Saturday, 28 February 2009

Report-writing priorities

Heysham Obs
Getting on with the 2008 Obs report was the priority today - not the least because the county and LDBWS report compilers were "after" the records in an easier form than on this website. Perhaps a good time to ask, with reference to the various report compilations, is there anything of great significance missing from the "public domain" from the Heysham area in 2008..........or anywhere else in Lancashire? You wont be 'named and shamed'!

North wall
Very brief visit saw the back end of some Twite (6+) and a single distant adult Med Gull. Please keep an eye open for the Czech-ringed adult - it will be leaving any day now and we need to inform the Czechs of the limital dates. We think of this bird as 'wintering' but it has been around since at least 18th July 2008 and usually seems to leave about the 6th March........but this spring has suddenly become a little "early" - e.g. three roding Woodcock in Roeburndale this evening - good last gasp "winter" atlas records! Thanks.

Middleton Industrial Est
4 mute
18 coot
5 moorhen
18 tufted
3 pochard
3 goldeneye
12 mallard
0 Teal!
2 little grebe
1 water rail (heard only)
1 snipe
1 heron

Single Avocet reported Lune Estuary YESTERDAY. Three at Allen/EM Pools and one at Pilling Lane Ends today. Two Long-eared, single Short-eared, single Barn and two Tawny Owls Freeman's Wood/Pool area. The first three were feeding in late afternoon daylight - perhaps to avoid the later Tawny's? NO interesting geese actually reported in the LDBWS recording area but 3 x Tundra Bean in fields adjoining the seawall near Fluke Hall early morning

Friday, 27 February 2009

Quick (but legal!) run round

Heysham Obs
Having wasted a lot of time dealing with a hire car speeding offence which placed me in Nottingham when I was in High Tatham, not much time for birding or indeed 'work work' & dont think anyone else on the prowl today.

North harbour wall high tide
Med Gull - adult on the corrugated roof on the old Fisher's building. NB. due to sand removal, you can see this roof now from your car around the sandworks gate area and also just about see around the waterfall area
Twite - 13 around the feeder
Purple Sandpiper - at least one at long-range on the lower tier of the wooden jetty

South side (high tide)
Ringed Plover - 7 on OE west field

One Dotted Border in the trap

Waxwing still at Leighton Drive, Lancaster. 5 Common Scoter off J B Point. Egyptian Goose on the pond at Haverbrack SD488801 (since last Friday). Bean Goose, presumed Tundra, Sand Villa area. Long & Short Eared & Barn Owls Freeman's Wood/Pool area.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Med Gulls get ready for spring and imminent departure

Heysham Obs
No reports of any Kittiwakes over and after the tide from any of the local coastal sites

Coastal area sightings pre-high tide
Wigeon - 97 Red Nab
Med Gull - ad at the seaward end of the outfalls in partial s.p., it or another around the IOM ferry. At least one bird in almost full summer seen along the NHW and a different adult roosting on Ocean Edge saltmarsh [3-4 adult Meds]
Kittiwake - 11 swirling about offshore in tight flock 0935, then landing on sea
Twite - 7-8 seen NH wall in brief flight
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on wooden jetty

A bad goose day with flocks of PFG very uncooperative in the north Fylde and nothing unusual reported. Brief sighting of probable Rough-legged Buzzard reported from Leighton public hide c1015am (per pager)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Changing seasons

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper 2 below wooden jetty
Shelduck 2 'in' + 2 'out'
Eider 7 'in'
Twite - 7 on the seed, legs not seen
No sign of any Meds

It looked a good day to kickstart the spring Kittiwake passage - a stiffish westerly at the end of February. There is some history of this species being more frequent in spring on afternoon dropping tides (only Storm Petrel of the other regularish seabirds exhibits this pattern and in a totally different context). No time at all to seawatch over/after the tide at Heysham so it was left to the conscientious JBP observers (Tom & Tony) to rein them in:

"Kittiwake 5 + 13 (a long way out) +4 (close in) over the tide + at least 120 minimum feeding on dropping tide at 15:30pm"

Should be some more in the next few days

At least a male Ringed Plover on territory

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Ringed Plover - a reduced flock of just 11 in the high tide roost, including a metal-ringed male trying to chase the rest off. No sign of the Snettisham-nesting c.r. female [one other metal-ringed bird].
Wigeon - 86 Red Nab

Ad TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE Jeremy Lane (Glasson) along with 1st W European White-fronted Goose. 1st W Pale-bellied Brent elusive in Sand Villa area

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Snipe at Red Nab again

Heysham Obs
Red Nab
Snipe 28 flew off Red Nab inland
Wigeon 85

Golden Plover - 1 on helipad - first record there?

North harbour wall
Med Gull adult not ringed
Red-throated Diver 1 offshore
Purple Sandpiper 1 wooden jetty lower tier of outer section

A visiting observer reported seeing a 2nd W Med Gull

Moth Trap
Two Dotted Border

Sand Villa geese at various times included: 3 x Greenland Whitefronted, Barnacle, TUNDRA BEAN & both Light and Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Both Long & Short-eared Owls seen at Freeman's Pool area

Monday, 23 February 2009

WeBs day

Heysham Obs
........didnt produce anything startling

North harbour wall area
Med Gull - 2 adults
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on lower tier of outer wooden jetty section
Red-throated Diver - probably 2 offshore
Twite - no sign

Red Nab etc.
Snipe - 4 Red Nab
Wigeon - 117

Moth trap
Single Dotted Border

Barnacle, Ad Dark-bellied Brent, 1st W European White-fronted Geese with large numbers of PFG Sand Villa. Ad Med Gull with metal ring (probably ex-36W) Broadway area but no sign of any Scaup off north Morecambe. Long & Short-eared Owls hunting at Aldcliffe area this evening by Freeman's Pool.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Nothing new

Heysham Obs
Not a lot happening today so a bit of rambling. Extraneous wildlife interest this morning included 'cabbie attacked by hoodie' on Trumacar stores billboard, which was obviously not in the least amusing. In contrast, I enjoyed the following from the difference between men and women discussion on 5-live: "Men always stop to outstare monkeys at the zoo whilst women walk on and ignore them".

North harbour wall & area
Med Gull - 2 adults patrolling
Pink-footed Goose - 16 East quite high from across the Bay
Purple Sandpiper - one on the lower tiers of the outer section of the wooden jetty

Ocean Edge
Ringed Plover - 20 off Ocean Edge

Another Hebrew Character

Great Grey Shrike just SE of trig point at Dalton at SD556774 at 1410hrs but not seen by scanning the slopes from the road late afternoon. The Sand Villa Pink-footed Geese, within the LDBWS recording area, included single 1st W European Whitefront, 1st W Pale-bellied Brent and Barnacle Geese. No sign of Smew at Leighton Moss, Pine Lake or Haweswater. Polish-ringed adult Med Gull P96 on Giant Axe football field, Lancaster and another unringed ad nearby at Greyhound Bridge. Both Long (alongside/in Freeman's Wood) and Short (by Freeman's Pool)- eared owls Aldcliffe area late afternoon. NNEW on Leighton Drive Waxwing last two days -presumably gone?

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Whistle stop

Heysham Obs
North wall
Med Gull - ad
Purple Sandpiper - at least one on the rocks next to the wooden jetty with c30 Turnstone

Middleton Industrial Est
4 mute
14 coot
4 moorhen
2 little grebe (still in winter plumage, but together and calling)
3 pochard (2 male)
27 tufted
8 teal
12 mallard
3 goldeneye (1 male)
4 snipe
1 heron (frogging season!)

Ringing details of Pink-footed Goose
This bird was 1/2 km east of the Obs recording area boundary when this ring was read and therefore easily "seen from"! The closest the bypass PF geese came to landing in the recording area - most were 1-3km to the east

Metal ring: 1428053
First Ringed
Loch of Lintrathen, ANGUS, Scotland

Cockerham Moss Edge

Preesall Park, Preesall

Cockers Dyke, Pilling

Head Dyke Lane, Pilling

near Heysham

First Hebrew Character of the year in the hut trap (contrasting with 93 moths of 11 species at Millhouses MV trap!)

Great Grey Shrike still Dalton Crags by trig point - a good run of sightings of this often very elusive/'impossible' to find bird. Redhead Smew Leighton from mid-morning, but very mobile spending quite a bit of time in the main dyke & visiting Public & Lilians meres. Tundra Bean Goose with the Sand Villa PF flock = in LDBWS recording area. 8 Whooper Swan still between Gressingham bridge & Melling. Additional male Mandarin of unknown origin with free-flying collection at Ashley's Farm, High Tatham

Friday, 20 February 2009


Heysham Obs
Mid-morning brief visit to north harbour wall
Didnt have to resort to grilling flotsam (see 28/1/09) - there were some birds to see/hear despite visibility oscillating between 400 and 600m. The most interesting "sighting" was of 250+ noisy gloom-looming Pink-footed Geese at exactly wind turbine height as they headed NW over the Bay. There was enough wind (just) to rotate blades. Exactly why there are concerns over offshore windfarms on migration routes of species which are both diurnal and nocturnal

Purple Sandpiper - a shape on the lower tiers of the wooden jetty conformed to this species - well it did have a longish bill!
Mute Swan - adult on the sea by the wooden jetty
Pink-footed Goose - see above = c1015hrs

Moth trap
One March Moth

Water Pipit seen at Leighton Moss yesterday away from public areas. Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crags just SE of trig point late afternoon. Waxwing Leighton Drive still. Ad Ross's x Pink-foot hybrid Sand Villa & 21 Bewick's Swan Jeremy Lane (3 juvs).

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Proper moths at last

Heysham Obs
Apart from a single obscure 'micro', this is the first moth catch of the year for an 'open' site which is always a little slow compared to some of the local oak woodlands (up to 87 moths per night of 10 species at Millhouses, nr Wray this week)

Dotted Border (4) and the first Satellite (below) since 2003.

Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crags this morning. 2nd W Med Gull flew over A683 at Denny beck this am - this looked like the very elusive inland-feeding bird which was seen earlier this winter on single occasions at Pine Lake and Claughton

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Heysham Obs.

North harbour wall 
Purple Sandpiper 2 below wooden jetty
Red-throated Diver 2 offshore
Wigeon 3 'out'
Shelduck 1 + 1 'in'
Eider 5 'in' + 1 'out'
Skylark call - not sighted

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Skylarks on the move

North harbour wall  (low tide 1103 hrs)
Skylark 4 + 2 North  1000 hrs
Purple Sandpiper 2 below wooden jetty
Med Gull adult S1 outfall
Red-throated Diver 1 offshore
Shelduck 2 + 2 'in'
No sign of any Twite

Monday, 16 February 2009

Brief search

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Med Gull - one adult

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Dunlin - 465
Wigeon - 114
apparent influx of Lesser Black-backed Gull (27 seen)

Nothing locally bird-wise (by 1530 at least). 71 moths of 8 species in MV trap at Millhouses, nr Wray last night including another Small Brindled Beauty
and a North Lancashire single-trap record catch of 17 Spring Usher

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Three Purple Sandpiper again

Heysham Obs
Purple Sandpiper - 3 on the wooden jetty
Turnstone - 19
Med Gull - 2 adults in the harbour

Ocean Edge
Lapwing - 98
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1

Red Nab
Wigeon -116
Turnstone - 42

"seen from" recording area boundary
Loads of Pink-footed Geese carefully grilled on the edge of the recording area in fields next to the Heysham bypass by the new roundabout. Estimated 2,800 - all definitely PFG. One neck collar (TJT). Going through this stuff is a very poor substitute for the former similar scrutiny of the hordes of gulls next to Lancaster tip!

There seem to be two Waxwings in Lancaster, the reliable Leighton Drive bird and another at the junction of Cedar and Lune roads. 13 Little Egret roosting at Leighton. A few moths last night included what must be a candidate for a February sheet and light record = 102 Pale Brindled Beauty plus a further 19 moths of three other species in about 1.5hrs at Cold Park Wood near Wray. The first Small Brindled Beauty of the year in the nearby overnight trap at Millhouses

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Murky afternoon

Heysham Obs
Twite - 3 on north harbour wall. 6 over harbour pm.
Purple Sandpiper 3 roosting on lower beams of wooden jetty at high tide one of which proceeded to bathe in the sea, then preening back on the jetty.
Turnstone - 70 at roost with Purps.

Ocean Edge
Mute Swan - one adult
Dunlin - 21 + 6 at Red Nab
+ observed as wated covered salt mash (MD)
176 lapwing
49 snipe (0 jack snipe)
c60 golded plover (flying low SE)
3 goldeneye (flying NW - not the three from the IE)
Ringed Plover - the often elusive flock of 12 roosting on beach by Ocean Edge saltmarsh, including a metal-ringed male (trying to chase the others off) and another sighting of the following colour-ringed individual:
NW23526 Adult female
Ringed as a nestling at Snettisham, Norfolk on 16/7/04
Subsequently nested at Snettisham in at least 2005, 2006 and 2008
Seen: Cockersands on 30/9/07 by Ian Hartley
Seen: Ocean Edge caravan park foreshore 19/9/08 & 14/11/08 & 14/2/09
Middleton Industrial est
9 mute
12 coot
1 moorhen
3 goldeneye
4 mallard
7 tufted
4 teal
1 snipe

Ad Med Gull Skerton Weir. 5 Tundra Bean just out of the area at Bone Hill near Pilling. Waxwing still Leighton Drive and single Spotted Redshank & Green Sandpiper Aldcliffe

Friday, 13 February 2009

Bursting into song

Heysham Obs
You could almost do an early CBC today as the local songbirds celebrated 6ish degrees C! The rest of the birding slot was depressingly familiar; indeed 'credit crunch birding', as the deserted MFI car park offered views of a fair chunk of the by-pass PFGs (and not a hint of anything else) via two hedges. Five minutes along the north wall produced the only 'mentionables'

North harbour wall
Med Gull - Czech adult on the railings
Purple Sandpiper - one creeping about under the outer section of wooden jetty
Red-throated Diver - 2 offshore long with loads of flotsam, mainly branches
No Twite seen

Greenshank photographed near the railway viaduct at Arkholme - a mega inland record in winter. Spotted Redshank reported there recently as well along with the more usual Green Sandpiper. Waxwing still Leighton Drive, Lancaster mid-afternoon. No sign of either the Aldcliffe nor Bull Beck Greylags & at least 80% of the Heysham bypass geese were scoped and were all Pinkfeet, with the only species which could possibly have been overlooked in the other binocular-scanned 20% = Tundra Bean

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Flying visit

Heysham Obs
North wall
Med Gull ad

"Seen from" alongside bypass
c2,000 PF Geese seen whilst driving, possibly more

Two opportunities to observe a proportion of a flock of 27 Twite by Crook Cottage, Lune Estuary revealed 8/8 and 10/11 were Heysham 2008/9-ringed. Some of the first lot may have been in the second lot!

Med Gull - Ad Skerton (not P96). Waxwing still Leighton Drive, Lancaster early morning at least & one reported on Station Road in High Bentham

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Heysham Obs
First of all, thanks to Tracy Kilifin in Heysham 2 Doc Centre for photocopying the North Lancashire Naturalists annual report. This will be available at Leighton Moss in a few days and is well worth the value at a nominal £1-50

"Seen from" the edge of the recording area
Pink-footed Goose: Monoculture ruled alongside Heysham bypass with uniform 'improved' grassland hosting perhaps the biggest flock of Pink-footed Geese I have ever seen gone through in detail not holding any other species. Perhaps about 5,150 but estimates during the day varied, perhaps indicating some coming and going.

North wall
Med Gull - 2 adults
Twite - c30 flying around the sandworks

Nothing at all wader-wise on the wooden jetty

Red Nab
Flock of 30 Turnstone appeared (in flight) to be accompanied by a Purple Sandpiper but the flock landed out of sight on Red Nab & no time to check.

Waxwing: A third-day bird at north Warton finally surfaced in the public domain and the singleton similarly remained at Leighton Drive, Lancaster. Most unusual to have two separate singletons at this stage of the winter.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Ferry fare

Heysham Obs
Brief visit to NHW at lunchtime
Twite - none - no obvious food & surface of ground 'scuffed and disturbed'. Plenty of nyger seed put down
Med Gull - 2 adults around ferry - one followed it in from at least No 8 buoy and the other was in the harbour
Purple Sandpiper - two on the wooden jetty - one roosting with Turnstone (c30) on the top of the middle section, the other creeping around the lower cross-pieces of the outer section
Kittiwake - adult distantly behind IOM ferry - peeled off & flew out
Red-throated Diver - 2 offshore (HT)

Red Nab
76 Wigeon
New barrier system in operation at Ocean Edge

3 Heysham-ringed Twite (all three birds) with c150 Linnet in set-aside near Aldcliffe
One Heysham-ringed Twite and three unringed birds at Knott End

Observers: Dan Haywood (Aldcliffe), Chris Batty (Knott End) & Pete Marsh

The 4 European White-fronted Geese are now back at Aldcliffe (from yesterday). DB Brent with Greylags at Bull Beck but not obviously there later on. Waxwing still at Leighton Drive late afternoon. 3000+ Pinkfeet alongside Heysham bypass but difficult to watch safely. One neck-collar but no obvious sign of any other species.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Quiet Day - Noisy night

No records so far today for HNR.

Heysham Village 10pm
Two tawny owls calling either side of St Peter’s School grounds.
One “Ke-wick” the other “Hoo-oouh”.
First I’ve heard in Heysham this year, but a resident told me he has been hearing the Ke-wick call for about a week. (MD)


Little Egret in ditch adjoining Heysham Moss. Five Snipe, pair of Stonechat and a Raven in Southern Meadow at Moss, during a quick visit to monitor waterlevels.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Tufty treat

Tufted Duck male & three female feeling at home in the harbour
Purple Sandpiper below wooden jetty
Med Gull 2 adult in harbour
Wigeon 78 off outfalls

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Strictly routine

Heysham Obs
Nothing really to beat the snippet of international news: "Taxi driver deflates police tyres" on the Trumacar Stores billboard

Various offshore & inshore observations
Purple Sandpiper wooden jetty at roost
Kittiwake adult near intake in harbour
Red-throated Diver 6+ out
Med Gull - single adult
Twite - flock of 19 at 1200hrs but not 30 minutes later

Middleton Industrial Est
All open water frozen, apart from two small patches kept open by two pairs of mute swan. Accompanied by:
6 coot
4 moorhen
2 mallard
2 snipe
3 Roe deer Male & female plus one smaller female type (presumed last year’s young)

Ocean Edge 1hr after high tide
c650 dunlin
2 snipe

Observers: John Wood, John Girdley, Malcolm Downham & Pete Marsh

Waxwing Leighton Drive, Lancaster mid-afternoon - driven off by Mistle Thrush but 'plenty of berries in area'

Friday, 6 February 2009

Highest winter Red-throated Diver count for several years

Heysham Obs
South harbour wall area 1200-1230ish
Red-throated Diver - 17 definitely different birds floating out on the tide but all a long way out
Kittiwake - ad in harbour
Med Gull - one ad following IOM ferry
No obvious sign of Purple Sandpiper

North harbour wall
Twite - just two at the feeder in the morning

Observers: Dan Haywood & Alan Draper

4 European White-fronted Geese still at Bull Beck with Greylags

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Inshore shopping list

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge
540 Dunlin
Two Mistle Thrushes amongst the caravans

North harbour wall 1600-1620ish
Very rapid acquisition of the usual inshore targets but a vast area of empty sea further out i.e. no RTDs.
Med Gull - the Czech adult homed in on the car - no bread with me!
Twite - 16 but no chance to peruse rings - late in the afternoon for connecting with this species
Purple Sandpiper - 2 below the inner end of the outer section of the wooden jetty - as usual at this stage of the incoming tide - cannot get to grips with these occasional extra birds
Kittiwake - ad (3CY?) by the harbour waterfall

Observer: Pete Marsh


No obvious sign of any Greylag by Bull Beck. Pine Lake "dead" other than a few Goosander & 140 Pochard

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Twite metapopulation

Heysham Obs
A small catch of 15 Twite this morning provided further evidence of midwinter mixing and matching between the various flocks scattered down the coast between here and at least the Wyre. There were 6 unringed birds and only 2 out of 8 retraps had been previously retrapped.

Also most interestingly, the Walberswick (Suffolk)-ringed individual, trapped here on 5/11/08, was retrapped this morning. Does this start to firm-up the origin as a west Scottish bird which moved to Suffolk in its first ('waif and stray'?) winter (ringed 23/12/2006) or could it still be a (south) Pennine bird which unexpectedly followed the 'usual pattern' in its first winter, but not in this winter as an adult? Or could it be from somewhere else, such as the north Pennines? Where was it in winter 2007/8?

No other birds of interest seen!

Observer/ringer: Alan Draper

2 (presumably just the adults recorded) European White-fronted Geese just north of Bull Beck on the Lune floodplain. Short-eared Owl just inland of Cockerham Sands caravan park, Common Sandpiper Conder area.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Low tide struggle

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall low tide
Med Gull - adult on the beach
Eider - drake offshore

Ocean edge foreshore and Red Nab
Nothing of note at low tide

Observer: Pete Marsh

4 European White-fronted Geese showing very well from A683 just north of Bull Beck car park with Greylags

Monday, 2 February 2009

Flying belated visit

Heysham Obs
A fascinating but late night listening to a very informed discussion in the Bridge Inn between Jim Bowen & half a dozen locals on music and old shows led to a bleary mid-morning emergence [I do work w/es so take the odd weekday 'off'!].

North harbour wall
Med Gull - just one adult seen
Twite - 19 on seed, others heard
Purple Sandpiper - one visible in short scan
Quick scan offshore revealed zero

Observer: Pete Marsh

4 European White-fronted Geese showing well on the Lune floodplain with Greylags just north of Bull Beck car park (& 1+ Pink-footed Goose). No obvious sign of the Black Redstart at Glasson.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Teal top the bill!

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall area
Purple Sandpiper - 4 below wooden jetty
Red-throated Diver - 1 out & 1 in, poor given the visibility & length of watch
Kittiwake - adult in harbour
Med Gull - THREE adults to bread NHW
Teal - 3 out
Wigeon - 8 on sea of Half-Moon Bay
Grey Plover - 6 stage 1 outfall
Great Crested Grebe - 2 (1 in summer plumage)
Eider - male
Red-breasted Merganser - 3 pair
Twite - 36 on seed, including 5+ unringed and one ringed at Askam in Furness end of October 2008.

Observers: Macclesfield RSPB group. John Wood, Pete Marsh

Female-type Black Redstart Fishnet Point, Glasson, also 5 Bewick's Swan