Monday, 31 May 2010

Just one bird

North Harbour Wall

An early morning 2 hour watch produced just one sighting - a Gannet.

Middleton Industrial Est
8 tufted duck (5 male)
4 little grebe
1 family of newly fledged Long Tailed Tits
Butterflies - Common blue & Small Heath everywhere + many whites, peacock & small tortoiseshell
+ 1 Wall Brown
Dragon flies - 3 x four spot chaser + many blue-tailed, 2 x common blue and 1 x large red damselflies
First grasshopper "chirruping"

Spoonbill still on the Allen Pool at Leighton Moss

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Another skua

Heysham obs

North Harbour Wall 0615-0800
Arctic Skua - 1 dark phase at 0710
Gannet - 8
Brent Goose - 1
possible Black Tern - 1

Nature Reserve
Reed Warbler - 1pr
Sedge Warbler - 2 singing males
Whitethroat - 2 singing
Willow Warbler - 2 singing
Blackcap - 1 singing
then all the usual suspects (Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock etc etc)

Spoonbill still at Leighton Moss

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Young uns

Middleton industrial estate

Two quite well grown juv Lapwings being watched by their parents on the spit at the model boat pond.  They nimbly avoided three clumsy Mute Swans which were arguing about who should be where on the spit.

Also two fledged Pied Wagtails accompanied by an adult.

Spoonbill at Leighton Moss on the Allen Pool.  No sign of the reported Little Stint.

Friday, 28 May 2010


It seems that everyone is elsewhere and the only report is from
Leighton Moss, Allen Pool - Spoonbill and Little Stint

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Cracking day......

.......for a lie-in! Not much doing from the North Harbour Wall today:

Gannet - 2
House Martin - 2
Swift - 1
Swallow - 4
Eider - 5 present
Ringed Plover - 2 present

Aldcliffe - Spotted Flycatcher, Greenshank and 5 Little Ringed Plovers.  White tailed Plover Seaforth.  2CY Glaucous Gull at the port just SE of Nordkapp, Svonsomething!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Willow Warbler sings....

Willow Warbler singing next to the ob.

First Common Swift of the year.

Re the above, stopped several times on the Tromso to Alta road today and the only things singing were Willow Warblers!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Early morning news

North Harbour Wall
Gannet - 1
Fulmar - 1
Common Scoter - 12
Eider - 1
Sanderling - 1
Ringed Plover - 5
Meadow Pipit - 2
Swallow - 10
Swift - 1
House Martin - 1

Cockersands  - 1 Arctic Tern

Monday, 24 May 2010

Courageous Coot

Heysham Obs
per Ocean Edge resident
The pair of Coot are trying to nest on the dog-walk-please-dont-let them-swim-in-it pond, after being present for about a week.  This is the first record of Coot for the BE properties, apart from a electricity wires casualty about 15 years ago!  They are, of course, resident on nearby Middleton NR

Also in this pond are 'several' Goldfish which are being targeted by a Grey Heron!

Ocean Edge foreshore
Whimbrel - 1
Common Sandpiper - late passage bird

To those of you with the site access details, please keep the site going whilst I am away, even if just a few moth records!  Thanks.

Little Stint, Plover Scar, Cockersands

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Dragonfly weather

Heysham Obs
The best sightings today were a young Lapwing on the model boat pond spit about 5-7 days old and a single Wall Brown butterfly in the same area

Early morning seawatching for two hours!
Common Scoter - 8
Gannet - 4
Sandwich Tern - 1

Middleton IE
Large Red Damsel - 30-40
Blue-tailed Damselfly - 10-15
Azure Damselfly - c30
no definite Common Blue Damsel
4-spotted Chaser - 34 with records scattered throughout
Common Blue butterfly - 44, most around the model boat pond
Large White - 4
Small Heath - 4
Orange Tip - 2+
Small/Green-veined White - 17+
Speckled Wood - one

Black Tern arrived at Leighton Moss about 1530hrs

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Little Ringed Plover new for year

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
Male Little Ringed Plover on the model boat pond late afternoon

Heysham NR
...........Otherwise rather low-key today with a sneaky Marbled Minor aggregate located during the 'second phase' check of the moth trap the 'highlight' along with  Spectacle and Common Pug which also seemed to be new for the year

Single dark-morph Arctic Skua JB Point early morning

Friday, 21 May 2010

Foggy CESes

Heysham Obs
Both CES sites were given their allocated time this morning.  That key CES species - Tufted Duck - escaped from the top shelf of a mist net at Middleton (the second duck, following a Mallard, to do so since we started the CES)!  Otherwise the highlights were rather modest - a migrant male acredula-type Willow Warbler, with a supercilium an Arctic Warbler would have been proud of, was caught at Middleton where a passage Garden Warbler gave a few bursts of song before moving inland (the only common warbler species which does not breed there)

Just the one singing male Reed Warbler at Middleton (see late entry for yesterday) which was part of a nice array of singing warblers all heard at the same time from the same spot (can the Leighton dawn choruses compete with this?):  Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, Blackcap, the abovementioned passage Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler.........and the habitat looks perfect for a Cetti's in the next year or so!

The most unexpected sighting was a Grey Wagtail which visited the sewage works - not known to breed anywhere nearby and 16 Swallow & 5 House Martin comprised the only northbound vis.

Azure, Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Large Red damsels.  One 4-spotted Chaser on the 'scrape' pond

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The cycle is broken

Heysham Obs
Early morning seawatching ground to a halt with the forecasted (and actual) poor visibility.  No time to do any mist netting/vis mig or anything other than:

Puss Moth - one in the hut trap
Garden Warbler - one singing along Moneyclose Lane

THREE singing male Reed Warblers at Middleton late afternoon with two of these in the circular reed bed by the fence pond (but these two departed overnight)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Vigil rewards

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall early morning low tide
Sandwich tern - one on yellow buoy
Swallow - three blogging

Incoming tide early pm
Arctic Tern - 2 in
Pomarine Skua - light morph in 1215ish
Sandwich Tern - 2 in
Auk spp - 2 distant
Whimbrel - one on shore

Breeding birds
Pair of Ringed Plover with 3 small chicks on (ex)heliport

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Even quieter

North Harbour Wall 0715-0815
Calm, clear.

Gannet 1 out
Swallow 8 NE

Monday, 17 May 2010


North Harbour Wall 0650-0820
WNW, F2-3, 4oktas cloud, excellent visibility

Common Scoter - 20 in then out
Swallow - 23 NE
Red-breasted Merganser -1 out

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Not enough showers!

Heysham Obs
After getting soaked checking rather moth-deficient national m.n. traps, the conditions for the seawatch were a bit disappointing with high fluffy cloud.  Dont think the early morning/low tide seawatchers saw anything of note.

Sea 0915-1015
Shelduck - flock of 8 out
Dunlin - flock of 36 out
Arctic tern - one in
Arctic Skua - dark morph out then landed on sea 0940hrs
Skua spp. - light morph seen in flight for about a second, then landed on sea in Kent channel.  Very hard to follow on sea with incoming tide & higher waves but glimpses suggested a Pom, but too far/not enough of a flight view to be certain.  NO-ONE at the Leighton/JBP end had their mobiles switched on - I did try!

Middleton industrial estate WeBS count:
2 Mute Swan, 8 Coot plus 8 chicks (3 broods of 2+2+4), 2 Moorhen, 6 Mallard (5 males, 1 female), 12 Tufted Duck ( 7 males, 5 females), 5 Little Grebe

NMN in the hut trap produced Eyed Hawk & Rustic Shoulder Knot - both new for the year

Jenny Brown's Point:
0920hrs 1 dark phase Arctic Skua
1225hrs 1 Great Skua
1310hrs 1 Great Skua
1400hrs 1 Great Skua
Arctic Tern - 3

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Skuas again

North Harbour Wall 0630-0845
Clear, calm, then W F2

Arctic Skua - 2 dark phase NE.  The first floated in at 0745 then took off and flew high; the second flew in at 0810.  At the same time a third but very distant  skua sp floated in but was unfortunately lost to view.
Swallow - 121 NE
Whimbrel - 1
Sandwich Tern - 3 blogging
Teal - 1 floated in
Great-crested Grebe - 2 in the low tide channel
Eider - 64 off Morecambe

Jenny Brown's Point:
early pm 3 pale phase Arctic Skuas
1500hrs 5 pale phase Arctic Skuas (possible the 3 above plus 2 others)
Also Spoonbill flew NW at 1240hrs

Friday, 14 May 2010

Drizzle drops a Spotted Flycatcher

Heysham Obs
Nature reserve
Spotted Flycatcher - One around the Obs Tower fence at 1130hrs

North harbour wall/offshore
Common Tern - this was the highlight of the early morning.
The Common Tern hung in on Hey 1 Outfall and was joined by 4 Arctic Tern. Also an eventual buildup of 17 1st s Common Gull , otherwise sea completely dead in light but persistent rain.


Grey Seal   1 in close offshore

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Useless wind develops

Heysham Obs
Any logical summary of migration should suggest that southerly winds were something to anticipate.  Not the case - everything seems to 'move parallel' and nothing seems to land.  Add clear conditions and there is a recipe for uselessness

Office area 0650 - 0820
Tree Pipit - 2 north together 0700hrs - a good spring for this species, +1 at 0915hrs
Siskin - one north (or at least one heard flying north) 0750hrs
Swallow - 22 NE
nothing obviously grounded other than an unringed male Lesser Whitethroat trapped by the office (in addition to perpetually singing bird) before the wind put paid to any further mistnetting

Kittiwake - flock of 35 floating in
Mute Swan - four sat on the sea off the north wall
Sandwich Tern - 3
Swallow - 2
Red-throated Diver - 1 out
Whimbrel - one inshore

Grey Seal early morning in low tide channel

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Winter's last gasp?

North Harbour Wall 0630-0830

Pink-footed Goose - 40 north at 0740hrs.  Is this the last lot?
Goldfinch - 1 NE
Swift - 3 NE, 9 later (1245-1315)
Swallow - 23 NE, 16 later (1245-1315)
Whimbrel - 2 N 1245-1315hrs

On/over/in the sea:
Arctic Tern - 84 (23 + 1 + 60) - the flock of 60 went high up into the sky over the harbour/outfalls area and headed NE
Sandwich Tern - 2
Gannet - 5
Red-throated Diver - 2
Dunlin - 5
Grey seal - 1

Turnstone 15
Knot - 1 with the Turnstone

Grounded migrants
Willow Warbler - 4 females trapped HNR
Wheatear - 2
also unringed Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and female Blackcap of unknown status.  An unringed Wren was caught, supporting the observation that most of the now reasonably healthy Wren population involved mid-April infill of empty territories by 2CY birds of unknown origin.  Most interesting - where had they wintered?
Middleton IE
Reed Warbler - one singing by central/western marsh entrance gate

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Lazy skuas

Arrived  a bit late!  Aiden and Peter Branch had beaten me to it and already seen a pale-phase Arctic Skua lazing on a sandbank.

North Harbour Wall 0640 -0840
Clear, calm, 2/8 cloud (cirrocumulus overhead, cumulus out to west).
High tide 8.3m at 10:20hrs
Arctic Skua - 2.  Both dark-phase, floating in on sea at 0650 and 0730.  The earlier bird flew off north at 0800.
Arctic Tern - 51 (14, 10, 17, 10)
Red-throated Diver - 1 in
Sandwich Tern - 12
Whimbrel - 1
Ringed Plover - a flock flew over but weren't located.  Sounded like 10 or more.
Swallow - 9, all after 0810hrs
Yellow Wagtail - 1 at 0800hrs
Wheatear - 2 (male and female)
Turnstone - 21

That was it.   A strange morning but glorious weather for sitting around, which is what most birds were doing.

Monday, 10 May 2010

A Swift seawatch

Well, not that many Swifts, but at least there were some!

North Harbour Wall 0645-0805 - 1300
NE F3-4, overcast, spots of rain. Visibility moderate.

Gannet - 2 out very distantly
Common Scoter - 8 out
Swift - 8 in + 20
Swallow - 1 in
Whimbrel - 9 present
Wheatear - 1 present
Turnstone - down to 9 -21were seen later
Peregrine - 1 trying to whittle down the Tunstone even further.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

First Fulmar of the year

Heysham obs

North Harbour Wall 0605 - 0835
Clear, NE F1-2
High tide at 0850hrs 7.9m

Fulmar - 1 in
Arctic Skua - 2 both pale phase. 1 at 0625hrs and 1 at 0719hrs
Arctic Tern - 88 (18+1+3+30+30+6) in
Sandwich Tern - 17 in
Gannet - 4 in
Kittiwake - 4 in
Red-throated Diver - 3 in
Mute Swan - 10 in (!)
Dunlin - 17 in
Guillemot - 1 on
Swallow - 1
Turnstone - 12 on the jetty

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Distant tern flocks defy identification

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0625-0845
"Comic" Tern - all flocks seen well in recent years have been Arctic:  4+30+20+20 in
Arctic Tern - 7 slowly making their way into the bay during a whistle stop visit at 1210hrs
Common Scoter - 7 NE
Swallow - 6
Siskin - 2

Ocean Edge foreshore
Lesser Whitethroat - one on the rocks looking a bit tired!
Wheatear - 2
Dunlin - 250 schinzii/arctica
Ringed Plover - 5 tundrae
Grey Plover - 10

Friday, 7 May 2010

Little happening early morning in strong north-easterly

Heysham Obs
North wall 0630-0800
Arctic Tern - 7+12 in
Sandwich Tern - 12 in
Siskin - 2 NE
Swallow - 3 NE

Middleton Ind Est
A minimum of 17 Lesser Black-backed and 5 Herring Gull nests counted on roof tops (SD45E)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Better by recent standards!

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0.25hrs early morning & 0930-1030
Arctic Tern - 6+36 NE
Arctic Skua - pale morph blogging - quite distant c1000hrs
Sandwich Tern - 29 in
Swallow - 47 in
House Martin - 2 in
Meadow Pipit - 1 in
Swift - 2 in

North harbour wall 1540-1600
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - one seemingly "forced off" Red Nab by the tide headed diagonally across the bay to the north, therefore always rather distant in unimpressive afternoon light & Brant/hybrid not ruled out (obvious 'necklace')
Swallow - 39NE, mostly along the seawall & some probably missed

Heysham Nature Reserve
Willow Warbler - three trapped and two others 'bounced' out of the net before the wind got up at c0730hrs
Whitethroat - one ringed, at least two other migrants seen
Wheatear - one on adjoining non-operational land

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 2
Whimbrel - 3 on foreshore

The charismatic Brown Silver Line made its first appearance

Arrangements have been made to view a distant and elusive singing male Savi's Warbler near Leighton Moss.  Directions from Leighton Moss.  This is a 'test case' for this new site (warden's words) and any problems, such as a photographer tape luring so they can sell their 'exclusive' pics, will lead to any future records from here being suppressed.   Not seen/heard 1500-1900hrs.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Saved by the pug

.......showing all the features in some detail.........

Heysham Obs
Seriously challenging early morning visibility for seabirds and the 'flipside' of these conditions, potentially grounded migrants, appeared to be absent but there was (just) too much damp in the air for any mist netting (condensation on nets and wetting any captures).  The moth trap came to the rescue

Oak-tree Pug - first record for here since two in May 2000 (the only previous), plus TWO Streamer (second and third this year but only four or so previous records since 1980)

A bird
The only one worth mentioning was the first (singing male) Reed Warbler of the year for here on Middleton IE.  There were still c75 Turnstone on the north wall skeers but absolutely nothing else of even the remotest note

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The volcano synopsis returns as migrants continue to struggle through

Heysham Obs
There is a superb weather synopsis at the moment (in association with petrol costs) to encourage people not to chase around after a smattering of bog-standard early May scarcities plus a few Red-rumped Swallows where it is raining over a gravel pit and go out and do some Atlas coverage!  It is a seriously dreadful 'rare' synopsis with no obvious change ahead other than a few struggling common migrants might be grounded in tomorrows belt of mist/rain.  Just done a very detailed check of all sorts of weather sites and worth a flutter on the coldest May on record and certainly the worst for rare birds (to about 20th at least)?    The second CES visits look a bit difficult in constantly strong northerlies and National Moth Night a non-entity.  Hopefully they are all wrong.

North harbour wall 0630-0830
Arctic Tern - 46 (9+16+6+15), all rising high & heading inland to the north-east
Sandwich Tern - 44, mixture of bloggers and migrants (including birds spiralling up high)
Whimbrel - 1
Kittiwake - flock of 22 'in' high
Woodpigeon - flock of 3 headed west out to sea!
Swallow - 1

Brief sea check on the incoming tide
Whimbrel - 3 Ocean Edge foreshore
Mallard - pair Red Nab
House Sparrow - male Ocean Edge reception area

Grey Squirrel by reserve entrance.  Grey Seal offshore.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Mega - pigeon in-off

Heysham Obs
Few Arctic Terns made it from the Home Counties to Heysham and the title sums up the seawatching today from the North Harbour Wall.  Two watches were done, one early morning (0630 to 0800hrs) and one on the incoming tide (1120 to 1340hrs).  Visibility was excellent throughout, skies were clear early morning but cloudier late morning and the wind was NNE F3 then 2:

Arctic Tern - 13 (2 early morning and 11 on the incoming tide)
Sandwich Tern - 8
Red-throated Diver - 4 in
Pigeon - 1

Swallow - 16

On the skears:
Whimbrel - 6
Turnstone - 88
Dunlin - 12

Dotterel still at Abbeystead Lane - sorry this should have referred to YESTERDAY lunchtime (2nd)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Masochistic Marsh Harrier

From the Lee Evans summary for today (see Links for UK400)
"The Home Counties have had a good day passage-wise with huge numbers of ARCTIC TERNS displaced, several BLACK TERNS, a few LITTLE TERNS and the odd SANDWICH TERN, along with OSPREYS and MARSH HARRIERS". 

For here: Maybe tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday - is tomorrow morning too early - will the wind change direction too soon???

Heysham Obs
The early morning seawatching was rubbish - too northerly, not enough easterly, and too strong.  The late morning seawatching on the incoming tide was no better with one exception

North harbour wall 0630-0930
A great morning for a lie-in with comments from the early morning seawatchers limited to "a few Swift & blogging Sandwich Tern"

North harbour wall 1046-1146
Marsh Harrier - female/imm battling north low over the water surface with an entourage of gulls 1110-1115hrs, seeming to be being forced further towards the centre of the bay.  Why on earth wasnt it migrating over land, unless forced offshore to the south of here by the Middleton IE nesting large gulls?   A dark-chocolate individual with some yellow on the head & leading edge of the wing
Sandwich Tern - 1
Turnstone - c110

A large Grey Seal

Two Dotterel Abbeystead Lane early morning only - not visible lunchtime, but there is 'dead' ground here to conceal birds....public domain updates from this site have been rather thin on the ground this last two days

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Typical bits and bobs at a local patch

Heysham Obs
Vis mig/seawatching/miscellany during the light winds 0630-0930
Gannet - 3 in
Whimbrel - 4 in
Sandwich tern - 12 blogging
Common Scoter - 5 in
Red-throated Diver - 2 in, one floating in mid pm
Arctic tern - 1+7+2 in
House Martin - 1
Swallow - 48
Meadow Pipit - 4 late migrants
alba Wagtail - 1
Linnet - 6
Goldfinch - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 4
Turnstone - 118 on the rocks
Greylag - 4 on Middleton IE flying about between ponds
Grasshopper Warbler - at least 6 on Middleton but singing quite intermittently
Whinchat - 2 males early morning at Middleton IE, one in the BE 'finger' of land, putting it on the business challenge list!
Little Egret - one flew east to the souh of Middleton IE
Goosander - in keeping with the theme of odd sightings of strictly local interest, two males flew out of the bay during a very short seawatch to see if the early stages of the NE wind was producing anything
Arctic Skua - bearing in mind a great swathe of the incoming tide was un-watched at Heysham, it is not surprising we missed the two dark-morph Arctic Skua seen at JB Point at c1500hrs

Ringing by the office/Middleton
Seven Bullfinches were a major surprise, especially as three of these (2 x 2CY male & one 2CY female) were unringed.  Other birds included 3 unringed Lesser Whitethroat and a couple of Willow Warbler.   Middleton ringing was highlighted by a Moorhen, a Sedge Warbler ringed elsewhere and a top shelf Mallard which escaped

Grey Seal off the north wall

Common Wave new for the year

2 Dotterel Abbeystead Lane first thing at least.  Bearing in mind the 15 Dotterel on Ward's Stone on at least 23/4, it was interesting to note that 15 were on Ingleborough this morning - the next 'mountain-hop' to the north-east