Saturday, 20 October 2018

Moth highlight Heysham NR and an unringed Cetti's warbler at Middleton

Today's efforts did not look promising with a forecast which was suitable for mist-netting, but the uniform unbroken cloud for the first few hours certainly put the lid on significant vis and the wind direction suggested a paucity of grounded migrants.  The highlight came very early on - a twilight check of what was on the outside of the moth trap window:
Scarce Bordered Straw

Red Nab/Ocean edge shore
Bar-tailed Godwit - 950
Grey Plover - 320
Med Gull - one (small) adult
Teal - female/juv Red Nab
Wigeon - huge increase to 144
Shelduck - 420 (142 Red Nab)

Cettis Warbler - a new unringed bird - probably a new dispersing arrival but cannot rule out a local bird which somehow avoided the nets

Office area grounded
Very quiet - not a single Goldcrest heard, just the 'resident' male Chiffchaff and another singleton ringed along with a single Blackcap.  About 10 Blackbird and 6 Song Thrush completes the perceived grounded migrant total within audible/visual range of the office

Vis mig
Swan spp - two high to north
Mute Swan - 5 north then u-turned over Middleton
Chaffinch - 15
Brambling - 1
Little Egret - 2 S
Starling - just 6+20
Greenfinch - at least 1!
Alba wagtail - 2
Goldfinch - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 850 N at 0910

Friday, 19 October 2018

Starling and Chaffinch vis

Every morning has been different this week and this morning looked very duff at dawn with cloud spilling in from the west.  However, it soon became apparent that small flocks of Starlings were bombing SW - a route which is not ex-local-roost.  Indeed they were crossing over local ex-roost birds heading east from the harbour.

Vis mig
Starling - 1374 SW in about 26 flocks
Chaffinch - 153 (including flock of 36)
Meadow Pipit - 17
Jackdaw - 161
Grey Wagtail - 2
Redwing - 51
Linnet - 3
alba Wagtail - 14
Siskin - 4
Greenfinch - 10
Skylark - 14
Goldfinch - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 316 plus 35 S
Whooper Swan - 13 south

Chiffchaff - the resident male by the office still
Goldcrest - 3 ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
Robin - unringed bird
Wheatear - 1

No sign Chough Heysham Head

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Its back or another has turned up!

Chough Heysham Head 1130ish per Malcolm - Throbshaw Point area, then flew south. We suspect it may be a passage bird, on a day when there have been lots of corvid movement, as its behaviour was atypical of last winter's resident which Malcolm daw virtually daily.  We'll see.

Crystal clear conditions didn't promise very much other than a bit of vis, but a single Yellow-browed Warbler and, perhaps more unusually as obviously not a 'one-off', a flock of three Chiffchaff were caught.  Earlier a Long or Short-eared Owl was chased by three Carrion Crow in semi-darkness east towards the entrance gate.  The owl probably tried to land as it became light in the middle of the tank farm crow roost!  What I could see of it and the fact it obviously disturbed a thorn-bush and caused roost Carrion Crows to pursue it before they would normally have "got up" does suggest a Long-eared looking for a suitable daytime roost just before dawn.  Indeed the Carrion Crows seemed to fly back to bed and didn't start generally making their presence felt again for another 25 mins!

Vis 0730 - 1230
Chaffinch 185
Brambling 3
Jackdaw 175
Carrion Crow 23
Woodpigeon 65
Stock Dove 2
Collared Dove 1
Pink-footed Goose 53
Mistle Thrush 14
Redwing 13
Skylark - 4
Lesser Redpoll 3
alba wagtail 14
Linnet 3
Meadow Pipit - 10

Wheatear 1
Rock pipit at least 1

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Brambling at last

Ringing included a pleasant flock of Long tailed tit   and three Chiffchaff and a Blackcap is some more migrant Greenfinch.

An adult Common Tern was a bit of a surprise on the outfalls

Vis 0730-123
Flock of 10 Brambling plus at least one other
58 Carrion Crow
14 Jackdaw
95 Chaffinch
13 Greenfinch
2 alba wagtail
8 Song Thrush
6 Skylark
2 Meadow Pipit
4 Redwing
1 Siskin
1 redpoll sp
100 Pink-footed Geese north at 07:50
14 Starling NW later in the morning so not ex roost

A possible Yellow-browed calling distantly x 2 in the tank farm direction from the office was not confirmed due to a horrendous amount of background noise this am

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

What a grey day

Thick cloud and mizzle put the dampners on the vis but there were a few odds and ends of migrants.

Heysham NR

Vis 0730-1200
Mistle Thrush - 1 SE
Reed bunting - 1 S
Chaffinch - 12
alba wagtail - 8
Meadow Pipit - 1

Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - 3
Blackbird - 6
Song Thrush - 3
Chiffchaff - 1

Middleton NR
Redwing - 5
Goldcrest - 3

Monday, 15 October 2018

Not quite what was expected

What seemed to be a corridor from the eastern side of Britain (at least) along the northern edge of the cloud was 'fudged' by some heavy cloud north-east of us.   It was also rather clear under the high cloud on site.  Plan B was to monitor the mainly North to South Chaffinch passage and also quite a bit of cross-bay vis, including another 'should have run a Grey Wagtail tape'.   There were a handful of grounded migrants but they didn't include the expected Goldcrest arrival with numbers way down on yesterday and the morning certainly didn't have a 'yellow-brow' feel about it

Grounded Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - 3 new birds ringed plus one ringed Midd
Blackcap - 2 new birds ringed plus one ringed Midd
Song Thrush - three then inland
Blackbird - c15, then inland
Goldcrest - 1!
NO Redwing

Vis mig HNR
Great -spotted Woodpecker - one high SE
Chaffinch - 78
Skylark - 9 plus two (H)
Meadow Pipit - 45
alba Wagtail - 41
Carrion Crow - 18
Rook - two together south
Jackdaw - 31
Fieldfare - bit of a surprise in the context - 6 SW calling (IOA)
Siskin - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 2+ heard
Grey Wagtail - 2
Goldfinch - at least 27 migrants
Linnet - flock of 7 SE
Greenfinch - at least 25 migrants
Merlin - one presumed male high to SE, including chasing Meadow Pipit
Tree sparrow - one (ringed)
Coal tit - c5

No sign of YBW in yesterday's area

Middleton - Pink-footed Goose - c500 flew north after dawn very high and far to the east.
                  Swallow - 3 south
                  Sparrowhawk - 1 high flew south

Mostly migrant finches today with Greenfinch and Chaffinch conspicuous.   Four Chiffchaff and three Blackcap a bit unexpected as there seemed to be little grounded.  Just five Goldcrest ringed.  A Tree Sparrow was a new addition to the ringed species list for the year where it is very erratic and unpredictable.  Just one Redwing ringed at Middleton.

Shoveler - Drake middleton no swimming pond

Large Wainscot in Middleton actinic, November Moth agg in office trap

Sunday Yellow-browed

Sorry for the late update here

Good jobs the forecasts were not believed today and we headed for a dawn start to find us sandwiched between two blobs of rain on the alarm app but in the end not s single drop landed on the obs!   The wind also decreased much earlier than we thought and this led to ideal ringing conditions.  The downside of this is that local birds also don't notice the nets and we ended up with the highest proportion of retraps of the autumn, notably "all' the Dunnocks in the vicinity!

Yellow-browed Warbler - this was found by Malcolm in the trees and scrub on the west side by the entrance to Ocean Edge. and was there for at least an hour before cars arrived emptying multiple dogs and we left it to any visiting birders.  No further reports on the information network.  One of four today in our area (Sunderland, Fluke Hall, JBPoint being the other three)

Grounded HNR
Redwing - 10
Blackbird - 15
Chiffchaff -4 (& 3 more ringed at Middleton in the afternoon)
Goldcrest - 15-20 plus a similar number down the landscape strip to Red Nab
Robin - at least one migrant ringed

Vis mig HNR
Chaffinch - 30
Meadow Pipit - 2
alba Wagtail - 6
Grey Wagtail - 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Coal Tit - 11

Saturday 13th October

Wet - to be added!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Redshank all in one basket

An early WEBS saw 1,500 Redshank on the heliport seawall yet none on any other of the Webs sites along the prom to the north

Other things included two adult and one 1cy med gull around the harbour mouth but the Shag could not be located

Wheatear - two oe foreshore
Rock pipit - at least two
10 Twite were reported on the heliport grassland - an early date for here

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Bits and bobs of migrants

Early start in quite breezy conditions saw a few Redwing departing inland at dawn but very little actual vis mig.  We called a halt on the Grey Wagtail ringing season after the 50th was ringed yesterday and of course one of the first birds over this morning was yet another late passage Grey Wagtail!

Two Goldcrest ringed so far - they are really thin on the ground this autumn along with Chiffchaff, Blackcap and migrant Robin...…… a dispersing Treecreeper!

Vis 07:15 - 10:00
Redwing - 35
Linnet - 1
Grey Wagtail - 1
alba wagtail - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
Skylark - 4
Chaffinch - 4
Mistle Thrush - 1

Goldcrest - 4 at least (2 ringed)
Chiffchaff - 3 (2 ringed)
Blackcap - 1 (ringed)
Coal Tit - 2 (1 ringed)

Heysham skeer channels early am
Pinkfooted Goose - c200
Diver sp - one in
Common Scoter - Drake
Two lots of redwing overhead in dark

10th Oct

Vis 07:00-12:30 Heysham and Middleton NRs combined
Grey Wagtail - 2
Jackdaw - 196 (3 flocks)
Carrion Crow - 6 W, 29 E
Pink-footed Goose - 800+
Song Thrush - 8
Blackbird 10
Redwing - about 20 seen between Hey and Middleton combined with 5 ringed at Middelton
Siskin - 2
Crossbill - 2 SE 0750
Reed Bunting - 1
Skylark - 3 only but hard to heard vis HNR
Meadow Pipit - 2
Common Buzzard - 1 definite southbound migrant, possibly in off
Chaffinch - 16 pus others ringed
alba wagtail - 5

Chiffchaff - 1
Blackcap - 3
Coal Tit - 3

Green Woodpecker still around

Red Admiral - 1
Other insects to be added later

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

9th Oct

Rock Pipit - one Red Nab, the other half moon bay in quick search
Med Gull - 1st W lingering

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Bit of a clearout but some decent one offs

Fewer birds than yesterday. The warblers seem to have cleared out with the clear weather overnight

Heysham NR
Woodcock - one flushed from the net rides behind the hut
Green Woodpecker - 1 almost caught in mist net!  Last seen in tank farm
Cetti’s Warbler - first record of year for hey Nr with a migrant caught by the office

Vis 0715-1215 (generally south unless stated)
Chaffinch 17
alba wagtail 9
Meadow Pipit 2
Pink-footed Goose 62 south, 96 north, 140 south
Goldfinch 6
Skylark 4
Blue Tit 2
Grey Heron - 2 high north
Linnet 1
Swallow 1

Carrion Crow 8 SE
Jackdaw 58 SE
Pink-footed Goose 100 S (far over Morecambe Bay) +50 S to the east of the reserve
Meadow Pipit c8 SE
Cettis Warbler - 3 singing in central and western marsh areas, another around no swimming pond area
Reed Bunting - 5 ringed

Med gull - green ringed ad red nab not ANLT and prob not ASRE therefore new and unread - first letter A with four code letters do presumed German.  Metal only ringed adult red nab.   Adult on sea half moon bay
Common gull - two 1cy outfalls
Short-eared Owl - presumably flushed OE saltmarsh and drifted towards Middleton

Red kite prob over east of area or visible from eg Middleton but no one there ! ( seen heading nw from Glasson).  Thanks for the text Ian

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Much better!

The cold front moved away to the south at dawn leaving increasingly higher cloud and quite a few birds were moving overhead as well as reasonable numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff.  Indeed by some considerable distance the best Chiffchaff morning of what has been a poor autumn.
The Blackcaps were all but one showing signs of being off passage with 20g plus weight and fat scores of up to 4.

Middleton NR
Vis mig 0700-1200
Siskin 1
Lesser Redpoll 1
Pink-footed goose 15
Grey Wagtail 4
Tree Sparrow 4
Meadow Pipit 210
Jackdaw 9
Linnet 10
Mistle Thrush 1
alba wagtail 31
Goldfinch 8
Skylark 2
Sparrowhawk 1

Ringing - about 70 new birds including 16 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap and quite a few Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Long tailed Tit.   Two each of Reed Bunting and Grey Wagtail were caught

Large Wheatear OE foreshore and the Wigeon flock up to 8.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Low key

The first Stonechat of the autumn comprised a 1cy Male on Middleton late afternoon.   Also three separate Long tailed tit flocks

Cetti’s warbler were noisy especially in central marsh (at least two singing)

Nothing new on the wildfowl etc front with two Water Rail the best

However a possible ring necked parakeet was heard flying over but not seen

Rock pipit - four half moon bay shore

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Routine observatory coverage

The degree of shelter from westerly sector winds has enabled quite a bit of ringing to be undertaken this year by the office which would have been very difficult in previous years.  Perhaps/probably we were too quick to give up/assume nothing much moved in marginal weather.  The rain also held off and any issues monitored on the rain alarm/visual observation across the Bay

Red Nab and harbour area
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 1CY, 2 x 2CY
Shelduck - 220
Auk spp - one out, probably Guillemot
Kittiwake - ad behind IOM ferry but peeled off very early by old sewage pipe and flew out

Office area
New birds ringed included single Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Robin and about a dozen finch species
Just one Goldcrest seen

No perceptible vis mig in quite low cloud

Eudonia angustea and Pink-barred Sallow

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Great White Egret doubleton

Not sure what is going on with these things but they were miles up in the sky heading south and almost passed off as migrating large gulls when first seen head on.  No obvious landing place as per pager reports

HNR office
Great White Egret - 2 south c1030
Meadow Pipit - only 2 early am
Coal Tit, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest - single unringed birds caught
No obvious finch vis
Common Buzzard - the first grounded bird I can remember on there - later seen soaring off:

Cetti's Warbler - active with minimum of three probably four singing/calling birds (new arrival?)
Gadwall - 31
Meadow Pipit - low double figures over in clearer weather

Heysham Head
Rock Pipit - 6 feeding along the shore on the low cliff section at the south end and one under the bigger cliffs
Little Egret - gang of five on shore in rocks - unusual here

Single Green brindled Crescent and Red-line Quaker

Lots of dozy dying wasps flopping about around the office area today


Nothing sent to me

The moth trap held Green Brindled Crescent and Red-line Quaker

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Monday 1st October

Heysham NR
07:15 - 12:00
Too clear to monitor the vis properly as most birds flew high at the nature reserve and by all accounts Meadow Pipits were grounding at Ocean Edge but no systematic coverage took place at that location.

Chaffinch - 33
Grey Wagtail - 7
Reed Bunting - 5
alba wagtail - 11
Bullfinch - 4
Pink-footed Goose - 246 north again
Linnet - 1
Siskin - 3
Dunnock - 5

Middleton Nature reserve
Mute 5
Mallard 4
Gadwall 10
Teal 10
Water Rail 1

Cetti's singing from fence pond

Buzzard 5. Together drifting over to south

Limited coverage

Just adult and 1CY Meds around the harbour entrance

Sand Mason worms

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Massive northerly goose movement tracked into and over Cumbria further up the Bay

Given the weather forecast for tomorrow, this will be the end of the month as regards ringing and any vis mig sessions and it was a month with an amazing one-off, the Little Shearwater and which can otherwise be consigned to the instantly forgettable

There was no decent visible migration with all the Meadow Pipit being sent along the Pennines or down the east coast by strong westerlies to the north of us and even the "seawatching weather" promised much but was never (with one notable exception) quite right on the day with a lot of watching paint dry waiting for the odd Leach's

As regards 'falls' and other possibilities with overnight migrants, a lot of effort was put in around the office area, where the feeder fare was a back-up to any poor migrant showing, but Middleton motivation suffered from the general synoptic mediocrity and received the worst coverage for a few years.  The few visits made did suggest that more warblers were moving through there than Heysham NR

So the monthly ringing totals top ten as follows:  Chaffinch (65), Blue Tit (64), Goldfinch (55), Grey Wagtail (37), Robin (32), Blackcap (29), Chiffchaff (23), Greenfinch (22), Meadow Pipit (18 - we did try!), Long-tailed Tit (17).  So the top species away from the feeders was the study-targeted Grey Wagtail with a meagre 37!  Grand total about 455.  Thanks for all the effort, often with low but by no means worthless catches

Vis mig today
Pink-footed Goose - northerly passage of 3865 visible from HNR office and two other flocks heard further west.  These were tracked over the bay/south Cumbria and were almost certainly all overshoots heading for the Solway.  Note that both movements this week have been in SW winds eg virtually none seen yesterday.  25+1(!) south.
Chaffinch - 30
alba - 8
Meadow Pipit - 11
Grey Wagtail - 4
Reed Bunting - 1

Only perceptible stuff round HNR office was single Goldcrest, Blackcap, Chiffchaff

Ad and Juv med gulls near jetty - probably Czech ad - no available tubeworms now
Shag 2cy - flew from harbour to wooden jetty

About 30 new birds by office - surprisingly good - mostly goldfinch, chaffinch and blue tit

Friday, 28 September 2018


A Short-eared Owl was the day highlight as it was flushed by the tide from Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Also unexpected was the Ringing session at Middleton which was assumed to be a vis mig morning after a clear night and sizeable moon but the hint of east in the northerly produced virtually no vis but the highest day catch of what has been an awful year for Chiffchaff - both migration and perhaps especially local productivity (8 new birds).  Other grounded migrants ringed: 5 Reed Bunting, two Blackcap, two Robin and a Goldcrest

Med gull - 3 2cy Red Nab
Buzzard - juvenile over Middleton
Wigeon - IOA

Pics and additional stuff will be added tomorrow

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Surprisingly good

Nets were put up at the office just for routine coverage from about 0715 and the dull conditions meant probably very little was missed earlier.  A combination of HNR office coverage and Malcolm out on the shore saw an enormous NORTHERLY movement of Pink-footed Goose which was presumably some overshooting by ?Solway birds and certainly not roost to feeding area.  One flock contained a single Barnacle Goose

The only other vis mig over the office was four Grey Wagtail and two were duly ringed along with an array of finches and tits with single Chiffchaff and Robin - far more than seemed likely from the synopsis

Thanks to Janet and Malcolm for pics

Pink-footed Goose - 2280 north in at least 15 skeins
Barnacle Goose - 1 north
Skylark - 2 south
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE
Red-throated Diver - 1
Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch - 'none'!

Heysham Head shore
Rock Pipit - ELEVEN!

Red Nab area
Sanderling - at least 2

After a mild night, nine species in the office trap including Acleris emargana which I think if NFY

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Bits on the coast

Merlin - Male ocean edge - 1OA
Wheatear -1
Med gull - min 9 (2 juvs)
Shelduck - 217
Common or Arctic Tern - distant Juv prob Common

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Latish willow warbler

Ringing saw a lot of effort for fairly meagre fare which included a Willow warbler, two Reed warbler,   Chiffchaff, two Blackcap, two Goldcrest and two Grey Wagtail

The rest included three migrant Rock Pipit along ocean edge, a Juv Med gull and a Guillemot still in the harbour

Vis mig 06:30 - 12:00
Chaaffinch - 36
Pink-footed Goose - 148 north
Grey Wagtail - 1 north at 07:50
Meadow Pipit - 2
Collared Dove - 2
Golden Plover - 1 east

Monday, 24 September 2018

Northwesterly and that means more pinks but few warblers

Vis mig 06:45 - 11:00
Pink-footed Goose - 1208
Grey Wagtail - 5
Chaffinch - 39
Alba Wagtail - 4
Goldfinch - 13
Bullfinch - 2
Meadow Pipit - 7
Swallow - 10
Cormorant - 5
Buzzard - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Linnet - 1
Siskin - 1

White Wagtail - 1 at Ocean Edge

Harbour - see photo

Rock pipit - singles by 1/2 m b cafe and below Heysham Head
Wheatear 1 - Heysham Head

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Sat and sun

22 September 2018

Heysham NR
Vis 08:50-12:00
Pink-footed Goose - 428 south
Meadow Pipit - 2
Swallow - 4
Goldcrest - 1

Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - 2 (adult and juv)
Mediterranean Gull - 15 at least

Guillemot - 2

Ocean Edge
Ringed Plover - 32
Grey Plover - 420

Middleton NR
Gadwall - 27
Mallard - 2
Teal - 1
Coot - 2
Water Rail - 3
Stock Dove - 2

Heysham Moss
Woodpigeon - flock of 70


23 September 2018

Heysham NR

Vis 06:45 - 12:00
Meadow Pipit - 35
Pink-footed Goose - 1736
Chaffinch - 25
alba wagtail - 3
Jackdaw - 1
Grey Wagtail - 3
House Martin - 1
Swallow - 1
Mistle Thrush - 1
Song Thrush - 1

Wooden Jetty


Friday, 21 September 2018

Wind okayish in the bay but not in the bigger picture Irish Sea

Nothing to push birds in overnight and a marginal wind on the tide produced very little with just one Leach’s after a cumulative 100 square miles of scanning from various VPs over four hours.  Didn’t realise IOM ferry was in business until it reached the harbour and some followers undoubtedly missed

Leach’s Petrel - one cut across from north side then headed out beyond the yellow buoys
Great Skua - one flew north west through the scope as it was trained towards Knott end from ocean edge
Sandwich tern - loose gang of 13 out, three red nab and two later on outfalls in squall
Common Tern - ad behind ferry
Arctic Tern - 1cy behind ferry
Pintail - flock of three out
Kittiwake - two 1cy early on then at least seven behind IOM ferry
Little gull - usual ad red nab over tide
Med gull - min of 19 including 5 Juv red nab then 25-30 by wooden jetty including the above Belgian or French Juv and German ANLT
Guillemot - one harbour area, one dead on water
Shag - flew towards heyshsm head close inshore

Rock pipit 1-2 Heysham head shore
Low double figures of swallow and meadow pipit struggling south

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Small shearwater

One of the vagrant small shearwater species off Heysham this am then Rossall an hour later.   Not necessarily Barolo but unlikely to be fully documented and specified unless we get some point blank views and pics further down the coast.   What an amazing sighting though, initially at only c350m range.  More later.

Shag - usual bird
Leachs petrel - one out distantly 0810
Sandwich Tern - two north wall, 7 red nab

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Long gaps between highlights!

One of these days lists with decent variety but quite hard work.   The morning tide was predictably useless in the southerly but the cold front saw a change to SW.  A few bits as the tide came in

Seawatching stuff
Leach’s petrel - one out 1635 at medium range, another out and across about 1710. A further 8 seen past SJ, all but one distant bird after 1730
Black Tern - Juv out past north wall mid afternoon
Sandwich Tern - at least 5 out
Gannet - two out early am
Common Scoter - Drake offshore
Guillemot or Razorbill - four out together
Guillemot - two singletons close inshore
Shelduck - 5 plus 11 out
Kittiwake - three out together (one ad), ad and Juv blogging by harbour

Med gull - 23 ad/2cy red nab plus Juv outfalls
Little gull - usual ad red nab
Wheatear - 2

Tuesday, 18 September 2018


Unfortunately a rapidly inbound probably black tern in particularly foul weather this am couldn’t be clinched but single juvenile Arctic and Common and a flock of four Sandwich tern were seen rather better although also in transit

Guillemot - two together out and one in harbour mouth later

17 Med Gulls on the mud near the wooden jetty

A house Martin decided to fly through the wake of the IOM ferry as it was turning to enter port!

Two swallows similarly struggling over the rough sea

Five Pinkfeet out

Eider - at least 196 on sea off Heysham Head - 70 per cent ad m

Monday, 17 September 2018

All about flightlines and virtually nothing grounded

Today's south-easterly would in normal circumstances have seen reasonable numbers of vis mig species at both Heysham and Middleton NRs but it didn't really happen that way with, for example, the Meadow Pipit tape on Middleton catching and attracting down zero.  As is often the case at Heysham NR, the south-easterly sent a significant number of birds crossing the Bay round the north side of the Power Station and there was a reasonable trickle of stuff heading down the coast from Heysham Head over the reserve

Vis mig
alba Wagtail - just 14 SE
Meadow Pipit - 142 SE
Chaffinch - first big movement of the autumn - 84 S/SW
Grey Wagtail - 21 SE
Linnet - 8 SE
Dunnock - one S - very high!
Pink-footed Goose - 26 N, 10 S
Great White Egret - 1 S at 0848
Swallow - 80
House Martin - 1
Coal Tit - flock of 4
Magpie - one in-off amd a flock of 3 high to south
Common Buzzard - one low to E

Grounded HNR
Goldcrest - 2
Chiffchaff - 2
Blackcap - 2

Grounded Middleton
Willow Warbler - 1
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 2 

Ringing combined:  Grey Wagtail (11), Chaffinch (12), Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap (3), Garden Warbler, Greenfinch (2), Goldfinch (6), Blue Tit (6|), Great Tit (2)

Small Dusty Wave new for year

Sunday, 16 September 2018

More geese

Pink-footed Goose - 660 S
House Martin - 1
Swallow - 5
Raven - 2

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Pinks pile in

A day of proper early morning migration coverage at last but it did not include anything over the sea so the Pink-foot count was very high in the circumstances.  The first two migrant Goldcrest of the autumn appeared in the net at Middleton and there was a variety of late warbler species as well as the more seasonal trickle of Chiffchaff and Blackcap.  In summary, better than recently but in the context of a normal September, nothing special, as to be expected with the light WSW wind and rain fortunately just to the south until lunchtime

Chiffchaff - just three (2 ringed)
Willow warbler - one ringed Heysham NR
Blackcap - three ringed
Reed Warbler - one ringed Middleton
Garden Warbler - one ringed Middleton
Goldcrest - two together ringed Middleton
Robin - 4 lightweight presumed migrants ringed

Vis mig until midday
Pink-footed Goose - 840 S
Sparrowhawk - on east high - prob in-off
Golden Plover - one high to SE
Carrion Crow - flock of 7 east
Swallow - just 14
Grey Wagtail - at least 6 (5 ringed which included 4 out of a flock of 5)
alba Wagtail - just two and no sign of any ex-roost early on
Meadow Pipit - 205 SE
Tree Pipit - one SE
Chaffinch - 9 S
Linnet - flock of 4 SE
Reed Bunting - 1 S over HNR (one ringed Middleton where conspicuously absent recently)

Inshore stuff on tide
Med gull c14 - less than recently
Little Gull - usual ad

Rock Pipit
Two by the south harbour late pm. Six along the shoreline from half-moon bay to Heysham Head - difficult to be certain of origin now but appeared to be two groups of three, including at least three adult and at least one juv and nothing in the plumage to suggest other than petrosus

First Pink-barred Sallow of year

More later on incoming tide stuff red nab/outfalls

Friday, 14 September 2018

Pinks trickle in

Czech Med Gull on north wall:

Present every non-breeding season since arriving as 1CY in 2003

Useless seawatching today with a great big clear slot over the whole of the Irish Sea at the optimum time we needed a few squally showers over the tide:  This synopsis would be fine in spring when you are looking for a north-easterly corridor for northbound seabirds, but no good when you are wanting rough weather to blow things back against the direction they want to go [synopsis one hour pre-high tide].  In late afternoon Nick informed of a close Leach's Petrel heading for the recording area past the Stone Jetty.  In retrospect looked along the wrong line and should have seen all the kite surfers at the Battery a bit earlier - they must have sent it way out.   However the visit to the north wall was not fruitless as the Czech Med Gull perched very close and the ring re-read - first time definitely seen this autumn although a 'metal on right above tarsus' was seen on the south side about a month ago

Pink-footed Goose - 20+30+81+162
Little Gull - adult & juv out, usual adult outfalls
Kittiwake - two adults behind IOM ferry, juv appeared soon after briefly
Guillemot - 1CY harbour mouth for short time
Shag - 2cy harbour; flushed by tug and flew out
Med Gull - 30, including 5 juvs behind IOM ferry and 25 (I juv) by the wooden jetty late pm
Curlew - 370 Red Nab
Great Skua - one on sea?, then flew towards Walney late afternoon

A rather unconvincing report that the "Chough was back" which didn't seem to go much further than a 'black bird'

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Latish Manx Shearwater

Hopefully get chance to do some seawatching tomorrow and the forecasted showers play ball and compensate for the below par wind speed.

Manx shearwater - one out close inshore - chased by outfalls gulls
Kittiwake - Juv out
Med gull - at least 24 on Red Nab mid am and a Juv on outfalls (5 Juv in total)
Little gull - usual ad red nab mid am

Grey wagtail ringed this am then ground staff had to do some work by the ride.   Hopefully Saturday will allow some more comprehensive Ringing

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Meds and Little and miniscule vis

Meds and Little in the evening sun thanks Malcolm
Med Gull - 15 red nab am
Little Gull - ad seen am and pm
Grey Wag - at least one SE
Meadow Pipit - at least 3 SE
Sandwich tern - one RN am

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Little Gulls but little else

Too gentle today - indeed the feeder net was operable this afternoon (three Goldfinch ringed and a few retraps).  Annoying to see the peak passage birds at Portland today was Grey Wagtail and we can do nothing about the study in this weather.  At this rate we are going to be lucky to ring many more this autumn

Middleton NR
Gadwall - 18
Mute Swan - 6
Tufted Duck - 3
Water Rail
no waders or coot seen

Gannet - 2 ad

Shag - 2CY at waterfall
Med Gull - max of 15 on Red Nab early incoming tide (four juvs plus white darvic and green darvic and metal ringed ads around)
Sandwich Tern - once
Little Gull - ad flew south past Red Nab whilst regular bird was roosting there.  Juv in harbour in pm

Thanks Malcolm

Monday, 10 September 2018

Tufted Duck

A 1cy Male Tufted Duck off the harbour mouth was a new species for SD35Z!

Med gull - at least 33 today including ANLT and four juvs
Little gull - ad outfalls near HT
Sandwich Tern - 3 red nab
Guillemot - one in harbour early evening

Nothing seen in intermittent seawatches

Sunday, 9 September 2018


A small petrel was seen very briefly but enough to see it wasn’t a Leavh’s (or a house Martin, green sand, Black Tern etc!) and looked like a Storm Petrel.  A great wadge of poor visibility soon after locating it knocked the record on the head

Most of the early morning seawatching was from the stone jetty between 8 and 11(thanks Nick)

Sea 0815 to 1245 (Heysham unless stated)
Arctic Skua - two off sj, one in at lunchtime
Fulmar - one sj
Kittiwake - flock of 5
Gannet - 11 or so off Sj
Sandwich tern - two
Guillemot - one sj
Little gull - ad heysham two before ht
Med gull - ad, 2cy and 1cy outfalls/Red Nab

Landbird wise totally dead as also confirmed by Colin on Walney - the forecast doesn’t look too good  with only next Thursday looking possible in the next fortnight and Thursday is always the most difficult day for coverage.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Wet webs

Sandwich Tern - 11 red nab including distant one with white darvic, four flew out this evening
Turnstone - 112 red nab plus 109 heliport but no Pirple Sand
Redshank - 495 heliport plus c150 south of harbour
Little Egret - 10!
Med gull - 19 by wooden jetty this on ores includes the 3x2cy and 1x1cy on red nab at ht
Eider - 9 inshore
Rock pipit - one near wooden jetty in evening

No migrants reported

Pics will be posted tomorrow

Moths included Agriphila geniculea again but haven’t managed to record our speciality Agriphila latistria this late summer

Friday, 7 September 2018

Even better tidal display

However - it isn't really what we are about this time of year and the forecast for the foreseeable future has migrant mediocrity written all over it and doesn't look like providing the back-up ringing to getting up early to catch and colour ring a handful of Grey Wagtail.  We'll see - could really do with a howling gale if it is going to be unhelpful weather

Purple Sandpiper - adult moulting out of summer plumage on Red Nab - disappeared behind a rock and I lost it in the incoming tide mayhem - loosely with Turnstone
Sanderling - c6 Red Nab
Dunlin - 500 Red Nab then flushed by tide
Med Gull - 25 by the wooden jetty feeding on tube worms this evening (ANLT amongst them)

Rhomboid Tortrix in moth trap I think is new for year

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Good early morning neap tidal display

Spotted redshank - Juv oe creek then along inner shore to south
Grey plover - 369 many in summer plumage
Dunlin - 1870
Bar-tailed Godwit -  411
Sandwich Tern - 4 red nab
Med gull - 3x 2cy 1x Juv Red Nab, then 9 by wooden jetty in evening including metal ringed Ad and German green ANLT (thanks Malcolm)
Shag - 2cy by then on wooden jetty
Cormorant - 135 wooden jetty at least

Vis 08:00-10:00
Reed Bunting 1
Swallow 18
Dunnock 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Chaffinch 2

Very slow
Robin 2 up to 10am and several blank round

Middleton NR
Teal 8 (2 Tim Butler 6 no swimming ponds)
Tufted single male still in eclipse
Gadwall 15
No sign of Coot, but they are sometimes elusive.
Water Rail - one calling from low ground between main pond and Tim Butler pond. Presumably a new arrival.
Common Snipe 1

Southern hawker on golf club strip. Probably same insect as previous sighting.
Common darters ovipositing, including in remnants of new ponds.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

More Ringing in the crystal clear

This was a very odd day where there was just about one of everything but absolutely no numbers other than perhaps Swallow.   Despite a clear corridor there seemed to be zero cross bay vis mig!

Tree pipit - one se
Grey wagtail - 5 ringed
Singles or twos of Whitethroat, blackcap, willow warbler, lesser whitethroat, chiffchaff and a few robins ringed.  Jay also ringed!

Vis mig 
In addition to the Tree Pipit and Grey Wagtails -
Chaffinch 16
Swallow 21
Linnet 2
Meadow Pipit 1

Mainly Ringing on Tuesday

A triple session at all our main sites saw an unremarkable return with further confirmation that most warblers had cleared out and there was little evidence of passage from elsewhere.   Best was a single Tree pipit

alba wagtail 1
Meadow Pipit 5
Swallow 8
Linnet 2
Chaffinch 1
Grey Wagtail 2
Coal Tit 1
Starling 34 - probably ex-roost but all went SE

Monday, 3 September 2018

Low key coverage

Two sandwich tern and just five med gull on red nab at high tide

Whitethroat caught in feeder net run for a short time by office this pm
Along with a Male Greenfinch first ringed in 2013

The Moth trap held typical autumnal species including Treble Bar

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Out of the Blue

A shock today at Middleton where the first substantial Blue Tit flock for many years ended up in the net.  This is early days for migratory/dispersing flocks - usually peaking around the last week of September - so hopefully its not a precursor of the rest of the autumn as they can lead to a precautionary reduction in mist nets and all the rarities slip through the dense scrub unrecorded

Note the blackberry stains on the bags from the eight Blackcap ringed earlier:
Alan back at base with 60% of todays otherwise unremarkable ringing in one net on one round! 

Middleton NR WeBS
Mute Swan (4), Coot (2), Moorhen (12), Gadwall (10+), Tufted Duck (1), Grey Heron (1), Cormorant (1).  In addition
Common Sandpiper - one main pond
Green Sandpiper - one Tim Butler pond

Vis mig this morning 0730 on wards  SEish unless stated otherwise
Grey Wagtail - at least 6, poss 8
Swallow - 215
Meadow Pipit - 20
Chaffinch - 4
alba Wagtail - 5
Linnet - 1
Goldfinch - 60
House Martin - 16
Sand Martin - 18 (late for these numbers but similar to others seen locally)
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 11 NORTH!  IOA

Ringing Hey/Midd
Blue Tit (20), Grey Wagtail (3), Willow Warbler (2), Goldfinch (3), Greenfinch (1), Wren (2), Linnet (1), Blackcap (8), Reed Warbler (1), Whitethroat (1), Great Tit (2)

Saturday 1st Sept

Vis mig at the office at HNR during am
Meadow Pipit 24
Reed bunting 1
Yellow wagtail 1
Grey wagtail 5
Alba wagtail 7
Swallow 57
Redshank 5
Chaffinch 9
Carrion crow 1
House Martin 1+

Grounded Heysham NR/foreshore
Wheatear - 2
Willow Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 1
Sandwich Tern - juv Red Nab roost

Southern Hawker - not common here - photographed Middleton today (thanks Malcolm)

Friday, 31 August 2018

At last the Blackcaps materialise

Just received the ringing totals list for the month from Alan and they make quite interesting reading with respect to relative abundances of migrants during the month.   It did seem that many of the locally-bred warblers deserted the rather dry 'wetlands' of Middleton nature reserve, at least in the ringing area.  The exceptions were Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat, and, today, Blackcap (16 out of the monthly total of 42 ringed today).  The main feature of the month - and I know this compared to plenty at some other coastal sites - was the comparative redundancy of AA rings.  Only 69 size AA rings were used all month with 43 of these on Willow Warbler - the vast majority early in the month with no late passage of this species.  Not a single Long-tailed Tit flock passed though the Heysham or Middleton mist net rides and Chiffchaffs were in very short supply but will hopefully kick off in September.  Another species which seemed to desert the wetlands was Reed Bunting with just two ringed, one a probable vis mig bird today.  Sedge Warblers were typically low in August but Reed Warblers were in good numbers for here with far more than usual trapped out of habitat at Heysham NR office nets.  No Swallow roost materialised in August this year at Middleton    

Top ten August ringing totals:  Goldfinch (110), Whitethroat (81), Greenfinch (69), Willow Warbler (43), Blackcap (42), Lesser Whitethroat (39), Blue Tit (30), Robin (23), Reed Warbler (22), Sedge Warbler (18)

Coastal records today limited to single figures of Med Gull and 25 Eider & 4 GC Grebe off Heysham Head.  Two Wheatear and at least two Rock Pipit below the cliffs at Heysham Head:

Vis mig was a bit intermittently recorded, especially Swallow and the clear conditions surely send birds very high:
Chaffinch 2
Meadow Pipit 13
Tree Pipit 2
alba Wagtail 8
Grey Wagtail 4
Carrion Crow 6
Swallow 34
Jay 2

Thursday, 30 August 2018

The Vismig season kicks off

Middleton Nature Reserve

It was a chilly start, only 5C at 06:30 and with air pressure building hopes were high for some diurnal migrants. There wasn’t exactly a deluge of migrating birds but there were a few:
06:30 - 11:00
Grey Wagtail 11 (of which two were caught and colour-ringed)
Tree Pipit 2
Meadow Pipit 5
Swallow 68
Chaffinch 5
Raven 4
Coal Tit 1
Alba Wagtail 1
Reed Bunting 1

Also on the reserve -
Green Sandpiper
Flock of c14 Goldfinches

Ringing (new birds)
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 1
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Robin 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Blue Tit 3
Dunnock 1
Goldfinch 2
Grey Wagtail 2

An adult Whitethroat may have been ringed elsewhere or was very old as the number on the ring wasn’t familiar.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Mid week hiatus

Not much seen/reported today.

14 Mediterranean gulls on Red Nab, no juveniles. Just two by wooden jetty this morning, none on ebbing tide.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Quite a lot of insect activity in afternoon sun, particularly in sheltered areas, but not the variety of late.
Dragonflies: lots of Common darter, 2 Brown hawker, 2 (presumed Migrant) hawker.
Butterflies: mainly Speckled wood and small white. Also 2 Comma and 1 Red Admiral.

1 Green sandpiper - this is showing well on Tim Butler pond most visits, but viewing points are few. Best from high ground on western end looking along pond.
1 Common snipe
c20 Gadwall
1 Tufted

(Report MD)

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Razorbill a big surprise

Local patches often feature birds which the locals get excited about, but the big wide world thinks is no big deal, especially as in this case it was at least on the sea.  Razorbill in the harbour at this time of year is completely unprecedented - indeed, unlike the regular Guillemot, limited to just the occasional winter storm bird on its last legs

Inshore stuff
Little Gull - ad outfalls
Razorbill - in harbour - several different comments on age of this bird

 Med Gull - about 14 including a reappearance of German ASRE which we had thought had moved on

The less said about the triple ringing session, including the CES the better although it did include the autumn's first Grey Wagtail.   The office nets only caught one bird in addition to feeder fare - a Chiffchaff! 

Green Sandpiper - 1 Tim Butler pond

Ringing recoveries just received
Sedge Warbler
ADA2692           Juv            25/07/18              Middleton NR
Recaptured                        09/08/18              Squires Down (Dorset) 341 km S 15 days

NY22612            1st W F         26/10/17              Heysham NR
Killed by Sparrowhawk        07/08/18              Bolton (Gt. Manchester) 62 km SSE 285 days

Monday, 27 August 2018

Nothing much reported so far on the sea but welcome Ravens

Kittiwake - c15 associated with IOM ferry at lunchtime - five in distantly ahead of ferry, 5 out again when reached red buoy and c5 following it into harbour (50% ad) - one juv lingering
Med Gull - 16 Red Nab and area, including two juvs (bit by jetty covered when checked RN).  Additional juv in harbour mouth later (the other two flew south)
Little Gull - ad
Raven - two Red Nab
1 Wheatear

The regular German ANLT
was next to the wooden jetty early am.  Thanks Malcolm

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Nothing much pre-frontal

Little Gull
One of the individual birds with a unique status in this area, indeed possibly, with this species, in the whole of NW England, is this presumed returning adult which moults whilst it feeds in the region of Heysham Power Station outfalls late July to early/mid October whence it presumably 'goes pelagic'.  Thanks to Janice for this composition of it in active moult today:

The front was probably a bit too west to east rather than approaching from the south to produce a fall.  Indeed the perhaps surprising number of birds around yesterday seemed to have gone in the perfect departure conditions yesterday evening with fewer net arrivals this am.  A rather belated session at Middleton (should have been dawn onwards) was limited to two rounds before the rain alarm correctly advised it was time to take down

Middleton earlyish am
Ringing saw: 2 x Blackcap, 1 x Whitethroat & a 'retrap' ringed Heysham NR yesterday, 2 x Willow warbler and 1 x Lesser Whitethroat (annual total now 66 new birds - could be a record year)

Meadow Pipit - first 3 of autumn flew south
Cetti's warbler singing central marsh otherwise absolutely no sight nor sound of any wetland warblers
Pheasant - at least 2

Outfalls/Red Nab/harbour
15 un-ringed Meds by the wooden jetty in the usual area, 13 on Red Nab included a white-ringed LL darvic and a green-ringed RL darvic - both probably long-stayers and the latter certainly one of the German birds (Axxx).  Just one juv around
Little Gull - ad around per Janice
Eider - female with 5 large young in harbour

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Early morning calm missed!

Belated mist netting produced three Robins, single Sedge and three Whitethroat out of 15 new birds but the wind showed itself soon after the nets were put up!

Middleton Nature reserve
Green sandpiper - Tim Butler pond
Common sandpiper - main pond
1 Tufted plus c15 Gadwall - "No swimming" pond

South wall near wooden jetty -evening
19 Mediterranean gulls
1 Rock pipit

A few pics from the last couple of days - first one is unique - advertising Stena line!  Thanks to Janet and Malcolm

Friday, 24 August 2018

General airflow too North westerly

Arctic  Tern -Juv briefly
Kittiwake - Juv late pm 
Med gull - at least 7 red nab
Little gull - ad
Wheatear 1 Ocean Edge foreshore

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Bonus ringing session

Decent catch by the office this morning courtesy of the Goldfinch plague, a few Greenfinch and yet another Reed Warbler which is having a record out of habitat year.   Robin, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler completed the migrant line-up

About 15 different Meds around including what appears to be the Czech-ringed bird and a frustratingly not quite close enough green ring which looks like a new one

Shag in harbour

The Rock Pipit pair around the harbour seem to have elusively produced one young

More tomorrow am including pics

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The second pair of rock pipits back on the agenda

These are so awkward to monitor compared to the straightforward scenario on Heysham Head.  Up to three have been seen and pics taken which seem to show a young bird

Med gull- About 40 around but only one Juv seen
Sandwich Tern - 7 red nab am tide
Dunlin - I think jean counted 650 on Red Nab
Little egret - 5
Shag - seen today
Rick pipit - probably three birds seen

Cochylis atricapitana and agriphila geniculea in office trap

TUESDAY sightings - a varied day!

Two raptors flew over very high mid-am about 30 mins after each other but seemingly very different agendas.  One was an Osprey, the other seemingly either a lost hacked or locally flown (investigation in progress) black form of Gyr Falcon, as bred by falconers (reminds me of the white Mandarin with some fancy self-indulgent avicultural name which was around my house until recently)
Other vis:
Swallow - c70
Sand Martin - 4
Swift - 1

Ringing at Middleton
This was quite interesting with a little flurry first thing, then quiet, then another flurry from mid-am.  Hardly any phylloscs left from yesterdays presumed arrival - they sometimes linger at Middleton and the highest warbler new bird total was 9 Lesser Whitethroat taking us well into the 60s for new-ringed birds.  What a shame the rest of this month does not look good for Middleton ringing or we could have been seeing record totals.  Still no Blue Tit flocks (just two out of 70 new birds)

Red nab just after tide
Sandwich tern - 22
Med Gull - at least 4
Ring-necked Parakeet - one in-off, then east

Wheatear 9 late afternoon. 3 on south wall roundhead, 6 Ocean Edge foreshore
Rock Pipit - at least one on south jetty - possibly a juv but cant be certain

Little Grebe - juv eating crayfish Middleton model boat pond