Thursday, 30 September 2010

Lots and lots of Chaffinches and a mystery goose flock

Heysham Obs
Just two hours this morning & it was quite eventful overhead but predictably dire as regards any grounded leftovers/new arrivals after a clear starry half-moony night

Office 0700-0900, on and off to 0945
Chaffinch - 341 SW, mainly high flocks of up to 8 birds
Brambling - all calls from a flock of 10 (largest finch flock of morning) were this species & two others flew over - all SW
Goldfinch - 62 SW
Woodpigeon - flock of 8 S
Redwing - flock of 5 in from NE, then landed briefly on tank farm
Starling - 42+11+2 SW
alba Wagtail - 26 S
Meadow Pipit - just 7 SE
Grey Wagtail - none
Linnet - 1 S
Geese - c60 very high to the north-west and the only calls I could hear fitted Barnacle but couldnt get any detail at all on the birds.  Anyone get to grips with them (c0750hrs)?
Chiffchaff - one caught whilst setting the nets seemed to be the only early morning grounded migrant!  Gave typical collybita call on release
Pink-footed Goose - 75 low to the east over the dog-walk track at 0800hrs (not the high flock!)

Middleton NR evening (thanks Malcolm)
Tufted Duck (9), Teal (2) & 8 Greylag low to the south

Vis supplement 0950ish to 1030
More cross-bay stuff in clearer conditions:
Skylark - 5 SE
Swallow - 1 S
Meadow Pipit - 22SE
Chaffinch - 38 SW
Goldfinch - 7 SW
an unringed Chiffchaff by the Obs T pond

Stoat crossed the power station approach road at 08:30 at SD 405599. Observed by rabbit (Ian Taylor)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Occluded frontal admin weather

Heysham Obs
A couple of forays from the office today produced

Little Gull - adult Red Nab at high tide
Meadow Pipit - 8 struggling south in 15 minutes (0930-0945) along OE foreshore
Swallow - 2 as above
Chiffchaff - one by office giving disyllabic call
Wheatear - one OE foreshore
Grey Plover - 8 on edge of Red Nab
No sign of any Shag on wooden jetty at high tide or indeed any Med Gulls along the north wall (not unusual in wet weather)
Teal - 4 on Middleton IE
alba Wagtail - 38 heading over Middleton towards power station roost in evening

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

High level uniform murkiness deters landfall

Heysham Obs
Not quite right this morning - a blanket of cloud which was far too high and uniform at dawn.  Fewer birds than yesterday but a decent one in the form of a Redstart by the office at 0745hrs. Three Chiffchaff were ringed & at least 3 others were present along, four Reed Bunting were ringed but just a single Grey Wagtail.  Vis mig was a trickle of Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and assorted (other) finch spp.  Two Redwing at dawn along with at least three olive-coloured Song Thrush (one caught) and two definite long-winged continental Blackbirds - all these seen descending from great height.   Migrant Blackbirds very unusual in September.  Yet another unringed Treecreeper caught.

More detail for the last two days tomorrow - sorry, but we are trying to mix coverage & the usual end of month rush with work, as often happens in September.

Vis mig by the office 0700-0900
Meadow Pipit - 43 SE
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE
Skylark - 4 SE
Chaffinch - 35 SW
Tree Sparrow - 4 SW
Pink-footed Goose - 45 S
Goldfinch - 9 SW
Siskin - 6 registrations but only 10 birds actually seen!
Linnet - 2 S
alba Wgtail - 15 SE 

North Harbour Wall Point

Shag (2 first winter) one bird feeding near Groyne and Mussel beds and out on mussel beds drying off.
Cormorant 60+
Pink-footed Goose 30 & 5 (1110 and 1125 hrs)
Eider 10+
Oystercatcher 3000+ flying NE to SE
Bar-tailed Godwit 140 (south of Outflow), 1 flew NE to SE
Grey Plover 2 (south of Outflow)
Dunlin 4 (south of Outflow)
Turnstone 120+
Curlew 300+
Redshank 100+
Med Gull 3 (2 adults & 1 juv/1st winter)
Common Gull 4
Meadow Pipit 12+ (mostly on Mound)
Linnet 30+ (mostly around Mound)
Grey Wagtail 1 (south)
Pied Wagtail 10+
Song Thrush (on Mound late on)
Goldfinch 15+ (on Mound then south)

High Tide at the Helipad
Oystercatcher 1500
Ringed Plover 2
Redshank 100+
Lapwing 23
White Wagtail 2

Monday, 27 September 2010

Cloud, but not low enough to produce masses of birds

Heysham Obs
Better than the bright blue skies of the last two days, but no great quantity of migrants this morning

Ringing included 5 Grey Wagtail, two Chiffchaff and two Blackcap and vis mig was dominated again by early Chaffinch passage...........but the details are all at the office.  Will update vis & grounded stuff on Wednesday

Vis mig 0700-1000
Song Thrush - 4 high from the east, then grounded
Chaffinch - 67SW
Goldfinch - 32 SW
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Grey Wagtail - 5 SE
Greenfinch - flock of 21 SW
Linnet - 9 SW
Long-tailed Tit - unringed flock of 8 caught at 1000hrs
Reed Bunting - 4 migrants caught at Middleton IE but none seen flying over reserve

South Harbour Wall Point

Shag (1 first winter)
Cormorant 60+
Red-breasted Merganser 3
Pink-footed Goose 22
Eider 12+
Oystercatcher 2500+
Bar-tailed Godwit 140 (south of Outflow)
Grey Plover 12 (south of Outflow)
Dunlin 52 (south of Outflow)
Turnstone 120+
Curlew 500+
Redshank 100+
Little Gull 1 (adult in winter plumage briefly midday)
Med Gull 2 (both adult birds)
Common Gull 8 (good numbers for here)
Meadow Pipit 8 (all south)
Linnet 22 + 10 (south)
Skylark 1 (south)
Grey Wagtail 2 (south)
Pied Wagtail 2

High Tide at the Helipad
Oystercatcher 100
Ringed Plover 2
Redshank 120
Lapwing 18

Lots of fishermen catching Dogfish too, must have seen 30+ pulled out of the water today!?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Awkward high-flying vis yet again

Thanks John  for posting the stuff from the office area which I've assimilated 

Vis south harbour by wooden jetty 0700-0800
Rubbish - reinforced that traipsing the Blakeney shingle was a better option & would have been reality but for a lunchtime appointment/first contact with a Cumbrian farmer relating to work.  Better than the ignominious 'turn-round' at Exeter services one day late for the last "Traill's" (is Alder 101% on this one?!).  Cant go tomorrow either.  Old enough not to "need" Parula:
Wigeon - 15 S
Wingbarred distant duck spp - 12 S
Meadow Pipit - 16 SE
Linnet - 36 SE
alba Wagtail - 12 SE
Skylark - 1 SE
extra birds over the Obs during this period amounted to a few Chaffinch (the seawall is not on the flightline for finches & the idea was to accurately count cross-bay stuff (with the best chance of Lap Bunt) and the "thousands of Pink-footed Geese" crossing the bay) and two Grey Wagtails

Office 0800-0900
Chaffinch - c75 S - mostly very high
Meadow Pipit - c18
Goldfinch - 8
Swallow - 1
Canada Goose - 6 north - the only geese and a good signal to give up & finish Jean's Caton Moor vis mig count off as she had to leave early

2 GreyWagtails were caught and colour ringed and these were the only two seen. Other birds ringed included small numbers of Greenfinch, Dunnock, Blue & Great Tits, Wrens and a single Treecreeper. Also about  were several Robins, small group of Goldfinch and a singing male Chiffchaff.

The Goldcrest trapped today was the first in 2010 at Heysham! (The only other was a single bird caught at Middleton at the end of August.)

Med Gull : adult North Harbour Wall

Middleton NR
Chiffchaff (1) & Carrion Crow eating sea buckthorn!

10 Migrant Hawker & 9 Common Darter Middleton

3 Redwing at Thrushgill in the evening and at least 21 Crossbill (flock of 20 in afternoon & new arrival from the NE in the evening).  At least one Brambling Caton Moor in the morning with high-flying Chaffinch passage

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Stratospheric vis

** Just heard that a Heysham-ringed Twite has recently been caught (in heavy moult still) at Clachtoll just north of Lochinver/Achmelvich (and just south of Stoer) - the furthest north by quite some distance and a presumed local breeding bird.  More details later.

Heysham Obs
An early start was not early enough as it was an open morning with quite a bit happening prior to sunrise.  Downhill after that, unless you are into Wren, Robin and Dunnock migration, the subtleties of which are only discernable at a local patch covered on a daily basis, with ringing being helpful

Vis mig by the office
Pretty dire with many birds very high and a lot undoubtedly missed.  Third hour very bad, then livened up as wind swung NW, then back NE just after 1000hrs.  Impossible to work out Greenfinch (vis from bloggers), but all the birds caught (6) were unringed and an estimate of birds passing through 0700-1100 would be in the region of 30-35

0645-0700:  Redpoll agg (2), Meadow Pipit (34), Grey wagtail (3)
0700-0800: Grey wagtail (1), Chaffinch (45), alba Wagtail (28), Meadow Pipit (39), Reed Bunting (1), Collared Dove (3+2+4+3 - unexpected), Black-headed Gull (2), Jackdaw (11+14), Siskin (1), Coal Tit (2), Goldfinch (24), Linnet (2)
0800-0900: Grey Wagtail (1), Chaffinch (46), alba Wagtail (22), Meadow Pipit (53), Reed Bunting (2), Siskin (5), Goldfinch (27), Linnet (5), Starling (5), House Sparrow (2), Dunnock (2), Black-headed Gull (1), Song Thrush (1 from east then grounded), Sparrowhawk (one high to the south)
0900-1000: Siskin (2), Chaffinch (13), Meadow Pipit (32), alba Wagtail (2)
1000-1100: Meadow Pipit (30), Chaffinch (25), Swallow (5), alba Wagtail (26), Goldfinch (7), Skylark (1), House Martin (3), Peregrine (1), Coal Tit (flock of 5), Little Egret (one high to south), Linnet (3)

Pink-footed Goose - 53 south over Middleton at 0930 were missed at the reserve!

At a premium in the clear conditions
Robin - the most interesting sighting of the morning was one descending from a great height into the bushes by the office, only to be immediately chased off.  This was at 0855 hrs if this qualifies as 'vis'.  At least 5 other migrants seen (chasing & one ringed).
Chiffchaff - one ringed - a silent bird and the only one encountered
Goldcrest - one passed through
Lesser Whitethroat - one (ringed on left leg) still around in the brambles opposite the office door, which means that if it is ours, it must have either been ringed at Middleton around the turn of the month or pre-last week of August at Heysham NR
Dunnock - 3 "fidgety" birds in addition to the 2 on vis mig & two unringed birds caught
Wren - one unringed bird seen and another unringed bird caught
Green Woodpecker - first for a bit (& certainly second half of the year) by the office at midday

Little Gull - adult Red Nab at high tide
Shag - 1CY on wooden jetty at high tide
Med Gull - 2 x ad & 1CY on north harbour wall railings at high tide
No sign of any terns

5+ Crossbill Thrushgill, including adult pair feeding on ash keys!   Migrant Whinchat showing very well roadside at Lower Thrushgill

Friday, 24 September 2010


Heysham Obs
A late start - no chance of any mist-netting and an arrival at Heysham office at 0855hrs was greeted by overhead Meadow Pipits - how many had been missed.  Work took a back seat for the morning as follows:

Office area 0855-0925
Meadow Pipit - 102 SE
Chaffinch - 24 SW
alba Wagtail - 15 SE
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE
Linnet - 10 SE
Swallow - 2 SE

Ocean Edge to wooden jetty 0930-1200
Meadow Pipit - 515 SE (definitely undercount)
alba Wagtail - 68 SE (all which landed on the seawall bar one were White/indet)
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE
Skylark - 38 SE
Reed Bunting - one SE
Rock Pipit - one SE
Linnet - 14 SE
Swallow - 69 SE
House Martin - 5 SE
Goldfinch - 3 SE

Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh
Arctic Tern - juv on and off throughout
Common Tern - one juv on outfalls briefly then flew off SW
Sandwich Tern - adult briefly at about 1145hrs
Shag - 1CY on wooden jetty - flew in from Morecambe direction
Turnstone - 75 wooden jetty
Bar-tailed Godwit - 3 juvs Red Nab
Med Gull - 3 adults and 1CY Red Nab/OE
Little Gull - adult outfalls until c0945
Grey Plover - 45 off OE
Dunlin - 167 off OE
Curlew Sandpiper - one juv off OE

Great White Egret came into roost last night at Leighton Moss and has been hanging around during today

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Nocturnal Blue Tit

Heysham Obs
Scraping the barrel this morning and the only remotely unusual thing was an unringed Blue Tit entering a mist net as it was being set in the dark.  This is probably the earliest in relation to dawn that a Blue Tit has ever been caught here. 

By the office 0700-0900
Chiffchaff - 2 (two ringed - one a 'swee' bird with brown-tinged plumage and fairly well-defined supercilium)
Chaffinch - just 36 SW
Goldfinch - 16 SW
Lesser Whitethroat - one still in the brambles
Robin - up to 10 migrants being chased off by residents first thing but only two ringed
No Meadow Pipits or Grey wagtails or any other cross-bay vis with low cloud 'blocking' progress

Red Nab area high tide/incoming ferry
Little Gull - adult winter
Arctic Tern - juv
No sign of any Shag on the wooden jetty (91 Cormorant) & no Meds (in wet fields?) or anything else behind the IOM ferry

Low water/Evening
1 Wheatear

Pinion-streaked Snout in the trap

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

More well above-average for September Chaffinch passage

Heysham Obs
A brisk SE wind this morning sent most of the cross-bay vis to the south of the power station as per the count from just 30 minutes at Sunderland by John G. whilst checking a moth trap.  Virtually nothing from across the bay passed over the NR.  However, there was quite a bit of coatsl passage from the direction of Heysham Head, dominated by Chaffinch but also including a very early Woodpigeon flock.  Vis increased after wind went further S at about 0910hrs.........but had to go!

Office area 0700-0930
Chaffinch - 188 SW (mainly flocks of 5-15) - an unprecedently high count for so early in the autumn (see also Phil Slade blog (in links sidebar))
Goldfinch - 23 SW
Linnet - 4 SW
Meadow Pipit - just 13 SE pre-0900, then 28 SE before 0930
Grey Wagtail - just two SE (one ringed) pre-0900, then 2 SE 0925hrs
Song Thrush - one high from the east then grounded
Skylark - 3 S
Swallow - 8 S, all after 0900hrs
Woodpigeon - flock of 13 high to south
Goldcrest - one heard 0930hrs
alba Wagtail - 6 SE pre-0900, then 5 SE before 0930hrs
Absolutely no sign of any warbler species until a single Chiffchaff at 0930hrs

Ocean Edge/outfalls area late pm (thanks Malcolm)
Arctic Tern - 1CY still stage 2 outfall
Wheatear - one Red Nab

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Excellent coverage, average to reasonably good day!

Thanks to Janet for the Migrant Hawker, Mike Baron for the Gannet and Sean for the good comparative shot of a 1CY Shag which visited the harbourmouth late afternoon.  The Gannet was one of two present today, sadly probably on the way out, despite at least being able to fly..........maybe not, they were nowhere to be seen in the afternoon

Heysham Obs
Southerly winds are normally fairly useless, especially when you dont expect them to be in spring.  This morning was a little better than usual helped by early morning cloud cover & a smattering of first light drizzle

NR office area 0700-1200 ('conscientious' vis to 0930)
Chiffchaff - at least 15 moved rapidly through by the NR office c0730-0815hrs & 6 were subsequently ringed at Middleton
Chaffinch - more than seen previously this early in the autumn with 131 S by 0930hrs and a further 15 casually recorded afterwards
Goldcrest - 2-3 with the Chiffchaffs
Grey Wagtail - about 20 SE (5 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - c120 (70 pre-0930) SE 0700-1200
alba Wagtail - 14 SE 0700-0930
Linnet - 5 SE 0700-0930, c40 grounded on the mound
Goldfinch - 18 SE 0700-0930
Reed Bunting - 1 SE (north wall)
Robin - smattering of migrants with 8-10 chased through by residents by the NR office
Lesser Whitethroat - one (still?) in brambles
Blackcap - one seen

Middleton IE
Common Whitethroat - one ringed
Reed Bunting - 7 ringed

Gannet - see above
Arctic tern - juvenile outfalls
Wheatear - one north wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult (& see below)
Guillemot - one
Pink-footed Goose - 20+40+18SW (& see below for later birds)
Thanks to Mike & a couple from Yorkshire for these records

pre-High Tide at the Helipad (Sean)

Oystercatcher 1500
Ringed Plover 6
Redshank 60
Lapwing 12
Wheatear 1
Alba Wagtail 8

Red Nab and South Harbour Wall Point (Sean)
Shag - 1CY flew into the harbour mouth late afternoon
Little Egret 1 (new bird for me here! )
Pink-footed Goose 24 and 44 (from N to S at 13:00)
Eider 20+
Oystercatcher 5000+
Turnstone 140+
Curlew 300+
Redshank 50+
Little Gull 1 (adult in winter plumage all day around harbour and jetty)
Med Gull 2 (adult and second winter birds, adult with dark patch on its side)
Leucistic Black-headed Gull (only had a few very thin black primary feathers)
Common Gull 2 (both first winters)
Sandwich Tern 3
Alba Wagtail 20+

Combined ringing totals from Heysham office nets & Middleton:  Grey Wagtail (5), Reed Bunting (7), Chiffchaff (9), Robin (3), Dunnock (2), Meadow Pipit (15), Chaffinch (2), Greenfinch (8), Long-tailed Tit (4), Blue Tit (8), Great Tit (3), Coal Tit (1), Wren (1), Whitethroat (1)

Good late butterfly day with Large White, Meadow Brown, Comma, Small White, lots of Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Brimstone.  At least 4 Migrant Hawker seen.  Large Wainscot new for the year in the moth trap

Monday, 20 September 2010

All day Leach's Petrels!

Heysham Obs
A nice selection of late afternoon waifs and strays in the harbour.  Thanks to Margaret Breaks

Leach's Petrel - 33-35 out between 0730 and 1630hrs, some nice and close.  In fairly continuous view until about 1120, with some blogging and backtracking making estimates a little difficult.  These figures are on the cautious side.  Thanks To Ian, Tom, Margaret, Tom again, Jean and many others (including people sneaking away from the Oxenhope vis megaspot) for documenting this passage today in what was "shirt-sleeve" weather by late afternoon - NEVER seen Leach's moving in such benign conditions before!
Shag - 1CY on wooden jetty, then presumably the same flew into the harbour late afternoon but promptly disappeared!
Manx Shearwater - one in at about 1130hrs
Great Skua (Bonxie) - one in c1115hrs
Med Gull - 1CY & Ad
Razorbill - 1CY in the harbour late afternoon
Red-throated Diver - one out & one diver sp. out
Kittiwake - juv Heysham 2 outfall
Meadow Pipit - 6SE 0745-0815
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE 0745-0815
Pink-footed Goose - 15+9+40 S
Arctic Tern - 2 juvs out
Guillemot - one in harbour, up to three offshore
Gannet - 2CY in the harbour, eating fisherman's bait!
Wigeon - 5 'out'

Willow warbler by the entrance gate

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Seawatching bonus

Heysham Obs
A lie-in, and a tortuous journey from High Tatham in a queue behind a driver treating every small puddle as collision course with Noah's Ark, saw an arrival at Heysham in what looked like increasingly promising conditions for a seabird or two.  The zilch visibility inland had discouraged an earlier visit.  Therefore a right turn was made down to the north harbour wall at 1045 (instead of getting on with work which needed doing)and immediately a scan halfway along saw a Leach's Petrel battling it out.  This stage of the (dropping) tide is often the best for observing any coming out of the bay

North harbour wall:  c0730-1000, 1045-1205 (watched IOM ferry into port), c1305-1430, 1530-1555, 1745-1830, plus an unknown length of time for just one bird early morning
Leach's Petrel - 22-24 in rather intermittent seawatching - four 0730-1000hrs, three in view at once 1045-1050, one (first seen) at 1100 which sat on the sea for a short time, one (first seen) at 1115, a distant one at 1131, then five seen by Gareth Morgan et al as the neap tide left plenty of water still off the north wall 1305-1410 (last seen about 1350hrs), two between 1530 and 1555 (left 1600hrs), then 4, probably 6 between 1745 and 1830 (birds kept disappearing into the mist and backtracks difficult to rule out).   All flying out of the bay at or just inside the yellow buoy range apart from the 1131 one which was at a distance which was not visible for most of the seawatch (so others could have been in the murk)
Red-throated Diver - one fsp seen
Razorbill - 1CY on the sea
Pink-footed Goose - 22(f) SW
Guillemot - one in the harbour mouth
Gannet - an imm in the mist was the only obvious seabird behind the IOM ferry but visibility very bad then
Med Gull - 1CY patrolling the north wall, adult joined the ferry in the harbour
Wheatear - 4

Kittiwake - juv was the only bird thereon of remote interest

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Two good new sightings amongst the dross

Heysham Obs
..........with apologies to Pink-footed Geese flying overhead.  Unscheduled rain & wind first thing knocked most of the ringing on the head until well after dawn and the overhead conditions conspired against any significant vis over Heysham with what there was passing to the south of the Power Station.  The first Meadow Pipit did not pass over the nature reserve reserve office until 0900hrs!!!!  However (vis mig c0630-1000ish):

Ring Ouzel - noisy individual, looked like 1CY male byt the office, then on the tank farm 0730hrs - very unexpected in the met. circumstances and surely of British origin?
Common Buzzard - one heading south, soaring, at about 0945hrs - rare over the reserve - just about annual
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed Middleton (none by the reserve office for the first time this month)
Robin - definite influx with 3 ringed in a small amount of mist netting
Meadow Pipit - no more than 20 recorded heading SE
Grey Wagtail - just the one seen heading SE
Swallow - 42 SE
House Martin - 6 SE
Chaffinch - 11 SE
Pink-footed Goose - 64+53+70 S plus others seen from Caton Moor heading S/SE over the Bay!
Lesser Whitethroat - one calling by the office

No known coastal coverage this morning

Curlew Sandpiper & Ruff Sunderland mudflats

Friday, 17 September 2010

Good vis but not helping the Grey Wagtail study

Heysham Obs
Have got so used to catching Grey Wagtails in mist nets, I had forgotten about the dreaded north-westerlies where birds move in relatively strong winds, having been held up by even stronger winds for a few days.  None of our mist net sites are north-westerly-friendly.  I had forgotten how to set the 'whoosh' net - the ideal method in these conditions- not good when an error with the elastics can be at the very least quite painful!

Vis mig and other stuff north harbour wall (0630-0730), Ocean Edge (0735-0750), by the office (0755-0930)
Meadow Pipit - 432 (plus 13 casually noted afterwards) - mainly SE
Swallow - 180 (& 16 casually noted afterwards), mainly NORTH!
House Martin - 6 SE
Siskin - 5 SE
Grey Wagtail - 18 (& 2 casually noted afterwards) SE
alba Wagtail - just 9 SE
Chaffinch - 25 S/SW
Goldfinch - 37 S/SW
Pink-footed Goose - 21 (f) south & flock heard heading south to the west
Jackdaw - 15 (f) SW
Tree Sparrow - 2 grounded briefly before heading south
Kestrel - one high to SW
Coal Tit - excitable flock of 6 S

Rock Pipit - 1CY on north harbour wall eating beetle larva (does this help racial id?!)
Wheatear - 2 north harbour wall
Linnet - 17 north harbour wall
Meadow Pipit - 3 north harbour wall
Robin - one on the mound
alba Wagtail - 8 north harbour wall
Chiffchaff - 3 by the office (one giving 'swee' calls, the other two normal collybita)
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 by the office (at least one unringed - very vocal)
Blackcap - at least two by office

Med Gull - 1CY patrolling the north wall, another 1CY outfalls, 3rd CY Red Nab just finishing moult into adult winter, 2 2CY and at least 2 adult outfalls area
Shelduck - 54 of O Edge
Knot - 9 off O Edge
Bar-tailed Godwit - one off O Edge

Two notable absentees this autumn have been Black-tailed Godwit and Mistle Thrush

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Nooks and crannies reveal a Med flock!

*** Leach's Petrel close inshore along the north harbour wall at about 1550hrs - the first ever seen at Heysham after 24 hours of north-westerlies!

Heysham Obs
Went through the motions of checking corners of the harbour etc. and there was predictably little evidence of any displacement (a few more days of WSW gales needed for this to happen).  However six gulls on the mudflats between Heysham one outfall and the wooden jetty were all Meds!

South harbour/outfalls 0930-1030
Med Gull - 3 adult, 2 2CY and one 1CY on the mudflats bwteeen Heysham one outfall and the wooden jetty, close inshore.  None darvic-ringed, but one of the adults was probably the Czech bird (wrong angle to see above tarsus metal ring)
Kittiwake - two 1CY around the harbour/outfalls
Wheatear - one by the wheel, four on the north wall
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE
Grey Wagtail - one SE

Green-brindled Crescent new for the year and very autumnal!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Marginal wind direction persists for long enough....

So near...........or eyesight not good enough/looking in the wrong direction...........this was taken from the Walney Obs Blog this morning:  "The pick of the day’s sightings was a Sooty Shearwater that flew out of Morecambe Bay at 0855hrs". In good conditions you can see seagulls sat on the pier hide at Walney and easily read Barrow Town Hall clock  (never seen a Sooty from anywhere along the eastern Irish sea coastline other than north Cornwall (and from the Stranraer-Larne ferry))

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately could not get on site until 0700hrs with four Leach's Petrel on the first scan.  Reasonable selection but a bit tedious during the last two hours of the morning session dropping tide with effort wrongly focused on birds coming out of the bay rather than looking towards the outer bay for those cutting across.  When this happened (c0920hrs), two seen straight away.  The afternoon Leach's Petrels were a real bonus for the multiple observers with most forecasts going for the wind turning NW just after midday

North harbour wall 0700-1000 & IOM ferry lunchtime & short mid-afternoon visit
Leach's Petrel - 10 first session, one distantly lunchtime, one 1405 - all 'out', then four others until the wind went NW at about 1630hrs [total 16]
Arctic Skua - 2 juvs (plus small skua spp, almost certainly this species) early morning, then juv out at 1630hrs
Bonxie - 1 out 0710hrs, another out at 1735hrs
Black Tern - one around ferry in harbour mouth, then flew behind wooden jetty
Common Tern - one adult around ferry
Gannet - 4 early am, two 2CY behind ferry, ad & juv later in afternoon
Razorbill - one mid-afternoon
Fulmar - 1
Kittiwake - 4 (3 juvs) & c15 around harbour/behind ferry
Arctic Tern - 3 juvs early am & 5 juvs outfalls/around ferry
Sandwich Tern - 2 juvs early am, adult around ferry, one mid-afternoon
Guillemot - one on sea, two on sea at lunchtime
Shag - mobile 1CY in the harbour
Med Gull - 1CY & two adults patrolling the seawall, two further adults on Red Nab
Little Gull - adult stage 2 outfall mid-pm
Pink-footed Goose - flocks of 19+45+50 SW mid afternoon (first of autumn)

** What was almost certainly a juvenile Long-tailed Skua was seen by a very experienced observer late yesterday evening, but too far out and not all the features were clinched to his high standards of documentation

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

"Lovely day isnt it" until a late afternoon trickle

Heysham Obs
The classic 'red rag' from a well-meaning member of the public as a mid/late-morning visit to the north harbour wall coincided with a most emphatic clearance of the sky of anything resembling a cloud.  Not a chance of any seabirds this far into the bay unless some squalls arrive which did happen to a minor extent on the dropping late afternoon tide:

North harbour wall
15:00-18:00 dropping tide with 3 x minor showers produced
Black Tern   1 out slowly past line of yellow buoys 15:56-15:57 age indeterminate
Bonxie          1 floating out on sea, lifted and flew out several hundred metres before landing on sea again and lost to view 17:30
Fulmar           1 out
Kittiwake       juv in then perhaps the same out on the same 'line'
Auk sp          1 in then followed by 1 prob Guillemot out soon followed by 1 prob Guillemot in, may have all been the same bird
Arctic Tern    juv out c1615hrs
Unfortunately I didn't have the stamina to see if there was a Leach's on the last part of the outgoing tide but definitely better than staying at home and watching Freeview for 3 hours! (Tom Wilmer)

Ocean edge side
Leach's Petrel - one 'drifting' distantly east at about 1600hrs - this bird definitely did not venture north of the wooden jetty (observer unknown)

Miscellaneous inshore
Wheatear - a good autumnal total of 11 between 1/2 moon bay and the harbour mouth and a further four on Ocean Edge
Pied/White Wagtail - c22 - at least 6 showing chars. of White Ocean Edge and a further 15 on the north side of the harbour (7 white)
Linnet - 12 north wall, 17 Ocean Edge
Meadow Pipit - 6 SE in 20 minutes north wall, 8 grounded Ocean Edge
Med Gull - 2 adults Red Nab

Two Black Rustic the first for the year

Monday, 13 September 2010

Very Wet & windy


No Reports so far.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Meds About

6 Med Gulls : 3 Adults : 1 2CY ; 2 1CY

Middleton  Industrial Estate Webs

2 Mute Swans
16 Coot
2 Moorhen
5 Mallard
4 Tufted
1 Pochard
3 Little Grebe
2 Snipe
also 1 Raven

Ocean Edge
4 Wheatear
1 Little Egret

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Heysham Obs
The time slot was the early morning, the weather was worse than forecasted.   It has been brought to my attention that a joke involving aircraft (this morning's visit being quicker than a Ryanair turn-round) was in very bad taste today.  I am really sorry about this - it was completely unintentional, although forgetting the significance of the date is almost as insulting.  Very sorry to upset at least one person. I have removed the offending sentence

Ocean Edge
One adult Med Gull

NR Office
2 Chiffchaff and a single Lesser Whitethroat
c36 Swallow south

10 Linnet

Please note that there appeared to be a movement of Lap Bunts following the front at some other NW sites.  Tomorrow morning?

Friday, 10 September 2010

Civilised 'lie-in' & back to coastal birding

Heysham Obs
Back to the usual west coast birding this morning after an aborted attempt at passerining the mound (couldnt see a thing walking into driving rain), and it wasnt bad! 

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls on turning tide & high tide count
Black Tern - juv in the channel/briefly end of Hey one outfall.  Appeared to be slowly making its way out of the bay
Common or Arctic Tern - juv seen very briefly end of Heysham one - appeared to go into bay. 
Curlew Sandpiper - two juvenile with 27 Dunlin and 9 Ringed Plover off Ocean Edge - unfortunately not in the BTO challenge area
Med Gull - adult Red Nab, adult off Ocean Edge, two adults harbour mouth and at least one 1CY on the outfalls/harbourmouth
Little Egret - one Red Nab qualifying for BTO challenge
Whimbrel - latish bird for here Ocean Edge
Bar-tailed Godwit - juv Red Nab

Cormorant - a record 108 on the wooden jetty!
Shag - at least one possibly two 1CY on the wooden jetty (obscured)
The 1CY Med joined the two adults (one Czech-ringed) on the north wall railings
Turnstone - 117 wooden jetty
Curlew Sandpiper - the two were with an even larger flock of Dunlin (41)/R Plover but they wouldnt go into the BTO challenge area - landed briefly on OE west field, then flew towards Potts corner
Ringed Plover - 21 heliport, 17 mobile birds with OE area calidrids

Shelduck - flock of 38 flew south at HT

Thursday, 9 September 2010

In situ or with the tit flocks

Heysham Obs
Not worth getting up early this morning, especially once I was stuck behind an O'Reilly lorry along Morecambe road/past ASDA, always an bad omen in my experience.  Still quite a few migrants around Heysham NR this morning but the sylvias had found their own bit of bramble and the phylloscs were mainly concentrated in and around a Long-tailed Tit flock.  Therefore no evidence of new arrivals and the vis was similarly rather poor with very bad timing by the Grey Wagtails as regards ringing!

Office area
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Whitethroat - 2
Blackcap - 2
Chiffchaff - 5
Willow Warbler - 2
Ringing: just 2 Chiffchaff, one Willow Warbler, one Whitethroat, two Greenfinch, one Great Tit & a Magpie!

Vis mig by office 0630-0900
Coal Tit - the start of an autumn  irruption?  2+3+2+1+2 noisily south
Meadow Pipit - 16 S
Grey Wagtail - 1+4+1+2 SE
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Goldfinch - 6 (flock) high south-east
Chaffinch - 1+1+1+1+1+1+1 south
alba Wagtail - 5 S
Swallow - 28 S
House Martin - 11 S

Dusky Thorn trapped at Middleton NR last night - a long overdue new species for SD45E

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

What a bonus!

Heysham Obs
A nice calm morning amidst all the low pressure areas produced a fair amount of vis mig and a reasonable number of grounded birds in the Middleton NR mist nets:

Middleton NR 0615-1145hrs
Osprey - one circling very high receiving attention from many large gulls at 1130hrs - drifted even higher SE
Common Buzzard - one south about 1025hrs
Grey Wagtail - 14 SE (7 ringed)
Tree Pipit - 5 SE (four very early on, one mid-morning)
Swallow - 215 SE (almost certainly undercounted)
Meadow Pipit - 115 SE - mainly VERY high
Reed Bunting - 8 grounded briefly/SE (all caught & ringed!)
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
House Martin - 35 SE (undercount?)
Kingfisher - one ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 seen
Sedge Warbler - at least 6 (3 ringed)
Reed Warbler - one

Ringing comprised:  Garden Warbler (1), Sedge Warbler (3), Chiffchaff (4), Willow Warbler (2), Reed Bunting (8), Goldfinch (3), Grey Wagtail (7), Swallow (9), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (4), Kingfisher (1), Wren (1), Coal Tit (1).  Managed to avoid any tit flocks - all tits caught singly!

Heysham N Reserve
Perhaps the same Kingfisher was seen feeding in front of the pagoda hide at lunchtime
Lesser Whitethroat in the brambles by the office

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Reasonable morning by the office retrieved or did we miss the big one?

Heysham Obs
High Tatham dawned with rain and a slow start was exacerbated by a Lune valley tractor convoy in weather which was looking better by the minute as Heysham was approached.  The nets next to the office were hastily erected at 0720hrs, catching a Sedge Warbler within about 10 seconds of starting to set the first net!  A Long-tailed Tit flock was 'in residence' in the mist net ride but predictably melted away, along with attendant Chiffchaffs and 'tack' spp, not helped by that bane of early morning ringing, a mist net pole going awol.   By 1200hrs, the situation was somewhat retrieved, but did any of these early birds accompanying the tit flock (which was not relocated) actually reappear in the area?

Office area 0720-1200hrs
Whitethroat - 2 ringed and a retrap ringed at Middleton on 31/8 at 15.5grms and now weighing 19 grams with a fat score of 4.
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed and another seen
Chiffchaff - at least 10, mainly early & only two caught & a further 6 along Moneyclose Lane
Willow Warbler - one ringed
Sedge Warbler - one ringed
Garden Warbler - one ringed
Blackcap - two seen
Goldcrest - one with the tit flock and another along Moneyclose Lane

Vis mig 0730-0830hrs by the office
Grey Wagtail - three SE whilst looking for mist net pole!
Redpoll spp, - 4 SE
Meadow Pipit - 11 SE
Swallow - 44SE
House Martin - 4SE
Goldfinch - 36 high to the south in dribs and drabs
Chaffinch - 27 as above, but including group of 8 - quite early for vis mig birds here
Greenfinch - no obvious vis mig but another influx of unringed birds in the nets totalling 14
Great-spotted Woodpecker - surprisingly, an unringed adult female was caught (along with a retrap juv)

The tide was too far in/high for any proper shore coverage in time available

Monday, 6 September 2010

Whats hiding in bent-double bushes?

Heysham Obs
Mound/heliport area
Shag - 1CY on the wooden jetty
Whinchat - one
Wheatear - 7
Phyllosc - one seen v briefly
Pied Wagtail - 8
Meadow Pipit - one
Linnet - now 12
Robin - one
Swallow - 8 south the only vis

Ocean Edge/Red Nab high tide
Wigeon - first of the autumn on Red Nab
Kingfisher - one (seen yesterday by Malcolm)
Med Gull - 3 adult, 2 1CY (no rings seen)
No Sandwich tern
Swallow - 5 SE (coasting)

Office/harbour/outfalls/dog track circuit pm
The western side of the of the screening planting along the dog track was sheltered.
Pied Flycatcher - Female/imm in long-leaved willow, flycatching & calling fairly frequently near the dog walk pond
Chiffchaff - 8 along the dog track, many with 'swee' calls or slightly dysllabic variations on this
Sedge Warbler - juvenile in the Rosebay along the south harbour wall!
Med. Gull - one of the 1CYs on Heysham one outfall (2 1CY Common Gull Heysham 2)
Wheatear - 2 Red Nab
Swallow - 44 south

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Poor landbird return but influx of gulls

Slumbering female Meadow Brown.  Thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
North harbour mound area
Wheatear - one
Robin - one
Wren - one
Chiffchaff - one, flew quickly inland
Linnet - 6
Pied Wagtail - 22 (ex-roost?)
Grey Wagtail - 4+2 south the only vis!

Reserve area
Meadow Pipit - 10 SE
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE (one ringed)
Chiffchaff - one ringed

Middleton IE
Reed Warbler - one
Chiffchaff - one
Blackcap - 2
Green Woodpecker - one (first autumn sighting?)
Grey Wagtail - one SE [TOTAL of 11 for day]

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wheatear - 3
Med Gull - 3 adults, one 2CY, one 1CY
Sandwich Tern - 10
Dunlin - 18
Grey Plover - (just) 4 - usually an influx this time of year
Little Egret - one
Black-headed Gull - 644

American Golden Plover reportedly seen in flight (& presumably heard?) at Arnside early morning - flew upstream.  Low single figures of juv Curlew Sandpiper either side of the Lune estuary & moulting ad Conder creek.  Juv Wood Sandpiper Aldcliffe Lane end (2nd day)

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Reasonable selection of common migrants

Heysham Obs
Thanks for the coverage of the reserve/British Energy area!  Not sure who it was.

Heysham office area vis  06:40-08:00
Tree Pipit                        1
Meadow Pipit                   44
Grey Wagtail                    3
Alba Wagtail                    1
Swallow                           72
Goldfinch                         10
Chaffinch                          3             all south/south-east

Nature Reserve hut area
Chiffchaff 4, Whitethroat 2, Blackcap 2+, Coal Tit 2 (same 2 later at Red Nab?), GS Woodpecker 1

Moneyclose Lane
Jay 1, Bullfinch 4 (2+ juvs)

Red Nab/Nature Park bushes
Spotted Flycatcher 2, Garden Warbler 1, Blackcap 2, Chiffchaff 5

Red Nab/Ocean edge
Wheatear 3, Sandwich Tern 15+

Middleton NR (thanks Malcolm)
Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warbler, first Snipe of the autumn

Friday, 3 September 2010

Quiet Morning

No obvious migrants around the hut.

Grey Wagtail: Two trapped and colour ringed
Greenfinch, Robin, Blue Tit  : one of each trapped was the whole total between 06.00 and 10.30.

Painted Lady by hut


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Guillotined migrant morning

Heysham Obs
Very promising this morning - must be a 'scarce' somewhere.  Ran a couple of nets at Middleton with a Grey Wag tape.  Following seen/caught

Middleton NR 0615-0900hrs
Redstart - 1CY male ringed
Tree Pipit - 1 south
Meadow Pipit - just 5 south - havn't got going yet
Flava Wagtail - one south at 0705hrs
Grey Wagtail - only 4 (2+1+1), three of these caught and ringed
Swallow - c40 SE
House Martin - c10 SE
Sedge Warbler - at least two after a long absence
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Garden Warbler - one ringed
Whinchat - one
Little Egret - one SE
Chiffchaff - 5+
Willow Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - one ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - two unringed birds seen

In haste - please could the usual people update the site in the next two days. Thanks

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Early trickle, then nothing, then mid-morning warblers

Heysham Obs
Whats the theory on clear mornings?  Birds move until they are tired, then land late morning(ish), hence the best time for rare warblers and the like is often midday e.g. Walney - althought the theory here is that they might filter down the island

Heysham office and area (Pete)
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE (two ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Chiffchaff - 2 grounded & ringed
"Nothing" stirred or flew over
1100 onwards
Swallow - 27SE
House Martin - 5 SE
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
Blackcap - 4 ringed
Whitethroat - one ringed
Willow warbler - one ringed
Chiffchaff - at least two new birds
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed, one retrapped from a week ago

Middleton NR (Alan)
Similar situation with hardly anything moving between the first light trickle and about 0930hrs
Grasshopper Warbler - 1CY ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - 4 ringed - all after 1000hrs
Whitethroat - one ringed late morning
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Pied Wagtail - one ringed!
Grey Wagtail - 3 ringed early on, the only ones recorded
Quite a few Swallow & Goldfinch ringed