Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Clear calm and quiet

Heysham Obs
The only interest this morning was a little flurry of Grey Wagtails rather later than might be expected between 1915 and 1940hrs (delay due to mist over the bay?).  Today saw Sean's final visit covering the tidal cycle along the north harbour wall.  Thanks for your company the last twelve months, Sean and hope to see you again in the near future

North harbour wall
Another Sandwich tern gathering on the incoming tide with 26 birds seen
The Ringed Plover chicks (2) have now fledged - this is the second brood
Eider - 26 offshore

Heysham office area vis
Grey Wagtail - flock of 6, then 2, then one SE (just 3 ringed - problems with sun on the nets at this time)
Swallow - just 25 SE
House Martin - just 7 SE
no pipits of any description heard!

Grounded birds in the office area amounted to a meagre 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap, some of which may have been 'leftovers'.  No Whitethroat species seen/heard by 1045hrs, but two unringed Common Whitethroat appeared at 1200hrs along with a calling Lesser Whitethroat

Middleton NR
Probably the same Grey Wagtails as above with just the one ringed.
Reed Warbler - one retrap juvenile from the other day
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed
Whitethroat -  ringed
Chiffchaff & Willow Warbler - low single figures

Monday, 30 August 2010

The early morning air of unpredictability

Heysham Obs
On site at Middleton by 0545hrs, almost as conscientious as the Fylde ringers.  A crystal clear sky, half a moon and a niggling northerly wind did not look good.  Surely only a few Grey Wagtail and perhaps local Goldfinch could be hoped for.   Just two nets were set due to the wind and the first of these caught Grasshopper Warbler and Whitethroat in the pre-dawn gloom!

Assessment of migrants present on the site early morning as follows:
Willow Warbler - c15 (2 ringed)
Chiffchaff - c10 (2 ringed)
Whitethroat - c10 (4 ringed)
Grasshopper Warbler - 1 (ringed)
Garden Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 5 (one ringed)
Robin - 6

What do I know about night migrants and 'falls'!   All these were behaving like new arrivals and quite obviously moving from the seaward end inland. Not many birds were caught in the wind and sun and the session also featured up to 8 net-avoiding/bouncing Grey Wagtails and the nets were down by 0900hrs.  Probably the first time there have been so many on the move without ringing any of them.  Vis as follows (to 0900hrs):

Grey Wagtail - 8 SE
Meadow Pipit - 19 SE
Tree Pipit - 2 SE
Reed Bunting - 3 SE
Swallow - 25 SE
House Martin - 4 SE

Heysham Nature reserve moths
Humming-bird Hawk-moth - one in the mist net ride next to the office at 1040hrs
Red Underwing was the highlight of the trap with minor interest (literally) provided by Small Wainscot

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Wimpish early morning coverage

Heysham Obs
Early morning Vis Mig day two was subject to cancellation as the rain was too horizontal.   All that was seen by early-morning car-bound observers was "at least four" 1CY Kittiwake on Heysham 2 outfalls and one of the ad Med Gulls

outfalls area incoming tide
Kittiwake - 5 1CY
Common Tern - one juv

Middleton IE
c300 Goldfinch!
probable Ruddy Darter western marsh, but no optics with me at the time & couldnt be absolutely certain, given current status
Wall brown - single near the model boat pond

First Pink-barred Sallow of the autumn - the first truly autumnal moth to go with the weather!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

National vis mig day one support

1CY Kittiwake on the outfalls today - thanks to Mike Watson
Heysham Obs
One hour by the office, then 15 minutes on the north wall, then 15 minutes or so around Ocean Edge.  West-north-westerly 3, increasing 4-5 with light showers.  Unfortunately, not very good conditions for vis.  Wind increased in the afternoon producing a few seabirds on the dropping tide

HNR office area 0630-0730
Grey Wagtail - one south (0645hrs)
Meadow Pipit - 2 south
Lesser Whitethroat - one in the bushes
Willow warbler - 2 in the bushes
Chiffchaff - 2 in the bushes
Blackcap - one calling

Arctic Skua - distant lught morph out pm(thanks Mike B)
Gannet - one distant adult-type out & across am
Sandwich Tern - two in the second channel early am, 22 'out' pm
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 9 'purposefully south' am
Common Gull - 2 as above am
Med Gull - two adults around

Ocean Edge
Pied Wagtail - 28 on the grass - all Pied
Little Gull - adult sat on the mud
Kittiwake - FIVE 1CY stage 2 outfall at high tide (thanks Mike W)
Little Egret - at least one in the saltmarsh channel (2 yesterday, per dogwalker)

North harbour wall
Birds on the 'mound'/Hoopoe compound in the late morning comprised:  2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Wheatear, 6 Linnet, 2 Pied Wagtail and a Lesser Whitethroat hiding in the gorse - the first record for SD36V!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Rather unpredictable morning!

Latish Cinnabar caterpillar.  Thanks Janet
Heysham Obs
After a clear, starry, fullish moon night, not a lot of night migrants were expected but conditions were perfect for ringing and especially early morning vis mig.  So time to kickstart the Grey Wagtail study.

Heysham office area revealed a predictable lack of night migrants, although two Blackcap and a Willow Warbler were ringed, but Middleton was rather strange and much better than expected in this category:
Grasshopper Warbler - three (oldish) 1CY trapped in the western marsh near to where there was a singing male last night (heard during moth trapping event) of which there was no sight/sound this morning!   Were these migrants grounded during the night by the song?  These are the latest ever to be ringed here.
Reed Warbler - migrant 1CY ringed (no local birds left)
Sedge Warbler - no sign of any
Lesser Whitethroat - 4 1CY ringed
Whitethroat - fully moulted adult male & 1CY ringed
Willow warbler - 3 ringed (& one HNR)
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed & a few others calling in the sewage works screening planting
Blackcap - 3 1CY ringed (& 2 HNR)
Tree Pipit - one escaped from a mist net whilst extracting a large tit flock (you are supposed to get these out first!)
Shoveler - female/imm escaped from the top shelf of a mist net!!!!! [rare here].  This is the third duck species to escape from the top shelf of this particular mist net this year (Tufted & Mallard being the other two!)

A group of four Foxes seen at 08.00 roaming on the Reserve plateau area. Most likely the same family, including three cubs, seen close to the Hut some while ago.

Vis mig Middleton/Heysham
Tree Pipit - 2 SE & the above grounded bird
Grey Wagtail - a loose flock of 6 at about 0615hrs (4 ringed) and 2 others at about 0620hrs. Singleton over HNR almost certainly different.
Swallow - 25 SE
House Martin - 5 SE
Meadow Pipit - 4 SE
Tit species - a veritable 'plague' from about 1000hrs leading to the best net at Middleton being closed to avoid wholesale recaptures.   These made a major contribition to about 100 extractions today, with 54 of these not already bearing a ring.  The Long-tailed Tit flocks were a complete mixture of older-ringed/more recently ringed and 'new' birds, but at least one of the Blue Tit flocks consisted wholly of unringed birds.  7 unringed Great Tit during one ringing session is a high number for this site.  Two of the retrap Great Tits were from the HNR nestbox scheme.

At least one Kittiwake on the outfalls - thanks Janet

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Early return or early passage?

Heysham Obs
The main news today was an early Purple Sandpiper on the wooden jetty with c40 Turnstone (thanks Sean)

Other stuff seen during the morning by John (early) & Sean (incoming tide):
Wheatear - three north wall
Med Gull - ad north wall
Little Gull - ad outfalls
Kittiwake - 4 juvs still hanging around but more mobile/offshore than yesterday
Swallow - 30-40 blogging/south
Knot - singleton still around

Early morning by the office (too windy from the wrong direction for ringing)
Tree Pipit - 2 together south
Meadow Pipit - one south
Swallow - 4 south
Willow Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 2

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

First full wing formula of the year!

Heysham Obs
Grounded migrants
............the 'usual' wing formula at places which don't catch many rarities, a check on an 'out of habitat' migrant Reed Warbler in the HNR office nets.  Even if it was in the reedbed at Middleton, should really check all of them at this time of year

A handful of migrant phylloscs around the NR office (at least four Chiffchaff and two Willow Warbler) but the only presumed newly-arrived sylvia was a single Whitethroat, with two off-passage birds also caught (one with fat score of 4) and there were very few 'tacks' and 'churrs' in the brambles compared to last week

One of the things about an excellent month for ringing, reflecting good productivity, has been the unprecedented late summer/early autumn total of 65 Greenfinch, with very few retraps.  Most of these have been young birds, with quite a variation in the stage of moult from juvenile to first winter body feathers, reflecting first, second or even perhaps third broods.  This species has been at a very low ebb in recent times due to the virus (see e.g. BTO website)

Non-existent early on, other than a trickle of House Martin and Swallow amounting to no more than 6 & 15 respectively, all casually noted moving south late morning

Coastal stuff (thanks to Derek Gifford)
Little Gull - moulting adult outfalls
Med Gull - either 2nd summer moulting to adult winter or first summer moulting to second winter (stage of primary moult not clearly seen)
Sandwich Tern - one off outfalls
Kittiwake - 7 of yesterdays juveniles were still hanging about off the north harbour wall/outfalls
Cormorant - 52
Dunlin - 2 Red Nab
Knot - one Red Nab
Swallow - 20 or so blogging

Butterfly census around the reserve
Highlighted by three Wall Brown with possibly another seen casually near the office.  Also confirmation that many late summer butterflies had been trashed by the recent weather with just two Gatekeeper seen, although Meadow Brown comprised 36 worn individuals.  Three each of Brimstone and Small Copper were also seen

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A few seabirds and trashed insects

Heysham Obs
A degree or two too far to the north west early on, then several degrees too far to the north-west after the mid-morning prolonged squall/cold trough/front.  As a result, a handful of stuff in off their own bat early on, then the rest probably dragged into the bay by various Fleetwood/Heysham-bound boats

Offshore/transient seabirds (thanks to Tom & Mick Wilmer for the later stuff)
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one distantly in about 0815hrs
Manx Shearwater - one across the mouth of the bay about 0835hrs
Gannet - one out 0820hrs, 2 later
Kittiwake - 3 juvs in the harbour early on, then up to 30 milling around the harbour mouth after the squall - unusual in recent Augusts
Fulmar - 4 out after the squall
Common/Arctic Tern - one rapidly and distantly out was amazingly the only tern seen

Little Gull - ad
Med Gull - ad
Mute Swan - pair on Red Nab - check this isnt a new BTO challenge species!

North harbour wall
2 Ad Med Gulls (including Czech bird) early on

A pretty trashed stunningly unremarkable catch, plus a similarly battered Meadow Brown seen in the field

Udea lutealis and Meadow Brown suffering in the weather.  Thanks Janet

Monday, 23 August 2010

CES and opening heavens

****Worth seawatching tomorrow morning if the forecast goes to plan this time!

Heysham Obs
The short-range forecast prompted both the Heysham & Middleton CES this morning in the supposed 'weather window'.  Oh yeh! We were very lucky indeed to get away with it, with a constant watch on clouds which seemed to be changing direction all the time.  Indeed, conditions were so localised that Middleton actually got away with just one small pulse of rain before the heavens opened just after the end of the CES time period (0630-0930) with all but one of the nets taken down.  Heysham NR unfortunately suffered a slightly earlier downpour (nets temporarily furled) and then six wet (already closed) nets as the rain hammered down during 'take down'.  At Middleton we decided to quickly take the nets down ahead of a Long-tailed Tit flock & entrails and this was the correct decision [you are allowed to carry on ringing after the CES time period, but the birds are not included in the CES statistics]

It was a very difficult morning to assess as there have not been any recent morning ringing visits to Middleton to know what might have been lingering.  There was certainly a mass clear-out of Whitethroat/Lesser Whitethroat by Heysham office and this was reflected in the poor CES catch there (irrespective of the interruptions).  At Middleton, on the other hand, there appeared to be a small fall of Whitethroat species!

Middleton IE CES/vis
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Swallow - 28 SE (& 12 ringed)
Tree Pipit - one appeared to land in the centre of the western marsh
Whinchat - fem/imm first thing in the western marsh
Whitethroat - 7 ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - 3 ringed
Sedge Warbler - just 2 ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
Willow Warbler - just one bird heard calling!
Chiffchaff - two birds seemed to drop out of the sky first thing & one was caught & ringed

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adults (one Czech-ringed)

Crescent caught at a sheet & light session at Middleton (technically yesterday) - first record for SD45.  Phoenix the best in the HNR trap.  Thanks John

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Slum weaver sensation

Heysham Obs
HNR Office area
A good wind direction allowed the top two nets next to the office and these helped to reinforce the impressions over the last three days that there are a lot of Common Whitethroat moving though (10-15 this morning, 5 ringed) and 3-4 Lesser Whitethroat are in vocal residence(? - at least two unringed this morning) in the brambles just north of the office.  Willow warblers, however, were at a premium this morning with just two heard, a big downturn on the last few days. Also:

House Sparrow - Juvenile ringed - the first for at least a millenium and a decade 
Grey Wagtail - first of the autumn south
Meadow Pipit - 4 south-east
Swallow - 35 SW
Sand Martin - one SW

Middleton IE
Tufted Duck - one
Wall Brown - one

Coastal sites (thanks Mark & Malcolm)
Med Gull - three adults outfalls area
Little Gull - winter ad on mudflats off OE
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh creek
Sandwich Tern - one far offshore
Wheatear - one OE

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Rapid whizz round

Heysham Obs
Office area 
Lesser Whitethroat (2), Whitethroat (4), Willow Warbler (5), Chiffchaff (2)

Ocean Edge/outfalls/Red Nab
Little Gull - moulting adult
Med Gull - adult
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh channel
Raven - two picking at unidentified soggy object on the beach off OE - first time Ravens have been seen on the beach here as far as I am aware

North wall
Dire with not even any Med Gulls

Smallish catch did include the first (migrant) Rusty Dot Pearl of the year

Friday, 20 August 2010

Spartan meal deal

Heysham Obs
One Sandwich (Tern) and a Black-tailed Godwit was all that was on offer just after high tide off Ocean Edge/outfalls area.   Redshank counted in at 275.

A bit slow to change the sidebars these days - will get round to overhauling them soon.  I had actually forgotten how to add a link, its so long ago!  Please have a look at Bryan Yorke's Blog which has been added today - sorry I did not realise it existed, Bryan, or would have been added much earlier.  Nice poem about the Dalton Crags Grey Grey Shrike.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Magpie highlight!

Juvenile Common Whitethroat, recently ringed by the NR office, seen today by Janet.  Thanks

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge foreshore
Med Gull - adult winter am & pm, juvenile pm
Dunlin - 6
Whimbrel - one
Little Egret - one
No sign adult Little Gull

Heysham NR office area
Too windy for ringing, but quite a few common migrants around including 6 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat

A Magpie moth was a rare visitor to this site.  A late Straw Underwing was unusual.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Somewhat Anomalous

Anomalous, Heysham NR trap.  Thanks John

Heysham Obs
Anomalous in the moth trap this morning - first SD45 record and first in VC60 for two years.  Most recent records from Gaitbarrows or occasional ones up the Lune valley/tributaries/Birkbank, with one in an east Lancaster garden facing Birkbank.  Also Toadflax Pug

Grounded migrants
Quite a bit around the office and two nets were erected at 0900ish and produced 4 x Willow Warbler & 2 x Whitethroat in 3 quick rounds along with yet another wadge of young Greenfinches (getting on for 50 ringed so far this autumn, a definite revival in fortunes).  c20 Swallow were casually recorded flying south

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Power walking circuit

Heysham Obs
The moth trap light was accidentally left off last night - a bit of a disaster as pre-frontal weather is excellent for moths.  A walk 'around the Power Stations' from the office via the harbour/seawall/nature park/dog track & back to the office produced the following

Med Gull - ad behind ferry, juv on the mudflats
Little Gull - ad on the mudflats
Whitethroat - one in the rosebay on the south harbour wall - looks good for migrants this area as does the increasingly vegetated mound/Twite area on the other side of the harbour, also about 6 heard elsewhere
Lesser Whitethroat - one by the ofice
Wheatear - one by the wheel
Willow Warbler - 18 heard

Rather unfortunate scenario where the old metal hide used to be (and indicating the reasons for removing it) - masses of discarded fishing line, copy of the Sun, 21 lager cans, 5 fag packets, two lots of excrement and, perhaps appropriately, a discarded high-blood-pressure tablet packet

Monday, 16 August 2010

Reasonable variety

Late news:  Dead juvenile Water Rail under the pylons by the NR classroom - shows just how early presumed British birds can disperse as presume (again!) this was a night migrant

Heysham Obs
Highlighted by a revival in the fortunes of Wall Brown with four seen around the reserve, including one on the office buddliea

Grounded migrants around the office
Willow Warbler - c20, mostly first thing
Whitethroat - c8
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Blackcap - c5

Very poor with just a mid morning trickle of c25 Swallow and 6 House Martin

Coastal (thanks Sean for much of this)
Ringed Plover - pair with two (second brood) chicks at Half-moon Bay
Sandwich Tern - c20 offshore/on sandbank (also 4 at Skerton Weir this morning)
Little Gull - ad
Med Gull - at least one ad
Whimbrel - one

Quite a large catch with Grey Chi, late Dingy Footman, 2 Bordered Beauty, Lime-speck Pug new for the year/the highlights

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Time to start the early morning vis mig coverage!

Stop press: Hummingbird Hawk-moth on the Heysham NR office Buddliea at at least 1330hrs

Heysham Obs
First of all am a bit ashamed of yesterdays flim-flam about 'not seeming to be many migrants around'.   A couple of minutes of listening as you are opening the office door is hardly 'coverage' - ok conditions were tricky, but the NE winds, and possibilities, should have been acted on - even if just for a Spot Fly.  Note the Walney haul, nothing major, but reasonable stuff.

Today was a different ball-game.  Clear first thing with a slight offshore mist and coverage was pretty good with CES at both Middleton and Heysham Obs.  Trouble was that night migrants first thing were at a bit of a premium with Middleton especially having that 'clear out after a clear night' feeling.   Vis Mig, however, was quite interesting

Middleton IE vis mig 0700-1000
Swallow - minimum of 80 south, 20-30 blogging
Sand Martin - 2 south
House Martin - at least 11 south
Swift - one south
Flava Wagtail - one south at 0705hrs
Tree Pipit - singles south at 0915 (low) and 0955 (very high)
Hobby - what looked like a juv chased Swallows for about 30 seconds before flying towards the golf course at c0917hrs
Meadow Pipit - 3 south
alba Wagtail - 5 seemed to be heading SE (quite early for this spp)

Middleton misc
Grasshopper Warbler - one still singing in the western marsh
Water Rail - one plus
Teal - first 2 of the autumn - didnt stay
Grounded migrants at a premium with a few trickling in from the seaward end after 0900, including a Lesser Whitehtroat & 2 Whitethroat & c5 Willow Warbler.  Only one Sedge Warbler trapped (with a fat score of 4).

Middleton WeBS
8 Little Grebe, 3 Mute Swan, 13 Coot, 4 Moorhen

Heysham NR area
More migrants earlier on than Middleton with 5 Whitethroat and 5 Willow Warbler ringed along with 2 Blackcap, single Chiffchaff and the second Treecreeper of the year/autumn.  Just one Robin - no real kickstart to the (significant) migration of this species yet (imminent on past form)

The light was switched off yesterday & not reset.  Ooops, but perhaps not a bad night to give it a miss

Wall Brown Middleton (& Brown Hawker in a mist net)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Bread Meds refuse to cooperate

Heysham Obs
Thanks to Evi and Mike & the Morris family for today's coastal records.  Unfortunately a net loss of birds with very few obvious migrants at either Middleton or Heysham NR area or anything of interest on the outfalls apart from 7 Wheatear on the heliport/seawall

The usual two adult Meds were on the north harbour wall area but wouldnt let themselves be satisfactorily photographed

An Ear spp. was in the trap which looked more saltern that THE Ear but was unfortunately accidentally released by the author! Also two Barred Rivulet and a Dingy Footman

Friday, 13 August 2010

Unexpected moth mayhem & earlyish Whinchat

Heysham Obs
An early start to see if there were any migrants/bit of ringing was thwarted by a wind & rain very much in the north, or slightly east of north - a 'blow on to the brambles' direction for the office mist nets, even when relatively light.  Therefore plan B was an early 'routine' check of the moth trap - surely not many with the wind slightly into the window - and a rather too rapid opening of the door was greeted by a mass flight, largely Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing and assorted grass moths.  Just under two hours later, the catch was logged and released!

Moth trap
Highlights were Toadflax Pug (unfortunately escaped - sorry Brian), Agriphila latistria, Ancylis badiana, Pale Mottled Willow (scarce here), the first Treble Bar & Eudonia angustea of the autumn, Slender & Golden-rod Pugs, Grass Emerald (late worn specimen), Barred Rivulet, Bordered Beauty, Mirificarma mulinella and a Nutmeg.  Cochylis atricapitana and Cochylis dubitana could be compared side by side.  That bane of late evening mist-netting, a Dor Beetle, was an unusual visitor.

Birds by the office
At least four 'ticking' Robins, the first multiple numbers of the autumn, c5 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat & Lesser Whitethroat.

Coastal stuff
Med Gull - juv seaward end Heysham one, adult winter Red Nab/Ocean Edge, two adult winter heliport roost
Little Gull - ad on mud by Heysham 2 outfall, then unusually in the heliport roost
Wheatear - 2 Ocean Edge foreshore, 3 heliport
Whinchat - one heliport

Vis mig
Swift - one south
Meadow Pipit - one south

Thursday, 12 August 2010

More autumnal signs

Taken today by Janet - the bottom bird is the Czech-ringed Med Gull.  Thanks Janet

Coastal stuff south of harbour
Sandwich Tern - one adult Red Nab - first of the autumn on there
Little Gull - adult outfalls
Med Gull - juvenile outfalls
Wheatear - outfalls seawall
Eider - female by wooden jetty
Turnstone - 44 wooden jetty
Oystercatcher - 2,585 Red Nab
Black-headed Gull - 368 ad, 6 1CY Red Nab

North wall
Czech-ringed Med Gull
Wheatear sandworks

Swift - 8 south
plenty of Swallow & House Martin but seemd to be blogging

By the office (one hours ringing - wind got up)
Coal Tit - juvenile ringed - most unexpected as not thought to nest locally and early for any movement
Whitethroat - juvenile ringed
Chiffchaff - juvenile ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - at least 2 around

Mostly noctuids in the fairly strong overnight wind and highlighted by another Ear spp, Lychnis (rare here), Fen Wainscot and the first Setaceous Hebrew Character of the autumn

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Two adult Med Gulls in different stages of moult photographed by Mike Watson on 7th August - the upper bird is the returning Czech-ringed adult and this was also on the north wall, with the second bird today.  Thanks Mike

Med Gull - two adults, including Czech-ringed bird, on the north harbour wall, prompted by phone call from Mike Watson!
Little Gull - adult on sea by Ocean Edge
Lesser Whitethroat - unringed bird by the office

Four Red Admiral & 6 Peacock & 2 Small Tortoiseshell on the office buddliea

Reduced catch included a good total of 14 Silver Y and the gorse-feeding Mirificarma mulnella which was also the unidentified moth from three nights ago!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Quickfire bird coverage & more slow-slow moths

Silver Y on ragwort today.  Thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
A couple of mist nets were up for an hour before the wind got up, 5 minutes were spent scanning Red Nab/outfalls, the distant horizon by the windfarm was scanned for 5 minutes ('seawatch' tick box), the outfalls were scanned again in the early afternoon wind/rain for 5 mins and the moth trap was again a fairly lengthy job with about 200 therein.

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - adult
Whimbrel - 1
Little Gull - yesterdays ad on stage 2 outfall early afternoon

Office area
Just two Willow warblers calling & an hour's ringing only produced a new Whitethroat & Wren and a retrap Lesser Whitethroat.  Two Raven flew over, the first for a bit as they dont seem to have nested at 'this end' of the bypass this year

Highlighted by the fourth record of Yellow-barred Brindle and the very localised (and getting scarcer here?) Agriphila latistria, with the next level of interest comprising Barred Rivulet, Nutmeg, Bordered Beauty and another 'plume 1523'.  Straw Underwing seems to be closing out for the year after a bumper crop of about 420 in the trap!

Monday, 9 August 2010

A small day

Heysham Obs
The outfalls/Red Nab far from 'dead' today with a moulting adult Little Gull (just starting inner primary moult & head moult half-complete) new in.   New for the year was a Small Wainscot in the moth trap

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge incoming tide
Med Gull - 2 juvs (which flew off together towards Sunderland) and two winter adults.  The juvs were unringed, not sure about adults
Little Gull - moulting adult
Whimbrel - 1
Turnstone - 16
Ringed Plover - 9 (no sign of (potentially) returning colour-ringed bird)
Greenshank - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh - flew off south

No birders/ringers first thing today and an arrival at 1000hrs produced 5 Willow Warbler, a Sedge Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat in the vicinity of the office in deteriorating weather.  Probably too clear & calm at dawn for new arrivals and plenty of departure weather overnight for yesterdays birds!
Wheatear - 3 Ocean Edge foreshore (2 yesterday at the heliport)

Much reduced catch with Small Wainscot highlighting.  Two actinics left in the northern part of the reserve produced a Juniper Pug but none of the wetland specialities

Sunday, 8 August 2010

More early migrant landbirds

Heysham Obs
Small ringing efforts at both Middleton NR (east side) and the nets by Heysham NR office revealed a passage of Sedge and Willow Warbler.  The operator of the NR office nets got up a little too late (as yesterday!) & again arrived to 20+ Willow Warblers calling in the surrounding vegetation with 6 ringed as soon as the nets were set and the rest then disappearing into thin air pretty quickly, as is often the case with a migrant 'should-have-been-here-an hour-ago' fall.  The Middleton NR people were more conscientious and ringed 12 Sedge Warbler in the early morning (a good total for August, by which time the locals have departed).   Unfortunately, the weather was by no means 'safe' with large black clouds around and the number of nets at each site was carefully limited and taken down rather early as the wind increased from the west.  Warbler spp ringing totals were: Sedge (12), Willow (9 + 2 retrap), Grasshopper (1+1), Reed (1), Blackcap (2+1), Whitethroat (3+1), Lesser Whitethroat (1)

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 singing males (one retrapped) and an unringed juvenile caught
Reed Warbler - one juv caught

Heysham NR
Willow Warbler - at least 20 around the office at 0655hrs
Sand Martin - one south
Swift - 2 south
Green Sandpiper - one south at 0830hrs (appeared to come out of the NR marsh which is good enough for the BTO Business challenge!)

A birder reported the outfalls area as 'dead'

Over 50 species of 'macro' is really good for here and these included Fen Wainscot, Sallow Kitten, Bordered Beauty (2), Barred Rivulet (3), Dingy Footman (2), Silver Y (13) and Golden-rod Pug (2).  The micros were highlighted by another 'plume moth 1523'.  Would have been even better if I had left some egg boxes under the window, instead of all being piled up at the door end after yesterdays haul!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Willow Warblers, Large Yellow Underwings and Silver Ys

Heysham Obs
Grotty weather led to a later start than usual this morning & arrival at the NR office was greeted by a lot of hoo-eting and half-hearted Willow warbler songs.  Two nets were quickly erected by the office and a small catch of 5 Willow Warbler, two Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat & a few Greenfinches and odds and ends was made

Office/tank farm area
Willow Warbler - c25
House Sparrow - 2 in the tank farm
Lesser Whitethroat - at least two
Whitethroat - 2 ringed, no other evidence of any

North harbour wall
Whimbrel - 1
Med Gull - 2 adults, including first definite sighting of Czech-ringed bird this autumn

For here, a significant influx of Large Yellow Underwing (38) plus 11 Silver Y.  Interest was limited, but did include the first Tawny-speckled Pug of the year and another Ypsophola scabrella

Singing adult male Crossbill still at Thrushgill plantation entrance - please dont tape lure- absolutely no need - also 2 others flew towards main plantation (one scruffy Ringlet)

Friday, 6 August 2010

A few routine observations

Heysham Obs
Most people otherwise occupied today - in my case one for the cricket buffs talking to ex-England/Derbyshire bowler Harold Rhodes about 20:20 cricket and nesting Spoonbills - another person who has been in the public domain who has taken up quite serious birding in later life.  This was at the funeral of a lifetime friend of my parents (posted by Pete Marsh).

Janet spent some time photographing birds around the Red Nab area and here is a female/juvenile Chaffinch

Thanks Janet

The moth trap was not checked until 1030 and held nothing memorable other than perhaps Red-barred Tortrix (per John)

Adult Yellow-legged Gull and juvenile Med Gull Lune Estuary, Glasson area

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The meagre fare cliche

Willow Warbler Ocean Edge today - thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
A reasonable look around Ocean Edge/Red Nab etc just after high tide produced:
Little Egret - 1
Med Gull - just one adult
Whimbrel - 3

Reduced catch but still 36 species with Ancylis badiana the star

Single Wall Brown seen at Middleton today, on the track to the south opposite the model boat pond car park.  3 Small Coppers also seen - thanks for passing these recorsd on

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Vegetative dilemmas

Heysham Obs
Nice pic by Janet of a Peacock on buddleia followed by a Small Copper on ragwort this afternoon.  I planted the buddlieas by the office about a couple of millenia ago and every year they attract large numbers of butterflies which are enjoyed by many people.  Should they, however, be part of a nature reserve?  Unlike a certain large reserve in the north of the county, they are politically correctly kept out of the butterfly transect, so no "artificial" bolstering of numbers here.  Ragwort is a real dilemma.  There is a stables nearby - enough said - and in order to sell the baled hay from the biannual mowing regime to help fund on-going management work, its got to be ragwort-free.  So there is some selective removal on the reserve.

The problem is that, along with the oft-quoted and obvious Cinnabar moth, there are many others whose larvae feed on ragwort, including two regulars in the moth trap, Cochylis atricapitana and the misleadingly named Golden-rod Pug.  As can be seen from the pic, it is also a valuable nectar source, especially late in the autumn.

 Thanks Janet.

Ocean Edge/outfalls area
Med Gull - juvenile on the beach & very distant ad around the outfalls

Moth trap
Another good catch including Ypsophola scabrella and a large plume moth of very localised (northern) distribution with a ridiculously long name -Oidaematophorus lithodactyla

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

More dodgy forecasts

Heysham Obs
Just about got away with the HNR CES weather-wise this morning and it produced a Blackcap ringed elsewhere

Yesterdays Long-tailed Tit flock at Middleton contained a bird ringed at a Knott End seafront garden (a major Long-tailed Tit flightline!) on 12/11/09

Todays moths included both Buff (rare here) and Dingy Footman and Acleris emargana.

This provides an infrequent chance to compare two of the scarce Footman species here Dingy (left) & Buff (right). ajd.

Monday, 2 August 2010

The berry stains of autumn

Great-crested Newts Middleton NR today - thanks Janet - quite a few consultants working on various pipelines etc. have reason to be grateful for these creatures at this site! 

Heysham Obs
Middleton IE CES
This was rather odd.  It was absolutely dead first thing and an extra net was set on the western side.  In the absence of any overnight birds, this net started to fill up with new birds arriving from the seaward side and we ended up with a marked contrast between standard CES nets (3 birds caught in four 18m nets) and supplementary 18m net (about 25 birds caught).  Then a  Long-tailed Tit flock & 'entrails' went into the supp.
net JUST after the CES time period.  Bureaucratic nightmare!

Grasshopper Warbler - three males still singing, including one near the model boat pond car park and (unringed) adult & two juvs ringed
Common Whitethroat - one berry-stained/staining juv plus another three juvs ringed
Blackcap - 4 juvs caught 'out of habitat' - this exemplifies just how early the British population can start to migrate, rather 'masked' by the complication of late autumn Scandinavian passage migrants and central European wintering birds!
Sedge Warbler - very few around - just two unringed birds caught
Kingfisher - one
Swift - 22 south
Willow Warbler - just four ringed
Chiffchaff - one ringed by the HNR office on 26/7 was caught in the Middleton CES nets, a movement of about 1.8km in 7 days!

Fairly good catch but nothing particularly of note

Mass break out of Peacock on the office buddleia (max of 9) plus the two Red Admiral still

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Pyrausta despicata steals the show

Pyrausta despicata - thanks John

Heysham Obs
The final session of sorting out the LDBWS report for the printers this morning was multitasked with some ringing by the office and checking half the moth trap before John Girdley arrived in time to target the egg-cases as opposed to the walls.  The moth trap saw a deja-vu with a species I was tripping over earlier this year whilst working in Kent but which was only the seventh VC60 record and the second for Heysham NR - Pyrausta despicata

Low-key effort next to the office produced a sprinkling of 'new' warblers, including both Whitethroats, a Great-spotted Woodpecker and further evidence that it has been an excellent breeding season for Greenfinch and that the birds are mostly passing through with 34, almost all juveniles, caught this last three weeks with very few retraps

Swift - 23 south
Sand Martin - 3 Middleton model boat pond

See above, plus the usual variety of the less-common species including Dingy Footman,  Dingy Shears, Barred Rivulet and Southern Wainscot

The first two Red Admiral seen in the area for quite some time on the office buddleia - looked newly emerged.

Yellow-legged Gull Glasson and up to 6 Meds in coastal north Fylde