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.