Sunday, 31 July 2011

More Greenfinch pile through

Heysham Obs
The unexpected phenomenon last back end of July - the significant Greenfinch influx/passage - is happening again.  A few sunflower heart feeders were put up at the office net site about a week ago and 85 Greenfinch have been caught in two sessions in the last three days.  This morning was also not without its new warbler arrivals although my arrival after emptying loaded moth traps elsewhere (0930) was hardly "standard obs coverage" for migrant passerines

Office area
In addition to the Greenfinch, the following new birds were caught in a short session: 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, one Robin, one Goldfinch & one Dunnock
Swift - 4 south together

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Tide far too high and there were several teenage girls on the remains of Red Nab - they seemed to be texting or tweeting the fleeing Oystercatchers
Med Gull - adult sat on the sea

So endeth a July which was perhaps the best ever for warbler passage/ringing - a fair proportion of the 600 or so birds ringed during the month were warblers with Grasshopper Warbler and Whitethroat notably productive but, as posted on other ringers blogs, a fair proportion of the Willow warblers were moulting adults with juveniles relatively scarce.  So far, therefore, mixed messages re-the breeding season for 'open' nests, with the Grasshopper Warbler success perhaps rather surprising for those of us experiencing the rain and windswept habitat during late May/June

Quite a lot, but no 'show-stoppers' to rival the SD66 mega, Athrips mouffetella, gracing my home trap!   Writing this post after one of the worst (and truncated) sheet and light nights I've had in "promising weather".  It was very hard to find anything amongst 150 Antler, 200 Large Y Underwing and c100 'grass moths'.................and several hundred midges.  Plenty of Catoptria margaritella around at the moment and seemingly spreading to lowland sites, as the moorland stuff often does in years of abundance and winds which are vaguely easterly

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Early start for the Sedge warblers...and a new moth

Heysham Obs
Anyone who rose at a sensible hour this morning would find it hard to believe that my hands were almost too cold to ring birds after setting the nets at Middleton at 0500hrs in a very heavy dew.  You have to be ridiculously early to monitor wetland warbler species at this time of year as they can soon melt away once the sun has popped its head over the horizon.  However, you usually get a bit of secondary movement of the likes of Whitethroat out of the drier vegetation surrounding the site.............and sometimes tit flocks, but the latter have been conspicuously absent this autumn.  A few Swallows were caught and these provided good extraction practice for a trainee ringer

A very "average" morning by recent high standards with the sun and a bit of a breeze soon curtailing activities

Middleton NR
Green Woodpecker - one seen and heard
Kestrel - 3
Swift - 2 south
Ringing:  Grasshopper Warbler (2), Sedge Warbler (7), Whitethroat (4), Reed Warbler (2), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Reed Bunting (1), Goldfinch (4), Blackbird (3), Willow Warbler (6), Blackcap (1), Dunnock (1), Chaffinch (2), Blue Tit (2), Swallow (19), plus 13 retraps which included a Great Tit ringed as a 2011 nestling on nearby Heysham NR

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - adult
Little Gull - adult summer
Whimbrel - 3
Missed most of the gulls as the tide was well-in

This thing was the belated highlight of the morning - identified from the Hey Nat Res office trap catch by John Girdley as Agonopterix angelicella, new for SD45 and one of very few records in VC60.  Thanks John

Otherwise, nothing dramatic, although that 'urban' species, Marbled Beauty, is not common here

Friday, 29 July 2011

A trickle of birds whilst working?

Heysham Obs
The nets next to the office were set today to monitor any movement during a vaguely promising cloudy morning with a north-east wind and a slight shower/fret soon after dawn........and also get on with some work. The net rounds were predicted to consist of a trickle of migrants and perhaps a few Greenfinches on the sunflower hearts, ideal for multitasking with work

Office area 0630-mid-afternoon
The first round of the mist nets produced 42 birds, a mixture of migrants and finches attending the feeder - a quiet 'trickle' indeed!  The ringing continued to be productive with two pulses of migrants - early on and around lunchtime - the latter is supposed to be the classic west coast rarity time-slot, but it is a bit early in the autumn and we had to make do with two 'out of habitat' Reed Warbler

Ringing by the Heysham Nature Reserve office:  Greenfinch (57), Goldfinch (3), Chaffinch (8), Linnet (3), Blue Tit (4), Great Tit (1), Long-tailed Tit (2), Chiffchaff (2), Willow Warbler (4), Common Whitethroat (5), Reed Warbler (2), Sedge Warbler (1), Blackcap (2), Dunnock (1), Robin (1), Swallow (1), Wren (1), plus just FOUR retraps.  All but two of the Greenfinches were this year's young, indicating excellent local productivity.  It was also quite windy for the first two hours and many birds were missed due to the higher shelves being a bit obvious

Coal Tit - dispersing juvenile flew through (do not breed in immediate vicinity)  

Absolutely no chance of checking the morning tide!

Highlighted by Bordered Beauty and Dingy Footman with a Bedstraw Hawk-Moth just up the road at Betty and John Holding's trap on Heysham road about 50 metres outside the recording area in SD46B! (didnt have time to see that either!)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Old Lady of Middleton NR

Heysham Obs
Outfalls/Red Nab/Middleton foreshore
Med Gull - 4-5 adult, one 3CY, 3 of the adults miles away on the tideline opposite Potts Corner (seen in flight when the flock was flushed)
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh channel
Sandwich Tern - separate adults (2) & juvenile scattered amongst the Black-h Gulls

An Old Lady came to light on Middleton NR last night during a sheet and light session (thanks John).  There was something vaguely interesting in the trap but cant remember what it was.  All will be revealed tomorrow.

Humming-bird Hawk Moth YESTERDAY by the reserve car park

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mixed bag of odds and ends

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Sandwich tern - 4, including begging juvenile
Med Gull - just one adult

Middleton NR
Another reasonable 60ish birds ringing session but very different to yesterday with the theme being Swallows plus a few wanderers from nearby scrub/woodland and warblers were in short supply compared to yesterday: ['new' birds comprised: 4 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Wren, 1 Treecreeper, 3 Blue Tit, 1 Robin, 3 Chaffinch, 1 Bullfinch, 23 Swallow]
Treecreeper - one ringed
Green Woodpecker - one - first for a bit
House Sparrow - two briefly in the western marsh
Garden Warbler - juvenile caught (do not breed locally)
Grasshopper Warbler - unringed adult and juvenile caught
Swift - 14 south
Meadow Pipit - 5 south (very early!)
House Martin - 7 south(ish)
Swallow - c50 seen & about 18 ringed
Reed Warbler - two unringed adults were a bit of a surprise, plus a retrap female with a large brood patch (4-5 breeding pairs here)

Six-striped Rustic & Drinker were new for the year with Grass Emerald the highlight

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Nicely-placed cloud cover

Heysham Obs
A nice layer of cloud to the east covered the sun up for lengthy period of the Middleton CES, bringing into play the best of the mist nets, the sun-prone Net 3.  An interesting morning with an early flurry of especially Grasshopper Warblers, then it seemed to die a bit of a death until a light rain shower at 0735hrs seemed to trigger quite a lot of activity

Middleton CES
Swift - 11 south
Common Sandpiper - one south
Grasshopper Warbler - 6 singing males still, two unringed adult female, 3 unringed juveniles and one very recent nest departee (a 1J in ringer's terms)
Lesser Whitethroat - 6 ringed - a high number for here

Newly-ringed birds this morning comprised:  6 Grasshopper Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Robin, 9 Common Whitethroat, 10 Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Bullfinch,  4 Goldfinch, 10 Swallow, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Greenfinch, 2 Dunnock, 2 Blackbird and a single Great Tit.  There were just 10 retraps, mainly Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Blue Tit

An early Copper Underwing plus Barred Rivulet and Bordered Beauty were the stars of a smallish show

22 Gatekeeper but 'only' 21 Meadow Brown on a walk round the reserve - how times have changed!

Redshank meet rust bucket and a couple of baby Whitethroat from this morning.  Thanks Janet

Monday, 25 July 2011

Purple amongst Early (Thorns, that is)

Heysham Obs
Little evidence of any migration through the site this morning with CES and supplementary nets set at Heysham NR.  A pair of 'new' adult Bullfinch were a surprise as was a visit from a noisy House Sparrow which narrowly failed to become the second ringed here this millenium!

No shore coverage today
A very varied list (of around 30 species) this morning, although not large numbers of any one species, included a Purple Thorn with 3 Early Thorns.  Although not particularly rare elsewhere, this is a first for the Heysham Hut trap.  White-line Dart was also notable

Sunday, 24 July 2011

useless nice day with a northwesterly breeze

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge late afternoon
Med Gull - 2 x Ad, 1 x 3CY


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Dunno...but possibly a Robin

Heysham Obs
A well-deserved lie-in after last night's moth-trapping on Carnforth Slag Tips which turned into a virtually mothless puffball/horse & field mushroom-picking session.  If only a small area of this could be fenced off from the rampaging woolly maggots, we could see some interesting vegetation, possibly followed by some good coastal moth species.  At the moment it is too overgrazed and nitrogen-rich. 

Most of the day was spent in Heysham NR office sorting out the 2010 county ringing report - this takes ages these days for a very good and welcome reason - all the 'read in field' sightings from various birders with an assortment of videograbs and digiscopings at their disposal.  Thanks very much for these and please keep them coming

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - two adults in wing moult, along with a single juvenile

The moth-trap check saw a rotund brown thing disappearing out of the window which was 'probably a Dunnock but might have been a Robin'. The behaviour seems a bit 'brave' for a Dunnock.  Acleris hastiana was the highlight with Dotted Clay taking over pole position (just) from Straw Underwing

Friday, 22 July 2011

Little reward, lot of effort

Heysham Obs
Mist-netting at Middleton and Heysham
Rogue shower(s) seriously affected play at Middleton this morning whilst amazingly avoiding Heysham NR.  Very little around with the 'highlights' being an out of habitat juv Reed Warbler by Heysham NR office and a smattering of both Whitethroat species.  Willow Warblers were conspicuous by their absence at both sites

No time to look at the sea. 

Mothing was a disaster with the HNR moth trap bulb giving up the ghost during the night...........and missing out on a new moth species having "farmed out" my usual trap check at Millhouses in favour of an early start at Heysham - the first VC60 Beautiful HOOK TIP (not Snout as originally posted)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A smattering of moth migration and Sedge warbler schottische

Heysham Obs
An early(ish) morning start at Middleton where the fare was fairly routine; quite a few Sedge Warblers first thing, suggesting a 0430hrs start would have been better (!), followed by a slow trickle of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler and a smattering of southbound Swift.  The largest catch occurred in the net where a MP3 player (not mine!) mysteriously started playing Scottish Dance music, interspersed with a voice which seemed to be from Pink Floyd's 'small furry animals grooving together with a pict'.   I wonder if this indicated the origin of the Sedge Warblers...........

It was not possible to check the moth trap until mid-morning and this revealed a sudden influx of 6 Silver Y to accompany Scarce Bordered Straw & Rusty Dot Pearl in a trap at nearby Sunderland

Middleton NR
Sedge Warbler - c20 first thing (8 new ones ringed)
Whitethroat - 5 new ones ringed
Reed Warbler - one new juv ringed & no obvious evidence of any adults still around
Willow Warbler - just 4 ringed
Swift - 18 south
Grasshopper Warbler - still four singing males first thing - one western marsh, one on the slope, one towards Solrec and one in the central marsh. 

Outfalls/Red Nab
just two adult Meds on the early stages of the incoming tide

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A butterfly on the buddliea at last!

Heysham Obs
The office buddlieas had been flowering in vain until today - a really dire situation which looks particularly ominous for the autumnal emergence of    Peacock.  One Red Admiral appeared today...............although I am sure they are a hive of moth activity at night

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
A bit late on the incoming tide today and some of the birds had been flushed from Red Nab
Med Gull - 2 juvs, 2 ads, one 3CY
Little Gull - 2CY Heysham 2 outfall
Whimbrel - 3

Didnt get to check until 1145hrs and it was very noctuid-dominated, suggesting much of the flighty stuff had departed. One Blackneck, one Plain Golden Y (both Golden Ys are rare here) and two Pediasia aridella the highlights with 30 Straw Underwing topping the bill

Common Shrew - 1 dead on path below Princess Alex. Way. Used to be frequently reported around reserve but infrequently noted in last couple of years.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Migration morning in the mist and cloud... and a new plume

Heysham Obs
Yet another new plume moth for Heysham NR with a name more like a dinosaur:  Hellinsia osteodactylus (thanks John)

Bit of an early calorie burner this morning with a rather birdless and windier-than-forecast (what a surprise!) session at Middleton being terminated in favour of an obvious landfall of Whitethroat and Willow warbler around Heysham office............also enabling the multitask of work, moth trap check and ringing

Middleton NR 0600-0730
Green Sandpiper - first of the autumn flushed from the central marsh
Grasshopper Warbler - juvenile ringed (26th of the year)

Heysham office area
Whitethroat - at least 15, including two in the buddleia under the moth trap
Willow Warbler - 5-10
Lesser Whitethroat - 2+
Sedge Warbler - adult ringed ('out of habitat') by the office
A young Dunnock discovers chain-link fencing (thanks Janet)
Outfalls/Red Nab
More arrivals:
Med Gull - 3 x juv, 2-3 x ad, 3CY
Little Gull - 2CY & adult summer
Whimbrel - 6

Oops!  Cant be everywhere at once - yesterdays posting from walney
19th July 2011 – overcast WNW2/3/4OffshoreEarly morning observations (0600-0800) were led by 2 Pomarine Skua, 2 Arctic Skua and a Great Skua all moving out of Morecambe Bay

Moth trap
Biggest catch of the year with a few oddities and firsts for the year.  Four more Pediasia aridella were found along with an unseasonal Common Emerald and 'routine' year ticks such as T. advenella, Least Yellow Underwing, Dun-bar, Cloaked Minor, Bordered Beauty.  Notable for its obscurity was Metzneria lappella.  5 Dingy Footman was a record catch for here

Cinnabar larvae near Ocean Edge - this species has been scarce in the moth trap with removal of some of the ragwort in that area necessary so the hay in the surrounding grassland can be baled as 'uncontaminated' (thanks Janet)

Monday, 18 July 2011

Foreshore Fare

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab at high tide, then walk to wooden jetty post-tide
Med Gull - 3-4 adults, one 3CY, one (unringed) juv.  One of the adults appeared to be metal-ringed above the tarsus as per returning Czech bird
Redshank - 191 OE saltmarsh
Greenshank - one adult with above
Turnstone - 2 OE saltmarsh
Whimbrel - one OE saltmarsh

Moth trap
Not too bad as on the lee side of the building with a rather unseasonal Herald the highlight and Straw Underwing, as usual this time of year, the only spceies in double-figures.  No weak-flying species other than single Agriphila tristella and C. culmella

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Decent stormy weather

Heysham Obs
If its going to be grotty at this time of year, its usually more productive when it goes the whole hog.  Two very different highlights today, both probably a result of the onshore winds and rough sea.  These were a single Storm Petrel and an unprecedented four Pediasia aridella in the moth trap.  P. aridella is a salt-marsh pyralid and cannot possibly have liked being covered by a rough sea/high night tide, so did they disperse as a result? 

North harbour wall 1130-1210ish
Manx Shearwater - 3 together out on th edge of the low cloud
Storm Petrel - one by No 7 buoy jst after the IOM ferry arrived, then the weather closed in & it was lost
anglers blocking the road - one car-full

Ocean Edge/Red Nab pre-tide
Med Gull - 4 x adult, 1 x 3CY
Whimbrel - 3
Arctic Tern - one adult

Highlighted by 4 Pediasia aridella, some distance from the nearest saltmarsh with previous records here being just the occasional singleton.  Also new for the year/of note were: Eucosma campoliliana, Common Rustic (agg), Southern Wainscot and the iconic Lesser Yellow Underwing

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Humdrum WeBS

Heysham Obs
High tide WeBS
Too high for any birds with just seagulls, Oystercatcher and Cormorant above low single-figures.  Enjoyable if you like looking at moulting 2CY argenteus Herring Gulls.

Count within the recording area
Oystercatcher (655 heliport seawall, 4 Red Nab), Black-headed Gull (17 harbour area, 5 Red Nab), Lesser Black-backed Gull (108 in total), Herring Gull (61 in total), Great Blac-backed Gull (3 in total), Cormorant (11 wooden jetty), Redshank (one wooden jetty), Lapwing (one Ocean Edge saltmarsh), Ringed Plover (one Ocean Edge foreshore).  Everything else had been pushed out of sight towards Middleton/Lune Estuary, presumably including a 'wadge' of Meds. 

Here endeth the ultimate 'non-posting'!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Insect day and a few ringing recoveries

Heysham Obs
Ringing recoveries
The two 'vis mig' Lesser Redpolls bearing rings from elsewhere were next to each other in the net, but had very different ring numbers and were not surprisingly from completely separate locations.  A wadge of Twite were from the 'usual' stop-off site at the feeder at Machrihanish Seabird Observatory on the Mull of Kintyre.


L445310 5F 21.01.11 Heysham
Controlled 4F 15.04.11 Machrihanish Seabird Observatory (Argyll & Bute) 239km

R687796 6F 24.03.09 Heysham
Controlled 4F 15.04.11 Machrihanish Seabird Observatory (Argyll & Bute) 239 km

V240449 3F 25.10.10 Heysham
Controlled 4F 16.04.10 Machrihanish Seabird Observatory (Argyll & Bute) 239 km

V240496 3F 07.11.10 Heysham
Controlled 4F 15.04.11 Machrihanish Seabird Observatory (Argyll & Bute) 239 km

Lesser Redpoll
X948530 5F 17.03.11 Warsop (Nottingham)
Controlled 5 09.04.11 Heysham 148 km

X546179 3M 16.10.10 Orfordness (Suffolk)
Controlled 5 09.04.11 Heysham 370 km

The HNR butterfly census saw 28 Gatekeeper but no sign of any Grayling.

The moth trap was productive species-wise if not numbers with the following highlights:  single Garden Tiger, Toadflax Pug, Dingy Footman, Beautiful Golden Y (very rare here), Agriphila geniculea and two of the migrant pyralid Rusty Dot Pearl

Thursday, 14 July 2011

New morning, new birds

Heysham Obs
The sleep (or lack of) pattern established and the final day of decent weather prompted another early morning session at Middleton NR.  Three interesting casual sightings!

Middleton NR
Not as many Willow Warbler on the move this morning and 'only' one new Grasshopper Warbler ringed.  However, far more Whitethroat than yesterday with 7 ringed and the first two young Reed Warbler of the year appeared.  Unusual for this site was a recently-fledged Bullfinch along with perhaps surprisingly unringed parents.  Totals of newly-ringed birds comprised:  Bullfinch (3), Reed Bunting (2), Reed Warbler (2), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Great Tit (2), Whitethroat (7), Sedge Warbler (4), Willow Warbler (4), Long-tailed Tit (3), Blue Tit (1), Blackbird (1), Blackcap (2), Grasshopper Warbler (1)

Tree Sparrow - one landed briefly then headed inland (not sure where it came from!)_
Skylark - on flew very high to the north - bizarre in July!
Kingfisher - one on the fence pond briefly

No time for any coastal birding today

P coronata new for the year. 
A couple of pics from Middleton (thanks Janet)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The summer migrants appear to be leaving earlier than usual

Heysham Obs
Arrival for the Middleton and Heysham CES's was greeted by 'hooet' calls from Willow warblers on the move, rather like a calm morning in early August, not mid-July.  Unfortunately the north-north-easterly then freshened (very mixed bag of forecasts as to how strong it was going to be this far north and west) and combined with the unrelenting sun to impair both ringing sessions

Middleton & Heysham CES
The most notable features at Middleton, apart from the Willow Warblers tricking through, was an obvious exodus of Common Whitethroat where the only one caught was a surprise - ringed as an adult on 4th September 2007 - and a marked reduction in the number of Sedge and Reed Warblers.  Indeed, the latter species does not appear to have done well, despite a record number of singing males, with not a single juvenile to date.  In contrast, Grasshopper Warblers are having a perhaps surprisingly good year, giving the hammering from the weather their nest sites must have had.  Four more were caught this morning and last year's record ringing total almost reached (24 ringed so far & one returning male from last year).  The Heysham NR CES also revealed a small passage of Willow Warbler

Red Nab high tide
Oystercatcher 557, Redshank a surprising 128, Curlew down to 31, Black-headed Gull 240 and Med Gull 2 adults

Heysham Link Road
Barn Owl - 1 seen  05.00 to east of road approx opposite radio mast.

White Satin the best of a small catch.  First Udea lutealis of the year seen in the field and a hairy caterpillar agg. which, so far, is not proving easy to identify.  Thanks for todays and yesterdays pics Janet:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Where did the LRPs nest?!

Heysham Obs
A family party of four LRPS appeared on the model boat pond in the late afternoon - there is plenty of grotty industrial wasteland in the area, especially noting records earlier in the spring of at least a male visiting the model boat pond

Red Nab
Med Gull - 2 x adult and 1 x 3CY

Some decent numbers of butterflies including:

Monday, 11 July 2011

More Meds and moths

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Curlew - 117
Whimbrel - 1
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x juv

A slightly disappointing catch highlighted by Meal Moth with Dingy Footman and White Satin the best of the rest.................unless an obscure minute thing is new to science!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Blackneck invasion continues apace

Heysham Obs
Middleton NR
A one-ringer effort at Middleton today with two nets on both sides of the road included the following new birds:  Sedge Warbler (10), Reed Warbler (1), Willow Warbler (6), Grasshopper Warbler (3), Whitethroat (3)

Moth trap
3 Blackneck this morning and a good variety of species without any major highlights 

Saturday 9th July

Heysham Obs
Sorry for the late posting

At least one Med Gull, a juvenile, still off Red Nab in very poor light conditions

The moth trap held Dingy Footman, Straw Underwing which were new for the year, also White Satin, Blackneck, and the plume S. zophodactyla

Friday, 8 July 2011

More autumnal firsts

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - First 2 juveniles of the autumn (both unringed on at least 3/4 of the legs!), adult and 3CY
Whimbrel- one

A poor catch saw Dotted Clay and second brood Early Thorn open their accounts

There have been a few migrant moths in the last few days, mainly Silver Y, but also including a Small Mottled Willow (the dreaded 'Beet Army Worm') in my home trap at High Tatham.  Also an influx of Red Admiral butterflies and one or two Painted Lady and Humming-bird Hawk Moth, including one on the NE periphery of the Obs recording area in a garden adjoining Heysham Moss.  Thanks for the pic Janet

Thursday, 7 July 2011

'Back of a lorry' or a great leap westwards?

Heysham Obs
The colonisation of north Lancashire by Ringlet has been accompanied by all sorts of 'intrigue', notably the source of the Gaitbarrows individuals.  Conversely, there have definitely been 'proper ones' marching along the Aire/Wenning gap to places like Thrushgill for the last five years or so

So where does yesterdays sighting of Ringlet by the Middleton model boat pond fit into this?  In this respect, Small Skipper was originally seen next to the Heysham lorry park way (80's/early 90's?? - data not to hand) before any 'corridors' linking the record to other spreading populations.   Hopefully there will be others..............

Ocean Edge/outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 2 adults, one 2CY and the 3CY which appears to have about 5 old black-tipped primaries left to moult
Whimbrel - one

Brian Carlyle

Received the sad news today that Brian died last Saturday.  Brian has helped on several occasions on the reserve, notably conservation work and butterfly transects along the landscape strip.  He also acted as the lichen recorder for North Lancs Naturalists and he will be greatly missed

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

From rarity to routine in twelve months

Heysham Obs
The moth trap was pretty busy with a further TWO Blackneck the highlight.  Others included Small Dusty Wave, Small Clouded Brindle and perhaps the first time that Spectacle and Dark Spectacle have occurred here on the same night.  Antler and Rustic opened their account.  Migrants comprised two Silver Y and a Diamond-back Moth

Birds will be posted tomorrow (quick check of the outfalls before heading south)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Autumnal sandwiches

Heysham Obs
High tide check Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Sandwich tern - two roosting on OE saltmarsh
Med Gull - ad roosting OE saltmarsh
Whimbrel - one Red Nab
Common Sandpiper - one Red Nab
Sand Martin - one south

HN Reserve power walk
Reed Warbler - singing male by pagoda
Silver Y - one

Monday, 4 July 2011

Are you sure its only the 4th July..........

Heysham Obs
A perusal of the weather coming up, work committments and not the least being in an 'early rise' sleep pattern led to another session at Middleton NR this morning.  I was hoping for a few new birds amongst retraps from the previous two days.  The result was almost unbelievable for this early in the 'autumn' with the singing male Grasshopper Warbler nearest to the CES nets being the only capture which had also been caught/ringed during the previous two days

The statistics revealed that 52 new birds were ringed and other captures comprised the above retrap Grasshopper Warbler, a juvenile Blue Tit ringed in mid-June and a moulting adult Willow Warbler ringed last year.  The other feature was that, despite the ringing base being between the two sets of nets, only three same-day retraps were found.  Therefore birds were on the move, with Whitethroat being the most notable.  Therefore any ringer who is worried about 'overworking' a site because it is too early for major passage had perhaps better read this!

Species composition (retraps in brackets):  Linnet 1, Goldfinch 1, Swallow 1, Great Tit 1, Blue Tit 3 (1), Grasshopper Warbler 5 (1), Reed Warbler 1, Sedge Warbler 8, Dunnock 1, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Willow Warbler 10 (1), Wren 1, Common Whitethroat 13, Chiffchaff 4, Blackcap 1, Reed Bunting 2

Another White Satin and 4 Double Dart the best of the moth trap catch which unfortunately couldn't be checked early on, & some escaped in the sunny weather

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Middleton CES

Heysham Obs
Early start this morning to make sure the nets were up before the sun inhibited any warbler movements.  A bit of a mixed bag with Grasshopper Warblers prominent, Sedge Warblers a little under par, no sign of any young (or indeed female) Reed Warbler, no young Reed Bunting and a handful of moulting adult and juvenile Willow Warblers

The following were caught (retraps in brackets) in the 3 hour slot with the four CES 18 metre nets:  Grasshopper Warbler 5 (1), Sedge Warbler 9 (3), Reed Warbler 4 (3), Common Whitethroat 5 (1), Willow Warbler 7 (1), Reed Bunting 2, Long-tailed Tit 1, Goldfinch 2, Blackcap 1.  In addition, a single supplementary 18m net set later in the proceedings for about 1.5 hours produced: Grasshopper Warbler 2, Goldfinch 1, Sedge Warbler 3, Dunnock 1, Willow warbler 1, Common Whitethroat (1).  Thanks for the help John.

White Satin and yet another Blackneck were the best of a reasonable catch 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Mostly baby bird-ringing

Heysham Obs
Non-CES sites next to the office and the western marsh at Middleton were covered this morning with a reasonable selection of birds caught and ringed, given the fact it was sunny and not quite calm

Miscellaneous sightings
Swift - c15 south over the HN reserve
Siskin - one heard at HNR, seemed to be heading south

Low-key multitasking at HNR office with 5 Common Whitethroat, a juvenile Blackcap, a moulting Willow Warbler, a Dunnock and a Swallow ringed and an adult Willow warbler & Blackbird retrapped.  More effort at Middleton western marsh saw a male Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Willow Warbler (2 adult), 9 juvenile Sedge Warbler, 2 Common Whitethroat, one Dunnock, one Blackbird, one Lesser Whitethroat.  Retraps comprised 2 Whitethroat, 7 Sedge Warbler and a Willow Warbler

Scalloped Oak new for the year 

Friday, 1 July 2011

Hosting the BTO Business Challenge awards ceremony

Heysham Obs
Several walks round the reserve in between and especially after the more formal events in the marquee by a really nice group of people involved in conservation work and other environmental initiatives at various sites throughout the country.  Thank you all for your company on a day when the weather was very kind.  We even had a short visit from the local MP, without his former sidekick David Hasselhoff

Coal Tit - singing male was a surprise
Small Skipper - c10
Comma - 2
Red Admiral - 2

Moth trap
The "star" on a poor night was Udea prunalis