The observatory was set up in 1980. It involves ringing,'vis mig' counts (including seabirds) and general monitoring in the Heysham Nature reserve/power stations/harbour area. The statutory moth trap is in place and also a daily log for butterflies, dragonflies etc.
We share an office, kindly provided by EDF Energy, with the County Wildlife Trust. This is located next to the Nature Reserve car park. Do call in. Please leave sightings in the letterbox, ESPECIALLY 'fly-by' seabirds.
The most significant statistic from Saturdays two hour watch on the incoming tide from the back of the harbour was a steady stream totalling 672 Curlew heading south close inshore, cutting over the inner end of the wooden jetty. Obviously we get big counts from Red Nab during summer/early autumn, but a lot of these counts represent a 'roll-over' with birds leaving to roost further south as others are arriving, implicitly underestimating the total. Any consultants involved in bird surveys in this area on a 'winter wader survey remit', especially if turbine-related, are missing a major potential impact on a currently well-publicised key species - an inshore blade-height flightline, peaking late June to late August and largely consisting of moulting 2CY or + birds
Seawatching and outfall watching late afternoon
Visibility was often awful during this two hours and the only remotely clear period enabled a gang of Manx to be seen, otherwise limited to close inshore stuff
Common Tern - at least four juveniles with two out further offshore and one getting blown backwards and forwards in the harbour-mouth and another blown into the harbour itself. Possibly more than two inshore Arctic Tern - at least one close inshore, appearing late in the watch, then joining the Common Tern on occasions blogging off the harbour mouth Black Tern - juv in shipping channel during a brief clearer interlude earlier in the day, then it or another flying 'out' just beyond the end of the wooden jetty late afternoon Little Gull - 2CY out, adult on outfalls Sandwich Tern - adult out
Manx Shearwater - 3 in
Med Gull - up to 20, mainly on Red Nab and including 8 juvs
Rock Pipit - juv by seawatching point at back of harbour for a short time
Grey Seal - one harbour mouth
Brown Rat - one run over by the car on the way to the sea-watch - a bringer of more rain and poor visibility than luck!