Wednesday 31 August 2011

The last of the flat calm mornings for a bit?

Heysham Obs
Excellent ringing conditions this morning but bits and bobs rather than masses of birds.  For example, the 'ticking Robinometer', a good indication of any action on past form, was registering zilch at Heysham NR office at dawn - the bushes were silent

80 new birds included a smattering of warbler species: 2 Sedge, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 8 Willow and 2 Blackcap.  Also ringed were 2 Grey Wagtail, 30 Greenfinch (over 300 in a month!) and 5 Robins, all of these appearing mid-morning when some dark clouds materialised

Vis Mig
Swallow - 54 SE
Tree Sparrow - 2 SE
Grey Wagtail - c7 SE
Meadow Pipit - just 4 SE (no Tree Pipit)
Carrion Crow - 4 east

A pretty decent catch included Toadflax Pug, Frosted Orange, Copper Underwing, a late Bordered Beauty and 17 Treble Bar

Tuesday 30 August 2011

The north-westerly fails to slacken

Heysham Obs
I used to look forward to fresh-strong north-westerlies whilst pioneering Ramore Head in the early 1970s with Dave Melville and Liz & Steve Harris, but they are absolutely useless for Morecambe Bay.

Heysham Office
A short ringing session before the wind reached twice the forecasted strength included a Whitethroat and Willow Warbler

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Med Gull - 5 juv/1st W, 4 adult and single 2CY
Little Gull - 2CY and ad
Good numbers of waders reported - all rather distantly along the tideline to the south, including Bar-tailed Godwit

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing highlighted a surprisngly good catch

Monday 29 August 2011

Another Medfest

Heysham Obs
Decent coverage of the outfalls area by Mark and John saw a decent count of Med Gulls

Outfalls/Red Nab early incoming tide
Med Gull - 7 adult (including German-ringed AHTJ), 7 juv/1st W, 1 2CY, 1 3CY
Little Gull - adult and 2CY
Sandwich Tern - 1

Half Moon Bay
Wheatears - 2

Not a lot with nothing more exciting than Garden Rose Tortrix!

Sunday 28 August 2011

Seagull day

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Outfalls/cursory glance at the sea
Med Gull - at least 9 possibly 10 juv/1st W, 4 adult and 2 3CY.  Note how scarce 2CY Meds have been this autumn - we are well aware of the pitfalls of misageing due to misreading the moult!
Little Gull - 2CY and Ad
Kittiwake - 2 in the region of the incoming IOM ferry
Gannet - 2 out at 1100hrs
No terns

Early afternoon - Just after high water
Wheatear - 2
Kittiwake - 1 juvenile
Half Moon Bay
Wheatear - 2

Highlighted by a brown-tailed female Yellow-tail!  Also V Pug, Acleris emargana, Rhomboid Tortrix

Saturday 27 August 2011

Too dismissive of this morning?

Heysham Obs
North-westerly winds mean lie-ins, checking moth traps and getting on with "paperwork".  However, this early morning was initially not windy, possessed a heavy cloud & shower or two and should have been 'given the works', especially with all the big grey warblers, which turn up in light north-westerlies, dotted all over the northern isles

Ocean Edge/outfalls area
Sandwich Tern - 3
Med Gull - 3 juv/1CY and at least 2 adult-types
Wheatear - 2
Little Gull - ad & 2CY

Half Moon Bay - Early evening
Wheatears - 4
Tawny-speckled Pug (or 3/4 of one - missing a hindwing) was the third of the autumn - a minor revival for what is now a scarce moth.  Also the first Grey Chi of the autumn.  A pristine Clay was unexpected (and double-checked!) and there was another Agriphila geniculea

Friday 26 August 2011

Nice morning of routine migrants

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Black Redstart - seen first thing but not sure about later on
Wheatear - 6
Shag - one reported on pager!

Heysham & Middleton ringing
Steadyish with 78 new birds and the following 'new' migrants:  Blackcap (4), Lesser Whitethroat (4), Willow Warbler (13), Whitethroat (7), Tree Pipit (1), Chiffchaff (2), Sedge Warbler (just one).  Robin (2) and Dunnock (3) were at least 'dispersing'.  'New' finches included Greenfinch (11) and Goldfinch (10)
There was obviously a small fall of Willow Warbler as these have been in short supply over the last few days

Vis mig
Swallow 200 from 0915hrs - 1015hrs over Middleton Ind Est
House Martin 25 in the same time period
Tree Pipit - 2 (in addition to one caught)
Grey Wagtail - just 2 heard plus one over Middleton IE
Pied Wagtail - 1 over Middleton plus 12 grounded at Ocean Edge and at least 7 on the North Harbour Wall
Sand Martin - one south NHW between 0900 and 0945

Outfalls/Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - 21 (split between Red Nab and the gull flock south of OE)
Med Gull - 3 juv/1CY Red Nab and 4 distant ad/3CY in the above gull flock
Little Gull - ad & 2CY
Grey Plover - 375 in with mixed flock of 310 Knot and 240 Bar-tailed Godwit but birds mobile
Wheatear - 2 at Red Nab plus 5 along the North Harbour Wall
Linnet flock of 50 at Ocean Edge may be part of the 70 seen on Middleton IE

Thursday 25 August 2011

Black Redstart and a Wall

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall

Thanks for these Janet

A 1st S male Black Redstart along the north harbour wall near the Centrica storage yard from 0930ish. 

Also seen in the early afternoon and showed well in the region of the Twite feeder.  Prior to this it was singing from the top of the nearby 'tank' favoured by the winter Twite flock. It then reappeared late afternoon (see pics)

Its presence inspired a wander around the back of the old sandworks and, whilst admiring the wealth of pioneering vegetation, which will surely include some sand-dune specialists in the near future if it is left, a Wall Brown flitted past - the first that I am aware of in the Heysham area this year and a major rarity in the mainly maritime SD36!

Wheatear - one

Ocean Edge/Red Nab after the tide
Gulls too far offshore in heat haze
Sandwich Tern - 8
Wheatear - 2

Heysham NR office area
A ringing session in rather too sunny conditions saw 30 'new' Greenfinch (where do they all come from!) and only one retrap, 2 Whitethroat (& at least 3 others around), one Lesser Whitethroat, one Coal Tit and a handful of Goldfinch and Blue Tit

Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
No other obvious vis this morning

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Vis mig trickle but few grounded birds

Heysham Obs
Decent number of Tree Pipit by our standards this morning but little else other than an individual of our 'rarest common wader', Golden Plover, overhead

Wheatear - 1 by Helipad late morning.

Middleton NR 0600-0930
Tree Pipit - 7, mainly SE, but one on NE to SW heading
Golden Plover - one south
House Martin - flock of 7 south
Swallow - 35 SE after 40-50 lifted out of roost in the western marsh reedbed
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Reed Bunting - 3 lifted off and headed SE soon after dawn, 2 further singletons SE
Chaffinch - 3+2+2 high to south
Hardly anything grounded with unringed summer migrants in the CES nets comprising one Sedge Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap, but it was a bit too sunny for catching birds at this site (plenty of cloud, but in the wrong place!)

Most of the Sedge Warblers have left Middleton although you sometimes get small arrivals of presumed Scottish migrants in early September (and there are still plenty at Leighton Moss).  Thanks Janet

Ocean Edge/outfalls at low tide
Med Gull - juvenile

Summer migrants ringed comprised 2 Blackcap and a Chiffchaff

Half Moon Bay 8pm
Wheatear 1

A few decent bits and bobs including Rhomboid Tortrix and a couple of V-Pugs

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Should have been here earlier?

Heysham Obs
Nice weather synopsis this morning with a light easterly wind and cloud cover.  Simultaneous arrival by two observers at 0900hrs led to a bit of coverage and a scattering of migrants

Heysham NR office & area
Two nets were erected and kept under constant observation in case the cat materialised.  This involved setting up a temporary ringing station.  A decent variety with 6 species of warbler caught, but no great numbers.  Ringing: 4 Whitethroat, single Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, 13 Greenfinch, 2 Blue Tit.  Retraps included two Blackcap.  No sign of cat or alarm-calling suggesting it was around

There were quite a few 'ticking' Robins around and the one trapped was 'migrant weight' at 15.5grms

A Reed Warbler was seen by the dipping pond

Red Nab/Ocean Edge at low tide
Med Gull - 2 x adult and one x juv
Little Gull - adult

Evening (6:30 - 7:30pm)
Three sites checked for Wheatears:
Heliport = 3
Half Moon Bay foreshore = 9
Heysham Head foreshore = 0 (lots of visitors about)
One adult male. rest female/juvenile (MD)

A bit more exciting with an Old Lady, the first autumnal Treble Bars, Canary-shouldered Thorn and Tawny-speckled Pug

Monday 22 August 2011

Hobby whizzes through

Heysham Obs
A fair-weather session at Middleton seemed to hold the possibility of a little bit of vis mig and maybe an opportunity to ring some Tree Pipits.  In the event, there were no Tree Pipits, Grey Wagtails or any of the conventional 'clear sky & getting near end of August' vis other than a few Swallows and two Meadow Pipit.  Instead, the 'vis' was unexpectedly highlighted by Tree Sparrow and Hobby.  There were also more grounded warbler species that might reasonably have been expected, so it wasnt a bad morning

Middleton NR 0545-1100hrs
Hobby - one had a dart at a flock of Linnet/Goldfinch before heading SE.  Not possible to age it on the views obtained
Tree Sparrow - 2 followed by 3 headed SE
Meadow Pipit - 2 together SE
Swallow - no more than 10 SE
Chaffinch - flock of 3 SSE
Grounded birds
Ringing produced the following new unringed birds: 6 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler and 2 each of Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff.  A few tits and finches were also caught, including another juvenile Bullfinch.  Getting on for 50 new birds, with retraps surprisingly including 3 Sedge Warblers which were thought to have long gone.

Its been a pretty decent year for warbler species at the Obs as shown by the ringing totals which are well above-average for here (in the case of Blackcap and Chiffchaff ...'for this early in (their later) autumn passage').  Havent got the exact figures to hand: Whitethroat (c130), Lesser Whitethroat (c45), Grasshopper Warbler (c44), Willow Warbler (c175), Blackcap (c70), Sedge Warbler (c160), Chiffchaff (c40), Reed Warbler (c20)

There was also a mixed flock of Linnet (c60), Goldfinch (c45) plus a few Greenfinch and Chaffinch 

An unexpectedly sizeable catch of mostly rubbish but including Agriphila latistria at one of its few known sites, the first Angle Shades of the autumn and a high total for here of 12 Sallow

Sunday 21 August 2011

Hordes of people, few birds

Heysham Obs
Lots of people on and around the beach today and the birds seemed to melt away apart from a reasonable collection on Red Nab

Red Nab
Little Gull - adult Red Nab
Med Gull - 1+ adult, 2 juvenile Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - 4 adult Red Nab
Wheatear - 1

Heysham NR
Meadow Pipit - 4 flew south in a small amount of time spent outside

No comment

Saturday 20 August 2011

China Marks, a Rusty Dot and reasonable coastal fare

Heysham Obs
A wander round the reserve to check for wasps nests prior to a moth trapping event this week (I've lost my best overnight moth trapping site at Millhouses due to excessive numbers of wasps from a nearby nest) included a quick look along the boardwalk.  The horsetails were full of fluttering white moths - a mass emergence of Small China Mark

Ocean Edge/Red Nab late incoming tide
Med Gull - slightly awkward viewing angle of the sleeping gulls saw 2 x 1CY, 1 x 3CY and 2 x adult, but it took four sweeps to pick them all up!
Little Gull - 2CY & Ad
Sandwich Tern - increase to 13
Common Gull - 2 adults
Redshank - 475
Whimbrel - 1
Knot - 6

Tideline off the old Pontins site
Grey Plover - 81, including several in full-summer plumage
Bar-tailed Godwit - 185, including 3 in full summer plumage

A migrant Rusty Dot Pearl was a bit of a surprise amongst the small catch of dross.  A worn Straw Underwing was late

Friday 19 August 2011


Heysham Obs
Despite a strongish NW wind at height (e.g. Caton Moor turbines), there was a pocket of calm air covering the lowland sites until rather later in the morning than forecasted (c0900hrs).   Middleton was covered with a few mist nets by Alan, but a bit of vis migging and early morning stuff at Heysham NR might have paid dividends

Middleton NR
Garden Warbler - one ringed - always a sign of 'some' movement here
The remainder of the catch included Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and both Whitethroat species, but Sedge Warbler limited to just one new bird

Outfalls/Red Nab late afternoon tide
Redshank - c480
Turnstone - 53
Med Gull - 3CY (legs not visible) & 1CY
Little Gull - ad
Sandwich Tern - 3 ads
Oystercatcher - 3,200

Another tedious catch, mainly counting Flounced Rustic and separating worn Six-striped Rustic from less-worn Square-spot Rustic.  6 Willow Beauty graced the walls and there was another Agriphila geniculea

Thursday 18 August 2011

Bumbus terrestris

Heysham Obs
A rather ignominious start to the Middleton CES with a dozy worker bumble bee unknowingly attaching itself to my rear. Then I sat down in the car......................... The accident book has been duly filled in. It was a worker Bombus terrestris. It was a strange CES - over half the birds were caught on the final round of the allotted time-period, the first time this has happened here. This undoubtedly reflects the absence of any overnighting local birds or off-passage migrants (also the impression yesterday afternoon when checking the m.n. rides) and a decent arrival of new migrants gradually filtering through to the site with their mobility "helped" by the presence of small tit flocks. Shame we could not cover the Heysham N. Reserve as well as it was a nice migrant synopsis and a short visit revealed yesterday's absentee, Willow warbler, 'hoeeting' from at least two places by the office

Middleton NR CES & supplementary nets from 0545hrs
Tree Pipit - 5 SE early morning plus one SE mid-morning
Grey Wagtail - first of the autumn SE
Swift - one SE
House Martin - 6 SE
Swallow - c35 SE
Linnet/Goldfinch - mixed flock of c70
Grasshopper Warbler - male singing in the western marsh first thing, adult trapped in the central marsh and retrap juvenile trapped in the western marsh
Sedge Warbler - all migrants - none first thing but 6 caught, including control Y223110
Whitethroat - 5 ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed
Willow Warbler - probably c15 around with 8 ringed
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Reed Warbler - 3 ringed

Ringing recovery
A Med Gull first seen here in 2009 was seen by Mike Baron on 14th August. The accompanying blurb from the Germans includes a fascinating account of the birds transferring from the original island, probably due to the presence of a raccoon dog and nesting on "eco-friendly" rooftops! See

Heligoland 5352010 & green darvic AHTJ
Ringed: Pionierinsel, Elbe Estuary, Hamburg, Germany: adult: 23/5/09
Seen: Preesall Sands, Knott End:          6/8-12/8/09
Seen: Heysham Power Station outfalls:   30/8 & 6/9/09
Seen:  Red Nab, Heysham:     14/8/11

Please note that the French-ringed bird seen on 3/8 was also a green darvic. Thanks for this, Mike

Marsh harrier
Juvenile south along the eastern boundary of the recording area (over the new waste centre roundabout) at 1320 (thanks Pete)

Heysham NR
Garden warbler - one seen (thanks to another Pete)

Unfortunately no known coverage of the shore today.  Anyone able to contradict this, please?

Unremarkable small catch; highlighted by Agriphila geniculea (perhaps something to do with 6.5 degrees C at 0515ish!)

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Autumnal ticking Robins and a Southern Hawker

Heysham Obs
Again a sign that the autumn may be two weeks or so ahead of itself with a small arrival of Robin, Chiffchaff and Blackcap along with a single Garden Warbler and Whitethroat.  Willow Warblers were conspicuous by their absence with just a single retrap encountered

Visiting by large groups
Whilst we can always facilitate small numbers of visitors as part of the usual public relations, it can be very tricky when a large group suddenly descends on you.  This was exacerbated this morning by LWT staff being occupied or elsewhere and the three (later four) volunteers fully occupied in a bird ringing programme.  The latter included a need to continuously watch over the nets set by the office as a precaution due to the recent presence of a cat.  This was over and above the usual paramount consideration for the welfare of the birds. 

Therefore any facilitation with the large group of Fylde Naturalists was inevitably sporadic and rather unsatisfactory, especially when the toilet facilities are very limited, as befits a non-public building and the visit included an 'out of the blue' request to look at the moth trap!   We apologise to Fylde Naturalists for any shortfall in attention to public relations detail, but emphasise this would have been sorted out much more satisfactorily if we had some form of prior notice of the visit.

Heysham NR
Tree Sparrow - at least one heard in the tank farm, but rather distant
House Sparrow - at least 6 around early on
Treecreeper - one ringed - most records are either in July or later in the autumn accompanying tit flocks
Garden Warbler - one ringed
Blackcap - 5 ringed
Chiffchaff - 3 ringed, others heard calling
Robin - just two ringed, but at least 5 ticking birds by the office as the nets were rather belated set
Whitethroat - just the one ringed/seen

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
All observations were a bit late in the tide cycle with just single adult Little Gull, single adult/3CY Med Gull and 2-3 Sandwich Tern seen

A Southern Hawker was seen by the Fylde Naturalists Group around the dog-walk pond - about the fifth record for here.  Agriphila geniculea topped a routine moth catch.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Coastal selection

Heysham Obs
Peter Golborn informed me that he had seen a distant Bonxie and a pale morph skua which appeared to be a Pomarine during a pre-lunch seawatch

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge late incoming tide
Common Tern - adult
Sandwich tern - adult
Little Gull - adult and 2CY
Med Gull - 4 x adult, 2 x 3CY and one x juvenile.  Many of the gulls were heading off towards Middleton when I got there

Very poor for waders c/p yesterday with just 2 Knot seen amongst the usual Redshank etc.

No Meds hanging around anglers along the north harbour wall as yet

Latish Least Yellow Underwing and Canary Shouldered Thorn the best of a small catch

Monday 15 August 2011

Late season Turnip and small wader influx

Heysham Obs
A Turnip Moth was a mild surprise in the moth trap - most are in early summer here.  Also a dark form of what seems to be White-line Dart.

Red Nab/Ocean Edge mid-morning
A pre-tide visit saw a few bits and bobs but no comprehensive check made
Med Gull - 2 juvs, 3 adults, 2 3CY
Little Gull - ad
Sandwich Tern - 3
Kittiwake - 2CY

Red Nab near high tide
Decent and rather unexpected arrival of good numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover plus a few Knot.  Will count tomorrow - here are some pics from Janet:

On Heysham NR, some moth spp. eggs found on a grass stem were in the process of hatching.  Thanks Janet:

Anyone any idea which species, please?

Sunday 14 August 2011

From routine to notable

Heysham Obs
Varied activities this morning included the Heysham NR CES & supplementary Greenfinch ringing, the moth trap and a check at Red Nab on the incoming tide.  The notable sighting was Tawny Speckled Pug in the moth trap, a formerly common moth which, like the Wall Brown butterfly, has completely 'crashed' in the last few years after a previously slow decline

Heysham NR CES
Unringed birds included a juvenile Bullfinch, single Chiffchaff & Willow Warbler and two Blackcap.  12 more Greenfinches were ringed.

Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - two
Little Gull - usual Ad & 2CY
Med Gull - 3, possibly 4 unringed juvs, 5+ ad & 4 3CY 

Tawny-speckled Pug and 10 T. advenella

Saturday 13 August 2011

The bottomless pit

Heysham Obs
More Greenfinch ringing this morning with another 26 unringed birds, one of which escaped.  Only two retraps from previous occasions.  This is about 170 new birds since the feeding station as set up at the end of July - where have they come from as there is no obvious 'vis mig' at this time of year?  Most of them are birds of the year.

The outfalls were visited very briefly, but too late in the tide cycle. "Inevitably" there were four birders there wondering where everything was.  Maybe we need to continue to keep repeating that this site is no good on high 'spring' tides unless you are doing some 'pure' seawatching/landbird searching/waiting for Jack Snipe being flushed off Ocean Edge in winter

Little Gull - Ad on sea by Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Redshank - now 475 roosting on Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Turnstone - 17 roosting on Ocean Edge south shore

First Migrant Hawker (noticed) this autumn by the office during a small amount of afternoon sun which also produced a Comma and two Red Admiral on the buddleia.  No moths of interest. 

Friday 12 August 2011

Two Trees top the bill

Heysham Obs
This morning was all about hard work and ekeing as much as possible out of some dodgy weather, including some ringing at the two sites, checking moths and completing the WeBS count.  The forecast suggested that Middleton would be possible early on providing it was not already raining!   However, a significant number of warblers (yesterday) and the Greenfinch hordes also suggested a ringing session by the office at HNR was on the cards.............all before the deteriorating weather.  Thanks to John and Jean for help - it would have been too risky for a single ringer this morning

Middleton NR 0530-0800
This visit revealed that the vast majority of the Sedge Warblers had moved on and, as the tit flocks are still stubbornly absent (and therefore also the entourage of off-passage warblers), this left a bit of a void with a few odds and ends of migrants in the nets before the wind put paid to proceedings
Tree Pipit - one flew south at some unearthly hour
Tree Sparrow - one around
Sedge Warbler - probably no more than four birds encountered with an unringed adult the only capture
Reed Warbler - at least one in the central marsh reedbed and a juvenile retrapped
Garden Warbler - two ringed (do not breed in Heysham area)
Willow Warbler - a trickle around with three ringed
Grasshopper Warbler - two singing males first thing, then no obvious sign
Chiffchaff - two ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed

Heysham NR office
A very short session included ringing the following: 22 Greenfinch, two Willow Warbler, single Whitethroat & Sedge Warbler and, perhaps surprisingly, two juvenile Coal Tit.  Then it rained!

WeBS highlights
Little Gull - ad & 2CY Red Nab
Med Gull - 2 ads & 1CY Red Nab/OE foreshore
Redshank - the well above average roosting numbers at Red Nab/Ocean Edge saltmarsh continued with 308 counted     
Whimbrel - one Red Nab

Square Spot Rustic opened its account and other notables included a melanistic Dart spp (White-line/Garden/Coast) which needs a good look at, late Wormwood Pug, Pebble Prominent and another Mouse Moth

Just to the north of the area there were 10 Sandwich Tern roosting on the Sunny Slopes Groyne and a further three by the Battery groyne

I was shocked to find that more gulls had successfully nested on roofs in the Heysham area than on South Walney - the Walney Obs blogsite (as well as indicating more skuas flew out of the Bay yesterday!) revealing a total breeding failure

Mystery pic from Janet - how many species involved here!

Thursday 11 August 2011

Irish Sea mist

Heysham Obs
The sort of weather which can produce Great Shearwaters trailing past Blanan on Cape Clear (and three days of drying out your scope), but hardly the top recipe for Morecambe Bay.  Should have had a seawatch last night whilst the wind was strong!

Red Nab/outfalls
Little Gull - ad & 2CY
Sandwich Tern - ad
Med Gull - just single juvenile and adult
Ringed Plover - 11
Redshank - 266
Whimbrel - 1

North harbour wall 1100 onwards
Kittiwake - 5 adults behind IOM ferry, then blogging around harbour mouth, then flew out
Wheatear - one
tern spp - one distantly

A Lesser Swallow Prominent, very scarce here, mysteriously appeared on the wall after the main catch had been checked - this does happen here with plenty of nooks and crannies

Cinnabar caterpillar, thanks Janet

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Perfect light, perfect angle, nice selection

Heysham Obs
Red Nab is an incredibly variable place with respect to light conditions, wind direction and ease of observation.  Virtually impossible on Monday evening when the high tide saw glaring sunlight, heat-haze and all the birds facing away in 'variable' wing/tail moult - couldnt even sort any juv Meds out & gave up.  Today was "perfect" providing you were in a car - howling SSW wind allowing the perfect angle to view the birds from OE foreshore, no heathaze and a decent mid-height high tide

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/outfalls various times from 0850
Little Gull - adult and 2CY
Med Gull - 5 unringed juvs, two adult & 3CY (not the long-stayer as this has moulted its outer primaries to become "adult winter")
Sandwich Tern - 1 adult
Greenshank - one 1CY in the saltmarsh creek
Knot - 1(!)
Turnstone - 26
Redshank - 244
Oystercatcher - 2,650
Curlew - 37
Whimbrel - 2
Shelduck - 16 juvs
Arctic Tern - adult on outfalls at lunchtime

Wooden jetty
Shag - 1CY - the first of the autumn

Gannet - adult out
Manx Shearwater - 2 distant birds out and across

Mouse Moth (scarce these days) and Sallow (4) new for the year, but the trap was not checked yesterday (last night was probably the more productive of the two)

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Elusive and wide-ranging Green Woodpecker

Heysham Obs
What has presumably been the same Green Woodpecker doing the rounds at Middleton & Heysham NR was 'nailed' by Janet today on nearby Heysham Moss.  Thanks Janet.

Heysham North harbour wall (thanks Mike)
Canada Goose - 2 (mega rare in 'autumn'!)
Turnstone - 31 wooden jetty
Swallows - 8 south

Red Nab
Mediterranean Gull - (adult plus juvenile)
Whimbrel - 1
Wheatear - 1
House Sparrow - 7
Turnstone - 8
Bar-tailed Godwit - 92
poss juv YLG - too distant to clinch

Monday 8 August 2011

Familiar sound, new location

Heysham Obs
Heysham NR dipping pond area
Crossbill - 2 south at 1330hrs
Sparrowhawk - 3 noisy juvs flying about

Red nab mid-morning
Med Gull - adult

Large Yellow Underwing took over pole position (unusual here!).  Mainly noctuids as usual in windy weather with Six-striped Rustic having a goodish year

Sunday 7 August 2011

Second dose of Setaceous Hebrew Character and a French Med

Heysham Obs
Ringing return
The green-darvic Med Gull photographed by Mario and Rosie the other day was actually the first French-ringed one for here, although we have had plenty of other darvic-ringed birds which have included France in their travels:

FS71953 & R13E
Ringed: Oye Plage, Pas de Calais, France  50 59N 2 03E  Nestling 15/6/09
Seen:  Le Portel, Pas de Calais                      20/6/09
Seen: Loire Atlantique  47 23N 2 33W  7/2-18/2/10
Seen:  Vendee  46 56N 2 09W  21/4/10 & 27/4/11
Seen:  Heysham outfalls area      at least 3/8/11

It has definitely not been reported after 3/8/11.  Thanks to Camille for the info.

Reeve's Pheasant
Seen again today below the Obs Tower on the road to the Power Station

Red Nab area dropping tide
Med Gull - 2 unringed adults and a juv moulting to 1st W (quite advanced for this early in the autumn)
Little Gull - ad

2nd brood Setaceous Hebrew Character and Rosy Minor were new.   Best were Agriphila selasella and Dog's Tooth

Saturday 6 August 2011

Great weather forecasting!

Heysham Obs
Meteorological guru Terry was consulted re-where the rain was going to fall this morning, hopefully down to the nearest millimetre.  The projected track of the thundery plume was spot-on - Terry's advice was that it could turn dodgy, but not before 0900 - a decent time-slot for late summer warbler ringing.  The western fringe of the thundery stuff remained at least a mile to the east of Middleton NR and the open aspect of the site allowed plenty of advance notice if the sky suggested otherwise.  Therefore a bonus (c/f other forecasts); a reasonable catch of Sedge & Willow Warblers, a couple more Grasshopper Warblers (42 for the year so far) plus a few Goldfinch and a couple of Whitethroat

Red Nab
Med Gull - 2 adults and one juvenile but serious disruption by 'bird of prey' microlight which should not have been flying above the power stations

Crescent was the highlight of an actinic trap catch at Middleton.  4th record for SD45, all in last two years

Friday 5 August 2011

Buddleia butterflies at last

Heysham Obs
The office buddleia has been very underpopulated during the day, the exception being bumble bees.  Today was a little different with a "full house" of the usual culprits mid-afternoon: Comma, Painted Lady (primary migrant - pale and worn?), Red Admiral (3), Peacock (4) and Small Tortoiseshell (2).  Hardly stunning numbers, but better than it looked in 'perfect' weather a few days ago.

Red Nab/outfalls
Tricky stuff with most gulls asleep and facing away, in varying stages of moult, plus a slight heat-haze
Med Gull - 4 x adult, 1 x 3CY, 1 x juv
Little Gull - 1 adult
Whimbrel - 3
Dunlin - 5
Little Egret - 1

Middleton central marsh area
Kingfisher - one

Thursday 4 August 2011

A quiet day

Heysham Obs
Red Nab area
Med Gull - 4 unringed adults, one + juvenile, one juvenile virtually in 1st W plumage
Little Gull - adult
Dunlin - 2
Whimbrel - 1

North harbour wall
Wheatear - one

Office area
Sedge Warbler - at least four in the bracken late afternoon
Swift - 3 south

Trap not set

Wednesday 3 August 2011

A nice CES day plus some 'vis' and the Reeve's Pheasant is back!

Hawthorn bush songsters at Middleton. Thanks Janet
Heysham Obs
Well over 100 birds were ringed on the combined Middelton and Heysham CES this morning with a significant influx/left-over-from-yesterday of Sedge Warbler at Middleton.   All vis-miggers take note that single flava Wagtail and Tree Pipit passed overhead to the south-east

Middleton CES & supplementary nets
flava Wagtail - one grounded briefly around the sewage works before heading SE
Tree Pipit - one headed SE after circling the site
Swift - c15 south
Tree Sparrow - a juvenile was ringed - only the second to be ringed at the Obs!
Ringing totals of 'new' birds:  Sedge Warbler (29), Willow Warbler (just 6; hardly any around this morning), Reed Bunting (4), Whitethroat (8), Grasshopper Warbler (5; adult and 4 1CY), Lesser Whitethroat (3), Reed Warbler (2), Robin (3), Blue Tit (4), Linnet (1), Tree Sparrow (1), Bullfinch (1), Swallow (10).  11 retraps were mainly adult warbler species.

Heysham NR
Green Woodpecker - one seen several times early morning
Reeve's Pheasant - seen several times recently, including this morning
Coal Tit - juvenile ringed (early for this spp)
Ringing included the following warblers:  Whitethroat (5), Sedge Warbler (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Blackcap (3) a Woodpigeon!

Med Gull - 4, including the/a green darvic, provisionally R13E.  Thanks Rosie & Mario

A huge catch was dealt with in increasingly hot 'shifts' and many escaped.  Two Ypsolopha scabrella, 3 White-line Dart, one Southern Wainscot, 2 Dogs Tooth, 6 Dingy Footman and two Bordered Beauty were perhaps the best.  A sudden emergence of Common Rustic agg with 38 appearing

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Different fare at Red Nab

Heysham Obs
2.5hrs were spent doing the moth trap this morning with nothing mindblowing, although a tiny black and white micro Mompha subbistrigella is the 3rd record or the 3rd to be noticed here!  Thanks John.

Peacock have been like rocking horse dung so far this autumn in this area.  Good example of a juvenile Starling moulting its breast feathers into first winter plumage.  Thanks Janet

Red Nab area
Med. Gull - 4 juveniles (one appeared to be metal-ringed above the knee), the usual 3CY and just the two (unringed) adults - an amazing reduction on yesterday, given BHG numbers were similar
Little Gull - adult moulting out of summer plumage
Whimbrel - one

Moth trap
Highlights were: Dog's Tooth (2), Double Lobed, Gold Spangle, Narrow-winged Pug, Barred Rivulet (5), Slender Pug, Golden-rod Pug (2), Dingy Footman (2), a late Gothic, Flame Carpet (rare here!), Eudonia pallida and a good count (for here) of 6 Least Yellow Underwing and 5 Mother of Pearl.  Equal first were Dotted Clay and Straw Underwing with 30 apiece.  67 species.

Monday 1 August 2011

Elusive darvics

Heysham Obs
Please can someone with better eyesight than I have a go at the Meds on the incoming tide (or perhaps better at low tide loafing by the outfalls) this week.  There are two darvic-ringed birds - both adults -  one with black letters on white and one with a green darvic and ?black letters.  Thanks in anticipation.

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/outfalls
Med Gull - 8 x ad (2 darvic-ringed), one 3CY and 3 x juvenile (at least two unringed)
Sandwich Tern - 4 (one juv)
Little Gull - adult
Whimbrel - 2
Redshank - 244
Oyste4rcatcher - 2,350
Curlew - 44
Lapwing - 2
Ringed Plover - 2

Office area
A few migrants during latish low-key ringing which saw far fewer Greenfinch than during the clearer weather in the last few days.  'New' birds included 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap and a Sedge Warbler.  The adult female Blackcap ringed at Woolston Eyes in autumn 2009 and retrapped here last year & this spring also paid a visit to the nets

Agriphila latistria made its first appearance as did Canary Shouldered Thorn