Thursday, 31 October 2013

Couldnt stomach the Gem

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Vis mig to the fore and returning Purple Sandpiper

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

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

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Firecrest still

Heysham Obs

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

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

14 Whooper Swan
165 Pink-footed Goose

Feathered Thorn

Monday, 28 October 2013

Firecrest still present but mobile and Black Redstart nearby

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

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

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


December Moth

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Firecrest in the harbour willowherb!

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

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

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

Silver Y and two Feathered Thorn

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Silver Y

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 25 October 2013

More exercise less vis

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Clear moonlit morning fare

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

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

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

One Twite at the north harbour wall with c30 Linnet

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Shag in the harbour

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

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

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

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

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

5 Snipe and a Jack Snipe

A new bulb has been installed!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Finchy vis between the fronts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 21 October 2013

Pre-frontal flurry

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

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

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

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

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

3 Feathered Thorn and 2 Light brown apple moth

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Better coverage, more reward

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

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

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

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


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Dead early morning

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

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

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

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

Friday, 18 October 2013

Gull and Goldcrests

Today's posting is from Jean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 17 October 2013

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Twite Information & Request for Sighting Reports

From this autumn onwards a new colour system will be used for Twite captured at Heysham Harbour that will uniquely identify individual birds.

The combination for this winter will be:  Right Leg below tarsal joint – Pale Blue over BTO Metal,  Left Leg below tarsal joint – White with dark engraved number between 1 and 99.  (The Pale Blue ring is the SITE colour for Heysham).
Sightings of colours only will be attributable to Site and Season, but individuals will be identifiable too if the numbers can be read (by telescope, digital camera etc).
Twite are a tricky species to check for colour rings with their short legs often concealed.  For any sightings of coastal Lancashire flocks, please try and concentrate on a quick check of ringed/unringed ratios and then the colour rings, with emphasis on the single colour rings. 

There may also still be birds with a metal ring on the right leg and two colour rings on the left, one a single colour, the other a two-colour striped. These will be birds ringed in previous seasons under the original scheme.

There may be plenty of Twite with Pale Blue site rings around between Knott End and Heysham, but also birds wearing other site colours e.g. YELLOW that is the site colour for birds ringed at Askam in Furness.

All records are important so please send any sightings to Alan (see contacts in right sidebar).
Thanks very much.                                                                                                   ajd

Red-throated Diver and the first autumnal Twite provide the interest

Heysham Obs
The early morning was ok if you are into poetry or fancy cloud names as the sky was filled by orangy red dappled things instead of the hoped for "clear sky meets clear-cut frontal edge at dawn"

Another colour-ringed Grey Wagtail seems to be taking up residence at Seaforth Nature reserve and has been seen there twice this last week.  Thanks to Chris Gregson.

Vis mig dawn to 1030
Redwing - 25
Song thrush - 3
Grey Wagtail - 1 (definitely a SE-bound high migrant)
Chaffinch - 93
Brambling - one in the half light - presumed just one
Meadow Pipit - 27
alba Wagtail - 50
Goldfinch - 29
Mistle Thrush - 2
Carrion Crow - 7
Sparrowhawk - 2 high to south together
Pink-footed Goose - 6
Reed Bunting - 1
Bullfinch - 3
Dunnock - 1
Jay - 1
Red-throated Diver - c0830: one appeared from 'over' the power station, turned north, then turned round, gained height and headed inland to the north-east and was a dot when last seen.  Seemed to be moulting out of summer plumage.  Unprecedented behaviour in autumn

Med Gull - Czech adult and unringed adult north wall
Twite - one on glasswort on Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Linnet- 27 on nyger seed on north wall along with a male Chaffinch
Little Egret - one Red Nab
No sign (predictably) of any terns

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Open-morning fare

Heysham Obs
A wet early morning at home with low cloud looked promising, but the skies cleared at Halton and, even further west, the Heysham fare was very much the clear sky variety. Not a bad morning however with dogs making a significant contribution in a "positive" and definitely negative way.  Pretty impressive for ringing with good numbers of Wrens, a few new Robins, quite a few finches and a surprising three Tree Sparrow..............but you didn't have the "feeling" of anything Scandinavian/Siberian being around with e.g. all the new Robins being Christmas-card red and the Wrens most definitely from this side of the north sea.  Similarly, very few thrushes.  Top bird during good coverage was a Snow Bunting.

Thanks very much to Skokholm for sending the Grey Wagtail pictures from yesterday

Vis mig on and off until 0930
Chaffinch - at least 61
Greenfinch - unknown but captures suggested quite a bit of movement (30 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 16
Redwing - 25
alba Wagtail - 17
Jackdaw - 9
Rook - 5 with above
Carrion Crow - 4+36
Reed Bunting - 4
Rock Pipit - 2

Wren - quite a few including 4 migrants on the mound
Chiffchaff - 1
Thrushes - virtually none
Tree Sparrow - three ringed at the feeder (flock)

Coastal stuff
Snow Bunting - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh shingle, then flushed by dog and flew towards the OE to Potts corner
Rock Pipit - one north wall
Arctic Tern - juv Red Nab then out to sea
'Commic' Tern - juv with above - probably Common - flew out to sea
Wigeon - 81
Med Gull - just one adult seen!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Slightly better west coast scraps and a message from Skokholm

Heysham Obs
A few interesting things happened this morning and we haven't really given the site any legwork coverage as yet (will have to be after work).  The best was a text message from Skokholm to say they had today seen and photographed a Grey Wagtail we ringed here on 4th October - virtually our last passage bird of the autumn.  Simplistically pushed west by the easterlies?  Thanks to Skokholm for contacting us promptly and a pic will be on their blogsite this evening.  Reminds me of one of my most embarrassing birding moments.  I was on Cape Clear many years ago checking mist nets in Cotters and a really nice elderly gentleman asked if he could do some ringing.  I asked if he had a ringing permit.  He then introduced himself.  Ronald Lockley.  I doubt if he had ever been asked that question before! Ooops.  If anyone from Skokholm is reading this, please could you tell me how to get in touch on line - couldn't find any 'comment' option on the blogsite or a contact email! 

Vis Mig dawnish to 1000hrs (thrushes north, rest south unless indicated)
Crossbill - four circled over the office then headed north-west at 0830 (cam from SE?)
Yellowhammer - two identical silhouettes headed south at 0820 and the only call was this species.  I think this may be the first non-singleton for here of what is a scarcity on a par with black reds and yellow-brows.
Redwing - 142
alba Wagtail - 9
Meadow Pipit - 18
Chaffinch - 127
Goldfinch - 16
Siskin- two separate 'heard'
Mistle Thrush - 2
Bullfinch - 2

Redwing - only about 30 grounded at dawn - flew inland in half-light
Blackbird - very few - c6
Song Thrush - 8 - all flew inland
Goldcrest - 3 by office early on

Outfalls/Red Nab
Arctic Tern - juvenile flew in from out to sea at height & landed on Red Nab at 0900hrs
Med Gull - 4 Red Nab
Shelduck - 244
Wigeon - 68

Middleton late afternoon 'thrash' -western end only
Ring Ouzel - presumably the same female/imm seen twice (in different areas) within the scrub on the high part
Chiffchaff - minimum of 6, 4 with tit flock
Goldcrest - at least 5
Blackcap - female
Didn't cover the duck ponds

Thrush at Heysham Harbour

Sunday, 13 October 2013

West coast scraps

Heysham Obs
For various reasons the coverage was not very attentive this morning, especially early vis mig. More 'how do you get to the hide' this morning - thanks Mr Miles!

Vis mig dawnish to about 1000
Redwing - 77
Fieldfare - 5
Mistle Thrush - 6
Brambling - 1
alba Wagtail - 30
Chaffinch - 107
Meadow Pipit - 6
Siskin - 5
Redpoll spp - 1
Skylark - 5
Goldfinch - 16

Blackbird - c20
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - 1
Song  Thrush - 6
Stonechat - 1 female - chased off by Robin

Blair's Shoulder Knot for the second night running - different individual and 5 other 'usual' species, including Large Wainscot

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Dawn then dead as regards thrush movements

Heysham Obs
Plenty of birds first thing and very little difference between today's and yesterdays weather other than the wind being less gusty.................but the on-going passage of Redwing and Fieldfare was certainly not via the corridor between the coast and the Morecambe-Middleton road

Vis/grounded dawnish to 1130hrs
Redwing - 199, almost all grounded birds heading inland at or soon after dawn
Song Thrush - at least 8 as above
Blackbird - c15 as above, possibly more
alba Wagtail - 16
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Chaffinch - 42
Meadow Pipit - 5
Skylark - 2
Coal Tit - 4
Robin - 4 unringed birds, one very light weight

Mound/north wall
Robin - three orange-coloured migrants being hemmed into the end of the mound by a red-breasted resident
Lesser Redpoll - one with Linnets
Reed Bunting - one in sandworks
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 3 grounded
Linnet - 15

Quite a flurry after yesterdays blank

Friday, 11 October 2013

More Redwing eventually get going

Heysham Obs
Thanks very much to Andrew Cornall this morning.  Invaluable coverage as the rest of us had to go and do other things, one of them unscheduled.  So sorry you were left on your own with tricky multi-height Redwing passing north on both the seaward and landward sides.  Single observer concentration on the landward side movements was the only sensible option, but inevitably some were missed on the other side

Vis mig dawnish to 1200hrs
Redwing - 4,125 north (see above), a majority after 0935 and virtually none between the dawn birds (c200) and 0900.  Then a further 780 in the evening (or noticed that they had started again in the evening on a reserve circuit) - including high straggling flock of 420 -all still heading north although the last 25 landed in the tank farm = 4,905 recorded during the day will little/no observation 1200-1700
Fieldfare - 111 (none in evening flurry)
Mistle Thrush - 14
Chaffinch - 50
alba Wagtail - 10
Blackbird - 20+ at dawn, just the one high-flying migrant
Meadow Pipit - 29
Goldfinch - 7
Siskin - 9
Pink-footed Goose - 13
Whooper Swan - 3+9

Blackbird - see above, but zero left by evenng
Song Thrush - 5
Goldcrest - 3
Chiffchaff - 1
Water Rail - 1

Med Gull - 2 ad & 2 x 2CY

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Redwings and thermals

Heysham Obs
A late start but, for a change, this may not have missed a great deal as the Redwing passage seemed to increase in intensity after about 0900hrs

Vis mig 0815-1300hrs
Redwing - 5,632 - most of the movement west or north-west 'out to sea'
Fieldfare - 1 (first of autumn)
Chaffinch - 137
Siskin - 1
Meadow Pipit - 26
Coal Tit - 2
Pink-footed Goose - heard + 22
Common Buzzard - two from the south-west - one headed north, the other east
Kestrel - one east, one blogging
Linnet - 7
Skylark - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2 but both registrations may have been the ringed bird doing the rounds
alba Wagtail - just 2
Goldfinch - 17
Carrion Crow - flock of 6
Green finch - at least 9 perceived to be migrating
Greylag - two south

2 Chiffchaff and at least 3 Song Thrush

North wall
17 Linnet ringed

2 Pink-barred Sallow

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Frustrating Day

Heysham Obs
A bit of a frustrating day bird-wise with most of the plaudits at the moment going to a significant arrival of migrant moths where last night was most definitely the last chance weather-wise.
So the Millhouses trap was emptied early at the expense of early vis mig (one Vestal) and the Sunderland trap emptied later in the morning (Delicate, Rusty Dot Pearl, sev Rush Veneer).
In between times the Heysham trap was emptied(just Rush Veneer).

The outfalls and mound were visited, but in retrospect the wrong way round.  The very distant (from Ocean Edge foreshore) seaward end of Heysham One outfall held an interesting seemingly adult gull with rather contrasting grey/white upper wing, relevant size and white underwings.  Bonaparte's?
Unfortunately a Stena Line ferry then loomed past the wooden jetty with a long pure-white side and the gulls were completely lost against this background and the bird could not be relocated as it 'probably' followed the ferry and shifting the car also meant the scope was affected by wind-shake.
Annoying - could have nailed this on way or the other if I'd been on the 'other side' looking from the north wall. So a 'no claim' but 'keep a look out'.  Interestingly it last appeared during rough seas and a westerly sector wind.  No time to check later in the tide on Red Nab.

Med Gull - at least 4 adults, one 2CY

Goldcrest - 2 by office
Meadow Pipit - 11 mound, 7 Ocean Edge foreshore

Vis mig
Only managed 0915-0945ish
Chaffinch - 23
Goldfinch - 7
Meadow Pipit - 1

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Retrap Grey Wagtail and Scarce Bordered Straw surprise

Heysham Obs
A mundane day today with two notable exceptions, a rare moth and an unexpected retrap Grey Wagtail.  A bit of early morning ringing saw one of the presumed passage Grey Wagtail ringed on 9/9/13 retrapped and obviously the bird which has been doing the rounds in the last week or so (and obviously prior to that!)

Vis mig 0745-0930
Chaffinch - 73
Meadow Pipit - 2
Goldfinch - 8
alba Wagtail - 10
Three Bullfinch flew high to  the north

At least one Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest

Inshore at high tide Ocean Edge
Med Gull - two adult
Little Egret- 1
Grey Heron - 2

The first record of Scarce Bordered Straw was perhaps overdue at this coastal site

Monday, 7 October 2013

Chaffinches struggle through some inclement weather

Heysham Obs
The most likely new species for here at the moment seems to be glossy ibis but a prolonged scrutiny of the coastal areas predictably failed.  The early morning routine was a bit unproductive and the nets were quickly taken down as the wind became unacceptable.  No mega migrants in the moth trap, but double-figures of Silver Y.

Vis mig office dawnish to 0900
Chaffinch - 167
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 0!
alba Wagtail - 32
Grey Wagtail - 1
Song Thrush - 3+1+2
Goldfinch - 7
Reed Bunting - 1

Chiffchaff - no more than 4-5
Goldcrest - 3
Blackbird - just one or two perceived extras

Inshore Ocean Edge area
Med Gull - 2 x 1CY, 1 x 2CY, 2 x Ad
Shelduck - 402 visible - mostly distant to south
Bar-tailed Godwit - at least 950
Grey Plover - at least 350
Rock Pipit - 1

11 Silver Y and a very late Square Spot Rustic of note

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Well worth a morning visit despite unpromising weather

Heysham Obs

Not at all birdless despite the unpromising weather synopsis, notably the starry night

Vis mig
0745-0945 plus a bit of casual observation earlier and later
Steady passage of Chaffinch which continued throughout the morning and appearance of cloud cover. The following from the two hour count period:
Chaffinch - 308
Meadow Pipit - just 10
Bullfinch - 1+ 3 high to south
Goldfinch - 36 (inc flock 22)
Redwing - c200 from NE at 0650hrs which circled over power station before heading mainly SE, hen 9 dropped into bushes along the eastern side of reserve, then a ?singleton heard
Grey Heron - 1
alba Wagtail - only 10
Pink-footed Goose - 4+24
Sparrowhawk - two singletons high to south (also seen Sunderland?)
Swallow - 3 (flock)
Blackbird one high inland
Reed Bunting - 2
Greenfinch - 7
Carrion Crow - 4
Raven - 2
Linnet - 3
Jackdaw - 2 (first of autumn - rare here!)
Dunnock 2
Siskin - 2                        
Chiffchaff - at least 6 and again the trapped ones (2 ) were unringed  suggesting some new arrivals
Goldcrest - at least 2
Blackbird - c20
Song Thrush - c5
Blackcap - 2
33 birds, mainly Chaffinch, but including a Blackcap and two Chiffchaff
Absolutely dire!  A visit to Ocean Edge did not even record any Little Egret or Meds, despite a fair number of gulls around.  Horses splashing in the incoming tide off Potts Corner/Shorefields caravan site disturbed over 10,000 waders - apparently this is to "get the horses used to walking in the sea" which is at least one better than riding them along the highly dangerous rat-run between Slyne and Halton 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Westerly fare and a few leftovers

Heysham Obs
There is a possibility that the YBW is still present - whilst clearing a mist net ride in mid-afternoon - heard a distant call which sounded the part from the tall trees fringing the golf course or just over the road in the eastern NR woodland.  The key word is 'possibility' as couldn't trace it or hear a repeat call

Vis mig dawnish until 0930hrs
Grey Wagtail - 3
Chaffinch - 133
Meadow Pipit - just 10 but a few casually noted after 0930
Pink-footed Goose - 6 and a flock of  'c300' about 0950hrs
Dunnock - 2 high-fliers
Goldfinch - 5
Greenfinch - 2
Skylark - 1!
Starling - flock of 4 high to SW

Difficult to know what to make of the Chiffchaffs -we have not had any retraps, nor seen any ringed birds in the filed and the impression again this morning was of birds on the move with at least 4 passing through by the office
Coal Tit - 6
Goldcrest - small arrival with at least 5 although one was surprisingly a retrap from over a week ago
Wheatear - at least 2

Little Gull - adult following ferry
Med Gull - at least 4
Little Egret - 2 Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Scarce Bordered Straw at nearby Sunderland, but just Silver Y on the migrant front in the office trap plus actinic

Song Thrush influx 4th October

This looks like being the last day for a bit for any night migrants from the east - at least we managed to tick the Yellow-browed Warbler box but more obliging individuals(s) would have been gratefully received

Vismig 0710-1010
Meadow Pipit 330 Grey Wagtail 4 Song Thrush 54 Redwing 2+9 alba wagtail 50 Siskin x1 heard Chaffinch 67 Brambling 1 Pink-footed Goose - 1 flock heard Linnet 4

A walk round the reserve 0955-1045
Chiffchaff 5, Robin 23, Blackbird 9, Song Thrush 11, Mistle Thrush 1 Long-tailed Tit 2 flocks 1x7, 1x11, Blue tit 8, Great Tit 8, Wren 6, Greenfinch 6, Goldfinch 7, Bullfinch 1, Treecreeper 1, Carrion Crow 3, Magpie 3, Moorhen 2.

September ringing totals are quite interesting. Following the lack of Willow Warblers in August, September saw a similarly rather inexplicable absence of Goldcrest. Flocks of tits were also conspicuously absent, as were passage Reed Bunting. Grey Wagtail passage, on the other hand, was very good. The following were ringed: Swallow (161), Greenfinch (84), Grey Wagtail (76), Goldfinch (40), Robin (34), Blue Tit (27), Chiffchaff (25), Meadow Pipit (18), Chaffinch (16), Blackcap (14), Dunnock (14), Whitethroat (13), Great Tit (10), Long-tailed Tit (8), Blackbird (6), Wren (6), Coal Tit (3), Goldcrest (3), Sedge Warbler (3), Bullfinch (3), Willow Warbler (2), Reed Warbler (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Reed Bunting (1) 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Heysham Head Yellow-browed Warbler

Heysham Obs
One was heard calling three times in the Sycamore canopy at the north-west end of Heysham Head at 0915hrs but the situation, as far as we know, on the reserve was limited to a single possible/probable call

Vig mig until 1215hrs (thanks Bryan)
Blackbird - 3 inland
Song Thrush - 15 inland
alba Wagtail - 63 SE
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Meadow Pipit - 62 SE
Chaffinch - 162 S
Goldfinch - 71 S
Swallow - 2 SE
Siskin - 3 SE
Skylark - 4 SE
Greenfinch - 7 S
Bullfinch - 2+3 S
Kestrel - 2 together high to SE

Apart from a few thrushes, all the rest could have been leftovers with at least 10 Chiffchaff and 4 Goldcrest.  See above re-YBW

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wigeon - 85
Med Gull - 2 x 1CY, 1 x 2CY, 4 ad - one adult later on model boat pond

Moths another zero with the wind straight into the window.  One of the two actinics had 3 x Straw Dot, one Light Brown Apple Moth and one I cannot remember!  3 Silver Y noted

Red Admiral - 8 (inc 4 south), Speckled Wood 10+, Large White 1 south, Small White - 2 south, Peacock 1

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A gradually improving day

Heysham Obs
Awful first thing - no ringing and no vis and the latter just did not get going at all today other than a few albas.  A big fat Garden Warbler the best of the 'new' arrivals and the Yellow-browed Warbler gave occasional sequences of calls and one excellent view, but not when the visiting hordes were about at lunchtime!

Vis mig 0715-0815
alba Wagtail - 25 SE, probably a function of a nearby ex-roost but definitely on 'vis'
Meadow Pipit - 1
Chaffinch - 18

Chiffchaff - at least 15, including 7 trailing a large tit flock
Yellow-browed Warbler - one NE corner but generally elusive - showed well late morning
Garden Warbler -one nature park
Blackcap - male nature park - pished out with the above -surprisingly no others around
Coal Tit - 5 with big tit flock
Song Thrush - at least 6

Linnet - 35 north wall
Med Gull - 5 adults, one 2CY
Wigeon - 77
Shelduck - 144
Rock Pipit - one OE
Kestrel (Heysham nature reserve)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Oh ye of little faith

Heysham Obs
"Progressive deterioration in migration corridor"  was todays original headline.  Straight afterwards, a circuit of the nature reserve was enthused by at least three chiffchaffs around the dipping pond and three further individuals in the NE marsh.  Then a Yellow-browed Warbler called twice as I passed through the gorse.  A backtrack revealed brief views as it moved through some hawthorn above ivy.  Then it disappeared and called further to the left.  Later it called a few times and then about 1510hrs showed in the top of a willow for a minute or so with most of the views being of underparts and the head pattern.  More vis today ahead of what looked like a band of quite organised cloud which reached here about 0830hrs.  Dawn was crystal clear with a fresh SE wind.  This depression to the SW is a pain - in many circumstances it would have filled by now and given us a decent light easterly airflow and a bit of murk.  Instead it has stayed and formed a pressure gradient and clear conditions, especially first thing this morning.  The other thing is the high is now developing into a 'ball' over southern Scandinavia, blocking stuff from north Scandinavia.  This was written prior to discovering the YBW: "Therefore we have a situation which might be ok for the odd Firecrest or Black Redstart but is increasingly looking poor for any more Yellow-browed Warbler and unfortunately sending many of the hundreds leaving the northern isles out into the Atlantic".

Vis mig dawnish to about 1030hrs
Chaffinch - 148 S
Meadow Pipit - 283 SE
alba Wagtail - 83 SE
Swallow - one gang of 11 SE
Pink-footed Goose - 2+69 SE
Grey Wagtail - 6 SE
Goldfinch - 9 S
Dunnock - 1+2 S
Siskin - 4 S
Linnet - 1 S
Raven - 2 high to the north

Yellow-browed Warbler - NE corner of nature reserve mid/late afternoon at least but elusive in dense vegetation although calling reasonably regularly (& Pete Cook, Janet Packham, Jean Roberts).  Obviously no idea whether this was the same as two days ago but it was behaving as though it had a circuit
Wheatear - 1 north wall
Chiffchaff - at least 9 Heysham NR
Goldcrest - at least 4

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Wigeon - 51
Med Gull - 5 adults
Little Egret - 1

Comma -  5 together NE corner
Red Admiral - at least 15, most seeming to fly south
Speckled Wood - at least 30
Small White - 5
Small Tortoiseshell - 3
Peacock - 1
Silver Y - 6