Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Productive end of year but waders seriously displaced by dog exercisers

Heysham Obs
A 1CY drake Scaup was unexpected on Middleton model boat pond at least late afternoon with a tiny increase in Tufted Duck.  Possibly from Glasson marina?

A couple with a woolly alsation and a couple of black of white things (one with a black head and mainly white body) displaced 11,000 waders from the foreshore between Ocean Edge and Potts corner today with the dogs very wide-ranging.  Fortunately the tide was dropping rapidly and the birds were able to find suitable feeding off Middleton saltmarsh.  Are the notices up at Shorefields yet?

The male Black Redstart made an appearance on the rocks at Red Nab as I was watching the Isle of Man ferry in - target being the Bonxie which had been seen off Rossall on at least two of recent days.  No sign. Thanks for emailing, Roger, to say the Black Redstart was also at Red Nab at 1030.

Coastal stuff
Little Gull - 7 adult, two 1CY Heysham 2 outfall
Red-throated Diver - one flew 'out'
Guillemot - 7 in harbour, possibly more
Kittiwake - 22 behind IOM ferry, mainly 1CY - many peeled off and flew out before reaching harbour.  One adult by the harbour waterfall
Black Redstart - male on Red Nab rocks 1030, then again when next checked at 1215, then went back into Power Station near small reedbed
Red-breasted Merganser - 3 in harbour, two off Red Nab
Ringed Plover - 10 on the saturated grassland along OE foreshore
Med Gull - two adults north harbour wall by anglers
Twite - late afternoon visit to feeding station saw 15 (plus 3 Goldfinch) - no Linnets
Jack Snipe - 2
Snipe - 21
Little Egret - 2
Wigeon - 91

Middleton model boat pond
Scaup - 1CY drake (from Glasson?)
Tufted Duck - small increase to 12
Linnet - 70 on the rubble mound area - a really good winter flock (NHW birds?)
Teal - 100+
Pochard - female Tim Butler pond
Gadwall - 2 tim butler pond

Monday, 30 December 2013

More windswept coastal checks

Heysham Obs
Maxima from several checks along the south harbour and outfalls area was:

Little Gull - 5 adults and 5 1CY
Kittiwake - 4 adults
Guillemot - 8

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Coastal coverage south of the harbour

Heysham Obs
A summer plumage Guillemot in the harbour was double-checked! The male Black Redstart was seen briefly from the top of the bank by Red Nab, on the fence by the small reedbed at 0945, but only a brief check was subsequently made  through the fence - looking through double fences and my eyes don't get on.

Guillemot - 9 when first arrived, some of these had made their way out later - one in summer plumage
Little Gull - 5 - 3 2CY and 2 adult, one of the latter feeding by the waterfall in the harbour briefly.  Only one 2CY feeding on the outfalls, the rest were drifting around and 3 of them appeared to head out to sea
Kittiwake - at least 6 around, mainly in harbour
Twite - c40

Red Nab area
Black Redstart - adult male as above

Two distant red-throated diver

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Male Black Redstart reappears

Heysham Obs
The male Black Redstart (or the one at the Red Nab end?) was showed in the power station land on two occasions this morning by looking through the fence alongside the seawall at Red Nab (in the region of the purple container/Road 10).  Thanks to Gavin and Ian for some of these sightings.

Mainly leftovers
Kittiwake - 10ish in the harbour, 3-4 outfalls
Little Gull - c10 with 2+ adults
Guillemot - at least 5
Shelduck - 11 out

North harbour wall
Twite - 13-15 (10 ringed but not necessarily Heysham)
Linnet - 23
Goldfinch - c25
Med gull - 2 ad and 3cy

Friday, 27 December 2013

The usual suspects

Green shank request
Anyone any green shank sightings from 2013 at Heysham which we may have failed to pick up/you might not have thought worth reporting. At the moment we have a blank in the species accounts. Most likely to turn up during the Bonapartes gull period in early autumn. Please text or email pete (see sidebar).  Thanks - also anything else we don't know about as doing species accounts now

Heysham Obs
Best today were three juvenile Shag, one in the harbour mouth which then drifted around the corner into the bay and two together struggling to fly out of the bay.  One Kitt flock and a scattering of Little Gull in the hour long morning seawatch from the Gate 38 area & others later almost certainly gradually flying out but difficult to be absolutely certain. In late afternoon as the tide started to cover the outfalls, there were 45 on the outfalls and area and a further 41 counted flying out from the north side in 20 minutes.  So at least 86 and this is almost certainly a gross underestimate as all perceived movement has been 'out'.  Loads of large gulls around but I suspect we have had our white winger quota for this year.

Little Gull - at least 86 by late afternoon but see above
Kittiwake  one flock of 13 out, 3 inshore & c15 out later, 5 outfalls late pm
Shag - see above
Guillemot - at least 12 in the harbour/harbour mouth/offshore
Razorbill - presumably the same 1CY off the harbour mouth (it has been checked carefully!)
Wigeon - 32 out

Med Gull - Czech bird north harbour wall

Feeding Area - c40 mixed Finches seen briefly on feeding visit

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Probable French bling

Heysham Obs
Working at Millom then Wigton today and the schedule wasn't half tight - the A595 reminds me of the old days timing yourself driving across Ireland from say Dublin to the west side. One promising bit of dual carriageway otherwise miles and miles of  narrow bendy road. Thanks to Malcolm and Ian for records.

Inshore sightings
Kittiwake - colour ringed individual provisionally French
Little gull - 2 1cy
Guillemot - at least 5
Med gull - 3 ad
Rock pipit - 1
Brief visit to feeding area saw only a small flock of mixed finches

Teal - record count of 137, one grabbed by Peregrine but escaped
Snipe - 7

Heysham NR
Woodcock - 1

Ocean Edge
Injured Pink-footed Goose still present

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Quick early morning walks

Heysham obs
Very little time this morning and Malcolm and I covered different se ruins of coast early on. Had to go and do some survey work at millom to take advantage of weather at exposed site! Was hoping for a sympathy vote mince pie but all I got were stroppy dogs

Heysham one outfall
Little gull - 2 1cy seaward end low tide
Guillemot - 6 in harbour
Rb merg - 4 in harbour

North Harbour Wall 10.15-10.45am
Increased number of Finches but very flighty
Minimum of 60 seen very briefly on ground.
Difficult to see very well due to background sun and how spread out they were.
Still mainly Goldfinch and Linnet but with some Twite and at least one Chaffinch.
Also 2 Adult Med Gulls.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Below par for the conditions but seawatching a bit awkward

Heysham Obs
A day when it would have been useful to have the north harbour wall back for car-seawatching

Sea at various times
Little Gull - at least 8 adult and two 1CY
Kittiwake - Just the one 1CY!
Razorbill - perhaps the same 1CY off the harbour mouth
Guillemot - minimum 15, 4 in the inner harbour
Med Gull - at least one adult
Wigeon - 3 'out' on seawatch
Red-throated Diver - one out
Great crested Grebe - c5 out, 3 inshore

Monday, 23 December 2013

The wrong kind of very wet

Heysham Obs
Awful today with a rubbishy southerly gale and driving rain.  The highlights were a three figure Teal count from Middleton and the dizzy heights of 14 Mallard on there.  Yesterdays inshore Kittiwakes had completely vanished.  Some pics from Sandra and John yesterday off Ocean Edge:

Middleton/Ocean Edge (thanks Malcolm)
Teal - 116
Mallard - 14
Gadwall - 5
Tufted Duck - just 7 left
Snipe - 9
Little Egret - 3
leucistic Bar-tailed Godwit Ocean Edge

South harbour area
Med Gull - 2 adults
Guillemot - 4 (3 in, one just offshore)
Just a few Goldfinches seen in very brief visit to feeder

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Winter seabird selection

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately the best site for sheltered seawatching at the moment, now most of the north wall is closed to cars, is from the harbour entrance, including by Gate 38.  However you sacrifice field of view and about 250m of distance for shelter and that caused a bit of a problem with the morning's highlight

Little Auk - what was presumed to be this species was seen twice with a 40 minute gap between sightings presumably related to being brought into the bay by the tide and flying and landing again with the process repeated.  Therefore it was seen flying 'out' twice but presumably floated in unseen on the rough sea.  The second view was relatively good with a Guillemot for direct comparison and comprised a small 'whirring' thing with fast 'flickering' of light and dark which "didn't seem to have an obvious bill" and was perhaps too small for even a Puffin.  Hopefully it can be completely nailed by someone in the next few days
Razorbill - First winter in the harbour mouth, then appeared to fly out
Guillemot - at least 25, including a gang of 11 close inshore and 3 in the harbour
Little Gull - flock of 5 adults and a single 1CY
Kittiwake - 47 offshore, two in the harbour and one on the outfalls, biggest flock 17
Red-throated Diver - 6 sightings on the incoming tide, minimum of 3 seen
Great-crested Grebe - 11 sightings on the incoming tide, at least 3 individuals
Med Gull - single adult

No finches seen

N Harbour Wall  09.30 - 11.30
The feeding site was half flooded this morning and partly washed out. A few finches flew up from the area on arrival. Some work on the site with pick and shovel has hopefully created some channels to divert the water. Fresh seed put down (in very strong wind) brought back a larger mixed flock of c50 Goldfinch/Linnet.  I was not able to identify any Twite owing to the conditions causing watering eyes and buffeting bins!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Wet watch from the wheel

Heysham Obs
A big black cloud which had been 'hovering' offshore decided to make a move as I was waiting for the incoming DFDS ferry.  Just missed the incoming Stena prior to that.  Decent number of birds in tow, including a lot of large gulls, but nothing startling

Harbour area, south side 0930-1015
Med Gull - 3 adults
Guillemot - 3 by the waterfall, at least one offshore
Little Gull - adult 'out'
Kittiwake - adult behind ferry
Goldfinch - 10 in the willowherb area

Friday 20th December

Heysham Obs
2 Ad Med Gulls around the harbour/outfalls, 2 Guillemot offshore

Just one or two finches north wall and no obvious food left at lunchtime (per Pete)

Winter Moth in the trap

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Wild and woolly continuum

Heysham Obs
The trouble with this wild weather is that the wind direction is not staying consistently westerly and there are too many breaks to get a decent collection of waifs in the harbour and around the outfalls.  Some seawatching early on showed some promise and there may be long enough spells of a westerly element to produce some stuff in the next few days. 

Coastal sites 0845-0945, including 30 minutes seawatch from Red Nab area
Med Gull - 3 ads harbour & one later in afternoon on Heysham 2
Little Gull - 1CY battling against the wind about 500m out and getting nowhere!
Kittiwake - 1CY with Black-headed Gulls on water off outfalls, adult behind ferry
Guillemot - at least 10, possibly 15
Red-throated Diver - one 'out'
Goldfinch/Twite/Linnet - 49 around seed area - at least 7 Twite and at least 23 Goldfinch
Song Thrush - masochistic wintering bird still in sandworks on north wall
Meadow Pipit - one Red Nab area

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

More Jack Snipe but no Black Redstart

Ocean Edge
Low pressure and wind meant the tide was a lot higher than the 9.32 it was supposed to be.
The salt marsh was almost fully covered at 10.45, with almost an hour of the tide to run.
34 Snipe plus 2 Jack Snipe counted.
Middleton NR
A Little Egret, 40 teal, 3 little grebe, 3 snipe, one meadow pipit
No sign of Black Redstarts in very windy conditions.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Both Black Redstarts together!

Heysham Obs
This implies a pretty sizeable assumption that the male at Red Nab/Ocean Edge is also the same one frequenting the north harbour, which is perhaps a rather excessive circuit!

Ocean Edge foreshore/Red Nab (thanks Malcolm for locating this stuff)
Jack Snipe - 2 at high tide forced off saltmarsh
Snipe - 47 at high tide as above
Black Redstart - adult male and female between Red Nab and the far end of Ocean Edge western shoreline - seen on and off (especially the male) until at least 1415hrs when both observers left site

Heysham NR late afternoon circuit
Goldcrest - 2
Water Rail - one along stream by dipping pond
Chiffchaff - collybita type calling in NE corner of marsh

North Harbour Wall
Feeding area monitored continuously from 09.00 to 11.30.  Approx 17 'finches' (including one Twite) present at first then much coming and going with composition of flock changing until near the end of the period the following were present:

Twite - 9 including 3 Blue/Red and two White colours. Possibly these 'extra' birds displaced from Ocean Edge saltmarsh area by the rising tide.
Linnet - c18
Goldfinch - c18

Mistle Thrush - 2
Dunnock - 2
Robin - 2
Starling - 9
Feral Pigeon - 2
Kestrel - 1

Large numbers of Oystercatcher and Knot flying round towards Middleton at 11.30, displaced from roost on the heliport by another thoughtless dog walker.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The other Black Redstart again!

Heysham Obs
The female type Black Redstart appeared again for a short time at Red Nab mid morning. 

Red Nab and area
Little Egret - 1
Black Redstart - female type
Meadow Pipit - 3

Snipe 2, Moorhen 8, Tufted Duck 10, Pochard 1, Gadwall 6, Mallard 2, Teal 14+, Coot 2, Mute Swan 2+7

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Snipe - 18

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Dog-walker ignorance

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately one of the best high tide roosts for a bit on the heliport was largely cleared by a gentleman with a ginger and white dog and a large black dog.  When he saw me at the end of the seawall, the dogs were put back on the lead and he scurried away through a rather large hole in the fence.  Therefore he was obviously completely aware of what he was doing, yet obviously just didn't care unless someone was perceived to be about to have a go at him.  There are loads of dog walkers in this area and many of them (as per conversations) appreciate the spectacle provided by the heliport roost and avoid the site.  Why do a small minority have to be ignorant?

North wall etc
WeBS count but the best was the male Black Redstart for a very short time mid-morning before heading towards the edge of the harbour and lost from sight
Med Gull - 4 adults
Red-throated Diver - one 'in' (thanks Jeff)
Guillemot -at least 7 including two in the harbour
Twite - 6 but very little food left mid-morning (& 2 Linnet, 6 Goldfinch)
Golden Plover - a single on the heliport seawall was very unusual
Knot - 2,200 heliport but flushed out of the area
Oystercatcher - peak of 6,500 heliport but most flushed off

Red Nab and area
Wigeon - 81
Meadow Pipit - 1
No sign of this Black Redstart

Middleton model boat pond
The usual three Little Egret, male Pochard, c10 Tufted Duck

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Decent local patch birds continue to arrive

Heysham Obs
After a negative large gull trawl, an adult Kittiwake, the first for ages, was seen behind the dredger.  Then a phone call followed by email from Malcolm about the following.  Thanks Malcolm:

First encountered bird about 10.40 as I was walking to west along Ocean Edge foreshore. About 50m east of Red Nab I spotted a robin sized bird flitting between rocks. I got out my binoculars just as it took off towards Red Nab. Got clear view of orange/red tail.  Relocated it in Eastern corner of small bay between Red Nab and Ocean Edge foreshore. Got several good views as it perched on jetsam before hopping down to feed on whatever it was seeing. Most of the views were full frontal or partial profile. It was distinguished by lack of distinguishing features. I would describe the plumage as pretty uniform charcoal grey, with a hint of darker plumage on face (almost like a shadow of a bird!). Only saw the red tail flanks when it flitted about. I have had a look at my reference books and think that it was a female or immature male.  Not there on the return walk at 1145hrs
Harbour area via south wall
Kittiwake - adult behind dredger
Med Gull - at least three adults
Guillemot - one visible
Red Nab and area
Black Redstart - female type Red Nab area 1040hrs 
Meadow Pipit - 2
Wigeon - 85

Friday, 13 December 2013


Heysham obs
Couldn't make it to Heysham this am because of moths in the brilliant winter months trap at millhouses. . 271 to be exact after a meticulous return search late afternoon unearthed more winter moths. At least 207 mottled umber but the only slight surprise other than the complete absence of the prolific December moth- they appear to have finished here was a worn yellow line Quaker

On the other hand Heysham nr trap held one moth but it was rather good - red sword grass

The only reported bird sightings today so far are the mixed flock of about 35 very unsettled Goldfinche/Linnet/Twite at the North Harbour feeding area in the morning.  Not seen on the ground so species counts not possible.

A brief afternoon visit saw only a handful of silhouetted birds in the sea buckthorn bushes, frightened away by a visitor.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Negative news unless you like singing

Heysham Obs
The juv Iceland Gull has not been seen since it was lost in a melee of bread and Black-headed Gulls on Middleton model boat pond early yesterday morning.   Not in the harbour this morning either and Middleton was subject to pretty thorough coverage yesterday and today

Green Woodpecker - put in one of its intermittent appearances this morning
Med Gull - adult visited the model boat pond
Pink-footed Goose - several early morning skeins

Harbour area
No known views of Black Redstart but a lot of industrial activity in the favoured site
Meadow Pipit - one mound
Song Thrush - singing male on mound!
Twinnet - flock of c38 appeared from calls and silhouettes to be containing at least 15 Twite but very flighty
Goldfinch - separate flock from the above of c25 birds
Robin - 4, including two singing birds

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Black Redstart, Meds and Iceland Gull

Heysham Obs

Iceland Gull seen early morning at Middleton model boat pond but not reported later.
Also 3 Little Egrets and Chiffchaff.

North Harbour Wall
Black Redstart midday
Mixed Finches 8.30am
5 Twite
10 Linnets
23 Goldfinch

3 Adult Med Gulls on railings

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

In haste

Iceland Gull still model boat pond at least 0930

Monday, 9 December 2013

Black Redstart surprise

Heysham Obs
An adult male Black Redstart was a superb sighting along the north harbour wall this morning - seen at about 0915 and about 1040 at the northern end of the Centrica storage area.  Necessary working activities between and after these times restricted opportunities but it was seen on the perimeter fence for 5 minutes or so around these times

The juv Iceland Gull was again on Middleton Model boat pond for much of the morning at least and responding to bread!

Thanks to Pete Cook

North harbour wall
Twite - 7 (only 2 ringed), Goldfinch - 28, but no Linnet during my visit.
Single Rock Pipit and Meadow Pipit with at least 3 otther Meadow Pipit on the heliport
"The" Song Thrush
At least two adult Med Gulls
Guillemot offshore

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Iceland Gull at Middleton

Model Boat Pond

A fine portrait of the Iceland Gull by Gavin Thomas

Gavin and Ian watched the Iceland Gull until dusk as it returned to Ocean Edge and then the harbour area. Also 5 adult Med Gulls, including 2P96

The Iceland Gull once again enjoyed much of its time today on the model boat pond at Middleton until 14.10 at least.
Also there:
11 Mute Swans (4Ad/7juv)
6 Gadwall
12 Tufted Duck
2 Pochard
3 Little Egret

North Harbour Wall
1 Med Gull (Adult)
2 Guillemot
4 RB Mergansers
1 GC Grebe
c30 Linnet/Goldfinch flock, possibly included Twite but none identified. Flock very flighty.

River Lune Golden Ball
1 Med Gull (Adult)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Quick power walk

Heysham Obs
North wall & harbour area
This is now closed off until further notice at the end of the Centrica entrance and obviously any pedestrian access beyond there is completely (as usual) at your own risk with a lot of tripping hazards and holes created by the storm surge.  Stay out other than strictly on the road itself is the recommendation.

Med Gull - ad north wall, 2 ads seaward end Heysham one outfall
Red-throated Diver - 1
Common Scoter - one female
Guillemot - one harbour mouth
Rock Pipit - one south harbour wall
No obvious Twite in c35 finches, mainly in flight
Mute Swan - Ad & ?2CY flew across bay from Foulney direction and headed inland
Very few Eiders a surprise

Middleton model boat pond
Iceland gull - juv at least 1130 and an hour or so later after flying off at 1140. Ate a sea buckthorn berry - definitely worth an old fashioned BB note ' I can find no evidence in the literature' etc

st Pochard, 9 Tufted Duck, 6 Gadwall,3 Little Egret, 2+7 Mute Swan

Friday, 6 December 2013

Iceland Gull is back

Heysham Obs
Alan restored the Twite feeding area this morning and 17 Linnet, 6 Goldfinch and 3 Twite were on the seed fairly soon afterwards.  There might, however, be some limitations on access to the north wall as the clearing up operation begins.  After an obvious dearth of large gulls around the harbour, the juv Iceland Gull reappeared on Red Nab late morning as this rubbishy record shot via scope/mobile indicates:

...............as does the fact that the tide was just about to cover the roosting site.  Also 78 Wigeon and a single Meadow Pipit in the area.  Two adult Med Gulls in the harbour along with a single Guillemot visible (but up to 3 underground)

Middleton pm
Iceland Gull - on model boat pond at least 1350hrs
Pochard 1 m, Tufted Duck 9, Teal 64 (65 on Wednesday!), Mallard and gadwall 6 each, Litle egret 3, Snipe 1, Moorhen 15, Coot just 2, Meadow Pipit 8 and the mega - a male Pheasant!

Above: The scene at Ocean Edge foreshore after yesterday's tidal surge
Below: The tidally rearranged Twite feeding station

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Short and destructive but pretty bird less

Heysham obs
The twite station was like a model of the Grand Canyon and another chunk of the wooden jetty ended up on ocean edge grassy foreshore. The sand works fence was seriously damaged and scoured of its hard-worn embryonic vegetation.  The heliport was completely flooded.
The first image here taken at least an hour before high tide:


Little gull - two ads on sea on incoming tide
Med gull - two ad heliport
No sign Iceland gull
Pochard- male Middleton model boat pond

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Head on Iceland

Heysham Obs
A bit of instructive birding this morning when all the gulls were head-on perched on Fisher's roof as viewed from the north harbour wall about 400m away.  I was told on arrival that 'it wasn't there' but this was because of a perception problem with a face-on white-winged gull in perhaps especially early winter juvenile plumage.  The base colour of the breast and underparts is darker than similar age argenteus Herring Gull nearby and, at that range, appears a uniform brown, not a paler dirty white with darker flecks as on the Herring Gull.  So simplistically, you were actually looking for the darkest juvenile/first winter bird as per head on views!

On the other hand if it's side on as in this picture, it's a doddle!

Photo by John Girdley

Fisher's roof
Iceland Gull - juv from at least 0845-0925
Med Gull - 2 adults

North wall
Red-throated Diver - 2 'in'
Goldfinch - 31 on seed, others heard
Linnet - 20 on seed, others heard
Twite - 1 on seed and at last one other heard

Single female December Moth and (male) Winter Moth

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

As you were with Iceland gull again absent at high tide

Heysham obs

Harbour area and offshore
Iceland gull - present in harbour area early pm
Red-throated diver- 2 offshore
Twite - 6 plus
Med gull - at least 3 adults

Ocean edge and red nab
Wigeon - 116

Middleton m boat pond
Large collection of gulls over the tide and two little egret and 6 tufted duck

Monday, 2 December 2013

Iceland Gull elusive


North Harbour Wall
The finch flock this morning was very restless, partly a result of pigeons hogging the seed area.

Goldfinch - 17
Twite - 1 ringed with Orange/Blue over Pale Blue.
Linnet - 20 at least.  Accurate count not possible because of constant coming and going.

Iceland gull - on red nab from at least 1330 to 1410 when flew back towards harbour.
Common scoter - female in
Med gull - at least five
Guillemot - one in harbour and at least two in underground reservoir

Two mottled umber and one b lacticollela

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Always cover the cover at high tide

Heysham Obs

Thanks to Pete Cook

Must get the local patch website stuff sorted out.  A really jammy 'patch find' this morning with good birders who got up at the proper time checking everywhere but the old Fisher's roof on which was a juv Iceland Gull - presumably a small female.  Its behaviour also suggested that it has been around for a day or so as it quickly located the waterfall.  Hopefully it did not clear off at lunchtime when it flew off up the harbour and out of view.  Pics later.

North wall/harbour area
Iceland Gull - juv, pres female, 1000ish to at least 1145ish, then on Red Nab until at least 1330hrs when all observers left
Red-throated Diver - one in the harbour - didn't get good enough views myself to age it - any help please?
Med Gull - 4 adults, including 2P96 darvic-ringed bird

Red Nab
Oystercatcher 1200
Knot 200
Redshank 10
Curlew 8
Turnstone 1
Wigeon 86

Middleton Nature Reserve
Model Boat Pond:
Gadwall 3 pairs
Cormorant 2
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 2
Pochard 1 male
Tufted Duck 3 female

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Lovely Morning for a Stroll

Heysham North Harbour wall
A beautifully clear morning but small numbers of birds.
Around the feeding area were:
Linnet - 16, some already ringed
Goldfinch - 4
Dunnock - 2
Robin - 1
Feral Pigeon - 3
Gentleman Reading Newspaper - 1.  This person sauntered down over the feeding area to the harbour's edge whilst I was trying to count through a telescope and then slowly returned, stopping every few steps to concentrate on his newspaper, even stopping for a couple of minutes standing on the seed to carefully read an extra-gripping piece of news!

Mediterranean Gull - 1 adult with right leg ring above tarsal joint.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
No finches present. Area and caravan park quiet.

Middleton Nature Reserve
2 mute + 7 cygnets
2 coot
14 moorhen (9 in horse's field near Tim Butler)
6 gadwall
3 tufted
3 mallard
42 teal
1 cormorant - feeding on boating pond, but didn't see it catch anything
2 little egrets - also "feeding" on boating pond
1 snipe
also heard Water Rail (or small piglet)
1st winter BHG with metal ring - lower right leg (from Leighton?)
70 linnet
2 bullfinch
8 meadow pipit

Hut Moth Trap
Angle Shades - 1
Mottled Umber - 1


Friday, 29 November 2013

Underwhelming stuff

Need to learn how to brand days like this starting with 'our' 6 mallard and our 95 wigeon off ocean edge . The mega year for December moth continued with another two plus a mottled unber

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Unseasonal and rather painful day

Heysham Obs
No often you deal with a moth catch of 250 (120 December Moth) at Millhouses and then ring a Chiffchaff at Heysham at this time of year.  The Heysham moth trap was more seasonal after yesterday's bonanza (one Mottled Umber)

North wall
Med Gull - Czech adult
Linnet - 19
Goldfinch - 17
Twite - 1

Office area
Chiffchaff - one collybita heard calling and later caught
Kestrel - one female stuck its claw right in the finger next to the nail - supposed to be playing music tonight - hope it doesn't stiffen.  Already ringed - EX11 sequence
Pink-footed Goose - migratory 'in-off' and high flocks SE of 120 and 150 at 1030 & 1032
Long-tailed Tit - the first unringed one for a bit in what has been a "nil movement" autumn
Goldcrest - 2

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

November December Moth bonanza continues

Heysham Obs
Guillemot - 1

North wall on seed
Starling 12
Twite 3
Linnet c15
Goldfinch c10
Robin 2
Dunnock 2

December Moth (6), Mottled Umber, Winter Moth (4), Feathered Thorn (2), Blastobasis lacticolella, Light Brown Apple Moth.  Record single-night count of December Moth and a really good catch for late November for here.  An actinic set in the SD46A part of the reserve contained a Scrobipalpa costella, only the second record for the reserve along with a Winter Moth female on vegetation close to the trap and an unidentified as yet micro.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Twite Numbers Slow To Build Up


N Harbour Wall

Three whoosh net operations early this morning resulted in:
16 Twite (11 new birds,  5 Retraps)
1 Linnet retrapped
1 Goldfinch ringed plus 1 retrapped.

Smaller numbers than recently of Linnet and Goldfinch at the feeding area, perhaps a result of the small neap tide allowing plenty of access to natural saltmarsh food.


Monday, 25 November 2013

Motorised para'glider' clears out the foreshore

Heysham Obs
I'm not sure what motorised para'gliders' are supposed to be called, especially noisy ones which can be heard over a mile away.  This was weaving about c10 metres above the surface of the mudflats at a neap high tide and it was amazingly effective at scaring birds.  This relates to the drip-feed of disruptive activities which sneak on to the shore via the access point at Potts Corner.   The owner has attended meetings re-establishing good practice on the foreshore along this very important and often spectacular stretch of coast with its large internationally important flocks of waders and therefore this activity was presumably not with his blessing.  So why were these people on the foreshore with two large vehicles - I'm assuming they simply drove on via a seemingly unrestricted access?  Vehicles registrations have been taken and will be passed to NE.  Any continuation of this level of disturbance makes a mockery of the carefully worded information notices put up by Ocean Edge and Shorefields Caravan parks

Ocean Edge foreshore late afternoon
Fleeing birds included 3 Little Egret and perhaps the flock of c3900 Knot which ended up on the beach to the south of the Stone Jetty plus the usual Bar-tailed Godwit, additional Knot etc etc

Pink-footed Goose
It seems that 800-900 are utilising a morning flightline via a (brief?) landing on Middleton Sands and then over Middleton NR area en route to Lune side fields/saltmarshes.  This evening, they returned via the 'usual' Lune estuary flightline at 1600-1604hrs

Twite number 6 (from this autumn's ringing) was on the seed along with 4 others and 23 Linnet (at least 17 unringed) and 14 Goldfinch (mainly ringed)

Usual 2 adult Med Gulls around north wall

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Harbour Dunnocks

North Harbour Wall

Visit at 8am to check and replenish Niger seed. Birds feeding at first were just 5 Goldfinch, 7 Linnets, 2 Robins and 3 Dunnocks.

Also two adult Med Gulls nearby.

After a check of the south side of the harbour where no more small birds were seen, a return to the north wall a little later found that the finches had built up to about 35.

Very flighty and dogs about so didn't manage to see them all on the ground. 

Mainly Goldfinch and Linnets with probably no more than 7 Twite, at least three ringed, two local recent ones and the Machrihanish red/green.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Eider fest and House Sparrow mega

Heysham Obs
North wall low tide
Eider - 302 - seen smaller flocks with kings and queens......................but all very distant.  This flock needs grilling just in case
Common Scoter - female
Red-throated Diver - 1
Auk spp - one - quite probably Razorbill

Finches included up to 5 Twite late morning

Office area
Activity round the office comprised an early Brambling and what seemed to be a small movement of about 15 southbound Chaffinch at the same time, c20 Blackbird and best of all a female House Sparrow ringed

There were no moths or even flies gracing the trap

Friday, 22 November 2013

Subterranean guillemots

Heysham obs
 Far from being 'trapped', guillemots which enter the underground reservoir by the power station intake have whale of a time and can then get out at low tide. There may be three doing this at the moment. A few years ago before risk assessments were invented we went in there with landing nets and caught/ringed 6 including a northern bird. Indeed our a toons may have invented risk assessments as a ten page document including the word 'no' materialised and we then realised they could get out anyway

 Plenty of seed left at dusk last night and this morning's ringing session comprised a small gang of twite and goldfinch with no sign of the big linnet flock . These included the 2o11 machrihanish- ringed bird seen in the field

 The other news involved blackbird with a notable arrival of at least 30 around the office area plus a singleton on the north wall along with a late migrant meadow pipit

 Moths consisted of an incredibly geriatric angle shades and a pristine winter moth if that is the right word to use

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Afternoon all

Heysham Obs
Unusually no morning coverage whatsoever today and the early afternoon saw a quick visit to the north harbour wall where there was no available food and the dreaded three pigeons plus a rabbit were digging into the sand to find morsels. I put a small amount of nyger down which was in the car and, after a quick walk round, a decent flock of 54 finches materialised on the seed: 41 Linnet and 13 Goldfinch. As far as could be seen only 13/41 Linnet were ringed but about 10/13 Goldfinch bore a mixture of right and left leg rings, possibly indicating that some were ringed by the NR office. As also stressed by a visiting ringer, its really important for a feeding station to guarantee a dawn food supply, but that is easier said than done with people's committments and nocturnal mammalian consumers. The problem is that all the Twite are to the south of here, so they have to have a pretty solid reliable incentive to come up here for the dawn feed - it would be a different matter if Heysham was on a 'commuter route' for wintering Twite. It is looking pretty bad with seemingly no semi-resident birds able to entice others from a communal night time roost as seemed to be the case in other years

Ad Med Gull followed the IOM ferry along the length of the harbour

The moth trap amazingly held December Moth and Mottled Umber after a NE gale. Bizarre!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

No Knot

Heysham Obs
No Knot seen at the subroost below the heliport seawall today unless they came in very late and were undisturbed

North wall first thing
Mixed flock of 15 Linnet, 7 Twite and 5 Goldfinch on seed but couldn't see any ring details due to light

Guillemot offshore and Med Gull along the seawall

A Winter Moth in the trap!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Knot the lady in red

Heysham Obs
Sadly certain dog walkers seem to have a daily routine which they find impossible to change. The last two days have seen a decent gang of knot trying to roost on the heliport. A precursor for a return of the good old days? Enter the lady in red with a ginger and white collie type. Why do you have to walk the heliport seawall at or near high tide? The knot cleared off.  An early morning visit to the north harbour wall saw a couple of birders already there who said that 'about 35 finches had flown off and there was nothing on the seed'.   My fault - forgot to feed last thing yesterday as arranged.  Plenty of food was put down allowing for pigeons and finches to feed at the same time and the results were 3 feral pigeons, one Robin, 4 Linnet, 4 Goldfinch and 4 Twite down together within 30 minutes but no sign of the big flock on a walk round.  One of the Twite was singing and was the only ringed bird - ringed last winter period.  Presumably the big flock is part of the 60+ gang on Ocean Edge saltmarsh - predominantly Linnet

Mound etc
Song Thrush - 1 - the 'usual wintering bird'? also seen yesterday
Rock Pipit - one

20 minutes produced a single Guillemot and single Red-throated Diver floating in
Ad Med Gull behind departing ferry

Ocean edge
Linnet - 61
Reed bunting - 1

Monday, 18 November 2013

Shore thing


A winter-plumaged Guillemot was fishing in the harbour.
2 Mediterranean Gulls.
2 Red-breasted Mergansers were at Ocean Edge.


2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Guillemots.


Big flock of Linnets on Ocean Edge saltmarsh - at least 65.  They were very mobile and were soon hidden in the saltmarsh so it was difficult to see what and how many other species were with them.  Goldfinches could be heard and 4 Twite were definitely seen but there may have been up to 12. A mystery bunting, possibly Reed Bunting or may have been something more exciting, but couldn't be relocated.  It may be easier to find at high tide tomorrow.  A Snipe was on the saltmarsh.

2 Twite were at the feeding station on the North Harbour Wall, along with 8 Goldfinch and a Linnet.

A Rock Pipit was heard at Near Naze.

A Little Egret roosted on Red Nab with 230 Oystercatchers, 5 Knot, 25 Redshank, 1 Turnstone and 13 Wigeon.

A Kestrel was sitting on the scaffolding around the big wheel on the South Harbour Wall.

Didn't count the Oystercatchers at the Heliport but there were several thousand along with hundreds of Knot.  Quite a spectacle.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

North Harbour Wall

Ringed Twite

A short visit to the North Harbour Wall saw about 30 finches on the seed, mainly Linnets but with 8/9 Goldfinches.

Although no Twite were with them, some could be heard nearby, and they came down to the seed shortly after, as a small group of 9/10 with a few Linnets. They were not down for long, being disturbed by activity within the harbour. At least four were ringed with two Machrihanish birds and two Heysham, including one recent one. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Bits and bobs on or over the sea

Heysham Obs
Yesterday's Twite moved on as has been a feature this autumn so far - presumably an excellent supply of samphire on the saltmarsh edges.  Ian's coverage of the sea for an hour produced:

Whooper Swan - 2 north
Guillemot - 3
Goldeneye - male north with Whoopers!
Red-throated Diver - 2

Med Gull - two adults on the north wall railings
Grey Wagtail - single by outfalls

Single female December Moth, Mottled Umber and Feathered Thorn

Friday, 15 November 2013

The migratory curtain is drawn?

Heysham obs
Plenty of continental Blackbirds on Heysham nr and Middleton today but not many on the dog walk area. Very little vis as a quite thick layer of cloud at dawn. A flock of 13 twite may have been a migratory arrival as the ringed birds included at least three new for the autumn, including an old Machrihanish bird

The wader murmurations
off ocean edge and Shorefields were brilliant this morning - far more interesting than similar starling monoculture at a well known reserve!

Vis mig dawn to 0830
Chaffinch - 16
Goldfinch - 5
Redwing - 1
Alba wagtail - 1 def not ex roost
Greenfinch - 5

Blackbird - 25 or so by office, plenty on Middleton
Song thrush - 3

The following is from Malcolm and refers to Middleton NR:
Saw cormorant flying from West directly to boating pond. Thought it was strange, as I thought there was no fish there, but this seemed to be a deliberate expedition. In less than a minute of it starting to feed it came up with a largish (about 3oz) fish. From the marked contrast between back and belly and general shape I am pretty sure it was a perch. The main food item for perch this size is insect larvae!
To catch a fish this size so quickly, and apparently regularly, must mean there is a significant population.

Other sightings:
Mute 3 + 7 cygnets
Coot 2
Moorhen 13 (mainly Tim Butler)
Tufted 4
Gadwall 4 (3 male)
Teal maximum count 60 but there were others (mainly Tim Butler)
Little egret 3 (2 on boating pond one over SW to NW)
Snipe 7
Bullfinch one feeding group of 7
No thrushes but lots of blackbirds. And we seem to have a full contingent of robins.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

No migrants recorded today

Heysham Obs
The only things worthy of any mention today were two Guillemot and an adult Med Gull around the harbour mouth early afternoon

Unfortunately the available food had all disappeared at the feeding station on arrival at 1000hrs morning and there were just 5 finches around the general area but this built up to 40 ish by early afternoon but seemingly mainly Linnet (at least 23 of which at least 10 were unringed plus at least 8 Goldfinch).  The Twite seem to be moving through and not staying at the moment with the only 5 definitely seen all being unringed

Half an hours seawatching was unproductive with the wind too nw.

A Mottled Umber graced the moth trap in contrast to 78 in the trap at Millhouses! 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Another Brick on the wall

Heysham Obs

Still very finchy.

Vis 0730-0830
Chaffinch 29
Greenfinch 5
Bullfinch 3 (in one flock)
Goldfinch 35
Rock Pipit 1

Redwing 1
Goldcrest 2
Blackbird 7+

A Green Woodpecker was on the plateau.


A Brick was unusual at this time of year.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Moth revival

Heysham Obs
Vis 0715-0815

Skylark 1
alba wagtail 4
Chaffinch 26
Greenfinch 1
Meadow Pipit 2 north
Grey Wagtail - blogging
Starling 250 out of roost

 Moths comprised 3 December moth and singles of winter moth, feathered thorn and angle shades. Ringing produced an unexpected unringed dunnock a species which has been in unprecedented numbers this year

Monday, 11 November 2013

Wet and miserable

Heysham Obs
A circuit of the reserve produced 8 Blackbird, a Reed Bunting and 6 Goldcrest

One Mottled Umber in the trap

Finches disturbed by the guy in a blue estate car who is becoming a real nuisance with his dogs but there appeared to be very few Twite but what was seen (four) were all unringed

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Clear weather efforts highlighted by decent view of flyover Snow Bunting

Heysham Obs
The main feature of interest this week has been finches ringed elsewhere with two Greenfinch from unknown locations, a Goldfinch ringed on Walney and two Twite ringed at Machrihanish.  One of these was caught today and found to be a 'new' bird, not as previously thought from field views (and Janet's pics) a returning bird from previous winter.  The other one was definitely ringed this autumn and therefore new.  A Twite ringed at Sanda Isle and caught last winter was also retrapped today

Vis mig 0725-0830
Woodpigeon - our contribution to coordinated vis mig count was zero!
Chaffinch - 51
Goldfinch - 5
Meadow Pipit - 2
Greenfinch - 11
Snow Bunting - male south at 0800hrs
Redpoll spp - 2
Bullfinch - notable was a flock of 5 south followed by two singletons
alba - 2 south (definitely not ex-roost)

Blackbird - much reduced as expected in clear conditions - just 8 seen by office
Chiffchaff - one by obs t pond first thing
Goldcrest - 4 by office


Saturday, 9 November 2013

A rapid visit

One mist net for an hour produced a greenfinch ringed elsewhere. No moths. Pretty good vis in the hour covered with 175 chaffinch , 18 wood pigeon, one field fare, 35 goldfinch , 36 greenfinch. No chance to check grounded other than round office but this produced the highest nos of blackbird this autumn with c40 also at least 3 goldcrest. North wall sightings included Machrihanish ringed twite and a load of unringed linnet

Friday, 8 November 2013

virtually no coverage

A few Chaffinches moving in the weather breaks early morning and at least 3 Goldcrest by the office the only things of note today

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Yellowhammer and six corvid species top a decent late autumn vis mig morning

Heysham Obs
A cool morning with the hitherto active wasps nest near the office all on their laptops ordering zimmerframes.  Zero moths and very few other insects seen this morning.  Birds were mainly limited to quite high vis mig, other than a few Blackbird gangs passing through the bushes

Vis mig rather too late (0720) to 0930
Chaffinch - 124
Greenfinch - 120
Goldfinch - 115
Woodpigeon - 26+14+6+1
Bullfinch - notable this morning were the following southbound high-flyers: 4+2+1+2
Carrion Crow - at least 8 migrants
Raven - 2 singletons south
Rook - 2 singletons south
Jackdaw - 11+13 south (& 2 Jay and several Magpie round the office)
Brambling - heard early on (singleton?)
Siskin - 2 singletons - scarce this autumn
Whooper Swan - flock of 7 really high on NE-SW heading - structure seemed to rule out Bewicks
Sparrowhawk - one male appeared to come 'in-off' from NW and spiralled off to the SE until a tiny dot in the sky.  Undoubtedly a late migrant!
Meadow Pipit - 1
Linnet - 2
Yellowhammer - male flew from the NE, and appeared to land in the direction of the power station

Grounded by the office
Blackbird - 23
Redwing - 1
Song Thrush - 2
Goldcrest - 3 early on

Sunlight prevented assessment of finches on the north wall but at least 8 Goldfinch and a male Chaffinch
Guillemot - 1 harbour
Med Gull - adult north wall
Twite - Machrihanish autumn 2013-ringed bird seen mid afternoon
Ringed Twite

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Rusty Dot Pearl tops some late autumn migration

Heysham Obs
Missed a probable Snow Bunting flyover due to being in an enclosed space extracting birds from a mist net (just a single 'teuk' call), so a small migrant moth headlines - the only moth in the trap!   Southbound Chaffinch and Goldfinch were the order of the day with quite a few grounding themselves on the tank farm.  The main reason for getting up early - the possible thrush fest - was conspicuous by its absence, but was certainly (Fieldfare 500+) reaching my house in the first two hours after dawn (but not Bryan's vis site at Burton)

Vis mig dawn to 0930hrs
Chaffinch - 156 SW with several almost certainly missed
Goldfinch - 97 SW with comment as above
Greenfinch - at least 25 migrants but difficult to be certain about status
Brambling - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Redwing - heard high in the sky early on

Grounded around the office
Blackbird - conspicuous first thing with 26 moving through the bushes
Song Thrush - 3 as above
No evidence of Goldcrest other than one with a long-tailed Tit flock mid morning

Chaffinch - one grounded on the south harbour wall - unusual
Guillemot - one in the harbour
67 finches seen on the north harbour wall including a reflection of the Goldfinch arrival (c8) and at least 32 Linnet
Meadow Pipit - at least two north wall
Rock Pipit - one north wall
Green Woodpecker - a very welcome highlight of a wet power walk around Middleton - seen within the EDF strip
Snipe - 4+ Middleton

Single Rusty Dot Pearl - classic 'quality not quantity' as the only moth

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Quick I phone posting
Med gull - at least one north wall, 2cy following ferry
Twite - c14
Linnet - c30
Chaffinch - m and f north wall
Rock pipit - one north wall
Meadow pipit - 2 north wall

Mottled umber

Monday, 4 November 2013

Skies of blue, red foxes too.....

Heysham Obs

Vis 0745-1000 in skies of blue:
Chaffinch 47
Brambling 6
Collared Dove 4
Woodpigeon 15
Sparrowhawk 2
Blackbird 1
Carrion Crow 3
Raven 1 east
Jackdaw 6 west
Bullfinch 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Siskin 1

Heysham Heliport:
Red fox too.  A fox appeared on the edge of the heliport and seemed bemused by the 2 Magpies which danced around it.  Instead it appeared to be concentrating on a small mammal in the grass.

North Harbour Wall
Early visit to check feeding area found this mixed bunch :

Twite  1    Late in the season for arrival of this species.  More to come any day now surely?
Linnet 15  (more in vicinity)
Goldfinch  1
Chaffinch  1
Robin  1
Wren  1

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Early morning seabird flurry

Heysham Obs
Fell a bit between two stools this early morning and missed what could have been 30 minutes of rather good seawatching whilst diverting to the office for Twite food (and washing up liquid/water 'screenwash'!).  The action started as soon as I arrived at 0745 but by 0845 it had reduced to a trickle of tidally-readjusting inshore Guillemot and a few Common Gulls heading south

Vis by the office for 5 mins 0730-0740
Chaffinch - 6
Brambling - heard call once

Sea 0745-0845
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one flew in at 0800 and seemed to land on the sea
Red-throated Diver - 3 out - two adults, one 1CY
Common Scoter - female out
Kittiwake - flock of 16 adults 'out'
Common Gull - a constant trickle of mainly adults south
Razorbill - 5+3+6+2+4+2+2 out (24)
Auk spp - at least 31 which were mainly in small groups further out than the Razorbills but looked likely to be that species.  Offshore auks stopped moving after 0815hrs
Guillemot - at least 5 inshore plus two in the harbour, at least 5 heading out further out with the close Razorbill line

Purple Sandpiper - showing well on the near naze on the incoming tide
Med Gull - 2 adults and 2Cy following the 'Arrow' into port
Twite - There was no available seed at all first thing and 5 Twite were sitting around and trying to 'dig' food out of the ground whilst 29 Linnet sat on the fence.  At least two were ringed (by us) one a split ring involving orange above pale blue, the other pale blue over green/white split.  Provision of seed resulted in two Twite and 29 Linnet during a quick check

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Headline House Sparrow and Autumnwatch request

Heysham Obs
**Did anyone use ?301 and record any of the Red Button Autumnwatch yesterday late afternoon/early evening, please, especially the Med Gull sequence please?   Please get in touch with PMrsh123@aol.com otherwise its apparently lost in the ether.  Thanks.

A decent late autumn migration morning in what was always going o be a very narrow window prior to the mid-morning 'hooley'.  A surprising 40 or so birds were caught including two for the first time this year; House Sparrow and Treecreeper.  The former are common on the nearby estate but most records from the Obs are considered to be and certainly behave like migrants rather than wanderers from 'over the road'.  Treecreeper have been thinner on the ground than usual this year, perhaps because their "vehicle", dispersive tit flocks, have similarly been conspicuous by their absence

Vis mig dawn to c0930
Chaffinch - 236
Brambling - 13
Goldfinch - 16
Meadow Pipit - 3
Redwing - group of 4
Jackdaw - 4+1
Carrion Crow - 6+2 respectively with the above
Rook - adult on its own heading purposefully south - very unusual
Woodpigeon - flock of 14
Starling - 20+13
Great-spotted Woodpecker - the only strong candidate for a migrant this autumn was one heading south about 1.5 times the height of electricity pylon  
alba Wagtail - 2
Greenfinch - not counted as no obvious high-flying pattern to today's birds c/f nearby feeder
House Sparrow - see below

Chiffchaff - one calling for a time next to the office but not seen - collybita calls
Blackcap - one female with an enormous amount of fat and weighing 22.3grams
Goldcrest - definitely many fewer than yesterday after a clearish night and only two unringed ones caught and possibly no more than 5 migrants around
Blackbird - c10
Song Thrush - 2

Treecreeper - one ringed
House Sparrow - one heard calling overhead, then perhaps the same (male) found in the net on the next mist net round
Linnet - 25 north wall
Meadow Pipit - just one north wall
Guillemot - one in the harbour

Mottled Umber

Friday, 1 November 2013

Red button Meds

Heysham Obs
Vis 0730-0900
Chaffinch 55
Greenfinch 18
Goldfinch 27
Redpoll sp 1
Song Thrush 1
Carrion Crow 4
Mistle Thrush 2
Redwing 1
Linnet 1
Starling 10
Siskin 1
Pink-footed Goose 20

Lots of Goldcrest, but unfortunately no time to give the place full coverage
Blackcap - one female

Little Egret - one Red Nab
Red Nab most unfortunately disturbed by ?bait diggers just prior to the Autumnwatch filming so there might not be any footage from there.  The filming took place from Ocean Edge - thanks for the permission
Med Gull - two north harbour wall including Czech-ringed bird performed well for the camera
Linnet - 25
Goldfinch - 3 on seed
No Twite - getting later than usual (esp c/p 2011 and 2012) but not unprecedented c/f posting on another blog.  Similarly the Linnet are rather slow to depart.  Too warm and too much natural food?
Meadow Pipit 3 grounded
Guillemot 1 flew out of the Bay

Very good again, given the weather during a chunk of the night: Silver Y, Feathered Thorn, Brick, December Moth. Angle Shades and an amazingly late Pink-barred Sallow

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Couldnt stomach the Gem

Heysham Obs
Waded into the moth trap a bit too quickly today thinking a repeat of yesterdays zero.  Instead there was an excellent catch with the best, a Gem flying from an egg packing on to my stomach but, as I had to move the get a specimen tube and eventually a pic, it flew out of the window!  Hopefully the 'field description' will be adequate.  Sorry cant upload pics on this computer.

Vis mig strictly 0745-0845
Chaffinch - 66
Brambling - 11, including flock of 7
Goldfinch - 20
Starling - 21+38
Redwing - 5
Greenfinch - 16
Fieldfare - one noisy one
Skylark - 3

Mound/north wall
Twite - 5 but flew off south
Linnet - 37
Meadow Pipit - 6
Rock Pipit - 1
Med Gull - ad
Chaffinch - 1

Red Nab
Wigeon - 126
Little Egret - 1
Med Gull - ad

Juniper Carpet and Gem new for year here - the latter may be new for the site.  Also Silver Y - 2, Light Brown Apple Moth - 1, Angle Shades - 2, Spruce Carpet - 1, Epirrita - 1, Feathered Thorn - 2, Red-green Carpet - 1

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Vis mig to the fore and returning Purple Sandpiper

Heysham Obs
Vis mig on and off till midday
Barnacle Goose - two with 57 Pinkfeet heading south
Pink-footed Goose - 80+35+57+54 S
Chaffinch - 356
Brambling - at least 3
Goldfinch - 43
Meadow Pipit - 12
Redwing - 3+25
alba Wagtail - 12
Woodpigeon - 45
Jackdaw - flock of 15
Carrion Crow - 8
Twite - 1
Linnet - 11
Greylag - 1 south
Starling - 50+10
Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush - 1
Greenfinch - difficult but at least 17 vis mig birds

Purple Sandpiper - one Near Naze by old heliport (thanks Len & Jim)
Guillemot - one harbour
Red-throated Diver
Med Gull - 2 ads and unringed 2CY

NO sign of Firecrest as predicted in clear conditions overnight
Song Thrush - c5 reserve
Blackbird - 10-15 reserve
Chiffchaff - one
NO Goldcrest reserve

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Firecrest still

Heysham Obs

Photos 1 and 2 by Dave Talbot, Photo 3 by Stan Parrott
(NB - Message from Jean R.  Dave - sorry I couldn't put your photos on earlier as arranged with Pete, but I did not have access to your photos until tonight).

Firecrest still south harbour wall
Guillemot - two in harbour
Little Gull - Heysham 2 outfall
Med Gull - two adults at least
Commic Tern (probably Arctic) flew into the harbour behind the ferry.

14 Whooper Swan
165 Pink-footed Goose

Feathered Thorn

Monday, 28 October 2013

Firecrest still present but mobile and Black Redstart nearby

Heysham Obs
The male Firecrest was still present along the south harbour wall, but more lively, vocal and mobile after eating a huge green caterpillar late yesterday and it was fortunate that it remained until 1250hrs before flying inland.  At one stage it flew and sat on the harbour wall! Amazingly it returned from its excursion back to the original windswept site in mid-afternoon

Black Redstart - f/imm by the old Fishers building near the bend with bad potholes on Gate 38 road mid-morning, but not subsequently in an area with plenty of suitable habitat
Little Gull - adult type Heysham 2 outfall
Guillemot - two in the harbour
Med Gull - 3 adults and a 2CY behind IOM ferry, 1CY Heysham one outfall
Rock Pipit - one by Heysham one outfall
Shag - 1CY harbour mouth and area but very mobile - seen twice during the morning
Skua spp - very dark individual wheeled rapidly into the bay at c1115hrs looked like a juv

5 Silver Y, 2 Feathered Thorn, male December Moth and a worn Brick


December Moth

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Firecrest in the harbour willowherb!

Heysham Obs
A check of the south harbour wall area, ostensibly for any wind-blown seabirds at 1045 GMT produced a series of calls which seemed more emphatic and lacked the lispy quality of Goldcrest.  A male Firecrest was located in the brambles and later hiding in the willowherb along the south harbour wall.  Gate 38 is available for those in the know, the route is otherwise via the usual outfalls directions from the tall mast

Pretty impossible in the willowherb but comes out into the brambles on occasions and shows well as Janet's pics show (being posted later)
Showed exceptionally well to single observer late afternoon allowing views of the red male crown stripe
Still present until at least 1615 GMT

Shag - 1CY harbour mouth first thing
Med Gull - 'new' 2CY with very extensive black primary tips following IOM ferry
Linnet - c35 north wall
Meadow Pipit - c14 north wall

Silver Y and two Feathered Thorn

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Silver Y

Heysham Obs
Fairly low-key morning with a later start than it should have been.

Vis mig on and off 0830-1000
Chaffinch - 66
Goldfinch - 18
Redwing - 5
Greenfinch - 25
Tree Sparrow - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2

Blackcap - male ringed
Chiffchaff - at least one still around
Goldcrest - at least two
Blackbird - bit of an arrival with 15+ round office

North harbour wall
Linnet - 34
Meadow Pipit - 14
Med Gull - one adult
Scotsmen - two anglers rehearsing for a remix of the Pink Floyd 'song'

5 Silver Y, Feathered Thorn and (new for the year) female December Moth

Friday, 25 October 2013

More exercise less vis

Heysham Obs
The early morning was cancelled due to pretty impossible weather and the lure of ASDA and a bit of coverage from about 0930 was all that was possible today

Vis mig by office 0930-0945
Chaffinch - 15 south
Skylark - 2 south
Meadow Pipit - 3 south
Goldfinch - 2 south
.......................hardly worth carrying on?

North wall
Meadow Pipit - c14
Redpoll spp - flight only singleton
Linnet - c35 - no absolutely definite Twite heard but one probable
Rock Pipit - 1
Robin - 2 on the mound section, 3 on sandworks

Red Nab
Med Gull - 2CY and 2 adults Red Nab but legs not visible
Little Egret - one along side of H2O

Red Admiral and Speckled Wood by office, Speckled Wood also by office yesterday

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Clear moonlit morning fare

Heysham Obs
A quick posting before the Autumnwatch team arrives - shame they are unlikely to have a charter plane ready for Unst - a bit over budget, despite the 'migration' theme?

Vis mig dawnish to 1100ish
Tree Pipit or similar - two calls heard from a very highflying bird at 1100hrs
Chaffinch - 220
alba Wagtail - 55
Goldfinch - 82
Greenfinch - 60
Bullfinch-1+2+3 high to south
Redpoll agg - 6
Starling - one flock of 10!
Fieldfare - 38+18
Brambling - heard only one
Siskin - 30
Meadow Pipit - 8
Redwing - 1!
Skylark - 13
Pink-footed Goose - one skein of 122

1 Chiffchaff, c6 Redwing, 1+ Goldcrest, one unringed Robin

One Twite at the north harbour wall with c30 Linnet

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Shag in the harbour

Heysham Obs
A 1CY Shag, probably the one seen the other day, was feeding along the western side of e harbour this morning. Otherwise its a bit grim at the moment - more reminiscent of the back end of the autumn migration in mid November................other than the temperatures

Half an hour of vis mig when the rain stopped 0840-0910 was a waste of time as the wind had swung westerly and it produced:
Chaffinch - 15
Siskin - H
Goldfinch - 3
Redwing - 2

Heard during the above:
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Blackbird - c5 (more than yesterday!!)

North wall circuit
Linnet - 31
Meadow Pipit - 14
Rock Pipit - 1
Med Gull - ad following ferry
Shag - 1CY as above

Ocean Edge area
Med Gull - 2P96 and a 2CY with a green darvic, presumably one of the German birds together on Red Nab at high tide - the 2CY was watched following in the IOM ferry earlier along with a
1CY Kittiwake

5 Snipe and a Jack Snipe

A new bulb has been installed!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Finchy vis between the fronts

Heysham Obs
A short gap between blocks of rain allowed an hour's vis mig and a bit of exercise on a mound circuit

Vis mig 0850-0950
Goldfinch - 43
Chaffinch - 80
Greenfinch - 23
Tree Sparrow - flock of 3
Fieldfare - flock of 3
Woodpigeon - high flock of 5
Redpoll spp - one very high
Rock Pipit - one S - unusual over here
alba Wagtail - 2
Reed Bunting - three singletons south
Redwing - 2 SW
Bullfinch - one high to S
Whooper Swan - 10 adults south about 1210hrs, then landed on tide edge on Middleton sands

Chiffchaff - two by the office were new in but no Goldcrest noted during the hour's vis mig
No obvious evidence of grounded thrushes between 0850 and 0950

North wall
Med Gull - adult following boat
Meadow Pipit - 7 grounded
Rock Pipit - definitely at least 2
Linnet - only 13 seen
usual 3 Robin and one Wren

Outfalls/Red Nab
Perhaps the same ad Med feeding in the boat channel otherwise nothing notable.  At lunchtime a different ad Med with below tarsus metal ring (possibly the Belgian bird read in the summer|) and single Little Egret Red Nab until...................

A cross between a terrier and a fox on Red Nab at lunchtime - scored 7.5/10 i.e. flushed 75% of the birds. 

Bulb broke! but 1+ Nettle Tap Moth in the mist net ride by office

Monday, 21 October 2013

Pre-frontal flurry

Heysham Obs
It was about as 'busy' as it has been all autumn for about 30 mins post-dawn today as an organised front approach from the SSW and it was difficult to know what to do.  About an hour with mist nets by the office coupled with vis mig was about it.  Unfortunately when support arrived in the form of  Bryan and Jean it had all ceased bar a few Chaffinch and odds and ends as the cloud was overhead and the leading edge way to the north-east.................and rain from about 0945hrs

Vis dawn to about 0930hrs
Redwing - 51
Fieldfare - 545
Goldfinch - 79
Chaffinch - 374
Brambling - 2+H+H - prob just 4 birds
Reed Bunting - 3
Siskin - 7
Starling - 12+30
Bullfinch - 2
Meadow Pipit - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 25
alba Wagtail - about 12 ex-roost then just one

Goldcrest - c20 around office early on, including gang of 11 (no ruby crowned kinglet)
Blackbird - c15 around office
Redwing - about 20 which flew inland early on
No Woodpigeons seen this am as per yesterday

Not a lot other than the huge wader flocks south of Ocean Edge - one Little Egret and 29 Linnet on feeder, two Rock Pipit north wall, 5+ Meadow Pipit north wall (south wall not checked)

A Black R-type car-sweep of the non-op land etc etc etc was fruitless but was carried out!

3 Feathered Thorn and 2 Light brown apple moth

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Better coverage, more reward

Heysham Obs
Two things today produced the goods in a typical 'local patch highlight' fashion.  One was some early morning vis mig, despite unpromising weather, and the second thing was the WeBS count.

Vis mig, dawnish to 1100hrs with a 45 min gap during heavy rain
Fieldfare - 1,720 SW
Chaffinch - 165
Woodpigeon - 27 flew east early morning - unexpected - ex-roost?
Redwing - only 34 seen with Fieldfare flocks, others could have been missed but not many
Greenfinch - 6
Pink-footed Goose - 15+26+32
alba Wagtail - 20
Mistle Thrush - 4 assuming there were none lurking silently with Fieldfare flocks
Starling - 17+54 on the requisite high SW migrant heading
Meadow Pipit - 1!
Goldfinch - 22
Siskin - 10

Meadow Pipit - 6 on mound and 8 on south harbour wall
Goldcrest - one south harbour wall and c5 reserve
Chiffchaff - one reserve
Blackbird - very few - <10 p="">
Cormorant - 82 wooden jetty
Shag - one thought to be on wooden jetty with obscured view confirmed by later sighting off Ocean Edge (amazingly including a record shot) whence it headed towards the Lune Estuary
Med Gull -  adults on Fisher's roof, north harbour wall and Red Nab
Redshank - a massive roost of 570 on the heliport seawall (and sure enough the sunny slopes groyne had been disturbed (just 34 Redshank)), 220 on beach south of Ocean Edge
Oystercatcher - 2,100 heliport, 420 remained around Red Nab (plus 1,100 SSG, 280 Battery, 520 WEG)
Turnstone - 56 wooden jetty, 30 with heliport Redshank
Ringed Plover - 16 heliport, 11 along shore south of ocean edge
Little Egret - one remained around Red Nab

Feathered Thorn, Pink-barred Sallow  and Light Brown Apple Moth


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Dead early morning

Heysham Obs
Here are the pics of the two Grey Wagtails ringed at Heysham this autumn and subsequently seen elsewhere: from Skokholm (thanks to Richard Brown) and Seaforth (thanks to Chris Gregson).  Please do report any sightings even if you only manage to see one of the legs properly.  Thanks.

Nothing doing at first light either on the grounded front or the vis in the low cloud and rain - wind perhaps too southerly.  The coastal trek was similarly unproductive with just a Little Egret barely worth raising a pencil to a notebook - even the fishing hooked gull had disappeared

However, as it cleared up a mist net was erected and produced 20 unringed Green finch, a continental male Chaffinch (95mm wing) and what were 2/5 of a flock of Coal Tits passing thorough which had very yellow cheeks for this time of year

A Red-line Quaker and Light Brown Apple Moth graced the moth trap

Friday, 18 October 2013

Gull and Goldcrests

Today's posting is from Jean.

The posting heading could be a name for a funpub but it certainly wasn't fun for the Gull.  A young herring gull had found what it thought was some food, only to become snared by a discarded hook and fishing line.  It was impossible to rescue the bird as it was at the bottom of the sea wall and the tide was in.  It will be a slow, horrible and sickening death for the bird and just because of someone's thoughtlessness and carelessness. I intend to take a plastic bag with me every time I visit the North Harbour Wall and pick up any fishing line. I don't understand why some people think that it is someone else's job to pick up their rubbish.  Instead of hiding beer cans under rocks or just chucking fishing line on the ground I wish they would clear up after themselves. 

Hooked Herring Gull desperately trying to escape but this was as far as it could get.

Today's sightings:
Heysham Nature Reserve
Vis 0740-0940
Redwing 3
Chaffinch 39
Brambling 1
alba Wagtail 6
Rook 29
Starling 109 east
Greenfinch 9
Goldfinch 4
Grey Wagtail 1
Blackbird 1
Pink-footed Goose 150 west at 0845
Also 1 Skylark over at 1200hrs

On a walk round the reserve:
Blackbird 15, Song Thrush 1, Robin 20, Chaffinch 3, Goldcrest 18, Coal Tit 2, Chiffchaff 1, Yellow-browed Warbler? 2 calls heard but didn't manage to see the bird.  Wren 7, Great Tit 11, Blue Tit 9, Dunnock 5, Long-tailed Tit c16 in 2 flocks, Bullfinch 3, Moorhen 1, Water Rail 1, Magpie 4, Carrion Crow 4, Woodpigeon 7, Jay 1, Cormorant 1 ! - the latter landed on the fire pond near the hut.  Sparrowhawk 1

North Harbour Wall
2 Mediterranean Gulls - adults, one with yellow darvic, one with metal ring (Czech bird?)
Linnet 25
Reed Bunting 1
Robin 1
Scandinavian Herring Gull seen by Ian W.

South Harbour Wall
Goldcrest 1
Robin 2
Wren 1
Linnets commuting to North Harbour Wall

Red Nab
Oystercatcher - several hundred
Wigeon -28
Litle Egret 1

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Nice for late insects...............................

Heysham Obs
.....but not for night migrants other than c30 Blackbird and a handful of Song Thrush on the reserve. A bit of Chaffinch-dominated vis will be added tomorrow. No specific highlights today

Common Darter x 10, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Small White, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell - all 1-5 sightings/individuals. Day-flying Silver Y x 4, but the moth trap only held a single plus an Epirrita, Rhomboid Tortrix and Pink-barred Sallow

Wasp 'traffic' about one per minute, even in the cooler early morning vis mig slot, on the same line past the office, obviously at least one nest still very active