Monday 31 October 2011

Catching up with work................

Heysham Obs
................or trying too after a lengthy check of a surprising 189 moths of 24 species at my mega-site at Millhouses (migrants = Dark Sword Grass, Rusty Dot Pearl and Silver Y (2)).   Very rapid coverage at Heysham produced:

North harbour wall
Twite - 24
Linnet - 6
Meadow Pipit - 2 grounded

Stage one outfall low tide
Arctic Tern - juv
Little Gull - ad

Heysham NR
Dead - c10 Blackbird, one Song Thrush!

Heysham Moth trap
One each of the scintillating Agonopterix heracliana and Brown House Moth (wind needs to be in SW for this trap)

Sunday 30 October 2011

Routine coverage ignoring GMT as you have to

Heysham Obs
Vis mig from dawn(ish)
Greenfinch - 41
Chaffinch - 64
Goldfinch - 32
Reed Bunting - 1
Meadow Pipit
Woodpigeon - 7+4
Meadow Pipit - 6 (inc flock of 4)
Brambling - 1
Redwing - 22
Bullfinch - 2
Jay - 2
Mistle Thrush - 1
Skylark - 2
Linnet - 3

North harbour wall/Ocean Edge
Twite - c25
Med Gull - 2 adults
Arctic Tern - juv Heysham one outfall
Twinnet - c22 of each Ocean Edge south beach at high tide

Grounded HNR
New Goldcrest and Chiffchaff ringed, Chiffchaff still in NE corner
Blackbird - c35
Redwing - 5
Wren - one unringed bird now ringed

Late Brimstone male NE corner, two Red Admiral & single Common Darter on circuit of reserve.  Single Feathered Thorn and Red-line Quaker in moth trap

Saturday 29 October 2011

High speed front

Heysham Obs
A good morning to get the birding out of the way and on with some work.  A clear slot ahead of a rapidly approaching front, with little in the way of 'pre-frontal' cloud, produced a corridor of mainly finch vis mig

Vis mig 0730-0845
Greenfinch - 49 SW
Chaffinch - 71 mainly S/SW
Goldfinch - 11 SW
Brambling - 1+1 SW
Meadow Pipit - 1+1 SE
Redwing - 9 SW
Linnet - 1 SW
Starling - flock of 72 SW (plus ex-roost birds heading east)
Twite (see below)

North harbour wall 0850-0915
Twite - 27 (14 seen well showed 50% unringed); total included 2 "in-off" just before the rain
Linnet - 4
Meadow Pipit - 1 grounded
Arctic Tern - juv seaward end Heysham one outfall
Little Gull - ad offshore in the outfalls slick
Med Gull - adult harbour

Mid-afternoon HNR circuit after the news broke from Sunderland
Chiffchaff - 2; one in osier bed by dipping pond, the other in NE corner (one also heard first thing by the office)
Blackcap - male in the blackthorn scrub on the eastern edge of the marsh
Blackbird - only 20 or so
Goldcrest - one

Ocean Edge foreshore high tide
Linnet - flock of 22 on the south beach (no Twite with them)

One Feathered Thorn

Friday 28 October 2011

Vis mig parrot exudes credibility

Heysham Obs
Quite a surge of early-morning vis mig, then the plug was pulled about 0830hrs with just bits and bats thereafter which did include a very purposeful, high-flying southbound Ring-necked/Rose-ringed Parakeet!  Grounded stuff was marginally better than the anticipated zero, especially Redwing.

Arctic Tern - juv Heysham one outfall (thanks Pete)
Twite - at least 42 including the red/white right-leg colour-ringed bird of unknown origin (due to not seeing what was on the other leg) which was the first Twite seen this autumn - it now been caught so will be traceable
Linnet - 4

Vis mig by the office 0715 onwards, intermittent after 0845hrs
Chaffinch - 95, mostly early and very high with very few grounded
alba Wagtail - 6
Grey Wagtail - 2+1 (late)
Sparrowhawk - male high to south
Reed Bunting - 1
Brambling - at least one
Meadow Pipit - 4 singletons
Siskin - heard once
Goldfinch - minimum of 47
Skylark - heard just the once
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 60 SE
Ring-necked Parakeet - one south at 1035hrs - watched flying straight over Ocean Edge without losing height, heading for Cockersands area.  This assumes there is only one species of green parakeet with a ring-neck!

Grounded by the office
Chiffchaff - unringed bird with a fat score of 3, definitely not a new arrival
Dunnock - one unringed
Goldcrest - 2 unringed
Blackcap - male seen- seemed to be unringed
Redwing - a surprising c40 first thing - headed inland - no ongoing passage
Blackbird - c30 first thing, c10 headed inland
Song Thrush - 5 headed inland early on
Coal Tit - although four unringed birds were caught - there was no obvious hyperactive behaviour, hence 'grounded' rather than 'vis'
Blue Tit - as above, a trickle of 5 'sedate' unringed birds caught

Excluding Twite, unringed birds comprised: Redwing (3), Wren (1), Reed Bunting (1), Song Thrush (1), Blackbird (1), Blue Tit (5), Coal Tit (4), Goldcrest (2), Chiffchaff (1), Dunnock (1), Goldfinch (8), Greenfinch (3), Chaffinch (1), Bullfinch (1) 

A perhaps record single-night catch of 5 Feathered Thorn and a single Dark Chestnut, the latter not annual here

Red Admiral - 3 

Thursday 27 October 2011

End of season dross

Heysham Obs
A half decent forecast this theory.  In practice, the upper wind was far too much of a 'parallel' (to the coast) southerly with the ground wind more south than east.  Result: a poor morning with little evidence of newly grounded birds other than Blackbird.  The gut feeling (and contradictory rainfall radar vs written forecast) that the promised rain would not materialise proved correct with one or two miniscule pulses neither dropping any birds nor putting paid to the (mostly empty) sample mist-netting

North harbour wall/mound
Twite - 21
Linnet - 4
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Med Gull - 2 ads Fisher's roof

Vis mig dawn to 0930hrs
Meadow Pipit - 3
alba Wagtail - 16
Chaffinch - 62
Greenfinch - 16
Goldfinch - 29
Reed Bunting - 1 (and another grounded)
Collared Dove - one
Redwing - 102
Fieldfare - 44
Mistle Thrush - 3
Woodpigeon - 19

Blackbird - c50
Song Thrush - 5
Redwing - 13
Goldcrest - only 3 seen/heard (one ringed)
Robin - one lightweight unringed bird

Emmelina monodactyla located along PA way (SD46A).  No moths in the trap[.  Four social wasps seen

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Double-striped Pug and Yellowhammer top the bill

Heysham Obs
Vis by the office dawn until 1040
Woodpigeon - 13
Skylark - 14
Meadow Pipit - 10
Grey wagtail - 1
alba Wagtail - 13
Blackbird - 40 at dawn then inland
Song Thrush - 2 inland
Redwing - 25 first thing, then inland, 14 SW
Mistle Thrush - 1
Jackdaw - 12
Rook - 10+3
Starling - 190
Chaffinch - 213
Brambling - 1
Greenfinch - 14
Goldfinch - 38
Linnet - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 13
Bullfinch - 2
Reed Bunting - 3
Rock Pipit - 1
Yellowhammer - 1

Goldcrest - small influx arriving from the south from 0900 with 7 ringed
Blackcap - newly-arrived female ringed
Wren - three unringed birds caught 'in the dark'
thrushes - see above
tits were conspicuous by their absence, given the 'open' nature of the morning, and not a hint of any movements, other than two unringed Blue Tit late morning

A short session for Redwing/Reed Bunting at Middleton was a little too windy.  The nets by the office are workable in SE/SSE winds, allowing ringing this week.  This morning was quite productive with the following newly-ringed birds:  Reed Bunting (2), Redwing (7), Blackbird (2), Song Thrush (1), Wren (3), Goldcrest (7), Dunnock (2), Greenfinch (8), Chaffinch (11), Goldfinch (4), Lesser Redpoll (1), Blue Tit (2), Blackcap (1)

Twite - 12 Ocean Edge beach at high tide
Med Gull - adult outfalls area

Amazingly productive given the early morning was freezing cold.  Double-striped Pug was very unexpected so late in the autumn (even though it can be very early in the spring, autumnal records usually terminate in September), Satellite is scarce here and the other two were 'routine'; Parsnip Moth and Mottled Umber

Tuesday 25 October 2011

A perhaps unexpected AA morning

Heysham Obs
Ringing/vis from dawn for an hour or two today with the aim to catch some pre-dawn thrushes, then the finch passage.  A nocturnal unringed (therefore just landfalled?) Wren in a mist net set the tone of the morning which saw a chunk of "AA" rings used on common birds and conversely relatively few Blackbird and Chaffinch in evidence today.  The low point of the morning was the first evidence of obvious trichomonosis this autumn (500+ finches handled) on a fairly old retrap Greenfinch - this was released immediately it was extracted and the number noted.  Less numbers but quite a bit of variety on the vis mig today with more of a cross-bay corridor than recent days

Vis mig 0720-1030
Starling - 396
Chaffinch - 179
Redwing - 286
Greenfinch - 4
Woodpigeon 38S, 16N
alba Wagtail - 5
Lapwing - 2
Reed Bunting - 3
Brambling - 3
Meadow Pipit - 4
Blackbird - 25
Song Thrush - 4
Mistle Thrush - 1
Bullfinch - 1
Goldfinch - 20 then flock of 25 over about 1130hrs
Siskin - 5, then 2 with above Goldfinch flock

Goldcrest - small influx with 4 ringed and c6 on circuit of reserve
Blackbird - at least 27 on mid-morning walk
Wren - small influx with 3 ringed (one caught in the dark!) and 10 seen/heard on reserve circuit
Robin - lot of activity at dawn with two unringed lightweight "British-looking" birds caught in the half-light
Chiffchaff - 1
Blackcap - 1
Coal Tit - 3 unringed birds
Treecreeper - 2
Long-tailed Tit - flock of local birds held two unringed individuals, then unringed flock of 5 caught

Not quite what was expected with the following new birds: Wren (3), Long-tailed Tit (7), Chaffinch (3), Coal Tit (3), Blue Tit (2), Bullfinch (2), Greenfinch (2), Goldfinch (2), Blackcap (1), Song Thrush (3), Blackbird (1), Redwing (1), Goldcrest (4), Robin (2)

Brick attracted to the security light but not surprisngly, nothing in the easterly-facing moth trap

Monday 24 October 2011

Starlings lead the vis mig parade

Heysham Obs
Vis mig by the office 0730-1100
Golden Plover - 1
Lapwing - 9
Woodpigeon - 5
Meadow Pipit - 2
alba Wagtail - 7
Fieldfare - 43
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 174
Jay - 1
Carrion Crow - 2
Raven - 5 together south
Starling - 1,304 south-west
Chaffinch - 401
Brambling - 1
Greenfinch - 15
Goldfinch - 12
Linnet - 1
Bullfinch - 1
Reed Bunting - 1

Goldcrest - just 3-4
Chiffchaff - 2 (north-east corner and by dipping pond)
Blackcap - one ringed with off-passage fat score of 4
Blackbird - absolute minimum of 50 first thing around the office (landfalling overnight and flushed in the dark from gorse and hawthorns)
Redwing - relatively few before dawn (5-10)
Robin - lot of ticking first thing but just the one lightweight unringed bird caught

A couple of windblown insectivores in the north-east corner during the afternoon (Chiffchaff and Goldcrest).  Thanks Janet

North harbour wall
Twite - 8 seen early afternoon, 2 wearing our colour rings
Linnet - 10
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Eider one inshore

At least three Treecreeper around with one already ringed, one unringed and one of unknown 'status'.  Small amount of ringing this morning in winds which were less than forecasted with new birds comprising:  Blackbird (3), Song Thrush (1), Chaffinch (7), Greenfinch (2), Treecreeper (1), Long-tailed Tit (1), Blackcap (1), Robin (1)

Red Admiral north harbour wall late morning with at least three seen early afternoon flying along NHW from harbour entrance towards Half Moon Bay.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Wet vis

Heysham Obs
Quite a bit of vis whilst sheltering behind the office between 0815 and 0845

Vis 0815-0845
Redwing - 143 SW plus 8 out of bushes, then inland
Fieldfare - 19 SW
Chaffinch - 22 SW
Greenfinch - c15 SW
Goldfinch - 6 SW
Starling - 220+250 SW (not ex-roost?)
Siskin (heard once)
alba Wagtail - 4 SE

at least 25 Blackbird by office/tank farm at 0815

Med Gull - 1CY on the north wall railings & ad Red Nab
Guillemot - one inshore (thanks Mark)
Twinnet - about 27 Twite and 8 Linnet but very flighty
Wigeon - at least 75 Red Nab
Kingfisher - one inner end of Heysham one outfall
Little Gull - adult outer end of Heysham one outfall
Rock Pipit - one by the 'wheel'
Thorough but negative search for Black Redstart around the harbour and visible parts of the Power Station site.  If any power station workers are reading this, please keep an eye open for this species during the coming week's weather and drop me an e-mail (see sidebar).  Thanks

No moths (SE wind into window c/p 140 in the Millhouses trap!), but two Red Admiral flying south and one 'blogging' in the Nature Park during quite dull conditions for butterflies........but unseasonally warm.  c8 social wasps seen today.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Thrushes and Finches

Heysham Obs
Heysham Nature Reserve
Vis 0740-1100
Redwing 347
Fieldfare 67
Mistle Thrush 1
Chaffinch 310
Goldfinch 18
Greenfinch 13
Siskin 22
Lesser Redpoll 4
alba wagtail 15
Grey Wagtail 1
Woodpigeon 9
Collared? Dove 1
Reed Bunting 2
Cormorant - one high to the south over the reserve
Great-spotted Woodpecker - one seen to fly 'in-off' from the north harbour wall
Pink-footed Goose - 62 south midday
Goose spp - 25-30 low far inland as seen from HNR office

Chiffchaff - one abietinus caught and ringed (pic later)
Blackcap - two contact calling to each other early on
Robin - one new bird
Blackbird - c20 early on but no on-going movement
Song Thrush - just 3 early on
No new Goldcrests

Middleton Nature Reserve (Lunchtime)
Mute – 3
Coot – 2
Moorhen -1
Teal – 5
Tufted - 2
Snipe – 2
Pinkfoot – 100 south
Fieldfare – 35 grounded
Redwing – 2 grounded
Common darter - 8


North harbour wall
Twite - just 2 reported
Guillemot - winter ad/juv inshore - flew out (thanks for reporting this)

Feathered Thorn

Friday 21 October 2011


Heysham Obs
Little Gull - adult Heysham one outfall
Twite - just two flighty birds around the feeder

Reproduced from the LDBWS site re- 2010 LDBWS annual report
The printers have really got on with this and it is ready. We intend to save postage by distributing most of them via the LDBWS meeting on 31st October. The report always creates a slight cash-flow problem.

Therefore please renew your membership subscription as soon as you can, either at the LDBWS meeting or by sending £12 (single adult membership - see under 'Join' for other permutations) to: Mike Chamberlain, 3 Redmayne Drive, Carnforth LA5 9KA

Alternatively, you can collect your report (and leave a membership renewal cheque!) in the meantime from Heysham Nature Reserve office - there is usually someone there during at least the morning

Thanks very much

Pete Marsh (Secretary LDBWS)

**The 2010 Lancashire Bird Report has also been printed and on its way to the retail outlets
Yet another Brick - mega autumn for this species - and two Angle Shades

Thursday 20 October 2011

Dead clear start, minor interest after the showers

Heysham Obs
Some mornings are worth an early start - this wasn't

Vis mig dawn to 0930
Chaffinch - 69
Brambling - 3
Redwing - 1
alba Wagtail - 15
Goldfinch - 17
Mistle Thrush - 1
Lapwing - 1 south
Siskin - 2
Meadow Pipit - 5
Woodpigeon - 6+11+3
Carrion Crow - flock of 5 (where are the Jackdaws!)

Grounded by the office
Nothing first thing, a few bits after the showers
Robin - 3 unringed birds caught (two very orange-breasted)
Chiffchaff - 2 (at least one of them unringed)
Wren - two unringed birds caught
Blackbird - zero (like a cold morning in midwinter, not mid-October) first thing - c5 seen later
Song Thrush - 3 probable migrants after the second shower

Harbour area
Twite - 8
Linnet - c12
Med Gull - 2 adult and 1CY
Little Gull - visible feeding on Heysham one outfall

Roe Deer - one NE corner reserve
Grey Squirrel - one by reserve entrance gate

Brick, Red-line Quaker, Mottled Umber - the latter new for the year

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Redstart surprise and overdue Rock Pipits

Heysham Obs
Despite being in the "unassuming" category in dudey bird books (small/brown/hard to see/not worth looking at), I think Rock Pipit would have been noticed had it appeared earlier, given the reasonable coastal coverage.  The Redstart was most unexpected and a product of a bit of a vigil in the sun-trap in the north-east corner of the reserve by Jean and myself.  The vigil-instigator (very brief initial views) turned out to be a Garden Warbler - notable in the context of this poor autumn

North-east corner of the reserve (1100-1145)
Quite a bit!
Blackbird - 35-40
Chiffchaff - 2 (one ringed)
Goldcrest - one
Redstart - female/imm
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Redwing - 1
Treecreeper - 1

Heysham NR generally (1045-1200)
A lot of Wren with perhaps 15 heard contact-calling
Water Rail - at least three in the marsh with vocal behaviour suggesting new arrivals
Sisikin - 3
Meadow Pipit - 5 overhead
Skylark - 7 overhead
Chaffinch - probably 15 vis mig birds
North harbour wall circuit
No sign of the Snow Bunting in a thorough search in better conditions than yesterday (but colder!)
Wheatear - large one on the mound
Twite - 8 (2 x green/white split over light blue, one light blue over red/white split, one light blue over dark blue/orange split, 2 unringed 1CY, 2 unaged unringed)
Linnet - 16 (5 ringed)
Rock Pipit - two
Meadow Pipit - one
Med Gull - 1CY flew along the seawall
Little Gull - ad seaward end Heysham one outfall

Migrant Hawker - NE corner
Comma - NE corner
Red Admiral - c7, mainly NE corner
Rusty Dot Pearl - worn individual PA way bank (SD46A - entered on MapMate)
Red-line Quaker - one in the trap

Grey Squirrel - one alder woodland
Common Shrew - dead one on path by dipping pond (45E)

Tuesday 18 October 2011

A few notables

Heysham Obs
Snow Bunting - female alongside the wide bit of north harbour wall road feeding on weed seeds about 1110hrs - flew in the direction of the Twite feeder but could not be relocated, unless it was skulking in the sandworks
Little Gull - adult outfalls
Arctic Tern - one adult in the harbour late morning, 3 adults reported later on
Med Gull - at least two 1CY around plus 3 adults
Kittiwake - 12-15 behind the IOM passenger ferry at 1205hrs
Chiffchaff - one by office
Twite - up to 5 on the seed (2 cr)
Linnet - up to 12 on seed (one metal-ringed)

Monday 17 October 2011

Bits and bobs on the coastal front

Heysham Obs
Saturday's Cetti's Warbler, hopefully still skulking in the main wetland area (thanks Emma)

A Python-like 'now for something completely different' this morning with no vis mig coverage (lie-in) or ringing etc.  The wind is back in the south-west and intertidal work beckoned.  Well and truly gripped off by Hilbre in the meantime...........but we were short of a decent foot-slogger hitting the early morning nooks and crannies whilst we carried out the ringing/vis mig stuff.  Can't moan about the Cetti's & above is another picture:

Ruff - juv male on Ocean Edge grass, then flew to saltmarsh
Curlew Sandpiper - the first bird seen on the survey - a juvenile in the Ocean Edge saltmarsh channel at low tide, then flew and joined the thousands of calidrids to the south
Little Gull - usual adult Stage outfall/Red Nab and a new adult, almost in fsp, seen from the north harbour wall (per Tom)
Med Gull - three adults Red Nab area at various times
Twinnet - again very frustrating flight-only-at-a distance views, but about 60 on Ocean Edge saltmarsh (6 Linnet and no Twite north harbour wall)

Single Epirrata, Red-line Quaker and Silver Y

Sunday 16 October 2011

Murky thrushfest, a couple of really big birds, followed by clear westerly dross

Heysham Obs
Just about worth it this morning as the last inkling of any obvious decent passerine migration weather for the foreseeable future!  This morning was all about murky misty conditions and a smattering of thrushes which presumably dropped as they hit the weather front in the early hours.  In addition, there were a few extra ones dropping in at dawn

This included two consecutive birds which had me really scratching my head.  The first was a male Chaffinch with a wing of 94mm (and weight of 26.2 grams with NO obvious fat reserves!).  This will either cause IPMR to crash or collapse in a fit of derisory laughter.  This was followed by a Chiffchaff with a wing length of 67mm, but a quick check of Svensson sees this at the top end of the male abietinus range.  A fairly low-key session saw 31 new birds, including 5 migrant Blackbird, one Redwing, 2 Blackcap, the above Chiffchaff, two lightweight (but not very orange) Robin and just one Goldcrest

Vis mig by the office
Redwing - 66 SW
Fieldfare - 78 SW
Blackbird - 17 SW
Song Thrush - 13 SW
Chaffinch - just 74 SW
alba Wagtail - 22 SE
Starling - 38 S
Grey Wagtail - 1 S
Meadow Pipit - just 11 SE
Linnet - 16 S
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 53 SE
Lesser Redpoll - 1 SE
Skylark  - 29 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 SE
Goldfinch - 32 S/SW
Raven -1 S

Grounded then some heading inland
Blackbird - 45-50
Redwing - c40
Song Thrush - 11
Chiffchaff - 2
Blackcap - just the two ringed birds encountered
Goldcrest - at least 4
Robin - two lightweight unringed bird but no other evidence
Wheatear - one OE foreshore

Med Gull - three adult types on Fisher's roof and the Czech adult patrolling the north wall
Twinnet - flock of c60 seen only in flight on OE saltmarsh (both species calling)
Little Gull - adult and presumed 2CY outfalls area

The first mothless night of the autumn & just one Red Admiral seen

Saturday 15 October 2011

Cetti's highlights one of the best-ever 'clear' migration mornings

Heysham Obs
Considering we were late (traffic again!) and missed the early thrushes, this was quite an impressive morning which included a new bird for Heysham NR; far better than chasing the stars and disappearing bird(s) along the dreaded Washway/A149.  Thanks to Sean and friends for coastal coverage, including the 'in-off' Blue Tits!

Vis mig by the office 0715 onwards
Grossly underrecorded due to multi-tasking with ringing/clear blue sky/demo for Watch group etc etc.
Brambling - 10
Chaffinch - 496
Redwing - 295
Fieldfare - 397
alba Wagtail - 58
Bullfinch - 7
Dunnock - 3
Blackbird - 8
Song Thrush - 3
Raven - 2
Goldfinch - 33
Meadow Pipit - 44
Sparrowhawk - 7 south (two of these watched in-off)
Blue Tit - flock of 6 in-off
Greenfinch - 46
Reed Bunting - 5
Skylark - 28
Grey Wagtail - 4
Mistle Thrush - 5
Carrion Crow - 40 (best flocks 9 + 11 - amazingly no Jackdaw this am)
Woodpigeon - 6 obvious migrants high to south
Tree Sparrow - 20 (9+6+4+1)
Swallow - 8 (all coastal)
Starling - 20 (just one flock)
Linnet - 19
Lesser Redpoll - 12
Crossbill - 3 (one flock)
Yellowhammer - 1 flying south calling frequently
Siskin - 20 plus 3 lots heard
House Sparrow - 2
probable Snow Bunting ('Teuk' call x 2 sounded more like this than Lapland but they are tricky unless you hear the trill/rattle - couldn't find the bird against the blue sky)

Chiffchaff - c4 early on
Goldcrest - at least 6 early on, but just the one unringed bird later & none on early afternoon reserve circuit
Ring Ouzel - one flew inland from the bushes by the office 0745hrs
Cetti's Warbler - one caught in the feeder mist net ride (!!) released in suitable habitat below the classroom
Song Thrush - c15
Redwing - c60
Blackbird - c15
Blackcap - 3 ringed

c70 birds including Cetti's Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 2 Redwing, single House & Tree Sparrow (together) and 30 Chaffinch

CETTI'S WARBLER - on weight & wing measurements definitely a female, considered 1CY

HOUSE AND TREE SPARROWS (the first time these two have been caught together here - thanks John)

Twite - c6 on the mound
Med Gull - three adult and single 2CY and 1CY
Little Gull - adult (type)
Stock Dove - one in-off

at least 15 Red Admiral seen flying south.  One very worn Speckled Wood and two "off-passage" Red Admiral.  c10 Common Darter at the back of the wetland but no sign of any Migrant Hawker.  One Large Wainscot was the only occupant of the moth trap (the element of east in the overnight wind suppressing the catch)

Friday 14 October 2011

Good coastal vis and a new moth

Heysham Obs
A dawn until midday session was again lacking in exotic eastern fare but was a pretty decent day for vis mig plus a smattering of odds and ends in the mist nets

Heysham office area vis mig first light-1200hrs (last hour very intermittent)
Reed Bunting - 4
Chaffinch - 305
alba Wagtail - 51
Redwing - 50 or so at dawn plus 253, including a flock of 112.  Most of the rest were with large Fieldfare flocks
Fieldfare - 985, largest flock 220
Song Thrush - 7 migrants on vis mig
Bullfinch - 9 south, mainly singletons but also a flock of 3
Meadow Pipit - 30
Goldfinch - 35
Dunnock - 1
Linnet - just 3
Sparrowhawk - three singletons high to the south (2 females)
Starling - three flocks southbound totalling 115
Greenfinch - 53
Swallow - 2
Grey Wagtail - 2
Mistle Thrush - 2
Brambling - just one heard
Snipe - 1
Skylark - 52
Crossbill - one
Woodpigeon - 12
Raven - 2+2+1 south-west

Not brilliant
Chiffchaff - 2-3
Goldcrest - 2-3 new ones & a handful of lingering retraps
see above for early morning Redwings
Song Thrush - not many - c5 going inland at dawn
Blackbird - at least 3 perceived migrants at dawn

New birds: Chiffchaff (1), Goldcrest (2), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Greenfinch (7), Chaffinch (11), Robin (1), Coal Tit (2), Redwing (1), SongThrush (1), Wren (1), Blue Tit (6), Great Tit (1)

Acleris hyemana is new for SD45 - it frequents heather clad lowland raised bogs and heathland and can be found locally on Heysham Moss (SD46) and Winmarleigh Moss (SD44).  There is some of the 'correct' habitat actively managed on Heysham Nature reserve.  Thanks John.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Lingering fronts suppress the vis mig flood

Heysham Obs
Considering this was 'the' big chance for birds to be on the move after a spell of inclement wind/low cloud, the early part of the morning was a major disappointment with heavy cloud to the west, north and east seemingly blocking a lot of potential vis mig and also not producing much in terms of grounded birds.  Late morning, the cloud lifted and the birds really piled through between 1030 and at least midday when coverage ceased

Vis mig first light-1200; rather intermittent and disjointed coverage for about an hour mid-morning 
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Greenfinch - at least 49, but difficult to separate from grounded birds
Chaffinch - 336, but grossly underrecorded during the early morning
Grey Wagtail - 2
alba Wagtail - 87
Goldfinch - 17
Reed Bunting - 4 (14 ringed at Middleton)
Skylark - 19 & one 'lot' heard
Meadow Pipit - 106, mostly in the last 1.5hrs
Siskin - 11 and three flocks heard but not seen
Crossbill - 5 (flock)
Bullfinch - 2
Carrion Crow - 3
Fieldfare - 8 at 1050hrs, 27 at 1155hrs (NO Redwing!)
Dove - one very high to south.  In retrospect, not happy with the original posting as Collared and the rather tapered appearance of the tail brings the possibility of Turtle Dove into the equation (very high silhouette was the only view available)
Linnet - just 2!
Brambling - a flock of 6 "with" the second lot of Fieldfare contained at least two (& probably all) Brambling
Swallow - 1

Grounded (no activity at HNR other than around the office/obs tower area)
Goldcrest - 6 ringed at Middleton, 4 ringed at HNR - many fewer than expected
Chiffchaff - one 'brownish' individual ringed which was giving the strident 'swee' call, at least two others giving normal collybita calls.  One ringed Middleton
Treecreeper - one ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
unstreaked Acro - dont get too excited - this was almost certainly a juv Reed Warbler - it was seen to fly into a mist net, then promptly escape giving 'Reed Warbler calls' and exhibiting a noticeable gingery hue to the plumage.  Flew into the 'tank farm'.
SongThrush - at least 5

Middleton & Heysham NR ringing
In addition to the Goldcrests and Chiffchaff mentioned above, the following were also ringed at Middleton: Reed Bunting - 14,  Long-tailed Tit - 10,  Wren - 2, Robin - 1, Great Tit - 3, Blue Tit - 3.   Heysham NR ringing produced 50ish new birds with most of them after 0930hrs with Chaffinch (18) and Greenfinch (19) making up the majority.  Other birds included Dunnock (1), Blackcap (1), Chiffchaff (2), Goldcrest (4), Goldfinch (2), Song Thrush (1) with the rest being Blue and Great Tits

Adult Little Gull (thanks Jeff)

Rusty Dot Pearl and an Epirrata highlighted a small catch

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Event wash-out

Heysham Obs
Shame about the weather front this morning - started raining at dawn and didnt stop until lunchtime.  Visitors persevered in soaking conditions for rather limited fare

Redwing - 2 at dawn
Chiffchaff - at least one reserve
Goldcrest - at least 2 reserve
Little Gull - adult and adult-type Red Nab
Wheatear - one north harbour wall
Linnet/Twite - c20 north harbour wall but very flighty

Two Parsnip Moth the best of a routine small catch

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Knot a lot

Yes, a lot of Knot and a lot of other waders in a mixed mass of at least 10,000 seen distantly on Middleton Sands.  I'll leave Garry to sort them out on Sunday's WeBS count!

Ocean Edge
500 Dunlin flew to Ocean Edge to escape 3 huge dogs frolicking along the water's edge at Middleton Sands. In amongst the Dunlin was a lone Sanderling.
3 Little Egrets appeared late afternoon in the saltmarsh channels.
An adult Mediterranean Gull flew over.
At 15:05hrs a flock of 70 Pink-footed Geese flew south.

Little Gull - adult seaward end Heysham One & 'adult type' (probably 2CY minus dark tips to primaries as per underwing tone) inner end of Heysham 2 late afternoon
Mediterranean Gull - 2 adults and 1 x 1CY

One in the bush by "Gate 38" - first record of Goldcrest for SD35Z?!

Monday 10 October 2011

More seawatching mediocrity but a decent midday ferry haul

Heysham Obs
Persistence just about paid off........
North harbour wall 0800-1130hrs; Red nab x 2 brief visits
Leach's Petrel - 3 out at by 1100hrs (0815,0900,1100)
Arctic Tern - 3 x juvenile, 2-3 tern spp, probably Arctic, out
Gannet - one out and possibly the same one behind the ferry.
Common Scoter - one in then out again.
Wigeon - 4 out, 7 Red Nab
Kittiwake - 26-30 behind IOM ferry, 15+ 1CY
Little Gull - probably the same wide-ranging adult
Med Gull - 2 adults and at least one 1CY - one of adults the Czech-ringed bird
Kingfisher - one along the inner north harbour wall
Twite/Linnet - mixed flock of 21 but very mobile (at least 9 Linnet)
Ringed Plover - 17 on heliport, 16 Ocean Edge beach

Goldcrest - one by office, 2 NE corner of reserve
Chiffchaff - one by office and a brownish individual with a shrill call in the NE corner
Siskin - one off-passage by office
Song Thrush - 2 possible migrants the only remote evidence of any thrush passage here

Included Feathered Thorn (new for the year) and another Large Wainscot

Sunday 9 October 2011

Unexpected Leach's followed by more predictable afternoon bird in deteriorating weather

Heysham Obs
A routine coastal check after examining the moth trap, therefore no sense of expectant urgency, actually produced a Leach's Petrel on the first sweep at 0915hrs!  A subsequent 45 mins & two later sweeps along the wave troughs produced nothing else

Leach's Petrel - one slowly 'out' 0915-0920 about yellow buoy range.  Presumably this bird seen coming out of the bay as observed from Rossall Point a little later. As the weather deteriorated="improved" during the afternoon, another was watched for 10 minutes at 1600hrs (thanks Mike, Sue and Andy)

Inshore/behind IOM ferry
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull - adult and 2 x 1CY
Kittiwake - 1CY

3 Meadow Pipit, 6 Linnet and 8 Twite (one red/white right leg cr)

A "two-nighter" produced a good haul, but was unfortunately exotic-migrant-free.  Brick and two Large Wainscot the best on offer

Saturday 8 October 2011

If its a blank, its usually a Saturday!

Heysham Obs
Apologies for the lack of coverage today, one of those things and in tradition with the poor coverage (or poor notable-bird finding rate) north Lancs seems to experience on a Saturday, despite it being the weekend

Not even the moth trap was checked, despite Palpita vitrealis in a nearby Morecambe trap.  What will tomorrows 'double-catch' bring after a night of mild south-westerly drizzle and the nationally-publicised migrant influx still presumably hovering around, at least in part?

John just had time to top up the north harbour wall feeding station where there were 6 Linnet. 

Friday 7 October 2011

The IOM ferry golden touch!

Heysham Obs
After a very routine operation covering the tide cycle on the south side, preceded by a wander around the mound area, a break between counts allowed the incoming IOM ferry to be perused..........

IOM ferry arrival from north harbour wall
Sabine's Gull - juvenile behind the ferry c1215hrs, then lost behind the outer section of the wooden jetty and distracted by:
Brent Goose - almost certainly dark-bellied - two flew 'in' quite close inshore, but fumbled around before finding them in the scope & whilst the bellies looked dark, the angle of observation was a bit 'tail-on'.  Then then lifted the scope off the window & noticed:
Shag - juvenile on the sea below the north wall, then flew up the bay towards the stone jetty as the ferry entered the harbour
Then tried to relocate the Sabs & couldnt find it - presumably it had flown back out along the boat channel line
Kittiwake - 2 1CY behind the ferry
Med Gull - see below
Vis mig by the office 0715-0730
Chaffinch - 14 SW
Greenfinch - 5 SW
alba Wagtail - 2 SE

Vis mig etc north harbour wall 0745-0815
Meadow Pipit - 41 SE
alba Wagtail - 12 SE
Wheatear - 2 together
Med Gull - 4 adults & 3 1CY (later seen following the ferry into port) - one of the adults was the Czech-ringed bird
Little Gull - adult dip-feeding in the harbour mouth

Ocean Edge/Red Nab etc
Little Stint - at least one juvenile with 1,500+ Dunlin

At least 3 Red Admiral and two Small Tortoiseshell around the office.  Brick was a notable record in the moth trap

Thursday 6 October 2011

Mersey winds arrive too early

Heysham Obs
As suspected, the best winds for us were during the night and the day dawned with winds which were just too far round to the north-west at WWNW (despite assertions on all forecasts that it was "west").  Seawatching therefore a waste of time unless you are into Shelduck passage.  However, its supposed to go more west or even WSW prior to the afternoon frontal system...........but there is no tide.  After the front, firmly in the north-west

Outfalls/Red Nab
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull -Ad
a Dunlin was grovelling around the edge of a puddle on Ocean Edge grassland trying to look rare at a distance

Harbour mouth area late morning/IOM ferry
Med Gull - 1 x ad (large bird, not the one on Red Nab earlier), 3 x 1CY
Little Gull - 1CY far offshore
possible Leach's petrel glimpsed twice far offshore (or black wing-shaped flotsam)
Kittiwake - ad-type and 2 x 1CY behind IOM ferry
Pink-footed Goose - c36+6 SW over the sea, c42 SW over the harbour
Cormorant - 63 on wooden jetty (Shag have been very scarce this autumn so far & none recently)
'Comic' Tern - thought to be an adult Arctic seen offshore about 0945hrs

2 x Red Admiral & 1 x Speckled Wood seen in sheltered bits of HN reserve

Grey Squirrel along Moneyclose Lane

One of an excellent sequence taken by Janet on Middleton NR

Wednesday 5 October 2011

The "preparation" day for tomorrow's seabirds?

Heysham Obs
A possibility of some Leach's action tomorrow, although I would have preferred the  cold front currently going through a little bit later on in the night.  We'll see & post any stuff pretty sharpish.  I'm just not sure where they all are at the moment with little evidence of any numbers anywhere on this side so far this autumn - have a lot of them already sneaked south post-Katia, pre-this latest lot?  No doubt the north-westerly on Friday will give the answer in the Mersey mouth if tomorrow up here does not work out

Token gesturing today with little confidence in a first (proper) day of wind producing anything

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - adult & 1CY
Little Gull - adult

Chiffchaff - 2

No exotic migrants in the Heysham trap but the catch included a surprising revival of Black Rustic (5), which seemed to have tailed off for the autumn, and a Large Wainscot

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Autumnal unpredictability

Heysham Obs
I didnt set my most productive moth trap last night (courtesy of Val at Millhouses) as 'it was too windy from the west as opposed to anything with south in it'.  Cue one of the best migrant moth nights ever in Lancashire (Ni Moth, Scarce Bordered Straw, Bordered Straw, Vestal from two traps I have heard about!). 

Similarly, a glance out of the window at dawn, notably the swaying branches on the oak tree, seemed to suggest extra sleep was in order as the only obvious consideration was "you dont get seabirds on the first day of an autumnal blow"!  An hour later, whilst checking the home moth trap (best migrant 'yet another' Rusty Dot Pearl), it was immediately apparent that there was a lot of "surprising" vis mig happening.  A phone call to Jean Roberts.........but she was already in position on Caton Morr at the start of a 2,000+ Meadow Pipit movement in a F4 gusting 5 westerly cross-wind.  I decided to do a sample vis mig, followed by a sample seawatch at Heysham:

Vis mig 0900-0930
Chaffinch - 57 SW
Meadow Pipit - 14 SE
alba Wagtail - 9 SE
Goldfinch - 5 SE
Siskin - 10+c13 SE
Reed Bunting - one calling from bushes
Greenfinch - 9 SW

Chiffchaff - at least two
Wheatear - one Ocean Edge beach

North harbour wall 0935-1005
Eider - flock of 15 offshore
Razorbill - 2 out - quite close inshore
Meadow Pipit - 32 SE
alba Wagtail - 8 SE
Linnet - 5 SE & 6 on the mound

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Outfalls most of the rest of the day
Curlew Sandpiper - one with a flock of 550 Dunlin, most of which were out of range as regards detailed check & CS was picked up in flight with the nearest group
Med Gull - 3 different adults at various times, including one which followed a freight ferry to the green buoy before flying back offshore.  At least one mobile 1CY
Little Gull - just the one seems to be left - the adult

Monday 3 October 2011

Locally scarce tringa saves the day

Heysham Obs
Ignored the alarm this morning and made no arrangements with anyone else (after 5 consecutive 0530 starts!) and we ended up with no early morning coverage on a half-decent morning.  A bit of vis mig and a bush-search from 1100-1200 just covering the reserve:

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Spotted Redshank -  juvenile moulting to 1st W was in Ocean Edge saltmarsh channel, then high tide roost - a tricky bird to see here
Little Gull - adult
Ringed Plover - 19 on Ocean Edge beach
Vis mig 1100-1200
alba Wagtail - 7 SE
Chaffinch - 14 S
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
Meadow Pipit - none
Lesser Redpoll - 1 SE

Grounded Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - 6
Song Thrush - 7
Blackcap - 1
also Water Rail heard in the wetland
Blackbird - 3 flighty birds along PA way may have been early migrants

Half Moon Bay (evening)
Wheatear - 2

Migrant Hawker in front of the pagoda in temperatures which are still high teens
Comma - 2
Red Admiral - 5
Speckled Wood - c10
Moth trap held the first Epirrata spp (November Moth agg) of the year along with Green-brindled Crescent, Pink-barred Sallow, Red-line Quaker, Black Rustic and Silver Y

Sunday 2 October 2011

Sat under a frontal band

Heysham Obs
...........with very few obvious gaps for any vis mig after the first half hour of daylight

Vis mig 0700-1030
Very intermittent depending on cloud/rain to N/NW
Meadow Pipit - 107 (including loose flock of 44, obviously an accumulation of birds in unsuitable conditions)
Siskin - heard twice
Bullfinch - 1 S
Chaffinch - 22 SW
alba Wagtail - 17 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 S
Grey Wagtail - 7 SE (including flock of 4)
Greenfinch - 4 S
Goldfinch - 6 S
Dunnock - 1 S
Linnet - 1 S

Chiffchaff - 5 (4 ringed)
Goldcrest - just two heard
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Song Thrush - 14 grounded, then inland or south during the early morning
Wheatear - one Red Nab

Little Gull - adult outfalls

Saturday 1 October 2011

Not quite what was expected

Heysham Obs
Funny morning with a smatter of rain at dawn, flat calm and a bank of cloud to the north and north-west.  The first hour was dire and it looked to be a 'duff' morning.  Then the vis perked up and there was a small influx of Chiffchaff and Blackcap after about 0815hrs.  The cloud cover to the north and north-west oscillated and was undoubtedly responsible for the vis mig being in waves interspersed by very quiet spells.  The wind picked up at about 0930hrs.  Later in the morning, especially around lunchtime, the vis steadied and there was a constant trickle of alba Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch.  The other problem early on was a very localised light north-easterly wind carried the sound from the hive of activity around the lorry park and made both the vis hard to hear and negated the attempt to catch Grey Wagtails

Vis mig 0700-1130
Chaffinch - 170
alba Wagtail - 122
Grey Wagtail - 14
Linnet - just 3!
Greenfinch - 15
Reed Bunting - 14
Meadow Pipit - 244
Lesser Redpoll - 4
Carrion Crow - 2
Skylark - 14
Goldfinch - 25
Coal Tit - just 4 this morning
Siskin - at least 50 (at least 10 flocks, four of which were not seen and recorded as '1')
Crossbill - flock of 4 south at 0915
Bullfinch - 2
Swallow - 4

Song Thrush - 10-15 first thing
Chiffchaff - at least 10
Blackcap - at least 5
Robin - no evidence first thing but a trickle of unringed birds
Goldcrest - just one at each site!
Green Woodpecker - seen at Middleton
Snipe - 3 Middleton

Ringing (Middleton and Heysham)
Grey Wagtail (3), Blue Tit (10), Great Tit (4), Coal Tit (2), Chaffinch (9), Dunnock (3), Chiffchaff (7), Blackcap (4), Robin (5), Wren (4), Greenfinch (1), Goldcrest (1), Reed Bunting (9)

Red Admiral - at least 7 migrating southwards
Comma - 2 by office
Small White - one
Speckled Wood - at least 15 just around the office

Migrant Hawker - 2 by office