Friday 30 April 2010

A few Cumbrian-range seabirds, a Swift and a Flame Shoulder

Heysham Obs
Pretty dire this morning so far in a 'nothing' southwesterly and high fluffy clouds, unlike the more promising sharp rain showers inland at High Tatham.

North wall 0800-1030
Arctic Skua - dark morph in at 0915hrs
Sandwich Tern - 2 out
Gannet - 4 out
Common Scoter - flock of 6 in
Common Gull - 61 blogging
Black-headed Gull - 23 blogging
Swift - first of the year in
Swallow - 3 in

Moths in the hut trap
Pretty decent catch, as usual in lightish westerly winds, including the first Flame Shoulder of the year, a late Shoulder Stripe, yet another Herald and a good total of 10 Powdered Quaker

Two female Dotterel at Abbeystead Lane until flushed by birder(s) at 0720hrs.  Please stay in your car until you have assessed the range of the flock - the range of the Golden Plovers being as/more important than the 'target'.

Thursday 29 April 2010

Hard work for marginal reward

Here is a spring 2010-ringed Heysham Twite on the sunny Mull of Kintyre at Machrihanish Seabird Observatory last week, along with several other Heysham-ringed birds.  They will either remain in that area or disperse over the nearby inner Hebrides or coastal mainland Scotland if previous ringing recoveries are anything to go by.  Thanks to Eddie Maguire for this pic (see website on Links)

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE CES
Spoilt by being a little windy during the last hour of the three but a few Sedge Warblers, two Reed Bunting and a Whitethroat & Wren were caught
Greylag Goose - pair blogging - the only thing of note other than the obvious residents which included Grasshopper Warbler

North wall all day (thanks Sean)
Arctic Skua - 2 (morphs not known - reported to Sean whilst he was surveying elsewhere)
Gannet - c6
Common Scoter - 2
Red-throated Diver - 1
Turnstone - 200
Whimbrel - 5
Wheatear - 1
Swallow - 2!
Linnet - 6

Two female Dotterel on Abbeystead Lane with the Golden Plover flock today after none yesterday (despite the full quota of GPs).  Therefore 5 individuals presumed to be involved in sightings there this last week

Wednesday 28 April 2010

0800ish flurry on sea, then dead

Today's Streamer - thanks Reuben

Heysham Obs
Not a lot happening other than a group of 3 Arctic Skua.
North wall (0615-1030hrs) High tide = 1248hrs
SSE F4/3 overcast. Rain shower at 0620hrs.  Visibility good to start with then becoming hazy.

Arctic Skua - 3 (2 light and 1 dark morph).  Seen distantly at 0700hrs floating in.  They ended up on a sandbank, then got pushed off by the tide at 0800hrs when they flew into the Bay.)
Gannet - 2 out, 4 in
Kittiwake - 16 floated in then flew up high at 0710hrs
Sandwich Tern - 12
Great Crested Grebe - 3 in
Red-breasted Merganser - 2 in
Sanderling - 4 out
Whimbrel - 7+24 out
Wheatear - 4 plus one in-off
Sandwich Tern - 3 blogging
Sparrowhawk - one 'in-off'
Knot - 200 north
Turnstone - 170
Swallow - 57 N
Sand Martin - 1
Goldfinch - 5 N
Linnet - 1N
alba wagtail - 4 N, two White Wagtail on beach
Meadow Pipit - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 8+1
Common Scoter - 17 out
absolutely nothing seabird wise 0900-1030

Ocean Edge foreshore
Common Sandpiper - 1
Whimbrel - 1

Moths & butterfly
Streamer was a good record - the first since 2004 & only about 4 in total.  Pebble Prominent was also new for the year.  A Peacock butterfly was seen heading NE along the north harbour wall - this is probably a new 10km square record (SD36)!

A lot of postings about 'Greenland' Wheatears on various sites over the last week or so.  The reason they havn't been mentioned here is that there have only been two candidates out of what has been a  rather late passage of (especially female) Wheatears.  We had about 30 Wheatears during survey work on moorland on western Northumbria yesterday and these were 'British-sized' birds still in 'loose flock', but (with one exception) not territorial mode.  Maybe some of these are Scandinavian birds, or even still Scottish or northern English birds?

Secondhand, but evidently reliable, report of 15 Dotterel on Ward's Stone on 23rd April - report from keeper that they have been around since 15th April

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Typical fair weather fare

Heysham Obs
Office grounded stuff & vis 0630-0830
Didmnt arrive until 0630hrs and that was too late in clear slightly misty weather - what migrants there were were in the last stages of passing through
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male by classroom for about 30 secs 0630hrs
Willow warbler - at least 4 migrants 'first thing'
Redstart - female on fence for about 12 seconds 0645!
Tree Pipit - 2 over
Linnet - 11 over
Meadow Pipit - one over
Swallow - 6 over

North wall 0620-0810
IT'S BACK - the bigger of the two yellow buoys mysteriously disappeared recently but seems to have risen from the deep again! Other than that mega sighting:
Sandwich tern - 23
Common Sandpiper - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 7
Great-crested Grebe - 16
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 150 NW
Whimbrel - 10
Turnstone - 180
Gannet - 2
Red-throated Diver - 7
Arctic tern - 25+14
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Swallow - 7
Skylark - very late singleton
Linnet - 1

Monday 26 April 2010

BTO challenge box-ticking

Heysham Obs
Two very contrasting additions to the BTO challenge - a singing male Grasshopper Warbler on the tank farm (plus another in the BE section on Middleton IE) and a male House Sparrow gathering nest material from the SE corner of BE properties, then flying 'behind' Ocean Edge reception.  Please note that the BTO Business challenge refers only to British Energy/EDF property and therefore not Middleton IE apart from the sliver of scrub/hedge/fence-line running around the edge of the golf-course.  If anyone can persuade a Coot to wander into that area, that would be very useful!!!

North wall 0705-0905
Gannet - 23 in, 9 out
Common Scoter - 47 in, 3 out
Arctic Tern - 10+12 in
Whimbrel - 2 in
Red-throated Diver - 5 in (flock of 4), 2 out
Swallow - 6 NE
Meadow Pipit - 2 NE
Guillemot - one out
Sandwich Tern - just the one out

Migrants by the office
Willow Warbler - 2-3 non-territorial
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male passed through north
Grasshopper Warbler - one singing on tank farm distantly, then closer for about 4 minutes 0705hrs
Sedge Warbler - one singing very briefly

One round of a single 60' net produced no birds, so taken down

Tufted Duck - pair again on Obs Tower pond but the Little Grebe have gone

Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler - c8 singing males scattered over the whole site yesterday, Today there were 7 singing males in sunny weather at midday!!  One of these was in the British Energy/EDF corridor of land where it borders the golf course
Lesser Whitethroat - 3-4 singing males (mobile as usual)
Whitethroat - 4 singing males
Sedge Warbler - 7 singing males
Blackcap - one singing male
no sign of yesterdays Reed Warbler

May Highflyer was new for the year & 15 a good count for Early Thorn

Sunday 25 April 2010

A bitty messy morning

A whole wadge of stuff has been added from yesterday, courtesy of Sean's lengthy work-related vigil.  Thanks Sean.  Best = 3 x Little Tern & 180 or so Arctic Tern.  Note that 350 Arctic Tern, single dm Arctic Skua were seen at JBP yesterday prior to Heysham observations (c0600-0700hrs) 

Heysham Obs
Rain interrupted any mist netting & put the lid on vis, without seeming to 'drop' a great deal in the form of migrants and poor visibility hampered the seawatching. 

Ocean Edge/Red Nab foreshore
Med Gull - 1st summer with black head on the incoming tide tideline with 48 Common and 17 Black-headed Gulls

North harbour wall
Little Gull - ad blogging in the harbour mouth briefly, then out
Gannet - 18 in
Red-throated Diver - 3 (1 out, 2 in)
Guillemot - 5 (in or on sea)
Razorbill - 1 (on sea)
Sandwich Tern - 4 ('blogging', inc. 2 mating on yellow buoy)
Arctic Tern - 3 in, then at 11.45 - flock of 11 Arctic Terns out & at 12.00 - flock of 36 Arctic Terns in.
Common Scoter - 5 in
Eider - 50 (45 in, 5 out)
Whimbrel - 1 out
Swallow - 15 in
Turnstone - 354-ish jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 1 jetty
Meadow Pipit - 6
Linnet - 5
alba Wagtail - 3
Goldfinch - 5

One on the end of the wooden jetty, 2 on north harbour wall and 7 on Ocean Edge foreshore first thing

Middleton nature reserve/IE
Grasshopper Warbler - at least three singing males, one visible from the official community woodland footpath and the screen
Reed Warbler - one singing by the no swimming pond - very unusual record in April for here, they usually arrive very late in the protracted migration arrival period.  Hopefully it will stay
Sedge Warbler - 6+ singing males
Tufted Duck - pair on new scrape

Dotterel still present Abbeystead Lane for third day.  Cuckoo Roeburndale and dm Arctic Skua (& 4 Arctic tern) JBP this late afternoon.  NEARLY went back to Heysham for the incoming tide.  Did anyone cover late evening?  Also 6 Yellow Wagtail in a field near Bank Houses - a record passage count for this species in our area in recent years.  Unless hear to the contrary in the next few days, Cetti's Warblers have presumed to have left Leighton Moss and no recent report of booming Bittern

Saturday 24 April 2010

Lengthy seawatching pays dividends

Apologies for this stuff not being on the site yesterday but the ongoing sim-card problems (replacement lost in the post(!) but new one imminent) meant I didnt know Sean was working at Heysham until today (Sunday).  Sean was responsible for all post 0900 coastal sightings

Heysham Obs
Seabirds 0650-0830

Sandwich Tern - 15 in (none blogging)
Gannet - 5 in
Red-throated Diver - one out
Arctic Tern - 6+3+2 in
Common Scoter - 8 in, 14 out
Guillemot - 1 in, 2 on
Whimbrel - 1 in

Half Moon Bay beach 9:45-12:45 and 14:15-17:15hrs
Common Scoter 40+
Whimbrel 2 (north)
Common Sandpiper (north)
Arctic Tern 100+ (out in bay from south, feeding for time then to NW)
Sandwich Tern 2
Swallow 99 (north)
House Martin 3 (north)
White Wagtail 8(north)
Meadow Pipit 20+ (north)
Tree Pipit 1 (north)
Linnet 2
Twite 3 (NE)

The Point, North Harbour Wall 13:00-14:00hrs
Common Scoter 40+ (same flock as above)
Whimbrel 6 (on flats south of Outflow)

Turnstone 300+ (highest count for there)
Common Sandpiper 1
Arctic Skua (dark morph - on water 0.5km to NW, flew off NE towards
Kent estuary/Jenny Brown's Point)
Arctic Tern 80 (on sandbank, then flew off to NW)
Sandwich Tern 6
Little Tern 3 (from NE, flew towards Point, then off to NW)
Swallow 24 (north)
White Wagtail 3 (north)
Meadow Pipit 6+ (north)

Late news (still havnt received simcard - sorry Malcolm)
Grasshopper Warbler - 4-5 singing males Middleton IE

Combined vis north wall & by the office 0650-0900 (0830 north wall)
Flava Wagtail - one NE just west of the office, probably also the one heard at the north wall at the same time, 0715hrs.  First spring record for two years.
Tree Pipit - singles at 0705 & 0802, latter grounded briefly, & 2 together at 0720
Grey Wagtail - very late northbound bird at 0650hrs
Swallow - 47 NE (not bad for so early - should be a lot later) - plus 7 casually recorded pre-0945hrs
Collared Dove - flock of 5 north at 0710hrs
Goldfinch - 18
Lesser Redpoll - 10
Meadow Pipit - minimum 28, all very high & many not seen - call = noted as one bird
Linnet - 14
Sand Martin - 2
Coal Tit - noisy one headed north
House Martin - first of the year (!) NE late morning

Would have thought this was an ideal day for Black Guillemot to return but a now rather historical single-date sighting of a bird which, unlike as I was led to believe, did not return to the nest hole, is beginning to look like it did not involve the returning male (although definitely adult)

Common Whitethroat new in on reserve
Willow Warbler - just two presumed migrants by office
Wheatear - one north wall, 2 ocean edge (very rapid lack of milk-inspired visit)
Mallard - pair Red Nab

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet new for the year

Friday 23 April 2010

FRIDAY 23rd April Deadish

Heysham Obs
Male Redstart but not a lot else on land, sea or in air with uniform but high cloud cover and 'nothing' wind

Heysham Obs
North wall 0650-0830
Turnstone - 292
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Sandwich Tern - 7 on the now single yellow buoy
Gannet - 3 in and 3 out
Common Scoter 14 in
Auk sp - 5 on sea
Guillemot - 1 on sea
Wheatear 5 suddenly dropped in the quickly moved off
alba wagtail - 2 NE
Linnet 6 - NE
Lesser Redpoll - 2 NE

Vis pre-0930
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Meadow Pipit - 1
Linnet - 15
Goldfinch - 11
Swallow - 6

Several mist nets just produced: 2 Willow Warbler (first female of year), 2 Chiffchaff, 2  Blackcap, 2 Wren (& one Dunnock, one Blackbird and a Jay).

Middleton NR
Whilst setting up the CES rides, a migrant Willow Warbler & male Sedge Warbler were trapped.  Also:
Grasshopper Warbler - one singing western marsh.  Targeters please stay out of the marsh - much easier to see from raised roads.  Also singing Common & Leser Whitethroat
Tufted Duck - 5 on model boat pond (3 males)

Large Red Damselfly Middleton NR central marsh (IOY)

Male Dotterel still in field along Abbeystead Lane at 0745hrs SD550560 - still there 1100hrs, but mobile & flighty with the Golden Plover flock.
Lune valley whimbrel roost reached 29 birds (cf 10 2 days ago)

Thursday 22 April 2010

THURSDAY 22nd April: Good scoter count for here

Here is a camera-shot of the recent Chamomile Shark from the office trap plus a male Belted Beauty taken today at nearby Middleton saltmarsh where there are record numbers this year.  Please be very careful if you have large feet and poor close eyesight as it is easy to tread on them (which is why I stay away!). 

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0650-0930
Gannet - 28 out, 11 in
Razorbill - 2 in, 5 out
Auk spp - 3 in
Whimbrel - 7 in
Common Scoter - 131 out, 178 in - very little duplication
Red-throated Diver - 2 out, 1 in
Sandwich tern - 8 blogging
Guillemot - 1 out, 3 in
Arctic Tern - 14+8 in
Little Gull - one 2CY & 1 adult in (with the flock of 14 Arctic Tern)
Wheatear - 5 grounded
Jackdaw - one SE, then seen very high over reserve before heading SW
Swallow - 7
alba Wagtail - 2
Linnet - 2
Meadow Pipit - 23
Lesser Redpoll - 4 in
Turnstone - 173
Goldfinch - 8

Nature reserve office area
Ring Ouzel - female emerged from the dense willow clump next to the office calling (landed & roosted there during the night?), then flew on to the tank farm fence, thence to the far end of the tank farm (0730hrs)
Redstart - female on fences near the office for about 10 minutes
Tree Pipit - 2 NE together at 0740hrs
Jackdaw - see above
Swallow - 47 NE
Sand Martin - 4 NE
Linnet - 6 NE
Meadow Pipit - just 4 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 10 NE (4 ringed, first flock of 6 before nets set!)
Lesser Whitethroat - one singing intermittently
Willow Warbler - probably less than 5 migrants & all during the belated net setting bar one trapped
Dunnock - unringed bird trapped - unusual
Chaffinch - unringed female trapped - getting late, but unringed females a feature of April ringing here over the years
Tufted Duck - pair on Obs Tower pond = added to the BTO Business challenge - coming thick and fast now.

Ocean Edge
Just the one Wheatear in early morning visit
Common Whitethroat - one singing at the southern end of BE properties by the nature park

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Aukfest and the survey from hell

North harbour wall 0705-0945
Auk spp - 141 with 105 in the first hour, all identifiable being Razorbill
Arctic Skua - dark morph landed on the sea
Gannet - 2
Sandwich Tern - 15
Sand Martin - 7
Swallow - 2
alba Wagtail - 4
Lesser Redpoll - heard x 1
Linnet - 4

Dog walk/nature park CBC
Dogs react to a clipboard in three ways: bark incessantly, snarl and growl or leap up at you thinking you are going to feed them.  21 dogs seen.
Tree Pipit - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 2N
Linnet - 2N
Goldfinch - 5N
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male by dog pond
a trickle of Willow warblers with 4 presumed singing migrants
Green Woodpecker heard

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Early morning auks and a decent moth

An iconic blackberrying of a Chamomile Shark

Heysham Obs
The best has probably already been squeezed out of today's brisk north-westerly with the following, althought there is previous history of Kittiwake flocks moving with the tide, even in the afternoon, in these conditions:

North wall 0700-0830
Gannet - 7 in
Razorbill/Guillemot - 23 in, 3 out
Razorbill - 21 in
Guillemot - 1 in
Common Scoter - 4 out
Red-throated Diver - 1+2+3 in, gaining height
Sandwich Tern - 6 in
alba Wagtail - 4 in
Meadow Pipit - 2 in
Swallow - 3 in
Wheatear - one sandworks

The first birding 'miss' due to temporarily being without a mobile as I could have intercepted this.  Flying towards Heysham from Rossall at 1100hrs.  Thanks for trying Ian.

Ocean Edge
No Wheatear 0720hrs

Included the first Chamomile Shark for yonks

Monday 19 April 2010

All quiet ahead of the western front

Here are a couple of phone/scope pics taken by Mike Stocker yesterday when the bird visited the fences next to the nature reserve office. Thanks Mike.  It actually visited 3 10km squares, such is the configuration of these at Heysham!

Been a bit hit and miss for seawatching so far, but Sunday morning coming looks interesting for a bit of skua passage - keep an eye on Saturday if the weather system comes through a bit early.  Otherwise a couple of fairly useless looking north-westerly days coming up, followed by some calmish ringing/vis/a few seabirds (or getting on with early morning upland survey work!) weather on Thursday/Friday.  Saturday might be a passerine fall/useless strengthening southerlies/possible seawatching weather depending on timing 
Heysham Obs to 0900hrs
A line of rain out to the west stayed there forming a barrier across the bay and seemingly knocking most things on the head prior to 0900hrs.  No Wheatears in coastal check of Ocean Edge & north wall area.  Rain came in at 0910

North harbour wall
Sandwich Tern - 24 blogging
Gannet - 6
Swallow - 29 NE
Whimbrel - 1 S, 1 N
Greylag (as yesterday), one on sandworks
Red-breasted merganser - 6
Eider - 86
Great-crested grebe - 3
Linnet - 7 on the germinating nyger remains!

Webs early pm
Purple Sandpiper - definitely just the one left at the moment
Turnstone - 176
the rest stunningly undramatic apart from a female Mallard on Red Nab!

Post-rain Wheatear check
Ocean Edge - 7 after the rain, none before
North wall - one after the rain, none before

Marsh harrier
Some obtuse stuff on a local website which seems to indicate a female passed by over the sea mid-afternoon, but it may have been further to the north.  Presumably missed it travelling between sites on the Stone Jetty-Heysham WeBS

Reserve office area
Just single Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff & Blackcap ringed (& Greenfinch) prior to the rain and two Willow Warbler, single Blackcap, Greenfinch and Chaffinch after the rain

Sunday 18 April 2010

Hoopoe day

More pics to come - these are from Chris Piner & Tony Moriarty.  Thanks for these.

Heysham Obs
Cloud cover accompanying the poor vis - yippee....................

Found by John Mason on the north harbour wall in the old sandworks.   Photographs later.  Later present on and off around the harbour area before flying over towards the nature reserve and being located by the office next to the mist nets ride.  Here it sat on fence posts and fed on the ground before heading off over the 'cream store' and thence north-east towards the traffic light at about 1235hrs

Reserve office area
3 male Redstart - these disappeared, but at lunchtime, these or three others were around the office area with one using the bird table as a perch!
30+ Willow Warbler around office (9 ringed)
2 x singing Sedge Warbler
singing Lesser Whitethroat
2 x Tree Pipit over (0902 & 1017hrs)
Lesser Redpoll - 17 NE
Goldfinch - 27 NE
Linnet - 5 NE
Swallow - 37 NE
Meadow Pipit - 26 NE
alba Wagtail - 3 NE

Middleton IE
singing male Grasshopper Warbler
singing male Lesser Whitethroat (afternoon)
yesterdays Sedge Warbler still singing
Greylag - two blogging late afternoon

North wall (vis from 0700-0920 then severely distracted by the Hoopoe. Virtually no movement until 8am when the mist began to lift)
Purple Sandpiper -one wooden jetty
Wheatear - 2-3
Linnet - 11 NE
Goldfinch 1
Meadow Pipit 14
Sparrowhawk 1 (very high and heading N)
Swallow 20

In the low tide channels:
Sandwich Tern 18
Great-crested Grebe 11
Red-breasted Merganser 9

On the skears:
Turnstone - 170
Whimbrel - 11
Eider - 97
Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 8

Saturday 17 April 2010

A good morning at the local patch

Heysham Observatory
This morning was an excellent example of what goes on if you have a local patch and you are an imperfect birder and why having your own is just great for getting the most out of your birding!   The morning had its 'RSPB moment', a very definite 'Heysham moment', a Mainwaring/Pyke 'stupid boy' piece of misidentification, a sensible decision not to go for the third blank morning in a row with the mist nets, a disappearing 'v-shaped' large raptor, a completely unexpected Wren-fest.....and no sign of the targeters target.  The 'Heysham moment' comprised the second seawatch shift which saw asphyxiation by a lurid green rust bucket called Maersk Importer, a few seagulls and some unidentified auks.  The 'RSPB-moment' occurred early on when there was a good movement of Kittiwakes, including a swirling flock of 80 close enough to hear the multiple calls as per Bempton cliffs.  The observer also works for the RSPB.

North harbour wall in two-person shifts 0730-0900, 0900-1030
Kittiwake - not possible to be sure of exact figures as early morning coverage was in the fog but it included a flock of c101 and 80.  Two other flocks were heard but not seen in the fog.  As the fog lifted so did the Kittiwakes which had floated in as far as the yellow buoys.  As per the terns they circled higher and higher until lost again in the cloud, presumably heading north east.
Sandwich Tern - just 2 - the only terns
Razorbill - one floated in
Auk spp - three flew out
Purple Sandpiper - one under jetty
Turnstone - 122+ under jetty
Great-crested Grebe - 5
Red-breasted Merganser - 2
Whimbrel - one in
Redpoll sp - flock of 6 NE plus 8 others
Swallow - 8 NE
Meadow Pipit - 20 NE
alba Wagtail - 5 NE
Goldfinch - 6 NE

 No sign Black Guillemot

Nature reserve CBC & vis
Little Grebe - the first record for the Obs Tower pond involved a calling pair.  In retrospect, the muffled "odd trilling noise" heard the other day - dismissed as a strange Great Tit - was exactly this - the excuse being that I had forgotten there was a pond there!  A great record for the Business challenge
Grey Wagtail - one very late migrant NE - adding to the rather time-warped vis this morning (e.g. a minor re-surge of Meadow Pipits, lack of terns plus the Kitt passage being more like late March)
Meadow Pipit - 24 NE
alba Wagtail - 5 NE
Goldfinch - 11 NE
Linnet - 16 NE
Marsh Harrier/Common Buzzard - probably the former glimpsed in disappearing silhoeutte (NE) pursued by gulls at about 0840hrs
Wren - after just one, then two, then three singing males appearing, the latter during the last week, this morning saw NINE singing males scattered around the reserve.  It was not a brilliant morning for song (frosty) and these were all singing pretty continuously apart from the long-stayer by the office.  I would suspect that these have just infilled vacant suitable habitat in the last day or so, hence the continuous song.  Ringing has revealed a small but significant movement of Wrens during mid-late April.  These birds were not there previously in non-singing mode.  I wonder if they will all stay and how many were actually paired up this morning?
Willow Warbler - just one burst of song from a presumed passage bird on a circuit of the reserve
Chiffchaff - just two singing males on the reserve, one wide-ranging & continuous, suggesting not paired
Blackcap - just two singing males on the reserve CBC circuit - below par

Middleton IE
Singing single Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat but no Groppers as yet

Friday 16 April 2010

Ground Level

No reports of the Black Guillemot today.  Whaaaat!  Just checked the tally counter & 800+ visits to this site in c36 hours c/p usual c100/day - surely not the due to a Black Guillemot!!!   Thanks very much to people who covered the sea this morning and to Tom & Mick for posting the sightings

Please note that I lost my mobile phone yesterday evening and therefore SIM cancelled.  Please text/ring Jean Roberts re-any sightings/work issues.  Thanks. Pete

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0640-1030
Red-throated Diver     14 Kent Channel  incl groups of 6 and 4
Red-b Merganser        12
Eider                            7
Teal                             5 and 6 on sea then in (mega!)
Sandwich Tern             20
Linnet                           5
Redpoll sp                    2
Whimbrel                     5
Meadow Pipit              3
Swallow                      4

Grey Seal                    1

Red-l Partridge!!!!       1 calling from an area south of the south round head, presumably within th PS perimeter fence. Counting this for the BTO Business challenge is on a par with Eagle Owl listing, but we'll have a try at getting away with it!  Presumably the bird seen in suburban Heysham a few days ago.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Its back!

Heysham Obs
Interesting sky with no vapour trails, but some nice volcanic dust shapes, including what appeared to be huge 'v' sign, presumably relating to the money our  northern friends owe us.  Bits of vis but no evidence of any grounded stuff in pretty clear weather

Black Guillemot - this returned about 0930hrs & sat in the harbour mouth, disappeared mid-morning bit seen again late afternoon

Vis mig/sea combo (most of Meadow Pipit & Goldfinch cutting across via natgure reserve, rest from NHW), vis heading NE
Sandwich Tern - 38
Arctic Tern - 16
Red-throated Diver - 2
Gannet - 17
Whimbrel - 1 (IOY)
Kittiwake - 44
Common Scoter - 1
alba Wagtail - 6
Goldfinch - 64
Linnet - 47
Lesser Redpoll - 22
Carrion Crow - 4 in-off
Meadow Pipit - 29
Sparrowhawk - 2 high to NE
Swallow - 4
Purple Sandpiper - one with c50 Turnstone on wooden jetty
Guillemot - 2 on sea
Razorbill - 1 on sea

Hopefully some coverage whilst the regular observers are away tomorrow morning & we are not too 'gripped off'!

Wednesday 14 April 2010

North-East winds and Arctic terns

Heysham Obs
One was belatedly reported yesterday, but the first (small-scale) movement of my favourite migration event in this area, the Arctic tern passage, began today on the early-morning low/incoming tide.  No Wheatear on thorough coastal trawl

North harbour wall 0640-0920
Arctic Tern - 1+1+2+8+11+2 north-east= 'in', all but the first group of  two at a low level in a quite strong headwind
Sandwich Tern - 52 'in' plus low single figures blogging to the south of the harbour
Gannet - 14 in, 6 out plus 8 'u-turning in the mouth of the bay
Razorbill - 2 on water
Razorbill/Guillemot - 5 'in'
Red-breasted Merganser - 8 on water together
(no Red-throats or scoters, small passage of Black-headed & Common Gulls)
Linnet - 24 NE - up to 17 on the Twite(less) food
alba Wagtail - just one NE
Meadow Pipit - 10 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 2 NE

Ocean Edge foreshore
Redshank - 220
Dunlin - 33
Black-tailed Godwit - 11
Common Gull - 74
Black-headed Gull - 38
Eider - 8

Tuesday 13 April 2010

First Arctic Tern

Male Lesser Redpoll taken by John Mason

Heysham obs
North Harbour Wall
1 Arctic tern
12 distant Sandwich Terns
1 Reed Bunting NE
1 Meadow Pipit at the sand plant

Nature Reserve
4 Redpoll (of a group of at least 9), including an adult male (see above pic) and 1 Willow Warbler ringed.  Chiffchaff calling.

Heysham Head & Barrows – 07.40hrs.-08.30hrs. Sunny but cold, little breeze.
10-12 Greenfinches & 20-30 Linnets in gorse bushes. 5+ singing Wrens. Song Thrush singing near castellated wall again but further down slope. 5-6 pairs Blackbird – no singing. 2-3 pairs Dunnock. C.25 Meadow Pipits flying over NE. C.15 Curlews near Throbshaw Point

Monday 12 April 2010

Late Whoopers

Heysham North Harbour Wall

Beautiful weather, sunny, blue sky, excellent visibility - but hardly any birds to see!  The main sighting was a raft of 35 Whooper Swans floating into the Bay.
8 Sandwich Terns were also seen plus
11 Red-breasted Mergansers
3 Great-crested Grebe (a displaying pair and one other)
78 Eider visible

Vis - almost non-existent:
Lesser Redpoll 3
Linnet 1

1 Meadow Pipit

Feeding station
Only 9 Twite today (including an unringed bird).  

male Blackcap and Chaffinch

Golden Eagle seen in the Langden Valley.  Osprey over Leighton Moss early morning.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Redpoll passage continues


Nature reserve
Very short ringing session resulted in:
Willow Warbler - 2
Chiffchaff - 1
Robin - 1

North Harbour Wall
Redpoll sp 24
Linnet 15
Goldfinch 6
Chaffinch 1
Meadow Pipit 52
alba wagtail 7
Swallow 5
Sand Martin 6
Carrion Crow 1

Wooden Jetty
Still around 100 Turnstone and 1 Purple Sandpiper

Feeding station
c45 Twite still hanging on in there

At sea
Red-throated Diver 1 in
Sandwich Tern 10

The Sandwich Terns were behaving like Arctic Terns and, after feeding for a while and having a rest on the buoys, they started to call madly and circled up higher and higher until lost in the cloud, presumably heading NE overland.  They acted like this on Friday as well.

Other areas
The (literally) big news was a White-tailed Eagle over Leighton Moss.  An Osprey was also reported from there this morning as well (NB the use of the word "reported" here doesn't mean I'm doubting the record, it just means that someone reported one and put it in the book at the Moss).

Saturday 10 April 2010

145 metres from the King Canute tribute act

NO Wheatears seen in comprehensive coastal coverage!

Heysham Obs
A small flurry of migrants this morning, especially Lesser Redpoll - mostly early on - and a motionless sub-adult male standing in the water off Ocean Edge for at least 20 minutes whilst the sea lapped around his ankles.  Using the survey maps from earlier this year, the 274 Redshank flock he bisected kept pretty well exactly 145m away either side.  I dont think he was the start of a new version of Crosby beach.  North wall & reserve vis, as usual, involved different birds heading NE

Ocean Edge 0820-0840
Redshank - 274
Black-tailed Godwit - 5
Bar-tailed Godwit - 13

North harbour wall 0710-0850 (vis NE)
Linnet - 5
Meadow Pipit - 18
Goldfinch - 11
Sandwich tern - 17
Lesser Redpoll - 18
alba Wagtail - 4
Common Scoter - 16 in, 25 out
Gannet - 2 adults in
Red-breasted Merganser - 2
Purple Sandpiper - one on jetty with Turnstone

Heysham Nature Reserve (vis very intermittent 0705 to about 0830)
Willow Warbler - at least 4 migrants early on & one ringed later
Meadow Pipit - just 11 NE (1 ringed)
Lesser Redpoll - at least 30 NE (13 ringed)
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed
Blackcap - 2 males ringed
Goldfinch - 15 NE
Linnet - 17 NE
Swallow - 2 NE

Marsh Harrier female north towards Heysham Moss over the bypass at 1030hrs

Peacock (4), Small Tortoiseshell (4), Comma, Speckled Wood, Brimstone (2)

Middleton IE/Red Nab area
Singing birds included:  11 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler & Blackcap

Friday 9 April 2010

Another Wheatearless mixed bag

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0700-0830
Lesser Redpoll - 4+NE
Red-throated Diver - 5 & 3 late morning
Sandwich tern - 19, with 10 still around the buoys late morning
Canada Goose - flock of 4
Twite - c60 early morning, just one unringed bird seen
alba Wagtail - 5 NE
Meadow Pipit - just 29 NE
Linnet - 14 NE, others later with Twite
Goldfinch - 5 NE
Common Scoter - 6 in then landed
Sand Martin - 1 NE
Siskin - 2 NE

Heysham NR office and area
Not a lot of time this morning and late with it, therefore the vis was very intermittently logged, even for just 0730-0900hrs
Dunnock - unringed bird caught (unusual)
Meadow Pipit - 62 NE (3 ringed)
Goldfinch - 21 NE
Swallow - 2 NE
alba Wagtail - 2 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 1 NE
Woodpigeon - flock of 12 rather confused and ended up heading SW (also seen north wall)
Willow Warbler - singing male by classroom
Jay - one 'intruder', possibly a migrant, chased off by the local bird

The Hebrew Character total reached a giddy 17, but 'only' 14 other moths this morning

Rabbit in the bottom shelf of a mist net for a short period.  Grey Squirrel on Moneyclose Lane & apparent drey located

Osprey north over Skerton Weir early morning

Thursday 8 April 2010

A case of what might have been

Heysham Obs
A couple of very distant 'things' in flight up the Kent channel seemed to suggest one of the smaller grebes with (sp) Slav the most likely candidate.  Otherwise a reasonable hour of variety on the sea.  Lets kickstart things by suggesting the Black Guillemot is not going to return (worked with booming Bittern!!)

North harbour wall 0730-0830
Gannet - 12 in then out
Whooper Swan - flock of 20 north
Red-throated Diver - 3 out one in
Red-breasted Merganser - 2 out
Kittiwake - flock of 26 in
Razorbill - 4 on the sea
Common Scoter - 27 in
Sandwich Tern - 2
Meadow Pipit - 27 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 2 NE
Linnet - 5 NE
Chaffinch - 2 NE
Goldfinch - 1 NE
alba Wagtail - 2 NE
Twite - still c60

Reserve by office 0730-0900
Chiffchaff - one ringed and at least 2 other migrants
Green Woodpecker - first thing
Meadow Pipit - c55 NE
Goldfinch - 11 NE
Swallow - 1 NE
alba Wagtail - 6 NE
Great & Blue Tit - unringed singles quite unusual at this time of year

Pretty decent catch with what might be record (!) numbers of Clouded Drab for here - never been common:  Hebrew Character (13), Clouded Drab (12), Common Quaker (12), March Moth (4), Shoulder Stripe (1), Diurnea fagella (1)

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Foggy birdless moth-fest of a morning, Red Admiral and transmittered Osprey in the afternoon!

Heysham Obs
Coastal sites/Heysham NR
Meadow Pipit - combined total from 7ish to 9.30ish = 81 NE, but most of them were not visible in the fog, therefore underestimate.  Trickle throughout the day
Siskin - 2 NE
alba Wagtail - 7 NE
Linnet - 16 NE
Fieldfare - one heard in the mist but no grounded migrant thrushes on the reserve (too late?)
Turnstone - c100
Twite - exactly 62 but not possible to check rings
Chiffchaff - 2+ migrants (1 ringed)
Wren - singing male by the office which appears to be holding territory - definitely new in - NO, it was suppressed yesterday! - only the seond on the reserve this spring
Blackcap - first singing male of the year - again passed through
Wheatear - one materialised in the evening!

'Talisman' flew either over, just inland or just out to sea here at 1400hrs (the text gives 'over' Morecambe Bay, the map suggests along the eastern side of) as part of a 289km journey from Shropshire to Hawick (via transmitter data).  Talisman was Morven's mate in 2009, successfully rearing young [Morven seen flying past here last April]!

More than the rest of the year so far put together!  Record count of 3 Shoulder Stripe, a latish March Moth, Parsnip Moth, otherwise the usual suspects:  13 Hebrew Character, 6 Common Quaker and 5 Clouded Drab

A Red Admiral in the sheltered NE corner of the reserve was a major surprise, given the severity of this last winter.  Have any others been reported in the area?  TWO male Brimstone and a Comma also seen, as well as a glimpse of what was probably Small Tortoiseshell.  Plenty of bumble bees today.

Transmitter-carrying Osprey 'Morven' roosted overnight near Kirkby Lonsdale (6th/7th).  5 Whooper Swan still at Melling

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Belated Black Red discovery?

Due to an unfortunate (and slowly increasing) misuse of the reserve by a handful of individuals, resulting in an unacceptable amount of excrement & off-leads within the areas used by school groups and indeed other path users, no dogs allowed on the main Heysham Nature reserve, as reinforced by notices this morning.  There is, of course, a huge area along the path to the south of the 'cream store' - the Landscape Strip & Nature Park - which can  be used for exercising.  This is a joint decision by British Energy estates, ADAS and the Wildlife Trust via the Land Management meeting

Moneyclose Lane is in very poor condition at the moment with the 'normal' driving line being heavily rutted.  This has led to rather a lot of Ocean Edge traffic, presumably short-stay visitors not familiar with the road, driving along the centre.  This makes turning left out of the reserve rather more dangerous than it usually is.  Take care and look left before turning   

Heysham Obs
Useless due southerly this morning with not a single Wheatear on a coastal trawl & just a bit of early morning vis, until a check was made (for the first time this year) of the power station non-op land.  This produced:

Black Redstart - female-type by the Morecambe Metals skip at the southern end of the non-op land.  View area from Nature Park fence.  Surely not a new arrival in this mornings useless weather?  Please note that if it does stay around, photography 'into' the PS site may be challenged.

North harbour wall 0700-0830
alba Wagtail - 6 NE
Meadow Pipit - 73 NE
Linnet - 10 NE
Whooper Swan - flock of 6 NW
Goldfinch - 5 NE
Lesser Redpoll - 1 NE
Swallow - 2 NE
Siskin - 2 NE
Twite - 75-80, later 42 examined and all ringed
Red-throated Diver - 3 out

First March Moth of the year!!

Monday 5 April 2010

The Wheatear drought continues

Heysham Obs
Still only one Wheatear at a time - where are they?!

North wall
Twite - 36
Red-throated Diver - 1 in
Kittiwake - 13 (flock) in
Purple Sandpiper - 1+ under jetty
Turnstone - at least 176 under jetty
from anonymous note (thanks to whoever it was!):
Little Gull - 2
Gannet - 6

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - just the one
Common Gull - 76 outfalls/tideline

Grey Seal offshore

A change of bulb and a change of fortune - helps when the light actually comes/stays on!  Just orthodross, but a strange composition for here with no Hebrew Character = 4 Clouded Drab, 2 Common Quaker

Sunday 4 April 2010

Mundane to the ridiculous

Heysham Obs
Mega-alert in the evening with a Red-legged Partridge seen running along Cyprus Road in Higher Heysham suburbia.  Major Heysham blocker, last seen goodness knows how long ago.  North-westerlies are unpredictable at this time of year with some significant early morning seabird movements on occasions.  Not this morning.  As far as I am aware the usual 1.5hrs produced just the following:

Red-throated Diver - 5
Gannet - 2
Twite - c60 all, or the vast majority, ringed
Linnet - 2 on seed
no passerine vis

Middleton IE
Snipe - 1

Typical early April record of Hooded Crow on the sandflats at Glasson, also 2 Avocet there.  Bittern 'grunting', therefore presumably usual elderly male, at Leighton Moss 0815-0830 (3 lots of 3) - the first report of this activity this year, despite "24/7" coverage.  Booming better in the evening.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Routine morning patch coverage.....until Osprey report

A few changes on the Links.  I've (long overdue) added the Roy Dennis site - check the migration of transmitter-carrying Osprey, Honey Buzzard etc..  Ray Hobbs has stopped posting on his site, but I've substituted with an Irish site in the same vein.  

A plea - there have been quite a few birders passing through recently, but the number of sightings notes left in the box has dwindled of late.  Appreciate this is because most of the visits have been targeting known winter fare, but from now onwards it is full steam ahead with short-stay migrants.  Therefore any visitors are almost inevitably going to connect with at least something worth publishing on this site. 

So please either call into the reserve car park & leave a note in the box, or text sightings to 07989866487 (see sidebar) or post on to the LDBWS site.  Please dont just leave the sightings on your own blog, we cant check them all out & may not even be aware of its existence!

Thanks in anticipation, especially with spring passage seabirds

Heysham Obs
Text from "Dave" (?Thompson) re-Osprey past the harbour mouth, quite a distance offshore, at c1145hrs.  Couldnt return call.  Thanks for this info, Dave.  This is the first time any of the phone links have been used by an unknown source to report a Heysham bird!

HNR office area 0800-1130
Meadow Pipit - 187 NE (just 6 ringed in niggling wind) [see below for separate NHW birds]
Twite - flock of 12 high to the east
Swallow - 12 seen today heading north
alba Wagtail - 5 north
Green Woodpecker - seen/heard a few times
Chiffchaff - perhaps 3 flew through [just one on Middleton IE today]
Willow Warbler - one Moneyclose Lane (1st of year)
Robin - at least two migrants (1 ringed, one being chased!)
Chaffinch - 5 NE
Linnet - 3 NE
Mallard - pair Obs T pond
Water Rail - one Middleton IE

North harbour wall 0650-0840
Meadow Pipit - 67 NE
alba Wagtail - 2 NE
Goldfinch - 1 NE
Jackdaw - 1+3 in-off
Pink-footed Goose - 26 SW(!)
Common Scoter - 3 out
Red-throated Diver - 1 out
Turnstone - 58+ but no Purps seen
Great-crested Grebe - influx with 16 offshore
Eider - 51
Red-breasted Merganser - 7
Twite - 48

TWO Grey Seal - one inshore, one far offshore

Bombus terrestris queen in a mist net.  First butterfly of the year - by far the latest ever first for here - was a Peacock on Middleton IE

Nothing of any real interest other than influx of Willow warbler & singing Blackcaps.  Two Ring Ouzels seen in Bowland (away from Langden)

Friday 2 April 2010

Back to the overheads

Heysham Obs
A steady Meadow Pipit passage was the order of the day this morning, but unfortunately an opportunity to catch them in the calm early-morning weather was thwarted by an opening time hire car return.  Two out of about 20 around the nets were caught as the wind increased, indicating that they were in response mode (not always the case in spring).  Monday early morning looks interesting for a few seabirds unless the wind ends up too southerly
North harbour wall & combined Meadow Pipit/alba passage
Meadow Pipit - 75 NE 0650-0830 and a different 109 NE at the HNR office 0830-1000
alba Wagtail - 8 + 7 as above
Linnet - 7 NE
Swallow - 1 NE (IOY)
Little Egret - 1 SW
Song Thrush - one on mound - surely not the same bird as intermittent all winter?
Red-throated Diver - 3 out, one on, 5 in later (visiting birder)
Guillemot - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 2 in
Eider - 71 visible
Twite - c65.  This flock split up with around 14 remaining, the rest disappearing across the harbour.  A small catch of 8 (4retraps, 4 unringed) was made.  No further birds appeared, but no reflection on the fishermen/visitors today.

Office vis not mentioned
Reed Bunting - 2 NE
Siskin - 2 NE
Sparrowhawk - female high to NE chased by locals & Carrion Crow
Common Buzzard - one north over golf course c0945hrs - rare here!
Green Woodpecker - calling down Moneyclose Lane
Chiffchaff - one migrant male moved through, singing intermittently

Middleton IE
Chiffchaff - at least 6
Tufted Duck - 3
Usual breeding wildfowl, incluidng 4 Mute Swan still present

Nothing worthy of mention off/at Ocean Edge as the dearth of Wheatear continues & very few of the migrating alba Wagtails becoming grounded

Two flight views of Glossy Ibis late afternoon near Gresgarth Hall, the last heading over Brookhouse [displaying Curlew seen for comparison].  18 Whooper Swans still in Lune valley: one large flock near Melling (including darvic-ringed bird present the last two winters) & two attached to a small Mute Swan flock.  Four Hawfinch seen at Woodwell but coastal observations south of the Lune Estuary and Leighton postings showed little evidence of further migration other than a handful of hirundines & a very sparse scattering of Wheatears.  Ring Ouzel influx in upland areas to the south and east (including Pendle).  Still no hint of any booming Bitterns at Leighton Moss with the last known sighting of any 'resident' birds being a 2000-ringed female on 31/1/10.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Good maritime morning

North Harbour Wall
Decided to emulate the Fleetwood birders and get to the watchpoint for dawn to do some pre-work sea-watching.  It was well worth the early start.
Nothing much until 0710 then the following:
Red-throated Diver - 36 (including a flock of 16) heading generally north, some spiralling up to quite a height. Fantastic sight in the early morning sun.
Kittiwake - 295 in flocks of about 30 to 35, largest flock 55.  Many probably missed if they were further out. 
Gannet - at least 40.  Largest flock = 10.  There were many probables wheeling about way out near the wind turbines.
Possible skua, again way out near the turbines.  Only the jizz suggested a skua as it was a larger and very dark bird persistently harrassing a smaller bird.
Eider 11 flew into the Bay.