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

Monday, 26 June 2017

Willow warblers and ringlets

Unusually high June number of 20 unringed willow warblers this morning with a mix of moulting adults and surprisingly advanced juveniles - almost like a catch in late July.   Other birds included a few unringed adult sedge warbler and two young grasshopper warbler

Med gull - 6 ads, 2 3cy, 2 2cy

Heysham skeer
Two adult common or Arctic tern early am

Middleton boat pond
Red veined darter - one tatty male
Sand martin - 1 ad
House martin - 4 ad
Swift - 3
Little grebe - ad catching small crayfish

Butterfly transect HNR
Ringlet have arrived at last (two in ne corner).  One burnet companion still and both burnet moths in low single figures.   Also about half a dozen small skipper

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Med fest and mist net rides

Gave the outfalls a really good check on the incoming tide this morning using a scope from Ocean Edge caravan park

Med Gull - At least 6 adult, 3 3CY and 4 2CY - 10 of them were un-ringed unless there was a metal above the tarsus and four were not seen well enough to be sure.  I cannot remember a sample of 10 before where there were no darvic rings on show
Little Egret - 1
Eider - two females onshore in red nab channel

The mist net ride by the office was cleared as regards the ability to put up mist nets and the feeders  filled for the first time this 'autumn', but hadn't got the gear for lopping the tops off the branches.   Crutches make a useful rake, but it was really hard going and Jean, recovering from a broken toe, did most of it.  This is what happens when you couldn't do what you usually do last autumn/winter to keep on top of it.   Mist net ride maintenance should be part of a trainee permit - a lot of recent permit holders seem to think they look after themselves :-)

Saturday, 24 June 2017


Still no sign of any seabirds despite a prolific fylde coast watch.

Med gull - ad and 2CY
Black headed gull - leucistic bird

Burnet companion still heyshsm nr

Friday, 23 June 2017

Worst ever seawatch in south-westerlies?

Nowt in about an hour on and off on incoming tide

Outfalls/Red Nab
Common Tern - a welcome Adult feeding and resting
Tern spp - very brief view facing away - think it flew into bay (yesterdays Sandwich?)
Med Gull - ad and 3CY but disappeared very quickly and not there after 0900
Redshank - 2

Thursday - bowl hopping fish

Some goldfish have been around for some time in the dog walk pond and seem to have hybridised with ?roach which have similarly been put in there.  Hope this springs wintering Bittern can find them in 2017/8

Thanks Malcolm

Outfalls/Red Nab near HT
Med Gull - 2-3 Ad and a different 3CY
Sandwich Tern - adult outfalls

Grey Seal - 1

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Last day of red-veined heat?

Red-veined Darters
Perhaps the last throw of the dice for this year on the forecast
Mark Nightingale and Pete Kinsella had up to 5 males 1500-1600 - unusual so late in the day - wonder how many there were earlier?

Unfortunately it has been all very vague re-females this year with just the one seen ovipositing and only two other sightings, one on the same day as the ovipositing.  If any of the photographers out there have any info on females and ovipositing, please could you let us know.  Thanks.

Despite the seeming unlikelihood of them magically finding this place during influxes, the general consensus is that this year's early and mature male dominated influx (just one 'teneral' reported) is part of a national migratory invasion.  Feedback suggests there are still a lot of people who look for perched insects rather than scanning the rippled areas of the waterbody (in preference to calm bits) during light winds, often far from the shore, as the most likely means of making contact (especially with mature migrants?).  Therefore I suspect that many in such (perhaps transitory) mode have been missed on Lancashire's waterbodies 

Seagull census
A rather belated finish to the nesting seagull census today but I have not got the data to hand

Lots on Fisher's roof but unexpected lack of any GBBG success there

Outfalls/Red Nab
The outfalls held a new Med - below on Red Nab and easier to find than yesterdays 3CY!  Also the first (dispersing) baby Black-headed Gull of the year - early?  Late afternoon saw two adults at low tide.  Its starting to happen!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

More returning adult or near adult seagulls

Heysham Obs
A reasonable number of seagulls on the outfalls and Red Nab including a 3CY Med in full summer plumage:

Moth traps at Middleton held both Silky and Obscure Wainscot and a rather late Shaded Pug graced the Heysham trap.

Any dragonfly info from today?

Ringing took place at Middleton NR this am and the surprise was a rather early dispersing juvenile Treecreeper - usually an occasional July feature and scarce and erratic at all times away from Heysham Head - and the first juv Reed Warbler.   Perhaps surprisingly, the few recent ringing efforts have not included any juvenile Cetti's Warbler, but the territories are mainly to the east of the ringing site 

Monday, 19 June 2017


Middleton early am
4 Spotted chaser - minimum 10 (all checked were standard type)
Emperor - 1 male each, no swimming pond and new small scrapes. female type central marsh
Broad Bodied Chaser - 3 male on small scrapes
Common Darter - minimum 1 possibly 2
2 Cetti's singing
1 Grasshopper warbler reeling central marsh. First I've heard for a while, there are actual grasshoppers chirruping now, but this was definitely a warbler.
1 stoat
Later in am
5-6 male RV Darter plus a pair in cop then perhaps the same female on its own
Nice pic from John Wright later in afternoon:


A four spotted chaser without the central spots was photographed by Malcolm and there was also a wandering RV Darter on the track between the fence and no swimming ponds

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Red-veined day

Couple of pics from Dave Talbot - thanks Dave

At least 5 males and one female on model boat pond

Also Ad summer Little Grebe model boat pond

Friday, 16 June 2017

Brief gull check and a Shark

Tomorrow looks good for Red-veined Darter as does most of the next week.  Please report all sightings (e.g. email and especially any definite females/ovipositing.  I'm assuming no Common out yet, certainly not mature red males, but need to be very careful, especially with female/tenerals

Very distant gull facing away was half to two-thirds the size of the nearby BHGs but it flew as I was switching to 40 x lens on scope and didn't see it again & had to go.  Suspect the definite small 2CY BHG of a few weeks ago?

The 2CY Med still around along with 67 2CY Common Gull

The moth trap has at least come up with a few scarcities and the whole set up might be sorted out next week:


Thursday, 15 June 2017

Unexpected day

Started with a clear run through all the traffic lights on the Bay Coneway for the first time, then the sea looked a bit rough and a sweep produced a Gannet, so gave it a bit of unscheduled time before checking the Sunderland Point moth trap

Sea 0845ish to 0920ish
Gannet - 11
Fulmar - 1
Manx Shearwater - flock of 6
Med Gull - yesterdays 2CY seaward end Heysham one

Middleton NR
Lunchtime and early pm saw the temperature high enough, wall to wall sunshine and a few bits of shelter out of the wind for Malcolm and dragonfly recording but later in the afternoon the wind increased and the site became a no show as the forecast had suggested for the whole day

Red-veined Darter - two males and two female types or tenerals
also low single figures of Black-tailed Skimmer, Four-spotted Chaser (one eaten by an Emperor!), Broad-bodied Chaser and an interesting darter seen very briefly in the central marsh

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

They survived in numbers

No need to worry about the prolonged 'grounding' of red veined darters.    A single sweep from the seat saw nine males over the model boat pond with smaller counts including at least one almost certain additional insect over the next five minutes.   No time to check the western shore

On red nab there was a new 2cy med gull - a large individual with an unremarkable head pattern cf being lost amongst bhg and moulted greater coverts giving the folded wing a very 'plain' look for so early in the "autumn"

Heysham skeers held two common scoter in the channel, a small flock of Canada geese past and a build up of little egret.   Detail later

Monday, 12 June 2017

A few seabirds

The outfalls are in a bit of a rut at the moment - plenty of gulls but no obvious change in personnel.

Offshore was a bit disappointing in the absence of squalls.   Early on saw 7 gannet and 4 Manx shearwater with o my one of the gannet 'close'.   Brief checks during high tide period saw an empty sea but 5 Manx shearwater headed towards heysham later in the afternoon (seen from

Sunday, 11 June 2017


The Webs and pre-Webs outfalls check and rest of the coastal area plus the moth trap saw absolutely nothing of note

Might be worth a tomorrow morning seawatch though plus LOW tide check of outfalls


Three Canada Geese in

Friday, 9 June 2017

Gannet dead and alive

One dead on Middleton tideline per Mike

One alive flying out

Nowt on outfalls from half tide onwards (about half of what you get at low tide)

Later Pete Woodruff had what was presumably the same leucistic BHG as the other day

Large Yellow Underwing in moth trap!


2CY Med outfalls - nowt else

Red-veined Darter male located and photographed by Linda Renshaw roosting away from the waters edge by model boat pond

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Bits and bobs

Heysham Outfalls/Red Nab
Arctic Tern - adult resting on Red Nab, Common or Arctic on outfalls briefly
Common Scoter - two between the power stations outfalls, then flew into the bay at 10.20
Med Gull - 2CY Red Nab, adult seaward end Heysham one briefly
Black-headed Gull - leucistic bird (beware!)

A visiting birder had
Gannet - one out distantly
Fulmar - two out close

No obvious sign of Red veined Darter Middleton in highly marginal conditions that in fact didn't produce anything resembling a dragonfly!

The Hut moth trap in its present configuration is not performing well.  The current records will not be usable for comparison with other years.  It didn't perform last night because the electrics were off but that allowed anything from the two previous unchecked nights to clear off!  In this respect, given the small numbers, no incentive to check it if it involves going out of your way

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Heysham NR

Burnet Companion moths numerous on the plateau area.  These images from Wednesday of this difficult species to photograph by Janet:

The hut moth trap is picking up some moths now but numbers still below par - 13 regular species this morning.

Middleton NR
No Swimming Pond - still two Gadwall with families of 4 and 8 young.
Cettis Warbler at least one singing near the north east corner.

Model Boat Pond - excellent display of Northern Marsh Orchids around the west fringe and on the spit.
Plenty of Brown Hawker dragonflies plus at least one pair of Emperor, numerous Common Blue damselfies plus at least three Red-veined Darter.  These last seen in less-than ideal conditions - broken cloud, brisk wind and quite cool.


Friday, 2 June 2017

The A Team Are Away

With the main contributors away in the freezing north of Norway for a week, apologies for what will be rather sparse reporting.

The last two broods of Great tits in the nestboxes were ringed today.  Great Tits have done well this year with 9 successful broods.
Blue Tits have had a terrible year here with only one nest in a box.  A brood of 9 young were raised to the half-grown stage but were all found dead today.

Two Burnet Companion moths were seen along with a number of Common Blue butterflies on the plateau.

Middleton NR from Wednesday 31st May
Gadwall - 2 with 4 and 8 chicks
Cettis Warbler - Now 2 singing from NE and SW corners of No Swimming pond. Apparently was only one territory there previously but perhaps a second bird has taken part of the territory.

At least 4 Red veined Darters on model boat pond.  A couple of examples of great shots taken by Stan Parrott reproduced here:


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Three of note in quick visit

Heysham outfalls is an easy food source and can attract waifs and strays, notably coffin-dodging young Kittiwakes in winter gales.  This Arctic Tern appeared today and the anomolies may have impeded its migration.  Wheatear very late - a small female

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - at least one 2CY - didn't look like either of yesterdays with a lot of black on head
Arctic Tern - oddly plumaged adult-type

Wheatear - female OE foreshore

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