterday - just about alive - also one Winter Moth but could have been other things as Barn Owl boxes etc being stored in trap!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Brief north wall visit

Heysham Obs
Twite - 20, including 4 unringed & probably the usual Machrihanish-ringed bird
Linnet - 6 - at least 2 unringed
Goldfinch - 5
Meadow Pipit - 1

Heysham NR
Meadow Pipit - one flew over car park

Thursday, 13 December 2012

In-off finch surprise

Heysham Obs
Most surprising sighting this morning was 5 Goldfinches being picked up coming in-off from the direction of Barrow - first seen as tiny dots way out into the bay.  

North harbour wall SD36V area
Red-throated Diver - two on an incoming tide sweep
Goldfinch - see above plus about 8
Twite - absolute minimum of 53 and 11 "Twinnet", possibly/probably mostly this spp. Did some of the extra ones come from across the bay?  No chance of close examination due to centrica store forklift activity next to the feeding site.
Linnet - at least 2
Meadow Pipit - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 3

Late record
Need to add 290+76+45 Pink-footed Goose yesterday in the fog, heading south, then east

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Foggy frost

Heysham Obs
Peel Holdings missed a Christmas calendar opportunity this morning as the Heysham Harbour landmarks such as chain-link fences, barbed wire, sea-buckthorn and bits of leftover Oxford ragwort were all covered in a picturesque hoar frost.  The problem was that you could hardly see across the harbour, never mind a search out to sea.

North wall circuit
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 3
Wren - 1
Rock Pipit - 1
Twite - 29, including at least 4 unringed and presumably the usual Machrihanish-ringed bird
Linnet - 5
Goldfinch - c8
Med Gull - adult and 2CY

The rest of the day seemed to be chained to MapMate as the long-overdue moths were all finally entered, with all the 'big days' in July (it was a pretty poor year otherwise), left to the time-consuming last.  Re-sorting on a Bradley and Fletcher A to Z really brough home how scarce some normally taken for granted species were this year, especially perhaps in May and June.  Others, on the other hand were thriving, notably the recent colonist, Blackneck 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dont write your species accounts until the end of the year!

Heysham Obs
Grandiose pronouncements like "no intertidal Teal this year" were in dire need of revision after today and there were quite a few other additions to already "completed" accounts

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Wigeon -98
Red-breasted Merganser - 4
Little Egret - one roosting on Red Nab at high tide
Mallard - 4 off Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Teal - male and three females on sea off Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Shelduck - 68

North harbour wall
Skylark - 1 east
Twite -  29-31
Linnet - 1-3
Goldfinch - 6
Meadow Pipit - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Red-throated Diver - 4 offshore in one sweep mid-morning
Med Gull - ad & 2CY
Wren - 1
Robin - 4

Grey Seal off north harbour wall

Monday, 10 December 2012

Red-throat influx

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall dropping tide spot check 1045hrs
Red-throated Diver - 7
Great-crested Grebe - 1
Eider - 1
Twite - at least 23
Linnet - at least 2
Goldfinch - 6
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 2

Heysham N Reserve circuit (excluding obs tower path)
Blackbird - 14 scattered around
Song Thrush - 1

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Walking the wind corridors and Goldeneye surprise

Heysham Obs
A blustery wind greeted a couple of circuits around the north and south harbours

North harbour wall
Twite - c15
Linnet - c6
Goldfinch - c9
Meadow Pipit - 2
Med Gull - 2 ads and 2CY
Goldeneye - a short watch offshore saw a male flying out - very scarce off here these days now the sewage outfalls have gone!

South harbour wall
Zero other than one of the Meds flying past - quite a contrast with this time last year

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Birds still on the move in the pre-frontal calm

Heysham Obs
Two activity 'threads' to today; a lengthy Twite-ringing session and a power walk circuit from the office back to the office via the harbour/south wall/outfalls/dogwalk track

North harbour wall
Meadow Pipit - 2
Little Egret - on on the rocks below the wall - very rare between Red Nab and north Morecambe
Twite - 22 unringed birds caught, just 12 retraps and the regular Machrihanish-ringed bird.  All present during the morning were thought to have been caught.  A bit of a change of personnel from yesterday, based on ring or lack of details
Goldfinch - 9 unringed birds caught and just one retrap
Linnet - unringed bird caught
Robin - 4 different birds seen during the morning around the feeder
Wren - 1

Harbour circuit
No sign of the seal
Med Gull - 2CY on mudflats by wooden jetty
Waxwing - heard twice whilst negotiating the steps near where the Obs tower was - either in the tank farm or around the nearby power station security lodge.  No sign when reached the bottom of steps, but did not search this access-restricted area
Blackbird - c15 either side of the steps below the Obs tower site
Redwing - one with above
Meadow Pipit - two flew from the non-op land over the dog track towards the golf course - presumably part of/ the remaining birds from the small flock which has been around for a few weeks

Pink-footed Geese
112 - flying south-east
285 - north, then east
Two other 'large flocks' heading north offshore and perhaps yet another flock heard but not seen during the Twite ringing session

Two Winter Moth in trap

Friday, 7 December 2012

Yet more on the north wall

Heysham Obs
Just the Twite feeding session spent outside today

Twite - 39, including 15 unringed, rest Heysham-ringed (no Machrihanish birds)
Goldfinch - 15 - about half ringed
Linnet - 7 (3 ringed)
Med Gull - 2 adults
Meadow Pipit - one in sandworks

Yet another Winter Moth

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Finches, then it lashes down!

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Twite - 41
Linnet - 7
Goldfinch - c16
Meadow Pipit - 1
Robin - 2

These were all along the feeder corridor, no 'power walk' today and no search for the seal in worsening conditions

Med Gull - 2CY

One Winter Moth

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Mammalian mystery

Heysham Obs
Two brief views of a small seal in the harbour, hugging the edge and disappearing under the wooden columns appeared to indicate that it was a Common Seal, but it needs confirmation

North harbour wall
Twite - 29-30
Goldfinch - 11
Meadow Pipit - 1
Linnet - 1+

Heysham NR office area
Chiffchaff - called twice distantly in the 'tank farm' mid-pm
Goldcrest - 1

2 Winter Moth in trap

See above

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Finches galore, including some ringing recoveries

Heysham Obs
***Chiffchaff calling several times by the office at 1440hrs - sounded like collybita but not seen

Good numbers of finches on the north harbour wall today, courtesy of lack of any obvious disturbance prior to my arrival

North wall late morning
Twite - 34, at least 9 unringed (9/14 examined were unringed, this group also included Machrihanish-ringed bird with red/white right leg and metal over green/white left leg)
Linnet - 6 (3 ringed, 2 ll, one rl)
Goldfinch - 19, at least 7 unringed
Robin - ringed bird plus unringed 1CY briefly, another on mound
Song Thrush - usual bird
Wren - 1
Meadow Pipit - just the one located
Med Gull - adult and 2CY
Rock Pipit - one heard over the south side of harbour

Ringing recoveries
The most interesting feature here was the mode of recovery of the Greenfinch - very mid-20th century or earlier

Ringed:  Heysham Obs                3F                13/10/11
Dead in coal shed:  Thoralby, Leyburn, N Yorks  25/10/12  66km ENE

A typical origin for migrant Greenfinch ringed at Heysham in October

Ringed:     Port e vullen, Isle of Man       4F            16/10/12    1500hrs
Caught:     Heysham Obs                                          19/10/12   1200hrs  98km ESE

This could have made it from the IOM on vis mig setting off as late as early morning of 19/10, but is highly unlikely to have left there after ringing as late as 1500hrs on 16/10.  I suspect the bird moved to Cumbria on 17/10 or 18/10 and thence to Heysham.  It was caught there at the feeder, not tape-lured on vis mig.

Ringed:   Heysham Obs                          3M                1/10/12 (0800hrs)
Caught:  Embley Wood, Hants                                     13/10/12 (0800hrs)  354km SSE

Was it still on migration?   The last time we asked this question with respect to a Heysham-ringed Goldcrest caught later in the autumn (Doncaster), the bird was retrapped in midwinter, answering the question

Mottled Umber & Winter moth in trap, 2 Winter moths between res gate and traffic lights last night (one in SD45E, the other in SD46A)

Monday, 3 December 2012

December windchill

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Chickened out of doing the circuit in a skinny jumper as a cold north-westerly blasted in from the sea
Twite - 33, at least 6 unringed
Goldfinch - 17
Linnet - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Med Gull - 2CY and adult

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wigeon - 99
Med gull - ad

Heysham NR circuit
Blackbird - 2
Very mid-wintry!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Twite Influx

Heysham Obs
A visit to Ocean Edge saltmarsh saw no small finches and the impression that a lot of the available food might have been frozen in.  This might explain the increase in birds on the north harbour wall, this despite the usual Sunday 'traffic', albeit without any anglers in residence actually by the feeding station

North harbour wall lunchtime
Med Gull - 2 adult, 2CY
Linnet - 1
Goldfinch - 9
Twite - 31 with 10 unringed, one Machrihanish-ringed bird and the rest seemingly Heysham-ringed
Meadow Pipit - 1
Dunnock - 1

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Thousands of waders along the foreshore towards Potts Corner - THE best wader spectacle in the Bay
Wigeon - 101 Red Nab
Med Gull - ad Red Nab
Litle Egret - 1 Red Nab

Saturday, 1 December 2012

More north wall forays

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Song Thrush - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Rock Pipit - 1
Twite - 24
Goldfinch - 9
Linnet - 1
Wren -1
Robin - 2
Starling - 16
Med Gull - 2 Ad and 2CY

Friday, 30 November 2012

Mainly Harbour fare and more Waxwing

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall and south harbour
Twite - 21, including at least 6 unringed, probably more
Goldfinch - 16
Linnet - 2
Meadow Pipit - 1
Rock Pipit - 1
Med Gull - 2 adults
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 2
Wren - 1

Thanks Janet - taken south harbour today

Heysham Nature Reserve
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 485-495 NW at 0745hrs
Goldcrest - 3 by the office early morning
Meadow Pipit - 3 by the office again as yesterday

Borrans Lane
Waxwing - 4 feeding on hawthorns by the road works

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Short-strawed Field Vole

Heysham Obs
A Short-tailed Field Vole was running about on top of the north harbour wall mound in bright sunlight this morning looking rather lost.  Obviously the prestige of being a new dot on a mammal atlas (is there one?) was worth the effort and the serious predation risk (SD36V, the rest of this 10km square is under the sea/intertidal)

Adult Med Gull north harbour wall.  Thanks Janet

North harbour wall SD36V blitz
Twite - 14
Goldfinch - just 2
Rock Pipit - 1-2 (seen on both harbour and seawall side)
Meadow Pipit - 2
Med Gull - 2CY conspicuous, two adults
Red-throated Diver - 2 sat on water together offshore in "heat" haze
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 2 (one mound, one sandworks)
No Wren or Dunnock seen/heard

Heysham Nature reserve
Meadow Pipit - flock of three around - probably wintering birds from non-op land

Frst known record of ST Field Vole for SD36V

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Cold but fairly productive

Heysham Obs
A walk around the north wall circuit was quite bracing - need to get the woolly hat, coat and gloves out

Purple Sandpiper - TWO on the seawall below the gate then flushed and flew towards the wooden jetty with about 5 Turnstone
Med Gull - adult and 2CY together
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
Robin - 2 including the usual bird in the mound gorse
Song Thrush - one mound gorse - elusive returning wintering bird at this strange location?
Twite - at least 6 with 2+ unringed at lunchtime
Goldfinch - just 3 early am, 14 at lunchtime

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
A Twite-ringing session saw 6 new birds, 7 retraps and two ringed at Machrihanish on the Mull of Kintyre, one a new bird, the other a regular visitor during both this (so far) and last winter period

Also a decent number of Goldfinch but just 3/14 were unringed birds as you would perhaps expect at this time of year

Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 3
Linnet - at least one - one unringed bird was caught
Med Gull - adult

Monday, 26 November 2012

minimal stuff

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Goldfinch - 20
Twite - 2

Reserve circuit late pm
Blackbird - 5
Song Thrush - 1

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Med masterclass and more Waxwing

Heysham Obs
Red Nab high tide
Med Gull - 1CY, 2CY and 2 adults

North harbour wall
No finches at 1040hrs

Reserve circuit
Song Thrush - 2
Blackbird - 11
Redwing - 1
Waxwing - flock of 6 flew into the tank farm at 1400hrs, seemingly from the direction of the power station, then headed across the golf course just to the south of the 'cream store' 

Another single Winter Moth was a bit of a surprise, given the conditions

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Twite increase

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall circuit
Robin - 2
Twite - c37, 11 unringed at least
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - 12
Med Gull - Czech bird on the railings
Rock Pipit - one by Near Naze

South harbour/wooden jetty
Dunnock 1!

1 Winter Moth

Friday, 23 November 2012

Slimming pickings

Heysham Obs
After yesterday's couch-potato weather, a power walk around the coastal circuit was the order of the day

Harbour/outfalls/Red Nab
Grey Wagtail - 1 Red Nab
Rock Pipit - one Red Nab
Med Gull - ad Red Nab

North harbour wall
Goldfinch - c20
Twite - 6
Linnet - 2

H N Reserve circuit
Blackbird - 8

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Barmy Blackbird

Heysham Obs
The most interesting thing this morning was behavioural.  A cursory glance out to sea from the north wall saw a dark bird battling its way in towards the shore at right angles to the howling southerly.  It transpired to be a female Blackbird which flopped down right next to the car.  A microcosm of what happens on a very much larger scale at the likes of Spurn during October/November easterly gales and rain approaching from the south (and deceptively nice departure weather for this latest of the regular migrants over Scandinavia).  That scenario you can understand, but what was this bird doing over the sea at 0845hrs on the west coast?  It flew into the centrica compound where there is cover of sorts

North harbour wall
Blackbird - see above
Twite - 4 in short visit
Goldfinch - 12 as above

Red Nab
Med Gull - large adult and 2CY

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Species heading in different directions

Heysham Obs
Two pics taken by Janet today.  Little Owl used to breed in the Obs recording area until very recently and still occurs in the adjoining tetrad SD45J.  This pic was taken within 1km of the recording area but it is about 8 years at least since one was last seen on Middleton NR.  Jays on the other hand have colonised over the last few years which has been a bit of a nuisance as it is more difficult to discern any migratory movements.  Ideally you dont want any resident birds at a Bird Observatory! 

Thanks Janet

Smithy Lane
At least 10 Waxwing early to mid-pm but not later

North wall
c25 Twite, 'some' Goldfinch plus on Rock Pipit

Absolutely dead around the mound/south harbour/in the harbour/outfalls with the best being a Robin on the mound and a Wren by the wheel!

Lot of mossies in the moth trap but no moths

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Stoatally quiet

No moths to report, but superb view of a stoat from the office window mid-afternoon- briefly investigating rabbit burrows in the sandy bank

North harbour wall: Twite (c20), Linnet 2, Goldfinch (c6)

Thanks Steve & John

Monday, 19 November 2012

Bits of coverage

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall
Twite - 14 on the first visit, including a Machrihanish-ringed bird from 2011 (metal over green/white right leg, red/white left leg).  18 on a midday food top-up which didnt include the Mach bird, but there were 8 unringed birds!
Goldfinch - 16, several unringed
Linnet - one

Red Nab
2CY Med gull

Rapid reserve circuit
Blackbird - 17
Redwing - 1
Goldcrest - 2

No moths

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Possibly more later

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall
Med Gull - adult (Czech-ringed) and 2CY
Finches - mobile flock with the ratios approximately 10 Goldfinch, 20 Twite, 2 Linnet.  Not helped by a photographer loitering far too close to the feeding station - his presence a direct result of pics being published elsewhere yesterday.  The reason for his location, on the far side of the feeding station, was obviously due to the time of day and blinding sunlight when trying to look from the car.  In other words, this site is not suitable for photography during the morning on sunny days as it is not possible to get 'on the other side of the birds' without disturbing everything

Middleton NR
Snipe - 12
Pochard - male
Tufted Duck - 13

Waders roosting at high tide between Potts Corner and Ocean Edge
Redshank - 175
Grey Plover - 13
Dunlin 2
Knot 5

Mottled Umber

Saturday, 17 November 2012

..........and even more Waxwings!

Heysham Obs
At 1050hrs, 24 Waxwing appeared in the sky from the east and then swung to the north-east and appeared to land in the region of Smithy Lane.

North harbour wall circuit 0900hrs
No food, no birds but 8 Twite and 2 Goldfinch were located near the met mast.  Food put out.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Twite 26
Linnet 5
Jack Snipe 2
Snipe 27

Fisher's Roof (Harbour)
Mediterranean Gull 2 adults (including Czech ringed bird), 2CY on North Wall

Wooden Jetty
Purple Sandpiper 1

Reserve circuit 1030-1100hrs
See above
Blackbird - c15
Redwing - 1
Chiffchaff - heard but not seen in reeds/willow NE corner (collybita-like calls)
Bullfinch - 4
Goldcrest - 2

One Winter Moth

Brambling 3 Thrushgill

Friday, 16 November 2012

More Waxwings

Heysham Obs
A circuit of the reserve was going very quietly migrant-wise with, for example, Longtailed Tit flocks just that and hardly any grounded thrushes, notably the north-east corner, until the area below the now ex-obs tower was checked.  This produced 5 Waxwings and a good collection of continental Blackbirds

Reserve circuit early morning
Waxwing - 5 below the obs tower feeeding on hawthorn, then flew into the tank farm area where they could still be heard calling
Blackbird - c30, with 25 of these below the obs tower/tank farm
Song Thrush - 3
Redwing - flock of 18 SW
Fieldfare - 7 SW with above
Goldcrest - just one found

Single very worn Red-line Quaker and Mottled Umber

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Of moths and a few birds, notably late vis Meadow Pipit

Heysham Obs
Counted 145 moths this morning in two traps with one still to go at home.  The office trap produced: Agonopterix heracliana, December Moth, Feathered Thorn, 2 Mottled Umber, the first Winter Moth and a perhaps surprising 2 late Red-line Quaker

Vismig by the office
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 56 mainly SW
Meadow Pipit - an amazingly late 11
Chaffinch - 12 SW
Greenfinch - 4 SW
Goldfinch - 3 SW
Blackbird - a few grounded early morning

North harbour wall
Rock Pipit - 1
Twite - 11 - 6 new ones ringed and the four already ringed contained a Machrihanish 2011 bird - this individual has been caught here on three previous occasions (twice in autumn 2011, once in February 2012).
Goldfinch - single-figures ringed

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Early morning finch flurry

Heysham Obs

Vis mig/eating breakfast/topping up feeder 0730-0800hrs
Chaffinch - 47 SW
Brambling - 2 SW
Siskin - heard heading S
Goldfinch - 15 SW
Greenfinch - 11 SW
Redwing - 2 S
Song Thrush - 1 S
Blackbird - c15 around office first thing
Woodpigeon - flock of 11 S
alba wagtail - possibly a late migrant headed SE

Later stuff by the office
Pink-footed Goose c450 south in one flock
Ringing by the office saw a surprising unringed Robin, 4 Blackbird (3 continental), one Chaffinch and low single figures of Green and a heap of retraps, including Goldfinch from the whoosh netting on the north wall

None in the office trap - perhaps surprisingly but the wind was a little too south and blowing slightly into the window.  Just the one December Moth in a portable trap in SD46A (thanks Justine)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Same routine - a few more birds

Heysham Obs
A bit of an overcast morning saw a few grounded thrushes with double-figures of Song Thrush a bit of a surprise.  No obvious'vis' other than Redwing heading inland

Heysham NR early morning circuit
Blackbird - 25-30, including behaviour, typical of continental migrants, of forming small flocks - 8 were in one small isolated hawthorn
Song Thrush - minimum of 12, perhaps up to 20
Redwing - 9 - flew inland
Goldcrest - 5, including very mobile and noisy flock of 3 which looked like new arrivals
Chiffchaff - 'collybita calls' heard from near the dipping pond but bird not seen
Water Rail - 1+

North harbour wall
Dogs accompanying anglers were a problem, but there were at least 20 finches, including c8 Twite (thanks John)

Light-brown Apple Moth surprisingly the only candidate after a mild night

Monday, 12 November 2012

Pre-work minima

Heysham Obs
Just a quick walk round the reserve pre-rain and a very quick check of the noth wall

Grounded on reserve
Blackbird - c15 - more than yesterday!
Redwing - 7 - flew inland
Goldcrest - 5 (4 more than yesterday)
Chiffchaff - one NE corner - a silent rather brown bird but not looking very siberian

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2CY patrolling - very intermittent bird this one, also 1CY
Twite - 6 - flew off before rings could be checked for
Goldfinch - 14
Linnet - 2

Single December Moth, Feathered Thorn and two Mottled Umber is above average for November!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Same place, same time?

Heysham Obs
Two Waxwings dropped in, again at 0745hrs, before flying east, then another singleton arrived at 0930hrs and ate a few hawthorn berries.  Good late-season vis today:

Vis  mig dawn(ish) to 0930hrs unless stated
Waxwing - 2 circled down from height at 0745hrs, landed briefly, circled around then flew high inland at about 0755hrs, perhaps those two seen later in the morning on Brier Drive, Heysham village (thanks Susan).  Another 'appeared' on top of a bush at 0930hrs and remained until about 1000hrs, eating some hawthorn berries before seemingly heading towards the power station
Fieldfare - flock of 85 grounded, then 76 of then flew inland
Redwing - c15, including 3 with the above
Chaffinch - at least 55 SW
Goldfinch - 6 SW
Bullfinch - 2 SW
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE high
Twite - 2 S
Woodpigeon - flocks of 32+27+4 south
Pink-footed Goose - 85 SE at about 1030hrs

North harbour wall
No food and no finches early morning - nyger seed put down
1CY Med Gull patrolling
Afternoon saw:
Goldfinch - c15
Linnet - up to 4
Twite - at least 6 individuals, including Machrihanish-ringed bird from autumn 2011

Angle Shades and Feathered Thorn

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Heysham Obs
Noisy flock of four flew south-west over the office and appeared to land at the southern end of the tank farm at 0745hrs

Vis mig until 0900hrs
Waxwing - 4 SW
Redwing - 11 SW
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 42 SW
Goldfinch - 15 SW
Woodpigeon - flock of 32 south over golf course
Greenfinch - prob a few moving

North harbour wall
After several days of a small but steady increase in Twite, today saw a big step backwards, possibly due to the morning high tide and disturbance but a birder encountered by the heliport just as I was leaving came out with the statement that "there didnt seem to be any food and 5 Goldfinches were pecking around for a few seconds but didnt seem to be finding anything".  This immediately followed taking two people new to the area down there and similarly drawing a blank.  Something must have really hammered the food between late morning and early afternoon - rabbits?  Perseverance saw a brief visit by 15 Goldfinch and 3 Twite late afternoon (thanks Kevin)

Office area grounded
Very brief ringing session included a continental male Chaffinch with wing of 94mm

MothsNo moths in the trap but a Nettle Tap moth was in the mist net ride

Friday, 9 November 2012

Pre-rain whistle-stop tour

Heysham Obs
Waxwings: Two out of a flock of 15 located by Janet this morning at SD447634 (Westgate cycle track old railiway bridge) in appalling weather conditions.  Do let us know if you see any, please.

Heysham N Reserve circuit
A bit of a thrush arrival
Blackbird - c30
Redwing - c15
Song Thrush -  2
Goldcrest - 5

North harbour wall
Just one quick check of the feeder
Linnet - 3
Twite - 9 (including Machrihanish bird)
Goldfinch - 24
Rock Pipit -1
Meadow Pipit - 5
Purple Sandpiper- one at base of seawall

Two December Moth in one night may be unprecedented - certainly scarce here.  Also late Pink-barred Sallow, Feathered Thirn and Parsnip Moth

Thursday, 8 November 2012

North wall exercise and a few moths

Heysham Obs
Seen leaving Red Nab.  Thanks Janet

Didnt get chance to scope the finches today, just a quick exercise circuit:

Twite - 13 at least
Linnet - 5
Goldfinch - at least 10
Song Thrush - one mound, then flew over harbour
Med Gull - 1CY along wall, ad in harbour mouth

Single Epirrita, Feathered Thorn and Light-brown Apple Moth

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

End of an era and a returning Machrihanish twite?

Heysham Obs
The Observation Tower, built to observe the construction of the power station, is no more.  Also no more of Britains most frequently asked question: "Why is the tower not open?"   "Why has the tower been knocked down?" will hopefully have a short shelf-life.  It has been the victim of risk assessments and 'unsafe design' for years, but knocking it down at an earlier stage was not straightforward.

North harbour wall
Twite - 14, including a Machrihanish-ringed bird from autumn 2011 which may have been one which wintered in 2011/12 - hopefully it will be caught and the number checked.  6 were unringed, one ringed bird was pre-2011/12 winter, but the rest seemed to be either from earlier this autumn or last winter period
Goldfinch - a cohesive flock of 25 made two visits to the feeder, displacing the Twite.  A minimum of 7 were unringed, probably more
Linnet - 4 - 2 unringed
Med Gull - 1CY 'working' the seawall
Purple Sandpiper - one on the rocks at the base of the seawall by the red gate

Heysham Nature Reserve
A lot of banging and clattering (see above),but two Goldcrests were heard calling by the office

Parsnip Moth

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Purple Sandpiper and a much better ratio

Heysham Obs
Taken today along north harbour wall.  Thanks Janet

A few wintry bits today including a returning Purple Sandpiper and a welcome reduction in the multi-coloured 'nyger seed rats' (Goldfinch) and a proportionate increase in Twite to double-figures at last.  Please note that the nyger seed feeding station is part of a ringing study of Twite.

North wall
Purple Sandpiper - 1 (thanks Janet)
Twite - 11 (6 unringed)
Linnet - 3
Goldfinch - 5
Med Gull - ad & 1CY

Red Nab
Med Gull - ad
No sign of any Little Gulls on outfalls 

Monday, 5 November 2012

A coastal passerine day

Heysham Obs
The hoped for Snow Bunting was not found but a rather unexpected Chiffchaff consorted with Wrens in the bits and pieces of bramble around the harbour waterfall.  Pity the winter atlas isnt still in operation as it would have been new for SD35Z!   Part of the moning was also spent addressing the niger seed with a whoosh net and hoping the Goldfinch hordes would move on and leave the food for the Twite.  A control Goldfinch of the Y484 sequence was of interest

Thanks Janet for these,all taken by the waterfall on the south harbour

North wall
Twite - 4 flew in-off, but didnt linger, 3 new ones were ringed along with four retraps
Linnet - 2 ringed
Goldfinch - 21 new ones and a few retraps plus the abovementioned 'control'
Med Gull - 2 adults

Feathered Thorn in the trap   

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Few birds but more wasps!

Heysham Obs
Amazingly, today saw the highest registration this year on the nuisance index by worker social wasps.  One appeared in the office and blundered around the computer screen, two visitors were buzzed, one visited the ringing (or ringingless (see below)) station outside the front door.  A belated nest must be breaking up.  This all provides a rather feeble attempt at creating interest on what was a pretty birdless, mothless and butterflyless day.  Normally Red Admirals brighten things up on sunny early November days, but there have been hardly any this year and no late ones

Heysham NR office area
Vis mig comprised two late Meadow Pipits heading SE together and 6 Chaffinch heading SW.  Ringing was fairly dismal with virtually nothing on the feeders and new birds amounting to about one per hour (Dunnock, Greenfinch, Goldfinch)

North harbour wall
Goldfinch - c40
Twite - 4-5
Med Gull - 2 adult

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Not a great deal

Heysham Obs
First of all two alerts today where visitors were warned that this site was unsafe to visit because of the Fatbirder web link.  I googled this and found the Cornwall bird society site had faced this problem a few months ago.  Most odd.  If anyone can explain, please email me privately on  In the meantime, I've removed the link. 

Thanks go Ian for inshore stuff which was unfortunately limited to the two adult Mediterranean Gulls

A short tour of the reserve was similarly quiet with just 10-15 Blackbird and 6 Redwing of note

No moths

Friday, 2 November 2012

Unstable polar air

Heysham Obs
Thundery hail-showers are not the best recipe during the rush hour and conditions remained wild and woolly for the rest of the day.   Whether or not the weather caused my computer hard drive to fail is uncertain buit probably pure coincidence.  Winter fare bird-wise

Coastal sites
Little Gull - 2 ads offshore and an ad-type on the outfalls, the latter looked too pale under-winged to be the moulting adult present on and off since the end of July
Med Gull - 2 adults roosting on Fisher's roof by the harbour
Twite - 3
Goldfinch - 15 with above  (45 on feeding area at around 15.30 keeping their distance from a large Rabbit also taking the nyger)
Linnet - 1 with Goldfinches
Ringed Plover - 24 Ocean Edge
Inner harbour/waterfall and wooden jetty checked & nothing of note

Eddie Maguire was kindly in touch yesterday informing that all his Twite had left Machrihanish, 300 of them bearing rings

Ringing totals for October reflect several things, notably the massive Coal Tit irruption where the behaviour of many of the birds did not bring them anywhere near the mist nets - in this respect, the ringing total "only" equalled the maximum day count.  The rest of it was all a bit negative other than the coverage being rather good thanks to John Mason's availability, although Middleton was too wet and messy and the wind was rarely light enough.  Perhaps the most negative specific thing was the awful passage of Reed Bunting as determined by the lack of birds in early morning mist nets at Middleton and also the paucity on vis mig. More generally, there was not one single morning comprising a nice mixture of easterly wind and poor visibility - all the easterlies involved 'useless' medium-high cloud.  Therefore Chiffchaff and Blackcap just about struggled into double figures, the Goldcrest total was an accumulated trickle, Robin numbers were low and nothing unusual was found in the nets.  Totals for October in order of magnitude:  Coal Tit (161), Greenfinch (108), Goldfinch (95), Goldcrest (57),  Lesser Redpoll (39), Blue Tit (36), Chaffinch (32), Redwing (23), Long-tailed Tit (22), Wren (20), Robin (18), Blackbird (15), Blackcap (13), Great Tit (12), Twite (12), Chiffchaff (10), Dunnock (9), Song Thrush (8), Bullfinch (6), Grey Wagtail (5), Reed Bunting (5), Meadow Pipit (3), Linnet (2), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Treecreeper (1)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

More northbound pink-feet and a November wasp

Heysham Obs
Social wasps have been almost mega-alert status this year and to find one (late worker) making a nuisance of itself in the office this lunchtime was most unexpected.  A loose flock of c420 Pinkfeet headed over at lunchtime and looking at postings elsewhere there was a much larger gang heading similarly over the Lesser Yellowlegs site on the Lune estuary earlier in the morning.  What is happening?

Office area
Mostly work this morning, so just about 15 minutes of vis mig before a heavy shower put the lid on it
Chaffinch - 8 SW
Lesser Redpoll - 1 SW
Hardly any thrushes in the bushes and no obvious vis mig
Post-rain, a short spell of mist-netting saw a huge "foreign" male Chaffinch, a similarly large and long-winged female Blackbird and a handful of Green and Goldfinches

North wall
45 Goldfinch, 7 Linnet, 6 Twite, 4 Meadow Pipit

At least 18 Tufted and 2 male Pochard

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Goldfinch plague

Hopefully they will clear off south soon and leave some food and room for Twite.  

North Harbour Wall
Goldfinch - c55
Med Gull - adult and 2CY

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Large thrush fall

Heysham Obs
Change of plan (c/f yesterdays notice) and a decision to cover the early morning - this was 'scientific' and nothing to do with leaving my computer glasses in the office yesterday!  Well worth it - you just never know what to expect in wet conditions at this time of year, irrespective of wind direction - it often depends whether the birds are kick-started earlier in the night by favourable overnight migration conditions at their previous landing.  The rain must have 'dropped' large numbers of thrushes at Heysham this morning and I think I just about got there in time to witness most of the 'heading high inland' phase.  This was assisted by an unknown disturbance 'clearing out' the tank farm.  Good morning to possess a Heligoland trap!

Coverage of Heysham NR only - mainly round office, incl vis from 0710 onwards to 0825
Blackbird - 160-180 scattered around - "in every bush"
Redwing - 67 flew inland, 20-30 still grounded
Continental Song Thrush - a lot - at least 27 flew inland and at least another 20-25 grounded
Meadow Pipit - still moving - 3 SE
Siskin - heard once
Greenfinch - a lot on the move - perhaps 35 straight over high to SW with others dropping in to feeders which were inundated with finches (30-40 Greenfinch, 20-30 Goldfinch........and no food left!)

Quick walk around the reserve at 0930hrs
Amazing - hardly any sign that there was a major thrush arrival, confirming that even the usually more sedate Blackbirds were restless and wanting to head inland.  c15 Goldcrest, c25 Blackbird, 14 Redwing, 8 Song Thrush were logged with the onlt 'notable' being a Water Rail calling near the dipping pond

North harbour wall
43 Goldfinch (17 ringed), 4 Linnet (1 ringed), 7 Twite, with the 5 unringed ones soon flying off towards the harbour mouth.  Dog-walker on the heliport flushing Oystercatchers

Red-line Quaker

Monday, 29 October 2012

late autumn migratory dribble

Heysham Obs
Perhaps the last of the pre-dawn starts this morning.  A smattering of Redwing, at least one early Redpoll, a small flock of Brambling, three irruptive Coal Tit and a minor 'fall' of Goldcrest

No coverage tomorrow from usual people - can anyone help, please? 

Vis dawn to about 0830hrs
Redwing - 60 SW (no Fieldfare of Mistle Thrush)
Song Thrush - 5
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Meadow Pipit - 3
Goldfinch - at least 8 on vis
Greenfinch - 10-15 thought to be on vis (e.g. 13 new ones ringed to back this up, plus control from TS061 sequence)
Chaffinch - at least 18 SW on vis
Brambling - flock of 4 SW
Coal Tit - flock of 3 high to south very early on, plus one unringed bird caught later
Bullfinch - 1 high to S
Carrion Crow - 1 high to south
Siskin - 2 SE

Blackbird - 25-30
Redwing - 14
Song Thrush - at least 6
Chiffchaff - one in NE corner
Blackcap - male ringed
Goldcrest - at least 15 new birds (7 ringed, 8 unringed birds in rest of reserve)

Mottled Umber, Red-line Quaker, Pink-barred Sallow

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Mobile hide birding

Heysham Obs
Had to resort to a little bit of mobile hide i.e. sat in the car birding today as short breaks from work and give myself just a tiny amount of time on what looks like a promising morning tomorrow.  I don't think anything was missed flying overhead today in what was mainly driving rain!

Bits and pieces
Razorbill - two out
Twite - Just two plus 23 Goldfinch and 1 Linnet
Med Gull - 1CY outfalls, ad north wall
Tufted Duck - 18+ model boat pond
Pochard - 2 males model boat pond

Angle Shades

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Wintry chill

Heysham Obs
A dawn start saw a gradually increasing and progressively colder wind correlating with fewer birds until going back indoors and getting on with work seemed a better option.  Then the thrushes got going again!  Brief visit to north harbour wall, then work-related spot counts of waders may produce something to add to this lot:

Vis 0730-0830
Fieldfare - flock of c350 north, then east(ish) plus another 570 in three flocks all heading north on a line to the east of us by 0930 (very intermittent checks)
Redwing - dribs and drabs totalling about 30 in the half-light, including flying inland(see reserve circuit for leftovers). 16 with the first lot of Fieldfare, plus another c45 scattered amongst the later vis mig Fieldfare
Song Thrush - 3 migrants headed inland
Chaffinch - c15 SW
Brambling - heard on two separate occasions but could not see them - very high!
alba Wagtail - 5 SE
Jackdaw - 41 S
Rook/Carrion Crow - 4 with above but not seen very well
Meadow Pipit - 1 SE mid am
Grey Wagtail - one heard mid-am - blogger?

North wall
9 Twite (later 10), 14 Goldfinch (later 23), 8 Linnet on/around feeder, 6-7 Meadow Pipit scattered around

Reserve circuit
Not bad for thrushes in the sheltered NE corner but no more seen flying overhead
Blackbird - 30-40
Song Thrush - 8-10
Redwing - 8-10
Treecreeper - one NE corner
Woodcock - i flushed from eastern woodland
Goldcrest - 6, including group of 5 unringed birds

Ocean Edge
Med Gull - adult and 1CY outfalls but no sign of long-staying adult Little Gull at a stage of the tide it is normally visible
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1,350 along tideline
Whooper Swan - 7 very distantly and high to ESE

Light-brown Apple moth.  No butterflies or dragonflies on circuit of the reserve 1100hrs, including checking the NE corner ivy which was sheltered in full sunlight and covered in drone flies etc

Friday, 26 October 2012

Yellowhammer surprise

Heysham Obs
A check of the mound/north wall produced a bunting but not the species which was being looked for in the freezing cold northerly wind!  A female/immature Yellowhammer was finally clinched after getting right side of the sun - loosely associated with the finch flock, but then remaining on the mound when they returned to the gate area.  The remainder of the 'coverage' amounted to oversleeping (last night's rock and roll lifestyle playing at a ceilidh at Lowgill village hall?) and picking up the very back end of a few thrushes, Chaffinches and Meadow Pipit before the wind started getting up and it 'went dead'

Not a good morning to give vis mig coverage a bit of a miss - see thread on LDBWS and FBC sites - however most of the birds seemed to be heading north to the east of us

North wall 
Finches amounted to about 22 with circa 15 Goldfinch, 5 Twite and 2 Linnet but heavy duty work in the centrica compound kept them off the food
Yellowhammer - female/imm with the above - what was probably this gave a single half-heard (a lot of background noise here for hearing vis mig) call seemingly quite high in the sky, so may have just come 'in-off' before pitching in and being located five minutes later in loose association with the finch flock.  Last seen around the gorse on the mound
Med Gull - adult and 1CY

Office area
Single Goldcrest ringed and not a lot seen (see intro): 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Chaffinch and 5 Redwing

Surprisngly there were some: Caloptilia stigmatella, Light-brown Apple Moth and Pink-barred Sallow

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Pre-dawn coverage

Heysham Obs
Pretty lively pre-dawn this morning, including catching and ringing four Lesser Redpoll in the dark - hadn't had these on the 'night-migrant' radar.  Coverage guillotined at 0830 due to work - plenty of Redwing, a few Brambling and Fieldfare, no moths.

Pre-dawn by the office
Redwing - 162 grounded but only one caught - counted as they flew inland from the tank farm - odds and ends casually seen later but no time
Lesser Redpoll - a bit surreal.  Whilst sitting by the office in the dark listening to Redwing, at 0715hrs, I heard a redpoll calling.  Pure laziness had led me to switch on a Redpoll MP3 by the nets to save going back in daylight and four were sat in the net by 0720hrs!  Definitely vis mig droppers, not ex-local roost.  Also surprising was that only one was subsequently seen/ringed when daylight arrived
Fieldfare - 25 pre or just after dawn
Grey Wagtail - another call in the dark and then again just as it was getting light - surely a 'wintering' blogger?
Brambling - 6+3+4+1 south-west in about a 2 minute spell just as it there was enough light to see them
alba Wagtail - 5
Meadow Pipit - 4?+ (at least 2 of these in the dark!!)
Chaffinch - 27 SW
Song Thrush - 2 east at dawn
Chiffchaff - one calling at dawn
Goldcrest - not one heard or seen pre-0830 (or afterwards)
Goldfinch - 3
Raven - 1+1 high to south just as it was getting light
Woodpigeon - 6 SE

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

More rubbishy medium-high cloud

Heysham Obs
Almost relieved when I saw the rubbishy clear but cloudy weather at dawn today as had so much work to do!  A few early morning thrushes and a miniscule scattering of Goldcrest = the grounded stuff.  Overhead was more productive, especially Pink-feet

Vis mig until 0930, then very on and off (S-SE unless stated)
Lesser Redpoll - 5 (4 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 17
Redwing - 124
Grey Wagtail - 2
Fieldfare - 3
Chaffinch - 16
Goldfinch - 6
Mistle Thrush - 1
Greenfinch - 8 (NONE on feeder!)
alba Wagtail - 5
Pink-footed Goose - 250N, 20S, 140N, 10S, 70N
Carrion Crow - 1
Bullfinch - 4+2+1
Woodpigeon - 3
Coal Tit - one irruptive flock of 5

Highlight of the walk round was meeting another moth trapper, Justine, who had set an overnight actinic.  Absolutely dead bird-wise apart from 12 Blackbird, flock of 5 Song Thrush, one Chiffchaff and four Goldcrest

The actinic produced Dark Chestnut, Epirrita, 2 Large Wainscotand a Mottled Umber.  The hut produced a Silver Y, Light-brown Apple Moth, Red-line Quaker and Pink-barred Sallow

Speckled Wood in the eastern woodland

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Still a bit too clear

Heysham Obs
Nice to meet photographer David Millward and coloured pencil artist Jo Goudie today who are heavily involved in the Machrihanish twite ringing.  Jo has re-vamped the Machrihanish website and it can be accessed at the moment via:

Bird-wise this morning was a little disappointing, although par for the course once the uniform medium-high cloud and clear visibility across the bay was evident.  This seemed to suppress vis without producing a vast amount of grounded stuff.  However, its usually day 2 after the big east coast fall, so tomorrow is hopefully 'game-on'

Vis mig until about 0930
Redwing - 122
Woodcock - one flew over the office and landed in the wood by the pylons just before dawn
Chaffinch - just 6
Meadow Pipit - 8
Blackbird - 12
Starling - 29 south
Lesser Redpoll - 6 (3 ringed)
Bullfinch - one high to south, at least one other 'grounded'
Fieldfare or Mistle Thrush - 6 high in the sky to the east, heading north
Greenfinch - low single-figures only
alba Wagtail - 1
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - just 12
Rock Pipit - 1

North harbour wall
At least one Twite and a Rock Pipit

Grounded migrants
Redwing - c10
Song Thrush - 5
Blackbird - 25
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - at least 3
Brambling - one Heysham head

Much better: Large Wainscot, 2 Feathered Thorn, Feathered Ranunculus, Silver Y, Epirrita spp, 5 Red-line Quaker and a Pink-barred Sallow

Monday, 22 October 2012

The day before it all happens?

Heysham Obs
Coverage limited to intermittent vis mig and a few mist nets by the office (thanks John) due to work.  A Twite-ringing session took place on the north wall with the site inundated by Goldfinch.  Quite a 'finch' morning with the notable exception of Chaffinch which saw very few on vis mig.

Vis mig intermittently to 1100hrs
Redwing - 19
Lesser Redpoll - 11
Goldfinch - 13
Starling - 600 ex-roost
Chaffinch - 11
alba Wagtail - 2
Meadow Pipit - 29, including flock of 14, most mid-morning
Coal Tit - no obvious movement - just two unringed singletons
Mistle Thrush - 1

Goldcrest - 3 new ones
Blackcap - one caught pre-dawn
Chiffchaff - one by office mid-morning
Very few thrushes grounded first thing (e.g. none ringed)

Late afternoon circuit of the reserve
Brambling - flock of 9 headed south
Redwing - dribs and drabs over, about 15 in total
Chiffchaff - one by dipping pond
Goldcrest - 2 in NE corner
Blackbird - c20 grounded

New birds: Twite (7), Coal Tit (2) Greenfinch (11), Lesser Redpoll (9), Goldfinch (19), Dunnock (2), Goldcrest (3), Coal Tit (2), Chaffinch (1), Blackcap (1), Blue Tit (2)

No Saharan migrants - just Red-line Quaker, Pink-barred Sallow and Light-brown Apple Moth and a Silver Y seen in the field

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Plane-spotting day

Heysham Obs
Too clear this morning and this led to boredom and messing about with an 'app' which revealed one of the 'northbound' planes was heading for Orlando and another, just to the west, for Mexico.  Very poor vis mig this morning and an almost unbelievable situation where NO Redwing were recorded, either pre-dawn or subsequently overhead!  Highlighted by a flock of Rook and Jackdaw and a few Lesser Redpoll.  A few new Coal Tits were caught this morning, but in dribs and drabs, not sizeable irruptive flocks

Vis mig on and off to 1000hrs (S/SE unless stated)
Bullfinch - 1 (and one unringed bird caught)
Mistle Thrush - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 12 (4 ringed)
Carrion Crow - 4+2+2+1 high to south
Meadow Pipit - 21 (including 11 in-off on north wall)
Rock Pipit - 3 in-off together on north wall
Chaffinch - only 8 recorded but the only bird caught was bearing someone else's ring! (Y868 sequence)
Woodpigeon - 4+6 high to SE
alba Wagtail - 7
Siskin - 1
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 15 north
Goldfinch - c15 SE
Jackdaw - flock of 58 eventually high to SE
Rook - 5 with above

Meadow Pipit - 17 already grounded on north wall (plus the 11 in-off)
Rock Pipit - 2 on north wall (plus 3 in-off)
Song Thrush - at least 8 at or just after dawn
Blackbird - c10 at or just after dawn
Chiffchaff - one round office (caught and ringed)
Goldcrest - one mound, one sandworks, four new ones on reserve
Coal Tit - 12 unringed birds caught
Great-spotted Woodpecker - unringed bird caught
Blue Tit - one unringed bird caught
Great Tit - one unringed bird caught

A bit slow, but 30-odd new birds eventually ringed, including 12 more Coal Tit

Feathered Ranunculus was late

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Snapshot coverage

Heysham Obs
Dawn was not very promising with a niggling southerly and medium-height cloud spilling in from the west, prompting a decision to get on with a pressing workload.  Coverage of the reserve was limited to a few mist net rounds and associated snapshots of vis which seemed to increase mid-morning as the skies cleared to the north.  The outer circuit of the reserve was lapped late afternoon

Grounded Heysham NR only
Single-figures of Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbird
Chiffchaff - 2 in north-east corner, one high in the canopy by the entrance gate, the latter with an interesting rather soft and 'feeble' call (but not tristis), but only offering silhouette views
Goldcrest - small influx with 8 ringed and about 6 in the NE corner
Robin - two unringed birds caught

Extra bits and pieces of vis mig from mist-net rounds 
Grey Wagtail - 1
Skylark - 2
Meadow Pipit - 12
Redwing - 25
alba Wagtail - 5
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Linnet - 3
Goldfinch - 27, including flocks of 11 & 7 high to SE
Siskin - heard once
Bullfinch - 1 high to south
Pink-footed Goose - 63 N
Greenfinch - at least11 high to S

Vis at Heysham Head 0740-0920
Grey Wagtail - 2
Skylark - 1 heard.
Meadow Pipit - 9
Redwing - 4
alba Wagtail - 4
Linnet - 4
Goldfinch - 16
Siskin - 1 heard
Pink-footed Goose - 475 N, 90 SE
Greenfinch 6
Chaffinch - 57
Brambling - 1
Numbers and species very similar to the Nature Reserve over the same time period.  Difficult to say whether they are the same birds, more likely just indicative of the rates per hour. Some birds arrived over Heysham Head from the east and then, on reaching the sea, circled trying to decide which way to go.  Some went along the coast, others went SE.  Other birds arrived from the NW and continued SE.  Some were just coming down the coast. 
No obvious grounded birds.

North Harbour Wall
Goldfinch 26 (mostly ringed), Twite 3 (1 unringed), Robin 2, Meadow Pipit 8 grounded, local Pied Wagtail family (mum, dad and the kid).

15 new Greenfinch confirmed the impression that new birds were passing through today, 8 Goldcrest, just four Coal Tit with no obvious flocks on the move, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Robin (one quite orange-breasted & grey, the other very christmas cardy), 1 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird

Epirrita spp and a Silver Y.  2 Silver Y and a Small Tortoiseshell on the yellow buddliea yesterday

Friday, 19 October 2012

Varied vis and mid-morning tits

Heysham Obs
This morning 'evolved' into quite a reasonable one after a poor start where useless uniform cloud cover at 'medium height' knocked any dawn thrush arrival on the head.  The rest of the morning saw gradual clearance to 'fine, sunny with light winds' by 1100hrs.  Interesting to note the different behaviour by two Coal Tit flocks where the birds were released together (after ringing) to try and retain the 'irruptive flock mode'.  The first was caught when the cloud cover was prominent, the second as the sky was virtually cloud-free.  The first lot just trundled into the nearest bushes and ambled their way south, the second lot circled up and within 10 seconds of release were at 'top of pylon height' and heading off noisily to the south-east.  Justification indeed for a strict protocol re-releasing these birds together instead of in dribs and drabs as they are ringed.

Vis mig dawn to about 1000hrs with a few bits thereafter
Meadow Pipit - 17 SE
Chaffinch - 182 SW
Lesser Redpoll - 4 SW
Brambling - 2 SW
alba Wagtail - 17 SE
Grey Wagtail - possibly the same off-passage bird seen twice
Starling - flock of 10 S
Mistle Thrush - 2 SW
Carrion Crow - 3+2+1 high to south
Goldfinch - 43 S
Redwing - 93 SW in dribs and drabs, no double-figure flocks!
Woodpigeon - 4+2 high to SE
Pink-footed Goose - 12+4 SE
Linnet - 3 SE
Skylark - 10 SE
Song Thrush - 2 SW
Greenfinch - at least 38 SW
Tree Sparrow - 4 together S
Siskin - flock of 25 SE
Jay - 2 S
Coal Tit - at least 16 migrants
Long-tailed Tit - 10 unringed birds were retained and released together along with two 'locals' caught at the same time - headed off to the south
What was probably a Snow Bunting was heard twice high to the west but it obviously isn't being claimed

Hardly anything, so two Chiffchaff a little unexpected
Song Thrush - c10
Blackbird - much reduced on yesterday - 10-15
Chiffchaff - two newly arrived birds caught and ringed
Blackcap - one female ringed
Goldcrest - only two seen and both caught and ringed

Expensive!  New-ringed stuff:  Goldfinch (45 plus a control), Long-tailed Tit (10), Coal Tit (16), Chiffchaff (2), Redwing (2), Song Thrush (1), Blackbird (1), Chaffinch (3), Bullfinch (1), Goldcrest (2), Greenfinch (10), Dunnock (1), Blue Tit (7), Blackcap (1), Linnet (2), Twite (5).  Goldfinch control was D057 sequence = pretty recent.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

More south-easterly and a different package of migrants

Heysham Obs
Love this time of year if you have just a bit of time pre-work.  With or without scarcities, each morning has a different character, sometimes a negative 'clear out', unfortunately the latter usually 'perfect ringing/staring at empty motionless nets' weather.  This morning was dodgy for ringing as per forecast, but would have been quite manageable and productive on the evidence of the wander round.  As is often the case on Thursday, I was a lone observer (with limited time) and plumped for a bit of bush coverage/'mobile' vis migging as opposed to mist nets by the office

Vis mig 0800-0930 (first half hour concentrated, final hour whilst on the prowl)
Great-spotted Woodpecker - in the right place to see one coming 'in-off' and heading high to SE
Chaffinch - 78 SW
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Jay - flock of 5 high to south
Coal Tit - more 'cascading from the sky' birds - 2+17+27 heading south after dropping down once
Long-tailed Tit - 3 flocks, two of them 'fast moving' single species with unringed birds (6+8) - suggesting birds in transit which had not gathered an entourage
Siskin - heard once
Reed Bunting - 1 S
alba Wagtail - 16 SE
Goldfinch - 21 SW
Greenfinch - 45 SW
Redwing - 51 SW (largest flock 32)
Snipe - 4 together S
Linnet - 5 S
Starling - flock of 15 S

The LTT flock below the obs tower (assuming the same) was accompanied by single Blue and Great Tit and just one Goldcrest.  No sign of yesterdays YBW but a lot of the habitat is out of bounds if it has 'settled' somewhere
Chiffchaff - 2 together NE corner (both unringed)
Song Thrush - notable increase with at least 25 grounded
Blackbird - at least 30 grounded
Redwing - a slightly late arrival so may have missed dawn birds heading inland but 'only' 10 located grounded this morning
Goldcrest - just 6 located - scattered around
Treecreeper - 2
Water Rail - first of the autumn in the marsh
In addition a tack call coming from the reedbed bushes could not be identified and the bird fell silent (sounded like Blackcap)

Mottled Umber was new for the year

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Yellow-browed Warbler at last!

Heysham Obs
Arrival at Heysham NR saw a cessation of the driving rain, a few Redwing calls, a note of the east of south wind and a search of the sheltered areas below the observation tower, some of which are within the licensed nuclear zone and cannot be advertised as public access.  The Yellow-browed Warbler was at the base of a path which has had to be closed due to an unsafe boardwalk and imminent removal of the old Observation Tower.  Apologies for having to use the "no general access" phrase on the pager, but there is no way round it for this area until the observation tower is taken down and the access track down to the Power Station made safe.  YBW found during about the 101st hour of searching during the potential arrival period so far this autumn!

Yellow-browed Warbler - a bright individual seen for about 15 seconds at c0830hrs with a small tit flock below the observation tower - it seemed to move towards the old quarry but may have crossed the road into a copse within the power station area as the flock could not be relocated after a quick dash back to the office.  No calls heard definitely ascertained to be this species but there were quite a few Coal Tit scattered around.  However the brightness of the plumage seemed to rule out Hume's.  No further sign by 1030hrs
Goldcrest - c10, including gang of 8
Redwing - perhaps 25 grounded
Blackbird - 25-30 around - definite arrival
Song Thrush - 5+ grounded
Chiffchaff - one NE corner

Heysham Head - St Peter's Churchyard and surrounding trees/scrub
Mega habitat - should be compulsory to check this area on east winds - like next week?  Totally sheltered
Crossbill - two south
Meadow Pipit - 3 south
Chaffinch - 13 south
Blackcap - male
Chiffchaff - ordinary-looking one
Goldcrest - 3
the lower three species with a LTT flock

Vis mig
Grey Wagtail - 1 but may have been off-passage
Lesser Redpoll - 1E
Reed Bunting - 1S
Brambling - at least one SW
Chaffinch - c30 SW
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Goldfinch - flock of 11 SW
plus grounded thrushes flying inland

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Windy webs and disrupted waders

Heysham Obs
A completely different morning to many recently, indeed since the last time we tried to run a coastal event!  This time we didn't cancel and the people who didn't turn round and go home were treated to a wader spectacular in the car park at Potts's Corner!

Webs and other coastal birds
Little Gull - a 1CY on the outfalls, joining the long-staying adult
Med Gull - 5-6 1CY outfalls, 2CY and at least one ad north harbour wall
Kittiwake - 1CY outfalls
Ringed Plover - 21 Ocean Edge, 13 heliport
Turnstone - exactly 60 on Ocean Edge grass, c10 on heliport
Pintail - 19 'out'
Auk spp, probably Razorbill - 10 out (3+7)
Linnet - 17 on seed north wall
Goldfinch - 22 on seed
Twite - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh edge (none seen north wall)
Oystercatcher - 5,500 heliport

Monday, 15 October 2012

Dawn downpour fails to deliver

Heysham Obs
A really 'messy' morning with the routine disrupted by a torrential downpour just after dawn, followed by some moderately reasonable 'vis from about 0800hrs, but nothing 'scarce' on a circuit of the reserve plus dog walk pond area (c/f Knott End and Fleetwood cemetary!)

Vis mig 0800-1000ish
Pink-footed Goose - 29 S
Grey Wagtail - 1
Jackdaw - 8 S
Skylark - 8 SE
Meadow Pipit - 9 SE
Siskin - 8 SE
Linnet - 3 SE
Chaffinch - 26 SW
alba Wagtail - 9 SE
Redwing - 65, mainly SE (& heard pre-dawn)
Song Thrush - 4 S
Redpoll - 1 S
Brambling - 2 S (see grounded)
Curlew - 2 S
Bullfinch - 5 S
Woodpigeon - 2 S
Coal Tit - just 4

Brambling - 4 - sorry forgot to enter yesterday
Redwing - 13
Song Thrush - 10
Goldcrest - 11
Chiffchaff - 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Robin - 2 unringed (migrants) caught - one very orange-breasted

North harbour wall
Twite 9 (one ringed here last autumn) & 55 mixed Linnet/Goldfinch

Grey Squirrel NE corner

Epirrata spp new for the year - all those checked here have been November Moth

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Clear weather routine plus a few Chiffchaff

Heysham Obs
Higher and more tricky vis mig this morning in clearer conditions with Chaffinch & Redwing comprising the vast majority of the records and 5 Tree Sparrow the 'highlight'.  Grounded-wise, four Chiffchaff were perhaps unexpected given the conditions and recent paucity.  The vis continued steadily until at least the early afternoon with small numbers of Chaffinch and Redwing noticeable throughout

Vis mig by the office until 1015hrs
Redwing - 281 SW in dribs and drabs with quite a few grounded
Song Thrush - 6 SW as singletons
Carrion Crow - 11 S
alba Wagtail - 11 SE
Chaffinch - 336 SW
Meadow Pipit - 7 SE
Linnet - 4 S
Coal Tit - dribs and drabs, possibly no more than 25-30 (15 ringed during morning)
Goldfinch - 38 S
Rook - 9 NE with Jackdaw
Jackdaw - 4 NE
Raven - 2 S
Greenfinch - very few this morning - no more than 10-15 perceived flying SW and very few around feeder
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
Mistle Thrush - 3 SW
Tree Sparrow - flock of 5 S
Pink-footed Goose - 78N & flock heard only to west
Jay - 3 S
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Skylark - 17 SE

Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 4
Goldcrest - c5 new
Great Tit - a ringing total of 6 for the day is very high for here - obviously a bit of movement

North wall
About 50 small finches around, mainly Goldfinch but also including 10+ Linnet and at least 4 Twite
Rock Pipit - 1
Chaffinch - one grounded on mound
Meadow Pipit - 4 on mound

New birds:  Redwing (17), Coal Tit (15), Wren (1), Goldcrest (4), Chaffinch (13), Chiffchaff (2), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (6), Dunnock (1), Blackbird (1), Greenfinch (just 3 - conspicuous by absence this morning), Goldfinch (1),

Catoptria stigmatella and a single Green-brindled Crescent

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A nice varied morning by the office

Heysham Obs
This was very much a 'big sit' list this morning as I was "tied" to mist nets and vis mig, as well as having to deal with a heavy shower mist-net-wise.  Going to have to work this evening as spent far too long on coverage today!

Vis mig dawn to 1030hrs
Redwing - 325 SW, including flock of 140
Mistle Thrush - 3 heading SW with a flock of Redwing (definitely MT!)
Goldfinch - prominent this morning with 57 S and 3-4 grounded flocks
Meadow Pipit - 29 SE
Grey Wagtail - one heard in the distance early on
Reed Bunting - 5 SE
Chaffinch - 168 SW
Greenfinch - an attempt to isolate vis suggested c84 SW
Song Thrush - 10 on vis mig, heading SW in ones and twos, 14 grounded birds headed inland
Bullfinch - a prominent passage this morning with 17 heading S/SW at considerable height, including a flock of 5
Brambling - one SW with an early group of Chaffinch
Coal Tit - at least 35 south in flocks of up to 6 (19 ringed)
Starling - ignoring the ex-roost west to east birds, 63 flew south in four flocks
Blackbird - 4 high to SW and c15 grounded and heading inland just after dawn
Lesser Redpoll - 2 S
Golden Plover - one south (rare here)
alba Wagtail - 25 SE
Skylark - 14 SE
Common Buzzard - one high to the east heading south
Sparrowhawk - 1 S
Kestrel - one low to south may have been on vis mig
Curlew - 5 S
Siskin - 15 SE
Carrion Crow - at least two southbound high-flyers
Jackdaw - one flock of 6 S
Pink-footed Goose - 25 SE
Cormorant - 2 S
Yellowhammer - a female/imm flew low from the north, landed for about 10 minutes before heading SE

Bear in mind that all this was from by the office - no reserve circuit (yet)
Stonechat - female (IOA) - headed off the plateau towards the tank farm
Treecreeper (one ringed)
Chiffchaff - 1 (ringed)
Blackcap - one very heavy off-passage female ringed and another calling
Goldcrest - 10
Robin - two lightweight birds ringed
Wren - 3 ringed
Song Thrush and Blackbird see above

Not too bad considering limited to nets by office & disrupted by shower:  New birds:  Coal Tit (19), Robin (2), Goldfinch (6), Goldcrest (5), Greenfinch (7), Blackcap (1), Wren (3), Blue Tit (1), Chiffchaff (1), Treecreeper (1)

A further 18 'blogging" species were seen from the office vantage point, giving a 'big-sit-type' total of 52 species with no wetland or intertidal stuff within visual range to give 'easy' additions.  Linnet was the unexpected absentee from the vis.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Was anything missed?

Heysham Obs
The early morning received no coverage today as a late night and unfavourable forecast (especially for mist-netting) took its toll.  A quick whizz round suggested that perhaps a bit of effort might have been worthwhile as there were plenty of breaks between short showers

Vis by the office 0830-0845
Meadow Pipit - 2
Chaffinch - 6

North harbour wall area
Twite - 2 (couldnt see whether ringed or not)
Linnet - 21
Goldfinch - 8
Rock Pipit - one
Meadow Pipit - 11 grounded
Razorbill - flock of 4 'out'
Med Gull - adult

Red Nab area
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull - 2 1CY
Knot - c6,500

Light-brown Apple Moth in the trap & amazingly still a Nettle Tap moth in the mist net ride next to the office

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Pre-frontal trickle

Heysham Obs
A few bits ahead of the weather front this morning.  A horse and trap racing around on Middleton shore pushed all the waders up to the Ocean Edge end, 'allowing' location of a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper.

Heysham NR circuit/vis mig to 0930
Chaffinch - 36 SW
Goldfinch - 17 SW
Siskin - heard once
Reed Bunting - one S
Bullfinch - 1+2 high to south
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Woodpigeon - 8+5 S
Coal Tit - 7+8+12 S first thing, then no further movement (none(!) seen during circuit of reserve)
Curlew - one high to south
Meadow Pipit - 17 SE, all just before the rain in two groups

Song Thrush - 16 grounded first thing, then inland
Blackbird - at least 12 behaving like migrants first thing, then inland
Redwing/Fieldfare - no sign (c/f east of here)
Goldcrest - small influx with c15 seen (4 ringed)
Blackcap - just the one  seen (& ringed)
Tawny Owl - one with a halo of Great Tits and the like in the eastern woodland - flew across the road on to golf course

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
First visit for a few days!
Med Gull - just two adults
Wigeon - 45
Shelduck - 81
Knot - 6,500
Bar-tailed Godwit - 395
Dunlin - 2,200
Curlew Sandpiper - juvenile

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Nasal double

Heysham Obs
The easterly didn't seem to have a lot of fetch on it and dawn saw a layer of cloud at the 'useless' level for dropping any great numbers of migrants and at the same time inhibiting clear-weather tit movements.  We ended up with reasonable vis, much easier to record than yesterday, a few extra grounded and a reduced, but still significant Coal Tit passage with 20 ringed and no large flocks.  The blog title refers to singleton Twite and Brambling, the first of the autumn.  The morning also provided an object lesson in how not to assume high-flying small thrushes are Redwing - all were heard and all went 'tick'

Vis to 1000hrs (Greenfinch ignored - certainly no obvious vis mig)
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE
Chaffinch - 79 SW
Bullfinch - 1+1+1 high to south
alba Wagtail - 45 SE
Cormorant - one high to SE
Song Thrush - 1+1+1+2+1 high to S/SW
Blackbird - 2 high to SW, then u-turned and landed
Meadow Pipit - 89 SE
Goldfinch - scarce this morning with just 6 S/SW
Lesser Redpoll - 2 S
Linnet - 2 S
Brambling - one SW
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Twite - one 'in-off on the north wall, landed on mast then headed low over the harbour
Carrion Crow - 3 SE
Jay - one high to east and a call, probably this spp from very high in the sky but couldn't locate!
Coal Tit - just one irruptive flock of 8 birds which avoided the mist nets, all the rest were more sedate ones and twos (20 ringed)
Great-spotted Woodpecker - one high inland which may have come in-off - seen to fly over the golf course without dropping - most unusual here

Grounded (circuit of reserve)
Slightly better than yesterday but no obvious migrant Robin
Goldcrest - 6-8
Blackcap - at least 3
Chiffchaff - new arrival by office, then inland
Blackbird - 6 in NE corner
Song Thrush - 3 in NE corner
Wren - at least 2 new birds (ringed)
Rock Pipit - 2 north wall together
Meadow Pipit - 5 north wall (& 21 Linnet and 7 Goldfinch)

Coal Tit (20), Wren (2), Grey Wagtail (2), Blue Tit (1), Blackcap (2), Goldcrest (2), Chaffinch (2), Greenfinch (2)

Rhomboid Tortrix and the usual suspects in the form of Pink-barred Sallow and Red-line Quaker

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Cold clear Coal Tit irruption

Heysham Obs
The largest Coal Tit irruptive movement since 1985 took place during the first 2 hours of the day with a significant trickle for the rest of the morning.  The count is likely to be an underestimate as I had to leave the vis mig operation to help with mist net extractions at the key time

Vis mig by the office dawn to c1030hrs
Coal Tit - 164 logged flying south, largest flocks being 32 & c40.  Only small numbers after 0830hrs
Long-tailed Tit - one unringed flock of c11
Blue Tit - single figures of unringed birds - more than usual this autumn!
Great Tit - no sign of any movement as usual here
Dunnock - at least two southbound migrants
Skylark - 12 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 108 SW, but significant underestimate as they were very high and not 'casually' recorded during mist net rounds
Goldfinch - 15 & comment as above
Jackdaw - 11+16+1 south - really high!
Pink-footed Goose - 60+39 SE, second flock stratospherically high
alba Wagtail - just 4 SE
Jay - 3+2 south
Carrion Crow - 6+2+1 high to south
Sparrowhawk - one south
Bullfinch - 3 high to south & c5 others moving through bushes
Raven - 2 south
Meadow Pipit - just 11 noticed, comment as Chaffinch
Mistle Thrush - 5+1+1 SW
Greylag - 2 south together c1130hrs
Peregrine - large pale bird flew ESE with quite slow wingbeats at c1145hrs (!!) - no fine detail seen

Wren - 5
Robin - 13
Chiffchaff - singing male, the first for a few days
Blackcap - 1 female
Goldcrest - 2
Jay - 2
Bullfinch - 7
Mistle Thrush - 1
Coal Tit - 13 (including a flock of 7) seen on a walk round the reserve at 1030am

North harbour wall
Rock Pipit - 1-2
possible single twite on the food but silent in bad light and flew off

Coal Tit (39), Greenfinch (4), Blue Tit (9), Long-tailed Tit (10), Wren (4), Chaffinch (2), Great Tit (1), Robin (4), Goldcrest (2), Blackbird (1), Bullfinch (1), Goldfinch (1), Dunnock (2), Lesser Redpoll (9)