Monday, 30 April 2012

Needed to be earlier and everywhere at once

Heysham Obs
Trawling other blogs a minute or two ago, apart from a "should have done better" personal rap over the knuckles for the inadequate early morning landbird coverage (see e.g. Hilbre and Rossall for how it should have been done), Jean and Pete, who conscientiously covered the seabird side of things,  recorded an unprecedented 5+3+1 of Little Egret.  It seems that the initial flock of 5 was tracked all the way from Ainsdale via Starr Gate via Rossall and the movement was obviously 'purposeful'.   It does not appear that the subsequent 3+1 (in themselves an 'unprecedented' movement past Heysham in spring) were recorded at the other sites, so their immediate origin is a puzzle

The trouble with a big fall on a sunny morning is that it all happens at once and the birds soon 'melt inland'.  It is also not helpful to turn up nearly 2hrs after dawn!  The other problem is whether to stay on the sea or prowl around the various landbird sites.  The following were seen by two observers covering as much as possible and one who had to do go to work after a token half-hour!

Whinchats on Middleton.  Thanks Pete

Marsh Harrier - female NE over Heysham NR at 0710hrs
Little Egret - completely unexpected and unprecedented was 5+3+1, as three separate lots, heading north across the sea towards Grange at about 0815-0825hrs
Gannet - 38 in
Razorbill - 9 in
Fulmar - 1 out
Auk spp. - 1
Sandwich Tern - 62 out
Arctic Tern - 4+15+11 in
Black Tern - 4 in
Turnstone - 79
Red-throated Diver - 1
Meadow Pipit - 15 NE
Tree Pipit - 3 NE
Swallow - 33 NE 0715-0830, increasing to 38 NE 1000-1015 (along coast)
Goldfinch - 60 NE in very intermittent vis coverage
House Martin - 5 NE
Grey Wagtail - late migrant NE, another Middleton
Whinchat - one north harbour wall and two Middleton NR
Garden Warbler - one singing by the obs tower pond 0700-0710
Grasshopper Warbler - one singing by Heysham NR classroom 0700-0705hrs (no extras at Middleton)
Willow Warbler - impossible to estimate as large numbers were present when arrived at the reserve at 0650 but these appeared to be the last of what was a significant fall e.g. two nets were quickly erected and 10 caught straight away but no further sign as the wind got up.  Needed to be here earlier and setting nets below the obs tower.  At least 50 around the office area at 0650hrs, all 'silent' females, contrasting with a migrant singing male on the north harbour wall mound!
Wheatear - at least 25, probably many more as OE not checked until after 'dog time'
Sedge Warbler - 6 singing males Middleton
Whitethroat - singing males Smithy Wood and 4 at Middleton
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male Middleton and the usual one by the office
Blackcap - unringed lightweight male caught by office

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Four swifts, three skuas and a seal

Heysham Obs
Sea for about 3 hours early, then mid-am
Arctic Skua - lm & dm in at 0635hrs, lm in later in morning
Gannet - 5
Sandwich Tern - c8
Swift - 4 NE

Ocean Edge
Just four Wheatear visible this morning in the football pitch area

Grey Seal off NH wall

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Wheatear carpet at Ocean Edge

Heysham Obs
Thanks to Pete, Pete and one other observer for covering the sea this morning:

Highlights of a 4 hour seawatch from Heysham North Harbour Wall (0600 - 1000 hrs) 

Bonxie - singles into the Bay at 0840 and 0910 hrs 
Arctic Skua - 3 separate dark morphs in at 0905, 0945 and 0950 hrs 
Little Gull - adult in
Also offshore: 17 Gannet, 51 Arctic Tern, 30+ Sandwich Tern, 33 Pink-footed Geese (flock of 32 and 1 flew across the Bay towards Barrow), 11 Eider, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (full summer plumage), 3 Swift (low over sea at 0810 hrs), 2 Sand Martin, 1 Swallow. 

Turnstone - 70 on wooden pier 

The biggest fall for some time with at least 60, most on Ocean Edge.  A very quick visit to Ocean Edge revealed 51 "obvious" birds on the grass or top of the 'seawall' - there may have ben others on the beach.  Most were on or around the football field - 35 in the bins at once!
There were 6 others on the heliport and 3 on the north wall/sandworks.  Most, if not all, were leggy, large birds with the vast majority males

Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding (or 'loose' arrangement made far too far in advance!), there was no coverage of grounded stuff around the office but a very brief visit indicated at least 5 'extra' silent Willow Warblers in and around the Obs Tower pond area.  Its really hard to predict when there are going to be landfalls in easterlies!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Swift added to the year list

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall early morning to 1030hrs
Not a lot during the final hour as the wind went west of north.   However, the forecast is for a week of east to north-east winds so should be pretty good for seabirds at least
Arctic Tern  - 113 'in'
"Commic" Tern - very distant flock of c150 'in', presumably Arctic
Sandwich Tern - 91 'in' and c200 blogging
Gannet - 2
Swift - 1
Swallow - 5
Arctic Skua - 3:  dark morph in 0839hrs, 2 dark morph in 0915hrs

Other sightings
Meadow Pipit - flock of 3 NE by the office
Goldfinch - 15 (flock) NE over office
Wheatear - 15 grounded at Ocean Edge and 3 at the north wall

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Reasonable reward for morning seawatching

Heysham Obs
Sea 0615-0940, 0945-1015, 1150-1220
Bonxie - one 'in' then 'on' early am
Arctic skua - dark morph in at 1210hrs
Little Gull - 2 ads in at 1010hrs with biggest flock of Arctic Ts
Med Gull - yesterdays 2CY off Ocean Edge pm
Arctic Tern - 440 heading NE.  Just one distant flock prior to 0800hrs, after which there was a steady trickle heading NE with the largest movement between 0945-1015, including the only large(ish) flock of 67
Sandwich Tern - very few prior to 0800hrs, then a big influx with a minimum of 236 'in' and c330 sitting on a sandbank which were separate.  Dribs and drabs thereafter may have included some of these birds and totalled c70
Whimbrel - one NE, one Red Nab
Common Scoter - 12+2
Gannet - 1

Vis & grounded stuff
Meadow Pipit - 5 NE & 2 grounded at OEdge
Sand Martin - 2 NE
Swallow - 36 NE
Wheatear - small influx of large birds with 11-15 Ocean Edge and at least two north wall/heliport

Ocean Edge fare this afternoon.  Thanks Janet 

Willow Warbler - 3 ringed in belatedly-set (rain) net by office

Grey Seal - 2

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Trickle of vis, a few grounded Wheatear and a gull-check

Heysham Obs
After going a bit Ainsdale yesterday (apart from diver species), the early morning saw very little on the sea but a mixture of Goldfinch-dominated vis rushing through ahead of the cloud edge.  A bit of grounded stuff, but no mist netting today as no time to cover the sheltered bits below the Obs Tower & the office net area was too windy.  Perhaps surprisingly, no Arctic Tern seen during albeit intermittent seawatching (apart from early morning)

Office/north wall vis
Tree Pipit - 2 NE
Siskin - 1 NE
Goldfinch - 25 NE
Meadow Pipit - 15 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 2 NE
Swallow - 6 NE
Kittiwake - flock of 9 the 'highlight' over the sea
Sandwich Tern much reduced c/p yesterday with c35 out

Wheatear - 10 - 4 north wall, 6 Ocean Edge
Willow Warbler - at least 3 migrants by office

Ocean Edge high tide
Common Gull - 327
Black-headed Gull - 19
Med Gull - unringed 2CY with peppered rear crown & no obvious mask, very washed-out pale straw bill with dark tip
Kittiwake - 2CY, probably the one seen on and off recently
Whimbrel - one Red Nab

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Pomarine Skua heads an impressive early morning on the sea

Heysham Obs early morning

One of the Middleton Grasshopper Warblers this morning.  Thanks Janet.  Note it appears to be unringed and this is the norm here, despite e.g. 44 ringed last year, we have only ever had one known returning breeding bird.  Very odd, as we seem to ring a fair percentage of adults and young each year - maybe there are a lot more than we think there are!

Office area
Redstart - male - also gave two bursts of subdued song before moving on (0615ish)
Tree Pipit - 1 NE
Meadow Pipit - 5 NE (one ringed)
Linnet - c25 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 1 ringed, no others recorded
Robin - orange/grey bird ringed - notably dark-legged
Chiffchaff - one ringed with a lot of forehead pollen
Willow Warbler - one ringed
Migrants of this species have been very thin on the ground so far this spring, unlike, for example, Goldcrest.  Thanks Janet

Song Thrush - olivey probable migrant ringed
Bullfinch - unringed 2CY female caught

Sea intermittently 0630-0850
Pomarine Skua - first of the year - a light morph ad in at 0814hrs, started climbing then someone stood right in front of car window and I lost it!
Arctic Tern - flock of 55 'in' 0805hrs were the only ones seen - didn't gain height up the channel and may have landed further in the bay
Gannet - 17 in (all 0630-0655)
Common Scoter - flock of 9 u-turned 0640hrs
Arctic Skua - blogging dark morph, last seen heading in and seeming to gain height c0635hrs
Sandwich Tern - 63 'out', then a sweep revealed circa 165, many sitting on sandbanks, most had moved out of the bay by 0850hrs.  Perhaps up to 100 additional birds, presumed to be this species, in channels further towards the Cumbrian side
Little Gull - flock of 5 adults spiralled up and headed inland to NE as soon as they reached the sandbanks 0650hrs an extremely unconvincing attempt at a white-winged gull miles out - a larger than Herring Gull  thing - possibly the recent G x H hybrid or similar from Preston?  Just too far for details.  Flew even further away towards Walney.  Couldn't find it amongst subsequent gull checks

Moths included Shoulder Stripe and Early Thorn
First damselflies of the year - 2 Large Red at the dog walk pond:
Thanks Janet

Monday, 23 April 2012

Record flock of Arctic Skua

Heysham Obs
By far the best sighting this morning was a flock of 12 Arctic Skua at 1030hrs (10 dark morph and one light morph) which spiralled high into the sky and "disappeared" to the north!

Next best was two Garden Warbler in Smithy Wood.  As for the rest, it was progressively worse the earlier in the morning i.e. could have had a lie-in

Office area
Dead first thing with a huge wadge of cloud to the south
Lesser Redpoll - 1 ringed
Chiffchaff - two ringed
Willow Warbler - NO migrants!!
Meadow Pipit - 1+6 NE

Other landbirds
Siskin - 3 Smithy Wood, then NE
Garden Warbler - 2

North harbour wall
Sandwich Tern - 27 first thing (no Arctic Tern this morning)
Arctic Skua - 12 as above
Gannet - 4
Kittiwake - 2 on sea
Shag - one 2CY still around
Turnstone - 117+

Middleton NR
Nothing new

Thanks for these, Janet (from Middleton)

That epitome of evolutionary mediocrity, Brown House Moth, opened its account

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Earliest ever Reed Warbler

Heysham Obs
Shot our bolt on the sea concentration/motivation-wise this morning and had to rely on a conscientious and very patient observer at JBP for the seabird records!

Sea early morning
Completely dead as regards movement
Sandwich Tern - c27, c25 of these on a sandbank offshore
Lots of large gulls on skeers/sandbanks

JBP records later in the tide (mainly over lunchtime)
Red-throated Diver - 17
Arctic Skua - 2 dark morph together and possibly one of these c30 minutes later
Great Skua - one having altercation with Arctic Skua.

Dead, with much reduced Common and large gull numbers

Office area
Dead other than the singing Lesser Whitethroat

Middleton NR
Reed Warbler - singing male the earliest record for Obs area as far as I am aware
Whitethroat - 2 singing males along golf-course edge
Grasshopper Warbler - at least 2 singing males
Linnet - nest building central marsh

Saturday, 21 April 2012

North-westerly rubbish and Meadow Pipitless mystery

Heysham Obs
Quite a bit of effort today as per the time of year but little of any real interest

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - now 3 singing males

Sea on and off 0645 to lunchtime
Gannet - 7
Kittiwake - 13+10+1 in high, the latter a 2CY
Red-throated Diver - 7
Shag - 2CY still around
Whimbrel - 3 NE
Sandwich Tern - 42 out and 25-30 inshore early on, as usual these had disappeared by mid-morning
No Arctic Tern, as is usual in NW winds
Swallow - c11 NE
Linnet - 4 NE
Having just read the Fylde blogsites, it seems we were on a different planet.  Two regular 'vis miggers' put in time on the Heysham north wall between 0645 and about 0835 and recorded no Meadow Pipit c/p 500+ over Rossall and small numbers from Pilling Lane Ends 'heading towards Heysham'..  This assumes they headed over the Bay to the south of us?

Office area
The only evidence of any migrants were single Lesser Redpoll and the first female Willow Warbler of the year caught and ringed.  There was no systematic vis mig coverage at the office this morning.but I doubt if significant numbers of Meadow Pipit would have been missed

300+ mainly Herring on Fisher's roof near high tide

Friday, 20 April 2012

Quality but no quantity

Heysham Obs

Smithy Lane wood
Redstart - male (IOY)
Tree Pipit - grounded individual

Seawatching early morning
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one 'in' at c0800 .
Arctic Skua - appeared at JBP at lunchtime but again no other sign of seabird movement (all skuas from "our area" will be posted on here, irrespective of whether they were actually seen at Heysham)
Sandwich Tern - 51+
"Commic" Tern - 3-4 very distant
Razorbill - 1
Guillemot - 2
Swallow - 7 NE

Office area rather too late (0700 onwards)
Lesser Redpoll - 12 NE, 9 of these before the mist nets were set!
Willow Warbler - 4 ringed and a retrap ringed at nearby Middleton late July last year
Coal Tit - scarce at this time of year and an unringed bird was caught
Linnet - c20 NE
Goldfinch - c15 NE
no pipits or wagtails recorded!

Middleton NR (Note: this site is dangerous away from the concrete roads and formal paths)
Canada Goose - 2 - first of year!!
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 singing males
Stock Dove - one by the model boat pond - first of year
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Common Whitethroat - one - first of year
Sedge Warbler - one - first of year

Single Herald

Slightly fewer today in the calm weather and nothing to raise the adrenalin level

Thursday, 19 April 2012

More Arctic Terns on the move and a single Bonxie

Heysham Obs
A quieter morning, but Arctic Tern numbers increase & a Bonxie appeared at about 1020hrs

This 2CY Kittiwake was the only obvious 'oddity' amongst the masses of gulls on both the outfalls and round the harbour waterfall.  There has to be something good soon - please keep checking as the 'something good' may only stay for a few minutes....!  Thanks for the pic Janet
Typical of the airspace around the harbour/outfalls at the moment.  Thanks Janet

Seawatch north wall 0700-0900 all 'in', c1000 onwards
Sandwich Tern - 80
Arctic Tern - 71 (largest flock 24)
Gannet - 22
Auk spp - 16
Razorbill - 8
Guillemot - 1
Kittiwake - 1 2CY
Common Scoter - 1
Tufted Duck - 3 in and across (rare here)
Meadow Pipit - 3
Swallow - 1
alba Wagtail - 1
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one in, then on sea 1020ish
Shag - 2CY still around close inshore
no divers

Heysham 2 outfall
Large number of gulls.  Well worth someone grilling these.  Just time for a quick scan from Ocean Edge:
Common Gull - 440-460
Large gulls - 250
Black-headed Gull - c50
Kittiwake - 1 2CY

Office area
The male Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing to itself

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Good variety on the sea

Heysham Obs
This early Little Grebe chick was photographed last Friday on the reedbed pond at Middleton.  Thanks Janet

Pretty decent amount of stuff on the sea today but land-birds dire

North harbour wall 0615-0930hrs (Pete C throughout, Jean and Pete M for shorter period)
Shelduck - 15 out
Common Scoter - 4 in
Velvet Scoter - 3 out (2 males) - out, close inshore, 0810hrs
Red-throated Diver - 3 in
Gannet - 8 in
Kittiwake - flock of 12 in then on water
Auk spp - 83 in (max flock 18)
Razorbill - 10
Guillemot - 8
Sandwich Tern - 26 in, 130 out
Arctic Tern - 43 plus c10 very high-flying, poss more
Whimbrel - one in
Linnet - 5 NE
Meadow Pipit - 8 NE
Swallow - 1 NE
alba Wagtail - 3 NE
Arctic Skua - two dark-morph blogging in outer bay from 0845 to at least 0930, gradually floating into the Bay

Office area
20 mins of vis/assessing grounded stuff 0600-0620 by the office saw just 4 Siskin, 3 Meadow Pipit,  but no evidence of the (localised) easterly producing the goods night-migrant-wise with no obvious corridor from the south overnight

Ocean Edge area
Pale-bellied Brents - two flew along the tideline towards the Lune as viewed from Ocean Edge 0920 - may have come off Red Nab.  
Loads of large gulls on Heysham 2 outfall again but nothing coffee-coloured - did include 2CY Med Gull

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Seawatching conditions improve as the squalls kick in

Heysham Obs
Please note that I have enabled comments for the spring seawatching season.  Please let us know what you have seen, either via the LDBWS site or by posting a comment on here.  Thanks very much.

Not a lot of time today (still havn't) but the seawatchers had fun over the lunchtime in 'improving' conditions with some spicy squalls

North wall 0725-0755 in the rain & intermediate 'half way across the bay' visibility
Sandwich Tern - 31 out
Razorbill - 4 in together
Gannet - 2 out

North wall & Ocean Edge 0910-0930 as weather cleared & full cross-bay visibility
Lots of large gulls on Heysham 2 outfall (200+, including 2CY Common) - this usually happens this time of year and it has provided a majority of the white-winged gull records over the years
Sandwich Tern - a further 5 out
Red-throated Diver - one in

Seawatching for about 3 hours over lunchtime (Tom and Jean)
Arctic Skua - 1 in about 1200hrs +2 'in' about 1235 - all appeared dark morph
Little Gull - adult out
Red-throated Diver - 4 in
Fulmar - one out (first of year?)
Gannet - 20
Auk spp - 1 out
Sandwich Tern - just 2 out
Kittiwake - 73, biggest flock 45

Monday, 16 April 2012

Slack unremarkable weather produces a trickle

Heysham Obs
By this April's standards so far, this was a 'good' migration morning!

Mid-morning Middleton fare.  Thanks Janet

Sea/north wall vis 0600-0700
Tree Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 5
Linnet - 7
Wheatear - 1
Sandwich Tern - 60-80, possibly more
Red-throated Diver - 2 in
Common Scoter - flock of 5 'out'
Kittiwake - flock of 15 on the water, then flew high to NW
A few small groups of Eider whizzing about and a large darkish bird, being mobbed by large gulls as it flew fairly low to the north; always "in the heat haze" and impossible to gauge shape, but it looked more raptorial than Grey Heron, leaning towards Marsh Harrier/Buzzard spp.  Anyone see it from Rossall/Walney? (c0615-0620)

Ocean Edge foreshore
Wheatear - 4-5

Office area
Lesser Redpoll - 3+1+7+5+1+1+3 NE, 9 of them via being ringed
Meadow Pipit - just 7 NE
Linnet - 6 NE
alba Wagtail - 3 NE
Goldfinch - 6 NE
Siskin - flock of 4 NE
Willow Warbler - at least 3 migrants (2 ringed)
Chiffchaff - two ringed, possibly migrants
Sparrowhawk - four north-east together after gaining considerable height mid-am
Sand Martin - 2 NE
Long-tailed Tit - unringed singleton was most unexpected
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male still in the tank farm

First Green-veined White of the year

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Lesser Whitethroat new for the year

Heysham Obs
Office area
Not a lot of vis this morning and highlighted by:
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male moved quickly though in the half-light, then presumably the same singing in the tank farm area next to the office later in the morning
Siskin  - 1 NE
Meadow Pipit - 22 NE
Goldfinch - 13 NE
Linnet - 11 NE
Swallow - 2 NE
alba Wagtail 5 NE, including at last one White (grounded briefly)
Willow Warbler - one ringed - the only evidence of a migrant
Chiffchaff - female trapped and ringed - the only evidence of a migrant

Sea 0625-1645, 0800-0900
Sandwich Tern - 79 'in'
Red-throated  Diver - 2 in

Ocean Edge foreshore/Red Nab
Bar-tailed Godwit - 487
Knot - 270
Dunlin - 43
Redshank - 47

Tideline towards Potts corner
Grey Plover - 16
Dunlin - 22
Knot - 46

Stunning - Agonopterix heracliana and a dead Hebrew Character

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Difficult day to assess

Heysham Obs
On my own initially this morning and the alarm clock failed!  Therefore missed a good hour of clear dawn weather with little wind.  Past experience of clear conditions suggests that this can be too late for Willow Warblers around the core trapping area.  Therefore arrival at 0620 revealed nothing and the two nets set just after the breeze started to make itself felt also failed to produce any night migrants, just  couple of Lesser Redpoll before the wind became too strong.  Observations then ceased.  However, other observers covering Middleton recorded a large number of singing male Willow Warblers - at 20-25, far in excess of the low single-figures breeding population.  So were these dawn birds or did the strengthening north-easterly drop these birds after coverage 'ceased' around the office area?  See what Walney posts later on?

Sea 0650-0710
Sandwich Tern - 21 'in', subsequently up to 13 on buoys, then down to 3 by lunchtime
Common Scoter - distant flock of c17 'out'
Kittiwake - flock of 12 on the water, then 'in'
Diver spp - one very distant in the 'heat' haze

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - probably c100 during the morning, possibly more as birds were very high
alba Wagtail - 15 north
Goldfinch - c30 north
Linnet - c15 north plus 30-40 Middleton
Swallow - at least 17 N/NE
Siskin - one north, then flock of 10, thought to be this species, north over Middleton
Lesser Redpoll - 4 north (2 ringed)

Purple Sandpiper on the rocks below the north wall at midday

No Grasshopper Warblers singing on Middleton

Just located this pic on the inbox - a year too late for the Atlas dot - at the small gorse bush in the land-starved SD36
Thanks for this, Pete

Friday, 13 April 2012

The wrong kind of cloud

Heysham Obs
A promising morning was ruined by a great wadge of blocking cloud to the south which stubbornly refused to go away until lunchtime - the most static cloud I have ever seen!

House Martin saved the day with two north over the sea just after lunch (first of year)
Sandwich Tern - 13 just after lunch, none early am
Turnstone - 78
Eider - 60
Meadow Pipit - 3 north
Linnet - two north
Willow Warbler - about 6 moved through by the office am (one ringed)
Blackcap - one female appeared in the net by the office
Greenfinch - two unringed birds unexpected - especially as one was an ad male

Middleton NR
Young Coot and Moorhen were seen

The first young Coot of the year.  Thanks Janet

In keeping with the rest of the day and 'highlighted' by Powdered Quaker'

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Willow warblers in the half-light, Tree Pipit highlight

Heysham Obs
Classic morning where if you waited for 'full daylight', you missed the landfall action.  At least 20 Willow warblers whizzed through as the nets were being set at 0615hrs and the only ones caught were three during the setting and a single on the next round with the nets fully spread out, then nothing until one mid-morning.  0700 onwards = 'dead' as the sky cleared

Sea 0715-0730, 0815-0900
Pink-footed Goose - c160 NW
Red-throated Diver - 2 in sp in high
Sandwich Tern - 13
Sand Martin - 3
Swallow -1 (first of year for here!), later another north

Vis c0615-c0900
Meadow Pipit - c55 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 1 NE
Goldfinch - 4 NE
Linnet - 2 NE

Well-timed outside tea break
Tree Pipit - one north at 1125! (first of year)

Willow Warbler - at least 20 intermittently singing males passed through early morning (4 ringed as the nets were set too late!), one ringed later
Blackcap - 2-3 singing males

A circuit of the reserve produced 3 Orange Tip and 4 Speckled Wood amongst ones and twos of the hibernators.  Another Shoulder Stripe graced the moth trap

Thanks Janet

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Orange Tip tops the meagre fare

Heysham Obs
A quick decision not to set any mist nets, followed by 20 mins on the sea, followed by 20 mins on 'vis' by the office produced:

Nothing offshore other than 65 Eider in situ
Meadow Pipit - 27 mainly NW
Collared Dove - flock of 4 NE
Carrion Crow - 2 high to NE
Linnet - 3 NE

Willow Warbler - singing in the tank farm, perhaps the same as the other day

Ocean Edge
The intertidal waders on the incoming tide included:
Bar-tailed Godwit - 410
Knot - 1,950
too heat-hazy to sort out the gulls on the outfalls!!
Linnet - 12 on the football pitch

A male Orange Tip was along Moneyclose Lane early afternoon and a decent number of the hibernating species around the reserve:

Taken around the reserve today by Janet.  Thanks for these.  Bit of a contrast with 1cm of hail in upper Hindburndale later in the day!

Slightly better than rock bottom with 13 moths including single Powdered Quaker and Early Thorn.  The pug caught on the night of 7/4 was, as expected a Golden Rod and as such the earliest county record - pic will be inserted on posting of 8/4

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Bits and pieces of early morning migration

Heysham Obs
Plenty of noisy singing male Chiffchaffs around - have the many females been able to 'get through' the currently unfavourable migration weather?  Thanks Janet.

Office area
Willow Warbler at last - singing at 0715hrs

North wall 0905-0935 (low tide)
Gannet - 3 adults out (distant)
Kittiwake - flock of 26 in then landed on sea (distant)
alba Wagtail - 12 NE, including at least two White which landed briefly
Meadow Pipit - c30 NE
Linnet - 5 NE
loads of gulls on offshore skeers/sandbanks checked

Ocean Edge
Linnet - 27 on football pitch feeding on chickweed (but no grounded wagtails)
Med Gull - 2CY outfalls
Sandwich Tern - one in channel

Monday, 9 April 2012

Watching the grass grow

Heysham Obs
This product of the (welcome) rain was more interesting than the birding today on what was very much a working day after an early morning time-wasting investigation of "possible fall conditions" was quickly replaced by a moth check, followed by sitting in front of the computer screen

North harbour wall 
Half an hour produced 21 Meadow Pipit and 5 alba wagtails north-east and a lot of eye-straining checking the offshore sandbanks/skeers for coffee-coloured gulls

Outfalls/harbour mouth
Med Gull - 2CY seen on two occasions

Office feeder
A visit from a Tree Sparrow which arrived from the north-east

The day's highlight in the form of a Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Trash birding

Heysham Obs
This morning's very unexpected Golden-rod Pug - by far the earliest county record.  Thanks John

I wonder if litter gathering has ever been considered a necessary part of angling competitions?  Certainly not on the north wall at Heysham last night.  A litter strewn landscape greeted early morning observers who received little encouragement from the blank fare out to sea.  Two bits of seawatching covering the early slot and the incoming tide slot failed to deliver:

Red-throated Diver - 1
Kittiwake - flock of 10

Considerably more interesting with a medium/largish pug which appears, metathoracically and otherwise, to be Golden Rod but its way too early.  Pics to follow.  Just about to examine three worn Agonopterix-types.  otherwise Herald and yet another late March Moth

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A dead calm morning

Heysham Obs
Pretty quiet this morning in a light and variable north to north-easterly with high uniform cloud

Vis mig - flying north-east
Meadow Pipit - 37 (3 ringed)
Lesser Redpoll - 3
Goldfinch - 11
Linnet - 7
Rook - 1
Carrion Crow - 2
Rock Pipit - 1

Zero perceptible

Wooden jetty:  160 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 2CY Shag, 12 Cormorant, 15 Redshank
Fisher's roof: 170 Herring Gull, 53 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 9 Great Black-backed Gull - worth checking this lot for white-wingers in the next few days of wind/rain
Heliport: 92 Oystercatcher, 53 Redshank
Ocean Edge area: no waders on 10m tide but 15 LBBG, 2 Herring Gull
[& out of Obs recording area: Sunny Slopes groyne: 310 Oystercatcher & 2 anglers, Battery groyne: 9 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank, 3 Cormorant, West End Groyne: 9 LBBG, 6 Herring Gull]

Dead as regards passage
Red-throated Diver - c7
Sandwich Tern - 8-10
Eider - 141
Black-headed Gull - 72 2CY

Singles of the usual culprits: Powdered & Common Quaker, Clouded Drab and Hebrew Character

Friday, 6 April 2012

Decision time for northbound migratory Kittiwakes as they enter Morecambe Bay

Seawatch 0715-0900, 0915-0940
Kittiwake - 530 in four flocks, 260 max, the latter a very close, high, overhead flock first detected by hearing them!   This flock went even higher into the sky after swirling around for a bit, then seemed to head to the west, back out to sea, not inland.  The conditions, a moderate north-westerly with spits and spots of drizzle and low cloud on the hills were not very enticing for overland migration
Gannet - 7
Red-throated Diver - 20, some in summer plumage (& see below)
Meadow Pipit - 15 NE
Linnet - 1 NE

Seawatch over high tide (thanks Mike)

Razorbill - one out
Common Scoter - 8 out
Red-throated Diver - 4
Shag - 2CY still in harbour

Bearing in mind the first bird I heard when I arrived home late afternoon (High Tatham on the northern edge of Bowland) was a singing Willow Warbler, we maybe should have done some first thing checking for grounded stuff when the wind, by all accounts was quite light.  In other words, don't dismiss north-westerlies when accompanied by some lowish cloud and murk.  However, there were none singing on the reserve or along Moneyclose Lane/dog track from at least mid-morning

Ocean Edge foreshore
Wheatear - 2
Linnet - 25
Knot - 3,100
Bar-tailed Godwit - 825
Dunlin - 110

Singles of Powdered Quaker, (rather late) March Moth, Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Bits and bobs day

Heysham Obs
Wren at Ocean Edge - thanks Janet

One of those days where lots of things tried to happen but the results were meagre to put it mildly.  For example, four blank mist net rounds and a second morning of zero moths.  The highlight was the lack of manic panic at nearby ASDA petrol pumps

EDF Energy challenge
There is an internal challenge between the EDF sites replacing the unfortunately unsponsored BTO/Business challenge.  Please keep an eye open for megas on the EDF properties such as a Coot or Little Grebe brave enough to visit the dog-walk pond - they don't count on Middleton ponds.  I'll publish a list of what we still "need" soon e.g. the likes of Stock Dove.  In this respect, note the finger of land which runs along side Middleton and the golf course - this is EDF property (see map in office)! Also note that any seabirds which traverse the outpourings from the Power Station outfalls count as does anything on Red Nab.  Anything on the north harbour wall/mound area, however, needs sending to the other side of the harbour mouth.

Ringing recoveries
Included a colour-ringed Grey Wagtail from autumn 2011 was recorded at Carne sewage works in Wiltshire during December, but somewhat mysteriously identified as an adult male (ringed as an 'obvious' youngster)

A sample 25 minutes produced:
Red-throated Diver - 2+1 'out' in the "heat" haze

Heysham office area
The birds on the feeders melted away as soon as the nets were set, but a single Chiffchaff was a bit of a surprise in the conditions and this remained the only tangible evidence of night migration (no Wheatear seen)

Big reduction in Knot but a small increase in Dunlin south of the harbour in a single (high tide) check
Knot - 390
Bar-tailed Godwit - 320
Dunlin - 220
Mallard - pair on Red Nab
Purple Sandpiper - one on the outer section of the wooden jetty

Nice to meet the birder/angler who is involved with the Shell Carrington reserve - hope the fishing was better than the birding and/or you connected with one of the two northbound Ospreys which may have flown over the Bay en route to Leighton.  More birder/anglers very welcome, especially during the spring seawatching period and winter months!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Internationally important Knot, nationally important barwits and unimportant Sandwich terns

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Knot - 5,750
Bar-tailed Godwit - 825
Sandwich Tern - 8
Med Gull - 2CY lunchtime above Heysham 2 outfall

Harbour/north wall
Shag - 2CY by wooden jetty - first sighting for a bit

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Knot remain in internationally important numbers

Heysham Obs
Seawatch 0830-0900, mixture of north wall and scans from Ocean Edge
Kittiwake - flock of 17 'in', then landed on water
Red-throated Diver - 2 flew 'in' very distantly

Ocean Edge/outfalls
Knot - at least 9,500 to the south on the tideline
Bar-tailed Godwit - c400 with above
Common Gull - 49 strewn along the visible tideline/on outfalls
Black-headed Gull - just 9 as above

Heysham NR
Blackcap - singing male NE corner
Water Rail - one calling in marsh

Moths & butterflies
At last a reasonable number (for here) of Common Quaker which has hitherto been incredibly scarce here - the dizzy height of 8 individuals!  Also single Powdered Quaker, Shoulder Stripe and a late March Moth of minor note.  Speckled Wood east side of reserve and about 5 Small Tortoiseshell on afternoon walk

Monday, 2 April 2012

Not quite dead

Heysham Obs
Just a few things to keep this site going in the dreaded north-westerly winds.  Nots a bad week of weather coming up as there is a lot of work not to be distracted from.  Again loads of gulls on offshore sandbanks & Eiders tricky in choppier seas but at least 75

Sea early morning
Sandwich Tern - 4 on buoy then out, further 2 out
Red-throated Diver - 1
Common Scoter - pair flew in
Linnet - 6 nearby
Dunnock - singing in the sea buckthorn clump

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wigeon - pair hanging about
Redwing - flock of four in nearby bushes headed east
Meadow Pipit - at least 6 north
Mistle Thrush - one appeared to come in-off and head high inland

Third Powdered Quaker of the year

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Clear weather overhead and marine trickle

Heysham Obs
Nothing dramatic this morning with about 4000 less night migrants than yesterday at Portland (one Chiffchaff)

Vis by the office 0700-0945
Lesser Redpoll - 14 NE (5 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 47 NE (2 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 11 NE
Goldfinch - c8 NE (1 ringed)
Chaffinch - 2 NE
Linnet - 7 NE
Greenfinch - unringed bird caught

Chiffchaff - 1 (1 ringed)

Sea - two short checks early am, quick check at lunchtime
Sandwich Tern - 26 (7 inshore around buoys)
Kittiwake - flock of 8 north, 2 out together at lunchtime
Red-throated Diver - 5 (4 on, one in)
Eider - 90-100 at lunchtime
Loads of large gulls out there at low tide - still chance of an Iceland - keep checking off Morecambe!