Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Skylark highlight

Heysham Obs
Rather different coverage an usual today with no attempt to seawatch after the recent paint-drying experiences.  A bit of unproductive early-morning ringing, breeding bird survey of Middleton and a visit to the outfalls near high tide

Outfalls near high tide
Kittiwake - two 2CY
Arctic Tern - just 30-35

Middleton NR
Skylark - singing male
Grasshopper Warbler - 3 singing males
Lesser Whitethroat - 4-5 singing males
Tree Pipit - one grounded.  Linnet

Heysham NR
Lesser Whitethroat - at least 3 singing males. 2 Male Blackcaps 1 female

Speckled Wood - 2 along road
Brimstone - male
Plenty of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell

Monday, 29 April 2013

Maximum work, minimum birding

Heysham Obs
An 0700 start but straight to the computer rather than being tempted by the sea.  A short check at lunchtime revealed fractionally more than yesterday's zero, courtesy of some auks. Good numbers of Arctic Tern still 'off passage'.  Purple Sandpiper still around, or a migrant joining the Turnstones

Sea 1145-1215
Auk spp - 11 out
Razorbill - one out
Guillemot - one on
Turnstone - 140
Purple Sandpiper - one
Redshank - 45 on wooden jetty

Arctic Tern - 165

White-shouldered House Moth was an exciting addition to the year list

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Med Gull, Bonxie and three figures of Arctic Tern but not a lot else

Heysham Obs
North wall 0600 intermittently to 1315hrs
Bonxie (Great Skua) - blogging, then flew in along Kent Channel c0625
Arctic Tern - 6 purposefully in before outfalls checked
Guillemot - one floated in
Managed one hour of seawatching (1015-1115hrs) without a single notable entry over and above Lesser Black-backed Gull, despite decent visibility

Outfalls/Red Nab
Mediterranean Gull - a 2CY was new in - winter plumaged head with a strong mask
Arctic Tern - 105, mainly seaward end Heysham 2
Common Gull - 175
Black-headed Gull - 15
Kittiwake - 1 2CY

Muslin Moth a surprise, also Herald of note

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Saved by the Grasshopper Warbler

Heysham Obs
You don't normally organise a seawatching event in order to obtain excellent views of Grasshopper Warbler, the only grounded migrant on the mound/sandworks!

Thanks to Peter Last for these

The rest of it was dire with a northerly blocking wind not displaying any easterly element early in the morning.  The old saying - 'you should have been here (pick any other say this last week other than yesterday)..........or even tomorrow where there is a decent wind, plus a even more promising howling gale on Monday for a few displaced Manxies etc. We've had a really bad run of weather for events over the last twelve months.

North harbour wall
Grasshopper Warbler - present for at least two hours in the region of the 'gap' between the mound and sandworks, last seen in/under the sea buckthorn along the south-eastern corner of the sandworks
Swallow - 16 north
Arctic Tern - 96 accumulated on the outfalls but no movement until 1250 when 48 flew purposefully north
Sandwich Tern - 30 in
Auk spp - one out
Greylag - one in
Guillemot - 3 on
Willow Warbler - one late morning
Red-throated Diver - 4 out, one on
Kittiwake - adult behind the ferry
Little Gull - 2
Turnstone - 81
Siskin - 1
Linnet - at least 15 north
alba Wagtail - 2 north
Reed Bunting - late migrant north

Harbour Porpoise - 1
Grey Seal - 1

Friday, 26 April 2013


Middleton NR
A few left-overs from yesterdays fall plus newly-arrived residents including 2 singing male Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 30+ Willow Warbler
Gadwall - 2 males and female
Tufted Duck - 9
Little Grebe - 3

Kittiwake - 2 2CY

North harbour wall 0715-0830
Swallow 64 - following the channel in
House Martin - 3 on the same line as the swallows
Meadow Pipit - 3 north
Linnet 1 - north
Goldfinch 1 north
Siskin - 2 north
Whimbrel - 1 heard, 3 heading towards Red Nab later

Arctic Tern - 34 blogging

On the mound:
Dunnock - 1
Linnet - 5

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Large fall finally documented!

Heysham Obs
Sorry for the late postings for today - not able to access the site Thurs pm or Friday

Clearly a few migrants around first thing prompting a mist net to be set.  Rain at this stage was very intermittent and virtually indiscernible.  This changed about 0930 with the wind turning westerly and some heavy drizzle and poor visibility heading in off the sea.  This dropped a further wadge of migrants on the north harbour wall and later to other places, including large numbers of Willow Warbler on Middleton.  A bit of seabird movement in the clearer weather first thing

Sea 0700-0725
Arctic Tern - 65 in
Sandwich Tern - minimum of 45 blogging/flying out - quite a contrast with yesterday
Arctic Skua - dark morph in at 0720hrs - another species absent yesterday
Razorbill - one on the sea

Heysham NR office area
Yellow Wagtail - male flavissima north
Tree Pipit - one north
Meadow Pipit - 3north
alba Wagtail - 6 north
Goldfinch - 15 north
Lesser Redpoll -at least 10 north (2 ringed)
Ring Ouzel - female around the office, then into the tank farm, then presumably the same high inland at 0735hrs
Willow Warbler - at least 40 migrants
Sedge Warbler - migrant ringed
Common Whitethroat - singing male passed rapidly through
The tank farm Grasshopper Warbler not heard, despite good conditions (heard two days ago).  Perhaps there isn't one in residence and two passage birds have been recorded

North harbour wall/south harbour wall
Wheatear - 18 on mound/sandworks, 6 south harbour, 11 Ocean Edge
Blackcap - female on mound, male and female near the 'wheel (thanks for the pics Janet)
Phyllosc - at least 15 scattered along the coast

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/outfalls
Arctic Tern - 34 roosting on Red Nab at high tide & another 6 on outfalls

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - at least 2 singing males
Sedge Warbler - ditto
Whinchat - at least one, probably 2 males by no swimming pond
Willow Warbler - 40+, including at least 15 around the CES area in central marsh
Blackcap - 5+
Gadwall - pair on model boat pond
Tufted Duck - at least 5
Swallow - 45 over ponds
House Martin - 3 over ponds

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Thanks to the Ben My Chree

Heysham Obs
A decision to check the incoming ferry led to another bit of seawatching and the closest adult Pomarine Skua seen off Heysham.  The sighting also encapsulated the current theme.  The last two  days have seen a mixture of slightly displaced birds such as Gannet and Manx Shearwater plus migratory species such as Arctic Tern and Little Gull (and two skuas today) making no effort to head 'up and overland', other than perhaps one flock of Arctic this morning during a brighter sunnier spell.  Therefore 98% of the registrations today and yesterday were birds heading 'out' or 'blogging'.  Thanks to Matthew for assistance documenting this lot - hope you saw the Pom from the outfalls side!

Seawatching 0715-1130, 1200-1230
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one out at 1025hrs
Pomarine Skua - light morph adult out at 1208hrs - 50m from the seawall!
Manx Shearwater - 140 out
Red-throated Diver - 2 in, 2 out
Little Gull - 3 adult and 1 2CY out
Arctic Tern - after very few early on, the latter half of the seawatch saw a sustained passage of outbound birds, mainly in small flocks (305 counted).  Just one flock of c20 appeared to gain height and head inland and there were no sightings of birds flying into the bay in tightly cohesive flocks in 'migratory mode'  A very different year so far with this species and we have no idea how many of the recent birds are the same ones 'hanging about in the bay'.  In this respect, upto 100 were on the outfalls and area at lunchtime, following just 15 there early on
Gannet - still low numbers with just 8 seen
Kittiwake - 9 out, 4 in
Razorbill - 8 out
Guillemot - 7 out
Auk spp - 9 out
Amazingly, not one Sandwich Tern , unless the early morning observers forgot to give me the info!

Other north harbour wall sightings
Twite - one appeared to come in-off heading for the feeding station at 1110hrs.  The only one seen today (after none yesterday we are aware of)
Linnet - 6 on the remains of the seed
Goldfinch - 2 as above
No other vis mig as such

One Harbour Porpoise early afternoon and a cetacean which may have been too large for this seen briefly in mid-morning

Emmelina monodactyla and (very belated) Double-striped Pug first for the year

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Manx Shearwater day

Heysham Obs
Fulmar used to be 'bread and butter' on spring-autumn seawatches, but are now scarcer than Manx Shearwater and missing the solitary individual this morning could indeed be costly in the local year-list stakes.  How things have changed.

North harbour wall 0600-0930
Manx Shearwater - 179 out
Razorbill - at least 18 in/out
Guillemot - 24 out
Auk spp - at least 25 in/out
Gannet - 11 in, 8 out
Sandwich Tern - 32 out
Arctic Tern - 23 in/out/blogging, 70 out in a wadge heading for the outfalls at c1030hrs
Little Gull - 2 adult out
Kittiwake - 2+7+4+43+4 'in' and low singles (of these?) out
Red-throated Diver - 5 in, 8 out
Fulmar - one out
Common Scoter - 4 in
Whimbrel - 4 in
Bar-tailed Godwit - 15 out
Common Sandpiper - 1

Red Nab/outfalls
Common Gull - 165
Arctic Tern - 25, 6 of these flew inland over Ocean Edge

Heysham NR office area
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 singing males
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male in tank farm

Single Early Grey - not common here

Harbour Porpoise offshore

Monday, 22 April 2013

Arctic Tern spectacular continues

Heysham Obs
Difficult to know what the landbird situation was this morning as it was too windy for general migrant ringing although one of the office nets was manageable for a few Lesser Redpolls attracted to the nyger feeder mid-morning

Office area
Lesser Redpoll - up to 11 on the nyger seed - 6 ringed in a short session
Lesser Whitethroat - two singing males either side of the office
Redstart - female on fence by office - flew towards tank farm
Willow Warbler - gang of three presumed migrants
Meadow Pipit - 3 south
Tree Pipit - 2 together north

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/outfalls
Arctic Tern - 224 on outfalls at lunchtime
Little Gull - one 3CY and two adults on outfalls
No Wheatear seen  One male later seen on Red Nab(Janet)

North wall seawatching for about 1.5hrs
Sandwich Tern - 15 out
Arctic Tern - c40 in addition to the outfalls birds - mainly blogging/feeding
Gannet - 2 ad & one imm
Common Scoter - 10 in
Auk spp - 4 out, one in
Razorbill - one out
Kittiwake  30+16 in
Little Gull - 3CY out (not the outfalls bird), ad out

Two ringed (winter 2011/12) and one unringed bird seen (& 8 Linnet)

Grey Seal

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A few odds and ends, but wind due south and unremarkable for landbirds

Heysham Obs
.................but can you say this at this time of year when you roll up at the late hour of 0655hrs?

Due to computer problems at home, it my not be possible to publish some of the later sightings until the following day.

Sea 0700 to about 1130hrs (inc outfalls)
Arctic Skua - 3: dark morph in 0705, one 'climbing up' and in at 0820, one in then out at 0925
Arctic Tern - up to 168 offshore with a further c95 already on the outfalls
Sandwich Tern - in contrast to the above all 18 were purposefully 'out'
Gannet - 3 in
Manx Shearwater - 2 out
Red-throated Diver - 3 out
Kittiwake - just the one in!
Guillemot - one out
Common Scoter - 11+c50+ 40 out
Little Gull - 3 adults out, 2 adults and one 2CY outfalls
Turnstone - c140 on wooden jetty
nearby there was no sign of any Twite but up to 6 Linnet and 2 Goldfinch on seed

Ocean Edge area
Marsh Harrier - not sure of the initial flightline of this bird - first picked up over the sheltered accommodation (ex-Pontins) whence it headed rather low to NE - maybe Fylde birders can enlighten (c0800).  A cream-crowned bird with small bits of yellow on the leading edges. Please can we have an Osprey instead (these are usually commoner than MH over here).
Bar-tailed Godwit - 403 on the tideline
Dunlin - 230 on tideline
Knot - only 17 on tideline
Grey Plover - 35 on tideline
Whimbrel - a singleton, followed by flock of 7 flew north, later 4 in off the north wall

Vis mig (northboundish)
Not conscientiously recorded
Meadow Pipit - 11
Lesser Redpoll - at least 6
alba Wagtail - 4
Goldfinch - 5

Middleton NR
A late afternoon visit in the sunshine (5.30 - 6.20 pm) revealed a small fall of migrants in the trees and bushes around the small square pool just west of the Boating Pool, including 1 male Whinchat, 20+ Willow Warbler, 2 male Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Common Whitethroat and 1 Chiffchaff. Interestingly no Sedge Warblers were seen or heard.

Jay - 3 flew over the Boating Pool towards Moneyclose Lane.

Also 30 Swallow and 2 House Martin.

Still 6 on the seed, all ringed

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Lesser insomnia

Heysham Obs
A 0500hrs alarm seemed early enough to catch and ring some of the Lesser Redpoll passage.  The reality was at least 25 birds passing over before sunrise and certainly before the mist nets were set!  A few other passed through later in the morning but the ringing was rather meagre

Best bird today was a Blue Tit in SD36 on the mound!

Outfalls/north wall
Twite - 14 on arrival, all very noisy - 5 flew off over the sea at about 0700hrs and this left 8 which were very restless and last seen sitting on top of the 'gasometer'.  Surely their last day in calm sunny weather? Still 14 on seed at lunchtime
Arctic Tern - flock of 43 in, c30 blogging & 60 on the outfalls
Sandwich Tern - 37 'out'
Common Scoter - 6
Gannet - 3
Little Egret - one flew 'out', it or another appeared later 'in-off' then inland
Red-throated Diver - 1
Whimbrel - one heard
Little Gull -
Blue Tit - one working its way inland

Vis mig early-mid morning
Lesser Redpoll - 30-40 NE
Siskin - at least 10 NE (3 lots)
Common Buzzard - probable off-passage wanderer circling over the golf course area
Woodpigeon - 11 E
Goldfinch - 15 NE
Meadow Pipit - 25 NE
Tree Pipit - 2 NE (one ringed)

Grounded early/mid-morning
Goldcrest - an extraordinarily late passage with 6 ringed (including 3 males which should be earlier than females!), one on the north wall mound, one at Middleton
Chiffchaff - 2 new ones ringed
Willow Warbler - small fall right at dawn with 2 ringed and 19 together in bushes around the Middleton no swimming pond
Sedge Warbler - 2 Middleton (overlap of this with Goldcrest very unusual)
Grasshopper Warbler - none heard at Middleton or on the tank farm

Knot - 500 on shore as seen from Ocean Edge
Bar-tailed Godwit - 165 as above
Grey Plover - 32 as above
Dunlin - c150 as above

Update from late morning:
Middleton NR
Warblers singing
2 Lesser Whitethroat
1 Common Whitethroat
15 Willow warbler
7 Chiffchaff

2 Tufted
3 Gadwall (1 male)
3 Little grebe

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
3 Wheatear
1 Little Egret

97 Arctic Tern
3 Little gull (one 2CY)
1 Kittiwake

Powdered Quaker new for the year

Friday, 19 April 2013

Dribs and drabs and a few leftovers

Heysham Obs

Thanks Janet

North harbour wall 0720-0900
Arctic Tern - 141 (includes those on outfalls)
Little Gull - ad & 2CY
Kittiwake - flocks of 31 & 15 'in'
Guillemot - 2 in, one out
Common Scoter - 3 in, 3 out, one in, one on
Red-throated Diver - one out
Sandwich Tern - 1
Twite - still exactly 20 on seed, all ringed this last winter period
Linnet - 6 on seed (3  ringed)
Vis mig 'lumped' below

Office area & vis mig 0700-0930
Small passage of finches and residual Meadow Pipits as follows but coverage started rather late
Meadow Pipit - 25
Goldfinch - c40
Lesser Redpoll - c20 (9 ringed, one ringed elsewhere)
Linnet - 20
Twite - one north
Swallow - 16 north
Willow warbler - at least 3 migrants
Goldcrest - one late migrant

Female Lesser Scaup, 2 Whinchat and a Redstart Borwick Fisheries

Thursday, 18 April 2013

One of the memorable seawatches

Heysham Obs
This was all about a brilliant spectacle rather than an exciting species range.  The only downside was missing the first 10 minutes or so of weather clearance as 17 Little Gulls were seen flying close inshore as I was driving down to the sea-watch point and 38 passed in the first 3 minutes!

Seawatch 0725-1010
Little Gull - 140 (17+5+6+16+4+2+1+3+15+2+4+5+2+1+5+2+1+5+1+2+1+1+2+5+4+8+1+1+7 (singles)+11 (mainly singles)) out in a steady stream with most (70) prior to 0805hrs.  16 of these were 2CY.  The vast majority of the early birds were hugging the seawall and offering fantastic views. This is a record spring passage period count for here, bettered only by the occasional howling late winter gale
Kittiwake - 2+1+36+2+200+5+50+15+12 'in' -  the odd one going out not counted
Common Scoter - flock of 9 out
Gannet - 5 out
Manx Shearwater - one out
Razorbill - one out, one in
Guillemot - one close inshore + 3 out
Common Tern - one blogging for a short time
Arctic Tern - all 'out' -52 in mainly dribs and drabs
Sandwich Tern - 2+4+1+1+1+3 out
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one 'in' then down on to the water  at about 0815hrs, one in 1210hrs
Arctic Skua -  dark morph 'in', then climbed and flew NE high over Heysham Head at 0930hrs, one dm in 1150hrs
Pomarine Skua - lm out 1030hrs
Red-throated Diver - one
Meadow Pipit - c10 north

Arctic Tern - A check from Ocean Edge revealed 83 Arctic terns feeding on the seaward end and these could have included some of the 52 seen on the seawatch but definitely not c20 of those birds.  Therefore at least 100 seen this morning
Little Gull - at least 4 on
Wheatear - 4

Thanks for these, Janet - many more to come, I gather!

Just 9 Twite left on the seed late afternoon

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

very rapid posting

Heysham Obs
Early morning seawatch saw just one Little Egret north (later 2 around) and 20 Twite still on the seed.  Meadow Pipit = 36 in 30 mins, including group of 22, also 7 alba Wag and a Lesser Redpoll

Lunchtime seawatch saw no sign of any Twite but two distant Gannet out and two Sandwich Tern in
Guillemot on sea

Middleton NR saw a Common Sandpiper, male Redstart, c20 Sand martin and c10 Swallow but didn't have time to check the marsh area for...................

................Grasshopper Warbler singing in the tank farm next to Heysham NR office.  Also Lesser Redpoll north

Outfalls produced 13 Arctic Tern, one Common Tern and one Sandwich Tern and about 280 mixed gulls, including 120 Common Gull

Wheatear 2
Whimbrel - 1

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A tale of two short seawatches

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall 0745-0830 and 1200-1300
Arctic Tern - 15 slowly 'out', one in during first period
Sandwich Tern - 2 out first period, one out second period
Little Gull - unexpected 25 out during second period (3 x 2CY), in dribs and drabs
Arctic Skua - two dm lifted off the sea briefly, flew in about 1 mile, then re-landed at about 1210hrs
Kittiwake - 3+1 in first period, 3 + 17 in second period
Meadow Pipit - a trickle during the first period (c10)

Onshore sightings north wall
Wheatear - 2
Twite - still 44 = all ringed
Linnet -3

Outfalls 1310hrs
Arctic Tern - 5
loads of large gulls

Monday, 15 April 2013

Velvet Scoter highlight

Heysham Obs
Coverage was a little 'bitty' today with no mist-netting to assist document what was obviously a reasonable. if not large, arrival of migrants, notably Willow Warbler and Wheatear.

Coastal areas/Middleton NR
Wheatear - at least 27
Willow warbler - at least 17 singing males
Sand Martin - c20 Middleton am
House Martin - one Middleton am
Swallow - c25/hr north in morning
Meadow Pipit - a trickle with c20 per hour north in morning
alba Wagtail - c15 per hour north in morning
at least 300 large gulls around the outfalls area on the incoming tide

Sea - hampered by early morning poor visibility
Velvet Scoter - male flew 'in' at 0745hrs
Red-throated Diver - just 3 seen
Sandwich Tern/Arctic Tern/Kittiwake - jsut singletons of each!
Auk spp - 2, but distant

Still at least 52 early morning, but no sign at lunchtime

Comma and Small Tortoiseshell seen as well today.  Thanks Janet

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Tropical maritime at last

Heysham Obs
Very different morning than of late with double-figure temperatures from the off, a 400ish moth catch to deal with first (at Millhouses - best Acleris literana) and pulses of rain as a slow-moving weather front appeared to be weakening on the spot

Apologies for the closed nature reserve gate - this is for security reasons and may be the case for another day or two

Mainly seawatching from the north wall 0720-1030
Red-throated Diver - 12+2+8+19+1+1 'in' - the flock of 19 quite high
Kittiwake - one flock of 12 'in'
Common Scoter - 22+ 5 'out'
Merlin - one rapidly 'in' over the sea at 0905hrs
Meadow Pipit - c25 'in' 0930-1030
alba Wagtail - c15 'in' 0930-1030
Rock Pipit - on off-passage along the seawall
Twite - 54 on the seed - all ringed
Golden Plover - flock of 5 'in', quite high, is most unusual here

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Black-headed Gull - 27 - all 2CY
Common Gull - 124, all but two 2CY
Herring Gull - 170, mainly imms

No terns at all - this is not unusual on windy days when the wind is coming from a southerly quarter

Early Grey new for the year

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Good variety of winter and summer migrants

Heysham Obs
Murk and a very short pulse of rain just after dawn, clearing after about 1.5 hrs and a south-easterly airflow.   It was predictable that there would be some birds, however the species composition held a few surprises - the main one being that Goldcrest, as opposed to phylloscs, were by far the most numerous night migrant in evidence - I thought these had just about passed through

Grounded migrants
Redstart - male by Heysham NR office early on
Willow Warbler - one ringed
Chiffchaff - surprisingly few new birds in relation to e.g. Goldcrest with just 3 ringed
Goldcrest - 30+; 20 ringed and additional bird on north wall mound
Wheatear -at least 14 seen
Redwing - 162 grounded on the tank farm overnight - flew inland in dribs and drabs
Song Thrush - one with above
Blackbird - two unringed birds caught - there have been 'extra' Blackbirds around on many mornings this month but so difficult to quantify (unlike e.g. Walney)
Blackcap - singing male Moneyclose Lane
Robin - at least 4 migrants

Middleton grounded etc
Willow Warbler - 5 singing
Chiffchaff - 5 singing
Phyllosc - 5+
Swallow - 5
Sand Martin - 2
Tufted Duck - 21
Teal - 6

Vis mig (north-east unless stated)
Almost all this happened after the skies cleared at about 0830hrs
Meadow Pipit - at least 640 over Heysham NR pre-1100hrs. 
Tree Pipit - 1
Brambling - 1 poss 2
Chaffinch - at least 6
Redpoll spp - only three
Siskin - plenty but so difficult to see e.g. "one calling" transpired to be a flock of 13.  At least 11 separate registrations involving a minimum of 23 birds
Goldfinch - c15
Sand Martin - 2
Swallow - c75 (all coastal)
Woodpigeon - 11+9 over reserve
alba Wagtail - c40
Collared Dove - 1
Carrion Crow - 6+2+3

North Harbour Wall
Meadow Pipit  - 324 from 0615-0850
alba Wagtail - 4
Woodpigeon - 17
Carrion Crow - 4
Redpoll sp - 1
Siskin - 6
Greenfinch - 8
Goldfinch - 1
Swallow - 8
Chiffchaff  - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Wheatear 3

Sea passage
Sandwich Tern - maximum at any one time of 40
Red-throated Diver - at least 3
Great-crested Grebe - noticeable influx with 10+ on water
Arctic Tern - 1+1+18
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - one 'out'
Little Gull - adult-type on water
Kittiwake - flock of 16
Sanderling - 1

Rock Pipit along seawall
Twite - still 56 - all ringed!
Purple Sandpiper - still on wooden jetty

At last!  Agonopterix heracliana (2), Acleris hastiana (1), Shoulder Stripe (4), Hebrew Character (1), Common Quaker (3), Clouded Drab (1) - about 300 less than in the Millhouses trap!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Steady migration includes Tree Pipit

Heysham Obs
Pre-dawn start today but only two people could cover Heysham in what was a reasonable migration morning

Only the office nets were set yet 6 migrant Robin found their way in - a decent west coast spring haul!  Also four Chiffchaff ringed and at least 4 others in song on the reserve.  Steady stream of Meadow Pipit overhead, particularly from 0830 onwards.  A handful of finches ringed included a Goldfinch ringed elsewhere with L952 sequence.  A scatter of coastal Wheatear (at least 10).  Sea neglected, but did include a Razorbill and 'gang' of Sandwich Tern

Best were the first Tree Pipit of the year overhead and a late migrant Woodcock in the NE corner of the reserve. Green Woodpecker reappeared on the reserve.

North Harbour Wall 0700-1000hrs
Twite 45
Wheatear 1
Robin 1
Razorbill 2
Eider 56
Great-crested Grebe 1
Sandwich Tern 5 on yellow buoys/fishing in channel, 15 in
Vis (0700-0730 and 0930-1000 NHW ; 0730-0800Ocean Edge)
alba wagtail 1
Meadow Pipit 303
Tree Pipit 2

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Black-throated Diver and Arctic Tern head a decent north wall haul

Heysham Obs
Quite productive on the sea this morning with decent views of a non-breeding-plumaged Black-throated Diver on the water.  Trouble was I'd forgotten my mobile and had to leave it to inform others and we arrived back as probably the same bird/species took flight and headed out of the Bay. Many other things of interest as can be seen below - all during the early stages of the incoming tide as the sandbanks were being covered

North wall 0700-1000
Marsh Harrier - one north over the sea at c0900 - cream-crowned but no obvious cream on forewing
Arctic Tern - 2+5+2+1 'in'
Sandwich Tern - absolute minimum of 11 blogging/passage birds
Red-throated Diver - flock of 15 circled high over 1/2 moon bay before appearing to head inland over Heysham Head!  Also 3+1+5+1 (25 in total)
Guillemot - 2 on sea
Black-throated Diver - probable 2CY in the centre of the nearest channel, actively fishing 0910 until c0920
Great-crested Grebe - at least 4 on sea
Red-breasted Merganser -loose flock of 9 'in', 3-4 on sea
Swallow - 1 'in' (thanks John - we missed it as it sped along the harbour wall 'below' the telescopes!)

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - in the region of 220 NE
alba Wagtail - at least 20 NE
Twite - two flew NE along the seawall and "dragged" 8 from the seed area along with them - appeared to continue NE!  Prior to that there were still 74 on the seed, a large number for this late in the spring
Siskin - 1 NE

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Massive decrease in Black-headed Gull & no sign of the 3CY Med

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Mipits and crests

The theme of today was yet more Meadow Pipits but not easily detectable as the skies were blue and the birds were flying high.

Heysham Nature Reserve:
0630-1000hrs of intermittent vis
Meadow Pipit 232 (50 of which were grounded at Ocean Edge).  Judging by the gangs of 20 to 40 at a time coming to the tapelure used for ringing, there must have been many more, probably 10x more, than the 232 detected from ground level. 
Woodpigeon 6 north (these have been a feature of vis further south in the last day or so)
Siskin 1
Goldfinch 1
Linnet 2
Thought I heard a Willow Warbler on arrival at the reserve but it may have been wishful thinking.  They should be arriving soon, tomorrow or the day after is my prediction (Jean writing).

BIG NEWS - a pair of Tufted Duck on the fire pond!

Goldcrests, Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipits, Blue Tit, Blackbird. 
                          Here's a Chiffchaff we ringed earlier and nicely photocaptured by Janet.

North Harbour Wall
Twite - at least 44 still waiting for a turn in the weather (and for their usual breakfast of nyjer seed).
Visibility was so hazy that little could be seen out at sea.

Single Greylag
Thanks Janet


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Back to a freezing cold blocker

Heysham Obs
Early morning stuff was distant and uninspiring apart from the continuing presence of 65 noisy Twite piling into the nyger, presumably thinking about fat reserves for the arduous and perhaps overdue migration to west Scotland

North harbour wall 0700-0830
Twite - 65 - 4 unringed, rest Heysham ringed
Goldfinch - 2
Auk spp - very distant gang of three 'in'
Red-throated Diver - 6 'in'
Great-crested Grebe - 2 'in'
Kittiwake - flock of 5 'in'
Common Gull - c95
Sandwich Tern - c11 blogging early on, none by 0815hrs
Meadow Pipit - c25 north in 1.5 hours
alba Wagtail - 5 north in 1.5 hours

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wheatear - male and female
Mediterranean Gull - ringed 3CY
Little Gull - 2CY on rocks - seemed to arrive just after high tide

Middleton NR
Tufted Duck - 12
Gadwall - 2 pairs

Roe Deer near entrance gate to reserve - perhaps this one photographed yesterday by Janet

Monday, 8 April 2013

Marsh Harrier and Sand Martin open their accounts

Heysham Obs
Whilst checking the waders to the south of Ocean Edge, the main 'vis' line this morning was connected with - Heysham can be a difficult site in this respect. Birds were coming in-off from the direction of Rossall and making landfall between Potts corner and Ocean Edge

The vis included a very noticeable concentration of Meadow Pipits between 0930 and 0940 with a 'flock' of 82, suggesting they had all moved on from a gathering ground on the Fylde.  In total, 262  headed NE between 0925 and 0945, but the subsequent 40 minutes 'only' produced 91

Quite a few night migrants appeared during the course of the day

Goldcrest - at least 15
Chiffchaff - at least 7
Wheatear - minimum of 5 (4 OE foreshore)
Thanks Janet
Coastal sightings
Meadow Pipit - see above - more to be added later
Marsh Harrier - cream-crowned, cream fore-winged individual in-off at 0945hrs on a north-easterly heading coming ashore at the southern end of Ocean Edge
Sand Martin - single with Meadow Pipit at 0940hrs
Twite - 61 on seed - two unringed & definitely no sign of Machrihanish bird
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2,700
Knot - 3,100
Dunlin - 2,200
Grey Plover - 125
.................all these were flushed by the Marsh Harrier and headed further south & landed off Potts Corner.  There were no waders within 400m either side of the DONG cable wire, despite no personnel moving up and down - the same pattern as observed yesterday

More sightings to be added from earlier in the morning

2 of these on Heysham N R:
Thanks Janet

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Massive Meadow Pipit movement but otherwise disappointing

Heysham Obs
Three hours on the north harbour wall and most of the morning on and off around the office

Meadow Pipit - probably about 200 per hour over the reserve 0700-1030, c60 1030-1130 with at least 450 in three hours over the north harbour wall whilst mixing and matching seawatching with vis
alba Wagtail - c15 over reserve and 39 over north wall
Goldfinch - 5 NE
Greenfinch - 1 NE over north wall
Chaffinch - 1 NE over north wall
Lesser Redpoll - 1 NE over north wall and three ringed on the reserve
Black-headed/Common Gulls - small passage north with 48 BH (flock of 23) and 20 CM
Teal - one u-turned!
Pink-footed Goose - 160 north in two flocks
Sandwich Tern  5
Carrion Crow - flocks of 4 & 6 north
Gannet - 6
Red-throated Diver - just 5
Common Scoter - 10
Twite - 71 with 2 unringed out of 35 examined
Chiffchaff - one north wall, one singing by NR office early morning
Goldcrest - 2 reserve & 2 Middleton

Little Egret - one half-moon bay
Med Gull - ringed 3CY outfalls
Grey Wagtail - 1

The longest mothless spring ever was broken today with the first Common Quaker of the year 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Meadow Pipits from Dawn

Heysham Reserve
Decent numbers of Kittiwake, Red-throated Diver and Meadow Pipit

There were no obvious grounded night migrants this morning.  Either they had passed straight through in the relatively calm and clear night, or they are not here yet.  Meadow Pipits, which often get going during the morning were on the move from dawn though.

Nets were set for migrants at dawn, but by the time it was proved that none was around there was not time to set up a whoosh net for Meadow Pipits, consequently the catch was low.

Meadow Pipit - 300 to 400 seen from 06.30 to 11.00 brought low by cd lure (only 5 trapped).
Probably much larger numbers high overhead but not seen against the very clear sky.

Chiffchaff - 1 ringed individual trapped only.

Landscape Strip
A thorough search for a reported injured gull along Moneyclose Lane was unsuccessful.
Sparrowhawk - 1 in the screening belt.
Jay - also 1 in the screening belt trees.

North Harbour Wall 0730-1300
Twite - c35 early.  Later, numbers of 95 to 100.
Linnet - small number amongst Twite. Difficult light there on a bright morning
Kittiwake - 334 in 16+ flocks 'in', 28 blogging & at least two other tightly packed gull flocks on the water a long way out
Common Scoter - 17 out
Red-throated Diver - at least 60 -  a good day count for here
Scaup - flocks of 6 (in pairs)
Goldeneye - 3
alba wagtail - 10
Meadow Pipit - 66 seen and heard but probably 10x this number - the blue sky made seeing birds difficult and when located there were often up to 8 birds for one squeak, also when looking at seabirds Meadow Pipits were passing through the view in the scope.
Pink-footed Goose - 149 north in three flocks, largest flock 80+
Greylag Goose - 4 headed north then turned and flew SW
Skylark - 1

South harbour and area
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Mediterranean Gull - adults and the ringed 3CY

Red Fox - 2 seen around reserve entrance road at first light.
Grey Squirrel - 1 sunning itself at the foot of a tree in the screening belt
Harbour Porpoise - one offshore

Alan Draper, John Mason, Jean Roberts, Gavin Thomas (thanks for  the pic), Ian Walker

Friday, 5 April 2013

Seabird cameo

Heysham Obs
Just 30 mins today and half of that was watching what was happening to  the waders south of Ocean Edge.  The 15 mins watching the sea were much better than of late!  A group of 3 Gannet and 9 Kittiwake headed in and when they reached level with Black Combe, the Kitts started to climb.  The Gannets followed them, then thought better of it (never seen any 'overland' when reaching the inner bay, unlike other species) and head out of the Bay, still quite high then swung in the direction of Cockersands.  The Kittiwakes continued to climb.  Then a close dark morph Arctic Skua headed slowly into the north-east wind until lost from sight towards the stone jetty.  Good to see a summer visitor which is perhaps a little earlier than usual!

North wall 0900-0915
Arctic Skua - dark morph 'in' at 0913hrs
Gannet - three u-turning as above
Kittiwake - flock of 9 'in' and gaining height
Twite - 19
Linnet - 1
Meadow Pipit - 9 N in 15 mins

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Dunlin - 2,600
Knot - 2,700
Bar-tailed Godwit - 870
Wigeon - 4
Mallard - 2
Black-headed Gull - 246

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A few quality sightings but general migration still slow

Heysham Obs
A steady stream of Meadow Pipit and one or two Chiffchaff apart, not a lot happening migrant-wise today with the sea particularly disappointing.  However a flock of Waxwings flew noisily over Middleton NR and a Short-eared Owl caught a vole on the higher ground there before being driven off by gulls.  The Scaup flock was still in situ in the tide race and increased to 11 birds.

North wall 0744 onwards
Sandwich Tern - 2 together 'in'
Scaup - flock of 11 floating out on the tide (5 male)
Twite - 55 (possibly including one or two Linnet - in silhouette on the sea buckthorn)
Red-throated Diver - up to 5 off-passage on the sea

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - c170 NE 0700-1030
alba Wagtail - 16 NE
Linnet - one NE
Waxwing - flock of 16 flew NW over Middleton at about 0800hrs

Middleton NR
Short-eared Owl - one quartering the high ground at Middleton early morning - caught a vole
Gadwall - pair

Office area
Chiffchaff - 2

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Scaup flock highlights some small-scale durnal migration

Heysham Obs
Thanks to everyone for letting me know about the hacked email.  Sorry to cause inconvenience

North harbour wall to 0930hrs
Red-throated Diver - absolute minimum of 27, including flock of 16 summer plumaged birds gaining height as they flew into the Bay
Wigeon - flock of 7 NNE
Scaup - flock of 7 sitting on the sea & floating out (3 ad male)
Gannet - adult 'u'-turned
Twite - just c35 left
Kittiwake - flock of 40-50 NNE, then 2 NNE
A lot of small flocks of Knot and Dunlin whizzing about

Vis mig to 0930
Meadow Pipit - c220 NNE either from north wall or office but not the same birds at each!
alba Wagtail - 25 NNE
Siskin - 1 NNE
Goldfinch - 13 NNE
Chaffinch - 2 NNE
Coal Tit - 2 heading north through the reserve

Grounded night migrants

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Slightly more over the sea, less overhead

Heysham Obs
Fractionally more interest today although Meadow Pipits and alba Wagtails are in reduced numbers so far

North harbour wall
Common Scoter - flock of 17 out
Red-throated Diver, 14 in, including groups of 3+5
Raven - one purposefully north over the sea
Coal Tit - very noisy flock of 5 on the fence by the ex-sand-works, then flew towards Heysham Head along the seawall!
Pink-footed Goose - 4+47 NW
Twite - maximum of just 47 but a lot of activity in nearby yard
Linnet - one on seed, first for a bit
Purple Sandpiper - on rocks below seawall on dropping tide
Eider - 189
In addition, 3 small gulls together in the direction of the wind turbines were almost certainly Little but extremely distant!

Office area & general vis mig
Goldfinch - 7 north
Reed Bunting - one north
alba Wagtail - 12 north
Meadow Pipit - just c35 north during the morning (9 ringed)

Ringing in March
Don't normally post much about ringing totals, but the newly-ringed stats for March are quite interesting for the wrong reasons!  Note that most of the activity involved nets set next to feeders, which were just not producing "any" new birds apart from a trickle of Blue and Great Tits, a few migrants Robins and the occasional 'new' finch:  Long-tailed Tit (3), Great Tit (5), Goldfinch (6), Blackbird (2), Chaffinch (2), Greenfinch (8), Twite (9), Mediterranean Gull (1), Robin (8), Meadow Pipit (49), Dunnock (3), Blue Tit (5).  The grand total of this lot was more than doubled by Goldcrest and Lesser Redpoll in March 2012 - conspicuously absent this year, along with Chiffchaff.       

Monday, 1 April 2013

No April drool

Heysham Obs
Today was about as devoid of anything new happening than I can remember at this time of year. There is the bonus of a prolonged stay by the Twite flock and unscheduled expense on nyger seed but otherwise just a dribble of Meadow Pipit overhead. The seawatching was really dire with nothing worth writing down in the course of just over an hour

North harbour wall
Twite 73, including two unringed and the usual Machrihanish bird, along with an old pale blue over white/red which I don't recall having seen recently

Office area
Meadow Pipit - 55 NE

Middleton NR
2 Greylag, 2 Snipe
Thanks Janet

No summer visitors seen or heard