Monday, 29 May 2017

Two 2CY Meds

The cutting edge was a bit less blunt this am with 2 x 2CY Med Gulls on the outfalls in much better viewing conditions than yesterday

At least 5 singing Reed Warbler Middleton including one in SE corner of model boat pond

A Freyers Pug graced the moth trap but not a lot else

Grey Seal off outfalls

Fox ran across Moneyclose lane

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Lots of common seagulls

Couldn't pull anything out of the bag on the outfalls this morning:

Sandwich Tern - 1 out
Gannet - 2 casually noted flying out

Late afternoon sunshine saw one male Red-veined Darter being seen in the SW corner of Middleton model boat pond and 'with' it a probable female (per Dave)

Broad-barred White in the moth trap

Grey Seal offshore and Weasel Middleton NR

Saturday, 27 May 2017

A day of unsynchronised seasons

Stop press: three prob four male red veined darter over the water on model boat pond this afternoon also one male black tailed skimmer

ust out of the area - a Large Heath was photographed on Heysham Moss in one of the few areas not affected by the recent fire devastation........but why is it out a month early?

Mediterranean Gull - A 3Cy male was displaying to an adult female on the mudflats next to Heysham two outfalls - very early for this age class on ??autumnal dispersal and they should surely have already found a room in a BHG colony?

The third record of note was a flock of 17 Canada Goose adults floating in on the tide.  What on earth are they doing?

Nothing else of note on the outfalls but BHG were 700+ all seemed to be 2CY.  Watch this space! 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Outfalls bonanza

Things are really kicking off on the outfalls now the outage has produced a full flow.  A shortish visit on the incoming tide saw up to 450 Black-headed Gulls (all wandering 2CYs with obvious implications re-similarly wandering rares), 50-70 2CY Common Gull, lots of large gulls and some other odds and ends - see below:

Common Tern - at last!!  Adult seaward end Heysham one briefly (with one of the Arctics), then flew around the jetty into the bay
Arctic Tern - Ad with the above and another remaining on the inner end of Heysham one throughout
Little Gull - 2CY briefly seaward end Heysham 2 then couldn't find it - may have flown with BHG towards Middleton
Swallow - 2 in-off

Re-security and telescopes etc at Red Nab and along the seawall by the outfalls.   You will/may be paid a visit by security staff and will be expected to give full details - obviously something like a driving licence with you will help.  So no change, but assume more regular patrols - there are no restrictions unless eg some idiot tries to photograph through the power station fence.  In this respect you will be on camera at all times.  The harbour police are responsible for the north harbour wall and area and the same situation as above applies   

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Too many moths

Tried to mix early morning coverage with moth traps today.  No chance !

A belated check of red nab and the outfalls saw nothing of interest with the gulls but a sanderling was on the beach and a late whimbrel on red nab

Insects included 15 b b chaser on middleton and three on the nature park ponds.   Three burnet companion heysham nr and silver ys at both reserves.

Yesterday evening saw five shaded pig at dusk on middleton at a hotspot for this species

Wednesday fare

Arctic Skua - dm in 0834
Gannet -8 imms sauntering around the bay
Auk - one in
Sandwich tern - 2 out

Massive influx of 2cy black headed to outfalls -c300 but nowt with them

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Sanderling day

Not too bad a seawatch this morning given the lack of any substantial wind or showers (as per promise a week ago!)

Sea 0715-0830
Arctic Skua - light morph flew in heading NE, then turned and circled up and headed "over Barrow" - not seen this migration strategy before (but regular with Kittiwake)
Red-throated Diver - 1 in distantly and a close 2CY out
Razorbill - I in very close (nearly 'under' the scope!)
Guillemot - 1 in
Razorbill/Guillemot - 6 in
Kittiwake - single adult out
Sandwich tern - just the one - in
Common Scoter - flock of c25 in
Gannet - 17 in and a few distant 'outs' presumed same
Sanderling - flock of 19 out

Outfalls/Red Nab
Sanderling - at least 40 amongst a mixed flock/tideline scattering of c350 small waders, mostly with 'pale bellies', therefore this or RP, mostly too distant to see in the heathaze.  Went round to Potts Corner but could not relocate them on the incoming tide
Black-headed Gull - 55 - an increase - mostly 2CY
Common Gull - 35 2CY
Med Gull - a 'masky' 2CY new in - quite a bright orange dark-tipped bill

Monday, 22 May 2017

End of spring season feel

Having said that tomorrows seawatching might be a bit better in the SW winds. 

Sea for about 30 minutes
Sandwich tern - 3 blogging
Gannet - one out
Turnstone - 129 on wooden jetty

Nothing at all of note around the other side with only 15 Common and 5 Black-headed Gulls accompanying small numbers of big gulls

No waders other than Oystercatcher and 5 Curlew on Red Nab/along tideline

White-shouldered House Moth in trap

Sunday, 21 May 2017

More bits

sea 0630-0800
Kittiwake - 1
Gannet -  14
Auk spp - 6 distant 
Sandwich tern - 5-20 bloggers

Ruddy high flyer in trap

Saturday, 20 May 2017


Sea 0745-0845

Arctic Skua - one dm on then in
Sandwich Tern - loose flock of 6 flying out slowly
Kittiwake - flock of 13 across then seemingly out
Razorbill or Guillemot - one in
Manx Shearwater - 2 out distantly
Common Scoter - one out
Gannet - one out
In addition a big thing was being mobbed by seagulls in the heat haze in line with Roa Island - could have been anything from a heron to a harris hawk which leaves a lot of options

Friday, 19 May 2017

EDF breeding bird survey

A fairly comprehensive breeding bird survey of EDF property took place today - if anyone within the operational areas of the power station has anything to add, please email Pete (see sidebar for details).  Examples would be Mistle Thrush, Pied Wagtail and other things which like using buildings.

On the positive side were a singing male Goldcrest, singing male Garden Warbler (possibly a late migrant) and an Oystercatcher on a nest - none of these three have been proved to breed successfully before. On the downside, no Ringed Plover, no Grasshopper Warbler (Trimpell tanks were checked)no Reed Warbler (yet? - they can be late), seemingly no Great Spotted Woodpecker and similarly no Water Rail.  Willow Warbler were in above average numbers with most of the rest of the stuff 'as expected'

For the first time for a long time, the sea received no coverage!

Middleton news (thanks Malcolm)
Little grebe on Tim Butler, not sure if this is a different bird or a commuter from model boat pond (or visa versa).
No swimming pond Cetti's singing.
Grasshopper warbler very vocal to west of western marsh.
1 Gadwall

The moth trap held Poplar Hawk-moth, Rustic Shoulder Knot (both NFY) and a few Small Square Spot - poor reward for a good night.  Chrysoteuchia culmella was photographed by Janet

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Overland skuas

Not a bad little seawatch considering expectations were not high

0745-0900 north wall
Arctic Skua - lm and dm flew NE high over Heysham Head 0805hrs having come from the general direction of Walney lighthouse, climbing and circling when they reached the yellow buoys
Gannet - flock of 6 (4 ads) in
Guillemot/Razorbill - 22 in
Guillemot - 14 in
Common Scoter - flock of 7 out
Kittiwake - 8 in very distantly

Survey boat out there from about 0815 - be nice if a birder was aboard and got on to the single presumed auk flying out which appeared to show big white upperwing patches - just too much heat haze to get enough definition on the bird

Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
Insect morning
Damsel flies out in great numbers, large red and blues (the ones I checked closely were Azure).
3 X Broad bodied chasers (1 mature male). 2 along strip next to golf club.
Only 2 X 4 spotted chaser
Lots of common blue butterflies now (m & f)
2 small copper (I've attached a record shot of one)

Heard all three Cetti's, unfortunately not at the same time.
Grasshopper warbler reeling on slope west of western marsh.
3 male Gadwall

Insects HNR
The moth trap actually produced some moths at last:  Two Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, 4 Small Square Spot and a Scalloped Hazel

Watch out for the possibility of Small Yellow Underwing moth if you are wandering about e.g. the hay-meadows by the office - just a possible glimpse this morning of something of that ilk.  Small Copper seen by office

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

No early coastal coverage

Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
Little grebe on model boat pond, pretty sure they have nest in reeds in SE corner.
Newly fledged long tailed tits (still being fed).
Female Mute on no swimming pond constantly adjusting eggs, I suspect that hatching is imminent.
No Swimming pond Cetti's singing (twice) from western edge.

No reports of any migrants today and seemingly negative news on the Brent Geese

A Small Square Spot graced the moth trap (Silver Y yesterday)

First Common Blue reported this year (thanks Janet)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


Brent goose - the three still red nab am at least
Manx shearwater - two very distant pm
Common scoter - flock 5 very distant pm
Arctic Skua - dm sat on sea mid range pm
Red-throated diver - 2cy out close inshore pm
Spotted flycatcher - at least one heysham head royal hotel area

Monday, 15 May 2017

Southerly rubbish

Gannet - 3 out
Brent Geese - still in situ
Common Scoter - c7 distantly in as viewed from OE

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Better than expected

A better than expected sea-watch from Heysham North Harbour Wall this morning (0630 - 0940 hrs) (Peter Crooks) with not a lot seen after then by the follow-up observers!

Arctic Skua - 1 dark morph flew in at 0810 and landed on the sea before continuing into the bay 5 minutes later.
Common Scoter - mid-distance groups of 4, 3 and 7 were completely overshadowed by flocks of c.250, c.70, and finally c.1000 swirling about on the horizon and landing on the sea at very long range.
Gannet - 81, including 32 in a single scan across the Bay
Kittiwake - 3, then flocks of c.60 and c.85 suddenly appearing at mid-range (descending from higher?), then forming tight 'kettles' and gaining height, but seeming not to fly further into the Bay.   Later 40 similarly
Guillemot - 1 in
Sanderling - groups of 4 and 7 flew out, then 9 flew in/across the Bay
Fulmar - 2
Red-throated Diver - 1
Sandwich Tern - 6
Light-bellied Brent Goose - 2 Red Nab/OE saltmarsh
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - one with above

Willow Warbler singing in bushes near parking area at end of NH Wall

Cetti's Warblers (thanks Malcolm)

WEBs "nightmare"
1,500 Dunlin decided that they would leave the incoming tideline and fly on to Red Nab where they unfortunately met a repeat performance from the "B and B":

They then tried to land but then veered off over the Bay and seemed to 'climb'.  Looking at the Lune counts they were quite low for the WeBS today - I had far more on the Sunderland mudflats this early am and presumably these were some of the same birds?  Problems with WeBs counts at migration time - these birds could just not be registered as anything as they had gone well before high tide

If any of the Ocean Edge people are reading this, please could you have a bit of a blitz on tides and quicksand -  a couple of girls and a dog from the site were actually jumping up and down miles out near the old sewage pipe and one of them had difficulty extracting one of her legs from the mud and they only just missed being cut off by the channel which runs alongside the seaward side of the saltmarsh .  This channel has deepened and become more "obvious" further out to at least the old sewage pipe over the last few months and is clearly a serious potential hazard, including quicksand.  Need to be off the shore two hours before high tide if you intend to cross this channel on your way back and not face a lengthy detour via eg the beach by the old Pontins site.  See how quickly the recent car has disappeared.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Scattering of interest, mostly in Cumbria!

Rain and a south-westerly this morning

Arctic Tern - one early on
Arctic Skua - distant light morph in, picked up by two separate observers about 1005hrs
Gannet - 5 out
Common Scoter - 54 out in three close bunches
Brent Goose - the gang of three were still around on the usual routine ie Red Nab then OE saltmarsh at high tide

No evidence of any hirunding or landbird migration

Friday, 12 May 2017

Spotted flycatchers.....eventually

A few bits this morning but definitely not worth an early start in what was "a nice calm sunny morning" at that time.

Egret spp: quite possibly a great white heading very distantly into the bay
Spotted flycatcher - three heysham head when cloud arrived, nowhere else checked at this time
Brent goose - the three still there on the same routine
Marsh Harrier - female type north east early am over middleton
Sandwich tern - two blogging
Swift - 15 heysham head
Swallow - c50 northbound or blogging
Sand martin - 1
House martin - 1
Whitethroat - 6 ringed
Cetti's warbler - central marsh breeding male retrapped on CES
Reed warbler - singing male in bramble hnr, at least three middleton
Wheatear - 3 small ones oe foreshore
Large gulls - 2500 on skeers

Grey seal - 1

Five 4-spotted Chaser Middleton NR

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Itsy bitsy not a lot

The easterly did not really kick in until after 0900 and the start of the morning was cold clear with a full moon and a light northerly - a good recipe for staying in bed i.e. subtly unfavourably different to yesterday

Worthy of note....
Gannet - 2 out
Arctic Tern - 8 in
Sandwich Tern - 2 blogging and one bizarrely dip-feeding over wet mud next to Red Nab for 30 minutes
Brent Goose - the two pale and one dark-bellied birds still Red Nab but hidden in the back channel until the tide moved
More phonescoping practice! (Pete)

Swallow - c130 NE with a significant number in-off at OE
House Martin - 5 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 1 NE and one ringed
Willow Warbler - 4 or so ringed, one in-off over the mudflats at OE
Wheatear - 3 big and one enormous bird arrived together on OE foreshore 10ish
Large gulls - 2000 + checked on low tide skeers
Cetti's Warbler - possibility/probability of extra singing male Middleton
Mallard & 6 young Middleton (also Gadwall, Tufted Duck and 3 x nesting Mute Swan)

Broad bodied Chaser - teneral Middleton (thanks Malcolm) (IOY)
also Common Blue or Azure seen

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Black goose fest

Spent most of the time going through 2100 large gulls on or around the skeers to the south of Heysham head - wish these were closer - very hard to find even eg a 'winger' amongst the masses.   Nothing could be found amongst the 99% imm Herring

Arctic Tern - flock of 16 in as soon as I got there at 0650 and that was it
Sandwich tern - 3 bloggers
Canada Goose - 3 'in' - rarer than Brents on seawatches!!
Swallow - just 5 in an hour
Black-tailed Godwit - flock of 5 2CY (or certainly non breeding plumage) in
Whimbrel - 2 in

Dark-bellied Brent Goose x 1
Pale bellied Brent Goose x 2 - still at Red Nab with the above

Whimbrel - 2 red nab

Visibility not good enough to see the scoter line of yesterday

Better than yesterday but didn't seem to be any ringers about today
Whitethroat - one north wall (and more eg Heysham MNR than yesterday
Willow Warbler - one north wall
Garden Warbler - singing males Moneyclose lane and Heysham NR
Wheatear - 6

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Dont give up

All the decent stuff was courtesy of Chis ringing me from Knott End about a summer plumaged Great Northern Diver which had flown and seemingly landed on the sea general heading 'in'.   No sign but distracted a bit by other things!

Sea 0645 onwards on and off
Sandwich tern - 7 in
Swallow - c40 in
Osprey - one flushed everything on Red Nab and all the power station gulls at 1000ish and headed north just inland of PS
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 2 Red Nab later Ocean Edge saltmarsh as the tide came in
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - one with the above

Common Scoter - absolute minimum of 750 flying into the bay 1000-1030 with some almost certainly missed as I switched from OE heat-hazed views to the NHW
Wheatear - three big males OE
Lesser Redpoll - flock of 4 north
House Martin - one in
Raven - one in-off then east at OE
Whimbrel - 2 Red Nab and area

A very early Burnet Companion on Heysham Nature reserve (thanks Janet)

Monday, 8 May 2017


c2000 Grey Mullet feeding on algae on the incoming tide on Red Nab (pic later).  Seawatching included yet another Puffin or two and a distant inbound Marsh Harrier.  The "cold air heat-haze" was causing problems with many of the auk spp i.d.

Mullet (thanks Malcolm)

Sea 0700-0930 & 0955-1020
Puffin - one in 0900ish then probably the same out close inshore before landing on the sea off the wooden jetty at 1000ish
Marsh Harrier - one in 0855 (struggling with gulls in tow - seemed to be on a SE to NW line across the Bay (didn't pass Rossall) but an odd decision!)
Arctic Tern - 66 in
Guillemot - 4 in
Guillemot/Razorbill - c10
Auk spp v distant - c10
Goose spp - 2 in
Sandwich Tern - 3
Gannet - 5
Swallow - 60+
Sand Martin - 2
House Martin - 2
Swift - 3

Wheatear - 3
Whimbrel - 1 red nab
Common Sandpiper - 1

Office area
Ringing included a female Redstart

Sunday, 7 May 2017

More seabird unpredictability

Lighter winds this morning and it seemed to knock the regular things with faster wingbeats on the head - common scoter, red-throat and auks but there was an unexpected calm weather passage of Gannet and Kittiwake.  Also a late start which may have cost a Pom or two on Rossall observations, but it was a good morning for skuas to start climbing to go overland before reaching the north wall

Offshore 0730 to 0900 thence very intermittently to 1215
Osprey north along coast then circling high over Heysham head 0810ish
Goosander - redhead north - very tricky year list species under the belt
Arctic Skua - dm in at 0739 and one chasing Sandwich terns then in at 1200
Arctic Tern - 124 (61+43+20)
Sandwich Tern - c25 blogging, mostly south of harbour

Kittiwake - 26 (8+10+5+3)
Gannet - 15 (6+6 (definitely different) + 2+1)
Ringed Plover - 14 in
Dunlin - 20 in
Swallow - c75 N
Swift - 2 N

Grounded (too late an arrival on a morning like this)
Willow Warbler - gang of 11-12 sandworks vegetation
Whinchat - female OE foreshore
Wheatear - just 2
Garden warbler - singing male by obs t pond
Heysham Head wood warbler and spot fly search saw 48 dogs and a singing wren

Whimbrel - 4 Red Nab until....................

B and (St) B Oystercatcher botherers

Four-spotted Chaser - first of year on Middleton (thanks Malcolm)

Saturday, 6 May 2017


A Cuckoo on a seawatch and a flock of Pintail sat on the tideline, the latter more unexpected than the former for here, especially this time of year!

Sea 0650-1015 (all in unless stated otherwise)
Swift - 6
Auk spp - 7 & 4 out (2 definite Guillemot and the rest probably this spp)
Red-throated Diver - 5
Common Scoter - 61
Gannet - 4
Arctic Tern - 168 (biggest flock 77)
Pintail - 12 on tideline
Whimbrel - 2
Cuckoo - 1 in at 0810
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Swallow - just 16

Friday, 5 May 2017

Even closer Puffin and swift passage

About 1.5 hours of rather messy coverage rather than complete concentration on the sea.  This was because there was clearly nothing happening looking from the north wall beyond the yellow buoys and therefore some later Ocean Edge grass watching seemed in order with an eye kept on the nearest channels offshore.  This is a better vis mig site and so it proved with swift and hirundines and 'invisible' redpoll.

Coastal coverage 0725-0900 (ie when cafe opened!)
Puffin - at about 0830 one flew round the wooden jetty and then towards me on the north wall, gaining height before dropping down again in the near channel and heading up the Bay!  Bizarre and surely the same bird Ian had seen from Rossall at 0630ish which had sat on the sea for a bit?
Guillemot - one in 0815
Red-throated Diver - one out - the only distant bird of any note
Swift - 9 from the north wall heading NE over the sea, 14 in-off at Ocean Edge
Swallow - 7 as above, then 44 in-off Ocean Edge
Sand Martin - 2 in-off Ocean Edge
Sandwich Tern - 4 in
Lesser Redpoll - 5+H+H+2+H+H
Whimbrel - 1 in
Dunlin - 55 in
Ringed Plover - 24 in
Black-headed Gull - 19 in

Whinchat - female OE slipway area
Wheatear - at least 7 OE foreshore
Meadow Pipit - 2 OE foreshore  

Thursday, 4 May 2017


Clear and north easterly again so this seemed to have the hallmarks of  'going through the motions patch coverage'.  The tide was also in, not usually the best scenario.  However there was a real hooley blowing down the Bay and that looked a whole lot more promising and the next 1.5hrs saw a decent variety

Sea 0715-0845
Arctic Tern - 20 in joined by 31 dropping out of the sky + 8 in
Sandwich Tern - 5+2 in (no bloggers)
Puffin - 1 in 0735 - nice colourful bill visible, not just a distant jizz id!
Guillemot - 8 in
Auk spp - 2 distant in, 3 out - no reason why they were not Guillemot
Great-crested Grebe - pair in sp flew in (odd?)
Red-throated Diver - 4 singletons in - all in sp
Gannet -3 - sub ad in, ad & imm in
Black-headed Gull - 32 purposefully in (mostly 2CY)
Whimbrel - 1 in

Wheatear in sandplant

Grey Seal

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Scraping the barrel

Trying to find some birds this morning from the North Harbour Wall was like looking into an empty cup and seeing a few tea leaves at the bottom.

Pink-footed Goose - 22 N at 07:40
Red-throated Diver - 2 in at 07:46 and 09:05
Arctic Tern - 8 in then up on reaching the outfalls at 09:00
Black-headed Gull - 32 in 3 flocks
Swallow - 8

Sandwich tern - 2
Med Gull - 2CY with mask and dark joining over the rear crown

Wheatear - 1 grounded on the south harbour wall.

Turnstone 115 on the wooden jetty

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Decent migration coverage

The mist nets below the old obs tower saw a blast from the past today - a decentish catch of 20 or so female Willow Warblers with a few other odds and ends including three Lesser Whitethroat.   The sea was a real mixed bag with early morning reports from elsewhere suggest quite a few terns from early doors (eg 100+ Arctic and a few Black off JBP early am).  Heysham observations saw the back end of this movement with nothing subsequently other than a few blogging Sandwich Terns.  However, following an extremely distant probable, the incoming tide once again produced skuas, this time three Arctic in conditions which were clear and flat calm!  Unfortunately there was no known coverage when the easterly kicked in again later in the tide sequence.  The first Middleton CES was carried out and the single Willow Warbler showed just how more concentrated migrants are at Heysham NR, much nearer the landfalling area

North harbour wall am
Lesser Redpoll 2
Swallow 18
Meadow Pipit 1

Willow Warbler singing by twite feeder but no Wheatear or any other migrants

At sea
Arctic Tern 78 (36, 38, 4)
Black Tern 1 (with the 38 Arctics)
Red-throated Diver 2 in
Little Egret 1 south, close inshore
skua spp - very distant bird, almost certainly dark Arctic

South harbour/O edge
Wheatear - 7

Early incoming tide north wall (lunchtime)
Arctic Skua - single dark morph in then two together in close inshore
Little Gull - two summer adults in with a flurry of Black-headed Gulls
Eider 127 off the skear
Sandwich Tern 8 blogging
Dunlin - 20 on skeer
Whimbrel - one on skeer
NO hirundine passage during this calm spell

Moneyclose Lane
Pied Flycatcher - male singing briefly from two locations as it moved north along the lane

Heysham village
Swift - 1 (IOY)

Grey Seal offshore

Monday, 1 May 2017

Waiting for Godot delivers in style

The early morning vigil on the sea from 0700 drifted on via negative news from Rossall, extensive negative searching of the skeers for the Iceland Gull, a cafĂ© stop and an office visit until 1100 when one of us gave up and the other decided just to let the tide come in a bit.  At this point, Alan arrived and it all started to happen!  Yet yesterday the early morning low tide period was quite productive.  Seawatching can be so unpredictable.

The tern behaviour was also different this morning with just a bit of north in the easterly wind.  There were two lines used by birds heading in the bay and no sign of any heading inland over the wooden jetty or even further south as yesterday.  The first line was 'yellow buoyish range' and the second line was in the second channel beyond the first sandbank and it was along this line the star of the morning, three Pomarine Skuas, materialised

Osprey - one flew NE over the reserve at 1130 (Alan D and John M)

Arctic Tern - 301 in, mainly after 1130
Black Tern - 48 in with largest group 23.  Some could have been missed on the 'inner line' whilst keeping tabs on the Poms.  All after 1130
Pomarine Skua - three low over the water just beyond the first sandbank at 1140, then landed for about 12 minutes before heading slowly and low up the channel.  Two were obvious light morphs with full tails, the third looked a bit 'messy' underneath where the others were clear cut pale but still had a full tail.  A nice new species for Alan!
Whimbrel - 4 in
Sandwich Tern - 7 blogging early on then a further 15 in with the main movement
Black-headed Gull - c150 in, mainly 2CY
Meadow Pipit - 11 in
Swallow - c150 in (and single/low double figures over Middleton and HNR)
Sand Martin - 13 in
Red-throated Diver - one in summer plumage on
Great-crested Grebe - one on
Eider - 278

Wheatear 2

Middleton NR
Mute Swan - 3 pairs all on nests
Tufted Duck - 4
Gadwall - 1
Mallard - 3
Little Grebe - 1
Common Sandpiper - 1
House Martin - 2 NE
Cetti's Warbler - three singing males
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 singing males
Lesser Whitethroat - three singing males
Reed Warbler - still just two singing males
Big increase in Whitethroat and plenty of Sedge and Willow Warblers but Blackcap and Chiffchaff starting to be 'quieter', as befits earlier nesters

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Great migration day

Best was an adult White-winged Black tern accompanying one of the Black tern flocks (seen by Andrew) along with a record count of Black tern.   Quite tricky to keep tabs on birds which were spiralling up and heading inland (eg a flock of 120 Arctic and several Black tern) and the following counts should be seen as minima with three observers at different locations liaising over the phone.  Pete Crooks diligently covered the early morning low tide period.  Unfortunately the land was very much second best and goodness knows how many warblers slipped through in the absence of any ringing and presence of the more 'obvious' species in some numbers like Wheatear and Whinchat.  Stuff is still arriving as this is being typed, notably a massive hirundine passage

Evening update (Shaun Coyle et al)
ICELAND GULL - 2CY past outfalls towards harbour 2000 hrs
Black tern - flock of 45 in - at least 185 for the day!

Sea - 0700-1315
Gannet- 9
Sandwich Tern - 18, mainly blogging but purposeful flock of 12 in
White-winged Black Tern - 1 adult
Arctic Tern - 569 NE
Black Tern - 140 minimum, probably another 30 NE
Black-headed Gull - 72 in
Common Scoter - 3
Whimbrel - 5
Swallow - 500 NE
Sand Martin - 120 NE
House Martin - 5 NE
Tree Pipit - 3 NE
Meadow Pipit  86 NE (late!) plus another 30 small passerines prob these over the sea
Alba Wagtail - 3
Goldfinch - 2
Siskin - 1
Kestrel - 1
Great-crested Grebe - 1 on water
Common sandpiper - 2 near naze, one red nab

Wheatear - 22 minimum
Whinchat - 3 minimum
Yellow Wagtail - male Ocean Edge
Willow Warbler - 2 south harbour wall, 3 OE foreshore rocks

Pete Woodruff late afternoon - note the record Common Sandpiper count (thanks for this info)
13 Wheatear, being 11 flying off Red Nab in procession toward Ocean Edge, and two on the waste ground at the south wall where there was 3 Willow Warblera Whitethroat, and a White Wagtail, 8 Common Sandpiper were below the sea wall between outfalls

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Less of a spectacle

Low tide coverage by Phil and myself on the north wall failed to reveal any semblance of proper migration.  Hordes of seagulls as yesterday eventually revealed an adult summer Little Gull at extreme range as the BHGs started to move up the bay on the incoming tide.  That was about it in the 'boldface stakes'.  Similar picture for Malcolm on the south side of the harbour

Some nice pics from Janet at Middleton yesterday:

Knot - about half yesterdays number - c3000
Eider - 270ish
Sandwich tern - 8-9 bloggers early on
Pink-footed Goose - one south!
Whimbrel - 1 north
Wigeon - pair north
Little Gull - adult summer with BHGs - only seen when they flew north
Mute Swan - 2 imms north over sea
Great-crested Grebe - one on sea
Red-throated Diver - one on during a mid-morning check
Wheatear - 3 OE
[Ian had a flock of 145 Arctic Tern heading into the Bay at Rossall mid/late afternoon, hopefully a precursor of the main theme during the easterlies in the next few days]

Heysham N Reserve area
The only definite migrants were two Lesser Redpoll ringed and about half a dozen Swallows over

Grey Seal - 1

Friday, 28 April 2017

Spectacle birding

low spring tides allow skeers to be uncovered which don't normally see the light of day very much and hordes of birds often take advantage of this temporary source of food

Large gulls (mostly 2cy herring) - 890
Black headed gull - 1240
Common gull - 257
Knot - 6400 (great murmurations)
Eider - 259

Dark-bellied Brent goose - two north at the time a lot of birds were being displaced by The tide (thanks Malcolm)
Arctic Skua - dm in 0815
Sandwich tern - 14
Common scoter - 3
Red throated diver - 2
Pink footed goose - 110 n plus a singleton on the water
Guillemot - 1
Common sandpiper - 1 (Ioy)
Wheatear - 8

Grey seal - 1
Harbour porpoise - 1-2

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The day of the Gannet

It didn't look great for a seawatch at first as the visibility was very poor as a weather front passed over but suddenly in the gloom a flock of Kittiwakes and appeared and then another so it was time to concentrate. The following were then seen in the run up to high tide from 08:20 to 12:00:

Kittiwake -  116 (35+70+1+5+1+4)
Gannet - 100 - exact count of inbound birds (largest flock = 30). As all but one were adults they contrasted superbly against the grey background.  As usual many were seen flying out at some distance heading around Walney - these all assumed to be the same birds as already counted
Sandwich Tern - 10 in and 3 out
Arctic Tern - 9 in at 11:53
Arctic Skua - dark morph in at 09:15
Great Skua - 2 in at 09:40 (one initially, the second bird probably got off the sea and joined it - suddenly appeared in line with Barrow...and 1 in very close at 11:40 which had been tracked past rossall then knott end (1126)
Pomarine Skua - 1 lm ad very close in at 11:33, first picked up flying round end of wooden jetty
Red-throated Diver - 7 in
Manx Shearwater - 3 (2+1) - distant flying across
Guillemot - 2 out

2000 Knot and 200 Dunlin flew out (towards Middleton) from the skears at around 09:20

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Lots of Sandwiches today

Another chilly morning vigil at the North Harbour wall. Tally so far (to 10:15hrs):
Sandwich Tern -  73
Arctic Tern - 2 plus 6 in
Unidentified large raptor in distant heat haze  - 1 at 1008
Red-throated Diver - 1
Little egret - 3 north together 

Whimbrel - 3 red nab
Grey plover - 1 red nab
White wagtail - two ocean edge grass
No wheatear seen oe!

Shoulder stripe in moth trap 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Chilly seawatch

Nice view of the snow clad Lake District from the North Harbour Wall today but the air was cold so there was a "heat" haze over the sea (i.e. The sea being relatively warmer than the air above it) making distant birds (if there were any) difficult to see.

Managed to see the following:
Sandwich Tern - 13 in
Gannet - 5 in
Auk sp, probably Guillemot, - 1 in
Swallow - just the one.

3 Wheatear were seen at Ocean Edge by Malcolm

Speckled Wood and an Orange Tip seen at Heysham Nature Reserve by Janet (see below)

Heysham Reserve
Redstart - 1 female along path at north end of reserve, pm.
Lesser Whitethroat singing near the hut


Monday, 24 April 2017

Mixed bag after a late start

Interested to see what tomorrow mornings seawatching will be like in the northerly - in the past it has produced some terns etc.  Today we were too late for a proper seawatch and certainly missed the decent number of early morning Red-throated Diver seen heading in from Rossall (thanks for info Ian)

Sea 0900-0940
Red-throated Diver - 2!
Great Skua - see by two of us but distant brief views as it headed in (thanks for the alert Ian)
Gannet - 2 in
Dunlin - 35 N
Knot - 700 south

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Scandinavian Rock Pipit - one in summer plumage (usually gone from round here before they gain s.p.) (Malcolm)
Wheatear - 1-2

Sunday, 23 April 2017

At last a bit of action by our standards!

Unfortunately the Pom Skua was at best an unidentifiable blob high above Walney lighthouse (seen off Rossall and communicated straight away), otherwise a nice mix of stuff today.  Would have been even better without a heat haze from early doors knocking a couple of additional species on the head!

Offshore 0630 to 1020ish (Pete Crooks and Pete Marsh)
Med Gull - the major surprise was a pair of adults heading up the Bay (very late for this age class to still be on the move).  Also new in was a 2CY with the Common Gulls on the tideline by Ocean Edge
Gannet - 3
Arctic Tern - 3+10+5 in (IOY)
Red-throated Diver - at least 14 either 'in' or 'on' but floating in, singletons or twos
Common Scoter - 21
Sandwich Tern - 3
Guillemot - 8 - 'on' floating in - all singletons
Whimbrel - 6 in, 2 on shore Red Nab
Knot - flock of c4800 south
Meadow Pipit - late flock of 5 in
Swallow - c40 in (mostly after 0925)
House Martin - 2 in
Sand Martin - 7 in together 0945
Goose spp - c130 NW very distantly
No ducks other than the odd Eider (very poor spring for RBM in particular)

Harbour Porpoise - three well-separated individuals
Grey Seal - 2 (one close inshore)

Middleton NR (Malcolm)
Cetti's Warbler - two singing males but the main territory of the wintering male silent (hopefully paired and nesting)
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 singing males
Grasshopper Warbler - two additional territories/passage birds today (singing males - one near Solrec/Tradebe)
Sedge Warbler - 5 singing male
Reed Warbler - one singing male
Swallow (3) and Sand Martin (1) casually noted
Pheasant - 2
Mute Swan - 3 pairs, two sitting
Coot - 2
Moorhen - 7
Gadwall - 5 (4 males)
Mallard - 3 males
Tufted Duck - 3 (2 males)
Little Grebe - 2 on model boat pond - one trilling

No ringing this am or coverage of landbirds away from Middleton

Saturday, 22 April 2017

More additions to the Cumbrian year list

Quite a bit of stuff in the clear skies has been in Cumbria as scoped from the north wall and it is a good job todays high flying Marsh harrier was showing well-defined 'headlights' otherwise it might have been a bit of a struggle.  Unfortunately  no-one covered the early morning incoming tide

Offshore 9ish onwards on early dropping tide
Marsh Harrier - distant high flying bird purposefully in (any new ones at Leighton today - f/imm with pronounced 'headlights'?)
Common Scoter - c15 u-turned in line with turbines
Red-throated Diver - 6 on, including three together
Swallow - 5 NE in about 45 mins

Small influx of Sedge Warbler (three ringed)
Reed Warbler - singing male (IOY)
Grasshopper and Cetti's Warbler - at least two singing males of each

Wheatear - 2 Ocean Edge
Grey Plover - 16 in fsp visible along tideline
Common Gull - 37 outfalls/tideline

No other sign of life migrant-wise although no observers were there early am

Friday, 21 April 2017

Wanted and unwanted ducks

Wanted ducks
Shoveler - three 'in' (one male)
Wigeon - flock of 5 'in' (long after the wintering birds have departed) a potential tricky year tick but just too far away to be certain

Plus other things on the sea:
Sandwich tern - one in distantly
Red-throated Diver - two in sp in
Gannet - 2 out very distantly

Unwanted ducks
Other newly arrived grounded migrants
Hirundines or any other landbird vis during the seawatch

Mediocre miscellany
Little Egret - 3

Thursday :excellent coverage but...

Possibly the least productive coastal search ever at migration time in what looked like reasonable conditions
Wheatear - one OE saltmarsh
Whimbrel - one Red Nab
Gannet - one far offshore out

This might be the Grasshopper Warbler caught in the morning but may not even be a British ring??? (thanks Janet)

Ringing took place at both Middleton and Heysham.
Although the numbers caught were low, only twelve birds at each site, the highlights were the first Grasshopper Warbler ringed this and first Whitethroats of this spring at Middleton and Heysham.
Willow Warblers - 10
Chiffchaff - 4
Blackcap - 2
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 1 (& one seen Heysham)
Reed Bunting - 1
Goldfinch - 1 plus 1 retrap
Dunnock - 1 retrap
Chaffinch - 1 retrap
Blackbird - 1 retrap

Also at Middleton, at least three Grasshopper Warblers, the Lesser Whitethroat of the last few days and two Cetti's singing/calling early morning.

An additional Lesser Whitethroat was singing from the edge of the field next to the bypass roundabout on the south side of the road

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Low Key Morning

Heysham Obs

Offshore 1000-1020
Speedboat presumably involved in scientific work managed to clear the whole of the wildfowl from the low tide channels prior to my arrival!
Sandwich Tern - 2 in
Swallow - 35 N
Sand |Martin - 4 N
Odd that there were none over HNR over a much longer time period

A ringing session this morning produced fewer captures than expected from five nets set from dawn. It was a case of quality rather than quantity.
Although plenty of local pairs of birds were flitting around there appeared to be few newly arrived birds.
Sedge Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 2 retraps
Willow Warbler - 4 plus 2 retraps
Blackcap - 1
Goldfinch - 2 plus 2 retraps
Dunnock - 1 retrap

None in the hut trap.  The overnight wind although broadly southerly, did have a little east in it  which may have deterred moths from entering the window.

Not fit for purpose in my opinion.  Lost three micros escaping through the beehive slats the other morning and this must be happening all night. Don't forget this trap has been unchecked for three nights as no one had access.  Design modifications needed (ie the original design implemented!!) otherwise it is a waste of time.  Are the nearby security lights still on all night? (Pete Marsh - county moth recorder) 


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Female Scaup tops the bill

Counting rather than just skimming through the Eider saw a female Scaup trying its best to blend in but it soon became clear it had its own agenda and floated out on its own whilst the Eider maintained position, feeding.  A very distant Osprey was only picked up under a cloud of gulls after it was well north of Ulverston and it was soon lost against the background - probably turning and flying towards land judging by the gull response.  Migrant or wandering associate with/component of the breeding birds?

Sea early morning low tide
Osprey - see above - 0900ish
Scaup - female see above
Black-headed Gull - flock of 17 purposefully in
Eider - 187
Red-breasted Merganser - 2 pairs
Sand Martin - 6 north
Swallow - 11 north

Malcolms notes from Middleton plus additions from John/Doreen/Pete
One Lesser Whitethroat between gun club and steps.
A couple of Redpoll blogging.
Slow trickle of swallows - 8 in total, one group of 3 the rest singles.
1 male pheasant.
Sand Martin - 3 north
Cetti's Warbler - at least two singing males
Sedge Warbler - two singing early on only, one ringed
5 Tufted
2 Gadwall
1 Little Grebe ( no swimming pond)
1 Lapwing on model boat pond peninsula

Lots of male orange tip. 

Thanks for the following pics from Middleton, Janet

Monday, 17 April 2017

Coverage around low tide

Ducks were the order of the day although it was great that Malcolm fully confirmed three Cetti's warbler territories as all were singing at the same time this am

Garganey - a pair flew from across the bay and then swung and flew up the bay over heysham skeer and lost heading for the stone jetty
Goldeneye - two females were a very welcome sighting as they headed up the bay
Common scoter - drake flew on and u-turned out
Red throated diver  - one on
Great crested grebe - one on
Eider - 197
Red breasted merganser - NONE!!
Whimbrel - 2 in
Swallow - 40 in including gang of 32
Sandwich tern - just the one in
Redpoll - flock of 5 north
Meadow pipit - c15 n
Linnet -c20 n
White wagtail - 2n

Gadwall - 6
Tufted duck - 3
Cetti's warbler - 3 singing male
Common buzzard - one high to north
Sedge warbler - one singing briefly

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Perseverance on the sea

Sea for about 1.5 hours
Little gull - two ads in
Common scoter - three distantly out
Kittiwake - flock of 55 on then in
Eider -c135
Knot - 2700 on skeers
Grey seal 1-2

Lesser whitethroat still singing
Cetti's warbler - at least one
Gadwall - 2
Teal - 2
Tufted duck - 2

Friday, 14 April 2017

Warm sector scraps

Nowt yesterday other than 130 Eider in low tide channel

Spent about 30 minutes this morning in absolutely superb haze free visibility trying to see Brent Geese at Rampside!!   Just too far away, but there was nothing to look at in between Heysham and the Furness coast - absolutely dead bar one Eider flying out, despite a strong incoming tidal flow

Grasshopper Warbler - singleton giving a few bursts of song
Lesser Whitethroat - ditto
Cetti's Warbler - two possibly three singing males
Teal - two pairs still

Heysham NR
Sedge warbler singing by office for a short time

Absolutely zero hirundine passage contra elsewhere eg over the sea

Zero yet again on Wheatear which have been incredibly scarce after an early flurry

Brown House Moth in the moth trap along with Early Grey and Early Thorn

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Fulmar on the year list

Probably about an hour in total watching the sea during the early stages of the incoming tide but about a third was during poor visibility

Gannet - one in, 14 out
Fulmar - one out

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

One Gannet

One distant Gannet in 30 minutes

Middleton NR (Malcolm)
Cetti's warbler(s) singing:
Fence pond/central marsh - 1 burst
NE corner of central marsh - 3 bursts
NW corner of "no swimming" pond - 1 burst.
Unfortunately, I never heard two at the same time, but I suspect more than one bird was involved.
2 Tufted
6 Gadwall
2 Teal

Monday, 10 April 2017

Gannet duo

A couple of adult gannet and a single red throated diver from about an hours incoming tide seawatching this am.

Six little egret best of the rest!

OSPREY ne across the se corner of the recording area about 1208 yesterday

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Migration still low key

Heysham NR
Vis 06:15 - 10:00
Meadow Pipit 26
Alba Wagtail 3
Lesser Redpoll 12
Carrion Crow 3

Seen from the North Harbour Wall
Knot 1000  flew from the skears towards Middleton
Turnstone - at least 150 on the wooden jetty
Dunlin 160
Common Gull 39
Bar-tailed Godwit 5
Little Egret 5

Middleton NR
Little change here. Willow,Warblers and Chiffchaffs singing, a single Blackcap, Cetti's Warbler in NE  corner of central marsh. No other types of warbler yet.
Tufted Duck 2
Teal 2
Mute Swan 3 pairs
Little Grebe 1
Buzzard soaring to east.


Saturday, 8 April 2017


Early WeBs count saw two distant Sandwich Tern and a Swallow heading north.  Records elsewhere suggest a significant coastal (but not up the Lune) Lesser Redpoll passage from first light and about 10 were caught later on in the morning Heysham/Middleton

Other than the redpoll, vis mig was very slow or high with occasional pulses of Meadow Pipit including a flock of 16 mid morning

6 Little Egret Red Nab!

Friday, 7 April 2017

The door remains closed

This comment certainly seems to apply to migrant birds at the moment but it is also embarrassing when, on a whistle stop visit to see if anyone was in (so could check the moth trap), you have to refuse a regular visitor access to the toilet.......because the door to the new office remained firmly locked all day and you do not possess a key.  They have only been issued to paid staff.  

Red Nab
Little Egret - 5
Meadow Pipit - 4 NE
alba Wagtail - 8 grounded (all Pied)

A survey vessel plonked in the outer Kent channel area appeared to have two birders aloft - hope we get the seawatching data!
Red-throated Diver - 1 out

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Very quiet

Heysham NR
Apart from a couple of early morning Willow Warblers there was not much in the way of grounded or visible migrants.
Just 3 Meadow Pipits and 2 Pied Wagtails over in 3 hours.

No moths in the super new mothroom.

Hoping for a big improvement on Saturday when the winds are southerly.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Tuesday: one decent bird but a repeat for the year!

Iceland Gull - Middayish: 2CY flew from the WSW (but didn't see how far away it came on that line) and joined a gang on they seaward end of Heysham Two outfalls for 10 minutes or so before flying purposefully north west-ish in the direction of Roa Island causeway

Meadow Pipit - 5 north in 30 minutes
Little Egret - 3 Red Nab/outfalls area  

Monday, 3 April 2017

The early bird .....

Middleton NR

The early bird (Malcolm) caught the worms today with a fall of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff. By 08:10 when I arrived there were only two Willow Warblers and two Chiffchaffs  singing.

Model Boat Pond
Mute Swan - 1pr
Teal - 1pr
Gadwall - 2prs

No Swimming Pond

Tim Butler Pond
Mute Swan - 1

Cetti's Warbler - 2 singing, one in central marsh, other north of NS Pond (NB 2 birds heard on 1 April).

Sparrowhawk hunting over the rough ground in the north.

2 Meadow Pipits and a Lesser Redpoll over.

2 April - Fox in the new scrapes area.

Hoping to catch up with the Willow Warblers, I went round Heysham NR
Willow Warbler - 1 called from the willows on the northern edge of the reedbed
Chiffchaff - 3 singing and 1 calling.


Sunday, 2 April 2017

No vis mig coverage

Shame it wasn't possible to watch the low tide channels and fare overhead in the early morning.  Not a morning for grounded migrant enthusiasts!

Pink footed Goose 35 S mid am

Single Goldcrest and Chiffchaff ringed by office

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Low spring tide channel fare

Quite a bit but failed with a white winged gull target but light often poor

Light bellied Brent goose - two on furthest skeer
Wigeon - migrant flocks of 45, 2 on water by heysham skeer
Large gulls - c350 on or around skeers
Eider - c105
Sand Martin - 5 n
Meadow pipit - 40 n
Alba wagtail - 5 n
Pink footed goose - flock of c360 north
Red breasted merganser - 5
Knot - c4000 on skeer plus murmuration - first ones seen in numbers north of wooden jetty this year

Singing Cetti's warbler central marsh as usual

Friday, 31 March 2017

Late jack snipe

Two together ocean edge tide line

Wheatear - 9

Red throated diver - 1

Thursday, 30 March 2017


Coverage minimal today as office not accessible and no base to mix and match coverage with eg writing up the 2016 Obs report - it wont be long before it is finished - honest!

Chris Batty saved the day with an observation of two dm Arctic Skua heading towards Heysham wooden jetty mid afternoon from his north Fylde window - can only recall one previous migrant March record 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

More migrants

29 March 2016 

Middleton NR 
Osprey over at c10am
First Willow Warbler of the year

Heysham NR
Singing Blackcap along Moneyclose Lane

Ocean Edge
4 Wheatear

4 Wheatear


28 March 2016

Middleton NR 0705 - 1030
6C, ENE F2, Clear but misty

Thanks Janet

Hardly any migration was detected at Middleton, just 8 Meadow Pipits (1 trapped and ringed)  and 1 Pied Wagtail (trapped and ringed) flew over!

Cetti's Warbler still singing in the central marsh
Water Rail still calling from the western reedbed
A pair of Gadwall was on the Fence pond along with a pair of Mallard and a spare male
male Teal
Chiffchaff singing.
Blackbird with food seen

Ocean Edge
4 male Wheatear grounded
2 Linnet (local)
c40 Meadow Pipit grounded

No Snipe on high tideline

Monday, 27 March 2017

Black and white bentbill

An Avocet was a very welcome surprise on Ocean Edge saltmarsh with the Oystercatchers but it was just about to be flushed by the tide and ended up flying towards Middleton saltmarsh.  Hopefully one of the Lune Estuary pair returning

Some kind of courtship feeding?  Nice pic Janet

North harbour wall
Meadow Pipit - 78 N
alba Wagtail - 2 N
Goldfinch - 4 N
Siskin - 2 N
Red-throated Diver - flock of 5 on
Chiffchaff - one grounded on mound

Middleton NR
Meadow Pipit - 129 N
Sand Martin - 4 N
Sparrowhawk - 1 N
Chaffinch - 2 NE
Goldfinch - 9 NE
Cetti's singing central marsh
Water Rail - 1
Tufted Duck - 2 males and female model boat pond

Middleton pm - some raptor movement/local thermalling
Quite a lot of common raptor movement.
1 (presumably common) Buzzard very high, got even higher before heading north 14:50. This one looked like genuine movement.
2 common buzzard together 15:45 heading west - think these were local.
2 kestrel together, male displaying.
2 separate sparrow hawk, one high to north, other just high and disappeared.
Still lots of Chiffchaff and 1 Goldcrest.
4 Teal, I'm hoping these are going to breed!
Little grebe calling on Tim Butler pond

Ocean Edge pm
Wheatear - 3

Early Thorn (2), Common Quaker, Hebrew Character,  Diurnea fagella 

Grey Seal

Dead still sunday

A fairly dismal fare today in flat calm weather

The sea produced a Red-throated Diver in 4 minutes of seawatching!

Middleton saw a trickle of vis mig:  Sparrowhawk (1), Meadowe Pipit (13), Siskin (3), Lesser Redpoll (1), Reed Bunting (7 including flock of 6), Pied Wagtail (1)

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Just a trickle

Clear overnight and clear day means a lot of birds have cleared off.
Middleton NR 07:00 - 11:00
Meadow Pipit 25 over
Alba Wagtail 3
That was it for vis.

Cetti's Warbler singing
Chiffchaff singing by the gate first thing.
Common Buzzard - 2 circling but not moving off anywhere. One was displaying for a time so probably local birds.
Jay - 1 flew SE
Lapwing - 3 circled over the Model Boat Pond then flew off.

Near half moon bay
Stonechat - male on gorse by fenced off gravel

Ringing (new birds)
Chiffchaff. - 1
Pied Wagtail - 2
Meadow Pipit - 5
Goldcrest - 3
Dunnock - 1
At Heysham there were even fewer birds!
Chiffchaff - 1
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1

At sea
Red-throated Diver - 3
Grey Seal - 1

Friday, 24 March 2017

And they're off....

Lots of birds on the move now we're past the equinox and the weather is more favourable.

North Harbour Wall from 07:15hrs - 0930

Meadow Pipits 195
Alba Wagtail 38
Linnet 6
Carrion Crow 2
Greenfinch 1
Goldfinch 2
Little Gull 1 adult into Bay
Common Gull 31 into Bay
Black-headed Gull 22 into Bay
Red-throated Diver 18 (1 in at 0719, 1 on then N at 0726, 2 in at 0805, a further 5 in singly, 7 close together on water, a further 2 on the water)
Guillemot 1 on the water
Osprey seen distantly to south at about 0815 heading north then turned and headed in over the Lune channel.
Buzzard 1 north at 1100hrs

Middleton NR
Greylag 3 NE
Chiffchaff 11
Cetti's singing from Femce Pond

Middleton NR - Comma feeding on coltsfoot
Heysham NR - Brimstone


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Meadow Pipit push begins

Negative: no sign Iceland Gull

As the weather starts to improve, the Meadow Pipit passage is getting underway. Should have got to Heysham for first light though as other areas e.g. Rossall had hundreds of Mipits by 08:00

Ocean Edge 08:00
44 Meadow Pipits grounded
Wheatear - 2 males early afternoon

Visible migration
North Harbour Wall 08:15 - 09:35 
All birds heading NE into the wind. 
Meadow Pipit 152 plus 71 different over Middleton, plus 40 later 
Alba Wagtail 17
Goldfinch 2
Greenfinch 1
Linnet 2
Common Gull - 7 . All immatures. NB 25 Common Gulls on the beach in the afternoon. Mixed ages.
Black-headed Gull - 5
Red-throated Diver 4 into the Bay
Auk sp. probably Guillemot 1 into the Bay
Whooper Swan - flock of 70-75 north mid afternoon
Swallow - two north over Heysham village pm (IOY)
Peregrine 2 high. May be local.

Heysham NR 
Stonechat - female still present

Chiffchaff - at least 5 including one showing pollen from the Med!

Total of 71 Meadow pipits over to NE. Mainly groups of 3 to 5 birds. Largest group 11. Didn't see any after 10:30, this coincides with arrival of clear weather front.
Thought I was going to be swamped with Chiffchaff, 4 around model boat pond (2 singing), but only heard one other bird singing in the rest of the circuit.
Cetti's Warbler singing loudly from middle of central marsh.
1 drake Gadwall
2 Tufted
4 Teal
1 Water rail
6 Moorhen



Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Migrants struggle through

Two Sand Martin north this morning (IOY)

17 grounded Meadow Pipit Red Nab and three north this am

Male Wheatear Red Nab the only one despite good coastal coverage

Iceland Gull at waterfall after the tide - the grey is really coming through on the mantle now


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Stonechat performs well

A female Stonechat gave Janet some nice pic opportunities when it appeared on Heysham NR late afternoon:

Iceland Gull - 3CY on Fishers roof and later on the south quay - almost a long enough stay to be given a name
Gannet - adult
Kittiwake - adult
Both the last two appeared as the IOM passenger ferry was coming in and may have been dragged in then headed north as the boat slowed down

Monday, 20 March 2017

Brief visit

Iceland gull 3CY on the south quay

Flock of 6 Kittiwake in then on in 30 min seawatch

Two chiffchaff singing by office

Middleton (MD)
2 Tufted
2 Mallard
2 Teal
1 Little grebe on Fence pond (first I've seen here this year)
No sightings of Goldcrest or Chiffchaff. But did hear 2 Chiffchaff singing.
Contact calls only from Cetti's in western scrape

March Moth and Common Quaker in trap

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Nothing happening

The 3CY Iceland Gull was asleep on Fishers roof from at least 0805hrs to 1330hrs and nothing else stirred despite quite a bit of migrant activity elsewhere

The sea was particularly awful with a couple of hours producing some seagulls and an Eider!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Thwarted Kittiwakes

Two gangs of Kittiwake clearly did not fancy an overland crossing in todays weather and ended up flying out and across the bay

Kittiwake: flocks of 20 and c135 out/on then out
Iceland Gull: 3CY south quayside then later on Fishers roof

Friday, 17 March 2017

Gannet in the gloom

The visibility wasn't too clever today otherwise more surely on the sea?  As it was only had 30 minutes to spare and this immediately produced an outbound adult Gannet but nothing else other than a flock of 5 small gulls in the gloom which lifted off the water briefly before landing again out of sight (Common Gull or Kittiwake)

The 3CY Iceland Gull was south quayside mid afternoon just below the old Fisher's warehouse

Moths:  2 x Hebrew Character, single of Clouded Drab and Common Quaker

Thursday, 16 March 2017


Iceland Gull on Fisher's roof again.

1 Goldcrest in the bushes at the corner of the South Harbour Wall.

Meadow Pipit 2
Alba Wagtail 1
Siskin 4
Grey Wagtail 1

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Spring migrant trickle

Low double figures of Goldcrest and 4-5 Chiffchaff around this am with low double figures of Meadow Pipit and alba Wagtail overhead. 1 Grey Wagtail over and headed to sewage works.

Jay- 2 by Pagoda on Reserve.

Two Raven at the heliport area welcome - scarce recently

3CY Iceland Gull at the waterfall early am

106 Eider in the low tide channel

Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler on territory Middleton

Mammals:  Roe Deer - 2 crossed Heysham NR plateau at 10.30 from marshy area below old classroom.

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly - 1 seen in Reserve car park am

Four singletons of four species in the moth trap:  Diurnea fagella, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, March Moth