Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Unexpected wildfowl bonanza

Heysham Obs
Apart from Eider and few Red-breasted Merganser, wildfowl are not a major feature in the low tide channels off the north harbour wall. Today was an exception

North harbour wall 0830-0900
Scaup - pair in the nearest low tide channel
Goldeneye - 2 displaying pairs in the nearest channel, 2 separate pairs in the second channel + 5 'in' then came down in nearest channel
Wigeon - flock of 22 in nearest channel, 12+15 in second channel + 2 pairs in nearest channel later
Teal - flock of 5 in nearest channel
Red-breasted Merganser - 31 in view - mainly distantly towards the outer Grosvenor skeers
Eider - 270+ - almost all around the Grosvenor skeers
Twite - 26 - all Heysham colour ringed apart from one metal-only ringed (& see below)
Linnet - 13 on seed (see below)

Meadow Pipit - 26 north
Linnet - 7 north & 2 'in off' landing on fence by seed
Twite - one 'in-off' joining the above birds but couldnt see legs
Pink-footed Goose c30 South 1730 hrs.

Diurnea fagella and Early Thorn (2) were new for the year
Great White Egret in to roost at Leighton Moss late evening. Two Ospreys north Aldcliffe during the afternoon

Monday, 30 March 2009

Purp trio still in place & late morning Wheatears

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall early morning low tide
Purple Sandpiper - three together right at the end of the wooden jetty on the underlying skeer
Twite - 27 - at least 3 unringed
Linnet - 8 - highest count this year - all unringed
Meadow Pipit - 2 grounded birds on the mound the only sign of any passerine migrants in the murky conditions with onshore wind

Wheatear arrival
No passerine migrants at all early on. Late morning saw 1 Wheatear on Ocean Edge & a further 36 on Half Moon Bay in two loose flocks of 25 +11.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

First Sandwich Tern

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Sandwich Tern - 2 out
Purple Sandpiper - one on wooden jetty late afternoon
Med Gull - an adult which had only just started coming into summer plumage flew south past the outfalls and Red Nab late afternoon
Red-throated Diver - one offshore
Twite - 37 including four unringed & one with metal-only on right leg
Linnet - 6
Common Gull - 35 seaward end of stage one outfall
Eider - c250 visible on scan, mainly way offshore by the outer Grosvenor skeers - the ones only exposed on low spring tides
Meadow Pipit - 5 north
Greenfinch - 3 NE

Osprey north at Leighton Moss 1635hrs yesterday

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Not a lot of passage!

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Twite - they were fed and appreciated it by bursting into song. c40 present - c50% could be examined for rings and only one unringed bird seen
Linnet - 4 with above
Common Gull - a mixture of ages = 15 birds on the seaward end of Stage One outfall - this augurs well for the spring passage as this outfall was sorely missed last year as a temporary 'holding'/feeding area for passing odds and ends, notably Arctic Tern flocks
Purple Sandpiper - 2+ actively feeding on the outer skeer under the wooden jetty with 30 or so Turnstone
Meadow Pipit - one on the mound!
Eider - 4 close inshore
Shelduck - pair on the north wall, then in the harbour mouth - very unusual - early prospecting of rabbit holes on the mound - no history of breeding there, but looks ideal now the operations have ceased?

No passage at all offshore or overhead in the strong cold northerlies, despite excellent visibility and 30 minutes looking out to sea
Jackdaw 1 South over Smithy Ln from direction of Heysham Head 1130 hrs
Kittiwake - 1 adult
Ocean Edge
Bar-tailed Godwit - flock of c250, including a leucistic bird
Wheatear 1
Middleton Industrial Est
4 mute
11 coot
4 moorhen
3 little grebe
6 mallard
9 tufted
3 goldeneye
2 shelduck

We have been asked about the Black Guillemot. It was seen well last Saturday i.e. during the last day of the warm/settled spell, but has subsequently disappeared as the weather nose-dived. Back Wednesday??

Nothing yet

Friday, 27 March 2009

Rough birdless sea

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Purple Sandpiper - 2 prob 3 on Red Nab, displaced from the wooden jetty by rough seas & in with closely-packed Redshank & Turnstone
Black-headed Gull - 45
Common Gull - 6

A few glances offshore produced nothing at all other than a few northbound LBBG

Twite - at least 3

Waxwing still at Leighton Drive, Lancaster YESTERDAY evening. Extra (unknown origin) male Mandarin still at Ashleys Farm, High Tatham

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The worst ever seawatch?

Heysham Obs
Early morning start for a routine year ticking of Gannet & hopefully an early Bonxie. No chance.

North harbour wall 0740-0825 & 0845-0915
Shelduck - 15 out
Meadow Pipit - one north

North harbour wall 0917-1100 (better observer)
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Fulmar - one blogging, then out
Kittiwake - 6+2+5 out
Auk spp - one out

Twite - 12 wet ones at the feeding station - all ringed
Linnet - one at feeding station

Ocean Edge area 0830-0840
Nothing of interest

Nothing as yet

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Not a lot of coverage

Heysham Obs
Little Gull - adult on stage 2 outfall

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Twite ringing

North Harbour Wall

Twite c25 - 23 trapped including 16 retraps and 7 unringed.
Linnet 1 trapped

The 16 retraps of Twite involved: three ringed earlier in March 2009, one from 4/2/09 and 8 ringed between 31/10 and 26/11/08 which have not been retrapped until today. This leaves just four birds which have been retrapped on previous occasions (all 08): one ringed on 31/10 retrapped on 26/11, one ringed 31/10 retrapped 16/11, one ringed 5/11 retrapped 26/11. The most interesting was one ringed on 12/2/08 which was retrapped on 31/10/08. This fits in with the previous pattern of retraps, suggesting a wide-ranging population which 'sometimes' visits the Heysham food source. See article on North Lancs Ringing Group site (via Links)

Monday, 23 March 2009

New Moth Record

Outfalls area in foul weather!
Ad Little Gull
Purple Sandpiper

Pale Pinion in moth trap last night was a new one for the reserve.

Chiffchaff singing at Heysham Moss. Male Stonechat still in southern meadow along with a couple of Snipe were the highlight of a quick visit.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

First gannets

North harbour wall 0830-1130 hrs
Gannet 12 'in' with some blogging made it difficult to ascertain total involved; Kent channel line.
Red-throated Diver Flock of 13 'out' + 4+2 'out'; 4+4+2 'in' + 1 offshore; unsure of total number, possible duplication.
Kittiwake 4 'in' + 10 'out'
Shelduck 3 'out' + 1 'in'
Mute Swan 2 in-off towards Red Nab
Purple Sandpiper 1 wooden jetty

Sand Plant
Twite c40
Wheatear 2
Ocean Edge
1 wheatear
Red Nab
57 shelduck
0 wigeon

No vis. recorded, just 1 Meadow Pipit grounded.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Its back!

Heysham Obs
North wall/harbour area
Black Guillemot - presumed the returning male, next to the wooden jetty - calling
Twite - 44 north wall. At 12.00 there were 47, including 2 unringed.
Linnet - 3 with twite.

Outfalls/Ocean Edge
Little Gull - ad end of Heysham 2 outfall
Wheatear - just one

11 Goldcrest & two Chiffchaff caught on the reserve

Pied Wagtail 5, Meadow Pipit 4, Grey Wagtail 1, Goldfinch 1, Linnet 1

Middleton Industrial Est
2 mute (one on nest)
15 coot
5 moorhen
5 little grebe
7 mallard
10 tufted
3 goldeneye
4 teal
3 snipe
1 wheatear

First Parsnip moth of the year

Northbound Osprey 1400hrs Aldcliffe (one on pager for 'Lune Estuary' - same?). Great Grey Shrike still Dalton Crags. Marsh Harrier Leighton Moss since LAST evening. Two more Bitterns almost certainly seen to depart Leighton Moss on dusk migration = appeared to head high to SE

Friday, 20 March 2009

A scattering of interest

Heysham Obs
Not a lot of obvious migration but a few bits and bobs 0730-0930ish

Redwing - one grounded by office then high to east
Med Gull - 2nd S by sewage pipe
Little Gull - ad winterish end of Stage 2 outfall
Purple Sandpiper - 3 under wooden jetty, then one appeared to fly from the north with Turnstone & land under the NHW by the feeding station
Twite - min. 33
Wheatear - 2 oe foreshore + 5 Sand Plant
Coal Tit - 2 moving north along Moneyclose Lane 1030hrs

Vis 0730-0800 (office), then 0930-1015 (north wall)
Meadow Pipit - just 10 north 0730-0800 + 6 0930-1015 & several grounded
Woodpigeon - 2 north
Grey Wagtail - one north
Chaffinch - one high to north
Collared Dove - one as above
Siskin - 2 NE

Green Sandpiper Skerton Weir. Gull-calling Bittern heard at Leighton Moss (central/western end) at dusk, but not possible to see what was going on movement-wise. Otherwise a lot of activity for little reward being the order of the day.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Goldcrests, Meadow Pipits but not a lot else

Heysham Obs
Vis mig and mist net coverage most of the morning. The vis was high under a blue sky and therefore underestimated. I dont think any of the Siskin were seen, not unusual in these conditions!

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - fairly single-minded concentration 0800-0910 produced 105 north, thereafter about "one a minute" during multi-tasking
Siskin - "about 20" separate noises heard heading north
Pied Wagtail - 13 north
Grey Wagtail - 1 north
Linnet - 2 north

Goldcrest - 14 ringed seemed to be a fair proportion of what was around the catching area
Wheatear - 2 seen during very brief coastal coverage
Single Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird, Blue Tit were ringed - the Blackbird weight/fat/muscle suggested a migrant (86g:1:1)
Coal Tit - 3 seen (one ringed)

North harbour wall
Twite - c35
Purple Sandpiper - at least one by the wooden jetty

19 Avocet EM Pool. Great Grey Shrike by trig point at Dalton Crags at least pm

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Weak cold front blocks rather than drops

Heysham Obs
.......apart from Wheatears

Three Goldcrest, a Robin and two Chiffchaff the only obvious 'new' night migrants in the nets
No sign whatsoever of any movement by Coal Tit
Wheatear - 5 (3 OE foreshore, 2 mound, one heliport)

Northbound vis mig
A trickle of Meadow Pipit; 12 0800-0900, 6 1000-1030
4 Pied Wagtail 0800-0900
Reed Bunting - one passage bird ringed at 1030hrs
Siskin - one
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 40 NW

North harbour wall
Twite - the same Askam-ringed bird as yesterday plus 31 others, all ringed at Heysham - a majority of them recently. This is the largest flock seen here without any unringed birds! 5 appeared to fly out to sea. Later a separate flock of 3 unringed birds appeared on the seed.
Linnet - 3 unringed birds at the feeder
Purple Sandpiper - 3 under the wooden jetty, later showing very well under the south harbour wall

Collared Dove collecting nest material in 35Z . Breeding bird atlas records will be shaded in green from now on - please indicate the tetrad. 4 10km squares, never mind tetrads, 'meet' over or under the power station!! Particularly interested in the bits and bobs which might be nesting in the peripheral SD35Z & 36V (the mound end of the NHW). Thanks.
Snipe - 3 Nature reserve marsh

Still a butterfly-free zone! No it isnt - a COMMA saved the day late afternoon!
Single Hebrew Character and Common Quaker in the NR trap, 348 moths less than in the Millhouses (near Wray) 125 MV trap last night and 366 moths less than the previous night at Millhouses!

Two Bittern, presumed to be departing continental birds, left Leighton this evening to the SE, following a 'gull-calling' display (see LDBWS site). Record count of 29 Little Egret at the Leighton roost.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Interesting migrant morning, especially Coal Tit

Heysham Obs
Grounded/low-level vis mig
Coal Tit - 14 ringed including a bird showing characters of the nominate continental form, seen in the hand by two observers & giving direct comparison with britannicus. However, a decision has been taken not to claim this in the absence of photographs and the lack of an immediately obvious blue tone to the grey mantle, despite contrast with the olive-grey on accompanying britannicus. The bib distribution was spot-on, however. A minimum of 9 additional birds were recorded heading north, including a noisy flock of six. This is an unprecedented spring migrant day for this species, but can be logically 'justified', as can the presence of a possible continental bird, by events last autumn and 'what goes down must come back'.
Goldcrest - 8 ringed
Robin - 4 ringed
Blue Tit - 4 ringed
Great Tit - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed (first of year)
Greenfinch - just 2 ringed, reflecting the low numbers at present
Wheatear - male OE foreshore (first of year)
(no evidence of any 'winter' thrush species on return passage - too clear?)

Overhead vis
Grey Wagtail - one north
Meadow Pipit - 6 north in half an hour of concentrated vis (0815-0845) and nothing among the subsequent dribs and drabs to suggest any increasing rate of passage (12 casually noted). Fewer than expected in the clear conditions
Siskin - 2+1 north-east

North harbour wall/jetty
Twite - 11 seen at 0830 - one Askam-in Furness-ringed bird with the last three numbers corresponding to the one seen on/off all winter & 10 Heysham-ringed birds
Linnet - 2
Purple Sandpiper - at least two under the wooden jetty
Red-throated Diver - two far offshore in the morning

1+ Waxwing Leighton Drive, Lancaster both ends of the day & 14 Avocet EM Pools. Wheatears scattered along the north Fylde coast

Monday, 16 March 2009


This mornings "obvious" form of Acleris hastiana (photo Alan Draper)

Heysham Obs
This was not a '3 Purp sands & 30ish Twite with half a dozen unringed' day, as many have been of late.

No ornithological coverage apart from:

Twite & Linnet
A Twite ringing session carried out by Alan did not go as planned! The flock of 30 ish of the last few days was not there as a unit. Instead smaller groups passed through and there was a record 6 firings of the 'whoosh' net which resulted in 11 unringed and 7 ringed birds, four of which had not troubled the scorers since autumn 2008! Quite a turn-round and obviously a sign that passage is underway.
Six Linnet were also ringed
Sparrowhawk - two birds "hanging around" the north harbour for a short while could have been migrants attracted by the presence of Linnet & Twite

Two obscure darkish Acleris-types on the last two mornings were thought to have been one of the ferrugana/notana pairing. However, hastiana was also mentioned as a possibility and g.d. indicated that one of them was indeed a more obscurely marked specimen of hastiana. The other was presumably the same but could not be definitely identified from the picture. There have been other records at Leighton Moss this week. This morning produced a strikingly obvious form of Acleris hastiana (see picture). This moth appears to be a 'well-distributed generalist' as regards national status (e.g. UK Moths website) but has been very scarce in VC60 this millenium (4 records prior to this year), following a flurry in the 1990s. It is a new species for Heysham/SD45. Early Grey, never common here, was also new for the year this morning

Great Grey Shrike was cooperative for several observers today in the trig point area of Dalton Crag. Pair of Mediterranean Gull in the Willow Lane area of Lancaster comprised a metal ringed and red darvic-ringed bird. Please try and read these if you get a chance. Plenty of Sand Martin including 70ish at Pine lake. Avocet reach 10 at the EM Pool.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Overhead squeaks

Heysham Obs
Bits of migration
Meadow Pipit - exactly 50 north 0830-1130
Grey Wagtail - one north
Pied Wagtail - one north
One Goldcrest by the office
A gang of 5 long-winged continental Blackbird along Moneyclose Lane early on. High-flying female Sparrowhawk purposefully south 0815hrs!
Carrion Crow - one 'in-off'

Red-throated Diver - one
Eider - 38 off NHW

Stage 2 outfall
Little Gull - adult winter (not Friday's bird)

North harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - 3 under the wooden jetty
Twite - c30 around the feeding station
Linnet - 3 by the feeding station

Twite sighting
One ringed at Heysham on 31/10/08 was seen at Askam-in-Furness, Duddon, Cumbria on 9/3/09 - early spring passage en route to the Inner Hebrides, or a bird which flew back over the bay during the (remainder) of last autumn's passage period?

Double-striped Pug & Clouded Drab new for the year

Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crag at least 0930ish [for those with little time/energy, this would have been visible distantly from the vantage point on the Keer Falls road - tree-top perching around the brush piles where the walls meet]. Ad Med Gull in psp Snatchems (Golden Ball area). 2 Waxwing Leighton Drive, Lancaster. Probable Tundra Bean Goose Aldcliffe/Colloway but apparent problems with ruling out an orange-legged and 'orange(?)-billed' Pink-foot. 26 Sand Martin Pine Lake this evening & similar numbers Leighton Moss. Bittern booming alongside causeway at at least 1915hrs at Leighton. Negative on Long-eared Owl at Aldcliffe this evening.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Big tide, fewer birds

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Eider - one male
Twite - 31 at 1315hrs: 7 unringed, 23 Heysham-ringed, one Askam-in-Furness (Duddon)-ringed [yellow over blue/white]

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 3

600 Knot in two flocks - none colour-ringed

Reduction in Black-headed Gulls noticeable with just 15 on Fisher's roof and 32 round the outfalls/Ocean Edge side

Middleton Insustrial Est
2 mute
14 coot
1 moorhen
4 little grebe
3 goldeneye
7 mallard
13 tufted
3 teal
Plus increased passerine activity
4 reed bunting
3 skylark
7 meadow pipit
2 bullfinch (probably pair seen intermittently over winter period)

Heysham Heah 7pm
Tawny owl (making all manner of strange noises - based round "Kivvick" call)

Bean Goose, thought to be Taiga, by Aldcliffe Hall Lane alongside the 'cinder track' mid-afternoon (with PFG). Avocets increase by one yet again = now 8 at the EM Pool. Two Sand Martin Leighton Moss this morning

Friday, 13 March 2009

Unexpected calm weather Little Gull

Heysham Obs
Seaward end of Stage one outfall early incoming tide
The gathering of pre-tidal gulls on the seaward end of Heysham One outfall at about 0930hrs included a partial summer plumage adult Little Gull

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 3
Turnstone - 165

Middleton IE
Loose flock of male & 3 female Stonechat late pm

North harbour wall
18 Twite trapped, including 7 unringed birds, out of 30+ seen. The retrap data is interesting. Most of them were retrapped for the first time since ringing with the ringing dates as follows: 31/10/08 (1), 5/11/08 (2), 26/11/08 (4) and 4/2/09 (1). One was ringed on 5/11 and retrapped on 4/2/09. Two others were both ringed on 31/10/08 and retrapped on 5/11/08 + 16/11/08 and 16/11/08 + 15/12/08 respectively. Bearing in mind that only FIVE out of the 137 ringed during winter 2008/9 have been previously retrapped twice, it is interesting that two of these have appeared for their third retrap today. This suggests that, in contrast to the rest of the retrap data (& unringed birds), which suggests a wide-ranging metapopulation with individual birds occasionally visiting Heysham, these two have developed a degree of loyalty to the Heysham feeding station.

52 & 300 Pink-footed Geese NW, the big flock flying very high

2 Dotted Border, 2 Hebrew Character, one Common Quaker and an as yet unidentified small brown thing

7 Avocet EM Pool along with the Ruff. [Sand Martin Brockholes Quarry 1040hrs]

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Work work!

Heysham Obs
In the office all day and no time for any trivial pursuits other than a north wall whistle stop:

Purple Sandpiper - at least 2 on the wooden jetty
Twite - at least 34 flying about

Great Grey Shrike at Dalton crags this late afternoon. Long-eared Owl still Freeman's Pool. 6 Avocet EM Pool

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Cheerful Linnet brightens a dull day

Twite above the feeding station. Thanks Mark

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall/wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 3 on the outer section of the wooden jetty
Linnet - singing 2CY male by the Twite feeding station
Twite - 15 seen (4 unringed, 11 with Heysham rings), others heard on morning visit - 48 there in the afternoon (at least 3 unringed)

Vis by the office
Two small silent passerines high to the north-east
Pied Wagtail - one high to the NE
Pink-footed Goose - 100 north and 9 south

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Dead (even ran out of newspapers), with just 6 Wigeon on Red Nab, a drastic reduction and nothing else of note (very few gulls)

Agonoperix heracliana in the trap

Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crag by trigpoint at least 1300hrs. 5 Avocet Em Pool (flood). Long-eared Owl Freeman's Pool. Ruff EM Pool (2nd day)
All yesterday: 3 Avocet Allen Pool, none seen Lune Estuary. Singing male Long-eared Owl Leck Fell in the evening & possibly a very, very distant bird responding to the north, unless it was a slightly tremulous woolly maggot with a genetically-engineered lung capacity. At least one Long-eared Owl still at Freeman's Pool.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Peregrine on the move

Thanks Mark - todays Med

Heysham Obs
A Peregrine headed north over the Bay

North harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - one out
Peregrine - one north across the bay without deviating at all
Skylark - 2 north
Twite - 38 on the feeder
a few Black-headed & Common Gull heading into the bay
Med Gull - adult to bread mid-afternoon

Wooden Jetty
Purple Sandpiper - at least 2
Turnstone - 52

Red Nab
Wigeon - 48

First Bombus terrestris i.e. a bumble bee of the year careering around the car park. The Twenty-plume moth yesterday was found to be a 'jamjar-hopper' i.e. it was brought in over the weekend for identification from suburban Morecambe, escaped in the office & presumably crawled under the door towards the only light in the place after dusk!!!

6 Waxwing A6 end of Rutland Avenue, Lancaster (the 6?). The (expletive deleted) Great Grey Shrike was by the trig point again at 1500hrs. Ad & 3CY Med Gulls at Leighton Moss but not interacting. A perhaps elderly Bittern was attempting to boom at Leighton Moss at 1850hrs

Monday, 9 March 2009

30 minute guillotine

Heysham Obs
North wall 0930-0945
Common Scoter - 10 very distant 'out and across'
Kittiwake - 3 in
No obvious sign of Twite
Wooden jetty not checked

Ocean Edge 0950-0955
Med Gull - adult summer roosting on the sea 'above' the saltmarsh

In the trap: Dotted Border and Twenty-plume moth - looks a bit like "Double-striped pug meets shredder"

Avocets a bit slow at the Allen/EM Pools e.g. c/p Marshside but a single there this afternoon. 2-3 on the Lune Estuary this pm (Sunderland side). Drake Scaup Glasson basin. Have the extra Waxwings 'dragged off' the resident at Leighton Drive?

This looks worth purchasing:

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Meagre rough weather fare

Heysham Obs
A good number of immature large gulls around, but nothing with them at least 0900-1000. A few distant seawatch bits and bobs.

North harbour wall 0900-0945
Kittiwake - flock of c30 lifted off the sea, then landed again 0910, one 'in' 0925
Common Scoter - one 'out', then landed on sea 0930
Auk spp - one seen very briefly before landing
No Twite, with the feeding station a 'wind tunnel'

92 wigeon

South harbour wall/harbour 0940-1155 hrs

Red-throated Diver 3 'out' 0958 hrs fairly high + 1 'in' and came down
Eider M offshore
Great crested grebe 2 off harbour
Peregrine North from harbour lost to sight in scope, quite low.

Purple Sandpiper 3 middle section wooden jetty 1145 hrs.

25+55+60 Kittiwake, Little Gull and 3 Common Scoter Jenny Brown's Point. Late news for yesterday: SIX Waxwing at Leighton Drive, Lancaster at 1000hrs and 6 today briefly at 1045hrs

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Twite increase

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Twite - 19
Purple Sandpiper - 3 wooden jetty
Skylark - one north

Ringed Plover - pair on territory

Middleton Industrial Est
2 mute
15 coot
7 moorhen
9 mallard
11 tufted
2 pochard (male & female)
3 goldeneye (1 male)
5 teal
2 little grebe (turning to summer plumage)
1 heron

2 Dotted Border and a Hebrew Character in the trap

Waxwing still Leighton Drive, Lancaster

Friday, 6 March 2009

Is the whole Waxwing flock still around?

Heysham Obs
Mixed bag of birds
Purple Sandpiper - 3 below wooden jetty
Twite - same 8 at the feeder (7/8 ringed at Heysham)
Red-throated Diver 1 offshore
Pink-footed Goose 45 North from Fylde area
Waxwing - single bird at Jenny Nook at 1615hrs - just a single brief search (that is known about) earlier in the day
Offshore Grey Seal was the only animate object on the sea during 30 minutes late afternoon seawatch
Bittern grunting/booming at Leighton from last night. Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crag by the trig point. Waxwing still Leighton Drive, Lancaster. [No Sand Martin Pine Lake in evening check!]

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Distant blob on the sea, flock of Waxwing and an ermine!

Heysham Obs
A good day! At least five minutes spent identifying a distant blob in a line between the harbour wall and the southern tip of Walney. This involved a mixture of two lengthy dives and awkward surfacing angles before a decent lateral view indicated it was a Great Northern Diver. Two Red-throated Diver were nearby for size comparison.

It drifted/swam/dived further out and was lost after about 10 minutes. Checking from the OE side produced the first 'mudflat heathaze' of the year and there was no chance of relocation. Worth checking incoming tide?

Heysham Mossgate estate
Waxwing: Thanks to an observant Mrs Hamilton, 10 located on Jenny Nook, off Meldon Road late morning, increasing to 12 by 1420hrs. These were at the top of a tall tree at 1220hrs and a short back-track enabled them to be 'seen-from' within the recording area! Feeding in nearby back gardens out of sight and returning to tops of nearby tall trees at the end of Jenny Nook

North wall
On a flat calm sea, the following were seen
Great Northern Diver - one offshore from at least 0940-0955hrs, then lost. All observations were almost certainly in Cumbria. What appears to be the same bird was seen again, equally distantly, for 20 minutes or so just after midday, but unfortunately not 'put out' at the time.
Red-throated Diver - two on the same 'line' as the above, neither showing any sign of s.p.
Eider - pair
Twite - 8, presumably same birds as yesterday

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - two on the outermost section of skeer underneath the jetty as yesterday

Ocean Edge mudflats
Lots of gulls around, especially increase in LBB. At least 52 Wigeon still around
Med Gull - adult summer on mudflats to the south during late afternoon visit

Stage One outfall
Good news - water is flowing through and gulls are starting to accumulate on the seaward end for the first time for ?16 months. This is especially good for transient birds later in the spring e.g. 1st S Meds, Arctic Tern flocks

A glimpse of a 'thin white thing' a few days ago was resolved as a Stoat in ermine crossed the nature reserve entrance road at about 1210hrs. This is the first record for the reserve of a stoat in ermine

Single Waxwing still at Leighton Drive, Lancaster this morning. Rough-legged Buzzard late afternoon brushing the eastern side of SD66 between Stocks along Bowland Knotts via the ridge. At least one Long-eared Owl Freeman's Pool along with Barn & Short-eared Owl

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Meds gone?

Heysham Obs
No sign of any adult Med Gulls at the optimum time of IOM ferry arrival

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 2 right at the end of the outer section on skeer

Red-throated Diver - 2

North wall
Twite - 8 at feeder (one unringed, one from Jan 2009, one from 31/10/08, 5 from unspec. autumn 2008 - all Heysham-ringed)
Eider - male inshore

Avocet Lune estuary & drake Scaup Conder pool. "Nothing" with c820 Pink-footed Geese along Heysham bypass by 'resident' Peugeot

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Saved by a Stonechat

Heysham Obs
Near the heliport
Male Stonechat, obviously on passage at this site

North wall
Twite - 11
Purple Sandpiper - 1+ on wooden jetty - too wet to open gate (wimp?)

South of harbour (morning and late afternoon visits)
Wigeon - 70
Lots of common seagulls and waders

Broadgate garage area (Middleton road)
Little Egret - one flew over towards the Lune (roost?) late afternoon (no idea where from, but definitely in recording area). Sneaky behaviour this winter with many deserting the saltmarsh creeks for obscure inland ditches

Waxwing still Leighton Drive am. Spotted Redshank in creek on west side of Sunderland tidal road late afternoon. "A lot of PF geese" in the most awkward field possible along the Heysham bypass clearway about 3 view-blocking hedges south of MFI/Wickes and 4 blocking hedges north of the first available farm access track

Monday, 2 March 2009

A Quiet Monday

No records so far from obs.

Single Dotted Border and March Moth (picture below)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Heysham Obs.

2 Purple Sandpiper on middle section of wooden jetty at high tide; one on top and one on angled beam about halfway down.