Monday, 30 September 2013

Black Redstart headlines another rather hit and miss morning with incredible variations in wind speed

Heysham Obs
A female/immature Black Redstart was on the fences between Ocean Edge and the seawall to the outfalls at 0845hrs before eventually flying into the southern end of the power station site.  Otherwise the easterly airflow flattered to deceive and was generally too clear/high-clouded

Chiffchaff - at least 20 with a small influx apparent mid-morning (5 ringed)
Whitethroat - one Red Nab area
Black Redstart - female/immature Red Nab area at 0845hrs (Andrew Cornell and Bryan Yorke)
Goldcrest - at least 6
Wheatear - one north wall, one ocean edge

Vis mig dawnish to 1200hrs
Very intermittent with a majority of the movement early or mid-morning
alba Wagtail - 52
Meadow Pipit - 354
Chaffinch - 40
Grey Wagtail - 5
Goldfinch - 45
Siskin - 9
Linnet - 16
Pink-footed Goose - 40 (one flock)
Skylark - 2
plus small numbers of Starlings which seemed to be on the move

Little Egret - 4 (2 OE saltmarsh, 2 Red Nab)
Wigeon - 32 Red Nab
Med Gull - 5 Red Nab/outfalls
Rock Pipit - one OE foreshore
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2 together flew over HNR office
Shelduck - 125 off OE

At least 12 Red Admiral flying south and at least 10 Speckled Wood casually recorded along with 2 Small White

Wheatear at Ocean Edge this afternoon.
Small White on the sea wall near the outfalls this afternoon.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Early morning Yellow-browed Warbler heads inland

Heysham Obs
A Yellow-browed Warbler was by the office at 0725hrs, calling twice, then flew into a willow next to the dog walk track, then back across the road towards the dipping pond where it was lost in the vegetation n the presence of quite a few Blue/Long-tailed Tits.  It may have joined them but they flew over the road along the line of trees towards the traffic lights/railway line

This was a period of quite strong winds and a few other birds 'dropped including up to 7 Goldcrest and 4 Chiffchaff.  The wind then dropped during the next 30 minutes and the place seemed to 'dry up' as regards night migrants as they moved inland rather than remaining in situ

There was another small influx of night migrants at about 0930 again coinciding with the wind getting up from the east

Hopefully more later as off to search the likely spots to hold something and/or tit flocks

The subsequent thrash round once the ringing had finished was singularly unproductive in breezy sunny conditions but did include a bird which has been like rocking horse dung the last couple of years - a Kingfisher along the stream by the dipping pond...................and a shedload of common butterflies

Grounded Heysham NR
Robin - minimum 13, perhaps only one migrant today
Goldcrest - at least 7, probably 9
Chiffchaff - 9-11 (3 ringed)
Yellow-browed warbler - see above
Blackcap - 2-3
Song Thrush - 4 - all got up and flew inland, typical migrant behaviour

Vis mig dawnish to 0930 (2.5hrs)
Meadow Pipit - 200 (exactly!)
Grey Wagtail - 6
alba Wagtail - 44
Chaffinch - 62
Dunnock - 2
Siskin - 2
Skylark - 3
Goldfinch - 17
Greenfinch - 4

Rock Pipit - 1 north harbour wall 0830, two later
Kingfisher  - one by dipping pond early afternoon
Arctic Skua - a major surprise was two juveniles blogging around the harbour mouth being mobbed by gulls before heading out behind a ferry

Lots of butterflies but amazingly no dragonflies in outer circuit of the reserve
Red Admiral - 28 (including 13 flying purposefully south)
Speckled Wood - 26
Small Tortoiseshell - 13 (3 south)
Small White - 7 (2 south)
Peacock - 1
Comma - 1 on ivy NE corner
Common Blue - still one female by office
Silver Y - 8

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Yellow brows postponed for a day or so as clear-morning vis mig to the fore

Heysham Obs
Rather intermittent vis mig coverage this morning as tried to mix and match with covering likely spots for grounded stuff.  Good numbers were recorded, however.  Main components were alba Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch with the less regular species including Tree Sparrow and Rock Pipit and gangs of 2+8+10 Coal Tit in irruptive fashion - shades of last autumn's migratory 'highlight'

Grounded included male Stonechat, two Wheatear, a few Chiffchaff and Blackcap and a flock of 4 Song Thrush

The other main feature of the morning was insect migration, including the first Clouded Yellow of the year

More later when all the figures are gathered in

Vis mig 0700-1315 -  mobile around office, north wall, tank farm including going to the shop, therefore perhaps 60 minutes in total missed
Grey Wagtail - 45SE
Chaffinch - 180 S
Meadow Pipit - 953 SE
alba Wagtail - 201 SE
Coal Tit - 2+8+10 south then one ringed later
Dunnock - 2+1+2+2 south
Goldfinch - at least 22 migrants S
Sparrowhawk - 2 singletons south
Kestrel - one south
Jay - 2 singletons south looked like migrants on behaviour
Tree Sparrow - 2 together south
Rock Pipit - one south
Skylark - 10 SE
Raven - 2 SW - the first seen for a bit - a species which has been intermittent this year and we should have recorded more conscientiously
Swallow - 22 SE
House Martin - 2 SE
Siskin - 2SE

Stonechat - male tank farm
Wheatear - 2 north wall (one large)
Goldcrest - only one seen - north wall and 2 on reserve
Chiffchaff - at least 5 (2 ringed)
Blackcap - at least 4 (one ringed)
Song Thrush - 4 on tank farm - headed south together
Robin - one dropped out of the sky and landed by the office at 1034hrs but not much evidence of many other migrants (2 ringed)
Green Woodpecker - one heard distantly early morning - see Malcolm's posting

Middleton & Ocean Edge (thanks Malcolm)
Middleton IE 10.30 - 12.00
3 mute + 7 cygnets
5 coot
5 moorhen
11 tufted
6 gadwall (2 male with 2 female + 1 female + 1 probable juvenile)
2 teal
1 little grebe
1 snipe
1 green woodpecker
1 jay
1 chiffchaff
4 swallow (South)
c120 meadow pipit in smallish groups SE (most in first hour)
Lots of common darter (2 pairs mating) + 2 common blue & 2 migrant hawkers.
Small white & small tortoise shells only butterflies seen
Ocean Edge
1 grounded adult male white wagtail (12.30)
1 grey wagtail
5 wheatear
c30 linnet

Included a Clouded Yellow heading south by the office at lunchtime and low double-figures of Red Admiral, Small White and Silver Y south by the office from late morning plus a single Peacock and c5 Small Tortoiseshell. Plenty of Small and Large white plus Small Tortoiseshell along the Ocean Edge section of coast late morning.  Also Painted Lady seen on North Harbour Wall, lots of Red Admiral and Small Whites plus lots of bees, hoverflies and other flies all coming in-off.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Another mainly vis mig morning

Heysham Obs
Missed out on the early morning rain showers and, in conjunction with a lot of 'useless' uniform high cloud at dawn, there was not a lot happening other than vis mig.  Best for a lot of effort was a Spotted Flycatcher grounded and two Common Buzzard overhead

Vis mig dawn to about 1130
Meadow Pipit - 270
Pink-footed Goose - 6+9+40+29
alba Wagtail - 65
Grey Wagtail - 7 (4 ringed)
Lesser Redpoll - 2 (IOA)
Mistle Thrush - 7 SW
Grey Heron - 2 high to north
Dunnock - flocks of 3+2 heading south
Chaffinch - 69 SW
Common Buzzard - two separately south near midday
Large bird of prey - either Common Buzzard or harrier on jizz south early morning, but only seen in distant escape flight
Swallow - 24 SE
Linnet - 1 S
Goldfinch - 20 S
No Skylark heard

Grounded on Heysham NR
Spotted Flycatcher - 1 eastern woodland in large sycamore
Whitethroat - 1 by office
Chiffchaff - 3-4 scattered
Blackcap - female with LTT flock
Goldcrest - one!
Robin - not so much in evidence today and only 2 ringed
Dunnock - see above
Coal Tit - 2 ringed and at least 3 with Long-tailed Tit flock

Big nosedive in Med Gulls first noticed yesterday with only 4 seen
Sandwich Tern - 3

Still good numbers of Pink-barred Sallow, Silver Y and Treble Bar

Speckled Wood (25), Common Blue (2), Small Copper (2), Red Admiral (3) seen around reserve

 Silver Y feeding outside office.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

A vis mig morning

Heysham Obs

Late news from yesterday
A late pager message suggested that the Bonaparte's Gull was present for a lengthy period on the latter stages of the incoming tide yesterday, by the outfalls, then on Red Nab (1430-1540ish).  Two of us just did a quick check from Ocean Edge late afternoon and only had Meds and Sandwich Terns - must do better!

Today's news
A gusty easterly this morning limited the mist-netting but it was evident that grounded migrants were a bit thin on the ground with a seemingly complete clear-out of yesterdays Chiffchaffs.  New for the autumn was a single Redwing at dawn which had obviously been grounded overnight and flew inland.

Vis mig (thanks to Bryan for taking over at 0830) dawn to 1030
Grey Wagtail - 7 SE (2 ringed - rather fortunately in the conditions).  Over 70 have now been colour ringed this month - please keep an eye open!
alba Wagtail - good passage for here - 160 SE in groups of up to 11
Greenfinch - 6 S
Swallow - 42 SE
Goldfinch - 34 S
Meadow Pipit - 406 SE
Chaffinch - 143 S
Golden Plover - 1 S (rare here)
Teal - 2 S (rare here!)
Cormorant - flocks of 6 & 8 SE just after dawn - not an established ex-roost feeding movement

Red Nab late afternoon
No sign of Bonaparte's Gull either on Red Nab, the outfalls or the harbour mouth.
2 Sandwich Terns
3 Mediterranean Gulls (2 adults, 1 x 2CY)
Rock Pipit flew onto sea wall

North Harbour Wall
2 Mediterranean Gulls (adults)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The forecast doesnt half look good

Heysham Obs
Time to lock the hides and send everyone out to the bushes and coastal trees keeping an ear open for the vis.  This morning was a little 'taster' without any proper wind and probably limited to British migrants, although Lesser Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher at nearby Sunderland Pt may have been of non-British origin.  Tomorrow sees the easterly kicking in and a shedload of stuff already on the east coast to the north of us.............

A bit awkward today as there was a lot of ?steam release from the power station and the vis was badly under-recorded.  However, there were certainly 'plenty' of Meadow Pipit, alba Wagtail plus a few other odds and ends, but the main Grey Wagtail passage seems to be past, given the numbers in relation to other vis.

Vis mig dawn on and off until mid-morning
Meadow Pipit - 280 SE (see above)
alba Wagtail - 45 SE (see above)
Grey Wagtail - 5 SE plus one mid-afternoon (2 ringed)
Chaffinch - at least 17 S
Goldfinch - no noticeable movement
Linnet - 5 S
flava Wagtail - one sounding like flavissima south
Skylark - 13 S
Siskin - heard once
Hirundines - none!

Stonechat - 2 female types north wall
Robin - plenty of migrants, at least 12-15 on mound/sandworks area first thing (6 ringed nat res)
Chiffchaff - at least 12 on nature reserve (4 ringed)
Goldcrest - 2 north wall just the one seen nature reserve
Reed Warbler - one seen in the field looked like a juvenile Reed Warbler
Blackcap - at least 5 nature reserve
Tits - a flock of Long-tailed Tits numbering 22 along with 5 Coal Tits were the first sign of any movements this autumn

Czech-ringed Med Gull north wall, 2P96 on Red Nab at high tide plus two unringed Meds
Sandwich Tern (3) Red Nab at high tide

Big influx of Silver Y and Pink-barred Sallow and Treble Bar added to SD36 list

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Vis continues all day with little pulses of activity

Heysham Obs
One of those days when counting vis required the utmost concentration and that was not possible for lengthy spells due to various activities. Unfortunately we made the wrong call on the Grey Wagtail ringing and tried to conserved the large tape (only lasts three hours) and use the previously effective CD player plus accompanying MP3.  Fine for leisurely low-flyers but this morning's birds were higher and purposeful and, in association with background noise, I have never seen tapes so ineffective, notably a flock of five which were presumably listening to each other's contact calls and didn't even hesitate.

Under-recorded vis mig until about 1100hrs
Meadow Pipit - 242 SE
Grey Wagtail - 15 SE (including flocks of 4+5 which flew straight over)
Chaffinch - 19 SW
Pink-footed Goose - no over the sea observations & just one flock of 23 SE first thing
alba Wagtail - 37 SE
Siskin - heard once
Skylark - 3 SE
Swallow - just the one south
Little Egret - two purposefully south and high at 0725 (ex-Leighton roost?)

A little more than yesterday, especially on the Robin front but goodness knows how many with so many territorial birds around as well.  The 'mound' is a good indicator of the potential numbers and a few found the mist nets

Robin - 9 on the mound (all but one migrants), 4 ringed - plenty of ticking and chasing
Chiffchaff - probably three passed through by office
Goldcrest - 2 very early on then nothing.  Where on earth are the British juveniles?
Wheatear - 3 Ocean Edge area
Song Thrush - at least 4 migrants

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Red Nab was flushed prior to the tide - this has not happened very much recently, even with the angling ban further down the seawall.  Gulls were also dispersed on the flying ant trail, very late for this activity
Med Gull - just 5 seen

The nets were pretty ineffective this morning with just 20 birds ringed and just two of the main study species, Grey Wagtail

Red-line Quaker was new for the year (3) and Flame Shoulder was late for here

Monday, 23 September 2013

Night migrant-free murk

Heysham Obs
Late evening update
Middleton was investigated for Swallows this evening and after talking to two dog walkers a net was erected.  At first there was nothing around until a very tightly-packed high-flying gang appeared about 1900hrs.  These were targeted by a falcon spp, probably Merlin, over the golf course.  After a late (for here) Reed Warbler on the initial check, I was just about to take down when 38 Swallows entered the net.  As seems to be regular at this stage of the season, 9/38 were adults.  The total roost was estimated at 120 birds

Also seen were four Gadwall and a flighty flock of 3 Shoveler which appeared to head off east.  A Barn Owl has been seen recently and at least one sighting of a Little Owl (per late evening dog walkers)

The opposite of what might have been expected this morning.  Lowish cloud and murk produced a reasonable 'cross-bay' vis of Meadow Pipit and a few other odds and ends, all flying as high as they could without being out of sight in the cloud and also showing a considerable degree of urgency on a NW to SE heading.  In contrast, there was very little of the usual Chaffinch-dominated low-level vis from the direction of Heysham Head along the coast.  The other feature was a complete absence of night migrants - the AA rings are in danger of going rusty apart from the odd Wren - other than a very early calling Chiffchaff and a small gang of Song Thrush

Thanks to Bryan for help with the vis mig

Vis mig dawn to 1030ish
Skylark - 1
Meadow Pipit - 245
Swallow - 12
Chaffinch - 15
Grey Wagtail - 9 (unusually at least 3 birds seemed not to hear the tape)
alba Wagtail - 9
Reed Bunting - 1
Goldfinch - just 3 high-flyers

Chiffchaff - 1
Song Thrush - flock of 3 headed inland

Red Nab/outfalls
Quick check produced 4 Sandwich Tern plus about 9 Meds

5 Grey Wagtail was a bit below par given the perfect mist-netting conditions (see above), the rest of the 50-ish catch consisted of finches, couple of Dunnock, one Blue Tit and a few Meadow Pipit

A good catch e.g. double-figures of Pink-barred Sallow but the only surprise was a second brood Acleris forsskaleana

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A day nothing much happened

Heysham Obs
By far the best was a Lesser Whitethroat seen briefly and heard calling by the office late afternoon

The morning consisted of 2.5 hours of mist nets without a single bird (the feeders had run out the day before and there was no vis/grounded)

It was WeBS day and only had time to observe the latter stages of the incoming tide with at least 20 Meds scattered around

For the second day running there appeared to be hordes on the seawall towards the outfalls although some of these seemed to be dog walkers, but not a peep as regards posting the Bonaparte's Gull, although didn't get chance to speak to anyone directly.  So its done its calm-sea bunk again?

176 Turnstone were on the wooden jetty but the views obtained could not rule out Purple Sandpiper lurking in the flock.  78 Cormorants were also there

Saturday, 21 September 2013

A rather odd murky morning

Heysham Obs
Seven Grey Wagtails colour-ringed in warm sector murk with hardly any vis mig?  Odd!  They comprised a singleton, a couple and a flock of four with only at least one and probably two other birds recorded.  All of them appeared between 0635 and 0715hrs, earlier than might be expected in the conditions

As far as I am aware, the Bonaparte's Gull did not perform this morning and it certainly did not appear to do its routine of bathing on Red Nab on the incoming tide. With the offshore wind, it may be resting on the calm seas around/off the harbour mouth

Vis mig by the office dawn to about 0945hrs
Meadow Pipit - just 16 SE
Grey Wagtail - 8, possibly 9 SE, then two flew north at Ocean Edge at 1130hrs
alba Wagtail - 5 SE
Chaffinch - 17 S at low level

Just two Chiffchaff and one of the two unringed Robin caught was suggestive of a migrant on weight/fat

Outfalls/Red Nab
Good lot of Med Gulls!
Med Gull - 9 1CY, 5 2CY and 9 adult-type.  Some of the adults were resting on the sand off Ocean Edge but the only ringed birds were 'our' yellow-ringed bird 2P96 and a below the knee metal on an adult.  In addition, the Czech-ringed veteran was patrolling the north wall, therefore minimum  of 24 birds 
Little Gull - 3CY outfalls

Red-green Carpet and especially Brick were early.  A small plume still to be identified.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Mainly Pinks

The Bonaparte's Gull was on Red Nab again.  Also Little Gull.

But most notable today were the overhead squadrons of Pink-footed Geese - 803 counted by Bryan this morning.  This detailed report was received later from Bryan - Thanks very much for this:

"Enjoyed myself this morning at Heysham from 0845hrs to 1040hrs,
unfortunately there was minimal passerine or hurundine movement,
although I would have thought the conditions were OK.

A good couple of hours on the Pink Footed Goose which again where going
through on a reasonable regular basis throughout although they had
started to "lull" after 1000hrs. The geese were coming through at all
levels (mainly high) on a far broad front eg: perhaps about four
parties actually came directly over the "Office" or nearabouts, but the
main were crossing over the bay and well back, in fact the last party
looked as though they could have been as far back as "Piel Island" and
also a couple of parties were well inland almost as far as you can
see. Observations were made from the top of the "Mount" nearto the
office and overlooking the bay (good vista).

Pink Footed Goose: 803 (15 skeins,
40,32,40,30,30,45,16,50,130,50,150,50,50,80,5) all coming
from North/North West to South/South West. I did not notice any "East"
influence today.

Meadow Pipit: 5
Chaffinch: 5
Swallow: 15
Goldfinch: 5 (one party)

On leaving Heysham, the hirundines were picking up a little, though
difficult to count because of the erratic variant directions and
undecided as to which were local or on direct migration.

Of note which I did mention to the chaps, when I first bobbed my head
above the "Mount" level and looking directly in front there were
literally "thousands" of dark birds crossing through the back of the
power station which kept a straight line and must have been about 40
birds deep going from NW to SE. It was really thick and you could
see birds from as far left to as far right on that lineage. I never
really got into it, caught out with the immediate "happening" but can
only think that perhaps they were Oyks, although I did not see any
"white" flashes at all, everything seemed deep black (probably
silhouetted) but first immpressions was like I see with the Jackdaws as
they leave roost, but these were tight in a deep line just like you get
with the Starlings as they leave the roost, but far bigger birds. I
wish now I had took much more note on this, but why I mention it now is
purely because the chaps did not know of what they could have been and
obviously this does not appear to be a regular "noticeable" event.

I will probably be back to Heysham again on Monday.


Grey Wagtail - 6 trapped and colour ringed
Chaffinch - 4
Goldfinch - 6
Greenfinch - 6
Blue Tit - 6
Great Tit - 1
Dunnock - 3

Lunar Underwing in the hut trap


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Bonapartes in the rain

Heysham Obs
The Bonaparte's Gull was back to its old routine of bathing in the channel on Red Nab on the incoming tide allowing three of us (including Bryan Yorke) good views at about 0945hrs.  Also there were 11 Med Gulls, including two 1CY now in full 1st winter plumage

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Varied morning headed by massive Pink-foot movement

Heysham Obs
Quite a bit of stuff around this morning and it should definitely have been a dawn start as there was a good landbird vis window for at least 2.5hrs

Vis mig by the office 0745-0930 on and off
Grey Wagtail - 8 SE (3 out of the 4 over after the net put up were caught and ringed) - how many went over earlier?  A further 2 SE along the seawall whilst at the outfalls
Meadow Pipit - c30 SE
Chaffinch - 5 S
Goldfinch - 4 S
Swallow - 22 Sish

Pinkfeet 0745-1215

Miscellany (several observers)
Bonaparte's Gull - on the pager for H2 outfalls at 0740 (no further info)
Little Gull - adult type
Kittiwake - juv behind IOM ferry
Purple Sandpiper - one seen on the wooden jetty by Jeff
Great Skua & skua spp - a loose flock of three skuas, one definite Bonxie and two all-dark small skuas at about 1000hrs heading out
Gannet - 4 together far offshore
Med Gull - seemed to be much fewer around today, esp 1CY, with just 7 of all ages seen but no low tide observations from by wooden jetty

Reasonable catch for this time of year/cold night with 2 Black Rustic new for the year

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Great evening session on the outfalls

Heysham Obs
A couple of Leach's Petrels found whilst looking down the wave troughs in the direction of Fleetwood from the Ocean Edge foreshore at high tide.  These must have cut across the bay in the marginal wind as it does not appear that any entered the bay to the north of Heysham.  Diod not arrive early enough to watch the incoming tide on the outfalls and I don't think there have been any Bonaparte's Gull sightings in some quite wet and unpleasant viewing conditions at this exposed site.  A couple of lost 'first time' observers ended up at the office cursing the site guide in Birdwatching magazine including 'why cant we go thoough the caravan site'

Various coastal places on and off, including seawatching am
Med Gull - at least 11 (7+ 1CY)
Little Gull - adult-type at long range on outfalls
Leach's Petrel - two mid/late morning heading out towards the Wyre estuary as viewed from Ocean Edge down the wave troughs.

Outfalls and area evening in perfect flat light due to cloud cover
Bonaparte's Gull - watched for the best part of an hour on and off 1800-1900 and spent most of its time on the mud between the two outfalls before feeding at the end of Heysham One, then between the two outfalls, then the end of Heysham two before landing on the tide edge just to the south of Heysham 2
Little Gull - ad-type
Sandwich Tern - one distantly out
Med Gull - at least 16, including a flock of 11 by wooden jetty

28 SE in morning, 29 in evening!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Bonaparte's return

Heysham Obs
The day was rescued spectacularly by the return of the adult Bonaparte's Gull in resplendent full winter plumage with all the requisite moult completed.  The sequence involved a scan of Heysham Two from Ocean Edge, glimpses of promise on a flying bird just beyond the small Heysham 2 jetty facing away into the wind (notably underwing), followed by a power walk down the seawall and a geriatric, wind-assisted 'run' back to the car when realised had forgotten mobile.  The tide was dropping quite rapidly and unfortunately I wasn't sure which direction it moved off the outfalls. Are Morecambe promenade observers missing a trick or is it simply feeding offshore and came in today because of rough seas? The gull flocks the other way on the Lune estuary have certainly been grilled but what about Morecambe prom?  Who is there?   

5 or so degrees north-west of forecast therefore birdless as regards seabird movement.  Go away Walney!..........blocking any chance of any seabirds in a wind which was always marginal, the majority forecast of due west always looked unconvincing in relation to the pressure chart and so it proved.  As it happened we may have missed an early morning Leach's Petrel or two as there was no-one here until 0800hrs and one flew out of the bay past Rossall at 0810hrs.

Sea/inshore (just 'our' long-stayers apart from the Gannet)
Gannet - one out
Med Gull - 8 1CY, 3 2CY, 4 Ad Red Nab to & including the harbour (10 of these behind the IOM ferry)
Kittiwake - adult stage 2 outfall briefly
Little Gull - ad type Red Nab area
Bonaparte's Gull - Heysham 2 outfall mid-morning
Leach's Petrel - one was reported as flying close inshore past the north harbour wall at about 1130hrs and another was offshore in the evening
Red-throated Diver - first of autumn - thanks Ian

Three Carrion Crows and a Meadow Pipit flew south whilst walking from car to office.

Included Frosted Orange which is not very common here with the others comprising Pink-barred Sallow,  Acleris emargana, Treble Bar, Rosy Rustic

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Black Tern being dragged off by a Sandwich

Heysham Obs
No more dawn arrivals for Grey Wagtail ringing attempts/vis mig coverage for a few days!  Best of the bunch this morning was a juvenile (European) Black Tern feeding off Red Nab which unfortunately followed a fairly leisurely Sandwich tern flying towards the north Fylde.  Hopefully it will spin back on to the outfalls when these recover their 'identity' on the dropping tide.  Even better (number of records-wise) was the presumed continued presence of the same juvenile Spotted Redshank recorded a week or so ago

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Grey Plover - c420 but distant
Spotted Redshank - juvenile in Ocean edge saltmarsh channel
Black Tern - juvenile flew slowly 'out' after feeding off Red Nab about 0910hrs
Sandwich Tern - adult out
Med Gull - 5 1Y, but just one each of 2CY and adult

Hopefully some more later. Haven't done the moths yet!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Bit of an unproductive morning

Heysham Obs
Friday the 13th one day late.  Every ringer drops the end loops on mist nets occasionally.  Sometimes this doesn't create problems.  Not so this morning and I grabbed the wrong replacement net which had a 'blue cast' to the material making it slightly more visible.  This makes a difference when trying to catch an agile species such as Grey Wagtail and this was compounded by the sun on the net after 0730hrs.  Should have risked missing some Grey Wags and replacing the net.  So after saying how easy they were to catch - one out of eight is not so good!  The original net took a good 15 minutes to sort - amazing how tangled they can get!

There were a few grounded migrants this morning as per the dawn rain shower, but nothing better than a female/imm Redstart was located and the paucity of passage Robins continues

The other negative feature of the morning was an example of a vis mig mystery where you know it is something good but the documentation is useless.  This happens to all of us who carry out vis mig day in day out.  The four calls in the eastern sky appeared to be a familiar but uk-scarce species, but the bird could not be seen as the sun was rising.  One for the bin.

Vis mig until 0930
Jay - two flew high inland as the ??usual ones and twos were still present 
Reed Bunting - 3 SE
Siskin - flock of 5 E
Goldfinch - at least 18 perceived migrants S
Chaffinch - 58 mainly SW
Swallow - 5 S
Meadow Pipit - 33 SE, nearly all early on in one spread out 'flock' (24)
Grey Wagtail - 8 SE (see above)
alba Wagtail - 21 SE
Bullfinch - 2+1 south may have been migrants/dispersal

Grounded in office area only
Chiffchaff - at least 4
Whitethroat - 2
Redstart - f/imm by the office annoying the local Robins
Sedge Warbler - juv ringed
Blackcap - 1
Song Thrush - 2-3

After the second Heysham record of Pine Carpet the other day, a rare appearance of Grey Pine Carpet this morning

Friday, 13 September 2013

More north-westerly rubbish but a trickle of vis

Heysham Obs
A bit of pre-work vis coverage plus a single mist net at a sheltered site for any Grey Wagtails passing over

Grey wagtail this morning.  Photo Reuben Neville who put the spanner down to take the pic - its nothing to do with the ringing operation (!) where specially made pliers are used for precision results.  The individual colour rings are on the right leg, the left leg (for this year) comprises the site/year code plus metal BTO ring.

Therefore to trace to an individual bird such as this light green over white - always name the top colour first, even if the legs are upside down - the right leg needs to be seen as well as the left.  A sighting of the left leg only will just trace the bird to this area, either used in Bowland in 2009 (unlikely to still be alive?) or the remainder of the allocated sequence being used up at Heysham this year

Vis mig on and off dawn to 0830
Meadow Pipit - 27 SE
alba Wagtail - 18 SE
Grey Wagtail - just the one which was caught
Chaffinch - 14 SW
Goldfinch - 11 S
Swallow - 22 Sish
Common Buzzard - one south at 0745hrs

Outfalls and area
Our Med Gulls are still with us and numbered 11 with 4 1CY, 4 2CY and 3 adult-type including one with a green darvic on the left leg.  Our ad-type Little Gull was fast asleep on the mudflats.  New in were two Sandwich terns sitting on Red Nab

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Wrong kind of mist

Heysham Obs
Absolutely dreadful this morning with nothing happening in rather good mist-netting conditions.  Every time it looked like clearing from the north west, it closed up again.  Not the right direction to produce any grounded stuff.  The only remotely interesting fauna this morning was this Pine carpet

Vis mig dawn on and off until 1000hrs
Chaffinch - about the only thing moving early on tree-top-hopping from the direction of Heysham head - 27 SW
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE (one ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 43 SE - mainly 'mid'-morning
Goldfinch - 18 SE
Kestrel - one blogging

One Chiffchaff and one Goldcrest at Heysham, unringed Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat caught at Middleton

Quick check of outfalls area saw at least three Meds and a distant view of adult-type Little Gull, perhaps 3CY in final stages of primary moult i.e. no old feathers

Pine Carpet, Angle Shades and the usual suspects, including a few Treble Bar

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Look out for colour-ringed Grey Wagtail

Heysham Obs
A decent passage of Grey Wagtail this week with over 40 colour-ringed.  Please check the sidebar which will be updated in a minute (!) and remember to check both legs, especially the sequence on the right leg. 

Just watched a flock of five released and heading off together to the south-east.  I don't think enough importance is attached to release methodology of vis mig birds in the literature.  Grey Wagtails released singly from a sitting position at the ringing base on the north side of the office building often went and sat in the nearest tree for up to 30 minutes whilst those taken round the corner and pointed in a south-easterly direction, they should be (and were) heading, gain height and carry on their migration with minimum of disruption.  Now we always release in the second manner

Vis mig to 1000
Spoilt by the cloud cover spilling in early and very little moving in contrast to the Caton Moor vis mig site whch was on the cloud edge for much of the early morning.  However this kept the sun off the nets!
Grey Wagtail - 10-11 south-east (6 ringed)
Chaffinch - 40 migrants south
Swallow - 24 SW
House Martin - 15 SW
Meadow Pipit - Just 9 SE
Common Buzzard - one south
Cormorant - high flocks of 11+4 south
Grey Heron - 1 south

At least 3 migrant Song Thrush, 2 Chiffchaff, one Whitethroat, two Blackcap and at least 2 Robin new in (e.g. all unringed when caught)

More later when the coast is checked after doing some work!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

It isnt your weather but the bigger picture which matters

Heysham Obs
A small pocket of calmer air in the middle of a generally fresh north-north-westerly was a bit of a novelty, synopsis-wise and certainly seemed suitable for mist-netting.  No-one told the birds, presumably grounded by the strong wind to the north which hit us with a notable 'whoosh' in tidal bore-fashion at about 0845hrs.  So we had perfect vis conditions with no vis.

Overhead dawn to about 1000hrs
Grey Wagtail - 7 (3 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 18, with a gap of 1.5 hrs 0630-0800 without any!
alba Wagtail - group of 7 then just one other
Chaffinch - at least 19 tree-hopping southbound presumed migrants, as usual doing a lot of contact-calling
Swallow - 13

Goldcrest - 1 - first of autumn
Chiffchaff - c3
Blackcap - one new one
Whitethroat - one retrap
Robin - one new one

Swallow roost last night
At least 500 birds in roost, but only a very cautious 41 ringed due to some nasty weather, albeit approaching slowly, along the north-western horizon.  That will do for the Swallow ringing sample for  the year - just over 500.

Coastal at high tide
Wheatear - 4 inner end of wooden jetty
Med Gull - 5 off Ocean Edge

After the inexplicable 'nil' yesterday, a nice variety given the cold conditions with 10 species including Copper Underwing and Angle Shades and dominated by Treble Bar and Silver Y

Monday, 9 September 2013

Decentish morning once the rain stopped

Heysham Obs
Not too clever for the Grey Wagtail study with 6 of them "overtaking" the end bit of the heavy rain before the nets could be opened, two being caught as the self-same rain hid the sun and then at least three having a whale of a time balancing on the top shelf as blazing sunshine on the net took over.  They are either very easy to catch in dull conditions or hopeless when it is sunny, which of course also makes them fly higher!  Quite a pulse of cross-bay vis at the back end of the dawn rain - you could tell there was no more wet stuff this side of Furness and no need to walk to the top of the hill and look!

Vis mig dawn to about midday (good to see you Bryan (Yorke))
Grey Wagtail - 13 SE (just two ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 135 SE
Chaffinch - 16 S
alba Wagtail - excluding presumed ex-roost, 8 SE
Tree Pipit - 3 singletons SE
Linnet - 1 S
Goldfinch - a minimum of 36 SE & other lower birds may have been migrants
Dunnock - "fidgety time" with 3 noisy ones flying S
Crossbill - at least one and probably two flew south at 0803 but could not be found as they were to the west of the office with limited viewing
Swallow - 22 ESE
House Martin - 1
Bullfinch - a bit of activity which could be interpreted as vis mig with two lots of two heading south over the office
Carrion Crow - a highflying flock of 6 came from the east, then headed north before swinging S
Greenfinch - 2 high to the south
Siskin - heard (one?) flying south

Wheatear - at least 9 along coastal bits
Whitethroat - at least three new in
Blackcap - two new birds
Chiffchaff - c3 around office
Willow Warbler - one around office
Sedge Warbler - one ringed by office but not new in (F2, 12.6g)
Song Thrush - one presumed early migrant heard in the dawn twilight (early British-type migrants are a feature of September)

Med Gull - at least 7


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Unspectacular day

Heysham Obs Vis mig included 9 Meadow Pipit and 4 Grey Wagtail. Grounded migrants included 3-4 Chiffchaff, 3 Wheatear (2 mound, one OE) and a single Whitethroat Coastal stuff was 'same again' with 3CY Little Gull and at least 15 Med Gulls (7 juvs)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The local birding event weather jinx continues

Heysham Obs
A decent look at the outfalls and Red Nab was marred by some poor weather during the latter half.  It also knocked on the head any early morning searches for migrants.  There appears to be high degree of certainty that the Bonaparte's Gull has gone, although you always have to be very careful with these pronouncements when wet fields are available nearby, reducing 'reliance' on the outfalls

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge most of the morning from 0900hrs
Sanderling - juvenile on the mudflats off ocean Edge
Little Gull - one adult-type
Sandwich Tern - 3 'out'
Common/Arctic Tern - one seen very briefly
Med Gull - Maxima of 9 1CY, 4 2CY, 1 3CY and 4 adult-type
Little Egret - one flew over the reserve early morning and the same may have been seen on Red Nab

Wheatear - 6-7 seen
Swallow - about 12 casually noted heading inland from across the bay
Meadow Pipit - 8 as above
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Pink-footed Goose - IOA -two lots of 5 headed south-east
Wigeon - IOA - 2 off Red Nab early morning, joined by a flock of 8 later
small duck spp - one with two Wigeon early am but very brief and distant
Kestrel - one may have come in-off as it disturbed the gulls on Red Nab
Grey Heron - one south over the reserve

Just a handful of Silver Y and yesterday's Mullein Wave relocated after it went awol in the toilet!

Friday, 6 September 2013

tomorrows event

The weather is a bit unpredictable. Therefore we cannot promise any early arrivals that there will be e.g. any ringing to watch. Early arrivals will probably be taken out on a short migrant search before the main event at 0900hrs. Please meet at Heysham NR car park at 0900hrs for the main event, not by the mast. Thanks Things are looking good weather-wise for the main event at 0900hrs but it was not possible to recce the outfalls and area at the correct time the last two days, so fingers crossed for plenty of the known quantities still being around and maybe an odd extra like a Black Tern

Spotted Redshank,Mullein Wave and 2P96 brighten a dull miserable day

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge mid-afternoon dropping tide
Med Gull - 5, including 2P96 ringed by us last spring and a 'winter 'resident'
Spotted Redshank - Juvenile Ocean Edge saltmarsh creek (with an unpublishable awful record shot mobile phone & x 50 fixed telescope lens).  Always scarce and not annual here

Mullein Wave was a good record - quite sporadic here and Treble Bar reached 15 at one of its few Lancs sites where it is in abundance

A varied migration morning

Heysham Obs
Office area
Not bad at all this morning with a good variety on the vis mig including 3 Tree Pipit, c26 Grey Wagtail (12 colour-ringed), Crossbill, Tree Sparrow but just 3 Meadow Pipit and no hirundines until a trickle of Swallows post 1000hrs

Grounded stuff
Included at least 10 Whitethroat and a scattering of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and just the one Willow Warbler

Ocean Edge
A very quick visit to Ocean Edge was too late for the tide but 11 Med Gulls (5 juv/1CY) and a Sandwich Tern were on the rapidly covering Red Nab

Moths Included a Toadflax Pug and Old Lady

Butterflies Included a Painted Lady on the office buddleia and good numbers of albeit rather worn Common Blue - the last decent day for butterflies this year?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

More landbird coverage and the return of the Czech Med

Heysham Obs
The only coastal coverage today was a quick gathering up of an actinic left in the iconic SD36V where the "highlights" were the first records of Parsnip Moth and indeed Square Spot Rustic for the 10km square!

North harbour wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed bird and a 2CY on the railings in true 'winter' mode

Office area and Middleton NR
Grey Wagtail - a decent passage with at least 23 birds south, including flocks of 5 + 4 and 13 colour-ringed (would have been more but for a broken shelf-string at a critical (very early) time!)
Tree Pipit - one south
Swallow - perhaps 200 S, mainly mid-morning onwards
House Martin - 25 S
Goldfinch - at least 15 seeming to be on migration to the south
Meadow Pipit - none
alba Wagtail - 3 south

The office area suggested that it was 'all' leftovers with just three Chiffchaff in residence.   Difficult to judge at Middleton with low single figures of 'new' Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap but 'wetland warbler species' conspicuous by their absence

See above, also 16 Lime-speck Pug and 7 Agonopterix nervosa in the trap.  The office trap held single Magpie, Dark Sword Grass, 8 Silver Y and the usual stuff included half a dozen Treble Bar

The census included four Small Copper together in the heathland area

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Making the best of a poor morning's weather

Heysham Obs
Quite a stiff westerly this morning was a bit of a surprise as I left home in still & murky conditions hoping for a few migrants.  'We have got up so we'll go through the motions' was the sentiment and the results were not too bad given the low expectation

Outfalls/Red Nab
Very short visit
Med Gull - 13, including 6 juveniles including a 'new' bird with a white darvic.  One of them is well-advanced into 1st winter plumage
Little Egret - 1

Office area
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE, three of them colour-ringed
Tree Pipit - one SE
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE
House Martin - c20 S
Swallow - 2 S
Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff - one of each ringed were the only new warblers
Sparrowhawk - young female ringed
Chaffinch - a bird ringed elsewhere - X887 - I think we may have had this before

Monday, 2 September 2013

Disappointing apart from a few grounded migrants

Heysham Obs
Sometimes a quick whizz round connects with everything and you can get on with some work.  On other occasions it doesn't happen and the 2 hours put in over the neap tide this morning were some of the worst returns this year

Coastal areas 0830-1030
Robin - three migrants in the willow herb along the south wall, one on the north wall 'mound'
Whitethroat - one in the south harbour willow herb
Wheatear - two in sandworks, one OE foreshore
Med Gull - 11 seen (3 juvs, 3 2CY, one 3CY, rest adult or sleeping partially-obscured adult-type).  Split between the harbour mouth and red nab
Bird spp - a warblerish thing shot out of the south harbour willow herb into the power station and was brownish with a rather rounded tail.  'Not a Dunnock' was about as far as the id got in about 1.5 seconds viewing

No sign of  Bonaparte's or Little Gull

Absolute zero on the sea in 30 mins 0830-0900

Best were a Tawny Speckled Pug and an unusual September Cabbage

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Earlyish morning whizz round

Heysham Obs
Sorry for the late info - in a bit of a rush, then changed cars and left my phone in mine so the B. Gull did not get pagered at a helpful time.

Along the shore sites 0850ish to 0920ish
Bonaparte's Gull - in the harbour then flew towards outfalls
Little Gull - sat on sea
Med Gull - at least 6 on Red Nab but could have been double that - just one quick sweep
Common Tern - Juv Red Nab

Seawatching for two hours early afternoon
Arctic Skua - dark morph out
Gannet - c12
Fulmar - 2
Med Gull - c10 noted loafing around

First Pink-barred Sallow of the autumn plus Frosted Orange which is not common here