Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Glaucous Gull mystery

Four of us put quite a bit of time into searching for this bird today around the harbour, as also did the police patrol birder!  Yet it was seen there and earlier on Red Nab by visiting birders.  I suspect it must have been sitting on the Fishers quay behind an object, rendering it about the only place not visible from the south harbour end

Chough - in the half moon bay fields lunchtime and in the sheep(less now?) fields mid afternoon
Stonechat - female NE corner of OE saltmarsh
Merlin - female seen near half moon bay cafe
Med Gull - adult behind the dredger may have been the Czech bird also seen along the north wall

Third successive day of no Brent Goose sightings despite coverage of the usual sites

Monday, 22 January 2018

Glaucous finds the waterfall, Chiffchaff on the HN reserve

A very successful disappearing act for a day and a half and it was back today underneath the waterfall in the SW corner of the harbour - a proven attraction for white wingers if they find it

Thanks Malcolm
Chiffchaff - one in bushes by HNr car park
Woodcock - one MNR again
Goldcrest - ringed bird MNR
Chough - half moon bay fields
Med Gull - ad following IOM ferry into port
Eider - 489 offshore - careful count
Great-crested Grebe - 2
Rock Pipit - south roundhead


Chough - half moon bay fields
Stonechat - NE corner OE saltmarsh

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Glaucous surprise

Sometimes the rubbish you talk comes back to haunt, although you don't mind when it is a top notch patch year tick.  I said to Peter Sharples and his wife that there was no point in checking Fisher's Roof (now a walk 'cos of road closure) as "there wont be any new big gulls because its calm".  So they go and just beat the WeBs counters to it on Red Nab with a fine huge pale juvenile Glaucous Gull.  Unfortunately, didn't risk getting the car stuck on the sodden grass to use window clamp phone-scope and balancing it on the fence produced farcical results before the bird was flushed by an off-lead dog.  Thanks to Bill Aspin for managing to sort out a video grab of sorts where "at least you can see the bill"!

Coastal stuff
Glaucous Gull - Juv on Red Nab from at least 1305 to about 1320 then flew north along the seawall and was not seen again despite an extensive search up to Morecambe West End Groyne as per the WeBs
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Two on OE saltmarsh at least 1300hrs
OE saltmarsh plus the Brents from OE 'top tier' looking back north

Chough - seen at least twice in the morning along half moon bay edge

** Green Sandpiper - one right on the eastern edge of the area near the new transformer on the bypass (thanks Garry)

Friday, 19 January 2018

Very unexpected Fulmar

A few decent bits and bobs including a Fulmar heading out pretty quickly at c1115 which didn't appear to have an all-white head and certainly not a paler tail, but views were brief and at a poor angle.  Certainly not an obvious dark morph e.g. the underwing coverts were pale and it stays as "a Fulmar".  Next best were two Little Gulls seemingly related to the incoming ferry

Earthworm sequence in field next to half moon bay cafe (thanks Janet)

Sea on and off 1050-1245
Fulmar - one out c1115
Little Gull - ad and 1st W slowly out - picked up soon after ferry arrived
Kittiwake - moribund looking 1st W in harbour entrance, just one ad behind ferry
Med Gull - ad behind ferry - flew back out straight away (not Czech bird)

Brent Goose - two pale-bellied Red Nab on incoming tide
Med Gull - ad Knowlys road field HT roost
Ringed Plover - 44 Knowlys road HT roost
Goldcrest - two by HNR office

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Woodcock joins the year list

Middleton NR
Mute 8 (4 pairs)
Moorhen 3
Tufted 4 (3 male)
Gadwall 16 (11 male)
Teal at least 50
Mallard 8
Ware Rail 1 (two heard)
Common Snipe 1
No Cettis - two observers checking in calmish conditions

Woodcock 1. This was in strip along golf club, but there is some wood management going on in wood behind Tradebe, so I suspect it originally came from there.
Goldcrest 1.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - two at HT exactly as yesterday (see pic)
Stonechat - female in corner as yesterday

Heysham half moon bay
Chough(ish) - seen from moving car at same time as two Carrion Crows were flushed off Half Moon Bay fields c1320hrs when in hurry - flight silhouette looked fine!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Skylark added to the year list!

Ocean Edge incoming tide
2 x Pale Bellied Brent on salt marsh by 11:00. But were not on Red Nab earlier. Suspect it was too rough.
There was also a drake Eider with them today.
Stonechat still easily located in NE corner where all the last storm's jetsam is now decaying.
Skylark 1 behind OE foreshore bund .

I have attached a location shot, taken from slipway area. It shows were the Brent typically are, but also shows the corner where the Stonechat frequents. Directly behind them where the wooden fence ends.

Thanks Malcolm

Chough - on Half Moon Bay fields mid-pm and seen earlier along the headland
Stonechat - female along half moon bay beach

Med Gull - Czech ad north wall

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Guillemot joins the year list

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 2 Red Nab 0915 then later in the tide on OE saltmarsh before heading towards Potts corner in rough seas
Snipe - 23 OE saltmarsh
Jack Snipe - 2 OE saltmarsh
Stonechat - female still NE corner OE saltmarsh
Linnet/Twite - distant singleton in flight
Chough - showing well today in fields and right next to Half Moon Bay Cafe:

Thanks Janet 

Guillemot - one out c1145
Kittiwake - 11 adult behind IOM lunchtime ferry
Med Gull - adult Knowlys road fields

Monday, 15 January 2018

Brent logistics

The two wintering Pale-bellied Brent Geese (note also a third bird south towards Potts Corner on at least two dates) have been difficult to locate.  Malcolm has worked out a pattern:

It is clear that the lowest high tide resulting in a sighting on south side was 8.4m.
The northern side is less well reported, but 3 of the 5 records were for tides less than 8.0m. The "anomaly" being the record on skeer just to north of HH on 31/12 on 9.05m tide. However I suspect this would have been quite a while before high water, as this skeer is covered early.

In summary: it appears that the north side is favoured, until tides are sufficiently high to force the birds to the south, for the duration of high water at least.

Todays sightings
Brent Goose - two PB on OE saltmarsh at HT
Stonechat - female still around OE saltmarsh
No sign of yesterday's singleton Twite on OE

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Elusive chat reappears

Thanks to Janet for today's pics

The female Stonechat to the south of the harbour reappeared today along OE:
The HMB female Stonechat was also seen today

Chough - three reports this afternoon - sheep field and area

Brent Goose - two in flight from south wall - heading N but presumably THE two returning to the north side of harbour?  We'll see

Twite - one OE saltmarsh

Lots of Knot and Oystercatcher on the heliport seawall

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Brent hide out

Two areas covered today by Malcolm: north side of Heysham Head and Middleton NR.  Presumably the Chough was somewhere on the south side of Heysham Head but no reports on pager etc

Heysham Head north side just on early dropping tide
This is where the two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were today:

Middleton NR
Another overcrowding of Mute Swan in the offing with pairs covering all ponds
16 Gadwall
12 Mallard
c10 Teal
No Cettis but windy

200 Pinkfoot over to south

Friday, 12 January 2018

A fine specimen

And the award for Chough picture of the day goes to Dave Bickerton:

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Usual suspects still around

NOTE - north wall closed until further notice - no easy checks of Fishers roof - need to do it from Heysham Head at long range or by the lighthouse on south harbour wall (some classic white wing weather next week).........not sure at the moment whether you can still walk down.  Obviously seriously affecting angling if you cant and I've phoned Gerry's

THURSDAY 11th January
Chough not easy to connect with but still frequenting places around Heysham Head - the horse paddock in the morning and the cliffs below the Head later on.

Female Stonechat rooting about in the tide wrack near the slipway in Half Moon Bay along with a few pals - Rock Pipit and 3-4 Meadow Pipits

5 Snipe flushed from Near Naze

In the low tide channel:
Eider - 400 (290 males,110 females ie 72% male)
Great-crested Grebe - 2

67 Wigeon at the end of Heysham 1 outfall at low tide (62% males)
2 Little Egrets

Middleton Nature Reserve
Model Boat Pond partly frozen but 15 Gadwall on it (10 males/66%) and a Grey Heron.


WEDNESDAY 10th January
Stonechat - female eating loads of ?Ruby Tiger larvae along 1/2 moon bay beach
Chough - by cafe early pm (per pager)

Forgot about the star:

Pochard - drake model boat pond per Justine

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Dogged Chough

The Chough was chased by mutts today as it tried to feed along the shore at Half Moon Bay fields - short visits were recorded there at 1000 and 1320hrs.  Hopefully this helps visitors and of course it can also be 'on the other side' in Knowlys road horse paddocks, but by all accounts not very often recently

Snipe - 53 plus on rocks below heliport seawall
RT Diver - still in harbour
Stonechat - female along half MB shore

Thanks for the info Malcolm (pm Chough sighting from page service - please do keep posting it)

Monday, 8 January 2018

Eider crash

Just enough time spent on site by me for three different tory party chairmen today, but Malcolm paid two visits and obtained some nice close Red-throated Diver shots.  A few other birders around and the Chough played ball today

Offshore low tide
Whooper Swan - one adult in second channel
Great-crested Grebe - 3
Red-throated Diver - one second channel
Eider - 620 - the big flock missing unless it was north of Heysham Head?

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 2 Red Nab late pm at least
Red-throated Diver ad winter in harbour

Thanks Malcolm

Chough - on HMB fields on and off until at least early afternoon
Stonechat - present along shore
Meadow Pipit - at least one along shore
Bar-tailed Godwit - bird with leg flag along tideline off NH wall - should have two characters on flag if anyone reads it.  Please let us know.  Ta 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Chough back on the cliff top

Chough seen on the cliff top and sides below the chapel 1030-1200ish - thanks to David Morris (RSPB staff) for this great pic

The Pale-bellied Brents were not reported today as far as I know but here is a great pic from Janice Sutton yesterday.  Thanks Janice

Malcolm covered the harbour and south side briefly

Stonechat - no sign
Rock Pipit - 2 HMB shore
Red-throated Diver - in harbour

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Bits and repetitive bobs

The Chough has a habit of being awkward when it is dry and lots of birders are around so please don't "sit on it" if you come across it - it was apparently on the horse paddock area mid pm before Jeff had it presumably coming in to roost along the low cliff edge late afternoon

Any visiting anglers reading this.  Please note that the right hand sidebar asks birders to respect the fact you want to use the seawall for your hobby.  In return, please don't be pig ignorant and self-righteous like the anglers from elsewhere who blocked access along the seawall today - yes we know you 'got there first' but that is not the point.  All the transit van had to do was bring his mirror in to allow access, but the other vehicle required completely moving

Middleton NR
Mute 4 - no sign of juvenile. One pair on model boat pond and, bizarrely, one pair on "new" small ponds on western scrape.
Gadwall 12
Mallard 2
Tufted 1 (Tim Butler)
Teal c50
Moorhen 4
Water Rail 1
Heron 1
Common Snipe 1

Stock Dove 1 - flew from Golf club area across reserve in direction of Middleton (new for year)

Med Gull - adult on sea near Red Nab
Grey Heron - one roosting on wooden jetty
Pale-bellied Brent Geese - Red Nab on the incoming tide
Chough - see above - otherwise searched for in vain by quite a few
Stonechat - female near cafe
Red-throated Diver - one touring the harbour again - opportunity for an artistic shot!!
Cormorant - 87
Wigeon - c302

Friday, 5 January 2018

Pipits resurface for the year

Quite a bit of stuff today but needed to go outside the area (Stone Jetty) to get a proper handle on stuff floating into the bay from the area!  No Chough reported though and there were a fair few birders around.  Thanks to Matt, Janet, Malcolm and Jeff for contributions

Rock Pipit - at least one around - seen half moon bay shore
Meadow Pipit - at least one heliport grass and at least one along the shore
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - as yesterday, two seen OE saltmarsh on incoming tide then flew towards Potts Corner

Stonechat - female performing well along HMB shore - probably a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar

Eider - 1410 offshore & possibly some more in the c100 distant duck dots
Scaup - three female/imms, probably all female offshore
Red-breasted Merganser  - 11
Great crested Grebe - 4
Med Gull - ad Fishers roof HT - probably Czech bird
Pink-footed Goose - c100 SE

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Another tricky Obs area year tick

Merlin - female OE saltmarsh on incoming tide
Jack Snipe - 3 OE saltmarsh
Snipe - 17 OE saltmarsh
Pale-bellied Brent - two as above
Chough - sheep fields area at 1330, resting on road drying wings!

Med Gull - Czech bird north wall
Pink-footed Goose - 200 SE
Nothing offshore at HT on flat calm sea!!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Stormy day

Couldn't manage the early incoming stages of the tide and both Malcolm and I arrived to find the tide where it normally would have reached...........but still with 1.5 hours to go!

Kittiwake - flock of 11 out and one poss two ads on outfalls
Twite - one along OE saltmarsh tideline
Jack Snipe - one OE tideline
Snipe - two OE tideline
Med Gull - 2 adults horse fields roost and one on Fishers roof
Chough - flushed from sheep field area by fire engine activity . then seemed to fly over houses.  No other sightings which suggests it was hiding in 'dead' ground on the sheep field most of the day

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Foul weather birding

Jean missed Chough and Stonechat yesterday and opted for a walk from the cafe to the tall cliffs as the seemingly clearing weather produced a nasty sting in the tail.  A birdless soaking.  As soon as the weather cleared, up popped the female Stonechat along the same route and a short detour produced the Chough in the sheep fields.  Earlier coastal coverage saw a few waders counts and a couple of Meds

From now onwards, the onus will be more on visiting year-listing birders to find and "put out" the Chough.  It can be quite time-consuming to locate and we (Malcolm, Jean and Pete) seem to have spent quite a chunk of the last month or so doing that and there are now other things to do!     So if it is not visible on our usual quick circuit: drive by check of the horse paddock, check of the fields next to Half Moon Bay, scoping the southern headland fields from the Near Naze if visibility permits, it wont be further looked for.   However, if there is negative news for more than three days, at least one of us will make an effort and try and find it again.  Birders need to check:

a) horse paddock - favours the fence line along footpath down from Knowlys but has been all over here, albeit not staying long at any of the other parts of this area
b) half moon bay fields just north of cafe (worth sitting and watching with a cuppa!)
c) all along the undercliff between half moon bay cafe and the headland but make sure you are not cut off on incoming spring tides
d) sheep field - can be a bit awkward to check but can be scanned along with the rest of the headland at long range, as can a big chunk of the area, from the Near Naze (south end of ex heliport area)

Med Gull - adults on the sea at Heysham village bay and the usual Czech bird along the north wall
Stonechat - usual female on tall vegetation along the top of the beach about 100m north of the 1/2 moon bay cafe
Chough - feeding well on sheep field along with an increase in Oystercatcher early pm
Ringed Plover - 18 out of the area on SS groyne flew to the horse paddock over HT
Turnstone - 70 on heliport seawall and 5 on wooden jetty
Knot - 150ish heliport seawall
Eider - scan not possible due to tidal state

Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year’s Day surprises

Brent goose - the three are back with the two pale-bellied together and the third bird a bit further away as seen in tricky light looking south from OE.  So the third bird still hasn’t been seen well enough to belly-specify
Red-throated Diver - one in the harbour
Chough - visiting all its usual haunts except perhaps the sheep field
Stonechat - female near OE cafe
Med gull - Czech ad north wall
Kittiwake - 1cy following iom ferry turned back quite early but ad followed the ferry into the harbour mouth
Sea too rough to carefully check eider

31st December

Happy new year everyone

31st December
Velvet Scoter  - drake seen flying towards Heysham from Stone Jetty then relocated with Eider flock off Heysham Head
Chough - seen around horse paddock at least 1115
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - two found as the tide dropped off Heysham Head on the skeers
Med Gull - adults on Fishers/north wall and on red nab
Linnet - 15 north wall
Red throated diver - one offshore
Kittiwake - 31+2 out