Friday, 15 February 2019

Nice sunny day!

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - the three were out on the edge of the first inshore skeer to the north of Heysham Head with Eider at low tide
Knot - c1300 off heysham head
Pochard - down to one male Middleton
Gadwall - 23
Mute Swan - 3 pairs only
Shoveler - pair
Teal - 8 (& 1+ HNR marsh)
Water Rail - 1-2
Jay - group of four heading north
Green Woodpecker - Heysham office area early am
Eider - typically lower neap tide number - 255 seen from Knowlys road
Siskin - 2+ heard alder wood Heysham NR

Thursday, 14 February 2019


Two Rock Pipit below Heysham Head and an increase in Meadow Pipit on Middleton NR

Wednesday, 13 February 2019


Green Woodpecker - heard calling to east from hey Nr office
Barn Owl - one Middleton
No coastal coverage


Middleton NR
Tufted Duck - 5
Pochard - two males
Shoveler - pair
Cetti’s warbler - singing by No swimming pond

Monday, 11 February 2019

Low tide channel morning

...............….Plus a bit of ringing by the office which included un-ringed female Bullfinch and Robin

A very sunny spring like day included the inevitable heat-haze but maybe not as bad as it might had been therefore the low tide count was pretty comprehensive and devoid of much variety

Eider - 462 - 75% ad male
Great-crested Grebe - 10
Red-breasted Merganser - 6

The usual Brent Geese were reported at Half-moon bay, then at Red Nab later
Skylark - at least two over skeer to SE

Recent ringing recovery courtesy of the recent ice allowing the legs of resting gulls to be seen
Black-headed Gull
Ringed:  AdF.  13/4/13. Musoya Strand, Buskerud,NORWAY 59 45N 10 08E
Seen:  5/7/15 Linnestranda, Lier, Buskerud, NORWAY 8km SE 59 44N 10 16E
Seen:  18-25/5/16  Linnestranda
Seen: 3/2/19 Middleton NR.   974km SW

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Pochard after the winds

Two male Pochard on Middleton this morning, presumably the Glasson birds.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Main pond:
Mute 2 adult plus 1 juv
Moorhen 1
Mallard 2

No swimming pond:
Mute 2
Moorhen 1
Pochard 2 males
Tufted 3 (2m)
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Gadwall 11
Teal 12

Tim Butler 
Mute 2
Moorhen 4
Gadwall 2
Teal c20
Mallard 2

Fence pond
Mallard 2

Woodcock 2
Goldcrest 2
Green woodpecker 1
Water Rail 1
Meadow pipit 1

3 Pale- bellied Brent at Red Nab 13:15

Rock Pipit - Near Naze

Seven Knot rings read from old Heliport wall, details to follow.

The two Pochard with a preening Gagwall

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Seawatch and knotwatch-

A force 7 WSW means seawatching:

Fulmar 1 out at 11:25. Once common in a seawatch, Fulmar is now scarce.
Kittiwake 15 out, 20 floating in, 5 others flew in:between 11:00 and 12:00
Eider 10 out.
Pintail - two flocks out 7 at 12:21 and 22 at 12:23 - see photo
Spot the Bar-tailed Godwits in the photo

Then it was on to the heliport for knotwatch. There were very few Knot on the top of the heliport and all of them were roosting one leg for ages. Eventually one of them put their other leg down to reveal an orange flag over green. Awaiting details of where it was ringed.

The pale-bellied Brents flew onto Red Nab before high tide.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Flag-free Knot

At least 400 x 2 legs were seen clearly today on the heliport but no leg flags.  Second prize was a couple of Scottish colour-ringed Oystercatcher - full details soon

Tomorrows westerly should have enough wave action clearing most of the seawall of birds and a high enough (mid-afternoon) tide to send more Knot within viewing range on the seawall top or heliport hard standing.

Guillemot - one out
Meadow Pipit - 2
Jack Snipe - 3 Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Ringing details of one of the Oystercatchers seen today

Ring No.FH77064/White AU;Age,1(pullus);Date,21/06/2016; Location,Whitehillocks Farm,
Rottal Estate, Glen Clova, Angus;Grid Ref,NO3667.

This is the first reported sighting since being ringed.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Sanderling and Kittiwake on the year list

Kittiwake - flock of 11 flew into the Bay just as the IOM ferry turned into port, presumably having followed it
Sanderling - one running around with Knot on the top of the heliport seawall - unusual here in winter.  Worst pic of the year so far?

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Pale brindled Beauty

One was on the wall of the Heysham Nr office

The three pale bellied Brent’s seen in transit on half moon bay beach on the incoming tide

Meadow pipit - three heliport

Hardly any knot today

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

More focus on the heliport area

More Knot ring/flag reading today - now up to about 30 read since Saturday, mostly by Richard.  Details tomorrow
Snipe (per Malcolm)
I checked the rocks in front of the heliport, just as the tide was reaching it (09:00). I was trying to establish what they were feeding on, rather than count birds, but I estimated between 200 - 250 common and 1 Jack. This was similar to the last time I counted tide flushing them off (120 before water reached rocks plus 231 actually flushed by tide).
The terrain here is a mix of small to medium sized rocks, most with serrated wrack attached.  There are shallow pools with a thin scrim of mud on bottom and a few small patches of open mud (which again would only be a thin covering over stones). The only sign of the snipe had been here were footprints in the pools, nothing on the open mud. Absolutely no sign of any feeding activity, no digging and wrack was where the tide had left it. I did look under wrack, there was nothing suitable for a snipe. I now believe I misunderstood what was happening, instead of feeding here, it looks like this is their roost. All the birds flew over sea wall to heliport grass, but I don't know if they all settled here, or some continued to other feeding grounds.
Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Didn't see the three pale-bellied Brent till I was walking off, by that time most of the outer rocks were covered by tide. Three were in the middle of the outer rocks directly out from the slipway. This makes sense, this section of Half Moon Bay is rarely disturbed by dog walkers. I'll have a look tomorrow to see if they are there again and if there is gut weed in that area. They flew off due west, but seemed to be veering south as they went out of sight, possibly heading to RN (which is where they were).
Med Gull
Czech bird north wall over tide
Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Checked salt mash just before high water. 25 common snipe (almost certainly more earlier) and 1 Jack snipe.
2 Reed bunting
1 Rock pipit - not seen one here since autumn passage.
Meadow Pipit - 3 heliport grass

Sunday, 3 February 2019

More knot reading

An amazing 16 more leg flags were read by Richard this morning and a Norwegian ringed Black headed Gull was on the ice at Middleton

Med gull - ad briefly harbour mouth
Jack Snipe - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Knot - a lot!

Malcolm’s photo of just a few of the Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits today:
Amongst the 3500 Knot at the heliport there were quite a few with coloured leg flags. Richard managed to read 10 of them, 3 were ringed in Iceland, 2 had Dutch rings and 5 had been ringed at Formby in September 2017.  A further 5000+ were on the south side (pic)
They certainly travel eg one had been ringed in SW Iceland in May 2017, the following March it was at Formby, in April it was at Southport then in May it was back in SW Iceland (on passage to Greenland), it was then seen today wintering on the old heliport at Heysham.

786787/31A Ad 20/05/2017 Skogarnes, ICELAND SW  64 46N  22 36W
Seen 21/03/2018 Marshside Marsh, Southport
Seen 27/04/2018 Southport
Seen 13/05/2018 Hitarnes, ICELAND SW  64 42N  22 21W
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
791996/84N Ad 24/05/2017 Skogarnes, ICELAND SW  64 46N  22 36W
Seen 17/5-20/5/18 Skogarnes, ICELAND SW  64 46N  22 36W
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
787402/VEP Ad 20/05/2014 Dyrafjordur, ICELAND NW  65 51N 23 20W
Seen 25/05/2018 Dynjandisvogur, ICELAND NW  65 44N 23 12W 
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport

SR77047/OY Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 28/9-12/10/17 Caldy Wildfowl, Merseyside
Seen 25/4-1/5/18 Leighton Moss
Seen 13/5-15/5/18 Lambastadir, Myrarsysla, ICELAND SW 64 28 N 22 05W
Seen 27/7-3/8/18 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 06/08/2018 Crosby, Merseyside
Seen 24/9-23/10/18 Caldy Wildfowl, Merseyside
Seen 25/10/2018 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 27/10-28/10/18 Caldy Wildfowl, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76792/P2 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 06/10/2017 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 20/12/17 & 14/2/18 Thurstaston, Merseyside
Seen 31/7-3/8/18 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 11/08/2018 Seaforth, Merseyside
Seen 04/09/2018 Crosby, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76987/52 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 27/02/2018 West Kirkby, Merseyside
Seen 03/03/2018 Thurstaston, Merseyside
Seen 05/03/2018 West Kirkby, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76732/K1 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 11/08/2018 Seaforth, Merseyside
Seen 08/10/2018 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76799/L2 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 06/10/2017 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 20/12/17 & 14/2/18 Thurstaston, Merseyside
Seen 31/7-3/8/18 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport

On the subject of ringing, a Robin caught at Heysham today was first ringed in 2012 so pretty old by Robin standards which is usually 2 years. The oldest recorded Robin is 8 years 4 months and 30 days (BTO birdfacts).

The Czech Mediterranean Gull was on the railings on the north harbour wall.

The Cormorants were fishing near the Outfalls when one of them caught an enormous Bass which it managed to eat before any of its mates snatched it away:

Cor, what a whopper!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Frisky foxes

Friday, 1st Feb 2019

Bit chilly today ranging from minus 4C to plus 3C, chilly ESE F4, weak sun shining through a veil of high cloud.

South Shore
A couple of foxes got a bit frisky out on the mud. The Gulls in the photograph below politely looked away and the Shelduck continued to feed, pretended nothing was happening
Meadow Pipit on Red Nab
Rock Pipit near jetty/inner harbour

North shore
Still a bit low-key at low tide with no sign of the Brents on the skeer. In the low-tide channel:
Great-crested Grebe - 6
Red-breasted Merganser - 3
Eider - 50 close in but no count of the ones further out

Middleton NR
No colour-ringed gulls on the ice today.
Barn Owl hunting alongside the model boat pond late afternoon.

31 Jan 2019
Nothing unusual about so here are some pics of the drab Gadwall and gaudy Shoveler on Middleton NR:

30 Jan 2019
Overnight snow and minus 3C. Daytime high plus 3C. SSE F2
Pink-footed Geese heard flying over the reserve but little else of note.

29 Jan 2019
Nothing to report