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