Monday, 25 September 2017

Chiffchaff fall and other bits and bobs

A very difficult morning to compartmentalise and numerate as it was weather disrupted with a lengthy two hour mist net closure, yet pulses of vis mig were passing through at every slight break in the weather.  A Lesser Whitethroat, seemingly very healthy, had obviously decided that staying at Heysham and Middleton without putting on any real fat reserves was a better idea than dodging eastern Med lime-sticks.  It was ringed at Middleton on 2nd September at the usual 'back end' of the passage, and was retrapped about 1km north-west at Heysham NR today, a date which, had it been a new arrival, almost deserves a "possible eastern origin" cliche!  Given the intrusion of 'Leach's Petrel weather' and other unsuitable days, the Grey Wagtail colour ringing programme this autumn reached a respectable sample of 70 today.  Please do look out for these. 

Grounded migrants
Chiffchaff - minimum of 35-40 Heysham NR with 13 ringed, loads missed during the lengthy rain break (eg 15 following a single tit flock) and at least 6 around the nets as they were being reopened which then dispersed as the weather cleared.  A further 9 were recorded late afternoon at Middleton NR
Blackcap - at least three
Goldcrest - surprisingly absent after yesterdays influx with only 3-5 unringed birds Heysham NR and 2-3 at Middleton
Song Thrush - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - one off-passage see above

Vis mig
Coal Tit - at least 7 flew south
Meadow Pipit - c70 in bits and pieces HNR, 46 over Middleton late pm
Lesser Redpoll - 3
alba Wagtail - first significant movement of the autumn with at least 25 over Heysham NR, 35 in 30 mins over Ocean Edge and other ones and twos casually recorded
Grey Wagtail - 5 SE (3 ringed)
Swallow - ONE SE
Chaffinch - c20 S
Skylark - 1 SE
Reed Bunting - 1

Little Gull - ad stage 2 outfall
Med Gull - just the one 1CY located outfalls area
Cetti's Warbler - one Middleton
Bullfinch - 7 Middleton

Migrant Hawker - 14 Middleton, at least two by HNR office plus low single figures of Common Darter

Grey Seal by outfalls, Grey Squirrel by reserve entrance

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Dog's dinner coverage

The problem this morning was not oversleeping as the only known observer (no ringing today), but the usual breakfast with the sliding door open revealed some pretty decent vis mig at home at High Tatham, including a definite Redwing (as opposed to the usual early "Redwing" misidentification of a migrant Song Thrush).  So I gave it 45 minutes before starting out to put a shift in at Heysham/Middleton.

Vis mig 0800-0900 Middleton
Although the grounded stuff was ok, the vis mig was terrible for the first 40 minutes, then the floodgates opened
Meadow Pipit - 91 SE (all but 5 after 0840)
alba Wagtail - 16 SE
Chaffinch - 22 S
Swallow - just 3 SE
Mistle Thrush - 4 SE
Skylark - heard twice
Reed Bunting - 2
Goldfinch - at least 57 seemed to be vis mig plus about 40 blogging - far more conspicuous on the ground than eg yesterday

Grounded Middleton
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Chiffchaff - 2+ with LTT
Goldcrest - c20
Cetti's Warbler - singing male western marsh reedbed area
ALL the grounded done in situ whilst doing the vis mig - no 'groundwork' put in so probably a gross underestimate of what was around 

Bits and bobs vis/grounded during the rest of the morning whilst in transit
Meadow Pipit - 35
alba Wagtail - 8
Grey Wagtail - 2
Reed Bunting - 1 
Wheatear - 2
Goldcrest - 10+ around HNR office
Chiffchaff - one HNR office area
Swallow - 11 SE

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Little Gull - usual Ad
Med Gull - 7 visible on Red Nab but others may have been hidden (1 x 1CY, 3 x 2CY, 3 x Ad).  Additional 1CY seaward end Heysham one

No attempt made to address the waders in bright rather glaring light and the tide not far enough in

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Rather slow for a south-easterly

Disappointing this morning with nothing like the vis mig over my house (High Tatham) and grounded stuff limited to just a few Goldcrest.   So the ringing at two sites, Heysham and Middleton was a bit on the slow side, especially Middleton.  However, the inshore area was given a fair grilling on the incoming tide with 2CY Meds, as usual, coming out of the woodwork as the tide started to shift stuff hunkered down on the outer SW corner of Red Nab

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - no more than 40 noted
Grey Wagtail - just 3 (1 ringed)
Common Buzzard - one struggling east followed by another which swung north-east
Chaffinch - 4 S
Swallow - eventually a relatively decent total of 56 S
alba Wagtail - just 5 or so SE and no influx on O Edge
Pink-footed Goose - 39 SE
Red Admiral - 4 S

Inshore south of harbour
Little Gull - two adults, one on the mudflats whilst the usual one was on Heysham one
Med Gull - 14 - 7 2CY, 3 1CY (3 following ferry in), 4 Ad
Knot - fairly accurate block count of 5950
Dunlin - very distant and not counted or possible to see identify else small with them
Bar-tailed Godwit - c450
Grey Plover - c430
Kingfisher - 1
Shelduck - 144
Wigeon - still just one Red Nab
Little Egret - 4

Ringing included: 10 Goldcrest, one Blackcap, one Chiffchaff and, as is typical in September, two unringed first winter Dunnock.  Perhaps a good time to say that Robin migration has been really below par this month with just one ringed this morning.  Two Pheasant in full flight narrowly avoided a Middleton mist net!

Grey Seal off outfalls

Friday, 22 September 2017

Bits and bobs ahead of the weather front

A clear night followed by a relatively clear early morning with an increasing SE wind, rain by 1100hrs.  Two relatively sheltered nets were used on Middleton west and caught about 50% of the Grey Wagtail passage plus a few night migrants

Middleton NR (only 50 mins vis in two sessions)
Meadow Pipit - sample vis mig of 27 in 30 mins, later 16 in 20 mins
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Chaffinch - 3 S
Swallow - 4 SE
Grey Wagtail - absolute minimum of 14 SE with 7 ringed
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Goldcrest - 3 ringed
Peregrine - 1 SE

Inshore incoming tide
A bit late again as it was racing in
Knot - absolute minimum of 5,000 possibly as many as 7,000 but really tricky as quite distant and mobile
Med Gull - slight increase in relation to BHG with 9 (1 1CY, 3 2CY, 5 Ad)
Black-tailed Godwit - flock of 12 flew north past Heysham skeer at about 0800hrs (thanks Malcolm)
Small calidrids too far away to speciate

Thursday, 21 September 2017

More productive wader watching but the tide races in

About 30 minutes too late arriving at Ocean Edge ironically through dealing with issues related to the foreshore.  The nearest small wader flock held a juvenile Little Stint but these were soon flushed by the tide and a much larger flock they joined further to the south appeared to hold two very small waders but everything was very mobile as the tide raced in.  Bar-tailed Godwits were up to 520 but no time to properly count anything else which looked in the numbers they have been in the last few days.  Rather strange looking at a superb wader gathering with no other observers around!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab etc 1.5hrs before a high spring tide
Little Stint - at least one juvenile
Sanderling - at least one in winter plumage
Bar-tailed Godwit - 520
Little Gull - ad winter sat on the sea off the saltmarsh - seemed to have some staining on the back of the head
Med Gull - just two at this stage of the tide, both adults

Heliport/north wall/fishers just before HT
Redshank - 730 heliport
Turnstone - 33 heliport
Lapwing - 1 heliport
Oystercatcher - 3900 heliport
Med Gull - presumed Czech adult on Fishers
nothing over the sea in 20 mins

Wednesday is a Ruff day

Ruff - juv on grass at southern edge of OE then dropped down towards saltmarsh when flushed by dog
Med Gull - 8 in careful search - 3 x 1CY, 2 x 2CY, 3 x Ad on Red Nab/outfalls or sand early incoming tide
Black-headed Gull - 1100 - hence sudden difficulty locating Meds!
Wheatear - 2

Did include 3 Grey Wagtail out of about 7 which flew over - just about the only vis!
Otherwise just low single figures of Goldcrest, a Blackcap and a few finches and Blue tits

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Waders to the fore

The routine coverage of ocean edge and the outfalls saw a decent collection of waders with just over 400 each of grey plover and bar-tailed godwit.

Also a single Sanderling amongst the hordes of calidrids (c3000 knot) and two black-tailed Godwit

Only 5 Med gulls could be located - all adults

Ringing saw a small influx of goldcrest and an even smaller influx of chiffchaff.   Odds and ends included single sedge warbler, green woodpecker and treecreeper

7 little egret ocean edge

520 redshank heliport seawall

Vis mig was unremarkable but included a Siskin (rare this autumn) and a flurry of 65 meadow pipit in 20 mins - more vis data to be added

Monday, 18 September 2017

Under the weather

Heysham Nature Reserve

The weather forecast was for sunny intervals but instead it was cloudy intervals between rain clouds and the vis was as intermittent as the showers:

Alba wagtail - 1
Linnet - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 26
Bullfinch- 1
Song Thrush - 2
Meadow Pipit - 39
Chaffinch - 19
Grey Wagtail - 5

Also filtering through were fidgety Dunnocks, small parties of Goldfinches, the odd Blackcap and Reed Warbler and a party of Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits.

Outfalls etc
Big crash in med numbers - just 6
Little egret - 8
Grey seal - 2

Middleton boat pond
Gadwall - 21

News from Middleton NR later....

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Trickle of migrants in very clear north-easterly

Routine coverage today for routine birds.   Vis mig was a bit slower than expected, probably about half as much of everything as each of the last two days

Vis mig
Pink-footed Goose - c320 & others (H) in dark whilst net-setting Middleton plus 150 N plus others "taking off from the Fylde and seemingly heading over the bay very early on"
Meadow Pipit - no more than c70 in total
Grey Wagtail - about 8 (4 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 8
Chaffinch - probably a trickle of migrants
Coal Tit  - 3 noisily southbound
Swallow - 4
Skylark - 2
Reed Bunting - 1 S HNR
Bullfinch - 2 S
Carrion Crow - flock of 5 S

Kingfisher - one flew through Heysham NR
Linnet - c100 grounded on Ocean Edge - a big increase on recent weeks
Chiffchaff - 2-3 Heysham NR
Goldcrest - 2-3 around HNR office
Robin - the lack of ticking birds was notable
Dunnock - 2 prob migrant/dispersal flew south over HNR office

Knot - c3000 but distant and hard to sort from all the other stuff
Black-tailed Godwit - 2
Ringed Plover - 39
Little Egret - 2
Grey Heron - 1
Kittiwake - 1 juv (no Little Gulls seen around HT at least)
Guillemot - juv in harbour
Med Gull - just 16 seen (4 1CY)

Middleton NR
Ringing this morning:
Goldcrest 4
Willow warbler 1
Blackcap 4
Grey Wagtail 4
Meadow Pipit 2
Chiffchaff 4
Reed Bunting 1
Robin 3

Roe Deer 2 crossed from western marsh into central marsh.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Almost back to normal

Med gull - just 16 at high tide
Little gull - 1cy and 2cy heysham one outfall high tide
Grey heron - one red nab
Usual waders along tideline
Kittiwake - just one 1st w
Wigeon - 1 (1st of Autumn on Red Nab)

Vis mig
Pink-footed Goose - c350
Grey heron - 1 S over HNR
Little Egret - 2 together S over HNR
Meadow pipit - 50 per hour ocean edge 0830-0900. Not many seen later
Swallow - 68 S
House martin - 2S
Grey wagtail - 11 SE

Ringing middleton and heysham
Chiffchaff (4), sedge warbler, blackcap, goldcrest (3), meadow pipit (2), grey wagtail (4), otherwise mainly gold and greenfinches

9 tufted duck middleton

Friday, 15 September 2017

Great birding on the morning neap then the pink-feet pile over

Shame we've not been effusively trained as it is a great morning to go all RSPB about our birds.  Nothing rare this morning, but a great spectacle in calm weather:

Overhead ocean edge 0730-0830
Meadow Pipit - c150
alba wagtail - 34
Linnet - 5
Swallow - 9
Grey Wagtail - 2
Wheatear - 4 grounded

Overhead Middleton (not duplicated with above) to about 1015
Meadow Pipit - not on the main flightline - 39 SE
Swallow - 77 SE
House Martin - 3 SE
Carrion Crow - 11 SE
Jackdaw - 9 SE
Pink-footed Goose - 512 S + one flock (H) only
Grey Wagtail - 4-5, one possibly off-passage (1 ringed)
Sparrowhawk - male high and purposeful to SSW
Reed Bunting - 2 SE, possibly others but off-passage birds making this difficult
Skylark - ?one (H)

Didn't count them all:
Grey Plover - 375 in the sunlight, half in varying degrees of summer plumage - great!
Greenshank - 1 juv
Knot - 2250 (single flock)

Sandwich tern - 8 fishing

Inshore outfalls/Red Nab/mudflats
Little Gull - ad & 2nd W & 1st W close views on outfalls
Arctic Tern - ad showing well on outfalls
Kittiwake - 5 juvs and 3 ads as above
Med Gull - 37

Four nets set at Middleton produced :
Meadow Pipit - 4   Blackcap - 5   Reed Bunting - 3   Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Grey Wagtail - 1   Chiffchaff - 1   Reed Warbler - 1   Bullfinch - 2
Goldcrest - 1   Great Tit - 5   Blue Tit - 9   Long-tailed Tit - 2   Robin - 2
Blackbird - 1 and   Dunnock - 1

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope
Bit of a 'piece together' this as it was distant and relying strongly on behaviour with two other key features being wing-bars and (at least a virtually) uniform grey mantle.  The head detail could not be seen.  Located distantly in flight off the seaward end of Heysham 2 outfall whence it promptly landed on the sea, before getting up and making short flights/landing again on four other occasions between the outfall and the red buoy.   1145-1155.   The IOM ferry then went past the area and there were no further flights.  I could only just make it out on one occasion on the sea which was quite rough so it may be on the sea and feeding still.  Ringing by the office hampered by sun on the nets.  A few pics from today (first a juv moulting to 1st W Med) and also the Gannet trying to land on the wooden jetty a couple of days ago:

Thanks to Malcolm (top) and Janet (rest)

Other things seen today
Little Gull - usual adult plus the two 1CY until 0900 only, then back again late afternoon
Kittiwake - at least 9 1CY, including 5 behind freight ferry but only one behind the IOM ferry
Arctic tern - ad at least early morning, 2 ad later
Guillemot - 2, including one in harbour
Med Gull - at least 22 (6 x 1CY, 10+ 2CY)
Pink-footed Goose - 196 SE (5 flocks) plus another flock heard later
Pied Wagtail - at least 4 SE
Meadow Pipit - 55 SE
Swallow - 36 S
House Martin - 1S
Wheatear - 6
Carrion Crow - blogging flock of 12 - on the move?
Grey Wagtail - 3-4 SE (1 ringed)
Whitethroat - one ringed (first for a bit and ONLY warbler seen!)
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Coal Tit - 2 new birds ringed
Dunnock - one unringed bird
Goldcrest - at least 10 ( 4 ringed)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Sabine's Gull

Hadn't a lot of faith in the latest depression - centre too close and too fast and localised with a bit of  N in the wind...but I was wrong.  A couple of close Leach's Petrels were therefore a nice surprise and the Sabine's Gull was even better and when the wind settled in the west during the high tide period there were quite a few odds and ends but unfortunately the second wave of Leach's Petrels did not start until early evening!  The day was characterised by a lot of birds in transit and a frustrating time for anyone turning up with a 'shopping list' and not prepared to remain any length of time, especially during the "quiet" early afternoon.  Thanks to many observers for this selection

Thanks to Janet for a few pics - the outfalls were heaving today with a lot of through-put of individually identifiable birds

Sabine's Gull - juv around seaward end Heysham two and the red buoy area 1105-1145 at least, juvenile flew into the Bay about 1425hrs, juvenile on power station outfalls about 1725hrs (but not an hour later).  So "at least one seen today" 
Leach's Petrel - one out 0750 as viewed from the north wall, one lingering in the harbour mouth, then out at about 0845 as viewed from the back of the harbour.  At least 4 out between 1700 and 1845
Gannet - adult on water flushed by ferry then flew in
Great Skua - one out 1344hrs
Sandwich Tern - at least 7 out
Common Tern - juv outfalls
Arctic Tern - 3 adults on outfalls, at least 4 out (3 at 1345, one 1455)
Little Gull - adult and 2nd W outfalls; two 1CY appeared there from mid-afternoon.  Earlier 5 x juv 
were seen on an early morning seawatch from Heysham Head
Manx Shearwater - one early morning
Fulmar - one early morning
Pintail - 11 out early morning
Common Scoter - 1
Guillemot - one in, one later in the harbour
Kittiwake - 12 on outfalls first thing, two out (6 x 1CY), 29 behind IOM ferry, later 15 on outfalls.  Minimum of 41 birds involved in todays sightings
Med Gull - not counted but 15+
Pink-footed Goose - 18 SE
Wheatear - 3
Gadwall - 13 MNR

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Four tern species amongst a motley collection

Well we may have somehow managed to miss Sabine's Gull (but tomorrow am?), despite nearby birds and the attraction of the outfalls, but a belated addition to the year list we managed to miss in its usual spring slot was very welcome (thanks to Jon and Kevin)

Little Tern - juv seaward end Heysham one early morning, reappearing briefly mid afternoon
Little Gull - ad joined late afternoon by 2nd winter
Leach's Petrel - presumably tired bird flushed from the sea by a ferry, meandered about for a few seconds, then re-landed (by green buoy).  Surprised the gulls had not found it
Common Tern - juv
Kittiwake - about 9 inshore plus two other 1CY out
Sandwich tern - 3
Med Gull - 27 plus
Arctic tern - adult late afternoon
Gannet - adult tries to land on wooden jetty - pic later
Dark-bellied Brent goose - one south past heyshsm skeer early am later seen cockersands
Rock pipit - one red nab (ioa)
Wheatear - 4

Med Gull 2CY read today by Jon Carter  (Green ASRE)

10.06.2016 as nestling: Rehbach Gravel Pit, Leipzig - Sachsen 0 35 Jürgen Steudtner 51° 15' 54'' N  12° 17' 4''

15.07.2016 Rehbach Gravel Pit, Leipzig, Sachsen 0 35 Jürgen Steudtner 51° 15' 54'' N  12° 17' 4'' E on the shore outside the colony pGermany

25.12.2016 Azurara, Vila do Conde, Porto 1950 198 Camilo Carneiro 41° 20' 18'' N  8° 44' 38'' W vPortugal

08.03.2017 Mouth of river Piles, Gijon, Asturias 1596 271 Julián Rufino Gómez 43° 32' 25'' N  5° 38' 37'' W pSpain

10.03.2017 Playa El Rinconin, Gijon, Asturias 1595 273 Julián Rufino Gómez 43° 32' 54'' N  5° 38' 19'' W pSpain

10.03.2017 Playa El Rinconin, Gijon, Asturias 1595 273 César Fernández 43° 32' 54'' N  5° 38' 19'' W pSpain

12.03.2017 Playa El Rinconin, Gijon, Asturias 1595 275 César Fernández 43° 32' 54'' N  5° 38' 19'' W pSpain

23.03.2017 Playa de San Lorenzo, Gijon, Asturias 1596 286 César Fernández 43° 32' 32'' N  5° 39' 10'' W pSpain

25.05.2017 Rehbach Gravel Pit, Leipzig, Sachsen 0 349 Jürgen Steudtner 51° 15' 54'' N  12° 17' 4'' E vGermany

22.06.2017 Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, Essex 798 377 Andrew Armstrong 51° 31' 32'' N  0° 46' 58'' E pEngland

12.09.2017 Heysham Power Station, Lancashire 1067 459 Jonathan Carter

Monday, 11 September 2017

Black Guillemot leads the way

Early start whilst there was still some tide and before the 'N' word applied to the wind, although later events saw a few Leach's Petrels still on the move even after the wind went WNW.  The best day at the obs since the spring tern-fest on 30th April.

Leach's Petrel - 17 different birds I am aware of from about 0630 to 1800, with many observer gaps - there did not seem to be any backtracking further out, leading to duplication  - virtually all of them were along the tideline or even over the mud
Gannet - one in and one freshly dead alongside the old sandworks
Common Scoter - flock of 22 on sea
Eider - at least 70 scattered around on sea - the vast majority female/imms
Wigeon - flock of 9 out (first of autumn)
Little Gull - juv out, usual ad on outfalls
Common Tern - ad H2 outfall late afternoon
Arctic Tern - 2 ads with the above late afternoon, but soon disappeared
Black Guillemot - Ad still in sp located by JR very close inshore just north of Heysham 2 outfall - seemed to be feeding happily and not distressed
Guillemot - one in harbour
Kittiwake - First of the day were 10 behind lunchtime IOM ferry (5 x 1CY), at least 6 (3 x 1CY) still around outfalls/harbour early evening
Shag - 1CY out early evening
Med Gull - at least 27 (mostly on Red Nab at 1800hrs) with at least 7 1CY
Wheatear - 4
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
Meadow Pipit - c15 SE

Grey Seal


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Midday update

Outfalls/red nab
Med gull - at least 44 in poor visibility
Little gull - ad
Arctic tern - ad new in

Short session in am was quite productive with two grey wagtail, chaffinch and goldcrest, one chiffchaff, one robin and a heap of goldfinch!

Kittiwake - four adults behind clipper pennant ( and 10 meds)
Little gull - 1cy briefly on outfalls
Perseverance should have produced  a leachs or two but when in the six hour time frame after the wind went west of sw?!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Vis mig slot after the heavy showers

There seems to be something in the psychology with bird ringers - if its unsuitable at dawn, there is a tendency to give it a miss.  Today was a classic example of where, in an ideal world, mist nets should have been up and ready at 0830 as the rain alarm showed an excellent vis mig corridor for NW to SE migrants.  So the earliest any of us drifted down here was 0930. There was a belated set of two nets on Middleton, but the wind had started to increase by then and the name of the game was coverage rather than a ringing effort

Med gull - 46 (23 2cy, 7 1cy and 16 ads - ad and 2cy had green darvic on right leg and metal below on left leg, 1cy metal ring only - legs not seen on many others)
Little gull - ad

Vis mig (Jean/Malcolm/Pete)
Meadow Pipit - 102 SE (4 ringed!)
alba Wagtail - 27 SE
Grey Wagtail - 3-4 SE
Osprey - one at 0945hrs in-off then east
Common Buzzard - 2 south and two others which may have been blogging
Pink-footed Goose - 6SE (IOA)
Eider - flock of 30 up Kent channel
Swallow - 17 S

Wheatear - 10
small numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap <5 each="" p="">
Water Rail 1+ Middleton
Green Woodpecker - down the dog track
Cetti's Warbler - singing Middleton western marsh

Friday, 8 September 2017

Nothing new today

Low/early incoming tide:  At least 33 med gulls with 13 on seaward end Heysham one along with ad little gull but no sign of black or any other tern spp.  Later at high tide, two meds roosting on Fishers roof, including what looked like the Czech bird. 

Incidentally, I don't rate this coming week for Leach's petrels in Morecambe Bay, certainly not anything better than a lengthy 'watching paint dry' wait before you see one. The best conditions are during the night with the wind already having turned to the dreaded north-west by dawn.  Conversely it looks like the Mersey and Wirral might fill their boots.  However it could all change so just watch out for a strong to gale SW to West in daylight hours Monday to Thursday i.e. during the early morning (or late evening) high neap tides 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Very lucky with the weather

This morning was all about watching serious rain heading across south and north of us and coupled with a light early morning wind allowed about three hours of ringing before the SW wind kicked in and rain increased.   The nets were down by then

Middleton nr
Grey wagtail - 4/7 vis mig birds ringed
Meadow pipit - two found in mist net - no obvious movement!
Whitethroat - 2 new and one retrapped
Sedge warbler - one heard
Lesser whitethroat - one ringed
Just two each of blackcap and chiffchaff ringed
Reed bunting - 3 ringed
Willow warbler - one ringed
Water rail - at least two

Ocean edge and red nab pre tide
Black tern - one seaward end heysham one about 1530 before being obscured by incoming rain
Great Skua - one flew from across bay and landed on sea in shipping land 1244hrs
Med gull - 36 (8 1cy, 22 2cy (!), 6 ad)
Little gull - ad
Too early for sandwich tern and the second visit was too late!
Cormorant - c130 wooden jetty ie a lot

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Nothing new of interest

Outfalls/Red Nab
Little Gull - presumably the usual adult which has been missing for a few days
Sandwich Tern - just a max of 7
Med Gull - at least 24, including 10 1CY
Common Gull - 1CY Heysham 2 for good comparison with above

Heysham NR office
A small amount of ringing included a Grey Wagtail, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and two each of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff.  Possibly the windiest general conditions we have mist-netted and just shows that we have sites which are sheltered if the direction is carefully ascertained eg Middleton would have been completely windswept today

Pics from Janet (thanks for these)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

More sandwich tern

Coastal check red nab and ocean edge incoming tide
Med gull - 24 including 9 2cy - a bit late for some of these tide wise
Sandwich tern - 156
Common tern - 1 ad
Little egret - 4
Grey plover - 365
Wheatear - 2

Monday, 4 September 2017

Tern invasion

A thoroughly unremarkable morning's ringing in thoroughly unremarkable (but at least operational) weather saw about 40 birds caught between two three-net operations at each of Middleton and Heysham NR.  This saw a variety of late warblers ringed: 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap and single Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler and 4 Goldcrest and a few odds and ends of tits and finches.  The less said about Grey Wagtails the better - Middleton was subjected to a pile driving racket from a UU initiative to amend the sewage works to 'produce water you can drink' (!) and at least one Grey Wagtail flew over without hearing the tape.  Vis, however, was at a premium in the 100% cloud cover with just 6 Grey Wagtail, two Meadow Pipit and about five Swallow

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
The early morning visit as the tide was coming in saw:
Med Gull - 15 (later 9 on Red Nab just after high tide)
but nothing else of note.  Then a visiting birder reported a flock of Sandwich and two juvenile Black Tern on to the rocks near high tide
Sandwich tern - c37 flew into Red Nab from 1115 (one darvic-ringed but unfortunately flew off early before it could be read)
Black Tern - two juvs present Red Nab at least 1050 to 1145 which had moved on when we visited about 30 minutes later
Little Egret - 3

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Black Tern and a small pre-frontal fall

A choice this morning of whether to try marginal conditions for mist netting at Middleton with the possibilities of Grey Wagtail or below the old observation tower site on Heysham NR, where the rides have just been cleared out for exactly these conditions:  a possible fall ahead of a weather front on strengthening south-easterlies.  A shame both could not be covered in the circumstances, as Middleton saw quite a lot of movement in the bushes with the two mist nets catching "inefficiently" in the sheltered bits

Good numbers of waders were displaced by another gathering of vehicles out on Middleton sands but not a lot of activity ahead of the weather front in increasing winds!

Middleton NR
Black-tailed Godwit - one flew low to the south-east
Cetti's Warbler - singing male by the western reedbeed
Grey Wagtail - 5 SE (3 ringed)
Blackcap - 8 ringed and others seen
Chiffchaff - one ringed and at least on other calling
Garden Warbler - 2 ringed
Whitethroat - 1 ringed
Chaffinch - one ringed - unusual here unless this is the start of the (British) vis mig
Goldfinch - c60 in two flocks (2 ringed, one retrap)
Water Rail - one squealing

Ocean Edge/Red Nab etc
Wheatear - 4
Bar-tailed Godwit - 410
Knot - 1210
Dunlin - 350
Grey Plover - 335
Med Gull - absolute minimum of  39 (21 Ad, 13 2CY, 5 1CY - some of the distant ones may not have been aged correctly!)
Black Tern - one juv briefly on Red Nab about 0930 - hopefully it will return to the outfalls on the dropping tide
Sandwich tern - 1 (on red nab)

Included a well-marked Agonopterix arenella

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Dead calm and clear

Shouldn't really be moaning about these conditions as they are likely to at a premium during the next month or so...........but it looked like that was also the case for August and we had loads of ringing opportunities

A good morning to focus on the neap high tide and perhaps especially so today as all the waders were displaced some considerable distance by the "running sore of the Morecambe Bay SPA" at Potts corner.  This morning it was a Paragliding meet "allowed" access to the intertidal area, some distance out to avoid disturbing the caravan site (!).  There was the usual displacement of all intertidal birds within at least 700-800m either side (and most much further than that).  So the waders were all shunted up to the Ocean Edge end where there were fortunately no dog walkers, courtesy of a nicely positioned tidal channel: couple of very rushed pics dedicated to the flat earth society

Ringing-wise it was rather slow with a double effort at Middleton with the Grey wagtail vis mig down to three birds, but at least there was a sprinkling of late warblers and the odd Meadow Pipit to catch.  New birds:  Blackcap (9), Willow Warbler (3), Meadow Pipit (3), Robin (2), Lesser Whitethroat (2), Chiffchaff (2), Swallow (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Goldfinch (1), Reed Bunting (1), Blackbird (1), Wren (1), Sedge Warbler (1)

Ocean Edge high tide
Med Gull - 33 (4 1CY, 17 adult, 12 2CY)
Sandwich tern - 5 offshore briefly
Knot - 800
Dunlin - 400
Grey Plover - 370
Bar-tailed Godwit - 210
Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit - 1 juv
Redshank - 430

Middleton NR
2 Stock Dove came in from north over Tradebe, did a couple of circuits of open land then headed back north. Think this is my first sighting this year. 6 Mute + 2 juveniles 1 Coot 6 Moorhen 9 Tufted (7m) 7 Gadwall (2m) 2 Mallard 1 Heron  (MD)

Friday, 1 September 2017

A new season begins

Middleton Nature Reserve

It felt very autumnal this morning, just 6C at dawn and the ground covered in dew. It was calm, clear and very quiet, just a few Robins ticking. Gradually some birds made a move so today's 'haul' is listed below:
Swallows - only 8 had roosted in the reedbed and just 60 flew over in drubs and drabs throughout the morning
Grey Wagtail - 13 (10 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 10

Goldcrest - 1
Chiffchaff - 3
Whitethroat. - 3
Coal Tit - 1
Goldfinch - flock of 35
Linnet - 3
Reed Bunting - 5
Blackcap - 6
Robin - 10
Kestrel - 3 (one family)

On the Pond 
Tufted Duck - 5


Thursday, 31 August 2017

The luck comes to an end

It had to happen.  Couldn't make a lot of sense yesterday of the variable forecasts for this morning until an innocent looking trough was picked up over the Atlantic on the Magic Seaweed synoptic chart and the chance of this lot heading our way and 'developing' started to climb to 80-90%:

Situation at 7ish.  We have been very lucky this month with medium range forecasts indicating gloom and doom and the rain then either falling in the night or not at all and strong winds melting away.  Not so fortunate 'down south', it seems, so the decent numbers of birds we have ringed this month may have/have had a mist-net-free further migration. Unusually, I'm not aware of any birds ringed elsewhere in our nets this month.

Totals of newly ringed birds for the month of August from Middleton/Heysham.  Note that we have been two ringers short and many Middleton efforts have been just a single ringer with 2 or 3 18m nets and similarly at Heysham NR, just the line of three 18m by the office (including feeder):

Swallow (250), Whitethroat (97), Greenfinch (91), Willow Warbler (68), Goldfinch (65), Blackcap (42), Chiffchaff (35), Blue Tit (33), Long-tailed Tit (28), Lesser Whitethroat (22), Wren (19), Sedge |Warbler (19), Grey Wagtail (18), Great Tit (18), Reed Bunting (13),  Dunnock (13),  Garden Warbler (11), Robin (11), Reed Warbler (10), Sand Martin (7), Chaffinch (7), Coal Tit (4), Blackbird (4), Bullfinch (4), Grasshopper Warbler (3), Goldcrest (3), Kingfisher (2) and singles of Tree Pipit, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush

Difficult to make any meaningful comments on a single month but Whitethroat and Willow Warbler above average for here, Reed Warbler below average all summer, Wren and Long-tailed Tit above average for August, Grey Wagtail in good numbers in the last few days of the month,  but never was so much racket played with such little effect for Tree Pipit.  Just one was caught and ZERO heard on vis mig!   Craig Bell indicated that the good numbers he was catching above Rossendale were due to his site already being at 1000ft and even there the birds were migrating very high.  Peter Alker is also at  a higher site at Billinge. So maybe we have been fortunate in previous years to get a few low-flying ones

Outfalls/Red Nab post high tide quick check in the rain
This was a little cameo, albeit with 55 less Med Gulls than seen the other day (wrong stage of the tide)
Grey Plover - 177 on mudflats
Greenshank - juvenile with Redshank OE saltmarsh creek
Sandwich Tern - adult on mudflats then flew south
Little Gull - moulting ad feeding on heysham 2
Med Gull - just 2 1CY with no 'small' gulls left on Red Nab
Wheatear - 2

Middleton NR post rain (MD)
Had a very pleasant stroll around MNR this afternoon. Not much to report, but the duck numbers are slowly increasing:
Tufted 5 (2m)
Gadwall 4 (2m)
Teal 4 (2m)
4 Robins singing plus three territorial squabbles. Looks like there is some movement.
Large dragonfly numbers reducing.
3 Emperor
3 Brown Hawker
3 "medium sized" hawkers
Lots of Common Darter
Female Brimstone

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Steady but unspectacular trickle of migrants

Ringing operations at both Heysham and Middleton were successful without revealing spectacular numbers.  Another excellent Grey Wagtail capture rate with 8/9 known vis migrants caught and colour-ringed and, as expected at this time, Blackcap and Chiffchaff starting to top the warbler ringing lists, whilst acros were nowhere to be seen.

Whinchat - one Middleton
Barn Owl - Middleton early am
Marsh Tit - the long stayer retrapped at Heysham
Green Woodpecker - heard Heysham
Sand Martin - 2 south
Swallow - 135 south but just one in roost!
House Martin - 3 south
Grey Wagtail - 9 south
Reed Bunting - at least one vis mig bird (and two unringed ones caught)

No known coastal coverage

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Meds and finches

An amazing 57 med gulls were around red nab and the outfalls just after low tide (Margaret and mark breaks).  10 1cy and the rest evenly split between ads and 2cys.

Ad little gull seen later by pete woodruff

Just the one wheatear

The only ringing option in the westerly was by the office which was predictably dominated by green and goldfinch totalling about 36 of the 47 new birds.

The moth trap held agriphila latistria

Monday, 28 August 2017

Routine coverage

Limited mist netting for a short time as per wind at Middleton left the jury out as to whether the earlyish start was worthwhile:  singles of Grey Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Lesser Whitethroat, two Blackcap, two Robin, one Great spotted Woodpecker and a retrap Wren

15 Med Gulls were on Red Nab but the next "best" was just three Little Egret

Cetti's Warbler singing western marsh for second day
Single Goldcrest at both Middleton and Heysham NRs

Vis mig saw two House Martin and another Grey Wagtail

The Swallow ex-roost didn't sound up to much and described as "one bird twittering"!

Male Black Darter photographed in the Nature Park yesterday (thanks Janice)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Grey wagtail autumn passage starts in earnest

Middleton NR
Grey wagtail - 9 se (8 ringed)
Tree pipit - one ringed
Meadow pipit - 2 se
No perceptible hirundine movement and only c10 ex-roost
Predictably, after the clear night, warblers were at a premium with 1-4 of the commoner species ringed, including garden warbler but not lesser whitethroat

Outfalls/red nab later stages of dropping tide
Med gull - just 4

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Warbler wave

Middleton NR

A wave of Warblers passed through until 10am consisting of a minimum of the following:
Whitethroat 14 - some really heavy ones obviously ready for a long journey 
Garden Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 7
Blackcap 6
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Willow Warbler 1
Sedge Warbler 1

Other species today:
Kingfisher (1)
Jay (2)
Grey Wagtail (1)
Reed Bunting (1)
Long-tailed Tit (11)
Goldfinch (flock of 14)

No attempt was made to count the Med Gulls today.


Friday, 25 August 2017


Med gull - 17 red nab (3 1cy)
Sandwich tern - one off skeers at low tide
Swallow - just 20 in roost
Gadwall - 5

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Low tide med fest

Med gull - 17 red nab and outfalls (just two juv actually on outfalls)
Little gull - moulting ad
Sandwich tern - ad
Wheatear - 3

Wednesday, 23 August 2017


little gull -ad
Med gull -6

Odds and ends Tuesday sightings

Marsh tit retrapped by office
Green woodpecker around
Three juvenile coal tit ringed by office
Two sedge warblers ringed by office

Outfalls etc
Sandwich tern - 2
Med gull - 11


Monday, 21 August 2017

Quite a few grounded

Middleton nr
Green Woodpecker briefly
Kingfisher - juv ringed
Garden Warbler - three ringed
Goldcrest - very early female ringed
Double figures of new whitethroat and willow warbler ringed
Grey wagtail - 1 south
No hirundine movement

Red Nab
Ocean Edge motto is about amazing experiences.  Many seemed happy with this this morning - taking selfies next to a doomed Range Rover ready for its second tidal dunking.  Trouble was the associated mutts were not impressed and the seagulls were scattered

Med - just four, later 6 (3 juvs)
Little Gull - moulting ad
Whimbrel - one

High tide roost in offshore wind:
Redshank - 370
Oystercatcher - 2100
Lapwing - 6
Med Gull - Czech ad

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Bits and bobs of migration

Wheatear - 4
Whitethroat - 4 ringed HNR plus a single by wooden jetty

Vis mig
Greenshank - one heard flying over HN reserve
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Hirundines in very short supply

Goose spp - a flock over Middleton NR towards the coast late on (inaudible)
Med Gull - just 6 seen on late stages of incoming tide
Whimbrel - one red nab
Jay - group of three of unknown status HNR - prob local

Middleton pm
Sand Martin - at least one in roost
Swallow - only 35-40 in roost (28 of them ringed!)
Water Rail squealing
Barn Owl patrolling

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Splashy tide

A reasonably strong WNW wind this morning, despite a tide height best described as a 'high neap', produced quite a bit of 'splash' on to the heliport seawall for the first time this autumn.  A compact roost of c4000 Oystercatcher earlier in the tide cycle 'lost' about 800 birds which headed south whilst the rest split into two main group as can be seen in this dreadful pic which also shows the darker wave-lashed bits of the seawall.

There was a small amount of Oystercatcher 'spillage' on to the top of the seawall but very little on to the 'grass' for the following reason:

Frome being largely confined to the old sand-works and surrounding area for many years,  Wild Parsnip has proliferated this year and carpeted the old heliport site and, presumably, via lorry wheels etc, spread quite some way along the verges of the Heysham bypass.  As some may already have found out, it can cause irritation to the skin, especially if the sun comes out directly after making contact with the stems, although it is not quite as bad as Giant Hogweed or even Stinging Nettle.  However, it catches people unawares as it is not on their 'nasty plant' radar e.g. any children playing along the seawall whilst their parents do some angling.  It is also a bit too tall for Oystercatchers to roost between the individual plants but this will change when they die and keel over later this autumn, especially if a north-westerly 'hooley' & 'spring' tide sends a load of seawater on to the heliport

Heliport roost
Oystercatcher - 4150 down to c3200 with wave splashing
Redshank - 290 tucked out of sight behind the nearest bit of seawall on the pic
Turnstone - 80 similarly (pushed off wooden jetty by sea)

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Sandwich tern - ad and juv
Med Gull - only 9 seen (3 juvs) at high tide

Manx Shearwater - one!


Friday, 18 August 2017

Juv Meds proliferate

Outfalls/Red Nab
Once again a glaring silhouette job looking south, but plenty of stuff looking the other way

Med Gull - 14 juvs and at least 6 'white' ones
Little Egret - 3

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Greenfinches back to form

The feeder nets next to Heysham nr office  were used today and produced 29  new greenfinch amongst a catch of over 60 birds.   Other species included willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap, reed warbler and whitethroat.

A visit to the outfalls coincided with a spell of blazing sunshine and the great mass of gulls on the sands to the south of ocean edge were black silhouettes against glistening wet mud.

Better luck the other way with 14 meds on red nab/outfalls including 7 juvs.

Green woodpecker again by reserve office

Vis mig
Swallow - 70 plus
House martin - loads for here - in excess of 50 plus  40 grounded briefly near ocean edge
Sand martin - 2
Grey wagtail - 1
Probable tree pipit heard once distantly flying over

Middleton NR
Mute Swan 9, Coot - 1, Mallard 9, Gadwall - 5, Tufted Duck - one, Moorhen - 5, Heron - 2
Also Cetti's Warbler

5 male Emperor and 6 Brown Hawker

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Bits and bobs

Outfalls and red nab
Dropping tide saw about 30 meds scattered amongst hordes of gulls on the mudflats including 5 2cy together

Ringing in marginal conditions at middleton was highlighted by a juv Kingfisher, a new grasshopper warbler  and a retrapped juvenile Cetti's warbler

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Med Gulls and a wedge

When I was a teacher, noticeable wedge haircuts were synonymous with lads you hadn't come across before (in a cover lesson) who sneaked towards the back of the class for a bit of quantitative easing.  Risking the European court of human rights, I usually stuck them under my nose at the front.  One decided to lob some stones at the gulls today and at least enabled an accurate count of 28 Med Gulls on Red Nab

Med Gull - 29 - c15 2CY, c9 adults, 4 juvs plus another juv on the outfalls
Little Gull - moulting ad on mudflats
Swift - one south

Monday, 14 August 2017

Lots of 2cy meds

Outfalls/red nab
Grey plover - 28 on tideline
Med gull - 14 2cy, 5 juvs 6-7 adults
Green shank - one red nab

Heysham nr Office area
Green woodpecker showed well for a short time

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Subtle autumnal changes

Middleton NR
6.5C and a whole load of dew all over the car when I left my house

A session using three nets in the western marsh was different to previous visits this month which saw a scatter of warbler species and very little else other than above average numbers of Reed Bunting for this time of year.   The catch of 53 new birds this morning saw far fewer 'scattered' warblers, with the night presumably more about departure than arrival, but quite a few warblers latched on to small tit flocks, mainly (as usual) Willow Warblers.   Noticeably absent were Sedge Warbler (one heard), Blackcap (just one ringed) and Common Whitethroat (only 9 ringed, mainly later in the session)

One "notable" feature was the first Sand Martin ever to be caught in morning mist-netting, as opposed to the small numbers as a by-product of Swallow roost ringing, of which two were ringed birds, both from the same artificial colony in Dumfries and Galloway.  The other notable feature is  more typical of here - all the common warblers ringed, including Grasshopper Warbler, with the exception of Sedge Warbler.  This species tends to 'dry up' at this site at the end of July unless the ringing session is during cloud cover ahead of a warm front, when there can be the odd decent late 'fall'

Vis mig
ONLY aerial feeders - where are all these early autumn Tree Pipit!
Swallow - difficult - minimum of 135 S
Sand martin - 2
Swift - 3+1+1
House Martin - H+ 4+18

Single Garden and Grasshopper Warblers caught at Middleton

Red Nab
At least 11 Meds but very heat-hazy

Swallow roost Middleton NR
Some good teamwork allowed 134 Swallow, 5 Sand Martin and a Reed Warbler to be ringed before dark.  Even better was a juv Cuckoo seen by two of the team and the Green Woodpecker calling again.  Thanks to Kevin, Richard, Jean and Malcolm for help  

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Brief encounter

Outfalls/Red Nab
Curlew - 217
Med Gull - at least 16 but facing away and many gulls not fully viewable (only 2 x juv)

Friday, 11 August 2017

Outfalls at the right time

Heliport high tide
Oystercatcher - 3300
Redshank - 420
Turnstone - 35
Lapwing - 6

Outfalls etc early incoming tide
Med gull - 24 (11x 2cy, 8 x 1cy, 5 x ad)
Little gull - ad

No waders of interest along oe tideline

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Great day for flying

The best record today was the first Green Woodpecker for quite some time frequenting the northern end of Middleton NR.   Birds, butterflies and dragonflies were making the most of today's sunny weather and light winds.

Middleton NR 0600-1200
Vis (done in between net rounds so numbers are a minimum)
Swallow - 133 south
Swift - 7 south
House Martin - 8 south
Sand Martin - 1 south

Ringing (new birds)
Whitethroat - 13
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Willow Warbler - 12
Chiffchaff - 2
Reed Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 2
Grasshopper Warbler  -1
Goldfinch - 1
Great Tit - 2
Blue Tit - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 3
Wren - 1
Swallow - 4
Reed Bunting - 2

Little Gull - adult
Mediterranean Gull - 8

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Redshank - 320

Today's butterflies and dragonflies (thanks to Janet for these)
 Brown Hawker
 Common Darter

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

More passage waders show up

Lovely weather for a walk - sunny, warming up to 19C but with a cooling northerly breeze (F3).

A walk from Red Nab to Heysham 1 outfall resulted in the following:

Red Nab
Mediterranean Gull - 7 adults
Little Egret - 3 feeding in channels just west of Red Nab

Heysham 2 outfall
Mediterranean Gull - 1 adult, 4 juvs
Little Gull - 1 adult, 1 x 2CY (latter per PW)
Whimbrel - 1
Redshank - 8 feeding frantically and flew south as they got displaced by the tide

Heysham 1 outfall
Dunlin - 40 (mostly juvs but one or two adults)

Wooden jetty
Turnstone - 124 (all but one in summer plumage)
Redshank - 14 roosting on the rocks

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Bits and bobs of interest

Vis over Middleton 0630-1100
All heading south
Sand Martin - 6
Swift - 13
Swallow - 54
Grey Wagtail - 1
Curlew - 5 (2 and 3)

Heliport roost at high tide
Redshank - 490
Oystercatcher - 4500
Lapwing - 10

Ocean Edge
Redshank - 320

Med Gull - 4 2CY & 3 juv
Common Gull - juv

Ringing at Middleton and by office
Included 5 x Lesser Whitethroat, 12 x Whitethroat, Garden Warbler but only ones and twos of Willow, Sedge and Reed Warblers

Monday, 7 August 2017

Incoming tide check

Never known the grass so wet on Ocean Edge!  Thanks to Malcolm and Janet for selection of pics, including the accreting saltmarsh:

Outfalls/Red Nab etc
Med Gull - 15, including red darvic 2CY and 6 juvs
Little Egret - 2
141 Redshank
Again no sign ad Little Gull

Middleton PM
Swallow - c120 in roost (76 ringed)
Sand Martin - at least one in roost (ringed)

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Good effort in marginal weather

Middleton NR
A couple of sheltered nets at Middleton western marsh saw about 25 birds ringed this early morning and some vis mig records

Raven - heard (really scarce recently)
House Martin - flock of 6 south
Swift - 4 south
Swallow - 7 south & 120 ex-roost in central marsh
Water Rail - at least one

The catch included (new birds):  9 Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 each of Reed and Sedge Warbler and three Reed Bunting

Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff completely absent other than two distant calling Willow Warbler.  No vocal evidence of Grasshopper or Cetti's Warblers

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Med Gull - EIGHT juvs (6 at least unringed) & 6-8 of other ages:  4-5 x 2CY, 1-2 x Ad.   This was on the incoming tide and previous experience suggests some adults may already have headed towards the Lune
No sign of anything else notable eg Little Gull or Greenshank

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Grey plover brighten up a day dominated by dunnocks!

Sad to hear that Harry Shorrock has passed away.   I remember him in my early birding days at Leighton moss as a teenager and will miss his yarns.

Birding wise it was all very hard work in a sunny north westerly right in the middle of the gull moult fest.  Four sweeps of red nab produced a new med each time and the grand total of partially hidden rear end birds could have been higher than the 8 (three juvs) but it all went rather Catherine Tate.

Little Egret - flocks of three JUVS Red Nab
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult roosting at base of heliport seawall
Grey Plover - 27 in summer plumage along shoreline between OE and the DONG pipe

The office saw a record day catch of nine new Dunnocks and not a lot else!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Juv Med further increase!

A bit of outfalls and Red Nab coverage (thanks Malcolm)

Greenshank - presumed same bird still OE saltmarsh
Med Gull - 6 juvs, 5 of other ages
Little Gull - adult summer
Common Gull - the first juv of the autumn

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Juv med increase

Middleton nr held seven gadwall today and seven adult and two juvenile mute swan

Little gull - ad summer
Med gull - 11 (5 juvs)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Rain alarm app proves its worth

Ringing at Middleton
A short session before the rain with two nets was timed to perfection thanks to the rain alarm app - taking notice of the main forecasts would have seen the rain arrive about an hour early!  20 birds comprising mainly Willow Warbler and Whitethroat with three Reed Bunting

Outfalls/Red Nab (Malcolm)
Greenshank calling from SE corner of salt marsh 6:30 then from Red Nab 8:00. Didn't see bird on either occasion but confident with identification. Salt marsh was silent at 8:30, so I am presuming this was same bird.
71 Redshank feeding along OE foreshore on incoming tide.
9 Dunlin flew east
1 Little Egret on salt marsh and another on Red Nab

Foreshore Rocks
C20 Pied Wagtail
14 Linnet
1 Meadow Pipit

Nothing on No.1
Very nice adult SP Little Gull on No.2 outflow at 7:45 not there at 7:15.
About 6 Med Gulls around (3 juvs)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Greenshank new in

Adult Greenshank in ocean edge low tide channel this am

Gulls scattered all over the place on the early drop tide so only 3 Meds (2 x juv).  Will check later  

Monday, 31 July 2017

Windy but still ok for insects

Red Nab at low tide
26 Med Gulls, including two juveniles and about 6 2CY but some hard to age as they were bit-parts hidden behind rocks.  Just the one juvenile and one 2CY visible on the outfalls

Whimbrel - at least 4

Dragonflies at Middleton saw hordes of Common Darter amongst which was this one - I don't think it is a Ruddy as the yellow thoracic sides appear to be hidden in shadow and the legs deceptively dark - also never seen one on bare ground even when they were common here.  Also a Black-tailed Skimmer still, 6 + Emperor, 3 Brown Hawker (thanks Malcolm)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Quick check

11 meds in a quick visit, including three juvs but red nab was disturbed just prior to my arrival and could only find four adults

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Routine at low tide

At least three Med darvics to read if anyone able (assuming just one of each colour):
prob White or another pale colour

Med Gull - 29, 20 of these on Red Nab at low tide:  3 x 1CY, 18 x Ad/3CY, 8 x 2CY
Little Gull - ad summer (the 2CY appears to have moved on as coverage has been good this last week)
Whimbrel - 1

Heysham One outfall erratic this am with no food seemingly flowing down early on and no birds on the seaward end at low tide - a Med fest usually

Friday, 28 July 2017

Runt Black-headed Gull causes trouble

Outfalls/Red Nab low tide, scanned from OE foreshore
A distant and partially obscured small gull, obviously not a Little, and dwarfed by surrounding Meds and the odd Black-headed revealed itself to be a 2/3 sized adult Black-headed Gull when it finally lifted it head

Med Gull - at least 27, including a roosting flock of 17 on Red Nab - often do this at low tide and not including any which were resting on the mudflats between the outfalls.  (3-4 juvs, 18 or so ad/3CY) and at least 6  2CY)
Common Tern - ad
Commic Tern - too distant and heat-hazy but probably an adult arctic
Little Gull - ad summer
Gannet - 2 offshore

Later a running total of 34 Meds on Red Nab in 30 minutes with a trickle leaving south and a trickle coming in from the outfalls.  At least 8 2CY

Old Lady in the trap

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Outfalls check

Checked by Tom Walkington and Pete Marsh this morning during the early stages of the incoming tide

Med Gull - absolute minimum of 26 but almost certainly a further 6 which were seen by Tom on the outfalls mudflats - the 26 were assessed from OE foreshore checking the seaward end of the outfalls and Red Nab.  At least three and probably four juvs around, 6 2CY and at least 17 ad/3CY

Little Gull - adult summer
Common Tern - adult
Whimbrel - 4


c15 meds and the adult summer Little Gull

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Warblers on the move

Willow Warblers were a feature of the ringing this morning, along with smaller numbers of Blackcaps Sedge and Reed Warblers and, later in the morning, Whitethroats. 50 birds ringed.  (Will put the ringing totals on tomorrow.) A similar movement took place at Leighton Moss where 60 birds were caught.

Med Gull count at the outfalls today = 8

The only other birds of note at Middleton NR were 2 Water Rails squealing, A Skylark over, heading eastwards and a Kingfisher calling on the reedbed pond.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Its back

The 22nd Med Gull of the morning was the only one on the north harbour wall side and sure enough the above tarsus metal ring indicated it was the returning Czech bird, first seen here as a 1CY in autumn 2003

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 21 (12 x ad, 3 x 3CY, 5 x 2CY, including the red darvic-ringed summer plumaged bird seen a bit ago, one juv)

Anyone read this :-)

Little Gull - Ad summer but no sign 2CY
Whimbrel - 4

Oystercatcher - 2200 (late influx from SS Groyne - anglers on there again?)
Redshank - 260
Ringed Plover - 1
Med Gull - see above

Middleton pm
Swallow - c60 roosting (21 ringed)
Water Rail - 2+
Grasshopper Warbler - 3 singing males, two western, one central marshes
No sign regular Barn Owl
Brown Hawker still flying about at 2130hrs

Sunday, 23 July 2017

More odds and ends

No obvious landfall of warblers today so ringing sessions were a bit slow with a single new Grasshopper Warbler and retrap female Cetti's Warbler at Middleton and a couple of out of habitat Sedge Warbler and the more usual 5 new Whitethroat next to the office

Outfalls/red nab
Juxtaposed heat-hazed birds but a lot of them.  Could easily have missed something but larophiles note that Heysham One is now back on and the number of gulls has doubled

Little Gull - 2CY
Med Gull - 4 x ad/3CY, 5 x 2CY, 1 x least

Odds and ends
Daytime moths on Heysham NR.  Thanks Janet:

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Ringing in the eye

Quite a decent morning with a couple of nets on Middleton producing quite a few sedge warbler and blackcap.   The rainfall radar monitored the mass of wet looking cloud to the east after the overnight rain cleared just after 0600

Little gull
Ad summer new in on outfalls but no obvious sign of 2cy

Med gull
At least 12 but many on sand out of range to south (7 ad or 3cy, 4 2cy and one juv)

Common scoter - 3 (two drakes) off heysham skeer

No sign of common tern

Water rail
Calling from three separate areas middleton presumably dispersing juveniles from breeding pair on site

Grasshopper warbler - two juvs ringed western marsh and singing male central marsh

Swift c40 south along edge of rain

Friday, 21 July 2017

Bits and bobs

Outfalls/red nab/ocean edge salt marsh

Common sandpiper - two oe salt, one by jetty
Little gull - 1stS moulting to 2nd W - easy to miss
Med gull - two adults
Common tern - ad outfalls

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Missing meds

A bit late this morning for the tide and there were only four meds on view (ad and 3x 2cy) and 236 curlew

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Flying ants and wandering dragonflies

Med Gull
Ant-chasing juv, ad and 2CY over the office this am but ants soon disappeared as the easterly wind kicked in and there seemed to be a decent attendance by gulls at the outfalls by late afternoon with c6 Meds seen in the less heat-hazed gangs, but the main reason, to see if any terns or Little Gulls were on, drew a blank

Took place at all sites this am but rather below par, especially on Middleton where there were fewer warblers than expected.  Of note were a juvenile Grasshopper Warbler and especially an adult Garden Warbler  - suggesting local breeding.  A few young Greenfinch were welcome in the office nets but no sign of (the?) Marsh Tit there this am

Heysham skeer
No Black Guillemot and no terns this am at low tide

Banded Demoiselle - a male was seen well but briefly before flying across the model boat pond
Black Darter - I think this is probably an imm male but stand to be corrected - thanks for the pics Janet in difficult windy conditions
No sign of any Red-veined Darter - c/f a new influx in southern Britain and SE Ireland


Monday, 17 July 2017

Summer plumage Black Guillemot

Black Guillemot
This flew along the low tide channel alongside Heysham skeer as Malcolm was out on there at low tide this am - lost still flying into the Bay.  No reason why it wont still be in the area

Also two Sandwich tern

No other coverage today yet - gave the heat-hazed NW wind gulls this late afternoon a miss

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Seagulls staying in house

The tide is now low enough to leave a section of undisturbed dry sand just to the south of ocean edge and this was used by the gulls clearing off from red nab this afternoon.  The light and heat haze were awful but there were a fair few meds

Red nab/outfalls
Med gull - 13 ad/3cy, 2 2cy, 2juv with some almost certainly missed
Whimbrel - 2
Curlew - 379

Office area
Marsh tit - heard calling sev times
Reed warbler - singing male by obs t fire pond

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Disruptive curlew

350 plus curlew on red nab again but they are occupying the space used by gulls and furthermore are flying off red nab towards middleton way before high tide and dragging a proportion of the gulls either them including 3x 2cy meds

Outfalls/red nab
Common tern - ad heysham two outfall
Med gull - two ad, three 2cy and two juvs - the latter at least unringed

Curlew - 350 plus
Whimbrel - heard once

Heysham one is apparently fully back on line on 21st July so hopefully the seagulls will increase again

Friday, 14 July 2017

Midsummer Curlew

The Curlew roost at Red Nab just before high tide reached 375 with some birds already having headed south whilst others arrived so the grand total probably in the region of 400. 

Heysham One outfall looked ominously dead which explains why the gulls have nosedived - this is a real shame and will cost us at least one decent bird in the next month or so as the seaward end in full flow at low tide is the real magnate for passing seagulls and terns

Med Gull
Red Nab:  6 adult, one 3CY, 2 2CY - the latter heading off south well before high tide

Should be moulting adult Little in by now but......................

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Warblers on the move

A couple of decent small-scale ringing sessions this am at sheltered sites at Middleton/Heysham revealed Whitethroat, Sedge and Willow Warblers on the move along with a few unringed Chiffchaff and Blackcap.  Singing Grasshopper Warbler central marsh

The warbler ringing total is quite high for so early in the autumn with Whitethroat already in the 60's for the year

A few Swift on the move over Middleton

Could other observers please add your own stuff to the last three days.  Thanks


Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull : 2 x ad, 4 x 2CY
Whimbrel - 2

Treecreeper ringed
juvenile Cetti's Warbler retrapped



Monday, 10 July 2017

Where have the seagulls gone?

After a real flurry of Meds at the turn of the month, the numbers of gulls today were pitiful, after a thorough search by Gav and Ian on Saturday produced only 7 Meds and the Lune estuary, the spring tide displacement location for several Heysham birds, drew a blank for Ian this weekend.  Could not find any today at low tide and just after high tide - not the best time.  Maybe word has got round that Lancashire is bad news for seagulls at the moment

A few odds and ends in the mist nets next to the office, totalling about twenty five, including most of the common non-wetland warbler species

One relatively decent moth in the trap - the range-expanding homoeosoma sinuella

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Swift Exit

Just a quick look at Middleton Nature Reserve this morning.
12 swift feeding over model boat pond at 10:15, down to 2 by 11:00. Presumably rest heading south.
Two female gadwall with 2 & 3 well advanced young.
5 visiting mallard.
Temporary truce between mute leaving, pair with 1 (underdeveloped) cygnet on model boat pond and pair with 2 (well developed) cygnet on "no swimming" pond

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Marsh tit mega

First record this century with the last one ringed in 1998.   One heard calling then ended up in mist net Heysham nr this am (with long tailed tit flock)

Ringing took place at both Heysham and Middleton, with a total of 85 birds, with the highest catches being 19 Willow Warblers and 18 Whitethroats.

Only seven meds for the top gull team of gav and Ian - shame.   Four ad, two 3cy and a juv.   Also whimbrel and bar-tailed Godwit

Friday, 7 July 2017

Tidal misjudgement

Too late for the tide today with many of the gulls displaced put of the area in the moderate westerly.

Med gull
8 ad
2 3cy

One heard

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Some Sandwiches

In a change from Med Gull news:
Two adult Sandwich Tern crossing Heysham skeer channels to north about 4pm.(MD)

But now back to Med Gulls:
A whistle stop visit saw 12 Meds loafing on the dry sand at Ocean Edge this morning
A more leisurely visit to the outfalls this afternoon produced 5 adult Meds and 2 x 3CYs on Heysham 1 outfall and 1 adult on Heysham 2 outfall. 

8 Swifts flew over the reserve at 14:30


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Med Gull update

Ocean Edge
The Med Gulls were loafing on the sand again:
10 adults
2 x 3CY
4 x 2CY

Also in the roost :
Common Gull 1
Herring Gull 15
Lesser Black-backed Gull 31
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Whimbrel 1
Curlew 12
Bar-tailed Godwit in sum plum 1
Oystercatcher 9

Red Nab:
Eider - 1 female
Little Egret - 1
Curlew - 120
Redshank - 6
Oystercatcher- 47
BH Gull - 60
LBB Gull - 5

Middleton NR
2 juv Cetti's Warblers ringed
Tufted Duck 1 male

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Medfest increases, including early juvenile

An amazing roost today with reduced numbers of Black-headed Gull and increased numbers of Med Gull giving only a 4:1 ratio in favour of BHG at high tide!

Med Gull
16 x adults (one with 'pale' darvic and black letters)
3 x 3CY
6 x 2CY
1 x juvenile

There was no sign however of yesterdays distinctive red darvic-ringed 2CY or indeed the white darvic bird of a few days ago - must be quite a turnover, even this early in the 'autumn'

See how many you can find on here - all the above ages represented:

Mute Swan - unringed adult male in saltmarsh channel
Whimbrel - one heard
Curlew - 87 Red Nab

Monday, 3 July 2017

Meds increase

Disappointingly no feedback over the weekend on gulls but today saw a great heap of meds but all rather frustrating for ageing eyesight

Med gulls
11x ad, 3x 3cy, 5 x 2cy

One of the 2cy had a four charactered red darvic with white lettering on the right, metal below tarsus on left and would have been a doddle to read if I had either remembered to bring my mobile or had a zoom!   It was an odd bird with a 'completely adult' summer plumages head and bill

Only four of the above were on red nab at high tide, the rest were on the uncovered mudflats just south of ocean edge salt marsh

Whimbrel - first of autumn
Common sandpiper - 1-2
Redshank - 21
Curlew - 97

Model boat pond MNR
Little Grebe - quite mature chick diving with adult

Friday, 30 June 2017

Ringed med at last

Thanks to pete woodruff for comprehensive coverage of the late afternoon tide

Med gull - 9 adult, one 3cy, four 2cy (one with white darvic)

Sand martin - two adults flew south over heysham nr in a purposeful manner - first southbound vis of the "autumn"?

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Gulls head to the wet fields?

Male red-backed shrike recently reported flying across the car park and landing on top of a bush before flying off again.  At least the black tail and chestnut wing patches were seen.  Any more info on this please get in touch,  Thanks

Real lack of gulls on the outfalls today with bhg down by 80 per cent and only 4 meds ( 3 ads and a 3cy)

Nothing else of note other than a second brood early thorn - very early!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Adult med increase

Nine adult meds this am including a very small individual.   Also three 3cy and a single 2cy

One common sandpiper and three redshank

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Little Gull new in

A decent catch of moths last night as the ideal pre-rain warm sector 'leading' cloud cover lasted well into the night and not unusually producing a wet trap check this morning.  50 species in actinic Middleton in sharp contrast to the meagre fare in the clear polar air on Monday night.  This is the hoped for target at this time of year: Silver Hook - a very localised species in damp areas at/near the coast in Lancs

A wet record shot in situ - thanks Justine 

A low tide check saw a 2CY Little Gull in the shipping channel off Heysham 2 outfall and about 5 Ad/3CY Meds flying around the seaward end of the outfalls, but the later count was thwarted by a mutt clearing all the gulls off Red Nab and nearby shore on the incoming tide but at the same time there seemed to be a big reduction of stuff on the outfalls

Heysham skeer
Little Egret - at least 16 (per Malcolm) but no sign of the 200 Eiders at low tide which had floated in the JB Point at high tide yesterday