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.
Thursday, 25 June 2020
Warmth and east breeze brings in the RVD
Very warm with east breeze all day and constant sunshine.
Middleton Nature Reserve (SR) Ringlet 10+ seen along the grassy paths. Again, the most abundant butterfly
It was established last year that in these conditions insects fly in off the sea focused on the west facing wall next to the lighthouse. This is especially the case when the tide is out when this wall is the only direct sea to land site for many miles.
It proved to be so today (MD). The best records being:
Red-Veined Darter 5 males
All records below from strip between waterfall and lighthouse.
Morning - tide out
Lots of butterflies quickly moving east. Only counted on the first traverse from waterfall to lighthouse. 10:15 - 10:25.
Small White 31
Large White 3
Red Admiral 7
Small Tortoiseshell 8
Meadow Brown 8
When I got to Lighthouse, butterflies were coming in off at the rate of 5 per minute. Pretty much in line with the above ratio, although later they were joined by Painted Lady, but no more than 5.
I didn't see a dragonfly till 10:45, only a glimpse but it looked to be a Four-spotted Chaser.
In the next 5 minutes two Darters came in but didn't settle just kept flying east. One was red, this only have been a Red-Veined Darter, as male common not red yet. The other was yellowish, and unidentifiable.
By 11:00 the first male Red-Veined Darter started resting before continuing, no chance of duplication, when they took off again they flew inland. Saw three in total.
The last one at 11:33, when I left for lunch.
Afternoon - tide in
Returned at 1:00 - still lots coming through
Only counted for first 10 minutes, same strip as this morning
Red Admiral 38
Meadow Brown 2
Small Tortoiseshell 5
Painted Lady 3
Small White 8
Red-Veined Darter 1 male
Black- Tailed Skimmer 1 male
At the lighthouse, only Red Admiral were coming in at the rate of 3 per minute
No further dragonflies seen.
Evening - tide out
Still lots of butterflies around but no longer moving through, they were either feeding or looking for a mate, "gangs" of Small Tortoiseshell up to 7.
18:45 10 minute count of same strip
Red Admiral 27
Small Tortoiseshell 17
Small White 6
Large White 1
Painted Lady 1
Meadow Brown 1
Nothing was coming in off and no sign of dragonflies.
Rock Pipit 1
Grey Seal 1 - dozing by outflow. This was a relief as a dead seal was found earlier in the week, but seemingly not this regular.