Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Heysham Obs
A ringing session by the hut, somewhat interrupted by moth collecting activities, produced 12 birds, including 4 Tit sp.,  2 Common Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff.

Moths: The hut trap produced 210 moths of 58 species - a good catch for this site. Thanks to John for his unexpected but timely arrival to complete the identification of the catch.  Silky Wainscot perhaps the pick of the bunch

Silver Hook and Obscure Wainscot were the highlights of a short sheet and light session at Middleton IE - both are presumably breeding there

The model boat pond produced a distant sighting of a photographer with head in hands (asleep??) so presumably no Red-veined Darters!    Looks like this last winter/'premature' autumn emergence might have put paid to this species and there is absolutely no evidence of any along the south coast e.g. Dungeness BO website.  Still a bit early to be certain.


The Channel Wagtail x female flavissima pairing in the Lune valley now has fledged young on the shingle at Wenningfoot

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Still no news

Haven't been to Heysham to check it out so any news will be added in due course.

Monday, 28 June 2010

No news received yet

No news of birds, moths or dragonflies yet for today.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Tits galore

Heysham Obs
A quick visit to the reserve office early morning saw at least 40 tit species in the usual ringing bushes - however we had already committed to a session at Middleton.  It looks like its been a very good breeding season for tits (also supported by provisional nestbox data) after a reasonable feeder-assisted survival this last winter.  A significant proportion of the flock was Long-tailed Tit - I dont think this would have been the case after winter 1962/3, before they discovered fat balls

Middleton IE
Only two hours ringing due to work committments produced a steady trickle of warbler species (including Grasshopper) and a few rather myopic Swallows.  Worryingly, two ringing sessions there totalling over 70 birds have not included a single Reed Bunting, implying first brood failure.  Memo: add to the records an unseasonal fly-over Siskin during the CES on 20/6

Rather a lot and most of the flighty stuff was intercepted before the sun blazed into the trap.  As far as I am aware, a mass breakout of Common Footman (14) was actually new for the year, also apparently new were:  Map-winged Swift, Satin Wave (a bit belated), Dingy Footman and Grass Emerald.  Need to get the records out of the log on to MapMate, rather than trying to plough through 5 varieties of handwriting!

Colin unfortunately could not make it today - can someone please do the Middleton butterfly/dragonfly transect in the decent weather - I'm away till Thursday & its going off then by all accounts.  A VERY brief check of the model boat pond did not produce any darters

Saturday, 26 June 2010

snatches of time

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE
Model boat pond
Darter spp - a red darter was briefly in the centre of the pond before being chased off by Bk T Skimmer.  The variable-height flight mode was not convincing for Red-veined, but this might have been due to being harrassed.  If it was a RVD, it was not a full adult male.
Black-tailed Skimmer - minimum of 12, possibly up to 20

Ocean Edge
High tide produced:
Med Gull - single adult (Ocean Edge saltmarsh) and ad/3CY with only the upperparts visible (Red Nab) with c350 Black-headed Gull

The catch included two Broad-barred White.  Two nights ago produced a convincing e.g. of Heart and Club which is being thoroughly checked following quite a few false alarms with extralimital claims (has appeared here once before)

Decent Middleton ringing session

Heysham Obs

Middleton IE
A ringing session using the CES net sites in the central marsh and the western marsh net sites produced a significant number of warbler species including Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and reasonable numbers of Common Whitethroat.  Of the 7 Lesser Whitethroat caught, one was ringed elsewhere - the first time we have had either a recovery or a 'control' of this species and about time!   

Thursday, 24 June 2010


The only news so far is from elsewhere  - a Guillemot at Far Arnside.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Mundane June morning...

Continued influx of the Heysham speciality Double Dart. (5).
Light Arches (1) dubiously worthy of note.

Red Kite at Yealand Redmayne

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A Quiet Morning

Reserve CES this morning produced little of note - some evidence of breeding success with two juvenile Lesser Whitethroat, one Chiffchaff and three Great tits trapped.

Double Dart 4 and Clay 4 amongst the fairly average catch.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Little news yet

Buff Arches (2) new for the year.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

"Singing" in the sunshine

Middleton Industrial Est
1 Grasshopper warbler reeling, and showing well, on new territory in the Northern side of the estate. 9:30am

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Half a moth catch

Thanks to Reuben for doing the other half of the moth catch as a whistle-stop morning visit covering half of the toilet floor produced quite a time-consuming bag-full of common species including the start of the overlap period between Shoulder-striped Wainscot and Smoky Wainscot.

No obvious sightings of any birds

Friday, 18 June 2010

Figure of Eighty

Heysham Obs
A few previous Heysham records of this moth & one this morning in the trap

Middleton IE
There have been two recent records of Common Lizard to add to those seen at the Belted Beauty site near Potts Corner.  These are the first wild reptiles seen in the Obs recording area.  Slow Worm next?

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Where are the small seagulls?

Heysham Obs
...........either late or there is no food on the outfalls due to 'outages'.  Just five Black-headed Gulls Red Nab on the incoming tide

Ringing by the office
A couple of hours confirmed the first successful breeding of Willow Warbler on the reserve for 'some years' with the capture of three recently fledged young.  A couple of unringed and a couple of ringed adult Whitethroat & juveniles of  Lesser Whitethroat, Robin & Blue Tit completed the haul

Breeding birds
Oystercatcher actually at the egg laying stage on the non-operational land after several years of showing interest - a new tetrad & site breeding record.  Also a re-laying Ringed Plover on four eggs

Painted Lady - by the office
Small Skipper - first of the summer (& plenty of Large Skipper)
Black-tailed Skimmer - 5 males Middleton model boat pond but no sign of any darters
Double Dart - first of the year in the trap

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

New moth species

Heysham Obs
Obscure Wainscot (see left) has hitherto been restricted to Leighton Moss with occasional wanderers to the garden moth traps at Yealand and Warton, along with the regularly trapped Gaitbarrows area

One was in the HNR hut trap this morning along with the first of the year of its much more widespread relative, Clay. A single worn Shaded Pug, two of the migrant Diamond-back Moth and the third record of the presumably overlooked Mompha ochraceella completed the 'worth mentioning' category.

Dog-walk pond
Goldfish - 50+
Emperor dragonfly - 3+
Black-tailed Skimmer - 1
4-spotted Chaser - 10+

Middleton IE
Little Ringed Plover - on the model boat pond
Lapwing - single youngster virtually fledged
Black-tailed Skimmer - 3

Equally impressive moth-wise was a new 10km square pyralid taken during a sheet and light session at Middleton IE last night (see pic) [per John Girdley].   This is Platyptilia gonodactyla, one of the 'plume' moths

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Sunny but polar

Heysham Obs
A wind direction the scousers like, but few of us in the north of the county.  It kept the temperature hovering just a little bit too low for a dragonfly-fest

Middleton IE
Pair of Gadwall on the fence pond, then flew south
At least two Reed Warblers

4-spotted Chaser - c25
Black-tailed Skimmer - 2 males
Emperor - one male
plenty of Azure, Common Blue & Blue-tailed damselflies and two Large Red Damselflies

No coastal birding I am aware of today

Yet another period of absence coming up - could one of you please post daily updates, even negative ones, from Friday to Friday please.  Thanks.  Implicitly, no moth trap checking from me Friday to Thursday inclusive

Monday, 14 June 2010

Belated minimal midsummer WeBs

Heysham Obs
Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Oystercatcher - 207
Shelduck - 2
Ringed Plover - male Ocean Edge beach - another risky nesting attempt nearby?
Scattering of large, but no small, gulls.

Oystercatcher - 2!!!
Cormorant - 3
plus a scattering of mainly nesting large gulls

Another Shaded Pug but catch down due to NE winds

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Green Woodpecker and Little Ringed Plover reappear

Heysham Obs
Most of the action was at Middleton IE with Ocean Edge gulls down to:
Black-headed Gull - 3
Common Gull - 5 x 2CY, 1 x 3CY

Middleton IE
CES ringing included one male Grasshopper Warbler (of at least four singing first thing), two lots of recently fledged Sedge Warbler, two new adult female Lesser Whitethroat, a female Swallow with a massive brood patch and what appears to be the sole remaining Lapwing chick

Other sightings included:
Green Woodpecker - recorded by Malcolm during the WeBS
Reed Warbler - at least 3 singing males
Little Ringed Plover - male, seemingly on its own just feeding on the edge of the model boat pond
Tufted Duck - now 5 on the model boat pond (4 males)
Coot - 7 chicks seen on the weBS
Mallard - 7 chicks seen on the WeBS
Little Grebe - recorded at three sites
On the downside, only one House Martin and one Swift were seen and no sign of any recently fledged Reed Bunting

Perhaps surprisingly, Small Clouded Brindle was the most numerous moth in an actinic catch at Middleton with Shaded Pug and Eudonia pallida also notable.  More Shaded Pugs in the Heysham NR hut trap.  The highlights from the hut trap were the first Shark for several years, along with the first Broad-barred White of the year

Another baby wader survives against the odds

Heysham Obs
No time to do the coastal stuff today

Middleton IE
Reed Warbler - 3 singing males, two western marsh, one central marsh
Lapwing - at least one young just about to fly by the model boat pond and the female seeming to be sitting on eggs again
Tufted Duck - pair doing nothing on model boat pond (nest failure by the local pair?)

Black-tailed Skimmer - one on model boat pond, but too windy for dragonflies
Shaded Pug - two in the Heysham trap - Heysham NR & Middleton IE the only regular Lancs sites

Friday, 11 June 2010

Baby bird time

Heysham Obs
Work and Frank Spencer-like ineptitude with computers where slotting maps and the like into text is concerned meant that the only way I was going to see a bird of interest was if it was brought into the office.  This is what happened at 1330hrs.  A dog walker appeared at the door with an 'injured bird'.  This transpired to be one of two Ringed Plover chicks which have led a charmed life on Half Moon Bay beach.  The dog had chased one and it crouched "injured" and was carefully picked up and brought to the office in a huge cardboard box!

I ringed it and carefully released it back on to the beach where it immediately established vocal communication with at least one parent

The only things of note on the Heysham CES were two newly-fledged Lesser Whitethroat

A Grey Squirrel was messing about under the dog-walker cars along the erserve entrance road

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Thats more like it!

Heysham Obs
After yesterdays nadir, allowing Canada Goose to take pole position, a few more gulls this morning comprising:

Ocean edge foreshore/Red Nab at high tide
Med Gull - 2CY with blackish head on sand opposite the old Pontins site
Black-headed Gull - 13
Common Gull - 8
Oystercatcher - 207

Middleton I.E

Four-spot Chaser  13+  just one pond checked
Black-t Skimmer   1+ male on the Darter pool

Early Marsh Orchid  1 subsp. coccinea.I am not aware this has been recorded here before (TW).

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Baseline birding

Heysham Obs
Always good to start off with zero or nearly zero at the beginning of an assumed build-up of post breeding season gulls - it gives a sense of coverage completeness.  Was half-expecting the first 'autumnal' Med at high tide this morning.  In the event, a scrutiny of Ocean Edge foreshore and Red Nab produced:

Canada Goose - 2
Black-headed Gull - 1
Common Gull - 2
Oystercatcher - 154
plus large gulls

Lesser Whitethroat singing at Ocean Edge entrance

Middleton for a change

Grasshopper Warbler reeling away whilst I moth trapped late evening 8/6/10

A good turn out in slightly windy conditions.
Silver Hook was a good find and miles away from its Silverdale / White Moss stronghold.

3 Shaded Pugs were the first Lancashire records away from HNR in years, albeit in the same tetrad.
3 Elephant Hawks and 2 Poplar Hawks around the light at the same time were a fine sight.
42 species in all.

Late news 4/6/10: Scrobipalpa acuminatella (gen det male) was new for Northern VC60, thanks to Steve Palmer for help with this one.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Moths Rule again...

No reports as yet

This Silky Wainscot was trapped in the hut two nights ago - the third record for this site.  It's "silkiness", which is very obvious when viewing the actual moth is not apparent in this image.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Good news

North Harbour Wall to Half Moon Bay
The good news is that 2 of the 3 Ringed Plover chicks have survived and are now well grown with 2 males and a female looking out for them.
60-70 Oystercatcher still hanging around (mostly first summers).
7 Mute Swans flew in on an awayday to Heysham then flew off back to the north side of the Bay.
Whitethroat still singing near the Zoo cafe.

Not so much “news” as an observation:
The rain front mid evening brought an influx of swifts that joined those routinely feeding high above Heysham Head.
The insects and therefore the birds were much lower than normal. Over 50 counted above Half Moon Bay meadow at 7:00pm

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Late news....

Moths again I'm afraid.

On May 26th a putative (but totally melanistic and therefore unidentifable) May Highflier was taken from the trap. Jizz not really sufficient for this species.

On dissection it turned out to be Lancashire's first Ruddy Highflier since 2004. The remains have now been confirmed by the Lancashire recorders. How many more get by?

Even later news:

Ruddy Highflier 30-5-10

A second individual was "Sampled" on May 30th (Just confirmed - Gen det male) and also proved to be Ruddy Highflier. Have we been missing something?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Hawk Moths Rule OK

? Certainly some.....

Dark Sword Grass, 3 Poplar Hawk Moths, 1 Eyed Hawk Moth
and on a daytime search: 2 Yellow Shell, Mother Shipton, Scoparia Pyralella

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Heysham Early Start

Heysham obs
Another CES session this morning with net setting beginning at 05.10 as usual - 13 captures was good for this project here!

A reasonable catch this morning (one benefit of checking the moth trap at 06.00!)  included Shaded Pug, Grey Pug and two Poplar Hawkmoths.


North Harbour Wall 
Sandwich Tern - 1
Knot - 26 (on one of the groynes and then flew NW)
Red-breasted Merganser - 2
Eider - 1
Ringed Plover - 2
Meadow Pipit - 2
Bullfinch -1 at the Zoo Cafe car park

Grey seal - 1

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Moths make a decent showing...

Whitethroat singing near obs.

About 20 species either in the trap or around the reserve.
Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Common Wave, Herald, Poplar Hawk etc.
The micro, Elachista Argentella was new for tedrad.
Plenty of Grass Moths; 30+ Cambus Lathoniellus and Chrysoteuchia Culmella making its first showing of the year.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

White rabbits, white rabbits

It's the beginning of the month and there are no birds to report.  Things can only get better and I have been told that saying white rabbits at the start of a month brings good luck - let's hope so!