Saturday, 30 April 2011


Heysham Obs

Heysham north harbour wall to 0545-1130hrs
Arctic Tern - 3,133, including 120 which flew inland over the 'wheel' and headed NE and another two flocks behaved similarly later in the movement
Little Tern - 1 in with the first big lot (302) of Arctics at 0620hrs
Common Tern - one blogging
Arctic Skua - 1 dm 0555hrs, one dm late morning and 2 distant probables (one lm) - probably the four seen off Rossall
Gannet - 5
Sandwich Tern - very few, just 15 seen
Common Scoter - 9, but little observation early on of the usual distant line
Red-throated Diver - just 1
Whimbrel - 13
Swallow - just 18 north

Heysham N Reserve area
Pheasant - 'the' male flew down the road ahead of the car at 30mph

Grey Seal early morning, 2 Harbour Porpoises near high tide

Shuttle-shaped Dart (2) new for the year

Friday, 29 April 2011

Arctic Tern passage in full swing....and a 'large dragonfly'!

A very early 4-spotted Chaser at Middleton this morning (thanks Janet)

Heysham Obs
At lunchtime, Janet indicated that she had just photographed a large dragonfly at Middleton!  "Unfortunately" this turned out to be by far the earliest ever record of 4-spotted Chaser for this area, not the hoped for Hairy Hawker or 'ridiculous' Vagrant Emperor long-shot.  Pic later.  Good coverage this morning by Pete Cook, John & Nick from 0600 to about 0945hrs.  Decent numbers of Arctic Tern with many on a close-inshore line, but others a long way out and some may have been missed along this line.  An accompaniment of four Arctic Skua was par for the course

North harbour wall 0600-0945 & three short sessions pre-1330hrs
Marsh Harrier - what was probably an imm male flew high to the north-east 'over' the sea at c1100hrs, gradually getting closer to this side.  Almost missed due to height!
Arctic Tern - 543 'in' (not 453 as per pager!), largest flock 64
Arctic Skua - one early on, one about 0800hrs and two together about 0830 (the latter were, on timing, not those seen off JBP) - all dark morph heading 'in'
Sandwich Tern - c12 in/blogging
Common Scoter - 10+4+16 out
Gannet - 3 in
Swallow - at least 104 in, many missed as they flew through the inner wooden jetty gap and then through the harbour!
Linnet - 6 in
alba Wagtail - 4 in

Ocean Edge foreshore
Dunlin - 360
Grey Plover - 38 with 7 in full summer plumage
Whimbrel - just one
Mallard - pair Red Nab

Middleton NR
4-spotted Chaser photographed at lunchtime.  Azure damselfly and Blue-tailed damselfly both seen singly during mist-net ride maintenance

No terns visible from JBP pre-0930 but two different (on timing) dark morph Arctic Skua passing through together (up the Kent estuary).  After seawatching had ceased at Heysham, there was a trickle of Arctic Tern (c30) and an influx of Arctic Skua with a further 7 individuals (3 light morph) giving a total of 9 for the morning

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Terns and blue seas

Selection of breeding or prospective breeding birds at Middleton NR the last three days (thanks Janet)

Heysham Obs
So the Ocean Edge advertisement is accurate!  The sea was bluer than I've ever seen it off here this morning with presumably not a scrap of turbulence and sediment in flat-calm conditions on a gentle neap tide and low feeder-river levels.  Rather like overhead vis mig, the blue didnt help when trying to pick out birds flying past, the large Arctic Tern flock was nearly missed!  Was anything missed earlier in the morning?  Sometimes it appears that Walney and Heysham are on different planets, even in clear conditions when in theory you can see "anything that flies into the bay past Walney".  They had 42 Red-throats, including a flock of 13 flying into the bay and no Arctic Terns in just about the same hour as us (0715-0815).  On the seaward side, a double-figure count of Manx S.

North harbour wall & Ocean Edge 0730-0900
Arctic Tern - flock of 64 in, then gaining height at 0735 (what was missed prior to this?)
Sandwich Tern - 'dribble' in, totalling 39 individuals, largest group 5
Sand Martin - one NE, the only hirundine seen!
alba Wagtail - 3 north
Linnet - 2 north
Dunlin - 27 Red Nab
Turnstone - 138 wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - one wooden jetty

Scalloped Hazel new for the year

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Seemingly mortified migration bar one highlight

Heysham Obs
No early morning coverage today - the enthusiasm has waned in these blocking north-easterlies.  Having said that, it was calm enough for some stuff to have slipped through and as a possible indication of this, the seawatch included what was probably the start of a reasonable hirundine passage

Sea 0715-0815
Long-tailed Duck - Male in partial summer plumage flew in, then landed on sea towards SJ
Common Scoter - 9+5 out, very distant
Gannet - one out, even more distant
Turnstone - 104 on outer section of wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - one as above
Swallow - 31 north, including loose 'flock' of 26 & 15 in next hour or so
House Martin - one north
Linnet - 2 north over the sea
NO terns seen during the first hour, but 3 Sandwich tern blogging during the next hour

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A few seabirds when the north-easterly kicked in

Heysham Obs
An early morning run round & token seawatch didnt take long to convince that this calm morning was pretty well rock bottom as regards any obvious migration.  However, coinciding with the north-easterly kicking in, the sea livened up a bit for Mike Baron after a patient birdless hour

Sea 0655-0730
Sandwich Tern - 1 in
Common Scoter - 5 out
Turnstone - c185 outer section wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - 1, possibly 2 as above
alba Wagtail - 2 north

0825-0930 (after nothing from 0725-0825) (thanks Mike)
2 Kittiwakes (adult & 2cy) in

1 Arctic Tern in
16 Sandwich Terns - 1 in, rest out
1 Red-throated Diver (flew round in large circles)
1 unidentified Skua - distant, very dark bird which tangled with a large gull and then dropped on to sea nr wind farm
1 unidentified auk (prob Razorbill)
6 Swallows north

Mammal1 Grey Seal nr wooden jetty

Ocean Edge 0735-0755
Wheatear - 1
shoreline devoid of any migrant waders

A worn Brindled Pug (see comments for two days ago) and the first of the migratory Diamond-back Moth for the year highlighted a small catch

Monday, 25 April 2011

Common Scoter head the meagre haul

Heysham Obs
Sea intermittently 0600-0830
Common Scoter - 23+9+18 out
Gannet - 3 together out and across
Sandwich Tern - 21
Arctic tern - flock of 16 'in' distantly 0615hrs
Kittiwake - 2CY on sea, then 'out'
Mute Swan - 3 in, one out
Whimbrel - 2
Meadow Pipit - 2 north
alba Wagtail - 1 north
Swallow - 8 north
Purple Sandpiper - one
Turnstone - c250

Greylag - two blogging at Middleton (also over HNR yesterday)
Dunlin - 320 Ocean Edge foreshore
Common Sandpiper - one by Heysham 2 outfall

A really good candidate for Ruddy Highflyer on wingshape, resting position and what markings are visible on this melanistic specimen.  The only known regular Lancashire site for this species. Flame Carpet also new for the year

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Seemingly 'nothing'

Heysham Obs
Earlyish morning observers report nothing flying overhead, just 7 Sandwich Terns on a short seawatch and c4 birds in the mist nets, including 2 Lesser Whitethroat and one Common Whitethroat

Anyone visiting Middleton NR in the next few days, watch out for large dragonflies - the ultimate long-shot [c/f Vagrant Emperor influx into at least southern Europe - unfortunately the winds are not ideal].  Filling the daily post with this sort of waffle is hopefully infrequent, but the weather synopsis over the next 3-4 days looks rather poor for numbers, as opposed to a few, of grounded migrant passerines, but 'might' produce a few Arctic Terns.

Any assistance covering the sea gratefully received as the tide cycle starts to creep round to the favourable early morning 'incoming' [the usual observer, Jean Roberts, is not available this week]

Fairly impressive, with Brindled Pug possibly new for this site, as the previous records (last 2001) look like they need a "review" date-wise, and Common Pug extremely early.  Dark-barred Twin-spot carpet and Brown Silver Line kicked off their seasons

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Threadbare patchwork

Heysham Obs
Office area dawn onwards to about 0830hrs
Tree Pipit - 3 north
Redpoll - one north
Meadow Pipit - 7 north
Linnet - 5 north
Goldfinch - 16 north
House Martin - one north
nothing grounded due to the 'blocking' cold front which arrived too early in the night, with just single Willow Warbler and Whitethroat ringed, ironically in "perfect" conditions c/f yesterday

Sea 0715-0730
Sandwich Tern - 3

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - at least 4 singing males
Reed Warbler - 2 singing males western marsh

Moth trap
Highlighted by single Golden-rod and Oak-tree Pugs, now "easy" to identify thanks to Brian Hancocks superb articles! [Link from the Lancs Moth site]

Friday, 22 April 2011

You should have been here before the sun......or mid-morning!

Heysham Obs
Just about worth the early start today with virtually everything landbird-wise in the short interregnum between the two yellow things in the sky.  Indeed, its a real shame this last week wasnt in the new moon period.  Rather "1980's" vis mig with the best daily Tree Pipit and flava Wagtail counts for years!

Heysham Nature reserve office area 0515-0930
Ring Ouzel - female tacking in the gorse by the office (in there overnight??), then flew to classroom area, then over on to golfcourse at c0535hrs
flava Wagtail - singles heading north at 0555, 0620 and 0905hrs, the latter circled round and appeared to eventually head north-west
Goldfinch - 37 north
Lesser Redpoll - 5+1 north, the flock of 5 left a presumed overnight roost site at 0520hrs in the gorse next to the office and headed straight into the sky to the north!
alba Wagtail - 17 north
Linnet - 9 north
Meadow Pipit - 22 north
Tree Pipit - 6 north, all before 0630 and before any Meadow Pipit, then a further pulse with 8 north between 0830 and 0930, including 4 together [14]
Canada Goose - two low inland
Swallow - 7 north
House Martin - one north
Willow Warbler - 15-20 migrants first thing soon melted away
Garden Warbler - one singing below the Obs Tower 0625-0630, but not later
Grasshopper Warbler - one singing distantly in the tank farm

Ringing - too windy/sunny with all birds caught prior to 0630 (6 Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff) other than a single Blackcap

Sea 0930-1000 north wall
Sandwich Tern - 3 in
Wheatear - 1
Small White - 12 north-east along seawall

Outfalls area 1030ish
Black Tern - one distantly in the channel between Heysham 2 and the sewage pipe, then appeared to fly 'in'.  On its own, no other tern species seen!
Arctic Tern - two flew in, then gained height & headed north-west about midday
Common Sandpiper - one along the seawall
Wheatear - 4 Ocean Edge

Thursday, 21 April 2011

More of the same

Heysham Obs
There appeared to be a movement through of Willow Warblers pre-dawn this morning and the mist nets were set too late at about 0545!!!   Notable small Whitethroat influx but just a trickle of other migrants.

Heysham office area
Grasshopper Warbler - presumed territorial male, not a series of passage birds, still singing on the tank farm
Tree Pipit - 3 (one ringed)
Willow Warbler - c10 migrants very first thing but only 4 ringed this morning
Whitethroat - influx with at least 10 new birds (3 ringed)
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 migrants moved quickly through
Goldfinch - c25 north
Linnet - c16 north
Meadow Pipit - 3 north
Blackcap - one singing male moved through (not local bird)
Lesser Redpoll - 2 north (1 ringed)

Sea/north wall
Skua spp. - presumed dark-morph Arctic flew quickly in at 0622hrs
Cormorant - flock of 8 high to the north
Wheatear - 3 heliport

Middleton NR
The long-staying Gadwall pair still present - now a "T" atlas-wise & the first such registration in SD45E

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Willow Warbler smatter

Heysham Obs
Ringed Willow Warblers just about reached double-figures, but the support act was again paltry with just a single Blackcap & Whitethroat ringed migrant-wise.  Nothing notable overhead.

Grasshopper Warbler - 1 singing by reserve entrance early.
Tufted Duck - pair on Obs Tower pond.

North harbour wall coverage similarly low-key with very poor visibility

Included Least Black Arches and Oak Tree Pug - both new for the year and both recent additions to the Heysham fauna

Roe Deer - 2 at north end of Non-Op land.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

More drip-feed migration

Heysham Obs
An early start but limited ringing-wise to the office nets, which were not a good choice due to a niggling wind, followed by early sunrise.  The theme was birds bouncing out of slightly billowing nets, notably four Tree Pipit together!  Small by 1980's standards, but "reasonable" by recent standards, fall of Willow Warblers first thing

North harbour wall north-east-bound vis mig
Arctic Tern - 30
Sandwich Tern - 32
Swallow - 30
Meadow Pipit - 24
alba Wagtail - 11
Linnet - 12
Redpoll spp. - 10
Goldfinch - 1
Greenfrinch - 1
Whimbrel - 4
Greylag - 1
Turnstone - 217
Common Gull - 257 (others on south side)
Black-headed Gull - 119 (ditto)
Blackbird - now a pair on the mound!! (female definitely newly-arrived)

Heysham NR (north-east-bound vis very intermittently recorded, but different birds to NHW) 0545 onwards
Tree Pipit - 4+1+1, all early
Redpoll spp - 11
Linnet - 15
Goldfinch - 11
Greenfinch - unringed male caught
Willow Warbler - minimum of 25 in office/obs tower area, almost all in first hour (several bouncing out of mist nets)
alba Wagtail - 9
Meadow Pipit - 13
Reed Warbler - singing male in the far reedbed (first of year)
Sedge Warbler - one singing in reedbed next to alder copse

Streamer new for the year & not guaranteed here

Monday, 18 April 2011

Arctic Terns

Heysham Obs

Record shot taken into the sun on the dropping tide of Saturday's Little Stint (thanks Mike)
North Harbour Wall  0650-0930
Arctic Tern - 29  First of the year
Common Tern - 1
Sandwich Tern - 6 on the buoys

Linnet - 15
Meadow Pipit - 13
alba Wagtail - 6
Goldfinch - 5
Swallow - 5
Redpoll sp - 4
Greenfinch - 2

On the sea
Mute Swan - 2
Red-breasted Merganser - 8

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 4
Common Gull - 565
Black-headed Gull - 75
Mediterranean Gull - 2 x second calendar year

Heysham Nature Reserve vis
Tree Pipit - 2 (caught and ringed)
Lesser Redpoll - 15
Goldfinch - 20
Linnet - 15
Meadow Pipit - 5
alba Wagtail - 7

Not many grounded migrants but 4 each of Blackcap and Willow Warbler ringed.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Pre-dawn night migrants, post-dawn vis trickle

Heysham Obs
Clear conditions this morning and revealing just how early you have to get up in order to record a meagre trickle of night migrants on the move at the first hint of any daylight

Tree Pipit

Heysham NR office area
Tree Pipit - 5 north (1 ringed)
Grasshopper Warbler - one ringed pre-dawn, another singing at the same time on the tank farm
Lesser Whitethroat - one migrant singing male moved through
Whitethroat - 2-3 males reserve & one Red Nab
Lesser Redpoll - just 3+1 north
Meadow Pipit - 5 north
Goldfinch - c15 north
Linnet - c10 north
Blackcap - male caught in darkness as the net was being set, female soon afterwards, then 3 others later
Willow Warbler - one caught as net was being set, the only evidence of a migrant!

North harbour wall
Whimbrel - one (first of year)
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Guillemot - 1 floated in at high tide.
Sandwich Tern - 10 blogging on the buoys
Red-throated Diver - 6 out
Gannet - 1 north
Eider - 70
Red-breasted Merganser - 7

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 7
White Wagtail - 2
Ringed Plover - 86
Dunlin - 121
no obvious sign Little Stint but birds hard to see on rocks

Vis north harbour wall 0645-1030:
Meadow Pipit - 37
Tree Pipit - 1
Goldfinch - 6
Linnet - 16
Redpoll sp - 5
Swallow - 1
Chaffinch - 3
alba wagtail - 2

Grasshopper Warblers still singing but not easy to see. 
And what about in flight?

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Splendidly isolated Mealy, unseasonal Little Stint, Black Guillemot head a great day for 'one-offs'

Heysham Obs
2CY, probably female, Mealy Redpoll

'Going through the motions' this morning in (initially) perfect ringing conditions, but lousy overall weather synopsis produced one bird in the nets prior to 0800hrs, a Mealy Redpoll!  Then four others in the 'quality' category were caught:  a Tree Pipit, adult male Whitethroat first ringed as a 2CY in May 2007, an unringed male Blackcap and an adult female Blackcap first ringed at Woolston Eyes and previously caught at Heysham in early August 2010.  The 'pulse' of 8 Lesser Redpoll coincided with increasing wind and billowing nets, leading to an early finish.  Then an attempt to do 1/3 of the WeBs count produced a small winter-plumaged wader, eventually identified as Little Stint, then a (the?) Black Guillemot made an appearance, then a flava Wagtail flew over.  A Dotted Border was a rather unexpected late individual.

Overhead a pulse of Meadow Pipits, small finch species and two Tree Pipits (one ringed) prior to the cloud from the weak front

Ocean Edge foreshore
Wheatear - 4 (one male of Faroese/Icelandic/Greenlandish proportions)
Little Stint - mainly winter plumage bird with migrant Dunlin & Ringed Plover took a little bit of precautionary sorting out with a 60x!  Record shots taken of sleeping bird
Record shot into the sun (thanks Pete)
Heysham office area
No hint of any phyllosc migration
Blackcap - unringed male caught, see above re-female
Whitethroat - the old ringed male detailed above was the only sighting
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male, almost certainly not a new arrival
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male on tank farm - time to revise yesterday's comment?
Meadow Pipit - 26 north
Goldfinch - c25 north
Linnet - c15 north
Lesser Redpoll - 3+5+1 north
alba Wagtail - 6 north
Tree Pipit - 2 north
Common (Mealy) Redpoll - 2CY ringed at 0720, defnitely migrating on its own
flava Wagtail - one heard, seemingly flying NW at 1115ish (& Mike Baron)

North harbour wall 0930-1100hrs (thanks Mike Baron) (some stuff from earlier still to be entered)
Black Guillemot - one in the harbour mouth mid-morning, then flushed offshore by ferry.  Adult summer & surely the "returning" bird, hopefully on more than last year's day-trip
Guillemot 1

Razorbill 1
Red-throated Diver 2+2
Gannet 4+5
Common Scoter 14+10
Eider 1+3+2
Red-breasted Merganser 3
Sandwich Tern 1+1
Turnstone on wooden jetty 215+
1 Wheatear on mound plus 4 Linnets, Mipit and 2 Pied Wags

Dotted Border was unexpectedly late, highest count was 7 Early Thorn, otherwise the usual quartet of orthosias

Friday, 15 April 2011

Migrant drip-feed

Heysham Obs
What may have been a Great Northern Diver seen very distantly floating in/diving (0915hrs).  No further sign.  Otherwise a bit slow in the rather uniform medium-high cloud and still conditions.  Based purely on Heysham evidence, it was amazing to see the number of latish Meadow Pipits and other vis mig over nearby Rossall (580+) and Walney in what appeared to be clearer conditions over the mouth of the Bay

Heysham Nature reserve office area
Willow Warbler - arrived a bit late (0610!!) and 5-10 were in the process of moving through with 6 subsequently caught, one ringed as a juvenile (female) at Middleton on 12/7/10 and one from Heysham NR last summer.  Another unringed female was caught (wing length)
Redstart - male by office
Redpoll - 6 north (2 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 10 north
Linnet - 16 north
Goldfinch - 8 north
Meadow Pipit - one north
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male tank farm
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male briefly on tank farm first thing - appeared to be moving north through the area with the final burst of song quite close.  Therefore doubtfully yesterdays bird still in situ

North harbour wall
Blackbird - singing male on the mound - an iconic atlas dot for SD36!!!
Greenshank - on flew 'in' - scarce here
Sandwich Tern - c20 blogging, 3 later on Red Nab
Swallow - c35 north
Diver spp - one in winter/2CY plumage, looked 'large and straight-billed', but distant (per Pete C)

A Golden-rod Pug appears to be the earliest record in at least VC60 and perhaps Lancs - continuing the main theme of this spring!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Overnight arrivals, then the blocking cloud

Heysham Obs

Blackcap taken today (thanks Janet)

"Nice" to be able to predict what was going to happen today = precisely nothing landfalling/moving through after first light as a fairly localised splodge of cloud spilled in from the north-west.  Pre-dawn saw Lesser Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler (2) singing within audible range of the office and all the migrant captures were pre-dawn arrivals during the night (two Blackcaps (one 15.5 grams), a Lesser Whitethroat, a Wren and a Chiffchaff)

Office area to 0845hrs
Blackcap - 2 males ringed
Chiffchaff - one new bird ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - male singing well before dawn was immediately caught and ringed
Grasshopper Warbler - two different birds singing in the tank farm
alba Wagtail - 6 north, the only 'vis'

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - three singing males - two in the western marsh, one adjoining the golf course just to the north of the western marsh, possibly five later (or some shifting around)
Whitethroat - two singing males, one probably a mobile new arrival
Sedge warbler - two singing males central marsh
Blackcap - singing male edge of golf course
Greylag - 5 on the model boat pond (no white ones!)

Sandwich Tern - c20 blogging off the north harbour wall

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Optimistic opportunist

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge
Little Ringed Plover - male holding territory (of sorts) in the slightly muddy/stony bit half way along the western grassy area

North harbour wall and area
Common Sandpiper - first of year along the seawall
Purple Sandpiper - probably two on wooden jetty
Turnstone - 224
nothing on the sea 0915-0930

Heysham Nature Reserve
Lesser Whitethroat - mobile male - first of the year

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Auk passage and first Poms

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall
Got there a bit late so only had the tail-end of the early morning passage. All birds "in" unless stated:
Auk sp 54  (cf Rossall 500) - all very distant, probably Razorbill but too distant to tell.
Gannet 36
Common Scoter 1
Sandwich Tern 2
Arctic Skua 1 dark morph in at 0755
Pomarine Skua 3 adults together (one definite pale morph, the other two difficult to see underparts) into mouth of Bay then out at 0830
Swallow 4
Red-breasted Merganser 3 in, 2 out.

Wooden jetty
Turnstone 110

Jean Roberts

Monday, 11 April 2011

Moth mega and early Sedge Warbler influx

Heysham Obs
Went through the pre-frontal motions this morning just in case, even though the angle of approach did not give any hint of south-east in the wind

Heysham Obs office area/Middleton NR
Sedge Warbler - 1 ringed at about 0700hrs & another at 0900hrs - the earliest ringed here.  Two others were in song at Middleton NR  The only evidence of any landfalling night migrants, although the 2CY male Blackbird ringed this morning was long winged/low weight
Little Ringed Plover - one Middleton
Redpoll - 7 north
Goldfinch - 9 north
Gadwall - pair on no swimming pond

Meadow Pipit - 4 north

Brief seawatch 0615-0630
Gannet - 2
Sandwich Tern - 2


The second VC60 and perhaps Lancashire (as opposed to Merseyside)  of Agonopterix umbellana, following the first (also here) in 2004.  A gorse feeder, so plenty of suitable habitat!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Trickle morning

Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Blackcap & Swallow at Middleton today (thanks Janet)
Heysham Obs
A few bits and bobs this morning, including two sizeable northbound redpoll flocks, one of which joined a singleton we had just released (!) and the other entered the mist net.  This latter flock of 13 were all 2CY, probably female on wing length, and this maybe hints at how early the migration is this year, as this should theoretically be the last age/sex class to be on the move

Heysham NR office area (vis a bit intermittent)
Lesser Redpoll/redpoll spp - all caught were undisputed Lessers (25).  c70 north including flocks of 15 (avoided the net, see above) and 13 (all caught and ringed), but otherwise just ones and twos, in contrast to yesterday when almost all were in small flocks
Blackcap - male ringed
Willow Warbler - at least 5 passed through
Meadow Pipit - 13 north
Goldfinch - 36 north
alba Wagtail - 11 north
Chaffinch - 1 NE
Linnet - 27 north

North harbour wall
Meadow Pipit - 26 north
Goldfinch - 13 north
Linnet - 13 north
alba Wagtail - 5 north
Redpoll - 2 north
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Turnstone - 155
Common Scoter - 3 in
Sandwich Tern - 11 in

Plenty of Orange Tip and single Speckled Wood on the wing

Great White Egret still Lower Hide area Leighton Moss & 2 Garganey Griesdale

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Mealy amongst the minions

Mealy Redpoll taken by phone being charged up!
Heysham Obs
Decent migration morning despite the best efforts of the sun on all the mist nets.  Whilst phylloscs were seeing the net and bouncing out, the Lesser Redpolls were in such large numbers that a reasonable total was ringed.  Two controls: X546179 and X948530 and a nice Mealy (pics above)

By the HNR office
Brambling - late singleton NE
Redstart - male passed through
Blackcap - at least 7 males passed through, singing intermittently, then moving north (2 ringed)
Willow Warbler - at least 20 migrants
Chiffchaff - at least 15 migrants
Lesser Redpoll - minimum of 135 heading north pre-0930hrs (when ringing ceased due to wind), some via the mist net, plus another 17 casually noted whilst at Middleton for 30 minutes late morning
Mealy Redpoll - 2CY male ringed
Tree Pipit - one north
Goldfinch - c35 north
Meadow Pipit - 17 north (possibly more)
Linnet - 16 north
alba Wagtail - 5 north

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male eastern marsh
Common Whitethroat - one singing by no-swimming pond
Reed Bunting - 7 males on territory
Wheatear - 4

North harbour wall (one hour)
Sea dead
Linnet - 9
alba Wagtail - 6
Goldfinch - 6
Meadow Pipit - 10
Greenfinch - 1
Redpoll spp - just 4

Grey Seal off harbour

Eventually got round to doing them and Diurnea fagella x 4 was more than a little surprising, given an average of under one per year until this year!   In general, there have been far more Clouded Drab and Common Quaker than usual, especially in proportion to Hebrew Character which has been in 'normal' numbers.  Shoulder Stripe has also been much commoner than usual

Male Orange Tip reported by a visitor just as I was leaving - this is really early

1+ Lesser Whitethroat Aldcliffe area.  Great White Egret Leighton Moss & the Great Grey Shrike still on Dalton Crags

Friday, 8 April 2011

There's only one Twite

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall very brief visit
Twite - two flew NW out to sea leaving a white/red c.r. adult female in splendid isolation on the seed

Nature reserve office area intermittent vis 0700-0900
Meadow Pipit - 47 N
Lesser Redpoll - 7 grounded briefly, then NE
Willow warbler - migrant male ringed
Goldfinch - 4 NE
Swallow - one NE
alba Wagtail - 5 N

North Harbour Wall vis 0815-0915
Meadow Pipit 4
Goldfinch 1
alba Wagtail 2

Turnstone 67

Middleton NR
Unwelcome visitors photographed above!

Welcome Reed Bunting on an unwelcome plant (thanks to Janet for the pics)

The earliest ever Orange Tip and Speckled Wood out on the reserve along with what may also be the earliest Small White

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Two lingering Twite but little else

Heysham Obs
The wind was a problem today - far stronger than forecast (especially late afternoon) and not from a particularly helpful direction (WNW).  Not a lot happened!

North harbour wall
Gannet - one very distant
Red-throated Diver - 3 seen
Twite - two with this year's colour-rings still on the feeder
White Wagtail - 2 Ocean Edge foreshore (& 6 Pied)

Moneyclose Lane by dog walk track
Two singing male Willow Warbler & singing male Blackcap

Decent numbers for here but nothing new.  Third Diurnea fagella of the year is some kind of record!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Dead and deader

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Dead first thing, even deader by 1000hrs
Gannet - two crossing the outer bay somewhere in Cumbria!
Twite - no sign
miniscule trickle of Meadow Pipit & alba Wagtails

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Twite marking time

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Twite - 6 still around the food (3 unringed)
Linnet - 2 with above
Wheatear - 1
Little Gull - 2 distant adults the only things seen on 30 min seawatch 1000-1030hrs

Ocean Edge/outfalls
Common Gull - 220+ but nothing of interest seen with them
Wheatear - 2

Monday, 4 April 2011

Blogging distant Bonxie and inshore seagulls

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Bonxie - one distantly blogging, then sat on the sea
Kittiwake - flock of 7

more later

Ocean Edge
Influx of Common Gulls & 2 Meds on to the shore:
Common Gull - at least 224 (5 adults)
Med Gull - 2 unringed 2CY
Black-headed Gull - 88

Very short window of ringing/vis weather at Higher Thrushgill saw 12 'new' Lesser Redpoll caught (one bearing a ring from elsewhere) and a flurry of birds heading north-east ahead of the approaching cloud:  16 Brambling (leaving just 2-3 in the plantation), 11 Chaffinch, 4 Linnet, 8 Siskin, 37 Meadow Pipit, 5 Redpoll, 3 alba Wagtail,  2 Fieldfare, 4 Goldfinch (0715-0745), then it completely died-off as the cloud reached overhead with just the occasional Meadow Pipit in strengthening wind.  Two singing Willow Warbler Ashleys Farm plus the solitary House Martin

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A few more seabirds

Heysham Obs
The following were seen by Mark Prestwood early morning
Arctic Skua - 2
Kittiwake - 35
Common Scoter - 1
Red-throated Diver 1

Meadow Pipit 5
On the ground
Twite 6, Linnet 1, Meadow Pipit 3, Pied Wagtail 2

Probable Iceland Gull immature flew south over the upper Hindburn with 5 LBBG mid-morning.  c10 Brambling, 4 Fieldfare, but no sign of any Mealy Redpoll Thrushgill (17 'new' Lesser Redpoll ringed & about same number of retraps).  Family party of Crossbills seen again (2 juvs being fed) and at least another 10 individuals around.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Superb summer plumaged male Snow Bunting heads north

Grounded Meadow Pipits have been a regular feature on the 'mound' in recent days (thanks Janet)
Heysham Obs
Nice morning's birding, Jean!

North harbour wall
Red-throated Diver - 6 out
Bonxie - one in at 0910
Arctic Skua - two dark morphs in at 0920
Gannet - 4 in, 9 out
Common Scoter - one in
Fulmar - one out
Kittiwake - 3 in
Snow Bunting - full summer plumaged male flew low to the north at 0950hrs just as the sky cleared, almost certainly lifted off the Twite feeding area
Linnet - 4 north
Wheatear - one
Meadow Pipit - 6 north
Twite - 13

'Fall' of 5 Chiffchaffs Thrushgill, but no sign of yesterdays pale redpoll which was probably a very pale Mealy, but unfortunately avoided capture/scrutiny.  Big clear-out of migrant finches here in the afternoon (52 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Mealy Redpoll and 4 Lesser Redpoll with other people's rings on were caught yesterday in an old 18 foot Bridport net which was just about sheltered enough!)

Friday, 1 April 2011

Early morning bits on the sea

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall 0735-0835
Little Gull - gang of 5 adults blogging, then gradually moved towards the windfarm
Pochard - 2 males 'in' - very unusual here!
Pintail - pair 'out'
Red-breasted Merganser - flock of 5 out
Red-throated Diver - 2+4 out, last group very high, one 'in'
Linnet - 3
Meadow Pipit - 2 grounded

Twite - 6 (1 unringed)
Linnet - 3 with  twite.

Ocean Edge/outfalls 0840-0855
Common Gull - 43
Black-headed Gull - 75
Meadow Pipit - 16 grounded
Wheatear - just one

Middleton NR
Little Ringed Plover - male on newly scarified area model boat pond, then flew towards sewage wotks

Grey Seal off north harbour wall