Wednesday, 31 March 2010

What a difference a day makes

Or what a difference the weather makes.  Snow to the north and blocking rain to the south so nothing flying over this morning from 0750 to 0900.  About 60 Twite still around.  Only 3 Red-breasted Mergansers in the low tide channel. 

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Gathering twite

Heysham Obs
The Black-tailed Godwit seen earlier this year was ringed as a chick on 16/07/2008 at Knappsstadir, Fljot, SW of Siglufjordur, N Iceland.  No info. received on any interim sightings (apart from Cockersands around the same time) [perKane Brides].  Just visited Pete Woodruffs site and it was seen YESTERDAY in a large spring tide roost on Conder Pool - apparently there definitely aren't any sightings between being ringed and being seen in this area over the last few months.

One hour on the north harbour wall before the rain - 0800-0900
Twite - 81, increase seemed to be of adults, with at least 14 with spring 2008/winter 2008/9 rings, c15 unringed, but spooked by departing ferry before full check
Linnet - 5
Meadow Pipit - 55NE
Goldfinch - 2 NE
alba Wagtail - 2 NE
Red-breasted Merganser - 13 offshore
Great-crested Grebe - 7 offshore (one flock)
no grounded migrants

Monday, 29 March 2010

Good fall/vis conditions at 0400hrs?

Heysham Obs
A shame the weather was not two-three hours later as it was originally forecasted to be.  The leading edge of the cloud was way to the north at dawn, as was any associated vis or grounded migrant concentrations.  Always difficult to predict rubbish or a decent morning in these conditions - the timing is critical

Ocean Edge area
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - two right out on the tideline off OE early am
Wigeon - 4 still left
Mallard - male showing really well off Red Nab (rare here)
Wheatear - just one male
Rock Pipit - one Red Nab

North wall
Twite - 62, in two groups with a high proportion unringed (15) in smaller group, all but two of the c40 in the larger group ringed, including 8 adults bearing spring 2008 or winter 2008/9 rings
Linnet - 5
Purple Sandpiper - one showing for a short time early am, later alongside the jetty
Guillemot - 2 offshore at 1115hrs
Red-throated Diver - 3 in spot check at c0830hrs

Meadow Pipit - 46 NE, v few after the rain started
alba Wagtail - 6 NE
Redpoll agg - 1 NE
Goldfinch - 4 NE
Chiffchaff - unringed bird caught

First Shoulder Stripe of the year

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cold Cumbrian Cataract Challenge

Heysham Obs
The first 1.5 miles was a no-go area for other than seagulls, Meadow Pipits and a couple of Red-throats.  Further out (i.e. Cumbriaish) with a shaking 'scope, there were small seagull-type things, things with a whirring flight and Gannets.  Out of the mire of uncertainty (not helped by central right eye cataract):

North wall 0830-1030 new time
Sandwich Tern - at least 16, the first of the year
Little Gull - two adults were recognisable
Razorbill - 1 out
Guillemot - 2 out
Razorbill/Guillemot - 4 out
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Diver spp (probably Red-throat) - 3 in
Gannet - c36, including string of 12
Kittwake - 5 (f) out, 16 (f) in
Purple Sandpiper - 2 wooden jetty
Turnstone - an increase to c186 wooden jetty
Twite - c40, possibly more
Meadow Pipit - c35 north 0900-1030

Ocean Edge foreshore
Wheatear & Rock Pipit

Why didnt I do the Kent work today/tomorrow via Minsmere - last minute personnel change & just cannot go for foreseeable future [Lesser Kestrel]?
Nothing much locally today, other than this morning's distant Heysham seabirds which dont seem to have been replicated at JBP (wind too NW).  At least one person failed to locate the Dalton Shrike which does seem to go awol in windy conditions from a direction providing no shelter i.e. other than N/NE

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Obscure bunting trawl just in case

Heysham Obs
Not used to handling spring Reed Buntings, so I assume this is an aberrant female.  Bit small for a male 73mm/16.5g and whitish throated, supercilium shape & position  etc etc.  Went 'tew' on release (phew!).  Any comments via, please.
Red-throated Diver - 4 + 5
Whooper Swan - flock of 12 NW

Meadow Pipit - very low numbers/too high - about 12 NE in a hour
alba Wagtail - 7NE
Goldfinch - 3NE

Chiffchaff - Nature park
Wheatear - male OE
Twite - very high numbers at the feeder - 70-80, but unfortunately dispersed during mid-morning with an increase in wind speed
Green Woodpecker - heard from NR office

Middleton IE
Swallow - one
Greylag - 1
5 Mute Swan, 11 Coot, 6 Moorhen, 9 Mallard, 3 Goldeneye, 5 Little Grebe, 4 Tufted Duck, 1 Snipe

Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crags visible from layby

Friday, 26 March 2010

Squeaking Meadow Pipits or chirpy-chirpy cheep-cheep

Heysham Obs
A seawatch plus Magic 999 was interrupted by an irritating dribble of Meadow Pipit.  After a period of selective radio/vis, the sky cleared and the Meadow Pipit passage took full control.   A west of Ireland headland snapshot was provided by a close flock of 14 Gannet - cannot remember such a big flock here.

North wall belatedly 0845-0945
Gannet - flock of 14 out at c0905hrs the only sighting
Red-throated Diver - one in high
Razorbill - 2 out together
Twite - 56 in off-passage flock (7+unringed) and 2+1 'in-off' from SW
Meadow Pipit - 113 NE, most in last 20 minutes
alba Wagtail - 16 NE (as above)
Linnet - 5 NE, 2+ off-passage
Wheatear - 2 males on heliport seawall
Purple Sandpiper - 1 showing on wooden jetty
Cormorant - what was surely a migrant adult flew 'in-off' from the south-west and headed similarly high inland to the north east

absolutely no time to do Ocean Edge side

Herald & Common Quaker new for the year

Pair of Marsh Harrier Leighton Moss and 5 (2+3) gull-calling Bittern departing to the E/SE from there this evening,  These elicited no response in the form of booming, and that might be it as regards breeding Bittern at Leighton until a corridor linking Leighton with a source of new birds of British origin is established

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Earliest ever ants in pants?

Heysham Obs
Knocking the Chiffchaffs off the top spot were several (initially unseen) smallish black ants which transferred to my clothing as I was packing up the mist nets and thence to a painful area.  I cannot remember seeing ants in March before.  No wonder the Green Woodpecker(s) are hanging around.  Otherwise routine stuff this morning, despite a promising wind direction and a bit of cloud/spits and spats

HNR Office area
Robin - lightweight unringed bird
Chiffchaff - 2 males moved through to the north, one via a mist net
Green Woodpecker - one on the reserve
Reed Bunting - one female caught which had been ringed at Middleton IE on 18/8/09
Meadow Pipit - 223 NE 0715-1015 (11 ringed = niggling wind).  There was then a surge just ahead of a splodge of uniform cloud with the birds orientating more west to east i.e. 'in-off', giving a total of 349 in 3.5hrs
alba Wagtail - 6 NE
Siskin - 1 NE
Woodpigeon - 2 high to the north
Carrion Crow - flock of 6 NE chased of by locals
Sand Martin - 3 together NE at 1145hrs

North harbour wall 0830-0930 (different vis birds to the office)
Meadow Pipit - 89 NE
alba Wagtail - 12 NE
Linnet - 4 off-passage
Twite - c60 off-passage
sea dead

Ocean Edge not checked, hence the Wheatear absence!

Great Grey Shrike still Dalton Crags 150m S of trig point (awol yesterday morning).  15 Whooper Swans in fields near Gressingham Bridge this evening, presumably the remains of the wintering flock - one was darvic-ringed but cannot be certain this is the wintering bird.  Can anyone check in better light, please?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Watery eyes, wet specs and a Wheatear

Heysham Obs
A stuttering power walk around the north harbour wall mound area was about it for the morning - a half-decent Meadow Pipit movement was the on-going interest

North harbour wall 0945-1025
Meadow Pipit - 52 NE
alba Wagtail - 7 NE
Linnet - 1 NE
Twite - 61, but no decent views to check rings
Wheatear - one male
Purple Sandpiper - one flew on to the big skeer next to the red gate

Ocean Edge foreshore/grassy areas
Nothing notable

Bombus terrestris

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

More mipits

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall 0710-0910
Red-throated Diver - 3 in, 5 on (including a flock of 4)
Canada Goose - 3 in
Eider - 69 mostly distant (i.e. off Morecambe)
Little Gull - very distant flock of 5 adult-types blogging in the outer bay
Black-headed Gull - 9+8 purposefully north

Meadow Pipit - 88 NE in a steady trickle
alba wagtail - 33 NE (1 landed briefly and was a male white wagtail - the earliest ever (genuine!) record here).
Goldfinch 2 NE, plus flock of 5 high NE at 1045hrs
Linnet 3 NE

Feeding station
Linnet - 2
Twite - 64 (at least one unringed bird)

Green Woodpecker heard along Moneyclose Lane (beware of singing Song Thrush imitating it - a novelty for here!)

Female Marsh Harrier Leighton Moss at about 1000hrs.  Sand Martins back at Bela colony at Beetham. Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crags am at least

Monday, 22 March 2010

seasonal subtleties at a local patch

Heysham Obs
A lot of birders do seem to miss out on a sizeable seasonal chunk of their hobby from about now until mid-May.  Lack of knowledge and awareness of migrating passerines, especially translating flight calls to the actual species, is a skeleton in the closet for many people who see themselves as birders who have reached a 'reasonable standard'  

In this respect, we will be offering a tuition session on vis mig to hopefully also coincide with some spring seabird passage.  Last year's was very successful, providing good variety, if not quantity.

Saturday 1st May  0700-1000  Meet Heysham Nature reserve car park SD407599 at 0700
...............or drive straight to the north harbour wall from 0700 or earlier if you want to do some watching yourself cSD400604.  This date has been chosen to coincide with the sometimes spectacular Arctic Tern passage, the author's favourite part of the birding calender in the North Lancashire area

Please park on the two-way section of the north harbour wall road and avoid 'cluttering up' the single section around the metal gate.   Please contact 07989866487 or or 07815979856 or for further details.  Thanks.

North harbour wall 0745-0900
Meadow Pipit - 110 north, later 27 north in 10 minutes (1050-1100hrs)
alba Wagtail - 18 north
Linnet - 7 north
Goldfinch - 16 north
Purple Sandpiper - one on the rocks below the red lighthouse (hard to see!)
Twite - 56, but flew off before rings could be examined
Common Gull - 18 2CY on seaward end Heysham 2 outfall
Herring Gull - influx of 2CY with c230 inshore & offshore
Red-throated Diver - 2 sp birds in, gaining height
Gannet - 5 adults in
Pink-footed Goose - 5 north
Nothing obvious on the sea, other than distant Eider to the north

Ocean Edge side
Zero of interest other than a Linnet 'in-off' and 8 "swans" out in the murk heading NW - proportions (and common sense) suggested Whooper but not seen well enough.

Ringing recovery
Interesting Twite double-control just received:

Ringed:  X292004 3F 16.11.08 Southport

Caught by ringer:  4F 01.07.09 Sanda Island, off Mull of Kintyre (Strathclyde)
Caught by ringer again: 4F 28.10.09 Heysham north wall 46 km

Middleton IE
8 Tufted Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 4 trilling Little Grebe, 3 Teal, 2 Snipe and a singing Linnet which I think was a vis bird having a rest.  10 Meadow Pipit north (1545-1645). 

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Meadow Pipit Morning

Visible Migration
After an early morning mist, a bit of movement, in particular of Meadow Pipits.

Meadow Pipit - 164 north.  Including 6 ringed by the hut.
Goldfinch - 21 N
Alba wagtail - 9 N
Green woodpecker - 1 in tank farm area.
Goldcrest - 1 by hut.  The first this spring.
Reed Bunting - 1 adult male trapped wearing ring fitted on 03/04/2009.
Mistle Thrush - 1 singing loudly on Reserve
Redwing - one tank farm
Siskin - 2 north

North Harbour Wall
Wigeon - 2 on sea.
Eider - 2 males
Twite - c50 initially, then c12 remained and remainder disappeared.  Only 5 trapped, of these 2 ringed & 3 unringed.  Sundays are not good for catching Twite here!
Linnet - 4 trapped, of these, 1 ringed & 3 unringed.

Dotted Border - 1, the only moth in the hut trap.


Green-winged teal still Leighton Moss Griesdale Hide

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Green green grass and a wet Wheatear

Heysham Obs
Bucketful of rain overnight and throughout the morning, commiserations with the coach party walking down the seawall

South of the harbour
Little Egret - one Red Nab (BTO challenge year tick)
Wheatear - one male on the high section of south Ocean Edge at 1000ish
Pied Wagtail - 6 grounded OE foreshore
Meadow Pipit - 3 grounded OE

North wall
Twite - 61 - one Askam-in Furness autumn 2008 bird, just ONE ringed in 2010, 11 unringed, about 35 ringed in autumn 2009 and the rest from various times in spring 2008/winter 2008/9
Linnet - 5 unringed birds with the Twite
Meadow Pipit - 2 grounded on the mound

Middleton IE
No Stonechat
10 Mallard, 4 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, 3 Goldeneye, 6 Teal, one Water Rail, 4 Mute Swan, 9 Coot, 6 Moorhen

First Hebrew Character of the year.  The difference between coastal sites and mature oak woodland at this time of year = 154 moths of 17 species last night at Millhouses near Wray!

Grey Grey Shrike Dalton Crag - seen (distantly) from Keer Falls road VP, Green-winged Teal new in on the Allen Pool, later elusive on Barrow Scout.  At least one untagged Red Kite in the Dunsop valley

Friday, 19 March 2010

Patch-worker adrenalin

Heysham Obs
All the coverage was prior to mid-afternoon, so any late arrivals with the cloud-edge from the weather front may have been missed, but this certainly did not include any significant Meadow Pipit passage - conspicuous by its absence all day.  Must do better!

House Sparrow - one at the feeder by the office briefly - very rare in spring
Mallard - Red Nab
Great-spotted Woodpecker - female ringed 

North wall
Gannet - one
Meadow Pipit - just 16 north
Skylark - 2 north
Twite - only 18
Linnet - 4
Bar-tailed Godwit - flock of 80 north

A very thin scatter of Wheatear and a big arrival of Sand Martin this evening with 60ish at Leighton Moss (none on the equally-favoured Pine Lake last night)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Belated Little Gull and a few aerial squeaks

Heysham obs area
North Harbour Wall
Red-throated Diver - 3 floating in
Great-crested Grebe - 2 floating in
Red-breasted Merganser - 10 floating in
Eider 79 seen in the distance
Twite 60.
2 adult Med Gulls seen late afternoon.

Gannet 3
Wigeon 12
all heading NE
alba wagtail 16
Meadow Pipit 44
Rock Pipit 1
Skylark 4
Goldfinch 3
Carrion Crow 1 came in off the sea from and then continued NE

Red Nab
adult winter Little Gull - first of the year
42 Bar-tailed Godwit

Grey Squirrel by entrance gate to reserve

Great Grey Shrike still Dalton Crags

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Dithering Kittiwakes

Heysham Obs
North wall early morning
Red-throated Diver - 3
Red-breasted Merganser - 13
Kittiwake - flock of 25 eventually u-turning out of the bay
Meadow Pipit - 2 north
Grey Wagtail - one north

Late afternoon
Med Gull - the same two unringed adults (see pics the other day) coming to bread with a third bird seen briefly
Twite - 61, including at least one Askam-in-Furness bird, one with a metal-only ring and 8+ unringed

3+ Cetti's Warbler Leighton Moss.  20 Whooper Hornby am, including ringed bird

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Return of the moggie

The only interesting thing this morning was the seacat coming into port.  Re-wash, anglers chancing their arm on the seawall by the outfalls or along the outfalls themselves at low tide, take note

North wall
Red-throated Diver - 1
Twite - 47 - 6 unringed
Linnet - 3 - one ringed

Acleris hastiana (& a Dotted Border) in the trap

Monday, 15 March 2010

Rather mundane

Heysham Obs
Good coverage of the coast, including the WeBS count, for little reward

North wall 0730-1145
Gannet - 7+6 in
Kittiwake - 20+2+3+30 in
Red-throated Diver - groups of: 3 out, 2 landing on the sea, 4 in very high & one out
Twite - 41.  Of 32 examined, 8 were ringed in winter 2008/9, 20 were ringed in autumn 2009, just two were ringed in 2010 and there were 2 unringed
Linnet - 2 with the Twite (both unringed)
Purple Sandpiper - one (with 68 Turnstone on wooden jetty)
Meadow Pipit - 2 north
plus a trickle of northbound Common Gulls

Ocean Edge
Very poor with no passerine migrants and a dog flush of the following from the uncovered remains of the saltmarsh:
Jack Snipe - one
Snipe - 3
Wigeon - 21

Ad Med by the Grosvenor groyne on the WeBS.  Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crag.  3 Cetti's Warbler Leighton Moss.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Game on...........

Heysham Obs
Well, it was also the case yesterday on the sea, but we didnt match Seamus's early enthusiasm (see Fleetwood birder blog off the Links).  This is where this (and Seamus's) blog starts to change from lists/accounts of standard winter target fare into the daily spring migration (or lack of it).   Therefore, for postings of birds in situ during the winter months, read postings of birds which will be miles away by the time you read this.  OK, this is old hat to most of you, but we do get target birders asking for e.g. where the previous day's (heavenly) Tree Pipit is.

North wall 0730ish to 0930
Snow Bunting - female unfortunately flushed by car, flew over the back of the mound but could not be located - lots of nooks and crannies & may have gone over to the south wall (c0830hrs).  Hopefully it will find the nyjer seed.
Gannet - 33 in, including flock of 16
Red-throated Diver - 4+12+2 in, the latter flying quite high
Kittiwake - perversely none!
Purple Sandpiper - at least one on the wooden jetty but only one showing at a time!
Twite - c45, including 27 checked for rings - 5 unringed, one Askam in Furness bird from autumn 2008 (presumably the regular yellow over split dark blue/white), one metal-ring only on the right leg and one with the 2010 pale blue over split pale green/white - the FIRST to be read in the field, indicating that these have been mainly birds in transit caught earlier this month

Ocean Edge
Meadow Pipit - 2 north
Black-headed Gull - 410 on Red Nab
Wigeon - could only see 17

Reserve/Moneyclose Lane
Blackbird - a check at about 0815-0825 revealed an obvious influx totalling c35 with 'gangs' of 6 by the traffic lights and 5 near Ocean Edge

Middleton IE (thanks Malcolm)
Webs:  9 Tufted Duck, no sign of yesterdays 3 male Pochard, 4 Mute Swan, 15 Coot, 3 Moorhen, 9 Mallard, 2 Canada Goose, 3 Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Snipe, 5 Teal
Raven - 2 - where are they nesting this year - doesnt appear to be on telecom tower?
Fieldfare - 1 - scarce on spring passage
Great-spotted Woodpecker - two drumming (first record of this in the obs recording area???)

An indeterminate distant view of what was probably a Harbour Porpoise and certainly a small cetacean

Great Grey Shrike Dalton Crags at least midday, 200m south of trig point, 2 ad Meds over Galgate, Tundra Bean Goose Sand Villa morning only, Redhead Smew Freemans Pool YESTERDAY.  At least 17 Whooper Swan Hornby, including S53

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Kittiwake famine is over

The apparantly paired-up passage Med Gulls which spent a short time along the north wall - the male is the upper bird.  Thanks to Mike Baron

Heysham Obs
Its been a great winter for people responsible for checking freight on ferries at Heysham port for storm damage.  For the same reason, it has been an excellent winter for birds which dont want to be blown into or diverted into Morecambe Bay.  Not quite so good for 'year-ticking' Kittiwake, with even the seductive entrails of the midday Isle of Man ferry drawing a blank.   An initially boring seawatch in good visibility was enlivened by a tight synchronous flock with flashing white underwings...

North wall 0900-1000ish
Kittiwake - flock of 8 in, then landed, then out & c16, presumably all this species, but flocks can get joined by migrant Common Gulls, on the sea mid pm
Meadow Pipit - 2+5+1+1+1+1 north
Red-throated Diver - 2 on the sea
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on the wooden jetty
Twite - 44 with 5 unringed
Med Gull - 2 ads: one full summer and one partial summer bird along the north wall - neither ringed and the partial summer bird definitely not one of the regulars on bill pattern (none seen earlier this week)

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
No sign of the Avocets:  4 Black-tailed Godwit, 13,700 Knot, c2,500 Dunlin, just 24 Wigeon left
Mistle Thrush in full song from Ocean Edge reception!

Just inland of Half-moon bay
Stonechat - one female

Dogwatch  1125-1145
20 minutes observing dogwalkers from the Heysham NR office window produced the following dog-related sightings (please bear in mind a large off-lead area is provided):
1) A couple in a red volvo - two off-lead dogs running around the reserve, did at least put waste bag in bin
2) Single male with dog walking in from Moneyclose Lane, straight over the dipping pond stile on to the reserve, no lead, lively dog all 'over the place'
3) Single female walking in using the same stile - more sedate dog off the lead, remained near owner during period observed 
4) Couple returning from the off-lead area with two lively off-lead dogs well ahead of them.  These went through the fence, on to the reserve and did a tour of the classroom area before their owners arrived back to the off-lead gate.  Returned to car.

Therefore in twenty minutes, none of the dog owners observed took a bit of notice of carefully worded, conciliatory but not over-fussy, signs

Great Grey Shrike Dalton crags.  Tundra Bean Goose Sand Villa

Friday, 12 March 2010

Black and white bentbills

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge
Avocet - two feeding along the channel off Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Black-tailed Godwit - 17 as above
Loads of small waders, mainly Knot/Dunlin, in the 5-figure region but no time to count.  These were corralled at the Ocean Edge end by a significant number of vehicles on the sand & dogs charging around off the Potts Corner area
Med Gull - second winter moulting to second summer on Red Nab

North wall
Twite - a small catch again revealing passage with 5 unringed and 5 ringed birds caught - again no white/green birds seen (see yesterday)

Live Grey Squirrel on the fence by the entrance gate

Red Kite reported at Leighton Moss at midday.  No sign of any Whoopers at Hornby mid-afternoon

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Shocking Shoveler

North Harbour Wall
Visible from the North Harbour Wall at high tide:
Shoveler - male on the sea
Red-throated Diver - 7
Eider - 93
Purple Sandpiper - 2
Twite - 45.  These did not contain any of the pale blue site ring over split white over green colour-rings from the catch the other day, indicating that these were birds on the move.  Similarly, an absolute minimum of 6 unringed birds (out of c30 seen properly)
Linnet - 1
Black-tailed Godwit - 7.  A rare sighting from the north wall.

20 Whooper Swan still just north of Hornby including darvic S53.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Heysham Obs
Nothing worse for challenging the human eye than a huge rather distant flock of Knot (or Starlings) being Peregrinated.  Your counts have about as much credibility as a calculator in george osborne's office.  Therefore a flying swirling estimate of 10,000 Knot turned into a careful spread out along the tideline '100 block' count of 15,700, plus the fact that 3,800 of the "flying Knot" were Dunlin!

Ocean Edge foreshore
Knot - 15,700
Dunlin - 3,800
Black-tailed Godwit - 12
Black-headed Gull - 6+5 'purposefully' north

near Middleton ex-ICI
Stonechat - pair near the tanks on the west side of the new access road

North harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - 5
Twite - 46
Linnet - one
Purple Sandpiper - one on the wooden jetty at lunchtime

A milestone was reached with the first dead Grey Squirrel ever to be found (as far as I can remember) on Moneyclose Lane - they are quite scarce around here other than during autumnal dispersal

Great Grey Shrike seen at Dalton Crag in the 'usual area' this morning.  Great White Egret still Leighton Moss

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Double-figure dots

Heysham Obs
Technocrat Jean Roberts has now introduced 'live traffic feed' - see bottom of side panel

North harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - absolute minimum of 12 and possibly as many as 20 offshore, depending whether the same birds remained in situ on the dropping tide
Common Scoter - male offshore, then out
Whooper Swan - flock of 13 north mid-pm
Purple Sandpiper - 2 by the wooden jetty with 25 Turnstone
Greylag - one 'in'
Eider - 96
Twite - 46 - all appeared to be ringed
Meds - regular birds presumed gone as is normal for e.g. Czech bird:

EX78711 1 03.06.03 Chomoutov, Olomoucky, CZECH REPUBLIC
Seen 24.08.03-26.03.04 Heysham Harbour
Seen 22.07.04-09.03.05 Heysham Harbour
Seen 20.7.05-06.03.06 Heysham Harbour
Seen 08.07.06-06.03.07 Heysham Harbour
Seen 04.08.07-09.03.08 Heysham Harbour
Seen 18.07.08-at least 23.02.09 Heysham Harbour
Seen 07.07.09-07.03.10 Heysham Harbour

HNR office area
Goldfinch - one north
Meadow Pipit - 2 north
Blue Tit - unringed bird now ringed - the only bird caught in two rounds before the wind increased
Green Woodpecker - one calling in the direction of Ocean Edge mid-afternoon

Two Small Brindled Beauty trapped overnight at Millhouses near Wray (known site, but first of year)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Twite On Their Way Home

North Harbour Wall

Twite - 39.  Ringing session this morning caught 15 retraps, 17 new birds.  The 7 not caught were already ringed.  Until recently, virtually all the "local" birds were already ringed, today ~ half were new birds indicating movement through the area towards breeding grounds.
Linnet - 1 trapped.
Med Gull - no sign of any birds.  Did anyone else see any there or have they moved off?
Eider - 4 males

Sunday, 7 March 2010

North Harbour Wall
Med Gull - 3 Adults
Twite - 46
Purple Sandpiper - 1 wooden jetty

These, the only reports so far.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Twite on the move

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Scaup - very distant flock of 2 males and three females - presumably the same as February?  Also 3 'dark smallish ducks' further out!
Great-crested Grebe - 17
Red-breasted Merganser - 14
Eider - 80+
Red-throated Diver - one
Purple Sandpiper - one underneath the wooden jetty with c20 Turnstone at low tide
Twite - 51, 32 were examined for rings and a total of 14 seen to be unringed (recently no more than 1-2).  Were these vis mig birds or a result of new birds at the presumably communal roost - almost certainly the latter.  We still dont know where these birds roost, but it seems to be south of Ocean Edge.
Med Gull - two adults, including Czech-ringed bird (thanks Mike)

Heysham NR
Meadow Pipit - 2 north - forgot about these
Goldfinch - 1 probably migrant north

Middleton IE (thanks Malcolm)
4 Mute Swan, 11 Coot, 7 Moorhen, 6 Mallard, 11 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 3 Goldeneye, 2 Teal, one Little Grebe and a singing male Reed Bunting.  Perhaps surprisingly c/f elsewhere, no migrant Stonechats - one just to the east along the bypass fields

20 Whooper Swan near Hornby, including darvic S53.  Great White Egret Leighton Moss, also 2 Cetti's Warbler & Bearded Tit in eight separate areas

Friday, 5 March 2010

Foggy constraint

.....put the lid on the early morning offshore observations

North harbour wall
Med Gull - two adults on the north wall, one Czech-ringed - both in full summer plumage
Twite - just 8 on the seed

Heysham NR
Green Woodpecker - one calling down Moneyclose Lane
Siskin - one north
Meadow Pipit - one north

Ocean Edge area
Black-tailed Godwit - 11 (unringed)
Knot - c3,200
Dunlin - c2,500
Bar-tailed Godwit - c1,200

20 Whooper Swans along A683 just south of Hornby, including darvic S53.

Heavenly Siskin

Annual Report
30 copies of the 2009 Heysham Obs report have now been printed but still need ring binding with the colour front cover added.  They should be available early next week, or perhaps earlier, from the Heysham NR office or in a short time, when the necessary admin has been carried out, at Leighton Moss shop.  Thanks to Tony Moriarty and EDF/British Energy for printing

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall early morning low tide
A bit disappointing:
Siskin - heard twice high overhead
Red-throated Diver - 1
Twite - 32
Linnet - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - good count of 21

No high tide checks today

Heysham Nature Reserve
Green Woodpecker - by the entrance gate
Blue Tit - unringed bird trapped
Grey Wagtail - one high to the north
Reed Bunting - female by the feeder for a short time

Great White Egret and single Avocet on Allen/EM Pools.  Smew Freemans Pool.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

'Early' morning low tide rewards

Notice and apology
Anyone recently using the contact e-address for Reuben Neville by shading and right-clicking on properties has not been receiving the correct address.  The correct address was showing on the blog, but a false address was showing on the properties.  This was obviously the reason why e.g. the Sandwich Bay group could not get through on e-mail the other day and we are really sorry about that.  The address showing under links IS correct and is also now the one on properties!

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Whooper Swan - 22 on the sandflats to the north 0925hrs
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - two, at least one of them adult, flew past the wooden jetty, along the channel and landed on Aldren's Hedge skeer off Sunny Slopes at 0905hrs
Red-throated Diver - one early on, then two later floating in
Eider - 105 visible at low tide
Red-breasted merganser - 10
Great-crested Grebe - 7
Wigeon - flock of 54 floated into the bay - not the Red Nab birds
Pink-footed Goose - 60 south 0850hrs
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on wooden jetty
Twite - c50 - 32 examined on the ground contained two unringed & the regular Askam bird.  Please view these birds ONLY from the road.  Thanks.
Grey Wagtail - one north - the first migrant this year
Med Gull - 2 adults

South side
Black-tailed Godwit - 2
Wigeon - 71
Med Gull - one adult Red Nab, then flew south

Male Snow Bunting Teal Bay 0930ish but disappeared south.  An unringed Great White Egret is now back at Leighton; in front of Jackson hide during the day and roosting at 1728hrs in the evening (the ringed bird of last autumn/early winter is now near Cardiff).  A visit to Thrushgill plantation gave 35 minutes without seeing or hearing a bird - is this a record for daylight hours in this area in recent times?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Unringed Dunnock shock

Heysham Obs
That epitome of mass migration, an unringed Dunnock, graced a single net round before wind and facilitation with a very pleasant 32-strong group from Sandwich Bay Obs took over

North wall/wooden jetty etc.
Twite - 3 appeared as soon as the food put down
Linnet - 2 as above
Meadow Pipit - one 'in-off' then landed on mound - first evidence of any migration
Purple Sandpiper - two on the lower tiers of the jetty
Turnstone - 78 (possibly +) on the jetty
Med Gull - 3 adults after anglers scraps (1 Czech-ringed)
Nothing obvious far offshore but a bit choppy

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Jack Snipe - 2 on saltmarsh (per SBO group)
Snipe - 3+ on saltmarsh but many probably already displaced by 10m tide

Middleton IE
Pochard (8), Goldeneye (3) on model boat pond plus a gentleman with an appropriate John Terry-like miscreant mohican slinging a ball into the water for two collies to chase.  Amazingly the ducks stayed on in the NW corner

Heysham N Reserve
Green Woodpecker in the tank farm early afternoon plus the aforementioned unringed Dunnock!

Smew still on Freeman's Pool.  94 Skylark (min count) & 8 Rock Pipit in/alongside maize stubble at river end of Overton-Colloway marsh mud track

Monday, 1 March 2010

Dog trouble at the Twite feeder

Heysham Obs
A pile of excrement amongst the nyger, followed by prolonged exercising of two collies today.  Hopefully temporary.  Very quick late afternoon visit today after some superb teashirt walking/surveying in flat-calm, sunny weather in the snow this morning/lunchtime near the Tan Hill.  The waders are really pawing the ground on the lower slopes as the snow cover goes on & on!

North harbour wall
No Twite!
Med Gull - 2 adults, including Czech ringed bird - these will probably be off this week, so last date of the Czech bird would be useful.  Thanks.
Red-throated Diver - two offshore
Purple Sandpiper - at least one silhoeutted on the wooden jetty

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Black-tailed Godwit - 3 unringed birds in the saltmarsh creek
Kingfisher - one alongside the saltmarsh creek
Med Gull - adult on the mudflats to the south