Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Nothing new in lengthy coverage

Heysham Obs
Thanks to Malcolm and John respectively for todays efforts

Middleton/coastal south of harbour
Had a long walk today, nothing exciting. Main ponds on MNR are all  frozen,
except for  SE corner of boating pond.
9 mute (2 adult)
11 moorhen
13 mallard
2 tufted
61 teal (on Tim Butler ice)
1 reed bunting
1 bull finch

Cold snap seems to have concentrated shore birds, all shelduck (102) and lapwing
(69) were roosting on mud in front of OE salt marsh. 113 wigeon either side of
No 1 outflow.
Also on OE, 1 grey plover and c30 linnet.

2 little egret on Red Nab.

Hundreds of BHGs on outflows. No sign of shag in harbour.

North wall
Med Gull - adult
Twite - up to 6 on feeder lunchtime with 5 retraps, 3 from 29/1/14, including a pair ringed together and caught next to each other today, and two older birds
Linnet - perhaps surprisingly at this stage of the year, 5/7 caught were unringed
Goldfinch - just four unringed birds caught and many retraps  

Monday, 29 December 2014

Cold and frosty finches

Heysham Obs
Just a few odds and ends on the north harbour wall this morning and afternoon.  In the morning, 26 finches were caught and included 10 unringed Goldfinch, 2 unringed Linnet and three Twite comprising one ringed in autumn 2011, the other two in autumn 2012.  The afternoon saw 13 Twite on the seed

Friday, 26 December 2014

Half a whistle stop

Heysham Obs
Czech-ringed med Gull north wall
Twite - minimum 9 north wall but flighty - didn't seem to be any food left

I wont be at Heysham at all for the rest of this year, so blog entries very welcome.  Thanks.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Whistle stop

Heysham obs
Ad Czech-ringed med gull north wall - the only one around at the moment?
Twite - 11 on seed plus c35 other finches

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Chiffchaff, Jack Snipe and Shag top the bill

Heysham Obs
Did a full circuit today. Some interesting, if not spectacular, sightings:
11 mute. I new adult causing particularly un-festive ructions.
10 moorhen (all but 1 in field adjacent to Tim Butler)
6 mallard
2 tufted
60+ teal counted on water (Tim Butler pond)
1 meadow pipit
1 chiffchaff (seen only)
I grey wagtail ringed. Hard to pick colours, as every time I got close a blackbird moved the wagtail on. Pretty sure right leg was red over white. There was something on left leg, whatever it was, it was pale.  This wintering bird was ringed on 20th September and seen on 16th November
OE Salt Marsh 1 hour before high tide.
4 RB Merganser
23 linnet
1 reed bunting
5 common snipe
2 jack snipe
The only thing along South Wall, apart from mountainous waves and BHGs was a single Pink Foot struggling in waves. It seemed to be waterlogged.
1CY shag by waterfall in harbour (almost eye level at times!).
Malcolm Downham

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Nothing new in the wind

Heysham obs
Purple sandpiper - heliport seawall
Med gull - ad fishers roof
Shag - 1cy with four cormorant by waterfall in hour
Twite - at least three north wall with c40 finches

Monday, 22 December 2014

Finches but no Twite

North Harbour Wall

Adult Med Gull
30 Finches at feeding station.
20 Goldfinch
10 Linnets
also a Robin.
36 Ringed Plover on helipad at high tide


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Winter routine

Heysham obs
Shag - 1cy harbour
Med gull - ad seaward end Heysham one outfall
Little gull - ad out in boat channel off Heysham one outfall

One winter moth and one mottled umber

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Shag still present

Heysham Obs
Shag - 1CY by the harbour waterfall with Great crested Grebe
Snipe - 10 OE saltmarsh
Linnet - c36 OE saltmarsh

Friday, 19 December 2014

Ringing recovery coincidences

Heysham Obs
A nice set of ringing recoveries have just come through, all involving birds ringed at Middleton Nature reserve this autumn.  All 1CY.

1) Chiffchaff ringed on 2/10 caught at Hungerford, Berkshire on 7/10 304km SSE

2) Chiffchaff ringed (next ring number!) on 2/10 caught West Bexington, Dorset on 12/10  373km S

3) Reed Bunting female ringed on 3/9 caught on the Fleet, not far from the above, Dorset on 30/10 - a notable movement of 381km S

4) Willow Warbler ringed on 2/7 caught at Queen Mary Reservoir, Surrey on 7/8 - 332km SSE

5) Whitethroat ringed on 8/8 caught at Haxton Down, Wiltshire on 31/8 318km SSE

These were the only recoveries affecting Heysham Obs other than a Walney to Heysham Chaffinch and were amazingly similar in terms of quality and distance - no 'down the road' Greenfinch etc. in this lot!  

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Never too late to find a mate

Heysham obs
The highlight of the first daylight visit I can remember without seeing a bird was a pair of December moth which, despite its name are usually done and dusted by now.

Mottled umber, winter moth, dark chestnut and a pair of December moth
Nearby an actinic catch in the lune valley included 1,164 mottled umber!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Moth weather again

Heysham Obs
A very brief visit this afternoon saw

Moth trap
Parsnip Moth and Mottled Umber in the trap

North Harbour Wall
Brief visit mid afternoon just produced on the seed
4 Linnets
11 Goldfinch
2 Dunnock
1 Robin
1 Chaffinch


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Heysham Obs
North wall feeder:
Goldfinch   17
Linnet        13
Chaffinch     1
Twite           3
Dunnock      1
Robin           1

Monday, 15 December 2014

Hardly Worth Posting?

Heysham NH Wall

A brief visit to put down nyger seed late morning saw only:

Linnet - 10
Goldfinch - 4
Twite - 1


Hopefully some more sightings later?

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Not a lot on a grotty day

Heysham Obs
First of all, the time has arrived where there will be little coverage from at least three regular observers for the rest of this year.  Please text me if you have anything worth publishing on the blog 07532433043.  Thanks.

Shag - 1CY reportedly on wooden jetty mid-pm
Med Gull - ad Fisher's roof
Ringed Plover - 21 on shore just south of Ocean Edge

A late finish produced one umber spp, presumed Mottled, on the reserve road and two Winter Moth along the SD45 section of Moneyclose Lane and one Winter Moth along the SD46 section.  Worth checking the trap tomorrow

Routine stuff on a nice day

Heysham Obs
The flat calm morning sea held no surprises and there was no time for a Chiffchaff search on the reserve otherwise the area was well-covered today (thanks Malcolm & Kevin)

North wall
Shag - 1CY wooden jetty mid/late pm
Twite - up to 5
Reed Bunting - 1
Chaffinch - 2
Med Gull - adult
Great-crested Grebe - one in harbour

Middleton NR
9 mute (7 1CY)
1 coot
1 moorhen
4 tufted
2 mallard
4 gadwall
62 teal (most counted in flight at one time, there were more I'm sure)
5 common snipe
1 heron

Ocean edge
c30 linnet
4 reed bunting (together)

Red Nab
Just 2 little egret

Friday, 12 December 2014

One good bird leads to another

Heysham Obs
A Little Auk flew in with a Redshank towards the heliport seawall and then landed on the water.  It remained for five minutes before flying out past the Near Naze towards the harbour entrance.........just before the camera arrived (1238-1242).  Found by Tom Walkington, who was here looking for the Glaucous Gull and I was fortunate to be next to him monitoring dog walkers and, as such, could quite easily have missed this bird.

Inshore sightings
Little Auk - see above
Med Gull - adult along north wall
Purple Sandpiper - single noted on the heliport/half moon bay corner rocks with Dunlin and Turnstone well before the tide, so maybe feeding on the increasingly stony lower beach there.  Presumably roosted/was disturbed from roosting.  This sadly included an elderly gentleman who made two visits with his dog along the top of the heliport seawall disturbing the whole roost which included stopping and staring at the monitoring process i.e. my car & protruding scope, which I assume he mistook for/objected to a video camera.  Unfortunately our presence may have therefore influenced his behaviour, the nature of  which I must not make comment, and prompted the second visit.  Unfortunately difficult to remain neutral and invisible!
Kittiwake - adult Heysham two outfall for a short period
Shag - 1CY north harbour wall late afternoon (thanks Derek)
Very few large gulls around today but...........

Yesterday's Glaucous Gull was reported around the outfalls 1030-1100 and apparently also independently at 1100hrs

A family party of five European Whitefronts visible from the Golden Ball 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Glaucous gull and genitalia

Heysham obs
Decent compensation for the wind being too far (just) to the north of west to produce any amount of seabird bonuses to an all day survey of the intertidal

A classic example of the disadvantage of sitting in a hide, in this case a car this morning. In position to scan the shore off Ocean Edge when a Glaucous Gull flew low to the north over the grass behind me.  Fortunately had received a phone call from Jean, surveying further to the south where it had gone 'in front' of her........otherwise would definitely have missed it within 150m 'behind' the field of view.  Thanks Jean!   It flew over the nature park and then over the Nature reserve, quite low, and was then lost as it headed for the Half Moon Bay area.  Not seen subsequently but the only proper coverage, due to the survey, was of gulls on the outfalls/using the updraught of the Power Stations - to join these it would have had to 'back-track'

The second major news for the last three days was a new species of moth for Lancashire at Middleton NR looking like this:

This was found on Middleton Nature reserve (or the whole moth was) on 30th August 2014 and genitalia examination is the only way to be certain of the identification.  This is a lengthy process and there is a stored backlog which can be caught up  with during the long winter nights! Thanks to Justine and Nigel 

Ocean Edge area
Glaucous Gull - see above - juvenile north at 0845 (when first seen just south of the recording area)-0850 (over Ocean Edge).  Marginally but obviously larger than accompanying Herring Gulls with a lengthy dark-tipped 'pink' bill, 'deeper chested' appearance and slower wingbeats
Little Gull - adult seaward end Heysham one outfall first thing only
Kittiwake - 1CY as Little Gull, then at least two adults behind freight ferry at about 1420hrs
Interestingly the mudflats were completely deserted by the usual wide scatter of Curlew making the work rather easier than usual!
Med Gull - adult seaward end Heysham one outfall first thing

10th December
Little Gull - adult far offshore during very brief seawatch
Shag - juv along north harbour wall
Med Gull - Fisher's roof roost
Twite - at least one

9th December
Nothing of any note reported

Monday, 8 December 2014

More Webs bits

Heysham Obs
Cleaning up the gaps on the WeBS count included:

Shag - 1CY wooden jetty (& 58 Cormorant)
Purple Sandpiper - rocks at base of heliport seawall
Little Gull - adult off outfalls
Med Gull - yesterdays adult Fisher's roof

This must be the longest ever time period here without a Kittiwake - makes the species account for the annual report easier - usually a complex and numerous pain in the xxxx.  Behind the lunchtime IOM ferry tomorrow should break the duck? 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Half a webs and a few twite

Heysham Obs
More paperwork, punctuated by a half WeBS count to coincide with the Sunday Middleton counter, whereas the Morecambe prom bit will be done tomorrow to coincide with the RSPB effort (hope they didn't do it on Friday!)

Med Gull - ad, not the Czech bird, on Fisher's roof
Little Gull - ad in the surf off Red Nab
Ringed Plover - 28 on heliport until flushed (Turnstone/Redshank flock already flushed)
Twite - two on the north wall seed and another 5 on fence
Linnet - 16 on seed
Goldfinch - 17 on seed (or the other way round with Linnet - forgot to write down!)

No time to either seawatch or check/count the Cormorants

Winter Moth in trap

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Merlin again the star

Female Merlin harbour entrance area the only sighting of note today. Thanks Malcolm

Friday, 5 December 2014

No sightings today but please read R.F.I.

Heysham Obs
The reason for posting is to draw attention to a request of the LDBWS site for any help contacting two photographers whose pics of a putative Red-flanked Bluetail along the Allen Pool path (Wednesday) were seen by at least one birder and e.g. the eye-ring noted (in same frame as a Robin).  Unfortunately they disappeared without reporting their sighting to the Leighton reception and without giving contact details.  Can you help please in the next few weeks if you do happen to come across them e.g. as a result of conversation in a hide somewhere.  Thanks. 

Fence time

Heysham Obs
Some fencing work next to the office means the office feeding station is no more for a bit - apologies - hope the rats are ok.

Nothing seen today other than 25 mixed Linnet/Goldfinch on the north harbour wall nyger seed

WEDNESDAY news (thanks Justine)
Colour ringed Grey Wagtail Middleton - same as last time
Teal - 50 Tim Butler pond
Gadwall - at least 2
Mallard - 8
Snipe - 4

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Merlin tops the bill

Heysham Obs
Decent numbers of waders south of Ocean Edge today with some nice murmurations (not 'murms' or 'mu's' as per some recent local Starling episodes) including up to 12,000 Knot with c11,000 in one flock mixed in with Dunlin and Barwits.

Individual sightings
Black-tailed Godwit - two around Red Nab for the morning tide
Little Egret - 3-4
Chiffchaff - one by office early on
Pink-footed Goose - good numbers still feeding north of the Lune/roosting as usual on mudflats to south of Lune
Merlin - female for a short time by Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Recent ringing recoveries
A mid-June juvenile Willow Warbler from Middleton NR was at Stanford (somewhere in the middle of the south of the country which catches loads of birds - see BTO blog) in late July and a Sedge Warbler from Middleton NR was caught at Squires Down in Dorset later in the autumn

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Minimal coverage

Heysham Obs
This wont be the case tomorrow!

Med Gull - one on the north harbour wall railings

Monday, 1 December 2014

NH Wall Still Twiteless

Please note that the Reserve entrance gates are still closed to vehicles until further notice. Sorry for any inconvenience. Would anyone parking vehicles outside the gates kindly ensure that access is still maintained for keyholding Wildlife and EDF Energy staff. Thanks very much.

North Harbour Wall
Very damp and chilly breeze. Visit by two observers saw only a small finch flock of 15 birds.
Linnet - 10
Goldfinch - 8

Mediterranean Gull - just the Czech-ringed adult bird seen.

Also around the feeding area, the usual:
Robin - 1
Wren - 1
Pied Wagtail - 2

A single Mottled Umber was the only moth present in the hut trap.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Decent collybita candidate

Heysham Obs
The reserve may be shut for a day or so to vehicle access.  Sorry.  Any postings for the daily blog on Monday and Tuesday gratefully received.

The only sighting of interest today was a calling and plumage-obvious collybita-type Chiffchaff by the dipping pond.  Didn't connect with the LTT flock dragging yesterday's tristis-type around today on a quick walk round the reserve

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Decent Siberian Chiffchaff candidate?

Heysham Obs
Very buff individual with soft Bullfinch-like call x 4 located with LTT flock by office at 1410hrs - headed fairly rapidly towards the dipping pond area

Friday, 28 November 2014

Routine fare

Heysham Obs
...............or take your pick of the 'nothing new' clichés - watch out for "slim pickings" in the near future

Med Gull - ad north wall - Czech ringed
Linnet - 15 north wall feed
Goldfinch - 21 north wall feed

Yesterday there were 2 x Mottled Umber and 1 x Winter Moth, this morning there were two different Mottled Umber

Late news for yesterday:  2 x ad and 2 x juv Whooper Swan on sands off Middleton, also c5500 Knot and 2600 Dunlin

Teal surprise - Thursday 27th

Heysham Obs

A small amount of time spent monitoring dog walkers at Red Nab saw a preliminary visit registering a male Teal - very unusual here unless inland waters frozen

Ad Med Gull north harbour wall and a selection of Linnet/Goldfinch, but no apparent Twite on the seed here

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Dank day delivers

Heysham Obs
...............the commonest bird we just do 'not get here'?  Just the one previous of Nuthatch, which refuses to colonise the 'tasty' Heysham Head, and the second was found by Justine on Middleton NR this afternoon along with "the"? wandering Green Woodpecker

A bit of ring-reading today to knock any accusations of presumptuousness on the head concerning a Med Gull 'with a ring above the tarsus'.  'Ex78' and the word 'Praha' were revealed on the 'metal above tarsus' Med Gull on the north harbour wall - the Czech-ringed veteran which has been present since 2003 outside the breeding season

Chiffchaff by office but could not see the legs to see whether it was yesterday's bird

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

More late migrants

Heysham Obs

Blackcap - female ringed by office

Chiffchaff - one ringed by office

Goldcrest - one ringed by office

Whooper Swan - 3 heading towards Heysham at lunchtime as seen from both Walney and Foulney!

Monday, 24 November 2014

No black tern

Heysham obs
Work related stuff produced

Negative on black tern on outfalls

Purple sandpiper - high tide on heliport seawall in small mixed wader flock

Rock pipit - two ocean edge

Little egret - at least eight Potts corner to Heysham head!

Twite - at least five in 50 mixed finches north harbour wall

Winter moth in trap

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Black tern

Still there this morning

Updates gratefully received for next two days please as we are in uncharted territory as regards latest ever lancs record. Thanks

Also Purple Sandpiper on heliport seawall until disturbed at high tide by dog walkers

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Saturday daytime!

Heysham Obs

Black Tern - still Heysham two outfall at least 0930 and again at least 1315

Shag - juv possibly a new bird in the harbour on stanchion by waterfall

Purple Sandpiper - on heliport seawall until 99% of the birds displaced for the rest of the tidal cycle by a dog walker

Heysham NR
A single mist net round before I had to leave the site produced an unringed Goldcrest and unringed juv female Great Spotted Woodpecker.  This takes the ringing total for the year over 4,000 for the first time and this is with unremarkable numbers of the two most numerous species, Swallow and Greenfinch

Grey Wagtail
The long-stayer at  Connah's Quay, ringed at Middleton in early September, was still there on at least the 19th November

Red Admiral by the office during a sunny midday period 

Black Tern and Purple Sandpiper remain

Heysham Obs
The juvenile Black tern remained on Heysham 2 outfall

The Purple Sandpiper roosted along the heliport seawall at high tide

A Hey Nat reserve circuit produced 3 Redwing and 5 Goldcrest and c20 Blackbird

At least 45 finches on the north wall seed but nothing definite on species composition

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Black Tern remains

Heysham Obs
A few decent sightings today included in this lot:

Black tern - still on Heysham two outfall at least 0830hrs
Pink-footed Goose - 5700 over office at dawn heading for Heysham moss area
Purple Sandpiper - one with a rather mobile group of Turnstone on heliport seawall pre-high tide but seemingly not later
Med Gull - unringed adult north wall
Red-throated Diver - one casually noted offshore
Reed Bunting - one office feeder
Meadow Pipit - 6 heliport
Rock Pipit - one briefly at the near naze

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Most unexpected sighting of the year?

Heysham Obs
More coverage of Red Nab area after yesterday's lengthy session also included a quick check of the outfalls at high tide and there was a small dark thing flying about - obviously a Black Tern spp.

Thanks to Pete Cook

It was soon confirmed as a late juvenile 'niger' and I suppose they do turn during ESE winds.  It is the latest in Lancashire by about a week according to the avifauna.

Red Nab area
Black Tern - one juv
Little Egret - 4
Wigeon - 92
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Better late than never

A good mixed flock of Barwits and Knot have arrived at last and were putting on a good flight show today at Middleton shore.  At least 1350 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2000 Knot.  Dunlin were in good numbers, too, with at least 1990.  Only 40 Grey Plover, though, but numbers of all waders should increase in the next few weeks.

A Snow Bunting (presumed female) was seen at Red Nab (0810), then the observer had to leave the area and on return at 0910, the beach was occupied by 3 off-lead dogs and two welly-clad females!  The bird could not be found there or on the Ocean Edge saltmarsh beach but the suitable section between Ocean Edge and Potts Corner was not searched

Several flocks of Pink-footed Geese headed to Heysham Moss area from the Lane Ends roost.  About 2340 in total with the first two big gangs at 0745 (1300) and 0800 (950)

Vis mig
Fieldfare - flock of 23 SW at 0750
Chaffinch - at least 15 SW 0730-0800
Skylarks were heading south again, at least 7 over Middleton shore this morning
Brambling - singleton associating with the office feeder birds at 0800

Blackbird - at least 30 in office area 0730
Goldcrest - one unringed bird caught

A Rock Pipit was on the salt marsh and another near Red Nab
Black-tailed Godwit - singleton associating with Redshank in Ocean Edge saltmarsh creek.
Linnet/Twite - at least 7 Twite and 30 Linnet Ocean Edge saltmarsh area but very mobile and elusive

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Local cr grey wagtail

Heysham obs
The only news today was a partial read on a grey wagtail by Middleton bottle dump. The right leg had an orange top colour ring and probably a pale coloured lower ring. Please keep an eye open for it - it should now be around all winter (thanks Justine )

Woodcock by the reserve entrance gate

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A bit of routine landbird coverage

Heysham Obs
Coverage limited to the Heysham NR with a thorough thrash round included the following:

Chiffchaff - probably two, including a lightweight unringed bird caught
Woodcock - two flushed
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Siskin - 2
Goldcrest - 5
Blackcap - one male
Blackbird - c35
Redwing - 6
Song Thrush - 3
Water Rail - 2
Chaffinch - difficult  - a gang of 6 grounded birds in the alder wood and 8 southbound fly-overs which were probably late vis mig
Carrion Crow - flock of 4 south

North wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed bird
Rock Pipit - 3

Moth trap
One December Moth

Friday, 14 November 2014

The unexpected gap in the year list falls at last

Heysham Obs
Black-tailed Godwit is oddly scarce here, yet plenty at Leighton Moss, regular around Teal Bay and common enough on the Lune Estuary........and therefore not something a casual visitor to Heysham would think to report.  A quick search failed to find any log entries this year until today

Ocean Edge/Red Nab 1000 onwards
The most significant feature was the complete absence of the usual heaving flocks of Knot/Dunlin/Grey Plover/ Bar-tailed Godwit which make intertidal count work so difficult here
Med Gull - at least one adult outfalls
Little Egret - 4
Black-tailed Godwit - flock of 9 flew south from the Red Nab area over Ocean Edge before 'u-turning' and landing briefly at Red Nab before heading off north

Office area
Blackbird - 25+
Chiffchaff - one still by the pond

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Return of Czech Med Gull confirmed

Heysham Obs
Czech ringed Med Gull north harbour wall

Chiffchaff: One calling by office early am

Twite/Linnet - c23 early am north harbour wall

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Belated Tree Sparrow

Heysham Obs
Very little coverage from the regular observers this week, so please excuse any blog gaps and there are some easterlies coming up after the weekend for a last chance of a late autumnal stray.  Check the rocky beaches/sandworks and e.g. south harbour wall!

A Tree Sparrow was around the office feeder at lunchtime - the first record in the 'winter months'

Adult Med Gull outfalls late afternoon and at least one Meadow Pipit by the Near Naze (45+ Ringed Plover

Late record of significance: drake Shoveler Middleton model boat pond at least three days ago

Two December Moths in the moth trap

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Working weather

Heysham Obs
Lots to do in the office today and just two brief forays by two observers:

1) The office feeders
Largest number of birds I have seen this year with 50-60 finches disturbed when refilling the feeders, mainly Green and Gold.
Chiffchaff - one calling from the willows surrounding the pond up the hill from the office

2) Moth trap
Two x December Moth new for the year and a Feathered Thorn had migrated into the kitchen!

3) The north harbour wall
Nothing seen on the seed there in very brief mid-morning visit

Monday, 10 November 2014

Early Birds

North Harbour Wall
A catch of mixed finches almost immediately after setting the whoosh net early this morning comprised:
Linnet - 3 new and 1 retrap
Goldfinch - 3 new, 2 retrap
Chaffinch - 1 retrap
Twite - 8 new, 6 retrap

Subsequently a further 6 Twite seen but did not take advantage of the seed.

2 nets set for a couple of hours resulted in only 3 greenfinches, 1 chaffinch and 2 blue tit plus a few retrapped birds.

From Malcolm:
Ocean Edge Saltmarsh - on the rising tide
Snipe - 10
Jack Snipe - 1
Twite - 1

Red Nab
Little Egret - 1
Green Woodpecker - 1 in bushes

No Moths in hut trap


Sunday, 9 November 2014

No Twite


North Harbour Wall
Early visit this morning saw only 23 finches, comprising mostly Linnets and a few Goldfinch. No Twite identified.  The early morning light makes positive separation of Twite/Linnet surprisingly hard.  No attempt made at catching owing to the usual human disturbance in the area on a fine Sunday with a late morning high tide!

(A small flock of 19 Twite present at Askham in Furness this morning included 2 birds ringed at Heysham last winter plus 2 returning birds ringed at that site previously)


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Overdue year tick? Not quite!

Heysham Obs
There were no records of Purple Sandpiper during the first half of the year and the future looked bleak.  However today's WeBS count produced one on the heliport seawall.  One of the phone calls indicated that one had been seen on the wooden jetty on 28th September, but not since, by an observer who doesn't 'do' the internet and wasn't aware of the lack of records.  Suspect a passage bird followed by hopefully a future winter resident - wintering birds seem to regularly first turn up in early November following a few scattered earlier autumn records

WeBs count included:
Purple Sandpiper - one on heliport seawall
Ringed Plover - excellent count of 47 heliport seawall
Knot - 650 on heliport seawall
Cormorant - 56 wooden jetty
Med Gull - one adult fisher's roof

Has anyone seen the Czech-ringed veteran Med this autumn? - very little effort spent on north wall in absence of seawatching conditions - this will change in the next few weeks as passerine distractions dwindle away

Ten small finches seen in flight north wall feeder area

Amazingly good with a late Figure of Eight, Feathered Thorn, Red-line Quaker and Angle Shades.  So much for thinking the year has ended apart from the odd Winter moth, Mottled Umber and perhaps Chestnut/Dark Chestnut

Friday, 7 November 2014

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
A little bit of ringing during a calm slot early morning.  No vis mig of note

Office area
Chiffchaff - one ringed
Goldcrest - one ringed

North harbour wall
Twite - 16 - 3 with white rings and one with older red/blue split ring, 12 unringed
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch -3

The Cetti's Warbler caught at Middleton on 28/9/14,  bearing a ring from elsewhere, was caught as a juvenile at Wintersett Reservoir, Wakefield on 22nd July 2014 - a dispersal of about 100km to the NW.

The Middleton c.r. Grey Wagtail was still at Connah's Quay yesterday 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Nice timing

Heysham Obs
An intended early start to clear the backlog of paper work meant we were in place for a rather unexpected load of vis mig ahead of the weather front.   Plan B was 1.5 hours of vis and coastal coverage.  This weather front, when it arrived, ensured that conditions were just right for getting on with the work.

Vis mig by the office (but see below) 0740-0910
Fieldfare - 2601 mainly S then W
Redwing - 90 with above
Starling - 284 SW
Chaffinch - 30 SW
Goldfinch - 13 SW
Blackbird - 3 high-flyers SW
Mistle Thrush - 3
Greenfinch - ? = possibly all bloggers
Twite - 1 S
Redpoll sp - 1 S
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
alba Wagtail - 2 SE
Collared Dove - 1 south (scarce these days)
Woodpigeon - just 2 south
Cormorant - 1 S

Grounded by office
Goldcrest - 4
Chiffchaff 1

NHW mound area
Linnet - 9
Twite - 14
Goldfinch - 4
Song Thrush - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
No sign of Stonechat or any Rock Pipit

Red Nab
Included 750 of the vis mig Fieldfare heading high out to sea to west
Little Egret - 3
Med Gull - ad

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Tree rat influx, in-off Twite and a Stonechat

Heysham Obs

Hey NR circuit
Grey Squirrel - 5 - record count!
Goldcrest - 4
Chiffchaff - 3 (at least one unringed)
Blackbird - 30
Water Rail - 2
Coal Tit - 1
Redwing - 6
Treecreeper - 2 NE corner

North harbour wall
Stonechat - female sandworks
Twite - 5 with Linnet early on then 3+8 in-off.  Later 14 on seed
Linnet - 21
Song Thrush - back in the gorse (4th winter in this 'extreme' location!)
Meadow Pipit - 2
Rock Pipit - 1
Med Gull - adult

South harbour area
Checked - zilch

Mottled Umber

Red Admiral

Still plenty of wasps with 10/minute entering/leaving nest in NE corner

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Near misses!

Heysham Obs
Definitely a day for nearby sites with our humble share being a few Chiffchaff, one of which had enough fat to open a chip shop whilst at least one other was obviously a new arrival, and Blackcap..............plus the usual mainstay of early November - a shedload of Blackbirds.  Woodcock new for the autumn

Middleton NR dawn to 1030 (wrong choice?)
Assumed vis mig stuff would be to the fore this morning - instead greeted by a series of shower clouds which managed to avoid us.
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Water Rail - at least 5
Reed Bunting - just 5
Goldcrest - just two unringed birds and two retraps with LTT flock
Blackbird - c15
Redwing - c200 over first thing noisily heading SSW
Fieldfare - c40 over first thing with the above
Whooper Swan - 5 south, possibly the top birds of a larger flock obscured by bank
Woodpigeon - 15 S
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
Chaffinch - just 3 S
Redpoll spp - 6 SE (2 Lesser ringed)
Starling - one flock of 50 S
Jackdaw - 45+6
Mistle Thrush - 4 SE
Little Egret - one model boat pond
Mute Swan - the 7 juvs flew out to the shore then turned round and flew back on to model boat pond

Heysham NR 1100hrs onwards
Woodcock - one flushed from under dense willows along the office mist net ride
Chiffchaff - 4-5
Blackbird - 55-60
Redwing - 16 grounded
Song Thrush - 5 grounded
Siskin - 1
Chaffinch - 10 grounded on east side
Goldcrest - just 3
Blackcap - one male
Greenfinch - 20+ unringed birds caught at feeder
Water Rail - one in NW section of marsh

Migrant Hawker - one Middleton
Common Darter - 2 Middleton, one HNR
Red Admiral - one HNR
Honey Bee or similar - one nectaring from gorse
Wasps - still plenty

Monday, 3 November 2014


Heysham Obs
Unfortunately no birders able to strut their stuff this last two days with at least a bit of vis mig certainly missed.  Back to normal tomorrow

Grey Wagtail
Sightings at Seaforth, Appleton (Warrington) and near Sunderland Point were followed by one that is in at least temporary residence at Connah's Quay Nature Reserve where it has been observed on and off from 6th October to at least 28th October, the 'on' bits during periods of high spring tides.  It was ringed at Middleton Nature Reserve in early September

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Back to the Fieldfare duck

Heysham Obs
A dribble of mainly finch vis mig in winds which were crucially in the west (albeit south/west) this morning

Vis by the office 0830-0930
Meadow Pipit - 3
alba Wagtail - 3
Chaffinch - 85 SW
Blackbird - 4 S
Song Thrush - 3 S
Redwing - 3 S
Starling - 1+25+32+18 S
Grey Wagtail - 1 - possibly just blogging
Carrion Crow - 2+3 S
Goldfinch - 24 S
Sparrowhawk - 1+1 high to S
Kestrel - one high and purposefully S
Mistle Thrush - 2 together SW
Greenfinch - just 2 S
Cormorant - one S
Jackdaw - 3 S

Grounded - not a lot
Blackbird - c25
Redwing - one? (ringed)
Chiffchaff - one heard and presumably the same ringed
Goldcrest - one ringed
Robin - unringed bird caught

Black Rustic rather late

Friday, 31 October 2014

Fieldfare duck broken in spectacular fashion

Heysham Obs
Bearing in mind the very early morning was not covered, we did pretty well this morning for vis mig.  Prior to that nearby nocturnal work indicated that Redwing and Fieldfare were moving for a significant part of the night.  A very small amount of ringing included the first Siskin of the year.  Thanks to Sean and Andy for nocturnal stuff/ early am vis data

Vis mig by the office 0730-1100 (NO thrushes after 1018hrs)
Fieldfare - 6055 SW (largest flocks 650 and 640) - day total included another flock of 150 mid-afternoon = 6205
Starling - 2308 SW plus 560 casually noted SW later
Redwing - 1538 SW
Chaffinch - 314 SW
Goldfinch - 100 SW
Lapwing - 3+7+38 high to SE
Woodpigeon - 34 S
Greenfinch - 21 SW
Carrion Crow - 15 SW
Linnet - 11 SE
Song Thrush -10 S
Siskin - 7 (at least) S
Rook - flock of 7 S
Mistle Thrush - 5 SW (1,1,2,1)
Bullfinch - 4 singletons south
Meadow Pipit - 4 SE (& one later!)
Blackbird - just 3 S
Tree Sparrow - 3 singletons S
alba Wagtail - 2 SE
Lesser Redpoll - 2 SE
Skylark - just one SE
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Surprising absentees - Jackdaw, Pink-feet, any raptors (and more Skylark)

Blackcap - female ringed
Goldcrest - c30 reserve
Blackbird - just 30 grounded reserve (mainly NE corner)
Treecreeper - 1
Chiffchaff - zero

Nocturnal stuff WED/THU night
Pink-footed Goose - 5 skeins
Greylag - one skein of presumably local origin, but, if so, why?
Whooper Swan  - 6

Nocturnal stuff  THU/FRI night
Whooper Swan - 5
Snipe over
lots of Redwing/Fieldfare
Tawny Owl - 3 Middleton Towers area on southern boundary of the recording area

Red Admiral
2 south & one unidentified dark butterfly glimpsed

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Small fall by the office

Heysham Obs
The return of the warm and murky really justified a first light arrival, not wasting time en route spending a £30 gift voucher on a months supply of Shreddies and tins of tuna.  Arrival at the office saw a significant Long-tailed Tit flock gathering together an entourage of Goldcrest and a belated mist netting session (carried out by John) produced about 40 new birds.

Chiffchaff - minimum of 4, probably 6
Goldcrest - c20
Treecreeper - fifth of the year to be ringed
Blackcap - 1 male
Song Thrush - 15
Blackbird - surprisingly unremarkable - c15

Vis mig for an hour 0800-0900 (varying degrees of southbound)
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - 74
Goldfinch - 16
Greenfinch - at least 23
Redwing - 50+1+2
Song Thrush - 5
Woodpigeon - flock of 6
Linnet - ditto
Cormorant - one high to south prob a migrant

Green-brindled Crescent very late for here, also 3 x Red-line Quaker and a Feathered Thorn

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Still missing

Heysham Obs
This morning could have been labelled as a typical half-decent late autumn migration day of dribs and drabs, with peak movements of all the main passage species done and dusted, but for one thing - we are still awaiting any Fieldfare (Woodpigeon passage is not a major feature here for some reason) and this was supposed the be THE day.   I suspect we have not taken into account that half the night was probably unsuitable for migration and therefore we are too far west.  I wonder what vis mig sites to the east experienced?

Siberian Chiffchaff? What struck me (Jean) was the different (colder) tone of brown to the usual Chiffchaffs, the noticeable supercilium and especially the jet black legs.

Underparts.  Note the pointed tail feathers indicating a young bird.

Middleton NR dawn to late morning
Vis mig was very patchy with no consistent movements by any species and just the one minor highlight:
Yellowhammer - one SW c0930
Pink-footed Goose - 50+109 S plus another c500 S out to sea (thanks Sean and Andy)
Chaffinch - 24
Redwing - 12
Reed Bunting - 5 which didn't land
Siskin - 5
Meadow Pipit - 8
Skylark - 11
alba Wagtail - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2 (both caught and ringed!!)
Sparrowhawk - 2 south
Raven - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Starling - 16
Tree Sparrow - 2
Jackdaw - 54
Rook - 29

Chiffchaff - looked like a Siberian on current thinking but it failed to give any calls on release and slipped quickly through the bushes and away [pic later]
Goldcrest - just one
Blackbird - c25
Redwing - c10
Song Thrush = 2
Reed Bunting - c15 (9 ringed)
Cetti's Warbler - what was quite possibly this species was heard calling x 3 at the western end of the reed bed area in the western marsh
Water Rail - 5
Snipe - 2

Heysham NR office area (thanks Andrew)
Redwing 36, Chaffinch 23. Raven, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker all East.

Office 2 Goldcrests, Chiffchaff,unringed. Lots of Blackbirds.

North Harbour Wall Feeding Site - 06.30 to 11.30
Chaffinch - 12 on seed at dawn on arrival.  Whoosh net set up and two caught as they returned with Twite.
Twite - group of 15 caught and ringed.  Then 10 appeared on sandplant fence/gates but did not use feeding area.  Mid morning, a further three caught, including a retrapped bird from jan/mar 2011.
Possibly new birds arriving.
Linnet - c6 only seen but did not use seed.
Goldfinch - One only with Linnets.
Meadow Pipit - One grounded bird
Great Spotted Woodpecker - appeared in Sea Buckthorn and flew off northwards until out of sight.

Feathered Thorn x 3, Red-line Quaker and the first two Winter Moth of the autumn

Red Admiral down dog track (thanks Janet).  Small Tortoiseshell by office YESTERDAY

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Starlings on the move!

Heysham Obs
A slow start this morning with nothing weather-wise to suggest that filling up with fuel en route to Heysham was missing valuable vis time.

Vis mig 0905-1020
Starling - 1,347 in 24 flocks - all NE to SW, a lot of them quite low so some could have been missed nearer the power station
Chaffinch - 36 SW including flock of 18
Brambling - 5 together in close association with one of the Starling flocks SW
Greenfinch - 5 SW probably vis mig
Grey Wagtail - two - possibly both bloggers
NO thrushes!

Grey Heron - NR marsh
Water Rail - one Heysham NR marsh
Goldcrest - just one heard by office and none on a quick walk round
[No chiffchaff heard today]

Monday 27th

Heysham Obs
Not a lot from today: just 11 Twite seen and single Med Gulls of the three age classes at Middleton late afternoon where there was also a calling Water Rail and a Meadow Pipit

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The dead sea scroll

Heysham Obs
........the scrap of paper I used after accidentally leaving my notebook in the office.  Apart from routine inshore stuff, nothing happened further out that we are aware of.

Seawatching/inshore coverage on and off
Common Scoter - 4
Razorbill - flock three out
Auk spp - 2+1 in
Shag - at least one juvenile.  One flew from the Morecambe direction towards the wooden jetty mid-morning and late in the afternoon one was in the harbour near the waterfall
Little Gull - 2CY on seaward end of Heysham one outfall am before tide came in
Med Gull - at least 2 adult, 3 2CY and one 1CY, mainly outfalls/Red Nab
Peregrine - 2 together flushed everything from Red Nab
Redshank - 375 in roost on beach just south of OE saltmarsh

One Large Wainscot

Saturday, 25 October 2014

More Records to Come?

Heysham NH Wall

Twite - 9 on and around feeding area seen on a very brief mid-morning visit.  1 appeared to have a white colour ring so probably one of our birds from last winter.  Much human activity in the general area.

Hopefully some more records to come?


Friday, 24 October 2014

Double sparrow surprise

Heysham Obs
A 'small bird' addition to the annual ringing species list could have been so good, but it was a House Sparrow - in the company of a single Tree Sparrow - a most unexpected combination outside a limited amount of dispersal in early autumn ('very' in the case of House Sparrow).  There were a few grounded bits this morning with a 'big' olivy-ish (64mm wing) Chiffchaff giving a consistent piping Dunnock call on release.  Not sure what these are labelled as these days now the abietinus cliché has been discredited

Grounded office area
Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - at least 7
Chiffchaff - 2
Tree Sparrow - 1
House Sparrow - one male

Vis mig
Just a few Chaffinch but no time to monitor

North Harbour Wall
Linnet/Twite - No sign of the group of 21 Twite from yesterday, 4 only positivily indentified, but much human disturbance and very difficult lighting conditions.  These 4 appeared to be new arrivals looking a little lost and not using the feeding area.  20-30 Linnets around with 16 new birds trapped and ringed plus 3 retrapped birds.

Red-green Carpet and November Moth agg new for year, Feathered Thorn and Red-line Quaker made up the quartet

A few bits to add to yesterday later on

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Much better

Heysham Obs

Snow Bunting - At 1358hrs one flew low to the south calling past Middleton Towers towards Potts Corner where there was a dog walker in high vis, so presumably carried on towards Sunderland Point
Whooper Swan - flock of 29 south, then landed on mudflats off Potts Corner, then south again about 1345hrs
Twite - up to 21 on seed after first seen yesterday afternoon.  Please note that ringing takes place here and please approach cautiously if this is the case on your visit

More detail later

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Power walking

Heysham Obs
..............no need to stop.  Nothing at all blown into the outfalls/harbour area but it was an excellent fitness walk after yesterday's car-potato birding.

Inshore stuff
Pink-footed Goose - 62 + 50ish SW
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 1CY
Kittiwake - 1CY Red Nab
possible obscured Shag on wooden jetty
Grey Wagtail - unringed bird by harbour waterfall

No vis mig of any note and no grounded stuff of note by office

Grounded as wind dropped late afternoon HNR
Goldcrest - 5
Chiffchaff - 1 (by office)
Blackbird - 15
Redwing - 5
Song Thrush - 4
Treecreeper - 1

Feathered Thorn new for the year here plus a latish Pink-barred Sallow

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Difficult conditions with the wind too north-westerly

Heysham Obs

Various times by various observers
Skua spp - distant very dark one (not Bonxie)
Diver spp - one not seen well enough
Little Gull - 2 ad outfalls am
Tern spp - probably juv arctic glimpsed on outfalls
Auk spp - 1
Med Gull - 1CY and ad
Manx Shearwater - group of 3
Kittiwake - group of 3 & a 1CY
Pintail - flock of 19 out

Angle Shades and Red-line Quaker

Monday, 20 October 2014

An unremarkable day

Heysham Obs
Joint 'highlights' were a Caloptilia stigmatella in the moth trap and a 'new' 2CY Little Gull which made a brief appearance in the morning but didn't seem to stay with the outfalls hordes.  A circuit of the reserve in slightly easier conditions than yesterday was unproductive, save some seemingly noisy and 'resident' Chiffchaff in the same places as yesterday

Med Gull - 1 x 1CY, 1 x 2CY, 1 x Ad
Wigeon - 64
Little Egret - 2
Linnet - 60 OE foreshore
Little Gull - 2CY off the end of the outfalls in the morning
Chiffchaff - 3 reserve
Meadow Pipit - one flew south in afternoon - the only vis noted!
Mallard - after being commendably 'wild' for years, three seen coming to bread at the model boat pond

Moth trap
The above and a Black Rustic & Red-line Quaker

Just out of the area, but possibly the bird from within the other day, a 1CY Shag on the Morecambe Stone Jetty groyne with two Cormorant

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Displaced geese

Heysham Obs
Can anyone explain, please, why a cooperative effort between the shooting community and volunteers from the birdwatching community to do a comprehensive goose count is accompanied by "lots of people shooting" (per Fylde-based goose counter)?   This was evidenced even at Heysham where at least 8 skeins flew north-west from the direction of the north Fylde at a time of year when this certainly would not be the norm - indeed it might be unprecedented in such large numbers.  There are no local feeding flocks at this time of year, therefore origin was definitely south of the Lune.  Surely shooting of Pink-footed Goose (or at least in the vicinity of fields used by PFG) should not take place on the count day?

Pink-footed Goose - c600 NNW in eight skeins between 0745 and 0830
Med Gull - 2 x 1CY, 2 x 2CY Red Nab, ad Red Nab
Mallard - 3 OE saltmarsh
Little Egret - 2 Red Nab/OE
Blackcap - male NE corner reserve
Chiffchaff - 5-6
Goldcrest - 2-3
Gannet - 2 adult out
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Manx Shearwater - gang of 6 out
Common Scoter - 6-10

Hopefully more later but passerine searching conditions very tricky

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler

Heysham Obs
Decided to put in an hour by the office to see what the vis mig was like whilst also being in a good area for newly arrived grounded stuff.  Initially it appeared slow, so decided to keep a species list as well as the vis mig totals

Grounded Migrants
Yellow-browed Warbler - heard giving a sequence of calls in the willows by the obs tower pond - a quick sprint uphill and really good views enabled the right tarsus to be seen - unringed - therefore a different bird to midweek.  Watched for a good five minutes but in the rush had left phone at the office and people needed calling.  Thereafter not quite so good views as it moved further back in the willows.  I decided to return to the office and set a mist net as it was also apparent that Goldcrests were on the move.  One further call at 0935 was the last definite example as four further single calls were quite possibly from playbacks, although it was odd that all were single calls.  No sightings in increasingly windy conditions
Goldcrest - 15-20
Chiffchaff - at least two, probably three - one ringed which was "Garden-warbler-coloured" but calling like collybita
Stonechat - female passed through very quickly at c1025
Blackbird - c10
Song Thrush - c5

Vis mig
Goldfinch - 15
Chaffinch - 109
Meadow Pipit - 4
alba Wagtail - 7
Woodpigeon - 3+11
Little Egret - one south
Reed Bunting - 2
Redwing - just 18
Greenfinch - 10
Coal Tit - 2 high to south
Cormorant - one SE
Bullfinch - flock of 6 high to south - the largest vis mig flock I've seen here
Skylark - H + H + 8

Routine stuff in order of appearance:  Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Magpie, Herring Gull. Great spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Curlew, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Ferla Pigeon, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit.

Speckled Wood - 2
Common Darter - 1

Friday, 17 October 2014

The easterly is lost

Heysham Obs
The southerly airflow encouraged a spread of moth traps at the expense of early morning Heysham coverage.  Alan did a small amount of mist netting with rather bizarre results.  Just five birds but two were warblers (Blackcap and Chiffchaff) and another a Pied Wagtail responding to a Grey Wagtail tape!   The 'bread and butter' at this time of year - dawn Redwing followed by Chaffinch, failed to materialise.

Reserve circuit at lunchtime
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - c5
Blackcap - 1 female (& male caught in morning)
Blackbird - 10
Coal Tit - 3

Offshore/North wall
Meadow Pipit - 6 grounded
Linnet - c20
Eider - 3 flocks of 150, 150 & 30 offshore.

Speckled Wood - 4
SmallWhite - 1
Red Admiral - 6
unseasonal/migrant Turnip Moth in the moth trap
social wasps - hundreds, especially by the office and around a huge nest in NE corner

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Stuttering morning other than grounded thrushes

Heysham Obs
A ringing session plus vis mig at Middleton this morning never really got going with a weak front bearing variable cloud neither producing a burst of rain nor allowing many diurnal migrants through other than in very limited fits and starts.   On the other hand, two species excelled in different ways - grounded Blackbirds and extremely noisy newly arrived Water Rail sorting out the territories

Vis mig Middleton NR dawn onwards, S/SE unless stated
Reed Bunting - at least 10 with a high proportion (8) ringed
Meadow Pipit - 31 in three small widely spaced 'lots' (4 ringed)
Grey Wagtail - two perceived migrants (one ringed)
Redwing - just 235, mainly first thing -all heading inland
Chaffinch - scarce this morning with just 31
alba Wagtail - 20
Siskin - 1+13+11+2
Jackdaw - 29+16
Rook - 5 with first lot of Jackdaw
Carrion Crow - 6 perceived migrants
Skylark - at least 28 mainly E
Jay - two very high flying birds
Song Thrush - 14 inland high
Blackbird - 20 inland high
Goldfinch - 7
Greenfinch - 6
Linnet - 15
Bullfinch - 5
Pink-footed Goose - 60
probable Ring Ouzel - one flew high inland, then 'leaf-fell' on to the rubble mounds but could not be confirmed or relocated - flashing silvery wing panel and structure only two things to go on with a high-flying bird

Grounded Heysham and Middleton circuit
Yellowhammer - female/imm on the rubble mounds
Goldcrest - 15
Blackbird - 72
Song Thrush - 26
Bullfinch - 17 - a really high count (inc flock of 5)
Redwing - just 9
Treecreeper - one dipping pond
Chiffchaff - one and one Phyllosc spp Middleton
Coal Tit - 3
Blackcap - 2
Water Rail - absolute minimum of 7 calling birds Middleton
Gadwall - 10

42 new birds at Middleton in pretty perfect ringing conditions a bit below par with no significant tit flocks (and what was eagerly anticipated to be with them!) and rather sporadic appearance of migrant Reed Bunting in the hit and miss vis mig conditions.   A Grey Wagtail was a welcome unexpected bonus so late in the passage season taking the annual total to a creditable 160

No sign of yesterday's Yellow-browed Warbler in dipping pond area

Two Silver Y in trap and Speckled Wood HNR yesterday.  Small White and 10 Red Admiral seen today.  At least two Migrant Hawker and three Common Darter Middleton

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Living up to the prediction?

Heysham Obs
A Ring Ouzel was seen (and the first Brambling of the autumn overhead) and later a 1CY Yellow-browed Warbler was caught in the net by the offices.  This had rather dull wingbars on the right wing and the pale tips to the tertials were also worn away.  The 'left hand side' was more typical.  No sign of yesterdays Black Redstart in a brief search.

Vis mig - a bit intermittent
Redwing - 362, many heading north
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - just 31
Bullfinch - 4
Meadow Pipit - 12
Song Thrush - prominent again by west coast standards - 27
Reed Bunting - 4
Starling - 38+16 high to south
Linnet - 5 (f) SE
Siskin - 10 (f) SE
Ring Ouzel - fem/imm, probably 1CY male low inland
Goldfinch - 17 SE
Greenfinch - 3 S
alba Wagtail - 3 SE
Coal Tit - flock of 3 S

Yellow-browed Warbler - one caught by the offices at 0900, showed on release in willows by the dipping pond to 0930, then seen in same place by visiting birder (thanks Lou) at 1250hrs (at least)
Chiffchaff - one by office, one Middleton NR
Goldcrest - just 6 on extensive check
Treecreeper - two HNR, one by dog-walk pond (and one Heysham head) - a good showing for here
Blackbird - 17, mainly Middleton, absent HNR
Redwing - 75 - all Middleton, none HNR circuit
Blackcap - female ringed by the office
Robin - unringed bird caught

Green Woodpecker - HNR again
Little Egret - two on shore to north of harbour

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Redwings arrive!

Heysham obs
First of all a warning . A wind farm is proving very profitable before it's even constructed with the associated cones and 30mph limit on the Heysham bypass being visited with relish by the mobile speed camera- so far all on the approach to Heysham.

Black redstart in inaccessible area this pm - f/imm

250 redwing grounded on tank farm but nothing else of interest in the bushes.

Vis 0800-1100hrs:
Meadow Pipit 3
alba wagtail 6
Redwing 291 some heading north, others heading east but all arriving from the south
Chaffinch 9
Greenfinch 23
Goldfinch 12
Linnet 2
Bullfinch 1

Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 6
Coal Tit 1

Monday, 13 October 2014

Waiting for Redwings

The forecasted Redwings didn't materialise. In fact not much materialised in the F3 NE wind with 6/8 cloud cover. A shame as visibility was excellent.

Heysham Obs
Grey Heron - 1
Merlin - 1
Grey Wagtail - 3
Siskin - 4
Jackdaw - 110
Greenfinch - 10
Skylark - 3
alba Wagtail - 54
Chaffinch - 61
Goldfinch - 90
Meadow Pipit - 24
Redpoll sp - 1

Coal Tit - 2 at HNR
Chiffchaff - 1at Middleton NR
Meadow Pipit - 5 at Middleton NR

North Harbour Wall
Linnet - 22 on seed
Chaffinch 1 on seed

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Chaffinch exodus continues

Heysham Obs

Vis 0730-1000
Chaffinch - 225
Reed Bunting - 6
alba wagtail - 61
Goldfinch - 10
Meadow Pipit - 67
Grey Wagtail - 6
Bullfinch - 8
Blackbird - 3
Song Thrush - 14
Coal Tit - 5
Dunnock - 2
Skylark - 24
Greenfinch - 2
Redpoll sp - 2
Blue Tit - 5 (first irruptive behaviour of the year)
Linnet - 1
Tree Sparrow - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 60 (32,6,22)
Swallow - 1
Jackdaw - one flock of 170, two other flocks of about 30-40 each

Coal Tit - 3
Goldcrest - 4
Chiffchaff - 2

More birds were recorded on vis over Middleton but I lost my notebook (Jean). Will add on data if I or someone else finds it.

Middleton NR
Barn Owl
Water Rail - 2

Saturday, 11 October 2014

A bit of vis and that

Heysham Obs

Vis from the hut 07:30 - 09:00 and intermittently after that to 14:00
Pink-footed Goose: 224 (Thanks to the ELOC group)
Sparrowhawk - 3
Skylark - 4
Swallow - 5
Meadow Pipit - 74
Grey Wagtail - 5
alba wagtail - 32
Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush - 8
Carrion Crow - 11
Starling - 22
Tree Sparrow - 8
Chaffinch 389
Greenfinch 32
Goldfinch - 71
Bullfinch - 3
Reed Bunting - 6

Goldcrest - 11
Chiffchaff - 6

Friday, 10 October 2014

Bits and bobs from the south of the site

Heysham Obs

South section of the recording area vis mig 0745-1200
Meadow Pipit - 209
alba Wagtail - 21
Chaffinch - 10
Linnet -28
Greenfinch - 54
Goldfinch - 2
Grey Wagtail - 1
Reed Bunting - 4
Skylark - at least 5
Whooper Swan - flock of 9
Pink-footed Goose - 40
Jackdaw - 3
Rock Pipit - 2
Starling - 12

Wheatear - 2

Common Scoter - 22 into bay - very unusual this time of year

Linnet - 20 on NH Wall feeding site nyger today

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Jamming in down the road

Heysham Obs
To the annoyance of the regular bush thrasher, who has put hours in this autumn (but not today) a visit to a moth trap at Sunderland Point scored with a vocal Yellow-browed Warbler in a sheltered walled garden nearby.  It disappeared with two Blue Tit but was seen well again nearby mid-afternoon.  This delayed the intended vis mig slot at Heysham and there was absolutely nothing over head by the time we arrived at 1000ish (c/f Bryan Yorke's Chaffinch)

Obs recording area
A circuit of the reserve in challenging wind conditions saw one Chiffchaff and 4 Goldcrest whilst a similar circuit of Heysham head produced one male Blackcap, one Goldcrest and a gang of 6 Blackbirds behaving like early continentals

The Heysham moth trap held a Red-line Quaker whilst the aforementioned Sunderland moth trap was full of wasps!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Not quite good enough

Heysham Obs
Before another tale of a missed opportunity to clinch a decent bird, some interesting stats on Grey Wagtail.  The vis mig total for September was 261 and the ringing total was 132 which gives a decent enough sample to say that you catch half of them!

Instead of being in situ on the chair with optics at the ready, grabbing a cup of coffee saw me 3-4 metres from my optics when what appeared to be a Richard's Pipit was heard calling in the sky to the NNW.  Unfortunately, by the time I had grabbed the bins, the bird was in the 'eastern sky' and silhouetted as well as heading progressively further away.  It was quite vocal with 5 calls heard and the undulating "large Pied Wagtail" silhouette obviously ruled out House Sparrow!  However rare flyovers require at least a little bit of plumage and this was not possible by the time it hit the eastern sky.  So its an 'almost but not quite' as regards a submittable Lancashire record

Vis mig by the office 0830-1000 - not a lot after the wind got up at 0920.
Chaffinch - 80 S
Bullfinch - 3+2 high to south
Tree Sparrow - 2 grounded then S
alba Wagtail - 26 SE
Meadow Pipit - 17 (forgot to enter first time round!)
Jay - one south
presumed Richards Pipit - see above ESE at 0902hrs
Siskin - 4
Carrion Crow - flock of 5 south
Linnet - 6 S
Greenfinch - 3 S
Goldfinch - 18 S
Skylark - 3+H+2 SE
Pink-footed Goose - flock heard to the west

Grounded HNR
Chiffchaff - at least 6
Goldcrest - 4

NH Wall
Linnet - 11 on nyger at the feeding station.

A blank for the first time since the late winter days

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Common migrants pile through

Heysham Obs
A nice bonus with some latterly forecasted slack air allowing a ringing session at Middleton along with some vis mig away from the racket at the harbour

Vis mig dawn to midday
Meadow Pipit - 709 SE with several probably missed on mist net rounds
Skylark - at least 96 SE with several (H) just counted as one
alba Wagtail - 83 SE
Goldfinch - 53 S
Swallow - 4 SE
Chaffinch - 160 S
Grey Wagtail - probably at least 5 but also at least two local birds doing the rounds
Jackdaw - 13 + (H) + 3
Carrion Crow - at least 18 migrants to south
Rook - one solitary adult south
Reed Bunting - at least 30 SE
Pink-footed Goose - 351 S/SE
Sparrowhawk - male high to SE
Linnet - 15 SE
Stock Dove - a group of 3 flew east but may have been local
Little Egret - one high(ish) to west
Grey Heron - 1 SE

The only things over and above the ringing totals were 13 Song Thrush - a good number reflecting several recent mornings.  The only Chiffchaff encountered was in a mist net with no calling birds and the same goes for the single Goldcrest.  The Blackcaps were interesting - two separate slight increases in wind/change of direction produced 3+2 lightweight and fat-free birds together in the net

Ringing at Middleton
Pretty perfect conditions with variable cloud managing to cover the sun for the whole morning.  New birds:  Meadow Pipit (26), Reed Bunting (16), Wren (6), Blackcap (5), Robin (4), Chaffinch (4), Blue Tit (3), Grey Wagtail (2) and singles of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Swallow - the latter caught before dawn and must surely have been ex-roosting on its own,

Monday, 6 October 2014

Caloptilia surprise

Heysham Obs
.....but not sure what it is yet - a fairly long uniform ginger one.  One Pink-barred Sallow the only other moth

Ocean Edge
Med Gull - 1CY, 2CY
Little Egret - 2
Little Gull - ad

North wall (thanks Tom)
Gannet - one adult
Linnet - 11 on seed
Auk spp - one
Cormorant - 60 but no shag
Med Gull - 1-2 ad

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Another Med Gull ring escapes identity

Heysham Obs
A 1CY Med with a green darvic on the right leg and below tarsus metal on the left was met with streaming eyes and steamed up scope - hopeless reading rings with a stinking cold!

Ocean Edge area
Med Gull - 2 x Ad, 1 x 2CY, 1 x 1CY as above (not yesterdays bird)
Little Egret - 4

Office area HNR
Chiffchaff - 2
Chaffinch - back end of an overhead passage on arrival at 0930 with about 15 in 20 minutes - elsewhere suggested quite a large movement missed in the absence of any early morning coverage

First Feathered Ranunculus of the year in the toilet trap

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Fruitlessly grilled Dunlin

Heysham Obs
Limited coverage this morning with concentration on the large flocks of wader along the tideline off Ocean Edge.  About 700 Dunlin were unfortunately just that and nothing else of interest could be located other than:

Med Gull - 2 x 2CY, 2 x Ad, 1 x 1CY
Little Egret - 3
Knot - 1,750
Bar-tailed Godwit - 970
Grey Plover - 195
Shelduck - c490

Harbour mouth or just offshore
Shag 1CY wooden jetty
Guillemot c5

Odd: just three: Silver Y, Angle Shades, Riband Wave - i.e. none of the "everyday" stuff at this time of year (Green-brindled Crescent, Pink-barred Sallow and Red-line Quaker)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Brief circuit bits and pieces

Heysham Obs

Single Wheatear north harbour wall (two yesterday)

Three Little Egret Red Nab area

Shag - the star of the show - a 1CY on wooden jetty

Med Gull - 2 x Ad, 1 x 2CY off Ocean Edge

5 Gannets just off the harbour

No other observers around today

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Dead nice day

Heysham Obs
The last of the clear calm mornings for a bit - it was a bit too clear and calm this morning with stratospheric vis mig and not a lot of grounded stuff (albeit seemingly starting from a blank cheque after yesterday).  A very noisy boat made life very difficult during the first hour of daylight.

Vis mig by HNR office 0700-1000 (thanks to Brian for a lot of this)
Carrion Crow - 1 south - surprising absence of black corvid passage this am
alba Wagtail - 11
Meadow Pipit - 39
Grey Wagtail - 4
Skylark - 1
Song Thrush - at least 10, possibly 15
Chaffinch - 99(!)
Bullfinch - 2
Jay - 2+2+1 south
Coal Tit - flock of 6, then at least one other heard calling
Reed Bunting - 2

Afternoon vis mig
Swallow - 9 S
House Martin - 3 S
Pink-footed Goose - 15 SE

Grounded by office
Goldcrest - 3
Chiffchaff - 2
Tree Sparrow - 1
Wren - one unringed bird caught

Middleton NR
Goldcrest - 2
Chiffchaff - 3
Reed Bunting - 5 ringed

Blastobasis lacticolella in trap.  Brown Hawker Middleton NR along with single Migrant Hawker and at least 6 Common Darter

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Migration seems to take a day off

Heysham Obs
A bit of a lie-in seemed to justify itself as a short vis mig session degenerated into counting a wasp flight-line in the absence of anything numerically avian.   Whether this is going to set the tone for October, time will tell - certainly a repeat of the September ringing effort will surely not be possible.

This is not a site where ringing is an extensive effort -usually a single or two-person activity in a relatively small geographical area whilst e.g. also trying to keep an accurate handle on the vis mig.  Therefore individual species ringing totals are rarely high with an annual effort usually about 2,000.

To put September into context, over 1,500 were ringed with the Chiffchaff ringing total of 105 in excess of any annual grand total during the period of the Obs (since 1980).  The annual ringing total so far for Chiffchaff is 207 and, as implied, no previous annual total has exceeded 100!   Other very high totals for September included 113 Robin (out of a total of 199 so far) and this represented a steady trickle through the mist netting areas, not a result of a single big fall.   Blackcap numbers were also very high, especially in the early part of the month, with Middleton, not usually prime Blackcap habitat, producing the majority of the 102 ringed during the month (out of a total of 207 for the year so far, equalling Chiffchaff, and far in excess of any previous annual total).   The ringing effort also produced a total of 132 Grey Wagtail (out of a grand total of 157 - the rest at the end of August), as with Robin, this was a steady trickle in morning after morning of suitable migration/ringing weather and personnel availability, rather than any major individual day total.

The star of the show was Cetti's Warbler which saw three individuals, including (surprisingly at this central location and previous history) the only bird during the month bearing a ring from elsewhere (D765... anyone?)

Vis mig 0830-0900 by office
Chaffinch - 13
Meadow Pipit - 1
alba Wagtail - 3
Greenfinch - 4
Green Woodpecker calling
Wasp - 81 SW

Yet another unusual 2nd brood in the form of Small Fan-footed Wave.  Large Wainscot the best of the rest plus two Silver Y and a very late Square Spot Rustic.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Another Cettis!

Heysham Obs
One caught at Middleton NR mid-morning.  Another recent invadee also reached new heights as regards feeding birds with 9 Little Egret around Red Nab and Ocean Edge saltmarsh this am. 

Ocean Edge/Red Nab area lengthy observation
Greenshank - juv early morning in OE saltmarsh creek
Sanderling - one with the large Dunlin flock
Med Gull - minimum of 2 x ad, 2 x 2CY and 1 x 1CY
Little Gull - presumably the usual adult only seen the once in the morning
Rock Pipit - 2 grounded
Wheatear - 4 early morning, then chased off by Robins
Little Egret - at least 9!

Vis mig over OE (intermittently recorded) - all passerines 'in-off' - nothing vis mig-wise other than geese after 0900
Pink-footed Goose - 36+52+68+71+130
Grey wagtail - 4
alba Wagtail - 17
Meadow Pipit - 60

A Yellow-tail adds to the growing number of unusual second brood individuals this year

Monday, 29 September 2014

Drying up in the sun

Heysham Obs
A quieter morning although the vis was quite varied with a nice early morning sighting.  The early morning seemed devoid of night migrants at both Heysham and Middleton although a trickle of Chiffchaff and Blackcap materialised later.  The vis was the opposite - very little once the sun appeared just after 0830

Vis Mig dawn to 1030 S/SE unless stated
Barnacle Goose - 28 NE at about 0720
Pink-footed Goose - H+130+120 (+80 later)
Meadow Pipit - 181
Grey Wagtail - 8 (4 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 55 (one ringed!)
Reed Bunting - 14 (7 ringed)
Chaffinch - 6
Song Thrush - at least 6 first thing
Siskin - first (2) of the autumn
Swallow - at least one ex-roost, then 17
Grey Heron - one high to NE
Common Buzzard - heard in distance
Skylark - 2
Jackdaw - flock of 16
Carrion Crow - 4 with above
Bullfinch - flock of 3

Grounded/miscellany Middleton NR
Green Woodpecker - heard calling from golf course direction - (also seen flying into Tank Farm area from Reserve hut).
Water Rail - 2
Chiffchaff - about 5 from mid-morning
Blackcap - 2 mid morning
Goldcrest - only seemed to be one

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The species most likely to bear a ring from elsewhere...

Heysham Obs
On a morning when not a lot seemed to go 'right' e.g. Song Thrush in the net above the Grey Wagtail tape as three were about to descend, a major surprise was a Cetti's Warbler bearing a ring in the Middleton NR nets.  Then we found out that this was a high likelihood on a wandering Cetti's Warbler.  Where it was from would be interesting to find out (D765xxx sequence), although we'll obviously do all the IPMR stuff at our end. 

I contacted Seamus at Rossall to see if it was one of his and by coincidence he had just caught a ringed example of the species deemed least likely to already bear a ring from elsewhere - Meadow Pipit!

Please be careful to note whether the metal ring is above or below the red on any Grey Wagtail you might be fortunate enough to locate.  The colour sequence on the right leg has been used for BTO metal over red and red over BTO metal on all but a handful of unused sequences.  Therefore if you do not note the left leg sequence, the right leg could apply to one of two birds, including different years.  Having said that, please do send in part-readings as they can obviously be traced to site.  Thanks

Vis mig dawn (late: 0710ish) to 1100
Meadow Pipit - 325
Grey Wagtail - 15 (4 ringed)
Swallow - 46
Chaffinch - 58
Mistle Thrush - high flock of 3 SW
Linnet - 26
Song Thrush - at least 10 migrants, 4 of these 'vis only' in Redwing mode!
Carrion Crow - 4 S
Snipe - 2 S
Pink-footed Goose - 220 (4 skeins)
Greenfinch - 1 SW
Skylark - 3
Reed Bunting - c20 dropping, then heading off S/SE (7 ringed)

Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - at least 3
Chiffchaff - at least 6
Cetti's Warbler - one
Robin - 5 new lightweight birds
Goldcrest - 3-4


Saturday, 27 September 2014

First calmish morning after a windy spell

Heysham Obs
Well worth a visit this morning even though the conditions were by no means perfect.  Half-decent variety on vis mig, with a noticeable increase in Chaffinch.   6 out of 7 Grey Wagtail perceived passing though were colour-ringed, the best capture ratio of the autumn and undoubtedly helped by the sun now rising further to the south and not invading the mist net ride at any stage.  One to go for 150 ringed during the autumn - an excellent total, especially when compared to the paucity during the dreadful 2012 with flooded rivers and awful breeding success (just over 20 with similar effort)

Vis mig by HNR office 0700-0930 - all heading SW-SE
Chaffinch - 182
Meadow Pipit - 48
Woodpigeon - flock of 6
Jay - 1+1+2+2
alba Wagtail - 47
Grey Wagtail - 7
Linnet - 3
Collared Dove - flock of 4 (no residents here)
Rock Pipit - 1
Bullfinch - 3+1+1+2 - all pretty high to S
Goldfinch - just 4
Grey Heron - one
Reed Bunting - 2
Dunnock - flock of 3
Magpie - 4 headed high to south
Greenfinch - just one flock of 8 - pretty scarce here recently
Common Buzzard - one circled to south over golf course
Pink-footed Goose - one flock heard
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 15 heading south were rather high-flying and hyperactive - a precursor of more to come?

Grounded - office area only
Ring Ouzel - one, almost certainly imm female, calling and then seen in flight heading into the tank farm at 0845hrs.  Unexpected, given the general lack of grounded stuff
Blackcap - one with LTT flock
Chiffchaff - just 2
Goldcrest - 2
Song Thrush - one which head high inland

Lunar Underwing and Mouse Moth were notable. Also single Silver Y and Pinion-streaked Snout

Friday, 26 September 2014


Heysham Obs
No car, no birding!

The moth trap held loads of crane fly, very late Treble Bar and Square Spot Rustic and pristine Turnip Moth and Shuttle-shaped Dart.  More routine here at this time of year were Black Rustic, Pink-barred Sallow, Silver Y, Green-brindled Crescent, Rosy Rustic and Common Marbled Carpet

Thursday, 25 September 2014

More bits

Heysham obs

Harbour area
Med gull - two ad
Cormorant - 85 wooden jetty

Red nab/outfalls
Med gull - 3 x 2cy
Shelduck - 517 at low tide

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Bits and pieces day

Heysham Obs
First of all, I need to play catch-up time with several records kindly sent in by various means from visitors.  Thanks for these and I'll address this tomorrow

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wigeon - 35
Med Gull - 2 x 2CY
Little Gull - ad
Sandwich Tern - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 38 S

Common Sandpiper
Med Gull - 3 x ad

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Coming from your direction................

Heysham Obs
A near miss this morning with one gang (21)of the huge Barnacle Goose movement ending up on this side of the country flying south at Sunderland Point and obviously "coming from the Heysham direction".  Thanks for the info, Dan.  After a fantastic run of early morning migration weather, looks like a few days of normal sleep and a bit of coastal coverage - so neglected recently that I had to look up the tide time!

This morning failed to produce any grounded night migrants, but another couple of Grey Wagtail were ringed (office nets at Heysham NR)

Small dusty wave in moth trap

Monday, 22 September 2014

Decent numbers of chiffchaff

Heysham obs
Havnt had chance to count but I suspect chiffchaff had overtaken willow warbler in the ringing totals somewhere in the 180s. Bearing in mind chiffchaff ringing totals have never exceeded 100 in previous years this is pretty remarkable. Robin and blackcap numbers are also exceedingly high and a more modest dunnock total is already in excess of other years.   Seven grey wagtail ringed this morning after a few quieter days for this species

Vis mig Middleton dawn to 0930 only
Carrion crow - 4 s
Meadow pipit - 181 se
Grey wagtail -  10 se
Linnet - 10 se
Heron - 3 s
Swallow - 22 se
Alba wagtail - 37 se
Goldfinch - 13 se
Reed bunting - 21 migrants
Pink-footed goose - 38, 37, c180 se/e
Canada goose - 14 e
Chaffinch - just 3 a
Golden plover - one high to east - rare here
Skylark 4 se

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Cetti's and Pinks

Heysham Obs

Heysham Nature Reserve
A Cetti's Warbler was trapped and ringed at 0830hrs. 
Late news: the two garganey were still present this am on model boat pond then central marsh
North Harbour Wall vis 0945-1045
Pink-footed Goose - 425.  Largest flock 165.
Meadow Pipit - 250
Skylark - 8
Swallow - 13
Rock Pipit - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2

Goldcrest - 1
Linnet - 35

Saturday, 20 September 2014


Heysham Obs

Heysham Nature Reserve
A quick trawl round the reserve for night migrants yielded 15 Robins, 11 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Blackcap, 3 Song Thrushes.

Middleton Nature Reserve  Dawn - 10am

Crossbill - 3 at 0730hrs
Meadow Pipit -111
Grey Wagtail - 3
Swallow - 42
Song Thrush - 5
Snipe - 2 west
Collared Dove - 1
Tree Pipit - 1
alba wagtail - 12
Linnet - 3
Woodpigeon - 3
Reed Bunting - 6
Chaffinch - 8
Skylark - 8

Ringing highlights:
Sedge Warbler (late for this species)
5 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaff
2 Willow Warblers (one a grey-green colour/northern variety)
2 Robins
1 of the 5 migrant Song Thrushes

Friday, 19 September 2014

Typical west coast migration day

Heysham Obs
Fidgety Dunnock migration and the like is hardly going to stop people deserting Lancashire and heading for the east coast.   This morning had a very west coast feel!

Vis mig dawn to 1000hrs Middleton
Meadow Pipit - 710 SE, big downturn in numbers after 0900 after being similar to yesterday up until then
Grey Wagtail - probably only six with other registrations being an off-passage bird visiting the sewage works on several occasions.  None of these visited the tape and that is probably because three of them had already been ringed at nearby Heysham NR, one was too far to the north and the last two appeared as the net was blowing about!
alba Wagtail - 36 SE
Linnet - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 20 S
Swallow - exactly 50 SE
Reed Bunting - difficult with some grounded birds but at least 18 SE
Goldfinch - 16 headed high to south and perceived as migrants
Tree Sparrow - singleton S
Little Egret - one high to east
Dunnock - 2+3 calling and flying south

Grounded Middleton NR
Blackcap - 4 ringed the only sightings
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed and at least three others
Willow Warbler - two ringed the only records
Goldcrest - 1-2 only
Song Thrush - 4 migrants, three few inland - all very early on
Robin - two ringed and no other evidence of migration
No tit flocks encountered to see what was with them

Grounded Heysham NR office area only
Garden Warbler  - one ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed
Goldcrest - one ringed
Robin - two ringed 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A great day to be outside watching migration in action

Heysham Obs
One of the Grey Wagtails ringed at Middleton on 12/9/14 was seen at Seaforth Nature Reserve today - the third individual to have been seen there over the years (50ish miles to south).  Thanks to Tony Conway

Wasn't sure what was going to happen this morning.  At 0714hrs, I was beginning to think staying in bed would have been a better option.  The wind was increasing and billowing the net set for my study species, Grey Wagtail.  Then at 0715hrs, the floodgates opened and the bushes were liberally sprinkled with the sounds of Chiffchaff and Blackcap.  Just two mist nets were set so the vis could be concentrated on and they produced 75 birds!!

Vis mig 0700-1100
Little Egret - flock of 6 high to the west, then appeared to split up (maybe ex-roost birds going to the shore to feed, but not seen it before and not on a direct line from Ashton Hall roost)
Meadow Pipit - exactly 2,047 recorded flying SE
alba Wagtail - 22 SE
Skylark - 4 SE
Reed Bunting - 6 SE
Linnet - 8 SE
Goosander - flock of 3 SE
House Martin - 1 SE
Swallow - 370 SE (many probably missed early on)
Woodpigeon - 4 S
Chaffinch - 17 S
Jay - 4+1+1 S
Starling - 249 seemed to be purposefully heading south!
Greenfinch - 4 S
Goldfinch - 74 S
Grey Wagtail - 16 SE, many of these after 0930
Lesser Black-backed Gull - a high gang of 32 SE
Grey Heron - 1 high to the E
Jackdaw - 4+6 S
Cormorant - 4 high to SE
Kestrel - 1 S

Grounded migrants Middleton
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Stonechat - one male
Blackcap - 8 ringed
Chiffchaff - 6 ringed
Song Thrush - flock of three first thing flew inland
Goldcrest - at least three
Willow Warbler - 4 ringed, 3 long-winged birds
Lesser Whitethroat - presumed curraca ringed (photographed)

Garganey - two flew across to the Tim Butler pond early on
Common Buzzard - one briefly by the sewage works (also seen yesterday)
Stock Dove - 2
Jay - one probably/ possibly just off-passage
Gadwall - at least 6
Mallard - three flew in from the direction of the shore

Heysham NR migrants at lunchtime
Goldcrest - 5
Chiffchaff - 5
Blackcap - 1-2

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Evening update

No heron returning at or after dusk this evening. Suitable compensation however in the form if two garganey whizzing about between the central marsh ponds and even responding to iPhone playback by circling over our heads!

More indeterminate birding!

Heysham Obs
A visit to Middleton this morning saw a silent compact medium-sized heron spp with "no" foot projection fly out of the willow/reedbed area and head low to the south over the sewage works.  This happened about 0615hrs so there was no chance of any plumage details, but it was light enough to see the structure of the bird except for the head and bill end.  I'll be back there this evening to see what happens at dusk...................    Not a good two days for clinching potentially decent records!

Middleton pre-dawn-1000hrs
Not quite what was expected with no Grey Wagtail movement at all until the sun and breeze started to affect the nets, but there was a very early pronounced Meadow Pipit (and to a lesser extent alba Wagtail) passage.   Autumn moves on a notch and this feeling was enhanced by Skylarks and Pink-footed Geese on the move.  If this is a sign the Grey Wagtail passage is finally tailing off, it has been an excellent autumn with 126 ringed and the chance of a handful more.   There was a small arrival of night migrants, notably Phylloscs, but also including some Goldcrests which managed to avoid the nets.

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - 463 SE
Grey Wagtail - just 10 SE, all after 0745hrs (the first two were ringed)
alba Wagtail - 45 SE
Reed Bunting - 11 SE
Goldfinch - 23 S
Chaffinch - 7 S
Skylark - 5 E
Pink-footed Goose - 9+59 SE
Jay - 2 together high to south
Jackdaw - flock of 6 south
Tree Sparrow - singleton south
Swallow - about 5 ex-roost and then the first sighting was two south at about 1000hrs!!

North Harbour wall vis 1020-1050
Swallow 11
Meadow Pipit 44
Grey Wagtail 1

Grounded at Middleton NR
Goldcrest - c5
Song Thrush - two together flew high inland at dawn
Willow Warbler - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - 6 ringed and one off-passage retrap
Robin - 3 ringed
Dunnock - 3 ringed, presumed migrants
Blackcap - just the one ringed
No obvious presence of any other warbler spp in what were quiet and calm conditions

Grounded at North Harbour wall
Robin 4
Linnet 4

See above re-heron
Water Rail - at least one
Gadwall - at least 4
Tufted Duck - male model boat pond

Painted Lady at North Harbour wall