Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Atlas vigil

Heysham Obs
A day off work putting BTO atlas roving records on to an excel sheet as requested, working to the 31st Jan deadline, so didnt go on to the BTO site.  500+ records later, I was informed of this:  "We have extended the deadline for online data submissions to 20 February 2012"!    At least it has been done.

Hopefully this will give more time to add more of the roving records gathered during consultancy work.  Any consultants out there who have covered an obscure atlas-deficient location only to hide behind the excuse that "its not our data to put on BTO site"?   I have only had one example in 15 years of consultancy work where a client has expressed a wish for records not to be released and this was for a very understandable reason.  Please check with your clients and go for it!

Pretty low key stuff by all accounts with some of the seabirds having seemingly departed overnight:

Guillemot - one harbour mouth
Shag - 6+ in the harbour
Kittiwake - c20
Twite - 6 on seed
Goldfinch - 2 with above
Rock Pipit - one

Thanks very much for these, Janet - it looks much brighter than the other day - there have been two birds reported

Monday, 30 January 2012

Routine coverage

Heysham Obs
Twite - 16 early on, then disappeared
Med Gull - one adult
Little Gull - 2CY outfalls
Kittiwake - at least 20 around
Shag - at least 6 around
Guillemot - 3
Wigeon - 105 Red Nab area

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Shag numbers maintained

Heysham Obs
Calm weather led to a concerted effort to try and see if the Black Redstart was around.  No joy.

North wall/harbour/outfalls
Little Gull - 2CY outfalls
Kittiwake - 29 (5 outfalls)
Shag - 10 quite possibly 11 SW corner of harbour
Guillemot - 3 SW corner harbour
Rock Pipit - the wintering bird at inner end of wooden jetty - looked very petrosus with sullied underparts and very dusky outer tail feathers (as you would perhaps expect in the 'rocky coast habitat' as opposed to outer saltmarsh?)
Meadow Pipit - one sandworks, poss 2
Twite - 14 instantly on to the new supply of food!
Med Gull - one adult on mudflats

HN reserve
Meadow Pipit - one landed in non-op land

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Variety of seabirds maintained in calm weather

Heysham Obs
Surprised that 4/4 of the windblown seabird species were still 'available' at high tide, especially Little Gull.  It will be interesting to see what happens as the weather goes really pear-shaped in the next 2-3 weeks....assuming not snowbound at home

Inshore at high tide
Little Gull - 2CY stage 2 outfall
Guillemot - 3 SW corner harbour
Shag - 3 SW corner harbour, wooden jetty roost not checked
Twite - at least 16 but only seen in flight
Med Gull - two adults fisher's roof
Kittiwake - 28 SW corner harbour, two outfalls

Middleton NR
Gadwall - pair on 'no swimming' pond
Teal - 18 - highest count of the winter
Tufted Duck - 3

Heysham NR office area
Green Woodpecker- almost but not quite added to the ringing list for here!
Greenfinch - 5 unringed trapped
Goldfinch - 3 unringed trapped
Blue Tit - amazingly, two unringed adults trapped
Far fewer birds than expected at the feeder, but everyones feeding them this weekend, aren't they!!

Friday, 27 January 2012


Heysham Obs
Checking the tide and any other mini-excursions from the office just didnt happen!

Twite - c15 on the food mid-morning
Goldfinch - 3 on food
Mistle Thrush - 1 around the NHW.
Green Woodpecker - heard calling by the HNR office

Thanks to Tony for printing the first 40 copies of the 2011 Heysham Bird Observatory report - it should be on the shelves later this weekend- thanks to Alan for putting covers on and ring-binding- at Leighton Moss and available at Monday's LDBWS meeting as well as to anyone calling in HNR office

Postal copies: Please send cheque for £3-50 to Pete Marsh, Leck View Cottage, Ashley's Farm, High Tatham LA2 8PH.  Make sure your address is included!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Lifelisting Green Woodpecker

Heysham Obs
A recent strand on the LDBWS site concerned a wish to see a Green Woodpecker and advice was given on how to do so.  Go back 30 years to the early days  of the Obs and any suggestion that this would be a reliable site (also for Jay and Treecreeper) would be treated as not being serious.  Today, the gentleman concerned achieved his ambition with good views of Green Woodpecker below the classroom along with 'one of' the wintering Treecreeper.  This just shows how the habitat around Heysham Obs has subtely changed.  This has not helped assessing the daily arrival of migrants, providing in those earlier years you did manage to get up at some ridiculous hour and monitor/intercept with mist nets the 'rush through the bush' as they headed inland for more food/shelter-friendly habitat, but it has certainly increased the number of off-passage birds and variety of breeding birds (e.g. no Blackcap and Chiffchaff nesting in the early days).  Thanks to Nick for many of the sightings today and Malcolm for the geese:

Pink-footed Goose
Quite a lot of indiscernible Pinkfoot movement over house throughout the night.  I was on shore off outflows first light. 2 flights (consisting 4 - 5 flocks each) north between 7:45 & 8:15 totaling 148 & 180 pinkfoot (per Malcolm).

Heysham NR/dog-walk
Green Woodpecker - one below classroom
Treecreeper - one Nature park

Little Gull - 2CY
Kittiwake - 4

Thanks for these Janet, taken on the inner end of Heysham 2 outfall

Harbour and area
Med Gull - 2 adults
Twite - 22 at lunchtime, including 6 unringed and one bearing autumn 2011 Machrihanish SBO sequence
Goldfinch - 2 as above
Guillemot - 1+
Shag - 2+

2 Dotted Border

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Groggy Peacock hits the headlines

Heysham Obs
A Peacock butterfly was found by the NR car park by the visiting Arnside NHS group, but it was somewhat lethargic.  Presumably the same was seen in flight during some late afternoon sun.  Thanks to ANHS & Janet for bird records.  All photos by Janet

Inshore sightings
Little Gull - 2CY appeared on the outfalls just after the group had left

Kittiwake - 20-25
Guillemot c6
Shag - c9
Twite - 14 at lunchtime, including 3 unringed birds
Goldfinch - 2 with above
Med Gull - adult north wall, 2 adults on the old Fisher's roof
Pink-footed Goose - 19 SE

Parsnip Moth in the trap

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dreary day for departing Pinkfeet!

Heysham Obs
Poor visibility today and a quick whizz round did not include any long-range scans of the outfalls/wooden jetty

Pink-footed Goose
c1,400 north-east around 0800hrs this morning

Ocean edge south beach tide edge
No obvious wader flocks to disturb at high tide so did the tide-edge walk - two year ticks!
Jack Snipe - one flushed from the 'inner corner' - flew & landed again about 50m south
Common Snipe - one along the shingle section
Skylark - one flushed by accident from the shingle section and it towered off to the south
Reed Bunting - one, possibly two, flushed from tide edge

North wall
Twite - 13, including 3 unringed birds
Dunnock - one with above

Gate 38 area pre-fencing work (no access once work has commenced)
Shag - 7
Kittiwake - 22
Guillemot - none visible

Monday, 23 January 2012

Med quartet and two Heysham year-ticks

Heysham Obs
Please note that the Gate 38 fence work is on-going and access may/will not be possible

Gate 38/waterfall/harbour area/outfalls
A quick visit before the fencers started their work saw:
Shag - 9
Guillemot - 2
Kittiwake - 21 harbour, 4 outfalls
Med Gull - just before high tide, there were three adults on Fisher's roof and one adult patrolling the north wall - this matches one of the December days which produced four adults
Little Gull - could only see two 2CY in slightly reduced wind

Ocean Edge
No sign of Sanderling at high tide

Heysham NR
Green Woodpecker - one did a noisy circuit for the first time this year

Middleton NR
Gadwall - pair on fence pond (first of year)
Tufted Duck - 7 (5 males) on fence pond
Mallard - two pairs on fence pond
Teal - 3 in main reedbed pond
Water Rail - one calling central marsh

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Nothing new in the north-westerly

Heysham Obs
Conditions looked really promising for another white-winger, given the numbers getting driven ashore by west/north-west winds in northern Britain.  However, the numbers of large gulls at Heysham, and indeed along Morecambe Prom seems to have really reduced, including departure of the Glaucous.  Odd, as numbers usually increase during January and the catalyst seemed to be the recent three-four day calm spell

All views a bit distant with a shaky scope whilst working at Ocean Edge but:
Little Gull - at least four 2CY, one possibly two adult
Kittiwake - 5

Ocean Edge
Sanderling - one again on the south beach with Dunlin at high tide
Ringed Plover - 19
Pink-footed Goose - 7 north

Harbour area
Shag - up to 10 reported
Guillemot - at least 6
Kittiwake - at least 21
Ringed Plover - 22 heliport roost

NH Wall
Quick visit  to put down feed pm:
Twite - 4 ringed birds on nyger
Goldfinch - 3 on nyger

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A duck-breaking moth

Heysham Obs
Harbour/outfalls/Ocean Edge/north wall
Sanderling - one with Dunlin again at high tide on Ocean Edge south beach
Med Gull - two adults and one 2CY
Shag - 7
Guillemot - 9
Kittiwake - 26 harbour - 4 outfalls
Little Gull - 2CY outfalls
Ringed Plover - 22 heliport

Dark Chestnut is the first moth this year from here

Friday, 20 January 2012

Midday visit

Heysham Obs 
Harbour and north wall areaShag - 8 and one strangled on loose monofilament netting on the platform roost
Guillemot - 3
Kittiwake - 19
Med Gull - Ad & 2CY
Little Gull - 2CY
No Twite seen today

Dogwalk strip
Redwing - 2 (first of year)

Thanks to Malcolm, Pete and Jean for todays sightings

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Early visit

Nothing from me again tomorrow - contributions very welcome either directly or to my e-address.  Ta.  Pete.  Thanks for the info the last two days.

Quick visit to the North Harbour Wall:
Birds in the harbour =
Guillemot 5
Kittiwake 23
Shag 8
Little Gull 2 (2CY in harbour and adult from North Harbour Wall)

13 Twite on the feeder, including the Machrahanish bird.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Late Visit

Nothing from me tomorrow - any contributions very welcome.  Thanks.

Late afternoon very brief visit viewed from NH Wall
Waterfall Area in SW corner harbour
Minimum of
Shag 4
Kittiwake 13
Guillemot 3

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Landbirds out of the closet

Heysham Obs
Productivish lunchtime walk.  No Glaucous Gull and the sighting on Saturday needs to be classed as 'reported' (per simultaneous observers), therefore last known confirmed sighting was on the waterfall near dusk last Friday evening.  Obviously it may reappear when it gets windy again tomorrow and the number of large gulls increases, but that may be clutching at straws.

North wall/waterfall area
Black Redstart - female/imm along the seawall on the harbour side of the mound - unfortunately didnt see it until got rather too close and it flew underneath the parallel short jetty across the harbour to the Fisher's quay
Meadow Pipit - 3, one sandworks, two heliport
Rock Pipit - one by north wall roundhead
Guillemot - at least two in harbour
Shag - at least 8 in harbour
Kittiwake - at least 15 in harbour
Twite - 11
Goldfinch - 4

Monday, 16 January 2012

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
Managed the near-impossible today - visited Heysham without seeing the sea!  It's called paperwork.  Some other bits and bobs might be posted later:

Heysham NR
Siskin - one by office early morning

North harbour wall
Twite - maximum of 11

Middleton NR
4 mute & 2 moorhen on main ponds. Remaining wildfowl on Tim Butler pond: 3 teal, 4 mallard, 1 little grebe, 7 moorhen, 1 coot

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Frosty Sunday

Heysham Obs
Pretty poor today, given decent coverage, unless there is some 'cred' in an apparent claim of an 'Icelandic' Gull from the north harbour wall early afternoon (per angler).  There was no apparent sign of the Glaucous Gull during all-day coverage, including work vigils, in what were much reduced numbers of large gulls

Harbour Area

Guillemot - 6 in the harbour at high tide
Shag - 9, possibly 10
Kittiwake - c18

North Harbour Wall
Mediterranean Gulls 2 Adults
Twite - maximum 11  Slow to come to nyger seed
mainly in smaller numbers.
Also 2 Goldfinch, 2 Dunnock and a Robin on the seed

Ocean Edge/off the old Pontins area
Plenty of waders, but the only worthwhile loggable sightings were:
Pink-footed Goose - 54 SE, 110 NW
Linnet - 3 OE saltmarsh

Just outside the area
Med Gull - one by the Sunny slopes groyne - a small unringed adult with a noticeable yellow tip to the bill, not one which has been frequenting the harbour area
.............and on the south side
Short-eared Owl - one by Potts Corner

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Departing Guillemots

No access via Gate 38 week commencing 16th January due to fencing work on the seaward side of the path.  Please do not pester the fencing team for access. Thanks for your cooperation. 
Harbour Area
Glaucous Gull - seen briefly near the wooden jetty around 2pm
Guillemot - 2
Shag - 9
Kittiwake - c18 + 6 outfalls

North Harbour Wall
Mediterranean Gulls 2 Adults  

Friday, 13 January 2012

The first calm day for ages!

Heysham Obs
Thanks for this, Jenny (taken by her son)
First of all, if anyone has picked a tripod up, please give me an email or text (07532433043).  Thanks.  No known check made of the Ocean Edge side today
Harbour area
Glaucous Gull - still around the waterfall at 1640hrs whilst checking for the above tripod, earlier seen on mudflats off the north wall and on the wooden jetty
Guillemot - 6
Shag - 10
Twite - 19
Kittiwake - c18   
Ringing by the office
Only two rounds possible, but these did produce a surprise in the form of an unringed Robin as well as a couple of Greenfinch and a Chaffinch.  Surprisingly no sign of any Goldfinch
Middleton NR ponds
3 mute swan, 4 coot, 8 moorhen, 1 water rail (heard only), 5 tufted duck, 2 teal
3 mallard.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Succumbing seabirds and a white scuttler

Heysham Obs
Perhaps inevitably, some Kittiwakes are starting to perish, with about 5 dead ones plus a dead Guillemot in the SW corner of the harbour.  The other point of interest is perhaps best described as "the return of the elusive wintering Sanderling" as presumably the same bird has been occasionally seen this winter with the very small proportion of the Middleton Dunlin flock which sometimes roost on the Ocean Edge south beach

Ocean Edge/outfalls
Skylark - 2+
Sanderling - one - looks like adult winter
Bar-tailed Godwit - 14
Kittiwake - 5 on outfalls
Little Gulls - 2x2CY on outfalls

Harbour area
Glaucous Gull - seen flying about mid-pm then on wooden jetty
Guillemot - 9 + one dead
Shag - 8
Kittiwake - 19+5 dead

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2CY and 2 adults
Rock Pipit - one
Twite - max of 8

Heysham NR late afternoon
Roe Deer - Four in NE corner!
Water Rail - one in NE reedbed
Bullfinch - 2

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Quick check of heliport

Heysham North Wall (heliport roost) -
c.4,000 Oyster Catchers, c.600 Knot, 10+ Curlew, 32 Ringed Plover & 1 Dunlin

Thanks Pete

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Harbour updates

Wooden Jetty:
Glaucous Gull on wooden jetty all morning

Shag 9
Guillemot 3 in harbour plus 2 offshore
Kittiwake 40

PLEASE NOTE: No access via Gate 38 at the moment due to fencing repairs.  This is due continue all next week as well.

Near Naze:
Red-breasted Merganser 2 (transferred to Red Nab later)

On Fisher's Roof at high tide:
Black-headed Gull 131
Mediterranean Gull 1 adult, unringed (a further 2 adult Med Gulls patrolling the North Harbour Wall)
Herring Gull 95
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3

Heliport at high tide:
Ringed Plover 13
Dunlin 3
Oystercatcher 2400

Red Nab at high tide:
Knot 3500
Wigeon 34
Turnstone 34
Redshank 16
Curlew 5

Ocean Edge grass:
Oystercatcher 200
Mistle Thrush 4
Lapwing 1

Monday, 9 January 2012

whistlestop coverage of north wall area

Heysham Obs
Glaucous Gull - juv on the wooden jetty most of the day
Shag - 11
Guillemot - 2+
Kittiwake - 15+ plus 13 behind a freight ferry
Med Gull - 2 adult

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Good coverage, same species

Heysham Obs
Thanks to Malcolm, Pete C, Pete Cr, Tom amd Mike for sending in sightings for today

Sorry about the late posting - an attempt to get the 2011 annual report out in reasonable time is being thwarted by e-mail attachments being lost in the ether during transmission & I have been trying to sort that out first

Glaucous Gull - seen at least  0930, 1100 and 1400 ish - I think all sightings were wooden jetty or from the north harbour wall
Shag - 11
Guillemot - 7
Purple Sandpiper - two together under the wooden jetty last section or in penultimate 'gap'
Little Gull - two 2CY
Med Gull - two adults (e.g. roosting on Fisher's roof) but no reports of 2CY
Kittiwake - minimum of 40
Twite - early morning maximum of 22
Linnet - one
Rock Pipit - one

Shags in the SW corner of the harbour, showing their favourite perches.  Thanks Pete

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Nice variety along the coast

Heysham Obs
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one flew into the bay close inshore at 1200hrs
Glaucous Gull - juv along the wooden jetty early afternoon
Purple Sandpiper - one alongside the north harbour wall
Shag - 11 in SW corner harbour (& 2 Cormorant)
Guillemot - 9 as above
Kittiwake - 44 as above, 6 on outfalls, c5 inshore elsewhere
Med Gull - 2CY again on north wall along with ad
Little Gull - 4 x 2CY & 1 x ad outfalls
Rock Pipit - one north harbour wall
Twite - 13 on seed, including 2011 Machrihanish-ringed bird
Linnet - one metal-ringed bird on seed - first of year there
Goldfinch - 3 as above

Please try and avoid walking down the 'corridor' past the Twite-feeding station.  Thanks.

Evening circuit of the reserve
Pheasant - male by the eastern bracken field (Reeve's Pheasant seen today in usual place)
Goldcrest - 3
Wren - 5

Friday, 6 January 2012

Elusive Purps

Weather a bit calmer with wind coming from the southwest, still feeling cold and heavy drizzle in patches making visability very poor at times.

Midday with dropping tide in harbour at least 8 Shag, 7 Guillemot and still 25+ Kittiwakes. The Glaucous Gull was reported at the end of the wooden jetty a little earlier and was seen again in the waterfall area at around 2-3pm.

2 Med Gulls from North Harbour Wall adult and 2CY, also 19 Twite, 2 Dunnock and 3 Goldfinches at the feeder. A group of Pigeons joined in after Alan had topped up the niger seed, despite being discouraged. Didn't manage to locate any Purple Sandpipers as the tide dropped and Tom Walkington has been trying for these for much of this week without success.

Good numbers of Gulls on No 2 outfalls, with a few Kittiwakes mixed in, but only one Little Gull with them, the only one seen.

The Reeves Pheasant was in its usual place on the grass verge taking no notice of any passing traffic.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

More of the same

Heysham Obs
A few forays into the north-westerly by birders today

Glaucous Gull - awkward - seen on Red Nab mid-morning but not since or before
Kittiwake - at least 35
Little Gull - 5 x 2CY, 1 x adult, all outfalls
Shag - maximum of 11 in harbour (at least one metal-ringed)
Guillemot - maximum of 13 in harbour
Twite - 5, including 2011 Machrihanish-ringed bird
Goldfinch - one at Twite seed
Med Gull - adult north wall

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Quick seabird 'clean up'

Heysham Obs
Again nothing obviously new, species-wise

Gate 38/wheel/outfalls check from inner end wooden jetty
Glaucous Gull - juv at waterfall 1000hrs
Guillemot - 12 together SW corner harbour
Shag - 6 either under waterfall or roosting on platform
Kittiwake - 28 SW corner harbour, 8 elsewhere
Little Gull - at least 3 x 2CY and one adult outfalls (stage 2 very distant binoc check)
Med Gull - ad behind departing ferry

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Howling gale but no new species

Heysham Obs
A couple of windswept venture-forths

Glaucous Gull - juv by the waterfall 0900, then flew to Red Nab where remained until at least late morning
Kittiwake - 22 in harbour (no ferries)
Shag - 6 2CY together by waterfall late pm
Guillemot - 11 in harbour late pm
Little Gull - 2-3 2CY and one adult outfalls
Twite - 9 on seed
Goldfinch - 2 on seed

Monday, 2 January 2012

Glaucous back at the waterfall

Heysham Obs
Gate '38' & north harbour wall early morning, gate 38 at lunchtime (watching ferry come in), plus pager news for 1330hrs
Glaucous Gull juv sitting on the west quay above the waterfall at 0830hrs, couldnt see it at lunchtime but on the pager for this area 1330hrs before flying towards the outfalls
Shag - definitely EIGHT by the waterfall at lunchtime with 5 perched on the platform and three fishing at the same time (plus a 2CY Cormorant)
Guillemot - 7 in the harbour, one just outside
Kittiwake - could only see 18 in the harbour area and only 20 behind the IOM ferry
Med Gull - Adult north wall early morning, 2 adults behind IOM ferry - one flew out along the shipping lane
Twite  - 8 on seed early morning (Heysham-ringed)
Little Gull - two 2CY on outfalls; one on seaward end Heysham one, the other on Heysham 2 at lunchtime

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Elusive Glaucous sees in the new year

Heysham Obs
Happy new year everyone.  Quite an array of birds in this area = LDBWS recording area at the moment and a day of January 10km square surveying was tweaked with a bit of dirty twitching with the hordes at Leighton Moss in late afternoon.  This enabled the magic 100 (102) species to be reached without having to resort to the dodgy Mandarin on the pond at home - a stress-free unplanned scenario!

Havn't got much of a clue exactly what was seen today as I did the requisite time in the bits of land in SD35Z (wooden jetty & area) and 36V (north harbour wall area) early morning before moving to do four hours in SD66.  Thanks to Tom and John for info, also Pete on the LDBWS site

Glaucous Gull - juv flew over two birders by Stage 2 outfall about 0915hrs, then found sitting on the rocks below the outer section of the wooden jetty just prior to the midday IOM ferry, then disappeared with no further known reports.  It has changed its habits to a more unreliable pattern.
Little Gull - two 1CY Heysham 2 outfall
Med Gull - at least two adults plus possibly a third following the ferry
Shag - definitely SIX 1CY in harbour at one time
Guillemot - 5 in harbour first thing
Rock Pipit - one inner end of wooden jetty first thing
Meadow Pipit - one back of sandworks
Goldfinch - 3 on twite food
Song Thrush - wintering bird still in gorse bush on mound
Twite - 6-7 on food
Linnet - 6 OE saltmarsh
Kittiwake - 17 in harbour, c10 behing IOM ferry
Feral Pigeon - one gathering nest material on the west quay and flying into Stage one power station grounds

Middleton NR
Goldeneye - female model boat pond
Mute Swan - pair no swimming pond

Reeve's Pheasant
The male was on the grassy verge along the power station access road just below the obs tower late morning

no sign of any Purple sandpiper today

no moths