Thursday, 31 January 2013

Little Gulls pile in

Heysham Obs
No time to do much birdwatching today which was a shame, but Tom and Janet were on the prowl:

Thanks for these Janet

Inshore areas
Little Gull - 6 adult/3CY behind freight ferry and up to 10 adult/3CY and 3 2CY outfalls
Kittiwake - 6 behind freight ferry, 5 on outfalls
Med Gull  - at least one ad, 3CY on sea by heliport
Linnet - 8
Twite - only 7 seen
Goldfinch - 6
Guillemot - 3, one in harbour mouth
Rock Pipit - 1

Missed the IOM passenger ferry yet again! 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Little Gulls trickle in

Heysham Obs
A few short sorties today in between a lot of work.

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adults, 3CY on heliport briefly but ring still unreadable as it 'faced left'!
Thanks Janet

Twite - c95 but in the blinding sunlight part of the morning!
Great-crested Grebe - 7 'out' in 5 mins
Red-throated Diver - one 'out' as above
Guillemot - one 'out' as above

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - 3 adult type and 2 2CY by lunchtime

No Kitts, ferry sneaked in unseen!

Middleton model boat pond
Mute Swan - JZ6 2CY lying dead and headless by the model boat pond - thanks Carol for letting us know - I've disposed of it as it was upsetting a lot of people leaving it 'to nature'
Pochard - increase to 4 males
Tufted Duck - 7
Goldeneye - female

It might seem beyond belief listening to the howling wind, unless you are familiar with the sheltered Millhouses site, but I've seen 60 moths today........:  40 Pale-brindled beauty, 12 Spring Usher, 2 Early Moth, 5 Dotted Border and a Tortricodes alternella.  A big-enough sample to say that the speciality of this site at/from this time of year, Small Brindled Beauty, is not out yet.  Note lack of hibernators: Chestnut/Satellite/Red-green Carpet which were regular during the mild first week of January

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Full house of the more regular late winter specialities

Heysham Obs
Apart from perhaps Shag, although these are not traditionally regular in late winter unless remaining from an earlier influx

North wall early morning and lunchtime
Kittiwake - ad following IOM ferry as far in as red buoy, but then left to follow outgoing ferry
Med Gull - 2 adults
Rock Pipit - one along base of seawall at lunchtime
Twite - max 72 at one time, including green/white, red/white Machrihanish bird.  There were 5 unringed out of 67, then 4 birds arrived from the south with a Meadow Pipit, circled round for about 5 mins before eventually landing on the fence with the flock.  Two of these definitely unringed and the behaviour also suggested new arrivals 
Linnet - 1
Goldfinch - 2
Song Thrush - 1
Purple Sandpiper - 1 along base of seawall
Guillemot - one harbour entrance, one briefly further out - first for a bit
Red-throated Diver - 2-4 around offshore
Meadow Pipit - one flew along harbour wall, then inland (with 4 Twite - see above)

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - no sign of yesterdays adult but 2CY present

Monday, 28 January 2013

Inshore Little Gull at last

Heysham Obs
The only previous ones this year were a very distant flock of five in Cumbrian waters on new year's day

North harbour wall 0830-0900hr
Twite - 96, 7 unringed
Linnet - 5
Goldfinch -7
Purple Sandpiper - one along base of seawall on incoming tide
Red-throated Diver - one 'out'
Pink-footed Goose - 63 NW (none obviously in the bypass filds, but plenty of fields not visible!)
Med Gull - 3CY sat on the sea off the heliport at high tide, Czech-ringed adult on seawall railings, another adult on Fisher's roof
Careful check for 'the' Shag has failed to produce either yesterday or today

Outfalls check late afternoon
Little Gull - adult on stage 2

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Anywhere but above the knee on the right leg!

Heysham Obs
The 3CY Med Gull was sitting on the heliport seawall facing into the wind - surely an opportunity at last to read the ring?   However, the seawall is relatively low, the right leg was the furthest away from the observer and the above tarsus area holding the ring was the only external part of the bird which could not be seen,  despite a lot of different scope angles tried from the road

The other more tangible key feature of the morning was a pair of Scaup flying 'out' with the other Heysham year tick involving two Pintail, also heading out

North harbour wall late morning seawatch
Kittiwake - a distant swarm of gulls, partially obscured by a hail shower were picked up at JBP and confirmed as c50 of this species.  Flock of 22 'in', then 'on' c1400hrs
Pink-footed Goose - 55 SE
Scaup - male and female 'out'
Pintail - 2 'out'
Med Gull - 2 ads, later sitting on Fisher's roof, 3CY by the heliport
Twite - c60 early morning
Goldfinch - 15 late afternoon
Linnet - 5 late afternoon

Heysham NR
Redwing - 2

Saturday, 26 January 2013

A nice day after dodgy early-morning roads

Heysham Obs
Thanks to Ann and Pete for a donation to the Twite-feed. 

North harbour wall
Twite - 60+
Goldfinch - 1+
Med Gull -  2 adults, one the Czech-ringed bird
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Red-throated Diver - 1 offshore and presumed the same flying in later on the dropping tide

Heysham NR
Woodcock - 1
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 11

Friday, 25 January 2013

The windchill of the weather change

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall
Evil outside this morning with the Twite ringing session successful courtesy of the ability of hatchbacks to block out most of the wind.  The metal-only ringed bird was caught and proved a bit of a puzzle as it was assumed that it was one of the later Machrihanish-ringed birds from last autumn when they ran short of colour rings.........but it is not the same sequence as the rest of the Mach birds = L974510.  The early arrival of the precipitation curtailed the session but almost certainly a majority of the current unringed birds were caught, assuming at least some of the same birds each day (11 ringed; max seen recently 15).  A couple of unringed Goldfinch were a bit unexpected. 

Med Gull - adult on railings

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Crossbill surprise

Heysham Obs
The geese appeared over the reserve again at just after 0800hrs, in similar numbers to yesterday, but were fragmented and continually disturbed by shots coming from the area of the mast just south of Heysham Moss.  Eventually 2,300 were visible and gone through with just a single Barnacle Goose

Heysham NR
Common Crossbill - red male and a green bird flew in from the northwest and landed on the bush next to the (ex)-obs tower pond briefly before heading south (thanks John)
Geese - similar numbers to yesterday but only one Barnacle located from persual of about 70%

North harbour wall
Twite - 108 on seed, c15 unringed, one metal-only ring
Goldfinch - 1
Rock Pipit - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Med Gull - 2 adult

Heysham village
Male Blackcap in garden at SD411610 (thanks Maalcolm)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Loadsa geese

Heysham Obs
A quick block-count at 0805hrs saw a single straggling flock of 3,900, perhaps just topping 4,000 Pink-feet/goose spp heading from the roost off the south Lune across the recycling centre area to land in fields just west of the Overton roundabout on the bypass and this estimate was confirmed by counts 'on the deck'.  These were visible looking east from the nature reserve office and apparently did the same route yesterday morning but flying a little closer to the office

Heysham NR office area
Pink-footed Goose - c3,900 from roost to feeding area as described above (one orange-legged bird located on the ground)
Barnacle Goose - two located on the ground when the flock was checked along the bypass
Possible Bean Goose seen briefly and distantly (structure and billshape/colour, not legs or e.g. tailband)
Dabbling duck spp - flock of 17 on the same line as geese (not Teal) - most unusual!
Redwing - 3 by office first thing
Greenfinch - quite an influx of unringed birds so far

North harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - one
Twite -  at least 67
Goldfinch - 5
Song Thrush - 1
Rock Pipit 1
No sign Shag

Middleton NR
Jack Snipe flushed from side of model boat pond during sea buckthorn clearance programme

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Purp & Meds

North Harbour Wall

Purple Sandpiper
Shag (briefly)
Twite 50+
Med Gulls 2 adults
Rock Pipit
Song Thrush

Monday, 21 January 2013

Woodcock influx

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Twite - 91, 16 unringed, one with metal-only on right leg
Linnet - 1
Goldfinch - 1
Rock Pipit - 1 along seawall
Purple Sandpiper - one at base of seawall about 100m south of red gate
Red-throated Diver - one offshore
Eider - too murky/choppy to count

Heysham Nr circuit
Woodcock - 4 including two together
Blackbird - 11
Song Thrush 2
Redwing - 2
No sight nor sound of any waterbirds

Grey Squirrel - one NE corner

2 Waxwings at Heaton village at least mid-morning - on hawthorn at entrance to Woodhouse Farm

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Brambling highlights trickle of cold weather movement

Heysham Obs
A male Brambling was by the feeder next to the office mid-morning.  Interesting Twite paper in R & M begs the question as to whether there are biometrical differences between the most southerly and most northerly Scottish birds.  Need to  analyse our wing-lengths, but 'impressions' have always been that rather a low proportion of males and females can be clearly separated on wing length compared to e.g. Linnet and that surely cannot be due to a higher proportion than we thought of smaller Pennine birds 'muddying' the issue as this would surely have manifested itself in more Pennine captures/Pennine ringed birds caught here?  If there is a variation throughout the Scottish range, would this explain our rather indeterminate data as 'our' birds seem to originate from anywhere between Lochinver and Sanda?

Lots of uncooperative Pink-feet in difficult-to-watch fields to the north of Heysham Moss this morning (thanks Janet for alerting me but unfortunately the 'easy' ones were flushed)

North harbour wall
Concentrated on distant offshore for 20 mins
Eider - 91
Red-throated Diver - 1
Great-crested Grebe - 3
Twite - 101 max count, inc green/white both legs Machrihanish bird,12+unringed
Goldfinch - 4
Linnet - none

Eastern boundary fields
Mistle Thrush - 6
Fieldfare - 13
Redwing - 1
Woodpigeon - flock of 55

Hey NR office area
Brambling - male
Redwing - 1

Grey Seal - 1 inshore

Saturday, 19 January 2013

No snow area

Heysham Obs
The best driving conditions for over a week today with every road beautifully gritted, including a lot of effort on the dodgy sloping drive at home.

Nyger seed donations
Very many thanks for your donations, John B, John, Tom and Pete.  Definitely reduced the size of the hole in my pocket and much appreciated!  Anyone wishing to make a donation, please either call in the Heysham Nature reserve office or send to Pete Marsh, Leck View Cottage, Ashley's Farm, High Tatham LA2 8PH.  Thanks very much.

North harbour wall
Twite  104 max, although a lot of work taking place in the centrica compound kept spooking them. The 'old' Machrihanish-ringed bird (red/white right leg,metal over green/white left leg) was conspicuous, remaining on the seed when the rest were spooked
Goldfinch - 5
Linnet - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 3
Wren - 1
Med Gull - adult
Eider - 50+
unidentified interesting-looking duck - one in the distant murk in flight (????Long-tailed) - keep an eye open in the region of the Eider flock when the light gets better
Wigeon - flock of 22 flew 'in'
No sign Shag

Friday, 18 January 2013

Twite tonnage

Heysham Obs
The finch swarm reached new heights this morning with perhaps the Potts corner flock from the other day joining the usual Heysham flock.  There could easily have been other birds around as the pigeons were slightly spooking them

North harbour wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed bird - the first part of the number (inc letters) seen today and these are not worn like the rear end of the number
Eider - 68
Twite - 108 counted at once on the food and there may have been up to 10  others around.  One appeared to have a red/yellow split on the right leg, but it may, I suppose have been a stained white i.e. Machrihanish origin.  At least 15 unringed but difficult to see individual birds!
Linnet - 10
Goldfinch - 10
Rock Pipit - 1

Heysham N Reserve
Redwing - 2 - unusual this time of year

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Elusive shag resurfaces, then disappears again

Heysham Obs
Presumably the same Shag reappeared in the harbour today but was nowhere to be found at lunchtime

North harbour wall
Twite - record count for this winter of 96 at lunchtime, earlier 11/77 were unringed
Linnet - 9 (4 unringed)
Goldfinch - just 2
Rock Pipit - at least one seen three times on circuit
Meadow Pipit - one heliport area, one flew back across harbour earlier
Song Thrush - one with metal ring on left leg on feeder - is this the local bird?
Robin - at least 3
Dunnock - 1
Wren - 1
Med Gull - 2 adult
Pied Wagtail - 2
Shag - 2CY in the harbour mid-am

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Grey Seal year-tick

Heysham Obs
A bit of ringing by the office is producing a trickle of finches and tits as this is being typed

North harbour wall
The Twite flock which flew past Shorefields caravan park was seen further south at Potts Corner yesterday afternoon (c60) - thanks for info Steve
Twite - 64 - at least 2 unringed
Linnet - 6
Goldfinch - 5
Robin - 3
Song Thrush - 1
Eider - 75 offshore
Med Gull - adult in harbour

Grey Seal offshore

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Merlin and Jack Snipe fieldcraft

Heysham Obs
Please try and watch the tide covering the saltmarsh for Jack Snipe in on 10m tides, rather then the couple who walked the tideline - there were no birds left on the saltmarsh/shoreline when we arrived. If the shoreline is undisturbed, they roost on the edge, rather than being forced to fly off elsewhere.  Thanks.

Ocean Edge/SD45E boundary
Merlin - female chasing waders - first for two years!
Rock Pipit - one in the 'corner' of OE saltmarsh, flock of 3 further south by the tetrad boundary
Twite - flock of 61 flew purposefully south towards Pott's Corner - NOT the north harbour wall flock
Lots and lots of waders!

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adult and one 3CY
Twite - c60/c75 finches

Monday, 14 January 2013

Jack Snipe perform again

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall pre-tide
Twite - 61, 10 unringed, rest all Heysham ringed
Linnet - 7, at least 2 unringed
Goldfinch - 12
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult

Half Moon Bay
Rock Pipit - 1

Ocean Edge saltmarsh high tide
Jack Snipe - 2 - one flew inland, the other 'bounced' on the beach

Thanks Janet

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Snipe time

Heysham Obs
High tide saw 31 Common Snipe all out on the beach trying to conceal themselves along with a single Jack Snipe.  I was just about to leave and another single Jack Snipe flew out of the only remaining spartina protruding above the water in which it must have been 'swimming'

North harbour wall/harbour area
No sign of yesterday's Shag, just the usual 2CY Cormorant on the 'waterfall'
Purple Sandpiper - wooden jetty
Med Gull - adult
Twite - c60

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Snipe - 31
Jack Snipe - 2

Heaton Marsh south end high tide:  Rock Pipit 2, Meadow Pipit 7, Skylark 5, Reed Bunting 1 - to add to SD46 10k survey.  No sign of any waxwings at Glasson early morning. 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Mostly spring tide north wall fare

Heysham Obs
A 2CY Shag was by the waterfall this morning

North wall
Shag - see above
Red-throated Diver - 2-4 offshore
Guillemot - 1 offshore
Purple Sandpiper - roosting on wooden jetty at high tide (& 40 Turnstone)
Med Gull - 2 adults
Twite - at least 45
Linnet - at least 2
Song Thrush - 1
Pink-footed Goose - large movement to SW with 175 in 7 skeins

Friday, 11 January 2013

Coastal circuit and thorough Middleton check

Heysham Obs
Thanks for covering Middleton this morning, Malcolm - it shows what the rest of us miss through not checking all the nooks and crannies

Middleton NR
Mute Swan - 2+6juv, Goldeneye - 1, Pochard - 2, Mallard - 17, Tufted Duck - 20, Teal - 32, Snipe - 19, Coot - 4, Moorhen - 2, Grey Heron - 1

North wall
Purple Sandpiper - its own at base of seawall 1000hrs
Med Gull - Czech adult
Twite - 67
Linnet - 3
Goldfinch - 14
Song Thrush - 1
Guillemot - 1

Ocean Edge
Wigeon - 135

Half Moon Bay/heliport
Med Gull - 3CY but unable to  get it to land and see ring!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

White bread failure

Heysham Obs
The unread ringed 3CY Med was on Fisher's roof at high tide, but remained unmoved by half a loaf and a large collection of gulls along the north wall

North harbour wall high tide
Med Gull - 3CY Fisher's roof, Czech adult to  bread - the ring is getting very worn with the penultimte '1' of the EX78711 number very hard to decipher, as is the top line of the address - the 'eum' bit  of museum
Guillemot -  one harbour mouth
Twite - c35
Goldfinch - c8
Linnet - c2
No waders along the base of the seawall

Yet another day - the third in succession -when all the waders were flushed from the heliport seawall by a single dog walker

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

50 metres worth of birding

Heysham Obs
Anything further away was virtually unidentifiable in today's fog

North wall
Purple Sandpiper - one below the red gate again early morning
Rock Pipit - same place
Twite - c45
Linnet - c7
Goldfinch - 15

One Mottled Umber

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Purp and Parsnip

Heysham Obs
A Parsnip Moth in the trap kicked off the microlepidoptera season

Heysham north harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - one on the rocks below the red gate for at least 30 minutes mid-morning
Rock Pipit - one by harbour mouth
Song Thrush - one mound
Twite - not many - c25 in flight
Goldfinch - 17
Linnet - 7 with Goldfinch
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult

Parsnip moth in office trap

Monday, 7 January 2013

Purple Sandpiper

Heysham Obs
Failed miserably to entice the 3CY Med in to read the ring - spent a "fortune" on grotty white sliced bread and didnt see a single Med

North harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - one below the gate (thanks Jim)
Twite - c50 but very flighty
Linnet - 5
Goldfinch - 2+
Red-breasted Merganser - 6 offshore

3 Waxwing south end of Clarendon Road 0830hrs - flew 'inland'.  Anyone interested in moths:  Millhouses (SD66D) last night saw:  1 Winter Moth, 3 Early Moth, 25 Mottled Umber, 10 Pale-brindled Beauty, one Dotted Border, 2 Red-green Carpet, 15 Spring Usher and a Tortricodes alternella.  However, I suspect the party is over for a bit on the forecast

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Scoter Surprise

Heysham Obs
A flock of 420 Common Scoter were seen from the North Harbour Wall late afternoon both on the water and flying about-unprecedented at this time of year since 1960's.
Also Guillemot -1
Pink-footed Goose - 34 S
Med Gull - 2 adults & 2CY

A brief lunchtime visit to top up the seed didn't see any finches coming to it with views of them just on the tops of the bushes. They comprised 27 birds, mainly Twite with a few Linnets, but no Goldfinch.

Red Nab/Ocean Edge Late Afternoon
A bird photographer flushed everything off Red Nab as the tide was coming in.
Wigeon - 215

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Brent Goose highlight

Heysham Obs
Brief visit to north harbour wall
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - two flying out at 1255hrs
Common Scoter - 3 very distantly out
Guillemot - 6 floating in
Twite - 13+
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - at least 5
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult on the railings, 2CY following ferry out
Kittiwake - 3 adults behind ferry

Thanks for the reccords Ian

Friday, 4 January 2013

Influx of unringed Twite

Heysham Obs
Sorry this posting is late - its taken me 20 minutes to access the site from the ""broadband"" at my home address - so much for BT 'connectivity' in rural areas

As I understand it, 36 unringed Twite were caught today and of the 22 ringed birds, two were previously unrecorded individuals ringed at Machrihanish seabird observatory on the Mull of Kintyre

At least one Med Gull around the north wall

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The 3CY Med is ringed!

Heysham Obs
Twite numbers reached a new high this morning and the 3CY Med Gull was attracted in by bread and found to be ringed above the tarsus on the right leg, just like the Czech adult.  Anyone able to get an address or any of the numbers, please let me know and we'll try and (probably gradually) read it and find out the details.  Could year-listers please avoid the Twite feeding area tomorrow am as there will, drizzle permitting, be a ringing session and they are easily spooked by new vehicle arrivals.  Thanks.

North harbour wall and harbour area
Med Gull - 2 usual inshore adults (one Czech-ringed), ringed 3CY and the usual large adult following the IOM ferry before flying out of the bay along the shipping line
Twite - 87 (11-15 unringed)
Linnet - 7
Goldfinch - 7
Meadow Pipit - one on south side (35Z)
Rock Pipit - usual bird along the harbour-side jetty along the mound
Kittiwake - just 2 adults behind IOM ferry

Heysham PS non-op land
Meadow  Pipit - 2 (45E)

One Mottled Umber in the trap kicking the year off   

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Twite numbers reach a new high

Heysham Obs
Miserable drizzle this morning with poor visibility, especially offshore - however this is a precursor to some pretty decent moth trapping weather over the next few nights.  Even in last night's rather colder temperatures, the Heysham trap held about 15 assorted 'wintery gnat-type' things and a lot of spiders waking up from their winter slumbers

North harbour wall
Twite - 73, including at least 12 unringed and two with metal-only rings
Goldfinch - 5
no Linnet - they have often been staying as a separate flock in recent days
Med Gull - adult on beach

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A bit more effort reaps rewards

Happy new year

First bird today was a Moorhen calling by my house just before Tawny Owl & "Mallard" - cant remember this kicking off any previous new year.

Heysham Obs
Coverage in December, other than Twite-related activities, was pretty poor, especially any persistence as regards the sea.  A decent westerly suggested the sea was worth a bit of coverage today and, albeit often distantly, there was a reasonable haul by recent standards 

North wall/harbour area, including about 2 hours of sea coverage at various times prior to 1100hrs, then a 'ferry check' at 1200hrs
Purple Sandpiper - one on rocks below red lighthouse pre-tide, then flew to the other side of harbour but birds flushed by cyclist before could be checked. 
Med Gull - 2 adults
Twite - 52
Linnet - 5-8
Goldfinch c6
Song Thrush - 1 mound/flew to sandworks - amazing choice of wintering site for the second successive winter (surely the same rather eccentric bird which likes living 'on the edge')
Rock Pipit - 1
Red-throated Diver - 1 'out' distantly, one out fairly close
Auk spp - at least 5 distantly
Guillemot - at least 7, including 2 together and one very close inshore
Little Gull - flock of 5 adult/3CY 'out' then appeared to land on sea
Kittiwake - 1+11+7+2+3+1+2+1+2, all but the flock of 7 heading 'out'.  32 behind the IOM ferry, but many flew back out before it turned into the harbour mouth (c50% 2CY)
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 115 NW

Middleton NR
Mute Swan - 2 ad no swimming pond, 2 ad & 5-6 juvs model boat pond
Goldeneye - female mb pond
Pochard - 2 males mb pond
Tufted Duck - at least 12 scattered around
Reed Bunting - one western marsh