Saturday, 30 June 2012

Influx of Meds and Silver Y

Heysham Obs
Red Nab area
A very quick check revealed:
Med Gull -  FOUR: 1 x 2CY with mask, one x 2CY with an almost black head, 1 x 2CY with small amount of black on rear crown, 1 x Ad.  Either sitting or in flight so legs not seen re-rings - anyone time to check?
Kittiwake - 2CY

Day-time moth trawl revealed:
Silver Y - 13
Burnet Companion - 2 tatty ones (both in SD4060)
Latticed Heath - 1
Small China Mark - 7

Highlight of a rather poor overnight catch checked rather too late was a late Shaded Pug

Plenty of Nettle Tap moth around the reserve where the taller vegetation can be found alongside the paths (including nettles!).  Thanks Janet

Friday, 29 June 2012

Two Gannets, a Silver Y and a Med Gull

...........just about sums up the morning.  The Gannets were just before the IOM ferry - sub-ad and 2CY, the Silver Y was in the moth trap (along with a most unremarkable collection) and the 1st summer moulting to second winter Med was on the mud by the outfalls and seen on one leg at least to be unringed

Later in the afternoon Red Nab held:
Arctic Tern - adult - first for ages!
Kittiwake - 2CY

Small China Mark moth in the wetland area at Heysham NR today - the most regular of this group of moths at Heysham.  Thanks Janet

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Decent moth catch and a Med Gull

Heysham Obs
Outfalls/Red Nab
An early morning check on the dropping tide saw the distinctive 1st summer moulting to 2nd W Med Gull flying around Heysham 2 outfall

The first Blackneck of the year and singles of Broad-barred White and Double Dart highlighted.  Others included Eucosma campoliliana and the first Clay of the year

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

At least one is surviving

Heysham Obs
The gloom and doom over wetland birds and breeding success was contradicted in one instance by Janet's pic taken today:

Confession time: forgot to check the gulls on the outfalls, and this after mentioning the rejuvenation of Heysham One outfall - not good enough!

Once you can find them, Four-spotted Chasers are quite obliging as the weather has semi-torpified them of late.  Still have not seen an Emperor this year or indeed Black-tailed Skimmer which should be showing anytime now in a 'normal' year

The moth trap was quite productive but no show-stoppers, other than perhaps a late Shaded Pug.  Smoky Wainscot made its first appearance of the year and I think Buff Arches and Peach Blossom were also new for the year.  Should be even better tonight - at the moment it looks the first decent 'summer moth night' and the chance of the biggest haul in a local trap since March, or was it February at Millhouses!!

Thanks to Janet for today's pics (both taken today)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Early migrants or wanderers

Yellow Shell at Middleton this morning. Thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
Pretty decent early morning conditions allowed both the Heysham and Middleton CES to progress.  I havn't the capture details to hand but Middleton suggested an extremely poor first breeding attempt for 'wetland species' which presumably found it a little too wet.  No Common Whitethroat or Reed Bunting were caught and just the one juvenile Sedge Warbler!  An apparently aimlessly wandering, intermittently singing, Grasshopper Warbler was eventually caught and represented the only encounter with this species.  This time last year saw good numbers of juveniles of all four of these species.   Miscellany included lots of young Wrens in the Heysham nets, a Blue Tit caught at Middleton which was ringed as a 2012 nestling on nearby Heysham Nature Reserve and further evidence that Reed Warblers are present in record numbers this year at Middleton, albeit only adults as yet.  Miscellaneous sightings included the following rather unseasonal observations:

Lesser Redpoll - one south over HNR at 1130hrs
Siskin - three separate well-spaced birds south over Middleton
Rook - two adults north over both Heysham and Middleton, harassed by the local Carrion Crows
Teal - one Middleton  

Monday, 25 June 2012

Moth Catches Still in Low Numbers


Low numbers of a dozen common species in the Hut Trap last night including Bright line Brown Eye and Light Arches.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Another Storm Petrel report

Heysham Obs
Early morning check of the outfalls area revealed that Heysham One was looking rather 'tasty' with more birds feeding on it than at any other time this year.  No Storm Petrel, however, pulled in by the 'chum' in the calm conditions.  As a fresh west-north-westerly kicked in, one was reported, however, feeding around the red buoy/off the end of the outfalls just before midday and the onset of the incoming tide dispersing the 'food' (unknown birder - info via angler)

Storm Petrel - "birder getting quite excited watching a Storm petrel" off the end of the wooden jetty just before midday (per angler)
Kittiwake - 2CY outfalls early morning
Med Gull - 1st summer moulting to 2nd winter Heysham 2 outfall on incoming tide
Lapwing - four OE saltmarsh the first 'returning birds'
no other waders apart from 368 Oystercatcher Red Nab

National moth night final catch
Better than last night which didn't take much doing!  New species for the three NMN nights & two NMN days were: Double-striped Pug, Brown Silver Line and a Cnephasia & Marbled Minor agg which will be specifically identified eventually.  Why didn't they include Sunday day searches?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Painted Lady surprise and a Storm Petrel eventually on the sea

Heysham Obs
Just the one Storm Petrel, typically late afternoon on the dropping tide and coinciding with an earlier distant view of a petrel spp, presumed Storm, off JBP (thanks Stephen & Nick for alerting us).  The only other seabird reported in the Bay was a dm Arctic Skua off JBP

Heysham north wall/outfalls 1145-1600
Storm Petrel - one located just off the wooden jetty at 1540hrs (thanks Nick)
Manx Shearwater - 6 out, then 3 in, the 2+3+1 later on
Gannet - one out + 3 later on
Red-breasted Merganser - pair in
Common Tern - adult outfalls incoming tide only
Arctic Tern - adult with the above outfalls
Tern spp - two distant Common or Arctic out

A pale primary migrant Painted Lady was seen well near the Obs Tower about midday.  The NMday/night attempt to find micromoths and other dayflyers in windy weather was not altogether very successful but did included one Small China Mark, C. lacunana, Narrow-bordered 5-Spot Burnet, Yellow Shell, E osseana and several Nettle Tap

Friday, 22 June 2012

Spectacularly unsuitable conditions for a moth event

Heysham Obs
.........but last night in the context of this summer was pretty good with a nice calm cloudy spell, albeit with a shortage of millibars (pressure about 995?).  Therefore National Moth "Night" was retrieved........ including a moorland trap successfully set near Cross of Greet!  Single Small Elephant Hawk-moths in two of the traps were nice as was a latish Light Knot Grass and five Clouded Magpie.  I don't think there will be much happening tonight or Saturday night.  A shame.

At Heysham, the usual suspects were accompanied by Agapeta zoegana and Double Dart, the latter usually pretty regular here, but this isnt a 'regular' summer

Bird-wise, an attempt at seawatching was interrupted by zero visibility and the following were seen in about an hour
1 Manx Shearwater
1 Fulmar
1 Common Tern - I think only the second of the year!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Unseasonal Common Sandpiper

Heysham Obs
Moths were again dire with the diminutive Middle-barred Minor, I think, the only one new for the year.  It is a poor do when you can remember species and numbers, without having to write anything down, in midsummer!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab area
Black-headed Gull - 75
Oystercatcher - 171
Grey Plover - just 7 today
Common Sandpiper - 1 - most unusual this early (or late?) but a lot must surely have been flooded out this year or anticipating being flooded out tomorrow

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

National Moth Washout Friday afternoon/evening

There is a National Moth related event organised for Friday afternoon and evening based at Heysham NR and Middleton.  When you have dodgy weather for these sort of events, it is best if it goes the whole hog and becomes completely impossible!  This is the case here and there is absolutely no point in turning up with horizontal rain and gale force winds forecasted.  See e.g. the XC weather link.  Someone will be here from 1500hrs just to make sure in case anyone turns up.  If you are aware of anyone who expressed a wish to go, especially someone who might be turning up in the late evening for the light trapping section, please could you direct them to this posting.  Thanks and apologies

Grey Plover surprise

Heysham Obs
A bit more proper recording today!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Grey Plover - 36 off Ocean Edge, including 5 in full summer plumage
Oystercatcher - 272
Med Gull - unringed 2CY Red Nab
Black-headed Gull - 145
Common Gull - 39

Moneyclose lane
Singing Coal Tit near the anemometer

Heysham CES
A few local Wrens and Dunnocks, a single juvenile Coal Tit, unringed adult Whitethroat and an unringed female Bullfinch.  No evidence of any young from summer migrants or, surprisingly, tit flocks

Better with the local Broad-barred White the highlight

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Out of recording mode

Heysham Obs
One of those days when there were plenty of people around but everyone was either doing their own thing or really busy work-wise, even to the point of working next to the moth log and forgetting to check today's catch!

Thanks to Janet for the one specific record from today: a Yellow Shell moth.  Have the other photographers who were on site anything to report, please?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Dearth of young warblers compared to last year

Heysham Obs
Middleton CES
This was pretty dire in rather good mist netting conditions.  Reed and Sedge Warblers did not move - singing males were singing from the same places all early morning and females were non-existent/sitting quietly on nests.  A couple of very yellow juvenile Coal Tits were a complete surprise and reminded me of ringing in Ireland with the much yellower form there.  I'm not used to Coal Tits straight out of the nest and they are much yellower-cheeked than Great Tits of the same age.  Specifics:

Coal Tit - two juveniles ringed
Reed Warbler - 3-4 singing males
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 singing males - both western marsh
Siskin - one south
Jackdaw - local family party of four birds visited the sewage works (rare in this area, but a few in nearby Middleton village)
Swift - 9 south

Ocean Edge/Red Nab at high tide
Calm conditions, no birds!

The butterfly transect included two more Burnet Companion from a different site on the reserve and one was seen again along the entrance road bank.  Therefore, assuming little movement, at least 5, probably 6 individuals seen this year on HNR after last year's first record.  Surely not previously overlooked?

A better selection in the trap included Light Emerald, Riband Wave, Common White Wave, all new for the year.  The third record of Orthotaenia undulana was in the trap (the second from the south of the reserve, the other from the north (SD46)).  Other micros were found and photographed by Janet and included Nettle Tap, Dichrorampha alpinana (on known distribution and distribution of foodplant - Ox-eye Daisy), and Grapholita compositella

Thanks for these, Janet

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Gull influx

Heysham Obs
Decent number of gulls on Red Nab/outfalls but no obvious sign of Yellow-legged Gull (but dog running around over the usual large gull roost site)

Outfalls/Red Nab
Little Gull - 2CY, then appeared to fly out to sea as tide covered rocks
Med Gull - unringed 2CY with blackish head & white forehead - unringed
Black-headed Gull - 250
Common Gull - 35
Curlew - 19 Red Nab
Oystercatcher - 52 Red Nab

Reed Warbler - singing male central marsh as well as 2+ in usual western marsh reedbed

Offshore 0900-0945hrs
Gannet - 1
Fulmar - 1
Great-crested Grebe - 1

Light Arches, Small Angle Shades, Shaded Pug and Double Dart highlighted a small catch

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Yellow-legged Gull surprise

Heysham Obs
A check of the area near high tide produced a good collection of gulls on Red Nab and the sandflats off Ocean Edge.  No sign of any Med Gulls this morning but a large, probably male adult Yellow-legged Gull showed very well, including instructive comparison with British LBB and HG, off Ocean Edge saltmarsh.

Yellow-legged Gull - adult, probably male off Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Whimbrel - unseasonalish bird Ocean Edge saltmarsh channel, flew south
Black-headed Gull - 68

Nothing offshore in 15 minute seawatch

Friday, 15 June 2012

Intertidal racecourse

Heysham Obs
A quick visit on the still rather neap high tide saw a racehorse being unloaded on to the beach for a bit of exercise.  This followed an earlier dobbin-like-thing creating chaos running about on the Heysham bypass.  Bird-wise between Ocean Edge and Potts Corner, limited to the Ad Med Gull and a handful of Oystercatcher (35) and Curlew (13) along the tideline

Some nice pics from yesterday - thanks Janet - including the first Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet Moth of the year:

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Another Burnet Companion

Heysham Obs
Singing male Coal Tit and two juvenile Bullfinch on reserve circuit missing out the reedbed area.

A fresh Burnet Companion moth along with (?the) Silver Y and a Cinnabar along the reserve entrance slope.  Butterflies comprised Large Skipper, Small Heath, Speckled Wood and plenty of Common Blue in windy conditions

Quite a few Bee Orchid near the classroom on the flat 'upland' area and Common Spotted Orchid starting to come out

Midnight mothing but little else

Heysham Obs
Sorry about the lack of coverage - there are just a lot of things going on at the moment, not the least nestboxes to check in other areas, holidays in Scandinavia and work!

A session at Middleton NR produced two of the local speciality Silver Hook, along with the first two Double Dart of the year - this species is still common here (mainly via the hut trap) despite falling by the wayside in most of the rest of the country.  The first Silver Y of the year was photographed on HNR by Janet on 12/6/12.  Thanks for this, Janet:

Ringing recovery

   Lesser Redpoll
   L458922           3                  15.10.11                                              Sandwich Bay (Kent)
   Controlled         5                  02.05.12                                              Heysham 423 km

I wonder how far to the south this bird wintered as it was presumably still on autumn passage at Sandwich.  We await one from France with a genuine 'wild bird ring', but unfortunately the presumed French-ringed cagebird also caught this spring has proved to be untraceable

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The young ones

North Harbour Wall
Pied Wagtail - 4 juvs presumably the offspring of the pair from Centrica
Linnet - 3 juvs - presumably the offspring of the pair from Gorse on the Mound
Starling - 1 juv - presumably the offspring of the pair from Heysham Harbour

Fisher's Roof (north facing side) nesting gulls:
Lesser Black-back - 13 still sitting on nests, 3 broods of 2 youngsters and 3 broods of 1 youngster.
Great Black-back - 1 pair with 2 youngsters
Herring Gull - 6 sitting, presumably on nests.  11 immatures on the apex of the roof.

Outfalls/Ocean Edge
Mediterranean Gull - adult or faintly marked 3CY on the seaward end of Heysham 2 outfall
Black-headed Gull - c120
Common Gull - c5
No terns
Anybody any Manx Shearwater (or better!) records from earlier this month, please - plenty on the move - see e.g. Walney Obs site??

A very tatty Common Blue on the mound.

A small catch this morning after a cool clear night included this attractive micro Tinea semifulvella:

A daytime search revealed Marsh Pug in the Far Marsh fen area:


Monday, 11 June 2012

Middleton NR Constant Effort Visit


Moths:  Only 11 species in the Hut Trap this morning, but did include an early True Lovers Knot, which is not common here.

The fourth CES visit here was predictably quiet, although weather conditions were favourable.
Many of the breeding species here are summer visitors so incubation is probably in progress, reducing the amount of movement and hence fewer captures.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Birds are Quiet but Moths are Waking Up

CES visit No 4 completed this morning. The catch was a little disappointing (11 captures only) but about average for this visit over the years.

Hut Moth Trap
After the first relatively warm, calm and muggy night, the moth catch was nearly respectable - 59 moths of 19 species.  Most notable perhaps were two Shaded Pug which are a local speciality here.


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Springwatch at Heysham

No megas at Heysham in recent days but resident birds have been busy producing the goods - see the photo of the Mute Swan family at Middleton NR (thanks, Janet).

Dragonflies have taken advantage of the breaks inthe rain:

And the Gadwall has enjoyed flying around:
Yes that photo really was taken in the Heysham area despite the fact that there isn't a cloud in the sky!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


The continuing cold spell is resulting in in poor catches still.
The Hut trap this morning revealed only the following from the preceding two nights:
Heart & Dart 10, White Ermine 1, Mottled Pug 1,  Common Pug 1, Silver ground Carpet 1, White-shouldered House Moth 1, Epiblema cynosbatella 1.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Apologies for the lack of coverage but a number of the regular contributors are away.  If anyone has any records for the Heysham area in the next week could you please forward them to Alan Draper by email or text message (contact details in right-hand panel) and I will post them.  Thank you very much.

Uninspiring numbers and species lists over the past few days.  This morning, after east wind and rain, only the following:
Rustic Shoulder-knot (1), Turnip (5), Eyed Hawkmoth (1), White Ermine (2), Heart & Dart (4)