Sunday, 31 January 2010

Five-star Pheasant

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
Pheasant - one in the BE corridor therefore qualifying for the BTO business challenge
Teal - 13
Fieldfare - 5
Mute Swan - 5
plus 7 Coot, one Moorhen, 14 Mallard, 2 Goldeneye as waters froze again

Ocean Edge
Med Gull - one adult around Heysham one outfall
Wigeon - 80
Pink-footed Goose - 5SW

Eastern boundary
One Redwing by the bypass roundabout

Waxwing - 2 Broadacre, Caton, 0900hrs

Saturday, 30 January 2010

House Sparrow and Greenshank shock

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge
House Sparrow - despite the close season and presumed lack of spoon-feeding, at least one was heard amongst the caravans. Very rare indeed away from the Heysham suburbia at any time of year, but especially winter
Jack Snipe - 3 OE saltmarsh at HT
Snipe - 26 OE saltmarsh at HT

Red Nab
Greenshank - one sat on the rocks at high tide - very unexpected indeed as the tide did not seem high enough for any unsual displacement from e.g. Lune. First winter record.

Little Grebe - first of the year
also: 4 Mute Swan, 8 Coot, 2 Moorhen, 39 Teal, 9 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 2 Goldeneye, 10 Mallard

North harbour wall
Twite - 41 but too silhouetty to see any ring data
Med Gull - one adult

Redhead Smew still at Freeman's Pool early morning but no sign of American Wigeon and no sign of any Waxwings at Caton by at least 0945hrs. Brambling female High Tatham with male Chaffinch influx. Male RBMerg, 7 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 14 Goosander Pine Lake.

Friday, 29 January 2010

More vigils from Ocean Edge

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab/behind various boats
Med Gull - two adults behind dredger at one stage
Purple Sandpiper - single roosted on Red Nab and was feeding on there until at least 1125hrs
Wigeon - 81
NO Lapwing!

Redhead Smew back at Freemans pools and adult drake American Wigeon off Cockerham Sands Caravan Park. Two Waxwing Broadacre, Caton this late afternoon (again).

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Middleton Management Day

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
Pond clearance work at Middleton put up surprisingly few birds. A pair of mallard, four tufted duck and a single snipe were the total sightings for the day, with the addition of a calling water rail first thing.

Grey Seal therein at lunchtime

North wall area
Common Scoter - pair far offshore
Twite - c40
Goldeneye - one inshore
Med Gull - at least one adult

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

More vigils at Red Nab

Heysham Obs
Coastal areas
Snipe - 8 on Red Nab
Lapwing - 57 Red Nab
Twite - 52ish north harbour wall, including Askam-in-Furness-ringed bird and about 5 unringed birds
Med Gull - adult off Red Nab (flew in from south) and two other adults following the dredger

Report of Bittern on Kellet Lane

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Return of the Red-throats

Heysham Obs
Offshore/north harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - 4 Kent channel
Purple Sandpiper - one under wooden jetty
Med Gull - 2 adults (1 Czech-ringed)
Twite - 53 - at least 5 unringed

Middleton IE
Model boat pond
Tufted Duck - 16
Pochard - 3 males
Goldeneye - 3

Moneyclose Lane south
Redwing - 2 flew out of seabuckthorn just south of 1/2 moon bay car park

Single Waxwing early morning Caton (10 on Sunday), no sign later with child cycling proficiency event centred on the relevant cotoneaster!!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Nothing yet

Nothing posted anywhere relevant to this area

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Excellent Rook record!

Heysham Obs
Tawny Owl calling at Heysham Barrows at dusk - first of the year
Rook - one east over Lower Heysham in the morning - very good record!
Pink-footed Goose - 110 south

Smew - Redhead presumably 'hopped' of the river on to Freeman's Pool late afternoon as the tide started coming in

Waxwing - single bird in Oxcliffe Rd garden for half an hour. Not seen subsequently. (per note left in Reserve letterbox)

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Dewy fog

Heysham Obs
No chance of trying to locate the Brent - couldnt even see Red Nab

Two Bullfinch by office

Middleton IE (ice-free)
Woodcock 1
Jack Snipe 1
Mute Swan 5 & dead bird on 'No Swimming' pond
Coot 4
Moorhen 3
Goldeneye 3 (2 males)
Tufted Duck 4
Teal 13
Mallard 5

Overhead in mist
at least 12 flocks of Pink-footed Goose - one seen contained c200

Male Hen Harrier Burns Beck Moss

Friday, 22 January 2010

Pale-bellied Brent surprise

Heysham Obs
Med Gull - adult
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - one juvenile on the outer rocks - very unexpected at this time of year
Wigeon - 107
Shelduck - increase on recent low numbers to 26!

North Harbour Wall
Twite - 11 at feeding station, all ringed (including the Askam bird)
Med Gull - 1 adult

Dotted Border along Moneyclose Lane SD46A section this evening

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Heysham Obs
A quick check of Red Nab at high tide included the following:
Wigeon - 106
Grey Plover - 1
Med Gull - ad

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

19th and 20th January postings

19th January
North harbour wall
Tufted Duck - adult and 1st W male off the main skeer for short period
Twite - 22
Song Thrush - 1 mound
Med Gull - one adult

Red Nab area
Med Gull - different adult
Wigeon - 96

20th January
North harbour wall
Twite - 49, including three unringed and one with Askam in Furness site ring (Yellow over blue/white)
Goldfinch - 1
Song Thrush - 1 mound
Purple Sandpiper - one under wooden jetty

South of harbour
Med Gull - adult Red Nab
Wigeon - 96

Monday, 18 January 2010

Peripheral Pinks

Heysham Obs
7,380 Pink-footed Geese flying over the bypass - the usual influx to the adjoining fields is underway

Sunday, 17 January 2010

WeBS day

Middleton industrial estate
Main ponds still frozen. 2 Mute Swan, 2 Moorhen, 1 Goldeneye (female in small patch of open water), 6 Teal, 3 Mallard (over S), 1 Snipe, 2 Woodcock (on BE strip).

Leighton Moss: Cetti's Warbler by grit tray.
Lune valley near Gressingham bridge: 19 Whooper Swans
Jeremy Lane, Conder Green: 7 Whooper Swans, 1 Bewick's Swan.
Fluke Hall: 20 Twite

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Heysham Obs
Nature reserve gates now open again during daylight hours!

The 100,000 blogsite visitors has been passed this weekend. Not too bad for a site which represents a "birding cul-de-sac (even more so in Sunderland Point area)", with a small team of conscientious observers/ringers trying to provide annually comparative data without this reducing the oft-cited priority that you must "enjoy" your birding. Sadly, the number of visiting birders actually interested in other than specific short-term targeting of Purple Sandpipers, the Black Guillemot, Twite & full-frame Med Gulls etc. has nose-dived. Targets met, the birders rapidly move on and therefore the number of additional sightings of interest from visiting birders is far less than it was say 15 years ago. Maybe this will change, but in the meantime we fortunately have a good team able to give virtually daily coverage. Thanks to all who have contributed and if there is someone out there who wants to do some systematic spring seawatching or help with ringing........

As already indicated, the blog is quite simply a substitute for the old A4 diary system we had in the office and, as such, made available to a lot more interested people! None of the regulars are instinctive photographers and we also (usually)avoid 'personal comments/storytelling' and the usual rants about the usual people disturbing birds. This keeps the postings as short per day as possible, allowing easy trawling of records. Thanks to Lancashire Wildlife Trust and British Energy/EDF for allowing us to operate from their office and land ownership respectively

North harbour area/intake
Med Gull - two adults in the harbour mouth/harbour area
Purple Sandpiper - one by wooden jetty
Twite - at least 14
Reed Bunting - 4 heliport
Knot - 100 roosting heliport - erratic recently

Cetti's Warbler Leighton Moss causeway

Friday, 15 January 2010

Eerie silence

Heysham Obs
A late afternoon trawl round the nature reserve was extremely quiet with no Wrens or Dunnocks etc. despite liberal pishing. This was especially noticeable in the usually favoured alder copse/boardwalk area

Heysham NR
Redwing - 2
Moorhen - 1

North harbour wall/wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - two on the seawall by the small lighthouse
Med Gull - two adults
Twite - 37 (all ringed)
Linnet - 3 at least
Goldfinch - 2 (one ringed)
dead Brown Rat

HGV Trailer - 3 (New species roosting on the helipad)

Ocean Edge/Red Nab area
Wigeon - 151

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Two visits, same birds

Heysham Obs
Two short north-harbour wall trips by Tom & myself recorded pretty well the same birds

Twite - 37 (flew off before rings could be examined)
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - 1
Med Gull - ringed (Czech) & unringed adults

Heysham NR
Redwing - 4
Long-tailed Tit - flock of just 2

Female Common Scoter Sandylands (present one week?). Two Cetti's Warbler Leighton Moss causeway

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A trip to the nyger seed

North Harbour Wall
Med Gull - 1 adult
Song Thrush -1 still around Sand Plant entrance
Linnet - 5 (unringed)
Goldfinch - 1 (unringed)
Twite - 33 (All ringed: 1 Y over B/W, 1 P over W/B, 11 P over Y/P, 20 P over W/R). The Yellow/BW one is probably the same long-stayer from Askam-in Furness (ringed autumn 2008)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Celebrity-free Oystercatcher count

Heysham Obs
The most demanding task this morning was counting Oystercatchers as they gradually departed the Red Nab high tide roost. Apparently there is a reality TV programme doing the same thing. Must get in touch with my agent. The dribs and drabs count of departees actually added up to the original roost estimate. Yippee, although it was just over 500, not a challenging several k!

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Three hour count was highlighted by birds NOT in the study area, but just to the south:
Bar-tailed Godwit - 211 feeding off Ocean Edge just to the south of the saltmarsh channel
Black-tailed Godwit - 2
Med Gull - 'new'? adult with very well-defined mask and black-banded bill on the sand just south of Ocean Edge. Legs not seen & sneaked off whilst counting elsewhere
Knot - 2,700 along the Middleton tideline
Dunlin - 870 along the Middleton tideline
Grey Plover - 18 scattered around
Wigeon - 151 Red Nab

North wall (thanks Mark)
Twite - 14 at feeder
Med Gull - one adult
Song Thrush - still in SD36V by the sandworks

Scaup - male and two females between Scalestones Point and 'Teal' Bay at 0915

Monday, 11 January 2010

Green Woodpecker bonus

Heysham Obs
Presumably one of last year's Green Woodpeckers was on the reserve this late afternoon - an unexpected bonus of a by no means guaranteed Heysham 'year tick'. This is because it is a BTO/Business Challenge year where everything seen and heard on EDF/British Energy property is added up and prizes given for various categories at the end of the year. Please note that the strip of land between the golf course and Middelton IE is technically BE property, along with the more obvious bits which also includes the whole(ish!) of Red Nab. Please contribute if you can. Thanks.

Middleton IE
The Mute Swan continues to reside in its tiny piece of water on the model boat pond and a single Water Rail was heard calling in the central marsh.

Giant hogweed forest (across the road from Middleton IE entrance)
Stonechat - one female

The above items were a product of the January survey covering SD45 on this side of the Lune. Unfortunately for recording purposes, the 10km square boundary runs right through the nature reserve.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Roe deer-fest

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall not safe to drive on due water-covered ice (per Jean)

A record four Roe Deer were present along the boundary scrub between Middleton IE and the golf course area

Middleton IE
Above zero!
Mute Swan - one on tiny bit of open water
Moorhen - 3
Reed Bunting - 2
Fieldfare - 170+
Redwing - 12
Pink-footed Goose - a chunk of the bypass birds - c650 - were visible flying about at one stage

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Thorough coverage

Heysham Obs
Thanks to Malcolm for a lot of the coastal coverage today. Sea buckthorn is certainly proving a bit of a lifesaver for displaced Fieldfare

North harbour wall
Twite - 8
Med Gull - 1 ad
Great-crested Grebe - 47 visible on high mag between Heysham harbour and the Stone jetty in the low tide channels
Red-breasted Merganser - 23 visible as above

Ocean Edge saltmarsh edge
Jack Snipe - 1, Snipe - 9, Rock Pipit - 1, Song Thrush - 4 on tideline

South harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - 2

Ocean Edge/Red Nab area
Low tide count off Red Nab: 171 Shelduck, 19 Dunlin, 44 Lapwing, 38 Redshank, 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 77 Oystercatcher, 212 Black-headed Gull, ad Med Gull, 15 Herring Gull, 7 Lesser black-backed Gull, 13 Common Gull, 3 Turnstone, 144 Wigeon, 22 Curlew. NO Knot!

Half-moon Bay/Moneyclose Lane
Fieldfare - 48, Redwing - 17

Heysham NR
Fieldfare - 1, Redwing - 8

Dog walk track
Fieldfare - 17, Redwing - 3

Above average numbers of Blackbird & Song Thrush

1+ Reed Bunting, 15 Linnet (rare in winter here)

Male and two female Scaup off Morecambe Town Hall (with male Tufted Duck). Bittern being disturbed by 'photographers', with the usual associated lack of any fieldcraft or protocol, at Leighton Moss causeway.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Foxy solitude

Heysham Obs
The only report today was a fox traversing the reserve this morning!

North Harbour Wall
A quick visit to replenish Twite food early afternoon.
Twite - 3, all ringed (2 yellow/blue, 1 white/red)
Goldfinch - 2 (1 ringed)
Song Thrush - 1 around sand plant entrance.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Driving on glass

Heysham Obs
Dont do the Moneyclose Lane Ocean Edge section at the moment - its sheet ice and yet still very "trafficky" as Ocean Edge are still clearing up for the winter break.

Pink-footed Goose - c1,700, almost certainly not 'on the move' and seemed to swing back round to east & start to land (bypass fields?)

Redwing - 6

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Suburban Snipe

Heysham Obs
A Snipe was seen trundling along past the Trumacar stores. Desperate times as they try and find a bit of soft ground. Thanks to Tom & Alan for coverage

North wall area
Med Gull - 2 adult
Twite - 8
Blackbird - 2
Reed Bunting - 2+ heliport

Heysham one outfall
Grey Plover - 4

No sign of Purple sandpiper on wooden jetty

3 Scaup north Morecambe, Purple Sandpiper Bubbles groyne midday but not later, 15 or so Whooper Melling but well camouflaged!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Sean's wintry vigil

Heysham Obs
Please note that as of yesterday permitted access land belonging to British Energy/EDF is officially closed due to snow and ice. This includes the Nature reserve paths, the "dog walk track"/landscape strip and the Nature Park. Anyone ignoring the notices or taped stiles etc. does so at their own risk. It is unlikely to be opened in the immediate future unless the medium term weather forecast is wrong

This does not mean that the coastal sites, which provide most of the birds at this time of year, are not accessible and we would be very grateful for any records - starting with today! Thanks very much & take care.

Sean's sightings from half moon bay & north harbour wall. Thanks Sean
Managed to get to Heysham this morning despite the snow and general chaos on the roads. A very snowy start to the day on site, with the low tide just before 9am. 12 Curlew feeding on the beach, with 90 Oystercatcher resting on the sand not moving in the snow. Small numbers of Eider, GC Grebe and RB Merganser were on the water, while a lone Wigeon drifted by. Only one flock of 100 PF Geese flew N to S mid morning, with two flocks of Knot (30 south, 25 in to roost on the harbour wall).

Fieldfare (30 + 24), Skylark (2 + 5), Twite (4 + 5, plus 20 at the feeding station area), Linnet (1), Meadow Pipit (3, 1 with a tail missing - must be from the local Spar or Merlins), Reed Bunting (3) all moving round between the fields behind half-moon bay and beach areas.

Several Snipe were raised by dog walkers, 3 Ringed Plover close in on the snow covered beach, 30 Turnstone huddled together with 130 Redshank before high tide (14:30), while 18 Lapwing moved between beach, fields and the helipad. Oystercatcher reached approx 2000 birds today during high tide, with only 25 Knot in amoungst them, this despite a height of 9.5m for the tide.

The afternoon did bring in some sunshine, which brought a lovely view over to the Lake District with all the snow over there. A quick stroll to the point after my surveys led to me locating the usual 2 adult Med Gulls, near the fishermen, 20 Twite on the mound and unusually for here a Dunnock and a few Fieldfare . PS. Finally caught up with the Purple Sandpiper, a lone agent on the seaward section of the jetty, no Turnstone with it though.

North Harbour Wall morning
Twite - 7
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 1
All on feeding station.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Brilliant Jack Snipe

Heysham Obs
Missed, as usual, THE perfect Jack Snipe photo op. - feeding out in the open next to Common Snipe, sun behind observer. A happy slap (after I had been talked through how to do one) produced a blur. Please note that Ocean Edge is closed for the usual one month a year and anyone accessing the site MUST, as usual, ask permission at reception which will probably be open

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Grey Plover - 1
Med Gull - adult
Wigeon - 148
Gadwall - male and female
Jack Snipe - 2 forced out by the tide OE saltmarsh - one giving superb prolonged views
Snipe - 3 with above
Twite - 2 OE saltmarsh
Reed Bunting - one OE saltmarsh
Ringed Plover - 17, including Snettisham-ringed (and subsequently breeding there) female

Water Rail - one still at least
Snipe - 5 flushed

Purple Sandpiper Morecambe Stone Jetty on Bubbles groyne on incoming tide

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Pinks wander into our airspace

Heysham Obs
Pink-footed Geese are usually on the (migratory) move when seen over the recording area. However 1000+ seen today were clearly the Lune birds having a bit of a wander over the eastern airspace as they tend to do after the turn of the year. More snow difficulties likely at home this week from Tuesday onwards, so please try and keep the daily sightings going in the meantime. Thanks (Pete).

Middleton IE 0900-0930
The above, which appeared to land along the bypass in 6 separate flocks, plus 69 high to the south

North Harbour Wall
Twite - 9 only on the feeding area - lot of disturbance today, 25 later in the afternoon after the tide
Med Gull - 2 adults around harbour mouth, later along north wall (including Czech-ringed bird)
A careful check was made for Purple Sand on the incoming tide but could only find 4 Turnstone on the wooden jetty. Where are they (& the rest of the Turnstone)?

Reed Bunting - 3 around southern end of grassed area

Short-eared Owl still Bank End area. 6 Bewick's Swan in transit Jeremy Lane area. LOADS of duck on Pine lake but a quick check revealed nothing unusual. 4 Snow and 3 Barnacle Geese still Aldcliffe (per pager).

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Middleton in detail but no coastal reports received

Heysham Obs
Info yesterday suggesting 40 Twite at the feeder earlier in the day. Thanks to Malcolm for all sightings received so far.

Middleton IE
Jack Snipe - one flushed
Lesser Redpoll - good winter record
Bullfinch 2
Reed Bunting - 4
Redwing - 40+
Fieldfare - 25 (on sea buckthorn)
Pink-footed Goose - 71 SE, 22S
Mute Swan - 1
Moorhen - 6
No open water

One Weasel Middleton IE

Friday, 1 January 2010

Stunning dot on the winter atlas map

Heysham Obs
Very brief visit late afternoon, with Malcolm covering Middleton IE in the morning. Several targeters around, seemingly limited to Twite & Med Gulls on the north wall. By far the most significant sighting was a DUNNOCK by the entrance gate of the old sandworks - a quite mega winter record for SD36V (indeed anywhere in SD36!!)

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adults (per first-time-visiting birders - thanks)
Twite - 16 - all Heysham ringed, all this autumn apart from 5 which had 2008/9 rings on (i.e. adults!)
Dunnock - one by the entrance gate to the old sandworks
Goldfinch - two unringed birds on the seed

Middleton IE
Mute Swan 2, Moorhen 1, Snipe 1, Woodcock 1, 20 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 95 Pink-footed Geese north

3 Scaup north Morecambe, 13 Whooper Melling, Common Sandpiper/Spotted Redshank Conder, 2 Brambling Brookhouse (see Jean R posting on LDBWS). Short-eared Owl Bank End