Thursday, 30 April 2009

30 seconds in the morning and 15 minutes at high tide

Heysham Obs
Everyone is usually busy on a Thursday and today was no exception! Four very distant birds in poor silhoeutted light heading into the bay just before high tide may just have been skua spp.

Not a single tern reported today!

The conditions in the next few days are quite good for seabirds, although not (apart from perhaps Saturday's slack conditions) Arctic Tern, which specialises in easterly winds.

North wall am
A quick scan of the outer end of Stage One outfall to see if there were any terns followed by an even quicker scan of the low tide channel

Black Guillemot - sat in the low tide channel level with the north wall gate at 1045hrs

OE foreshore near high tide
Bar-tailed Godwit - 175, including the leucistic bird
Knot - 270
Whimbrel - 3
Wheatear - a good total of 24 OE/Red Nab etc.

Middleton IE
A singing Grasshopper Warbler in a new area

At least one, perhaps two Tree Sparrow Heaton village - a well-known wintering site (courtesy of feeders) but no recent breeding season records

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Proving a point?

Heysham Obs
Another wall of weather esconced itself in the southern Irish Sea and theoretically stopped anything progressing north. Therefore 5 hours of good science were spent at Heysham NHW proving the point!

North harbour wall 0700-1200
Gannet - about 12 in/out/fishing
Sandwich Tern - absolute minimum of 140 (one sweep at 0700hrs)
Whimbrel - 4 in, 7 out
Little Gull - 3CY in
Fulmar - one circling over the harbour! and another in
Guillemot - one on the water
Red-throated Diver - one in
Pink-footed Goose - 59 SOUTH! 1155hrs
Wheatear - one 'in off' north harbour wall, one sandworks, 9 OE foreshore
Swallow - 84 NE
Sand Martin - 18 NE
Goldfinch - 5 NE
Meadow Pipit - 5 NE
House Martin - 1 NE
Black Guillemot - by the wooden jetty/offshore

One Grey Seal in

Two Avocet Conder Pool

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Early morning tern passage

Heysham Obs
A significant low tide passage of Arctic Tern this morning with birds heading off high inland in the absence of any water in the bay to the north. 3.7ish earthquake at 1120hrs shook the office but did not set any alarms off in the power stations

North harbour wall 0630-0900 - all vis to NE
Arctic Tern - 518, largest flock 140 (see above)
Sandwich Tern - 157 'in' along the low tide channels
Whimbrel - 1 in & 3 at high tide on Red Nab
Red-throated Diver - 2 in
Whooper Swan - one across the bay at 0705hrs (very late)
Linnet - 5
Carrion Crow - one in-off from Walney
Siskin - 3
Redpoll - at least one heard
alba Wagtail - 1
Swallow - 14

Robin - one on NHW mound
Wheatear - 9 OE foreshore including 2 very large males

Canada Goose - 2 on the sea
Black Guillemot - sitting by the wooden jetty

Nothing yet. Either a home computer problem or no news of any significance at all from this area. The rain produced good numbers of hirundines on the Dockacres complex, including about 10 House Martin on Borwick Waters

Monday, 27 April 2009

Black-throated Diver eventually identified

Heysham Obs
Ended up as single observer of what I'm on record as saying is the most stringy species in Lancashire (as opposed to the White Wagtail subspecies)! It took 35 minutes to be certain of the identification due to a combination of initial distance and then active feeding. After 'swopping channels' round the end of the sandbank during a dive, it was then seen heading increasingly distantly up the Kent channel and a diver which appeared to be this species was unfortunately rather belatedly picked up in flight heading for south Walney at 0950hrs

North harbour wall 0830-1030hrs (seawatching disrupted by concentrating on the Bk TD)
Black-throated Diver - became aware of it distantly on the sea about 0855hrs, then reasonable views about 35 minutes later (see above). No sign of any breeding plumage therefore most likely to have been a 2CY
Red-throated Diver - 4 in summer plumaged birds in together + single wp/2CY 'in'
Guillemot - c10 floating in, including group of 5
Sandwich Tern - absolute minimum of 50 'in' & presumably the same birds starting to come out and 'ignored' count-wise from about 0945hrs
Arctic Tern - flock of 12 'in' as soon as I got there at 0830 was the only sighting (any missed pre-0830?)
Arctic Skua - dark morph in very high and gaining height at 0844hrs
Purple Sandpiper - 1 under the wooden jetty

No sign of Black Guillemot, despite calm conditions

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Only about half the number of gulls as yesterday & nothing of note amongst them
Bar-tailed Godwit - flock of 217 on the tideline just south of Stage 2 outfall - these are the Lune estuary birds as indicated by the presence of the leucistic individual
Whimbrel - 3

11 Ocean Edge, 3 on the NHW mound, one on heliport

Male on fence in non-op land at 1400hrs

A single Harbour Porpoise only appeared to breach the once

Everyone appears to be at work!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Poor nice sunny morning

Heysham Obs
The weather in the south Irish sea was again significant, I suspect with very frustrating seawatching this morning with potentially the best birds (3 possible skuas and two duck spp) remaining very distant and unidentified in the heat haze

North wall & office vis 0930-1000 - all flying NE unless stated
Black Guillemot - harbour mouth area
Purple Sandpiper - wooden jetty
Arctic Tern 1 + 4, the latter dropped from a height, faced into the wind before climbing again
Sandwich Tern - perhaps no more than 10 blogging
Guillemot - 11 floating in during the latter stages of the tide
Red-throated Diver - one out distantly
Gannet - 2 out distantly
Swallow - 32
Goldfinch - 49
Linnet - 16
Redpoll spp - 2
Sand Martin - 2
Meadow Pipit - 3

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/outfalls
Med Gull - 3CY in full summer plumage and probably the 2CY seen intermittently recently
Whimbrel - 8, including a flock of 4 in from the south
Gulls - up to 500 immature Common and Black-headed Gull - well worth regular perusal on the incoming tide

Unprecedentedly, one was wandering around on the grass by the office completely ignoring everyone. Escape from Martin Mere?

Common Carpet was a first for the year

A new tetrad for Ring Ouzel in Bowland slightly lifts the gloom and doom with this species this year. Two Curlew Sandpiper Leighton Moss

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Seawatching and vis morning on the north wall

Heysham Obs
An okayish morning, especially for the less experienced birders, but the lack of skua species was disappointing

Birds seen moving north 0700-1030
Kestrel - one watched 'in-off', then NE
Arctic Tern = 70 in, 7 out
Sandwich Tern - perhaps just 10 or so bloggng
Fulmar - perhaps just the two blogging
Razorbill - one in, two out
Guillemot - 5 out, one in
Whooper Swan - one in 1000ish - very late (Marton Mere bird?)
Whimbrel - 4 out
Gannet - 5 in, one out
Red-throated Diver - one out - landed on water
Goosander - male in (rare here)
Meadow Pipit - 25
Swallow - 90
Linnet - 23
Redpoll spp - 10
House Martin - 1
Swift - 2
Sand Martin - 14
Grey Wagtail - 1 (late)
Goldfinch - 17
Wheatear - 25 passed through the seawatch area, many of these "in-off" and north along the seawall. At least a further 27 in the recording area & the speed they were moving inland suggests many more as OE foreshore and the non-operational land were not checked until very late/not at all respectively
Wheatear (additional)
16 on Half Moon Bay foreshore 7am
13 on Ocean Edge foreshore 11am

In situ
Black Guillemot by the wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - probably just the one intermittently visible below wooden jetty
Little Gull - 2 adults on the outfall for a lengthy period - then at least one of them seemed to head off high
2 Grasshopper Warbler - Middleton Industrial Est

Black Tern Leighton Moss

Friday, 24 April 2009

Routine migration trickle

Heysham Obs
*** See posting on 16/4 for good views of Alpine Swift just a few millimetres outside the Obs recording area at 1100hrs (on 16/4)!

Ocean Edge foreshore
Mediterranean Gull - yesterdays 2CY
Wheatear - 12 plus 6 NHW
Willow Warbler - 2 migrants on the rocks

Office area
Redstart - female
Redpoll spp - 1 NE
Goldfinch - 2 NE

North harbour wall & area (all passerines/hirundines NE)
Black Guillemot
Arctic Skua - one dm in 0750hrs
Arctic Tern - 7 in
Sandwich Tern - one blogging, 3 in
Little Gull - ad winter blogging
Gannet - 6 in
Razorbill - 2 in
Guillemot - 2 in & 4 floating in
Whimbrel 14+22+1 in, 3 out
Swallow - 92
Meadow Pipit - 40
Goldfinch - 17
Linnet - 7
Redpoll - 1
Siskin - 2
Jackdaw - 1 in
Grey Heron - 1 in
Turnstone - 265
Purple Sandpiper - 1

One was along Moneyclose Lane between the reserve and Ocean Edge and is the first posting for a bit. Please post any sightings of this species in the Heysham area. Thanks

3 Harbour Porpoise and a Grey Seal off NH wall

Chinese Character new for the year

Absolutely nothing of interest reported in this area in the public domain other than the above Heysham stuff! 2 Black-necked Grebe at Lilians hide, Leighton Moss yesterday, also 2 Curlew Sandpiper on the Allen/EM Pools. Apologies for not texting the BNG - forgot to check pager - very busy! Scalloped Hook-tip was an unexpected capture at Lord's Lot Wood last night

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Fairly low key, especially on the sea!

Heysham Obs
Extensive cloud cover out to sea did nothing to divert any passage via Morecambe least pre-0900hrs when work had to take over.

North harbour wall 0700-0900
Black Guillemot - in residence
Gannet - one out
No obvious sign of any Purple Sandpiper in poor light

Vis mig north wall/Ocean Edge/by office pre-0900
Siskin - 8 NE
Swallow - 16 NE

Wheatear - 11
low single figures of Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff plus a single unringed Blackcap caught

Med Gull - unringed 2CY with extensive dusky rear crown and well-defined dark band on outer bill OE foreshore
Black-headed Gull - 280 OE foreshore/outfall - good count for this time of year - worth checking daily!
Common Gull - 35 perhaps a lower number than usual for this time of year

V Pug & Herald & a few orthosias

Nothing as yet

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Not worth getting up early!

Apart from the possibility of an escapee from a snake dancer in a Morecambe nightclub, reptiles have never featured on the radar for this area. However, an intensive search for Belted Beauty Moth at nearby Potts Corner produced a minimum of two sightings of Common Lizard. Please do keep an eye open for these in the Obs recording area as they havent been seen in 30+ years of coverage!

Heysham Obs
Early seawatching was like watching paint dry with just 4 Sandwich Tern 0715-0815 in very clear conditions. Went up a gear later as some cloud and haze appeared to the south. A survey vessel (didnt appear to be bird work) in the mouth of the bay did not help with respect to Red-throats and scoters drifting in [the(?) two Velvets were seen again at Rossall].

North wall 0715-0815, 0830-1045
Black Guillemot - on or below the wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - definitely two and possibly three on/below wooden jetty
Sandwich Tern - just 8 seen all morning - all in!
Arctic Tern - flocks of 10 + 104 in (latter at 1010hrs)
Arctic Skua - a distant all dark skua in at 0945 appeared to be this species
Little Gull - adult still in winter plumage out, plus 3CY on the sea of Ocean Edge
Redpoll spp - 4+1 in
White Wagtail - 1 in
Linnet - 6 in
House Martin - 1 in
Swallow 45 - in (0840-1130 hrs) more frequent latterly.
Sand Martin 1 NE
Woodpigeon 1 high over Bay NE
Robin - one grounded on the end of the north harbour wall - soon went inland (see also ringing)

Ocean Edge
Little Gull - see above
Mallard - male off Red Nab (mega!)
Wheatear - 8
Whimbrel - 3

An early start in clear conditions did at least produce the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year on the reserve plus a Blackcap & probable migrant Robin

Middleton IE
Whinchat - male
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male central marsh

At least three Harbour Porpoise but quite distant (Kent channel?) at c1030hrs

Several teneral Large Red Damselflies were seen YESTERDAY around the reserve

Osprey last night at Leighton Moss

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Routine coverage

North harbour wall 0830-0950
Black Guillemot wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper wooden jetty
Gannet 5 'in' (4 ad + 1 sub-adult)
Sandwich Tern 4 blogging
Swallow 1 North
Rook 1 South over wooden jetty

Monday, 20 April 2009

Velvet Scoter highlight

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 06.30-7.30 & 0845-1145

Arctic Tern - 15 in
Eider (6 in, 8 out, 15 across the end of the Bay N-S)
Sandwich tern (build up - 2 in and hanging round yellow buoys, 4 on red buoy, later 10 altogether wandering round)
Red-throated diver (1 out but landed by yellow buoys, 1 out, 3 in)
Gannet - 1 in, 3 out
Guillemot - 1 out.Common Scoter 30+20+130=180 ouy
Velvet Scoter - 2 out with common scoter flock
Little Gull - 2x AdS north, 2x 1stW north, 1 AdW on sea
Arctic Skua - 1 dark morph on seaMeadow Pipit - c36 NE
Swallow - c6 NE
Tree Pipit - 1 NE
alba Wagtail - 4 NE

Red Nab
Dunlin unusual & 2 Sandwich Tern

Wooden jetty area
Purple sandpiper - 1, later 2 seen
Black Guillemot - flying about and swimming, then up on top of pier.

Wheatear - 3

Nothing dramatic although belated news that the Alpine Swift on 15/4 was seen flying from Cockersands towards Glasson at 5pm!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Through Morning Mist

North Harbour Wall 6.00am to 10am

calm conditions but visibility very poor
Arctic Skua pale morph in at 7.20am though distant
Black Guillemot and Common Guillemot
Purple Sandpiper with Turnstones
Arctic Terns c25 : Kittiwakes 5
Sandwich Terns c35 (including 25 in view at one time on buoys ad outfall railings)
Scoter 48 (including flock of 40, which went out of bay then back in an hour later)
Gannet 1
Eider 33 (26m & 7f)
Greylag - 2 in
Red Throated Divers 5
Little Gulls 16 ( 11 adults ; all into bay)
2 Wheatear on mound
Shelduck pair inner harbour wall
Meadow Pipit 11 NE
Swallow 34 NE
alba Wagtail 8 NE
Redpoll spp - 3
Siskin - 3
Middleton Industrial Est (Evening)
Singing warblers:
1 Grasshopper
1 Lesser whitethroat
1 Sedge

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Nice day for migrants

Wanted : experienced seawatcher(s) to cover Monday 20th & probably Tuesday 21st from the north harbour wall - early morning to 1000ish (or part of this period). No-one available at this end.

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately no mist netting was possible this morning but a good few odds and ends picked up by what was otherwise good coverage of the sea & land except early morning on the sea (see JBP)

North harbour wall 0645-0930, some hirundine/passerine vis from other sites, then 1215-1315
Manx Shearwater - distant bird, probably this species c1300hrs
Red-throated Diver - 6 in
Gannet - 24 (+) in
Common Scoter - flock of 6 in
Red-breasted Merganser - 4 in
Black-tailed Godwit - 1 SW (rare here)
Little Gull - flock of 7 summer plumaged adults, including a 'pink' bird in with c12 Black-headed Gulls at c1230
Arctic Skua - 1 pale morph at 0700hrs, 1 pale 1 dark 0720hrs, dark 0900hrs, dark 0930hrs - all in
Whimbrel - 4 in (first of year)
Sandwich Tern - 128 in, 7 out, then 70 in 1 out 1215-1315
Arctic Tern - 34 in, nearly all in first hour - JBP figures suggest a lot missed prior to 0645hrs (79 at JBP), then 103 in 1215-1315
Swallow - 61 NE
Sand Martin - 11 NE
Meadow Pipit - 31 in
alba Wagtail - 7 in
Linnet - 38 in
Goldfinch - 4 in
Siskin - heard once + 2 NE
Redpoll spp - 1+ in
Carrion Crow - 2+ 4 in
Tree Pipit - one NE (first of year)

Grounded definite migrants
Wheatear - 3 non-op, one Red Nab, 2 heliport
Redstart - male lingering on the north harbour wall mound!

Black Guillemot returned = around wooden jetty or just offshore
Purple Sandpiper - at least 2
Grasshopper Warbler - FOUR Middleton IE
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 singing male Middleton IE - first of year
Common Whitethroat - singing male by office - first of year

Middleton Industrial Est
3 mute
12 coot
3 moorhen
4 little grebe
6 tufted
6 shellduck
1 teal
4 mallard

Early morning coverage of JBP indicated what had been missed past Hey prior to 0645. There was obviously a very early movement of Arctic Tern with 79 picked up at JBP (& most of the Heysham birds prior to 0730hrs), not always the best site for this spp., e.g. how many went inland via the Keer flightline? Two Great Skua also seen at JBP . 2 Osprey Leighton Moss mid afternoon, single Osprey Cleveley Mere early morning

Friday, 17 April 2009

Thank goodness for the Gannet!

Wanted : experienced seawatcher(s) to cover Monday 20th & probably Tuesday 21st from the north harbour wall - early morning to 1000ish (or part of this period). No-one available at this end.

Heysham Obs
No observer until 0830hrs this morning due to early morning work. The Rossall seawatch stuff hadn't yet kicked in on the pager [Little Tern, 3 Arctic Skua 12 Arctic Tern by 0730hrs] & it seemed to be "dead", therefore just about to make a beeline for the nearest coffee when a Gannet flew in.....give it another 5 minutes or so. The reward was the biggest (and one of the closest) flock of Arctic Skua I have ever seen from here. No sign yet again of the Black Guillemot.

North harbour wall 0830-0945
Arctic Skua - flock of 7 (3 lm) in at 0850hrs, just inside the line of the yellow buoys - picked up again off north Morecambe at 0915hrs (following phone calls), whence they circled high and disappeared in a NW direction into the haze (just south of Humphrey Head)
Gannet - one in at 0845hrs
Arctic Tern - flock of 16 in at 0900hrs
Sandwich Tern - 5 in with the above Arctic Terns & one out at 0920hrs
Purple Sandpiper - 3 together below the wooden jetty and almost certainly an additional singleton with the Turnstone below the NHW by the gate
Turnstone - 392
Swallow - 26 NE
Linnet - 8 NE
Meadow Pipit - 5 NE

See above for same flock of Arctic Skua off Bare. Curlew Sandpiper again Allen/EM Pool and adult Spoonbill at Leighton Moss. Stunningly routine on the Lune & north Fylde.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Struggle against a 'blocking' wind but late afternoon Osprey saves the day

Alpine Swift
This was seen very well by Bill and Chris Ashby accompanying a single Swallow from their house overlooking the bay on Twemlow Parade. It was around at 1100hrs before heading north. This does suggest that the theories re-roosting on the power station or the cliffs at Heysham Head probably had some substance! Unfortunately the only morning observer in the area was doing a VP the wrong side of the 'Heysham ridge'

Heysham Obs
Just one hour on the north wall this morning 0730-0830 & an afternoon visit by a group of eminent Fylde birders. A bit of vis along the seawall but nothing happening offshore after a little flurry 0730-0735. The Black Guillemot was also nowhere to be seen! Some Germans were photographing the departing Moondance - apparently it is due to move to pastures new - pity it cannot take the axphixiating rust bucket West Express with it.

North harbour wall 0730-0830
Meadow Pipit - 69 NE
Linnet - 48 NE
Swallow - 7 NE (all in last 10 minutes) & about 25/hr subsequently
House Martin - 2 NE in the afternoon - first of the year for here
alba Wagtail - 5 NE
Siskin - heard once
Arctic Tern - flock of 6 'in' at 0733hrs
Common Scoter - 4 'in' 0735hrs
Purple Sandpiper - THREE under the wooden jetty

Work along Heysham bypass
Osprey - one flew over the ridge where the new housing is on Mossgate heading north and gaining height. Therefore above SD46A and therefore the Obs recording area. This was during a lull in the wind at about 1750hrs, prior to quite a cloudy and wild spell of weather with a bit of rain which apparently did not reach Lancaster!

Curlew Sandpiper Allen/EM Pools (second day), Ad Spoonbill Griesdale Hide, Leighton Moss. 11 Arctic Terns off Cockersands late afternoon but none of the significant number of Little Gulls grounded on inland waters to the south of here were seen in our area

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Common Buzzard & Arctic Terns highlight meagre fare

Heysham Observatory
The rain and far too northerly wind conspired to produce a big fat zero as regards night migrants other than three Wheatear at each of the heliport and OE foreshore. Later 9 Wheatear on OE as the wind went more easterly

North harbour wall
Black Guillemot - in the harbour mouth first thing, then sitting offshore
Purple Sandpiper - three under the wooden jetty
Common Scoter - 7 'in' + 10 'in' & 3 'out'
Arctic Tern - 3 flew into the bay at 1200hrs
Turnstone - 385 including one with non-British metal ring but no colour ringed/flagged birds

Office area
Common Buzzard - one drifted SE at 0830hrs - rarer than Osprey here!
Coal Tit - unringed bird caught

Very little in the murky conditions and F3 NE wind
Meadow Pipit - 8 NE
alba Wagtail- 5 NE
Linnet - 2 NE

A good collection of gulls but nothing of interest! Good magnet though
Black-headed Gull - 285 - mainly 2CY - a good number for this time of year and augurs well for something decent with them
Common Gull - 115, mainly 2CY

Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male western marsh
Sedge Warbler - 2 singing males

ALPINE SWIFT seen to fly into SD35, therefore our recording area mid-afternoon - heading for Heysham Power Stations, perhaps via Sunderland Point! Unfortunately a little too murky to follow for any length of time

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Flurry of early morning migrants

Heysham Obs
A 0715hrs start would have been a waste of time on the NHW yesterday but landfalled Wheatears and 'vis' were in full swing on arrival this morning and an '0600er' might have been worthwhile. We were also anticipating some tern passage, at least Sandwich, in a SEF2-3 - the result - not a single tern seen 0715-0930hrs!

Vis mig 0715-0900 north wall, 1 hr OE foreshore
Marsh Harrier - female north over the golf course, then Heysham Head at 0815hrs
alba Wagtail - 24 north-east, as were all subsequent sightings
Meadow Pipit - 188
Linnet - 40
Siskin - 3
Swallow - 20
Reed Bunting - one
Redpoll spp - 3
Sand Martin - 2

Wheatear - 13 north wall/OE foreshore
Willow Warbler - probably 40-50 minimum over the whole site (21 ringed)
Chiffchaff - 2 new birds trapped
Redstart - 2 males caught together

Purple Sandpiper - THREE together on the rocks by the harbour entrance (north side) as the tide was dropping
Black Guillemot - this was sat offshore between the harbour mouth and the yellow buoys
Med Gull - first winter with stand-along 'masks' on the outfalls

V Pug was new for the year

Lesser Whitethroat - three Aldcliffe early morning

Monday, 13 April 2009

No reward for the early start!

Heysham Obs
This was a peculiar day with a SE wind kicking in late morning and if the 'vis' from a nearby almost day-long vantage point survey is included, it reveals a significant increase during the day, with Meadow Pipit peaking at about 1400hrs! The other peculiar thing was the complete (as far as we undertand & certainly until at least 1145hrs) non-appearance of the Black Guillemot in "perfect" conditions

Vis mig from the office, later NHW 0700-1145hrs, later Middleton IE late evening
Redpoll spp. - 2 north
Siskin - 4 east
Linnet - 2 NE
Meadow Pipit - just 46 NE
alba Wagtail - 4 NE
Swallow - 5 NE, 51 E late evening at Middleton
Willow Warbler - at least 6 migrants passing through the bushes
Goldcrest - just one
Sandwich Tern - minimum of 4 blogging, then out
Merlin - one eventually flew north out to sea towards Ulverston climbing very high at c0830hrs

Vis from a VP just to the east
Absolutely nothing 0830-1000!

1030-1230, all heading NE as the south-easterlies freshened to F 2-4, 2-3 oktas
Meadow Pipit - c150
Siskin - 30
Linnet - 25
Redpoll spp - 1
Swallow - 18
Sand Martin - 8

1230-1630, (peaking around 1400h) SE F 2-4, 5 oktas
other species dried up but:
Meadow Pipit - c600, heading NE

Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler still singing in western marsh - stay on the raised concrete roads please
Stonechat - singing male on territory
Tufted Duck - 5

More info on yesterdays Heysham-ringed Twite seen at NR608209 (c.r. info)
1) one of 10 ringed between 31/10/2008 and 26/11/2008 (narrowed down by final digit of metal ring being visible!)
2) one of 31 ringed between 04/02/2009 and 24/03/2009

Cannot narrow them down any further without full metal ring numbers

First Holly Blue of the year in Heysham village (also one at the VP site just to the east "miles away" from the 'correct' habitat!)

Red Kite flew north Langden Valley early afternoon. Spoonbill arrived Leighton Moss late afternoon. Male Garganey Griesdale Hide Leighton Moss. Osprey N over Aldcliffe 1620ish

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Early Sedge Warbler & Orange Tip

Heysham Obs
Practically no movement today but a few bits and bobs of interest. Anything else from the coastal observers after 1015am, please? Please post as a 'comment'. Thanks

Two birds ringed at Heysham between 31/10/08 and March 2009 were seen on 12th April 2009 on spring passage at Machrihanish Seabird Observatory NR608209, near Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre. Thanks to Eddie Maguire.

In perfect visibility just the following seen NHW 0700-1015hrs
"Comic" Tern - 2 very distantly in, prob Arctic
Black Guillemot harbour mouth
Sandwich Tern - 4-6 blogging
Little Gull - ad Stage 2 outfall
Jackdaw - one in-off
Red-throated Diver - 2
Single-figure trickle of Meadow Pipit, Linnet and alba Wagtail & 3 Goldfinch

Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler - one singing male
Sedge Warbler - one singing male
Mute Swan - 2 nests - both sitting
Tufted Duck - 2
Teal - 2
Pochard - female
Little Grebe - 4+
Coot - 7+
Mallard - 9

Roe Deer Middleton IE

First Speckled Wood & male Orange Tip - the latter very early. Brimstone by OE caravan site entrance - first for 45E this year

Nothing of dramatic interest

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Osprey at last & first Grasshopper Warbler!

Heysham Obs
The Rossall Osprey was actually at 0710hrs, not 0610hrs therefore obviously the same bird as that seen at Heysham. The male Black Guillemot returned inshore at 1020hrs.

North wall 0700-1100hrs
Osprey - one north along the Kent channel line at 0725hrs (one NE over Rossall Point at 0710hrs)
Shag - a juv on the pager as being on the wooden jetty around 1000hrs but not before 0945 or after 1025
Black Guillemot - the ad male returned inshore about 1020hrs and remained alongside the wooden jetty to at least 1100hrs
Gannet - 6 in then out, 1 out
Med Gull - 2 x 2CY - one with stand-alone 'masks' , one where obviously joined over the rear crown - generally messing about offshore with Black-headed & Common Gulls
Sandwich tern - at least four, two latterly sitting on buoy
Swallow - one north!
Meadow Pipit - just 17 north
Linnet - 8 north
alba Wagtail - 5 north
Goldeneye - ad male on the sea
Red-breasted Merganser - 12 on sea
Great-crested Grebe - 5 on sea
Purple Sandpiper - a least one below the wooden jetty

Red Nab
Kittiwake - 36 inland over the caravan site at 0830hrs

Ad Little Gull
Ad Kittiwake (high tide)

Middleton IE
Canada Goose - 2
Greylag - 2
Both these pairs on the model boat pond

Evening visit Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler 1 in song
Goosander pair North
Great Spotted Woodpecker over
1 Fox

Good catch for here (32 moths of 10 species): Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet very early. Shoulder Stripe not common here. Chestnut exceptionally rare here & quite late for this hibernating species which re-emerges at the first hint of warmth! Agonopterix propinquella - first record for here? 13 Early Thorn a record one-night catch

Tree Pipit Warton Crag. Redstarts Freeman's Pool and upper Hindburndale (but no Pied Flycatcher upper Hindburn). Willow Warblers everywhere after yesterday afternoon's dramatic major arrival during the short but sharp rain belt, including 3 singing males within earshot of Leck View Cottage at High Tatham. Bittern almost certainly left Leighton Moss to the south this evening.

Friday, 10 April 2009

All day interest

Heysham Obs
Coastal coverage 0730-1130 produced not a lot, a bit more later on.

Brent Goose - 16, all appearing to be dark-bellied - on sea mid afternoon, then lost as visibility reduced by rain band
Little Gull - adult almost in summer plumage Stage 2 outfall. Probably a different adult was floating/flying into the bay at 0950hrs
Sandwich Tern - 5 blogging
Little Egret - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh channel - first April record?
Med Gull - last nights 2CY (first winter plumage) on the beach off Red Nab, then later on the outfalls.
Adult summer Med Gull came in-off across the Bay at 1515 and continued south without stopping.
Purple Sandpiper - at least one with Turnstone on the wooden jetty
Kittiwake - adult outfalls

Meadow Pipit - 105 north-east, then mainly east, nothing after wind swung to light westerly at 1045ish
Siskin - 2 north-east
Linnet - 16 north-east
alba Wagtail (one definite White) - 4 north-east
Carrion Crow - 2 in-off
Jackdaw - one in-off
Red-throated Diver - 6 in, one out
Auk spp - one very distant, possibly the Black Guillemot not in s.p. from two days ago?
Guillemot - 4 floating in
Bar-tailed Godwit - 6 out
Eider - 13 in
Swallow - 1 N
Pink-footed Goose - 12 N

Willow Warbler - singing male Moneyclose Lane, 3 onthe reserve (2 silent)
Wheatear - 3 OE foreshore, one heliport
Chiffchaff - 5 (3 silent)
Goldcrest - 2
Blackcap - singing male and silent male
Reed Bunting - male grounded briefly by the NR office

Ringed Plover
3 pairs - one heliport (46A), one Ocean Edge foreshore by slipway (help!), one PS non-operational land in SW corner (both 45E)

Middleton IE 1820-2010 hrs
Willow Warbler c10 in song
Swallow 1 over
Wheatear 1
Stonechat 1

3CY Yellow legged Gull still Glasson yesterday. At least one Osprey over Aldcliffe/Lancaster just after midday. Male Redstart by Freeman's Pool. 15 House Martin Pine Lake. 1st winter Mediterranean Gull at Leighton Moss.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Migrant Merlin chickens out of Bay crossing

Heysham Obs
A migrant female Merlin decided not to cross the Bay after one trial run and 'hung around' the harbour entrance before flying off inland.

Quick run round 1000-1100hrs
Meadow Pipit - 110 north (some probably missed)
Linnet - 16 north (ditto)
alba Wagtail - 2 north
Red-throated Diver - flock of 3 north the only remote interest from 25 minutes seawatching
Black-headed Gull - 67 outfalls
Common Gull - 18 outfalls
No Purple Sandpipers discerned amongst a tightly packed Turnstone flock on the wooden jetty and no sign of the 'usual' Black Guillemot

Seawatching from Heysham head
Seemed to confirm the lack of activity off the NHW
Mute Swan - 2 out

Seawatch early-mid pm
RTDiver 1
Diver sp 1
Gannet 1 N
Eider 3
Rb Merganser 4
Common Guillemot 2

Outfalls late afternoon
Med Gull - 2CY, still basically in 1st W plumage
lots of gulls on seaward end of S1 outfall at low tide

First Powdered Quaker of the year

Stoat in car park

Pair of Garganey Leighton Moss plus 2 Jack Snipe. NO sign Garganey Freemans pool

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

First Manx Shearwater record and a different Black Guillemot

Heysham Obs
A decreasing westerly in increasingly clear conditions saw a reasonable passage of seabirds (J Roberts, P Marsh, J Mason, J Girdley, J Wood):

0715-1115, then 1215-1250 north harbour wall
Gannet - 70 out, 6 in
Black Guillemot - what was presumably a 2CY with (at least) traces of 1stW/winter plumage flew out of the bay at c1225hrs. Too far out to see any detail.
Fulmar - 16 out
Manx Shearwater - one out 1050hrs, same? in 1058hrs [then blogged around the Morecambe Stone Jetty]
Kittiwake - flocks of 30+6+4+5+5+75+6 in, 3+12 out
Bonxie - one in, close inshore, at 0813hrs
Red-throated Diver - 1+2+2+1+1+1 in, 3 out
Common Scoter - 11 in, 5 out
Razorbill - one in
Auk spp - one in, 4 out
Sanderling - 1 out
Bar-tailed Godwit - 8 out
Grey Plover - 6 out
Eider - 9 in
Goldeneye - one out
Little Gull - 5+2 out
Mute Swan - 2 headed across the bay from Ulverston towards & over the wooden jetty, then inland

Purple Sandpipers not looked for

Ocean Edge foreshore
White Wagtail - male with 19 Pied Wagtail

Half Moon Bay (dusk)
1 Wheatear

Presumably the above Manx Shearwater blogging around the Stone Jetty at lunchtime. No news from JBP area.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Excellent early season seawatch

Heysham Obs
Good conditions for a few seabirds - nice SW wind, a bit of cloud cover and an incoming tide. Anyone here before 0900hrs (unfortunately had to return hire car)?:

North harbour wall 0910-1100hrs (Pete Marsh (0910-1020) & John Wood (1010-1100))
Puffin - one flew out fairly close inshore (yellow buoy range) at 0923 - a very scarce and erratic visitor here and indeed in the county as a whole
Great Skua (Bonxie) - One flew fast and low over the water from the Ulverston direction and then swung towards the direction of Knott End, circling twice, before continuing quickly low over the water: 0955hrs
Arctic Skua - a dark morph adult flew low and fast 'out' down the "centre" of the bay at 1015hrs and presumably the same bird headed back into the Bay, close inshore, at 1047hrs

Perhaps surprising the above two birds did not attempt to migrate overland from the inner bay in what were fairly clear conditions and not an excessive wind.

Razorbill - 20 out
Guillemot - 2 out
Auk spp. - 17 out (most seemed to be Razorbill or completely unidentifiable)
Sandwich Tern - one out
Red-throated Diver - flock of 6 'in' quite high at 0910hrs, 2CY out close inshore at 1010hrs, 2 out c1045hrs
Gannet - 2 (1 2CY)+3+1+1+2 out - all very distant
Meadow Pipit - 6 north

No Kittiwake!

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - at least 2
Turnstone - c180
No sign of the Black Guillemot (still havent seen it (Pete)!)

Grey Seal off the NHW 1030ish

Monday, 6 April 2009

Lapwing return

The only coverage today involved recording a pair of Lapwing on territory on the PS non-operational land after missing out on last year due to heavy plant activity

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Quick posting

Heysham Obs
Not sure of any further coverage today but:

Black Guillemot on the pager as being next to the wooden jetty early morning

Very few grounded migrants in the clear conditions e.g. just one new Chiffchaff and two new Goldcrest in the mist nets

Pretty quiet.....
Vis 0930-1100 hrs 
Pied Wagtail 1 North
Siskin 3 NNE

Black guillemot also visited 'its' hole on the wooden jetty.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Early morning seabirds missed?

Please keep half an eye on the gulls around the harbour/offshore e.g. the old Fisher's roof - lots of immatures this evening - possibilities of a white-wing.

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0900-1000
Gannet 3 adult 'in' & flock of 11 adult 'out'
Eider 5+5 'out'
Red-throated Diver 3 very high 'out'

Meadow Pipit 7 North

Wheatear 3 Sand Plant, 4 Near Naze rocks & 3 OE foreshore
Linnet 11 Sand Plant

Outfalls area
Purple Sandpiper - one with 182+ Turnstone

Middleton Industrial est
4 mute
9 coot
4 moorhen
3 little grebe
9 mallard
8 tufted
1 teal
0 goldeneye
1 heron

Colour-ringed Bittern showing well in front of Lilian's hide (not 'tickable' - released at Leighton). Female Brambling still at Leighton feeder. Pair of Garganey still at Aldcliffe, mainly on Freeman's Pool

Friday, 3 April 2009

Extensive early morning fog and no birds

Heysham Obs
Rockish-bottom migrant-wise with a mist netting effort scoring just the one new Goldcrest, 2 new Robin, 2 new Dunnock (of unknown status), a Wren and a few Greenfinch. A migrant Reed Bunting was also trapped mid-morning. Just the one Wheatear found and the 'highlight' was a lost Canada Goose on the sea, perhaps an appropriate symbol of todays dross.

North harbour wall
Canada Goose - one calling in the fog & located sitting on the sea. First of the year.
Linnet - 32 on the seed, later 16
Twite - unringed bird on the seed, later 7 (at least 3 Heysham-ringed)
Wheatear on mound
Meadow Pipit - 2 north in 20 minutes
Purple Sandpiper - just one located under wooden jetty, but visibility poor
No sign of the Black Guillemot 0840-0900
Shelduck 3 'out' 1500 hrs

Ocean Edge foreshore
Nothing of note

TWO Great Grey Shrike 200m apart on Dalton Crag on 29th March.
Pair of Garganey Freemen's Pool. Green Sandpiper on a pond by Heaton Hall farm & another at Skerton Weir (plus early Common Sandpiper)

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Low key coverage

Heysham Obs
Two people who should have been doing other things covered for a couple of hours or so this morning!

Just one Goldcrest and one unringed Robin obvious by the office

Vis Mig
Linnet - 4 north
Meadow Pipit - 37 north
alba Wagtail - 2 north
Siskin - 3 north
Black-headed Gull - 18 north in 15 minutes NHW
Whooper Swan - flock of 14 NW across the bay; presumably the same flock also seen at Walney, removing lingering doubts re-any dodgy very long range identification from 'this side' of the bay!

Purple Sandpiper - a least 2 below the wooden jetty
Black Guillemot - by the wooden jetty early morning but not 0845-0900hrs
Linnet - 16 on the seed but no Twite

Nothing e.g. NNEW on Great White Egret since yesterday morning, other than reportedly on the Griesdale mere

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Black Guillemot returns (again)

Heysham Obs
Please put all potential Atlas records in blue for the next three months e.g. todays Carrion Crow nest. Please note which tetrad/10km square they are in or describe the location accurately - sorry its so complicated here as 4 x 10km squares converge!

A few interesting bits and bobs this morning, including the capture of a 7CY Wren, first ringed as a juvenile on 15/6/03 and not seen in-between-time! The national longevity record for Wren is 6 years 8 months 13 days. (2006 Ringing Report). This bird was 5 years 9 months 16 days old so we need to catch it again at this time next year to beat the record.

North harbour wall, incl intermittent vis 0800-1110hrs
Black Guillemot back by the wooden jetty
Meadow Pipit - 62 N
Linnet - 5 N & 6 at the feeding station (no Twite - see below)
Greenfinch - 2N, one in-off
alba Wagtail - 5 N, one in-off
Collared Dove - one N
Goldfinch - 5 N
Carrion Crow - pair nest-building on the tower at the end of the wooden jetty (SD35Z) plus 2+1 'in-off' then high to SE
Wheatear - just one
Mute Swan - 2 offshore slowly 'in' on the tide

No repeat of yesterdays duck bonanza offshore with just 8 RB Merganser, one Great-crested Grebe and some Eider in view.

Office vis
Swallow - one N (first of year)

Ringing HNR
Male Willow Warbler ringed along with 6 female Goldcrest (most of the April migrants are females) and two Chiffchaff. Unringed Dunnock and Great Tit unexpected. Goldcrest ringing total for this year already 41 - surely evidence that this last winter was never 'hard' long enough to clobber these small insectivores?

As I was leaving yesterday, just after the arrival of an 'in-off' Twite, I was aware of the Twite flock (26) appearing to 'follow' me along the harbour road. This was as the weather was clearing. Subsequently, only Linnet were present at the feeder and, despite extensive coverage, no Twite have been seen along the NHW this morning (6 Linnet at the feeding station). Therefore, perhaps prompted by the vis mig bird, yesterdays flock appears to have headed off north mid-morning. Please report any subsequent Twite appearance and perhaps it is really worth checking the ring status as there might be a greater chance of non-Heysham birds (see right-hand column). Thanks

Depressaria daucella was a stunning new addition to the Heysham moth list (small and brown)

Great White Egret on the shoreline by the egret roost at Leighton Moss at least 0740hrs (roosted overnight - came in very late). Still by lower hide mid-morning today. No subsequent reports.