Friday 30 September 2011

Little bit of east in the wind and an early morning influx of common migrants

Heysham Obs
A lorry and milk-float-strewn journey was followed by the typical semi-darkness error of getting the shelf-string order wrong when setting a line of three mist nets.  Therefore, despite a pre-dawn start, the nets were not up until a largely unrecorded fifteen minute 'flood' of vis had passed overhead and even the tit flocks were on the march!

Vis mig by the office
Underrecorded, possibly by up to 50-60%, but the species ratios are accurate.  Notable alba Wagtail passage this morning.
Coal Tit - at least 33 southbound birds, including a flock of 10
Chaffinch - 187 SW
Meadow Pipit - 302 SE
Grey Wagtail - 8 SE (4 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 181 SE
Mistle Thrush - 1 S
Linnet - 6 S
Skylark - 25 SE
Tree Sparrow - 1 SW
Siskin - 12 SE plus heard twice
Jay - 2 high to S
Lesser Redpoll - flock of 4 SE
Greenfinch - 39 SW, including flock of 16 (none on feeder!)
Goldfinch - only 6 SW
Dunnock - at least 3 headed south
Blue Tit - one flock of 7 high to S
Reed Bunting - just one S
Jackdaw - 3 S

Kingfisher - one around in the afternoon
Pink-footed Goose - 60 S in afternoon

much better than yesterday
Lesser Whitethroat - one in brambles by office
Blackcap - one ringed
Chiffchaff - c15, many moving through quickly just after dawn, therefore possibly more (5 ringed)
Goldcrest - at least 10, mostly just after dawn (4 ringed)
Robin - little evidence at dawn with most birds singing fairly promptly, but three unringed lightweight birds caught
Song Thrush - very obvious first thing with at least 20 grounded around the office, then flying inland
Treecreeper - 2 unringed birds, one escaped from a net!

Pretty busy with most of the birds in the first two hours after dawn.  New birds: Grey Wagtail (4), Chiffchaff (5), Treecreeper (1), Goldcrest (4), Blackcap (1), Wren (1), Chaffinch (18), Greenfinch (1), Blue Tit (7), Great Tit (1), Robin (3), Dunnock (2)  

About five Red Admiral around the office plus a Comma.  Lots of Speckled Wood.  One Meadow Brown.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Routine morning enhanced by minor vis mig highlights

Heysham Obs
A full morning's coverage with vis mig and one or two mist nets was disappointing until after the vis session had finished!  Best was a late southbound flava Wagtail at 1125hrs, scarce at the best of times over here

Vis mig 0715-0915, then casual observation - all counts 0715-0915
Chaffinch - 177 SW
alba Wagtail - 18 SE
flava Wagtail - one due south at 1125hrs
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE
Meadow Pipit - not many early on, more after 0915! - 48 SE
Greenfinch - 10 SW
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Goldfinch - 22 S
Coal Tit - about 25 south, including flock of 15
Blue Tit - dribs and drabs heading south = approx 25 birds but no flocks
Long-tailed Tit - unringed flock of 11 passed through
Dunnock - at least 3 headed south as though they were on the move & two unringed birds caught
Crossbill - unfortunately could not see them (extracting birds from mist net) but at least two headed south(ish) at 0945
Skylark - 2 SE
Tree Sparrow - 2 headed NE at 1010hrs
Siskin - after reports of loads over Caton and Hutton Roof, the first and only (heard once) was at 1100hrs
Swallow - one appeared at 1200hrs - the first of the day

Really disappointing other than tit movement
Goldcrest - maximum of 3 below the obs tower
Chiffchaff - just four passed through
Whitethroat - late bird with fat score of 3/4 and weight of 17.9grams
Robin - a lot of chasing and ticking at dawn, but seemed to melt away with only one unringed bird caught

Basic monitoring produced about 30 new birds, including a Grey Wagtail, but otherwise mainly Blue & Coal Tit, Chaffinch and Greenfinch

Ocean Edge/Red Nab high tide
Birdless as usual at high (spring) tide
Ringed Plover - 8 on OE beach
Little Gull - ad sat on sea off Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Increase in Red Admiral with at least 5 seen, two of which were heading south

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Start of a Coati irruption?

Heysham Obs
Not able to really concentrate on the vis this morning, but it was quite extensive.  Approximate figures 0715-0900 as follows:

Meadow Pipit - 150 (gross underestimate?)
Chaffinch - 180
Siskin - 30
Swallow - 2
Goldfinch - 35
Grey Wagtail - 5 (3+1+1)
Linnet - 18
alba Wagtail - 40
Reed Bunting - 4
Pink-footed Goose - c380 in 5 skeins during the morning

Grounded/low-level migration
Chiffchaff - there were 6 or so around the office area at 0715 with 5 subsequently ringed during the morning
Goldcrest - again conspicuous by its absence on a circuit of the reserve with just one & another ringed
Garden Warbler - one lightishweight bird ringed
Coal Tit - 7 ringed and some evidence of a small movement
Wheatear - one Ocean Edge

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Raptors highlight early morning vis mig

Heysham Obs
More to come after the intertidal work has been done (hopefully!).  Maybe not- bad start with 3 small dogs in jackets flushing everything and very 'glary' later on

Vis mig by office 0715-0915
This was fairly conscientious plus or minus a cup or coffee & checking moths with no background noise this morning
Meadow Pipit - 143 SE
Chaffinch - 137 S/SW
alba Wagtail - 23 SE
Goldfinch - 38 S
Linnet - 9 S
Mistle Thrush - 1 SW
Marsh Harrier - juv SW then turned SSE at 0725
Reed Bunting - 2 S, plus another c1015
Kestrel - juv south at 0745
Grey Wagtail - just 2 SE
Collared Dove - 2 (together) S
Swallow - just one south
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 2 together very high to SW
Skylark - flock of 6 SE 1045
Blue Tit - see below

Kingfisher - one by the bridge dyke

Not a great deal
Goldcrest - one below Obs T
Blackcap - one off-passage female ringed (23.3g F4)
Chiffchaff - 3 passed through by the office quickly (one ringed)
Robin - a few ticking & chasing plus a lightweight one (16.6g) ringed
Dunnock - a few in evidence and unringed one caught (very good year for this species so far!)
Blue Tit - minor hint of movement with one fast-moving southbound flock of 8 and a couple of unringed birds caught
Wheatear - 2 Ocean Edge

Two Rusty Dot Pearl highlighted a reasonable catch which also included 2 Feathered Ranunculus.  6 Silver Y on two afternoon reserve circuits

Good variety for this time of year after a wet/windy month.  Watch out for a late influx of Clouded Yellow the next few days??  A very worn female Common Blue & male Small White by the office and a late-into-hibernation Peacock sunning itself on the office; male Brimstone, female Green-veined White and male Meadow Brown along the north (PA way) slope; Comma NE corner; Red Admiral below the Obs T, Small Tortoiseshell dipping pond & 2 on the yellow car park buddleia and Small Copper opposite dog walk entrance.  18 Speckled Wood throughout, mainly in the glades

Perhaps surprisingly, only two Common Darter seen and a male Migrant Hawker along the north (PA way) bank

Monday 26 September 2011

Bits and bobs after horrendous start

Heysham Obs
Every autumn has its low-point early morning session and hopefully this was ours.  Never mind the stronger-than-forecasted wind, goodness knows what was going on in the harbour - sounded like one of the rust buckets was being broken up on the spot as a tremendous racket drowned out most of the overhead stuff.   Then it improved with two flocks of Pinkfeet, a Grey Wagtail to ring and juvenile Little Stint (plus 5 juv/1st W Meds together)

Vis mig of sorts 0700-0900
Meadow Pipit - at least 22
Chaffinch - at least 30
Reed Bunting - 2
Grey Wagtail - 3 (one ringed)
alba Wagtail - at least 15
Pink-footed Goose - 87+57 SE

Grounded by office
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 2 (ringed)

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Little Stint - juvenile with c25 Dunlin on the cobble/edge of OE saltmarsh - flushed by dog walker & flew to the far beach, but still in area
Ringed Plover - 27 with above, including non-British metal-ring
Redshank - 220 with above
Med Gull - 5 1CY sat on the sea off Red Nab
Little Gull - adult as above
Terns - none obviously left
Ringing totals summary to date
It has been a very good year for warbler species and Greenfinch/Goldfinch/spring Redpoll passage - the following totals of newly ringed birds are from the two Obs ringing sites at Heysham NR and Middleton NR, plus the Twite feeding station.  Just over 2,100 birds ringed so far.

Selected totals:
Tree Pipit (7), Wren (43), Dunnock (59), Robin (56 - below average), Grasshopper Warbler (44 - record numbers), Sedge Warbler (167 - good), Reed Warbler (22 - record!), Lesser Whitethroat (57 - equal numbers at Heysham & Middleton), Common Whitethroat (151 - record), Garden Warbler (4 - the poor numbers continue), Blackcap (89 - more than usual at Middleton), Chiffchaff (66), Willow Warbler (198), Goldcrest (9 - still way down with poor migrant weather in Sept), Chaffinch (65 - high for this early in autumn), Greenfinch (385 - record numbers, nearly all in late July/August), Goldfinch (103 - record!), Twite (37), Common Redpoll (2), Lesser Redpoll (75 - all on spring passage), Bullfinch (20 - good for so early in autumn)

Feathered Ranunculus was new for the year and a worn Large Yellow Underwing was the first for ages

Weasel Middleton.  Thanks Janet:

Sunday 25 September 2011

Chiffs and Chaffs

Heysham Obs
A routine morning again saw conditions a little too windy, certainly for any Grey Wagtail ringing.  I'm confused with Chiffchaffs.  The only time we get the 'swee' or 'swe-oo'-calling birds at Heysham is when there is more than a hint that there has been trans-North Sea migration e.g. a good chunk of the back-end of last autumn and definitely in the post-3J season.  This autumn, which has not been very easterly to say the least, has produced not a single calling Chiffchaff giving other than the usual monosyllabic collybita-type call - yet we have e.g. ringed record numbers by this stage of the autumn, so they are about.  However, peer-reviewed publications insist that the rather strident 'swee' and 'sweoo' calls are given by "young birds" of British origin.   Why not at Heysham, as a fair chunk of the birds ringed have been locally-produced young and 'early' passage youngsters?   Opinions, please, to

Ringing/grounded by the office
Chiffchaff - 4 (2 ringed)
Goldcrest - 1
Robin - little obvious evidence of migrants but two 'new' birds ringed
Green Woodpecker - one tank farm

Vis mig 0720-0920
Dominated by an early movement of Chaffinch with some probably missed
Chaffinch - 215 SW
Meadow Pipit - just 20 SE
alba Wagtail - exactly 50 SE
Grey wagtail - 4 SE
Linnet - 1 SE
Redpoll spp - 1 SE
Swallow - 19 S
Goldfinch - just 4 SW
Siskin -  2 SW
Greenfinch - c15 SW

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Knot - 2,700
Bar-tailed Godwit - 750
Grey Plover - 335
Redshank - 313
Shelduck - 72
Med Gull - adult and 1CY
Little Gull - ad & 2CY
Arctic Tern - seemingly just one juv left on outfalls
Linnet - 72
White Wagtail - at least 3 grounded (& 25 Pied/unspec)

North harbour wall (via Mark)
Med Gull - 2 adults including Czech-ringed bird

Saturday 24 September 2011

Early Brick

Heysham Obs
Messy south/south-westerly weather again this morning with bits of vis mig trickling through (sampled 0945-1015) and grounded Meadow Pipit on Ocean Edge

Vis mig office 0945-1015
This was prompted by 13 Meadow Pipit coming in-off and joining 15 grounded birds (plus 4 albas) whilst covering Ocean Edge 0925-0940
Grey Wagtail - 1+1 (second bird landed by obs t pond)
Meadow Pipit - 27
alba Wagtail - 9
Goldfinch - 12
Chaffinch - just 8

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Greenshank - one OE saltmarsh creek (plus 11 Dunlin)
Shelduck - down to 61!
Knot - 250 Red Nab
Med gull - much reduced number of gulls on Red Nab & just 1 x 1CY and 1 x Ad
Little Gull - both 2CY and Ad on Red Nab
Arctic tern - just 2 juvs could be seen on the outfalls whilst scoping from OE foreshore

Grounded Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - two
Goldcrest - 5

Grey Squirrel alder wood

Brick was a major surprise as they are usually a scarce late autumn species here
Thanks Alan

Friday 23 September 2011

Ducks provide todays very minor highlight

Heysham Obs
This weather is a waste of precious late September migrant time in this area - you need a real 'hooley' or some nice easterlies, not this "nothing" weather which is too windy for mistnetting but not windy enough to stop migrants tricking through, therefore 'routine coverage' for an hour or so is the order of the day.  There was quite a bit of vis mig this morning

Moving on to next Wednesday, there is an event which seems to be likely to take place in a shirt-sleeves 'indian summer' with a lightish south-easterly and temperatures in the late teens.  Hope there is not too much heat-haze!   See sidebar for details

Vis mig by the office 0715-0815 (minus about 7 minutes)
Meadow Pipit - 220 SE
alba Wagtail - 27 SE
Grey Wagtail - 5 SE (1+2+2)
Chaffinch - 47 S/SW
Swallow - 3 SE
Goldfinch - 24 S
Reed Bunting - 1 S

Shelduck - "dramatic" increase from just two in recent days to 87 Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 1CY, 1 x 2CY Red Nab
Little Gull - ad outfalls. then Red Nab
Arctic Tern - seemed to be 3 x juv and 1 x adult but difficult to be certain as very mobile

Middleton NR model boat pond
Tufted Duck - 6 - ducks have been conspicuous by their absence on Middleton NR in recent weeks, notably Teal and this suggests an increased element of disturbance (not by bird ringers as it has just not been calm enough since late August)

Chiffchaff - 2

A good catch for this time of year as is often the case in (sheltered) south-westerlies.  Highlighted by a rather belated first Red Underwing of the year, also the first Red-line Quaker.  Also now TWO Lunar Underwing (both different from the previous two), 6 Treble Bar, Acleris emargana, Parsnip Moth, 2 Common Marbled Carpet, 5 Pink-barred Sallow, 2 Green-brindled Crescent, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Silver Y and 4 Black Rustic 

A very quick trip to Sunderland saw 1 x juv Curlew Sandpiper (on its own) off the toilet block and a collection of gulls at the mouth of the main creek on Lades Marsh included 2 x ad and 2 x 1CY Med Gulls

Thursday 22 September 2011

Robin migration and lots of Speckled Wood

Heysham Obs
In September 1992 we ringed a Thrush Nightingale and the same day produced a Speckled Wood - the latter was almost as unexpected as the former!  Fast forward to this morning and there was a squabbling 'kettle' of 12 Speckled Wood competing for a warm sheltered spot on the top path

Fairly dead walk around the circuit produced:
Arctic Tern - 2 juvs and 2 adults, net loss of birds from yesterday's strong winds
Common Tern - one juv
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull - 2 1CY and one adult

One of those mornings when you feel short-distance 'british' migrants are passing through but you are not monitoring it properly. At this time of year, that usually means "a lot" of ticking Robins (& perhaps the odd migrant Wren) which are conversely absent on a beautiful still clear morning along with any other grounded migrant.  At least 25 Robins were heard between the cream store and Red Nab
Goldcrest - at least 7 along the dog track/nature opark but only one on the reserve
Chiffchaff - one reserve
Robin - see above
Green Woodpecker - heard/seen about once a week at the moment - it was in the tank farm this morning

Vis Mig
A late arrival due to traffic problems but a 'mobile' vis mig (therefore underrecorded and reliant wholly on sound) whilst doing the circuit produced (0830-0930)
Meadow Pipit - minimum 52
Grey Wagtail - 2
alba Wagtail - 7
Chaffinch - 16
Goldfinch - 28 (also moving along the seawall)

Another Lunar Underwing graced the moth trap this morning along with reduced numbers of the usual suspects (see yesterdays catch) along with a late Sallow and Eudonia angustea.  A lunchtime circuit of the reserve produced 25 Speckled Wood, late Meadow Brown, 2 Comma, Migrant Hawker (first for a bit) and two Common Darter

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Back from the dead

Heysham Obs
Lunar Underwing was a very common late autumn moth in the 1990s with up to 850 or so per year (yes, these need putting on MapMate!).  However, it all started to go wrong in the noughties with a moderate 224 in 2002, followed by 2003 (60), 2004 (44), 2005 (81), 2006 (19), 2007 (4), then none until this morning.  It has declined all along the Lancashire coast which getting towards the northern edge of its range

Outfalls area early morning, lunchtime & mid afternoon
Arctic Tern - 2 adults, 5-6 juvs
Common Tern - one juv
Little Gull - 2CY (beware, it has not grown its diagnostic post-moult 2CY outer primaries and looks superficially like a "round-winged adult") and adult
Med Gull - 4 1CY, 1 2CY and 2 adult
Kittiwake - 1CY behind the IOM ferry
Wheatear - one OE foreshore, one on the NHW mound

Office area
Goldcrest - 1
Chiffchaff - 1

Late afternoon seawatch
Gannet - 1 2CY

Good catch for this time of year with the first Lunar Underwing (see above) and Green-brindled Crescent of the year, 4 Black Rustic, 4 Treble Bar, 2 scruffy Square-spot Rustic, a Frosted Orange, a Setaceous Hebrew Character, 9 Pink-barred Sallow and a Light-brown Apple Moth (which seems to have crashed a bit the last two years)

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Desperately seeking Swallows

Heysham Obs
An unexpectedly productive morning started with two "shapes" flying about along Moneyclose Lane in the dark at about 0615hrs.  They didn't look quite right for bats and a quick reverse and full beam revealed two Swallows hawking backwards and forwards (as at least two have been doing in this area for the last few days, so they 'know the area').  Is this evolution in action or just a desperate shortage of food to get into condition for migration?

Robin - at least 8 ticking birds within audible range by the office and others (10+) on a circuit of the reserve
Chiffchaff - 3 by the office first thing and two in the NE corner
Garden Warbler - one NE corner
Reed Warbler - juv NE corner
Sedge Warbler - juv NE corner (with the above for a short time)
Song Thrush - at least 5, 3 flew inland
Goldcrest - at least 4
Treecreeper - one alder woodland
Water Rail - one calling from reeds in NE corner

Vis mig 0630-0900
Quietish, but a trickle of most of the usual stuff, including 3 Grey Wagtail.   Didnt really have time for ringing, but kept an eye on trainee John whilst he operated a couple of nets.  A smattering of finches and two more Dunnocks taking this unobtrusive species on its way to a record annual ringing total, but it was too windy to catch Grey Wagtail which need completely still nets. 

Inshore stuff
Med Gull - 2 adults
Kittiwake - 1CY wooden jetty area
Commic Tern - 4-5, including 2 adult Arctic and one juv Arctic
Wheatear - one
Turnstone - c200 wooden jetty

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 1

Whilst aimlessly checking out links, I came across Michael Foley's blogsite with a pic of (an additional) close Leach's Petrel on 14th Sept. Fortunate indeed, as the wind had dropped down by then - the closest I managed to see one was about 1/2 mile! I've added a link to this site.  Michaeil site has  additional Gannet and Sabine's Gull shots from Heysham and some nice photography from elsewhere.

Monday 19 September 2011

More than one Greenshank at last!

Heysham Obs
Strange how some common species can be unexpectedly scarce at seemingly suitable local patches - Greenshank and Golden Plover are two examples here..................and Black-tailed Godwit seems to have reverted to its 'notable' status this autumn, especially with all the work-related extra attention given to waders

Ocean Edge/outfalls area on and off all day
Greenshank - two Ocean Edge saltmarsh creek - the first time more than one has been recorded here!
Little Gull - ad & 2CY
Arctic Tern - 4 juvs and an adult early on but these seemed to disappear during the afternoon
Common Tern - one juv
Med Gull - 4 adult, one darvic-ringed 2CY (no chance of reading it but it was 'darkish' with white letters), 2 1CY
Kittiwake - single adult behind the IOM ferry
Turnstone - 52 Red Nab at high tide
Bar-tailed Godwit - there have been quite a few juveniles remaining close inshore feeding in the creeks this autumn, 'replacing' the Black-tailed Godwits doing exactly the same thing last autumn - Black-tailed Godwit have been conscpicuous by their absence.  This is additional to a large synchronised "tideline" flock of Barwits which seems to comprise mainly adults

Vis mig by the office
House Martin - 3 south mid-afternoon
The meagre haul in the morning will be posted later but did include a group of three Grey Wagtail, one of which was caught and ringed in a very optimistic mist net which was otherwise devoid of avian life

A fastish walk round Heysham NR produced 2 Chiffchaff

Half Moon bay (Evening)
Wheatear - 1

Nothing startling; included Treble Bar with Pink-barred Sallow taking over the 'commonest species' mantle

Sunday 18 September 2011

Corvids of ill-omen?

Heysham Obs
Considering this is/was THE opportunity to catch a significant number of Grey Wagtails, we did really badly this morning with too much activity below the flightline sending birds over the top of the net (starting with an ill-timed car door slam from myself).  Unless they fly in down the 'corridor' on the usual NW to SE flightline at a fairly low level, you rarely catch them.  We usually manage to catch at least 50% of those recorded, this morning saw 4/17!  Blame the Ravens?

Vis Mig on and off 0615-1100hrs
Raven - a tight flock of 12 headed SW at 0645hrs and then about an hour later, a tight flock of 10 (plus a single corvid spp some distance away which may have been a Raven) also headed SW - what was presumably this latter flock (certainly 10 "large black birds") was seen far to the west by the Caton Moor vis migger, therefore they were not the same flock circling round out of audible range and losing two of their number.  One previous record of a big flock but this is the first time any have been seen on the usual corvid NE to SW coastal flightline
Jay - flock of four headed south
Meadow Pipit - 359 S/SE
Chaffinch - 67 S/SW
Linnet - 1
Grey Wagtail - 17, all singletons apart from two lots of two
alba Wagtail - 18
Reed Bunting - 4
Swallow - 40
Goldfinch - just 5, conspicuous by its absence this morning
Siskin - 10
Skylark - one 'hearing'
Mistle Thrush - flock of 5 SW (first movement of the autumn)
House Martin - 1
Dunnock - 4 high to south

not a lot
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - 1
Blackcap - 1
Song Thrush - at least 4, possibly 6 soon after dawn

Outfalls/Red Nab (thanks Pete and Mike) totals
Arctic Tern - 6 adult, 3 juv
Common Tern - 2
Little Gull - ad & 2CY
Med Gull - 2 ads & 1CY
Kingfisher - male Stage on outfall
Pink-footed Goose - 21 S at 1238hrs
Dunlin - 24
usual mixed flock of Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot awaiting my six-hour vigil plotting their movements!

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 4
Rock Pipit - 1

Included Rusty Dot Pearl and Silver Y

Saturday 17 September 2011


Heysham Obs
A short spell of mist-netting this afternoon produced the day's highlight - a candidate for the last Lesser Whitethroat of the year

Outfalls/Red Nab
Arctic Tern - c4 juvs
Common Tern - one juv
Little Gull - 2CY
Med Gull - 2 1CY and adult

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Greenshank - 1CY with Redshank roost

No obvious vis mig over here in the torrential rain this morning

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 4

Two Silver Y plus another Pink-barred Sallow & Black Rustic & 2 Common Marbled Carpet completed the meagre haul

One Speckled Wood ventured forth next to the office

Friday 16 September 2011

Pulsating Swallows

Heysham Obs
A bit of a bonus to have anything to say this morning as the weather was far from promising with the approaching front far too north to south in alignment
The office vis mig site, usually chosen for comfort, nearby refreshment and the ability to double-up with mist-netting appeared to be on a major Swallow flightline this morning, with the impression that we were receiving birds which had left various roosts in gangs and continued in a series of clusters on the 'vis'.  The office area is usually pretty poor for hirundine passage with far more of them hugging the coast and also usually later in the morning.  The morning session finished early in order to say farewell to "Hairy Joe" Lambert in Wray church and recall fond memories of yarns which included an encounter with a presumed Eagle Owl whilst "acquiring" sea trout in a most sustainable manner - Joe was a good conservationist - from the Roeburn

Vis mig by the office 0645-0940 (mainly SE)
Meadow Pipit - 84
Chaffinch - 56
alba Wagtail - 4
Goldfinch - 42
Swallow - 466
Reed Bunting - 1
Great-spotted Woodpecker - two individually high to the south
Dunnock - two flew south together
Grey Wagtail - 4
Merlin - female south
Greenfinch - seemed to be some high vis this morning with at least 26 south
Skylark - 2
Siskin - 2
Collared Dove - 3 east
Jackdaw - 2
Grey Heron - one SSE
Rook - 4 (unusual here)

There were four Chiffchaff early on but absolutely nothing else e.g. no Goldcrest heard

Access to Heysham one outfall a bit difficult due to a crane on the seawall and all that was reported was a single Arctic Tern.  Anyone improve on this please?  Thanks.

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 4

Black Rustic was new for the year

Thursday 15 September 2011

Fidgety-Dunnock-fest and a hint of Jay movement

Heysham Obs
An isolated day (according to the forecasts) of fine calm weather with the usual and some not so usual culprits on the move...........and a lack of any numbers of grounded night migrants was par for the course after a clear night complete with fullish moon

Vis mig 0600-1100hrs
Jay - 1+2+4 high to the south (no other discernable corvid passage)
Great-spotted Woodpecker - two together high to the south
Dunnock - maybe as many as 20 on the move to the south including six unringed birds caught by the office, all at below average weight
Sparrowhawk - female 'in-off', then south-east
Chaffinch - 198 south (mainly early)
Meadow Pipit - 206 counted south, mainly mid-morning and not very conscientiously recorded due to a lot of 'activity' around and about - could have been double this!
Reed Bunting - 1
Linnet - 10
alba Wagtail - just 2
Grey Wagtail - just 5 south-east with four of them ringed
Lesser Redpoll - one
Goldfinch - 21
Greenfinch - 61 - definite vis mig birds passing straight over this morning
Swallow - only 5 in sharp contrast to elsewhere
Skylarks - heard and not seen on four occasions
Reed Bunting - one
Pink-footed Goose - skein of 35 early on and a large skein of c250 mid-morning

Song Thrush - 2
Whitethroat - one ringed
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Goldcrest - the only one reported was in a small bush on the seawall enroute to the outfalls!
Chiffchaff - 3-4 early on (one ringed)
Robin - 3 ringed
Wheatear - just 2 coastal sightings

A real mixed bag of new-ringed birds:  Goldfinch (4), Greenfinch (18), Blue Tit (6), Dunnock (6), Robin (3), Meadow Pipit (2), Chaffinch (7), Grey Wagtail (4, plus colour rings), Chiffchaff (1), Blackcap (2), Whitethroat (1), Song Thrush (1 and one escape - both considered to be the first migrants of the autumn), Blackbird (2), Bullfinch (1), Great Tit (2) plus about 10 retraps, mainly Blue Tit  

Outfalls/harbour area
Predictable leftovers with the Black Tern  presumably the one belatedly reported as being present yesterday afternoon
Black Tern - juv seaward end of Heysham one early on
Kittiwake - 2 juvs early on
Arctic Tern - c12 (2 adults)
Common Tern - ad & 2 juvs
Little Gull - adult and 2CY
Med Gull - 7 on Red Nab during a very brief visit, including 3 1CY - smaller numbers, not necessarily these birds reported around the harbour mouth/behind ferries.  Please note that one of the 1CY is very "contrasty" and therefore displaying quite a 'triangular wing pattern'

No known sightings of the Sabine's Gull, although an apparently erroneous report reached the info services mid-afternoon at a time when quite a few observers were grilling the area (as others had been doing since about 0630hrs!)

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 1

Still a single Treble Bar in the trap

Butterfly/dragonfly census of HNR
Highlighted by a singular lack of anything other than Katia-trashed insects, apart from about 10 of the 30ish Speckled Wood, the 3 Comma and a single Small White & Small Tortoiseshell.  The Meadow Brown, Common Blus and even Small Copper looked on their last legs and there were no Migrant Hawkers and only three weary-looking Common Darter

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Nice selection and major Pink-footed Goose arrival

Heysham Obs
Thanks to various people for info this morning which enabled coverage of the sea from about 0645hrs through to at least 1300hrs.  Any updates after then gratefully received as I dont think any of the "usual observers" are around this afternoon.  Thanks.  Evening update: One of the regulars did a short period of afternoon seawatching and the Sabines Gull was seen around the departing ferry at about 1435hrs.  However, not a peep from anyone after that (unless there is info on personal blogs) and there were several birders around the 'wheel'.   Was it seen later on, please, as I suspect it will now be on its way at least first thing tomorrow?

Leach's Petrel - 3: two out at 1200 and 1245hrs (both quite distant) and one in the harbour mouth as the IOM ferry arrived at about 1215hrs and one apparently later in the afternoon (see Michael Foley blogsite)
Sabine's Gull - 3: the 'usual' adult with the damaged foot was around close inshore along the outfalls until about 1100hrs, then may have roosted in the harbour as it was next seen behind the IOM ferry at c1215, then the last known report was following the outgoing IOM ferry at c1435hrs.  There were definitely TWO adults as the Arrow came into port at about 0900hrs and a juv was behind the Clipper Panorama at c0950hrs as far as about the final inshore green buoy, when it peeled off and headed for the permanently moored red boat
Black Tern - juv out 1250hrs and it or another then seen later in the afternoon and presumably the same seen early tomorrow morning
Common Tern - appeared to be more around today as seen from Ocean Edge with at least two adults and 3 juvs
Arctic Tern - a higher percentage of the terns around the wooden jetty were these with  total of about 20 (5+ adults)
Sandwich Tern - about 5
Little Gull - adult and 2CY
Skua spp - one seen early morning by two independent observers and both distant views favoured juv Arctic
Fulmar - 2
Gannet - at least 15 seen, including 3 exhausted birds at various times close inshore
Kittiwake - c10 behind the IOM ferry and 2-3 inshore
Wheatear - 2 Ocean Edge, one north wall
Whimbrel - late bird seen/heard flying over OE
Med Gull - more 1CY seen today with at least 6 around, also c4 adults and at least one 2CY
Eider - 6

Vis mig
Preoccupied this morning but at least 38 Meadow Pipit flew SE & 4 Grey Wagtail over Ocean Edge 0800-0900hrs.  No real evidence of any vis thereafter other than:
Pink-footed Goose - 20 south at 1050hrs, then skeins of 44, 52, 35, c60 & c30 over post-midday

Evening - Half Moon Bay
Pink-footed Goose: 8 W 18:00, 32 S 19:00
Wheatear - 4

Pink-barred Sallow was a long-overdue new addition to the year list

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Hard work but a bit more rewarding than yesterday

Heysham Obs
Again the day was beset by the lack of squalls until a late one about 1530hrs which "produced" the day's highlight, a Grey Phalarope at 1545hrs

Grey Phalarope - on flew close inshore south along the harbour wall and the head pattern was clearly seen by a very experienced observer.  Unfortunately not possible to see whether it flew round the jetty or through one of the gaps (it was not in the harbour).  Also at that time the wind and glare prevented any observation of a likely feeding area at the seaward end of Heysham one outfall
Leach's Petrel - Really poor numbers in the conditions with a maximum of 8 up until 1630hrs
Sabines Gull - TWO adults around.  The usual one was 'available' all day until at least 1630hrs and a second adult with more black on the head (the usual one has moulted quite a bit since its arrival - recognised by the damaged leg) was seen at the same time at least mid-morning and when the IOM passenger ferry struggled in
Kittiwake - about 30 flew out and similar numbers behind the IOM ferry
Arctic Tern - c20, including at least 3 adults
Common Tern - at least one adult and 2 juvs
Sandwich Tern - at least 5 seen
Gannet - at least 16 seen, including lingering birds late afternoon
Fulmar - 9 out
Diver spp - distant bird out
Manx Shearwater - 2 out
Little Gull - usual 2CY and adult plus a 1CY behind the IOM ferry
Sanderling - 1+3 flew out
Med Gull - 9 around the inner end of the wooden jetty early on, including the German darvic--ringed bird.  Also Czech metal-ringed bird seen along the north harbour wall
Wheatear - one by twite feeder
Merlin - on 'in-off', then south-east late morning

Treble Bar, Flounced Rustic and Setaceous Hebrew Character - one of each

5 x Speckled Wood in the office area mid-afternoon

Weasel Moneyclose Lane

Elsewhere & relating to Heysham sightings
Adult Sabine's Gull seen at 1116hrs off Morecambe Town Hall did not appear to pass north harbour wall observers and it could not have been the second (offshore) adult at Heysham as that was seen just prior to the Morecambe observation.  This, of course, assumes the bird seen behind the IOM ferry was indeed the second bird, not another adult. So three in our area
The lack of observation to the south, as opposed to checking along the wave troughs, meant that we all missed the Great Skua which would have been visible just to the south, off Cockersands and then Pilling.  We will be doing a long session tomorrow looking offshore from Ocean Edge caravan park and will definitely pick up any similar occurences!

Monday 12 September 2011

Warm, squall-free, boat-free, 'birdless' gale

A selection of todays megas plus the long-range confusion species.  Thanks to Nathan Bray for the Reeve's Pheasant, Pete Cook for the Kittiwake and Dave Talbot for the Sabine's Gull

Heysham Obs
Could have done with being a bit cooler today with some proper shower-peppered polar air.  There was virtually nothing happening on the sea - the coverage was pretty thorough and produced nothing more than what could be expected on a random 'breezy day'.  However, the gale pleased the Sabine's Gull targeters, especially the photographers!  Thanks to all the seawatchers for records - I took one look at it after the morning Bonxie bonus and didnt rate the rather uniform high cloud which unfortunately prevailed for the whole day without a drop of rain.  Better tomorrow, certainly sound as though it will be (High Tatham 2100hrs)?

Outfalls (any advance on these, particularly terns, please let me know)
Sabine's Gull - from 0925ish on and off (first seen off north wall at 0915)
Arctic Tern - 7 juv, two ad
Sandwich Tern - 4
Common Tern - one juv
Little Gull - ad & 2CY
Med Gull - fewer around today in the rough seas with in total:  2CY, 4 juv, 2 adult seen at various times and (another?) 2CY on the Middleton model boat pond.  Incidentally one of the juvs around recently has an unread red darvic on the left leg but not the best conditions for reading rings!

North harbour wall
**Apparently one observer claimed a Sabine's Gull along the north harbour wall at the same time the adult was on the outfalls during early afternoon.  Second-hand info, but note the Walney sighting at 1340. Any more info on this, please?
Bonxie - one flew into the bay about 0730  and possibly the same (but see Walney posting) came out again about 1000ish
(and a brown thing glimpsed at long range heading out at c0740 was probably an imm skua spp)
Manx Shearwater - 1
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 43 south (first of autumn)
Greylag Goose - flock of 32
Gannet - 6
Kittiwake - c12 (no boats today)
Pintail - 20
Wigeon - 6
Goldeneye - adult male and female/imm together - a most unexpected sighting for this early in the autumn
Common Scoter - 1+4
Common Sandpiper - still present by the harbour mouth

Wheatear - at least 5 around the coast

Waders at high tide
Ringed Plover - 54 Ocean Edge
Redshank - 235 Ocean Edge
Knot - 7 Ocean Edge

Amazingly there were some of three species:  Flounced Rustic, Square Spot Rustic and Setaceous Hebrew Character - a scintillating trio.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Hobby highlights early morning vis session

Thanks very much to Mark Breaks for these pics taken today of the 2CY Little Gull and adult Sabine's Gull. 

Heysham Obs
The Sabine's Gull appeared from about 1130hrs and remained until about 1220hrs.  A varied trickle of vis mig this morning with 'all' birds low enough to see, highlighted by a Hobby, seemingly a 2CY

Vis mig by Heysham office 0735-0835 - all birds south(ish)
Linnet - 5
Meadow Pipit - exactly 50
Swallow - 10
alba Wagtail - 19
Chaffinch - 53
Goldfinch - 31
Cormorant - two high to SE
Hobby - probable 2CY showed very well until chased off SE by Sparrowhawk - seemed to come from NW (0757hrs)
Reed Bunting - 1
Skylark - 1
Carrion Crow - purposeful southbound birds comprised 5+2
Starling - 1 SW!
Greenfinch - 6+2 seemed to 'qualify' as vis mig - high to SW and did not stop at the feeder!

Grounded on Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - 5
Goldcrest - 1

Inshore info gleaned from several observers
Sabine's Gull - adult from 1130 to about 1220hrs, then at least 1546 (1415 sighting disputed by observers on the spot)
Arctic Tern - 10 juv & 3 adult
Common Tern - 2 juv
Sandwich Tern - 3
Little Gull - ad & 2CY, latter roosting on OE saltmarsh over the tide
Med Gull - 2 adults roosting OE saltmarsh & at least 11 others of all ages
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh creek pre-tide
Gannet - 2-3 reported
Ringed Plover - 53 Ocean Edge south beach

2 Migrant Hawker, 16 Speckled Wood and a tatty Meadow Brown on circuit of the reserve.  Some leaf mines examined but I've forgotten the names which were reeled out!

Saturday 10 September 2011

Are we seeing the starters for a mega seawatching 'event'?

Heysham Obs
Looks on course for some stuff, especially Monday & Tuesday and leftovers on Wednesday in 'nicer' weather and maybe even after that, although we could do with some "balancing" vis mig/ringing weather.  Today was a good one for the ELOC and Bolton groups - its great when dates plucked out of air way in advance work out!  Please, however, use the path through the nature park and dont wander as a gang through Ocean Edge caravan park without at least asking at reception.  I've apologised on behalf of the group this morning. Thanks.

Inshore sightings
Sabine's Gull - adult from about 1030 until about 1530 on & off, including following the IOM ferry into the harbour-mouth at 1210ish.
Guillemot - 2CY harbour mouth at lunchtime
Little Egret - one OE saltmarsh creek (they have been scarce here since the cold weather last December)
Arctic Tern - max of 6 juv and 2 adult
Common Tern - max of 2 juvs and one adult
Little Gull - 2CY and adult
Sandwich Tern - one on Red Nab early on
Med Gull - 11 on the WeBS count from the ex-heliport to Ocean Edge saltmarsh: 1 x 2CY, 4 x adult-type, 6 x 1CY - there might have been more 1CY as they were typically mobile (they dont seem to like roosting!)
Golden Plover - one seen by outfalls (per Mike W)


Vis mig
1.5 hours in the morning by the office (not the best site for hirundines) produced the following heading south or south-east 0740-0910:
Swallow - 56
Chaffinch - 112
Meadow Pipit - 54
Linnet - 40
Goldfinch - 10
House Martin - 26
Grey Wagtail - 3 (plus 5 others along the seawall)
alba Wagtail - 12
Siskin - 2
Collared Dove - flock of four

Highlight in the trap was a scarce plume associated with fleabane: Oidaematophorus lithodactyla

Friday 9 September 2011

After morning murk drops passerines, the Manx passenger ferry does the trick

Thanks to Pete Cook for these atmospheric shots
Heysham Obs
After a morning of poor visibility, the wind perked up and the Sabine's Gull appeared behind the Isle of Man ferry with about 20 Kittiwakes at 1215hrs and headed towards the outfalls along the wooden jetty where it had apparently been watched for 'some time' before joining the ferry throng.  If this was the case and the observers concerned do not have the RBA number, here it is: 02070382820 (text).  Unfortunately conditions were fairly 'quiet' and it drifted down the Heysham one outfall feeding channel until out of sight.  The next ferry is 5-ish

Passerines in coastal nooks and crannies in the murky drizzle this morning with evidence that birds had come in-off with four Chiffchaff and 5 Wheatear (north harbour wall) along with a probable Blackcap seen in flight and the afternoon produced a lingering Spotted Flycatcher along the south quay along with another two Wheatear and phyllosc spp.   Ocean Edge foreshore saw 3 further Wheatear and a trickle of Meadow Pipit coming 'in-off' (6 in 45mins!) to join the 15 or so grounded ones

Inshore sightings maxima - not all at same time with many terns departing over the high tide
Arctic Tern - 8 juvs, 2 adults
Common Tern - adult & 2 juvs
Little Gull - 2CY (still 2 old primaries left) and Ad
Kittiwake - one flew 'out' then c20 behind the IOM ferry, all but 3 juvs
Sabine's Gull - apparently seen from mid-morning but this is second-hand info.  Certainly seen before it joined the ferry throng 'going backwards and forwards', then returned along the wooden jetty before disappearing offshore again about 1300hrs.  Next ferry is 5pm-ish.  No known further sightings, but there could be a few more of them on Monday/Tuesday (shades of 14/9/87)!!
Sandwich tern - one
Med Gull - at least 8 1CY, 2 2CY and 4 adult

Miscellaneous waders
Greenshank - adult incoming tide Red Nab then OE saltmarsh
Common Sandpiper - one harbour area (for SECOND day)

Grounded migrants
Spotted Flycatcher - one south wall area
Chiffchaff - at least 6 along the coastal fringe and 5+ on HN reserve (3 ringed)
Whitethroat - two by HNR office (one ringed)
Wheatear - c22 around
Blackcap - one by office, one probable NH wall, one HNR
Lesser Whitethroat - one in tank farm

Warm afternoon sun saw a short mist-netting session by the office and the route to/from the nets saw: Small Copper, 2 x Common Blue, 3 x Meadow Brown and 4 Speckled Wood.  Two Migrant Hawker seen elsewhere

Thursday 8 September 2011

Sabine's Gull!

Thanks very much indeed for these Mike (Baron).  Latest info I have is that it was still there at least 1845hrs

Thanks for this Mario.  The answer to those earlier observers who commented it didnt seem to be eating anything.  This pic was taken at 1845hrs
Heysham Obs
Posted too early this morning!  As I was originally posting, having given up on the sea, an increase in wind and rain coincided with Tom Walkington and Pete Cook finding a close adult Sabine' Gull passing the north wall at 0930hrs.  After then being seen off Red Nab and seemingly heading out, it was lost, retrospectively sitting on the sea, as it then returned to the outfalls/harbour mouth area for the rest of the morning.  Other observers should now be keeping tabs.  It remained until at least 1845hrs with occasional forays out to sea.  Note the apparent foot injury with one foot protruding through the tail.  Anyone who was struggling with tern ageing/identification on the public mere at Leighton Moss yesterday could do worse than visit Heysham outfalls in the next few days. 

North harbour wall
Brown Rat
Black Tern - juv out, quite distant and didnt 'find' the outfalls by 0900hrs
Manx Shearwater - two
Fulmar - 3
Leach's Petrel - one off Ocean Edge in the main shpping channel heading out at c0955hrs
Gannet - 3 (one 1CY)
Sabine's Gull - adult (yellow tip to bill etc etc) just starting head moult 0930-at least 1845hrs - now remaining on the outfalls at lowish tide!  Will it stay overnight?
Kittiwake - 5 (2 1CY)

Terns on outfalls/off north harbour wall at various times incoming tide
Common Tern - minimum of 3 adult and 5 juvenile, many of these in one 'gang' and they seemed to disappear mid-morning.  I didnt check later in the day & no definite counts seem to have been offered.
Arctic Tern - minimum of two adult and 3 juvenile, later the number of juvs were reported to have increased to perhaps as many as 8
Sandwich Tern - three Red Nab/outfalls area

Outfalls/Red Nab other species
Little Gull - ad & 2CY (now well on the way to 2nd winter with P9 & 10 still to be moulted along with one or two covert feathers) and 1CY briefly mid-morning
Med Gull - up to 13 1CY (10 off the harbour!), 6 adult-type and 4 2CY. This may be a record count - certainly so of 1CY, but I need to check.
Wheatear - two
Knot - 47 on Red Nab near HT

Heysham Nature reserve
Willow Warbler and Goldcrest (2) by the office

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Squalls arrive too late in the day

Heysham Obs

Intermittent seawatching from about 0800 to 1330
Leach's Petrel - one at lunchtime just beyond Clarke's wharf heading slowly out
Manx Shearwater - 2 'early' morning & 2 others mid-morning
Common Tern - at least 4, including juv on the outfalls from late morning
Arctic Tern - at least 7 with juv on outfalls throughout & ad there late pm
Kittiwake - 8 behind the IOM ferry

Seawatching c1730-1930
Leach's Petrel - 1 'in' distantly, turning back on itself twice, before 'wheeling' in at 1848hrs overlapping with the first:
Fulmar - one out at 1848, 2 out at 1925
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one chasing two small gull spp at about 1745hrs
Kittiwake - 4-5 behind freight ferries, one adult out

Red Nab/Ocean Edge/outfalls area
Grey Plover - c385
Bar-tailed Godwit - c1,800
Wigeon - first of autumn
Med Gull - at least 5 1CY and 2-3 adults
Little Gull - 2CY and adult
Terns - see above
Wheatear - 7 'early' morning

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 4

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Bits and pieces over the neap low tide

Heysham Obs
Outfalls area
Med Gull - up to 4 1CY, 2 adult
Little Gull - 2CY and adult
Arctic tern - juv off the end pm
Kittiwake - juv harbour mouth
Teal - 1

North harbour wall seawatching at various times
Gannet - 3 in
distant tern spp - 1+4 out
Kittiwake - flock of 10
Eider - 4
Auk spp - one in
Ruff - 2 out (prob juv male)
Sandwich tern - one in
Pintail - 2 out
Med Gull - 1 1CY
Cormorant - 59 on wooden jetty

Monday 5 September 2011

Too early for the windblown seabirds?

Heysham Obs
A couple of sorties to Ocean Edge to view the outfalls and Red Nab

Ocean Edge foreshore etc
Med Gull -  6 1CY, 1 2CY and 2 adult
Little Gull - adult
Kittiwake - one adult type
Sandwich Tern - 2

North harbour wall 1815-1840
Med Gull - 1CY heading slowly out about 1.5 miles offshore with a juv Common Gull - surely not one of the birds from the outfalls?

Office area
Whitethroat - at least 3

Sunday 4 September 2011

Decent morning for common migrants and unexpected Clouded Yellow

Heysham Obs
Not quite what was expected this morning - its a real shame there was not another licensed ringer available to operate both Middleton and Heysham on what looks like last chance saloon for 'routine' warblers this autumn, other than Chifchaff and Blackcap.  The unexpected was the complete lack of evidence of migrant Robin - usually such a feature on 'quiet' early September mornings and the unprecedentedly high level of overhead Chaffinch passage for this early in the month

It was a bit hectic with two trainees to look after, the continuing cat watch (although we have not seen it for a few days) and vis mig was not as conscientious as it could have been

Vis mig species
Chaffinch - c110 south
Swallow - c115 south
House Martin - c35 south
Tree Pipit - 1 caught the only one 'encountered'!
Grey Wagtail - 8 but only 2 ringed due to sun on nets (this is where the net site at Middleton is much better)
Meadow Pipit - at least 25 south
alba Wagtail - at least 10 south
Collared Dove - one south
Dunnock - 2 perceived migrants

Outfalls (thanks Mark)
Med Gull - 6 1CY, one 2CY, 2 adult
Little Gull - adult

Grounded on reserve
Chiffchaff - c10 (4 ringed)
Willow Warbler - 2 (one ringed)
Whitethroat - 3 ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed
Blackcap - 3 (one ringed)
Goldcrest - 5 (2 ringed)

This might be the last day for some of them and it was highlighted by a completely unexpected Clouded Yellow nectaring on autumn hawkbit by the office before moving into the tank farm area.  Also about 15 tatty Meadow Brown, one geriatric Gatekeeper, one Small Copper, 2 Small, one Green veined and one Large White and c7 tatty Common Blue around the office area.  The Clouded Yellow was so unexpected in a national context that the unthinkable - a 'fence hopper' from someone's butterfly rearing enterprise - has to be considered this autumn

Saturday 3 September 2011

New micro for the trap & predictable Curlew Sand

Dichorampha acuminatana was new for the trap but the microlep expert, Steve Palmer, had already located double-figures on and around the foodplant Ox-eye Daisy during 2008.  Thanks to John Girdley for pic. 

Heysham Obs
Birds highlighted by the predictable juv Curlew sandpiper, moths a bit better this morning with a new species which almost escaped into unidentified oblivion!

Outfalls area
Med Gull - 2 juvs, 1 2CY, 3 adult (one in harbour)
Little Gull - ad & 2CY

North wall
Wheatear - 1
Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 1

Foreshore south of Ocean Edge
Curlew Sandpiper - one juvenile

Highlighted by Dichrorampha acuminatana & late Chinese Character, Bordered Beauty and Yellow Shell

Friday 2 September 2011

Bits and pieces in the grot

Heysham Obs
Right at the bottom end of a wadge of rain with winds which were SE to begin with before turning westerly late morning

Vis mig (mainly early morning)
Flava Wagtail - 1
Grey Wagtail - 3 (2+1)
Meadow Pipit - 6
Swallow - 16
Chaffinch - 2

nothing perceptible apart from possibly one 'new in' Chiffchaff!

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge foreshore
Grey Plover - 375
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1,700
Knot - c4,000
Dunlin - 50
Med Gull - 6 1CY (one juv, 5 1st W) and just the one adult
Little Gull - 2CY & adult
Sandwich Tern - 2

Latish White-line Dart headed a small catch of what was otherwise the usual suspects

Thursday 1 September 2011

Arrived too early & phenomenal hirundine passage during the afternoon

Heysham Obs
Today would have been fine if we had an extra hour's sleep and started proceedings about 0700hrs!  The preceding hour saw minimal action other than a tale of two Tree Pipits where the second bird hit the net and 'bounced' the first one out.....and off they both went.  There was a noticeable arrival of phylloscs and a bit of vis mig between 0800 and 0845  as the south-easterly wind was getting its act together.  Then the finches arrived along with the ringing highlight - two Tree Sparrow - and singles of both Whitethroat species
Heysham office 0600 onwards
Tree Pipit - 3 south-east
Meadow Pipit - 37 south-east
Grey Wagtail - 5 south-east
Swallow - 29 through south/south-east early morning, then an off-passage gathering around midday, then ridiculously high numbers both milling around and moving through during the afternoon with 825 south between 1440hrs and 1540hrs (counted at Middleton NR where it was easy to discern movement as opposed to blogging)
House Martin - 10-15 off-passage around midday, then 53 moving south with the Swallows in the hour counted
Sand Martin - just one noted with the Swallow passage
Swift - one with the Swallow passage
Chaffinch - 16 high birds heading south in the early morning
Buzzard spp - one heard mewing several times but could not see anything!  I think the bird-scaring has finished in the Power Station?  Odd.
Tree Sparrow - 2 heard, then found in mist net (only the 3rd and 4th to be ringed here)!
Chiffchaff - c10 around
Willow Warbler - at least 2
Robin - no obvious significant arrival of migrants with three ringed mid/late morning
Woodpigeon - flock of 5 east, maybe just local birds
Blackcap - none were seen/heard today and the only Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat were single unringed birds caught late morning

Ringing:  2 Tree Sparrow, 2 Bullfinch, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, Chaffinch, 9 Goldfinch, just 6 Greenfinch, Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 3 Robin, 2 Long-tailed Tit plus a few retraps (none of them warbler species, suggesting a departure of quite a few which have been hanging about feeding on blackberry)

Red Nab area high tide
Sandwich tern - 2
Little Gull - adult sat on sea
Med Gull - just the one adult sat on sea

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 2