Saturday, 31 October 2009

Enjoyable morning by the office

Heysham Obs
The weather suggested the final vis mig morning would be a chore as I set of from High Tatham rather later than I should have been and inevitably ended up caught in traffic. Two birders were already in the car park on arrival and immediately a flock of Redwing flew over. I should have asked if I had missed anything. The next hour or so was as good as anything this autumn!

Vis by HNR office 0715-1115
These were all heading in a generally southerly direction at a height/purposeful manner suggesting they were migrating. Plenty, for e.g. of other 'blogging' gulls. All Woodcock seen included

Woodcock - two possibly flushed by the birders (first seen flying south behind them at 0735hrs, landed in the screening planting along Moneyclose Lane), one flew south out of the top path scrub (and landed along Moneyclose Lane) at 0800hrs, one flew out of the mist net ride behind the office at 0807hrs (landed in the tank farm)
Redwing - 148 & another flock heard but not seen
Fieldfare - just 11 very first thing
Greenfinch - 61
Chaffinch - 136
Starling - 275
Goldfinch - 25
Meadow Pipit - 2
Herring Gull - 24
Blackbird - 32
Mistle Thrush - 7
Brambling - 2
Song Thrush - 10
Siskin - 5
Reed Bunting - 1
Black-headed Gull - 9
Grey Wagtail - 2 together south- definietly late migrants
Whooper Swan - flock of 12 south VERY high
alba Wagtail - just 6
Collared Dove - 1
Jay - 2
Rock Pipit - 1
Snipe - 1
Linnet - 6
Common Gull - 2
Great Black-backed Gull - 3
Bullfinch - 2

Red Admiral - 4
Painted Lady - 1

Chiffchaff - three by the office:
a) collybita-type giving collybita-type calls
b) brown one giving monosyllabic 'peep' call
c) greyish/buff one giving rather faint disyllabic call
Blackcap - 1CY male trapped with fat score of just 2
Green Woodpecker - one in the tank farm briefly
Wheatear - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh shoreline the Woodcock

Knot - 50,000 off Ocean Edge
Kingfisher - one Ocean Edge
Teal - 46 Middleton IE
Tufted Duck - 3 IE
Little Grebe - 1 IE
Snipe - 5 IE
Bar-tailed Godwit - 42 off OE

North wall
Med Gull - 2 adults
Twite - only 4 ringed birds seen - 2 from 'winter' 2008/9, two from earlier this week, indicating that many of the birds ringed this week have moved on and been replaced by new arrivals
Guillemot - 2 harbour

Single Peacock butterfly by the office. Also 2 geriatric Speckled Wood and a single Migrant hawker. An estimated 350 wasps flew SW past the office from a nest in the NE corner of the car park during the vis mig 4 hours. None returned via this route. No macros in the moth trap but 3 Silver Y seen in the course of the morning

Slavonian Grebe Pine Lake. Avocet & 4 fence-hopping Snow Geese viewable from JB Point. 3 Great White Egret Leighton area, but only 2 definitely entered the roost. One Cetti's Warbler heard on the causeway

Friday, 30 October 2009

Highlighted by late insect movement

Does anyone know why the 'update link' where this site is being followed on other people's blogs is remaining at 2 weeks ago? Thanks.

Heysham Obs
No avian vis mig to speak of today but 3 Skylark casually recorded. Note the final national vis mig day of the trilogy can either be tomorrow (infinitely better for passerines) or Sunday (absolutely horrendous for passerine vis mig &, on the latest forecast, useless for any seabirds, indeed a classic 'lie in'/brownie-point retrieval morning). Supposed to be 0700-1100ish which looks pretty decent for Saturday

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Linnet - c25
Twite - low single figures
Wigeon - 41
Kingfisher - probably 2
Med Gull - probably two adults but mobile
Black-tailed Godwit - 2
no sign of Black Redstart but plenty of suitable habitat

North Harbour Wall
Twite/Linnet - very mobile flocks in strong wind, probably up to 60 in total. A sample of 38 Twite on the seed revealed 17 unringed, two ringed last winter and 19 ringed two days ago.
Guillemot - 2 in harbour
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - c6
Kingfisher - 1
Bar-tailed Godwit - 3

Record autumn count of FOUR Goldcrest! otherwise just 15-20 Blackbird and 2 Song Thrush on the migrant front. This has become a 'no-go' area for Fieldfare/Redwing in the last few days - odd.

Numbers of butterflies coming across harbour and flying northwards over the bay - Painted Lady 2, Red Admiral 3, Small Tortoiseshell 1, plus 2 others not identified. Also one Migrant Hawker! At least 6 Silver Y around the nature reserve car park and two Comma still flying on the reserve itself, but no dragonflies seen there.

Slavonian Grebe still Pine Lake, showing little concern for power boat activities. 230+ social wasps in a moth trap at Wennington!! [what date is this?] . Migrant moths in this area have included single Vestal, Diamond-back & Rusty Dot Pearl, several Rush Veneer & Dark Sword Grass and plenty of diurnal & nocturnal Silver Y

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Black Redstart day

Heysham Obs
Vis mig 0900-1000
Chaffinch - 21
Goldfinch - 4
Greenfinch - 7
Woodpigeon - 4
Reed Bunting - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 25
i.e. not a lot with no thrush passage over here

Ocean Edge/Red Nab etc
Black Redstart - female/imm found by a three lady birders who kindly informed us of the news on returning to the car park. Thanks very much! Still present about 1300hrs along the seawall between Red Nab and the outfalls
Knot - 10,000+
Wigeon - 36

North harbour wall
'Twinnet' - c45, c30 of which were Twite.

Grounded migrants
Chiffchaff - one, the first for a few days
a few (5-6) Blackbirds
see above for Black Redstart
Dunnock - two unringed birds trapped, one was released unringed as it had serious 'foot growths', a not uncommon problem with this species
Greenfinch - 5 unringed birds trapped

The second male Cetti's Warbler at Leighton Moss was ringed today. NNEW on Great White Egrets or Slavonian Grebe. 3 unknown origin Snow Geese with feral Greylags at Leighton this evening! Vestal moth trapped at Millhouses & several Rush veneer, Silver Y & Dark Sword Grass in local traps. Two more nights of good moth trapping conditions!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Twite ringing

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall
Twite - 37 trapped (of these, 32 new birds ringed, 4 retraps and 1 control, ringed on the Ribble estuary)
Linnet - 6 caught and ringed
Meadow Pipit - approx 6 around
Rock Pipit - 1
Pied Wagtail - resident pair

Hut Moth Trap - southerly wind overnight just blowing into window so catch probably reduced:

Singles of Large Wainscot, Feathered Thorn and Silver Y plus 2 Red line Quaker

Cetti's Warbler - 1+ Leighton causeway. Great White Egret - 3 around. Slavonian Grebe - still Pine Lake. Curlew Sandpiper Cockersands

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Short and sweet

Heysham Obs
A quick visit turned out to be very quick with the only worthwhile sighting being two Silver Y's nectaring from the still-flowering orange buddliea next to the car park (thanks originally to Jon Stagg for this)

Surely a British record 3 Great White Egret roosting at Leighton with 55+ Little Egret. Two singing male Cetti's Warbler next to the Leighton main causeway. Slavonian Grebe still Pine Lake

Monday, 26 October 2009

Green Woodpecker visits the reserve area

Heysham NR area
Green Woodpecker - 1 in tank farm area - presumably one of the two seen on Middleton IE in recent times.

North Harbour Wall
Twite/Linnet - A number of fragmented small mixed flocks (with one Goldfinch) around the mound and feeding area, perhaps 30 -35 in all. 26 Linnets on feeding site.

Guillemot - 2

Red Nab
Kingfisher - 1

Sunday, 25 October 2009

A Mammal and a Half....

Heysham Obs

North Harbour Wall
Med Gull - 1 adult
Twite/Linnet - flock of 32 at feeding station certainly included 4 Twite and 10 Linnet, with the remainder not firmly identified.

Grey Seal - 1

Ocean Edge
Rock Pipit - 1
Whooper Swan - 2 SE at 1035hrs
Wheatear - 1 Red Nab

Harbour Porpoise - the front half of an animal seen between Red Nab and power station outfalls. This unfortunate individual was freshly severed just behind the dorsal fin - perhaps the result of an encounter with a ship's propeller?

Quite probably two singing male Cetti's Warbler Leighton Moss causeway. Slavonian Grebe Pine Lake. Two Great White Egret at least in the evening roost Leighton area. Juv Curlew Sandpiper Cockersands area & it looks like a Common Sandpiper (is it an adult??) is set to winter at Conder Pool again

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Clarity at dawn and high vis

Heysham Obs
Its all about timing when you are going for possible pre-frontal falls off an ESE wind. Far too clear until about 1000hrs and the battle for the 'highlight' was a wrestling match between the almost annual autumn Yellowhammer flyover and a (seriously) mind-boggling count of 9 Mallard on the Obs Tower fire pond. Some predictable finchy vis from dawn (see Punkbirder site for a noble effort this morning at my old 1977/8 stamping ground at East Hills (I never made it pre-dawn!))

Heysham Obs office & reserve area 0745-0945
Song Thrush - 13 SE (plus another 30-35 unearthed on a 'thrash' - quite a good count for here)
Redwing - 60, mainly S/SW
Blackbird - 15 SE, plus c25 in the abovementioned thrash; all appeared to be males
Chaffinch - 72 SW, mostly high & some could have been missed
Greenfinch - 49 SW (as above)
Goldfinch - 15 SW
Reed Bunting - 2 (together) SW
Yellowhammer - f/imm SSE at 0820hrs
alba Wagtail - 13 SE
Meadow Pipit - 1 SE
Siskin - 3 SE & 8 grounded which then flew SE
Fieldfare - just 5 S
Redpoll spp (& sounded like a non-Lesser) - 1 SE
Linnet - 5 SE
Skylark - 1 SE
Jay - 2 possible vis mig birds south, low
Mistle Thrush - 1 SE
Grey Wagtail - 1 apparently on a wide-ranging blog & this was confirmed by sighting of colour-ringed bird caught on 27/9/09
Bullfinch - 1 possible migrant low to south
Goldcrest - 2, possibly 3!
Mallard - unprecedented 9 on Obs Tower fire pond - rare here outside breeding season

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 75 SE
Rock Pipit - 1

Middleton IE
Jack Snipe - 1

North wall
'Twinnet' - mixed flock of c40
Med Gull - one adult
Meadow Pipit - 6 grounded

Insects (it was warm!)
Red Admiral & Migrant Hawker Middleton IE

Slavonian Grebe Pine Lake, 2 x Great White Egret Eric Morecambe Pool

Friday, 23 October 2009

Good finchy vis until the pager was belatedly checked

Heysham Obs
Perhaps the most telling thing about today was 2 x Yellow-browed Warbler & 1 x Eastern Crowned Warbler in some very inviting east coast bushes and not a single Goldcrest. So it is not just Heysham, Walney etc which is experiencing this quite extraordinary absence following a spring passage which suggested the species was unaffected by the winter

Vis mig by the office 0845-1000 (rain stopped the movement at about 0957hrs)
Chaffinch - 101 SW
Greenfinch - 58 SW
Goldfinch - 38 SW
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 54 S (& see below)
Linnet - 5 S
Reed Bunting - 1 SW
Brambling - 4+1 SW
alba Wagtail - 2 SE
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Twite - 6 (flock) S (rare on 'pure' vis)
Siskin - 5 SE
Redwing - 5 lifting out of bushes & high inland
Song Thrush - 7 as above
Blackbird - 4 as above

No audible crests or phylloscs in the region of the office

Red Nab
Rock Pipit - 1
Wheatear - 1
Kingfisher - TWO

Middleton IE
Green Woodpecker - 1
Snipe - 9
Pink-footed Goose - 102 S

Migrant Hawker & Common Darter Middleton IE

Slavonian Grebe Pine Lake, 2 Great White Egret Leighton area, 2+ Hawfinch Sizergh

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Vis 0745-0845 (generally south unless stated) :
Meadow Pipit 26
Chaffinch 32
Goldfinch 2
alba Wagtail 3
Linnet 1
Starling 30>NE
Greenfinch 1
Redwing 2

Slavonian Grebe still at Pine Lake, 2 Great White Egrets at Leighton Moss

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

More bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Rock Pipit - one
Meadow Pipit - 12 'in-off'
Twite - 25
Linnet - 3
Guillemot - 2 in harbour
Med Gull - one adult
Bar-tailed Godwit - 5

Ocean Edge
Rock Pipit - 1

Small Tortoiseshell north harbour wall. Red Admiral south.

Slavonian Grebe still Pine Lake. Long-billed Dowitcher in high tide roost Bank End area

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A very wintry minimum

Heysham Obs
This posting could have been written anytime between mid November and the end of February but in October is just a waste of a potential migration day

Ocean Edge etc
No passerines along the shore
Bar-tailed Godwit - 32
Black-tailed Godwit - 1
Knot - 3,200
no dowitchers with 230 Redshank

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adults (one Czech-ringed)
Twite - 26 (no opportunity to see ring status, presumed same lot as yesterday)
Linnet - 3
Robin - 1

2 x Great White Egret in the overnight roost at Leighton, Slavonian Grebe still Pine Lake

Monday, 19 October 2009

A small corridor of vis

Heysham Obs
After a good thrush count at High Tatham, a visit to Heysham hit some unexpected rain which then appeared to retreat westwards. Between 0900 and 0930, a perhaps surprising number of birds were heading S/SW along the edge of this rain before it tracked east again

Vis mig by the office 0900-0930
Redwing - 62 SW
Chaffinch - 36 SW
Brambling - 2 SW
Goldfinch - 11 SW
Greenfinch - 28 SW
Siskin - heard S/SW
alba Wagtail - 1 SE

North harbour wall up to gate
Twite - 27 (just 6 ringed - all during autumn/winter/spring 2008/9)
Linnet - 3
Rock Pipit - 2
Meadow Pipit - 4 grounded

High Tatham vis mig 0720-0820: Redwing - 630 east, 400 west, Fieldfare - 36 east, Chaffinch - 12 south, Black-headed Gull - 16 south, Blackbird - 5 west, Starling - 360 west, Redpoll 2 south, Goldfinch - 5 south. Slavonian Grebe still at the north end of Pine lake. 1-2 Great White Egret Silverdale/Arnside area. Long-billed Dowitcher still Cockersands in the morning at least

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Saved by a few Chaffinches

Heysham Obs
Ian Botham and mother in law stuff this morning for the second of the two 'vis mig' days. Cloud spilled in from the west hitting an increasing low-level south-easterly leading to rain by 1100hrs. Actually better than expected due to a low-level finch passage

Heysham NR office 0715ish-1115ish
Pink-footed Goose - 26N & 55S
Cormorant - one high to south
Siskin - 1 south
Skylark - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 111 S/SW
Redwing - 6
Blackbird - 2
Goldfinch - 14 S
Greenfinch - 15 SW
Woodpigeon - 11 S
Starling - 20N, 9S, 17N, 18S
Grey Wagtail - 3SE (one ringed at Middleton)
Meadow Pipit - 6S
alba Wagtail - 8SE

Grounded - Chiffchaff one by office

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Kingfisher - 1

Highlights whilst trawling around doing WeBS
Pink-footed Goose - c85 & c65 S
Twite - 26-28
Linnet - c10
Med Gull - just the one adult north wall
Guillemot - one in harbour, one along north wall at HT

Slavonian Grebe Pine Lake (thanks Steve). Long-billed Dowitcher Cockersands in am only, late Sanderling there pm

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Heysham Obs
Today's pin-up: Lesser Redpoll at Middleton
Ocean Edge/Red Nab (MD)
Kingfisher - 1(+?)
Wheatear - 1
Bar-tailed Godwit - 47
Wigeon - 34
Snipe - 4
Ringing was undertaken both on the Reserve and Middleton this morning. New birds ringed were as follows:
Grey Wagtail 1 (Middleton), Dunnock 3, Chaffinch 19 (mainly Heysham), Robin 1, Blue tit 5, Coal Tit 1, Wren 1, Reed Bunting 6 (all Middleton), Lesser Redpoll 1, Goldcrest 1, Song Thrush 1, Blackbird 1, Long tailed Tit 1, Great Tit 1. (AJD & JR)
Bittern ring number 02 seen at Leighton (see LDBWS posting). Long-billed Dowitcher early & late at Cockersands, but not 'middle'. Two Great White Egret still Leighton area (& third just outside our area at Humphrey Head). 6 Whoopers back in the Lune valley (Wenning Foot)
Redwing and Fieldfare piling through the Aire/Wenning gap this morning with 11,000+ Redwing & 8,000+ Fieldfare west past the vis mig watchpoint at Hutton Roof in about 7 hours, then heading NW. Note the change in wind direction to a light SW tomorrow and maybe this will bring Heysham & Caton Moor ('dead' for the first two hours this morning) into play for tomorrow's national vis mig day.

Friday, 16 October 2009

A bit of vis and that

Heysham obs

Vis by the office:
Apart from an initial rush of Redwing lifting off the Tank Farm there was little movement in the skies until 10am. Many birds headed north into the wind, whilst sensible species like Chaffinches headed south to warmer climes:
Skylark 15 (6>s, 9>N)
Meadow Pipit 4 (S)
Rock Pipit 1
Grey Wagtail 1 (SW)
alba Wagtail 12 (S)
Blackbird 1 (S)
Fieldfare 29 (28 SW,1 N)
Song Thrush 2
Redwing 204 (39>S, 165>N)
Jackdaw 70 (17>S, 53>N)
Larger corvids 25
Starling 85 ((37>N, rest S or SW)
Chaffinch 16 (S)
Greenfinch 8 (3>S, 5>N)
Goldfinch 5 (S)
Siskin 5 (S)
Redpoll sp 2 (S)
Great Spotted Woodpecker flew south but might have been going to Middleton.

On the reserve: Tawny Owl on the cream store pre-dawn. Greenfinch were notable by their absence, Robins notable by their presence - at least 14 Robins 'ticking'. 11 Blackbirds, 3 Song Thrush and then the usual Dunnocks, Wrens etc

Ringing: the grand sum of 2 birds, one of which was a retrapped adult Great Tit (first ringed in March this year) and a new Grey Wagtail which now sports yellow and white colour rings.

Cetti's Warbler male retrapped at Leighton Moss (11 days). Long-billed Dowitcher still Cockersands but missing for some time around midday. 2(+?) Brambling with Chaffinches in the beech copse 2/3 of the way up the Caton Moor cul-de-sac

Thursday, 15 October 2009

More mist and Redwings but little diurnal passage

Heysham Obs
Passerine migrants
Redwing - c60 roosting at Middleton, 21 seen after dawn
Fieldfare - 26
Meadow Pipit - 18SE
Chaffinch - 5S
Redpoll agg - 1
Reed Bunting - much fewer than in recent days with just 3 ringed and a maximum of 5

North wall grounded birds (poor visibility)
Meadow Pipit - 15
Rock Pipit - 1
Twite - at least 9
Linnet - at least 34
Twite/Linnet - c8
Med Gull - 2 adults - one Czech-ringed

Ocean Edge foreshore
Wheatear - 1
Meadow Pipit - 13 grounded
House Sparrow - 4 (one male) by Ocean Edge shop, then high to SW

Long-billed Dowitcher still Cockersands all day

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Small sit

Adult Redwing blackberried at Middleton this am. Thanks Jean
Heysham Obs
*** Go back a couple of days for some comparative Robin pics

Lots of Redwing on the move over Heysham (per Malcolm)

Vis mig HNR 0730ish to 1030ish
Redwing - 1,206 SW, then turned about Red Nab and recorded flying E over Middleton IE and presumably some of these picked up still heading east by Eddy overlooking Lancaster. 90% between 0745 and 0835
Chaffinch - 31 SW
Starling - 326, mainly SW
Goldfinch - 4 S
Meadow Pipit - one circling around high up
alba Wagtail - 7 SW
Greenfinch - 7 SW
Song Thrush - c10, grounded from height then heading high inland in the usual manner
Coal Tit - noisy singleton S
Rook - 2 SW, then u-turned NE
Fieldfare & Mistle Thrush - NONE

Vis mig Middleton IE (almost all the same Redwing as above?)
Redwing - 999 east!
Reed Bunting - minimum 13 (9 ringed, no retraps)
alba Wagtail - 2
Song Thrush - 2
Woodpigeon - 11
Meadow Pipit - 16
Fieldfare - definitely heard with first lot of Redwing
Linnet - 2
Carrion Crow - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Snipe - 6 flew in from the north & landed
Starling - just 3
Grey Wagtail - 3 birds but all thought to be blogging

Blackbird - 20-30 reserve, 20+ Middleton
Stonechat - female Middleton
Goldcrest - one Middleton
Chiffchaff - one ringed Middleton
Supremely 'dead' by HNR office e.g. yet again no Goldcrest or evidence of migrant Robins.

North harbour wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult
Meadow Pipit - 17 on the mound
Rock Pipit - one mound
Linnet - c8
Guillemot - 2 in harbour still

Ocean Edge foreshore
Med Gull - one ad (different to above)
Meadow Pipit - 17 - apparently same birds as mound!

9 Reed Bunting, one Chiffchaff & 3 Redwing ringed Middleton in shorteneed session and just the one Blackbird at HNR

Long-billed Dowitcher juv still on foreshore near Lighthouse Cottage Cockersands (found late yesterday). Please dont block road to Crook Farm.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Routine coverage in 'nothing' weather

Heysham Obs
Day by the office
Further confirmation that the Chiffchaffs cleared out on Saturday night with no further reports. No a great deal with migration rather 'subtle' (e.g. unringed Dunnock!)

Vis mig mainly dawn to 1030 on & off
Carrion Crow - 5S
Redwing - just 5 seen
Collared Dove - 1S
Chaffinch - 45SW
Goldfinch - 9S
Song Thrush - 5 landing from great height, then inland
Grey Wagtail - 2-3S
Meadow Pipit - just 4SE
Greenfinch - just 2 seen all morning - SW
alba Wagtail - 16SE
Linnet - 3SE
Siskin - 1+4SE
Jay - 2S
Jackdaw - flock of 4S
Swallow - 2S
Mistle Thrush - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 2 S
no obvious evidence of any significant movement by tit species with Coal Tit unrecorded all morning

Blackbird - c10
Blackcap - male ringed
Goldcrest - no advance on the two caught
Robin - quite a bit of ticking and chasing with 4 new birds, all 'British-looking-things' ringed

1 Grey Wagtail, 10 Long-tailed Tit (perhaps just a local flock; few ringed on HNR recently), 1 Song Thrush, 4 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 6 Blue Tit, 1 Blackcap, 3 Blackbird, 3 Wren, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Great Tit

Coastal areas
Med Gull - 2 Ad outfalls
Little Egret - one along OE tideline
Kingfisher - 1 north wall
Guillemot - one harbour area
Mute Swan - one near naze

Monday, 12 October 2009

Late Willow Warbler and more Reed Buntings

Here is a blackberry 'happy slap' of a grey 'north-easterny-looking' 1st W Robin caught at Hey N.R. this lunchtime. However, I've seen ones like this around e.g. Lochinver in north Scotland. Thanks Jean. The top pic was taken by an unknown person at an unknown location and shows the difference really well and also allows comparison with today's bird. Thanks to whoever it was.

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
Another ringing session at Middleton included 22 new Reed Bunting (including one with a ring from elsewhere) and no retraps from the other prolific days last week, a late 1CY male Willow Warbler, 3 Redwing and what will probably be the last Grey Wagtail of the year

Heysham NR - all sightings by the office
Goldcrest - a massive total of two passed by the office
Redwing - 3 at dawn
Song Thrush - 2 at dawn
Blackbird - 5 probable migrants (2 ringed)
Robin - 2 ringed & a few other probable migrants

Vis mig HNR
Meadow Pipit - 4
Grey Wagtail - 1
alba Wagtail - 4
Jackdaw - 3
Rook - 4
Chaffinch - 15
Redpoll spp - 5
Reed Bunting - 3

Flock of 4 Crossbill on the Caton Moor vis session (c0908)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

North westerly rubbish before a decent week? Fingers crossed

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
Green Woodpecker - 1
Stonechat - 1 female
Teal - 6+
Tufted Duck - 7
Little Grebe - 6 (3 smallish young)
Snipe - 1
Swallow - 10 south

Guillemot - 2 in harbour
Med Gull - 5 ads & 1st winter (thanks Mike)
Pink-footed Goose - one on sea

Mass break-out of Snow Geese with 31 north at Conder about 1228, seemingly gathering others as they go as 27 were seen earlier at Marton Mere

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Leaf mining takes over from migrant searches!

Heysham Obs
Calm and foggy first thing! (c/f forecast). The title just about sums up this mornings rather poor results from reasonable coverage. A predictable arrival by a few Redwing, but the single Fieldfare was perhaps unexpected until the Caton Moor vis mig info. was received. Thanks to Malcolm, Martin & Mike for good coverage today & John for diversifying into brown patches on leaves!

Coastline birds
Little Egret - 2 OE saltmarsh creek
Kingfisher - one Red Nab
Med Gull - just the one adult seen
Linnet/Twite - up to 18/three on weed seeds by the big wheel on the south wall
Wheatear - 2

Vis mig/grounded stuff
Pheasant - female Middleton IE - mega these days
Stonechat - female Middleton IE
Redwing - 5 Red Nab first thing, then 4 over reserve 0745
Fieldfare - noisy singleton may have been grounded, then SW at c1000hrs
Chiffchaff - 3, one singing & another 4 on Middleton IE
Goldcrest - NONE
Robin - small influx
Coal Tit - 5 excitable birds
Skylark - 5 audible registrations of very high birds
Meadow Pipit - 6 SE
Blue Tit - 2 unringed birds caught
Grey Wagtail - 3 together SE on arrival
Goldfinch - 7 SE
Siskin - heard once
Chaffinch - 15 SW
Greenfinch - 2 high to south
Song Thrush - 3

Leaf mines
Mompha raschkiella, Stigmella aurella & crataegella, Parornix angicella, Phyllonorycter ragella & leucographella. Try the UK moths website for further info (see links)

Adult insects
Migrant Hawker - 2, Comma, Speckled Wood, Peacock (late for this species), 2 Red Admiral, several Speckled Wood, lots of wasps still,

Nothing posted yet but a few Redwing & Fieldfare over Caton Moor early morning. 2 Great White Egret Leighton Moss, 1, 005 Black-tailed Godwit Allen Pool

Friday, 9 October 2009

Not a great deal but the Redwings are coming!

Heysham Obs
An alert from the Pennines that Redwings are on their way!

Vis mig 0800ish-0830ish
alba Wagtail - 17 SE
Chaffinch - 30 S
Goldfinch - 4 S
Song Thrush - 3 watched being grounded (see below)
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE

A most significant element of a thorough check of the NR was the complete lack of Goldcrest! 15 migrant Song Thrush and 3 Chiffchaff were the 'highlights'

Guillemot in harbour still

The two Great White Egret are still at Leighton Moss

Thursday, 8 October 2009

More Reed Buntings

Heysham Obs
Heysham NR office area
The main theme of the Nature Reserve ringing was Chaffinches, with 17 caught at one net site. A Grey Wagtail was ringed - surely we are now at the back-end of the migration of this species. Apart from a single Chiffchaff, there was little else migrant-wise.

Middleton IE
Meadow Pipit 12
Chaffinch 6
alba Wagtail 3
Siskin 5
Greenfinch 4
Skylark 6
Song Thrush 1
Starling 2
Goldfinch 1
Grey Wagtail 3

13 Reed Buntings, without any retraps from yesterday, indicates a significant passage for this species at this site, with a record 27 ringed in two days (plus the capture of a 1CY ringed at Leighton in July, therefore almost certainly out of a nest there). As significant numbers are also being ringed at Leighton, just the one movement between the two most definitely does not suggest local origin for all these birds. Indeed, the recent Little Bunting (accompanying Reed Buntings) at Seaforth does perhaps indicate that some of the Reed Buntings could even be from across the North Sea. A Chiffchaff was also ringed at Middleton but little else of note.

2 x Great White Egret Leighton Moss (including the French colour-ringed bird)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Reed Buntings galore

Middleton Industrial Estate

Collared Dove 2>S
Skylark 7>S
Swallow 5>S
Meadow Pipit 35>SE
Grey Wagtail 7>S
alba Wagtail 5>S
Mistle Thrush 4>E
Rook 7>E
Chaffinch 5>S
Greenfinch 7>SE
Linnet 11>S
Lesser Redpoll 1>SE

20 Reed Bunting were trapped, 6 already had rings, one of which was ringed at Leighton Moss on 13/07/2009.
2 Grey Wagtails out of the 7 over were colour ringed. Other species included Robin, Wren, Goldcrest and 3 Chiffchaff.

4 Common Snipe were accidentally flushed whilst putting up the nets.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Fair weather birding!

This is the 'resident' 1st winter Med taken by Mike Watson during the recent seawatch. Earlier, when there were more traces of juvenile plumage and a less well-defined facial mask, some observers were having problems sorting out this age class from early, rather 'contrasty' juvenile Common Gulls. Thanks Mike.

Heysham Obs
All birding was in an hour between the rain (outside) or in the car (high tide) when one of us should have been thrashing the rain-sodden bushes in reasonable migrant arrival conditions. Too much work to do.

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
These are the same two geese taken a day or so later at Cockersands. Thanks Stuart.
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 2 unringed adults Red Nab, then off Ocean Edge saltmarsh around midday
Kingfisher - one
Med Gull - adult

North-harbour wall/vis 0830-0900
Rock Pipit - 1 grounded
Meadow Pipit - 3 grounded
Pink-footed Goose - 3 S
Chaffinch - 5 S
Linnet - 5 grounded
Wheatear - one

Nothing yet

Monday, 5 October 2009

Trickle of rather high vis & productive ringing

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE & HNR ringing
A ringing session at Middleton of 40 or so new birds included 4 Grey Wagtail, 7 Reed Bunting, a Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaff. A further Grey Wagtail was ringed during a very low-key multi-task at HNR office, making 62 so far this autumn, with the end of the passage surely nigh. Please inform as many birders as possible to keep an eye open for colour-ringed birds, especially during the coming winter and on the breeding grounds next year. This theoretically includes a chunk of last year's birds perhaps wintering to the north of here as more 'resident' adults? See right hand column for the configurations. Rather odd was the capture of a Meadow Pipit ringed last autumn. Local or passing through the same site? - surely the former!

Heysham NR & Middleton vis mig first light to 1130
Pink-footed Goose: 34+52+31 south
Meadow Pipit: 21
Goldfinch: 5
Skylark: 1
Greenfinch: 25
Chaffinch: 24
Swallow: 14
Reed Bunting: 1-2
House Sparrow: one high to south
Whooper Swan: 4 - also seen from Caton Moor!!
Grey Wagtail: 10 (5 ringed)
alba Wagtail: 10
Starling: 5
Linnet: 3

Ocean Edge pre-tide
Med Gull - adult
Bar-tailed Godwit - 9

Grounded miscellany
Green Woodpecker - Middleton IE
Chiffchaff - 4+ Middleton, one HNR
Blackcap - one HNR, one Middleton
Goldcrest - just the one heard very early morning

Middleton IE: 5 Migrant Hawker, 6 Common Darter, 3 Comma, one Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood. Yesterday at Middleton: 8 Migrant Hawker & 17 Common Darter. 2 Red Admiral on yellow buddliea by HNR office

2 x Great White Egret EM Pools. Cetti's Warbler ringed at Leighton Moss along Lower Hide to causeway path. Caton Moor vis 0700-0900 including the above Whooper Swans and a very high southbound Raven - definitely a migrant

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Diverse, but mainly routine

Some Leach's Petrel images from yesterdays seawatch. Thanks to Mike Watson.

Heysham Obs
Good coverage this morning & a visiting birder has just reported a Bonxie (distantly) off Ocean Edge and lo and behold, it correlates with both the pager and text messages. Thanks Malcolm, Jeff & Dave!

Heysham north wall
Stonechat - female - first autumn migrant
Guillemot - one by the harbour waterfall
Med Gull - ad & 1CY visible on hey one outfall
Eider - 5 (3 males)

Ocean Edge/Red Nab (low tide)
Black-tailed Godwit - 2
Bar-tailed Godwit - 15
Snipe - one on Red Nab
Kingfisher - 1
Wheatear - 1
Merlin - 1
Knot - 2,300
Wigeon - increase to 7 (2 since 29/9)
Bonxie - seen offshore from OE by 'Dave' at about 1145

Vis mainly by office 0720 to 1030
Grey Wagtail - 1
Meadow Pipit - 47
Chaffinch - 62
Goldfinch - 6
Snipe - 3 south
Reed Bunting - 2
alba Wagtail - 24
Whooper Swan - 3 low to the south 0930
Pink-footed Goose - just one skein - 55 south at 1030

Grounded by office
Blackcap - one female
Robin - quite a bit of early morning ticking and chasing
Song Thrush - one, then inland
still no Goldcrest!

Two Great White Egret distantly from the EM Pool. Bonxie Lane Ends 1125ish. Dark-bellied Brent Cockersands, then Bank End

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The 'perfect depression' as expections exceeded

Heysham Obs
With a very narrow margin as regards the correct wind direction, 'perfect' depression tracks producing decent autumnal seawatches are quite a rare event in the Bay. Add a decent tide time & height (not too 'splashy'), stronger overnight winds than forecast, plus a well-timed high tide squall and the result was far better than anticipated. As seems to be usual on a Saturday, no local observers, but Mike Watson and Anne & Peter stayed for the duration. Also, as anticipated, no joy for JBP observers in a 'wind shadow', although at least one Leach's Petrel reached Teal Bay. The knock-on from this (i.e. nothing right in the inner bay) was that the Leach's Petrel movement finished quite early in the dropping tide cycle with nothing after 1500hrs. High tide was 1034hrs, therefore, as is not atypical with Leach's Petrel, the vast majority of the observed movement out of the bay (as opposed to being swept in at longer range) was on the dropping tide.

North harbour wall & area 0915-1500hrs
Leach's Petrel as follows (timing past the yellow buoys), some as close as 70 metres: 0915, 1058, 1115, 1152, 1209, 1213 (2), 1215 (2), 1216, 1221, 1225, 1234, 1237, 1242, 1244 (2), 1247, 1253, 1256, 1300 (2), 1302, 1307, 1309, 1310, 1312, 1317 (2), 1318, 1320, 1324, 1327, 1335, 1351, 1354, 1357, 1402, 1444, 1456. These were definitely unduplicated birds, all heading out of the bay, with no backtracking & all birds clearly visible for lengthy periods. A majority were just inside the line of the yellow buoys but some were quite close & photos will be posted later if sharp. Second-hand report of one about 1830hrs on the early stages of the incoming tide
Little Gull - 3 x juv, one ad out
Kittiwake - 2 juv out, 2 behind IOM ferry
Med Gull - 2 x ad & 1 x 1CY along the seawall at various times
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one 'in' at 1415hrs
Arctic Skua - described as dark morph 'out' at about 1110hrs with another mid afternoon (seen by other observers)
Fulmar - 2 out
Guillemot - one on sea
Arctic Tern - juv on outfalls
Red-throated Diver - one on sea
Pintail - 3+1 out
Shearwater spp - extremely distant bird - probably the Manx seen just previously off Morecambe
Good numbers of common wader species on the move

Arctic Skua JBP, 3 Barnacle Geese JBP, juv Little Gull & Manx Shearwater & Leach's Petrel off north Morecambe. Two Great White Egret left the island mere roost at Leighton at 0720 & 'flew SW'. No further news.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Coastal biodiversity

Should be a few seabirds tomorrow of strictly local interest - might be Leach's, but it is touch and go whether it has been blowing long enough & it is a 'one day blow'. Looking ahead, if you believe any weather forecasts at the moment, the weekend 10/11th October looks reasonable for a decent passerine search with YBW possibilities

Heysham Obs
Another atrocious piece of weather forecasting knocked any vis/ringing on the head but did produce some time to give the tide a good grilling.

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - juv on Red Nab, then flew along tideline towards Lune Estuary, landing about 2 miles along. Unringed.
Black-tailed Godwit - 4
Bar-tailed Godwit - 7
Ringed Plover - 24; no sign of the colour-ringed bird as yet
Grey Plover - 166
Knot - 430
Dunlin - 62 (much reduced & no Little Stint today)
Med Gull - 2 x unringed adult and one 2nd W (2CY) (new in?) & presumably the long-staying 1st W (1CY)
Common Tern - juvenile outfalls but not seen at high tide

Harbour area/north harbour wall
Shag - juvenile on the sea then floated out of sight behind wooden jetty. A slow autumn for this species & this, I think, takes us past Darwen Moor as the top county site i.e. 2!
Linnet - 13 on the mound
Wheatear - one heliport
Pintail - 27 (flock) south

Absolutely zilch overhead & no obvious grounded migrants on the reserve by the office

2 Great White Egret left the island mere roost at Leighton Moss at 0700hrs, rested for c 20 minutes before flying out to the Allen/EM Pools where still present at midday

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Excellent wader fest off Ocean Edge/Red Nab

Heysham Obs
Rather too late a start this morning - it wasnt supposed to be flat calm!! The weather forecasting for this area has been atrocious this last fortnight. This was a real shame, having just accessed the Walney & Fleetwood birder sites and also been aware of the contrasting lack of any substantial passage on the usually excellent Caton Moor site. Impressions at Heysham from 1015hrs, however, were that the Meadow Pipit passage was miniscule compared to Walney with no obvious evidence that there were contrastingly huge early morning movements (which would also surely have been reflected at Caton Moor and the movement at Rossall certainly seemed to get off to a slow start?). Therefore most of the movement, in very clear weather, was along the 'outer west coast' i.e. Walney to Rossall. We've already missed your early morning Stone Jetty cameos this morning, Jon, with no adequate replacement in sight! Therefore the only early morning vis coverage in this area was at Caton Moor and Bryan Yorke covering Hutton Roof. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about the early morning Heysham vis/ringing miss was the good Grey Wagtail passages at both Rossall and Walney - previous experience suggests that Heysham, whilst never receiving the same Meadow Pipit numbers, is usually better for this species - one reason why we are colour-ringing them

Ocean Edge/Red Nab mid-late morning
Little Stint - one juvenile (deja-vu 2008!)
Dunlin - c250
Knot - c550
Black-tailed Godwit - 6
Med Gull - 2 adults
Little Egret - just one
Rock Pipit - first of the autumn along the foreshore

Vis mig 1015-1055
Meadow Pipit - 42
Skylark - 5
Chaffinch - 13
alba Wagtail - 4
Pink-footed Goose - 37
Carrion Crow - 3

Painted Lady 3, Red Admiral 5 (3 heading south), Speckled Wood 6+ - all by the NR office

Great White Egret - 2 Allen/EM Pools, later in the Island Mere roost (one French-ringed). A record 61 Little Egret on the shore (57++ in the roost). Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper Aldcliffe area on Lune itself