Saturday 31 December 2011

Rapid and early check in the drizzle

Heysham Obs
Breaking news - there are now FIVE 1CY Shags by the waterfall (thanks Malcolm - all five sitting on the base of the platform)

Gate 38/west quay/wooden jetty
Glaucous Gull - juv flew over the 'wheel' towards outfalls 0830ish (in poor visibility) and that was it as far as I am aware - NO SIGN at all during check of usual roost sites in the afternoon
Shag - definitely four by the waterfall early on, then FIVE from lunchtime plus possibly another gang of four offshore (too distant to be sure with binoculars) - watch out for them sitting on the lower tiers of the platform next to the waterfall if you cannot find them tomorrow
Kittiwake - 18 harbour, 4 outfalls area
Guillemot - 3 by waterfall early moning, SIX later
Little Gull - 2 1CY stage 2 outfalls mid-afternoon

North wall/mound/heliport grassland
Twite - 7 on seed
Goldfinch - 3 on seed
Reed Bunting - one on heliport
Purple Sandpiper - at least one on the big skeer next to the red gate (near the orange marker) but optics kept steaming up
No pipits seen/heard

Friday 30 December 2011

A calm morning!

Heysham Obs
Two mist nets were set for the first time since a short weather-window on 16th December.  A very quick check of the coast early morning and mid afternoon.

SW corner of the harbour
Kittiwake - 10 on pipe, 3 on water (& 3 on outfalls)
Guillemot - 4
Shag - at least two 1CY, later 3

Harbour mouth area/outfalls/Red Nab
Glaucous Gull - juv on the mudflats (per pager), then sitting on seaward end of wooden jetty at 0945hrs,  then was sat on Red Nab at high tide
Little Gull - 1CY Heysham 2 outfall high tide
Twite - 'small flock' reported early morning on feeder area, then flushed by dog

About 12 unringed Gold/Green/Chaffinches and a Robin!

Thursday 29 December 2011

Quick whizz round

Heysham Obs
Glaucous Gull - on the beach by the north harbour mouth at 0900hrs
Shag - 3 juv in harbour
Little Gull - 2 1CY 2 outfall, probably 3 later
Guillemot - 3 in harbour
Kittiwake - about 15 in harbour (10 on pipe), c60 behind the IOM ferry, but only seen as entering the harbour & others may have already flown out
Med Gull - 2 adults
Twite - 7; 3 unringed, one Machrihanish-ringed, 3 Heysham-ringed
Goldfinch - 1

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Another day, another gale

Heysham Obs
Festive commiseration for those on board the Ben-my-Chree in what must have been marginal sailing conditions, producing a perhaps record c100 Kittiwake in tow as it staggered into the harbour at midday

Glaucous Gull - Juvenile on the waterfall 0915-0945, heading towards the outfalls over the inner end of the wooden jetty at 1000hrs, then roosting on Ocean Edge foreshore on the grass in the SW corner over the high tide
Kittiwake - c15 in the harbour, c15 just offshore early morning, then c100 behind the IOM ferry at lunchtime (mainly 1CY)
Little Gull - probably three, possibly four 1CY
Shag - 3 1CY in the harbour
Guillemot - up to 5 in the harbour and three-four offshore
Razorbill - one briefly in the harbour, probably another offshore, but distant
Med Gull - usual two adults
Twite - 3 early morning (1 unringed)

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Waterfall supremo

Heysham Obs
Nearly went for the awful title of 'water off a glaucs back' as the bird was in pole position and this involved being right under the waterfall with a fair amount of water bouncing off its back

Harbour/north wall circuit 0830-0900
Calm this morning, but a bit tricky for spec wearers with a fret coating the optics
Glaucous Gull - at the waterfall at 0900hrs, on the wooden jetty 1215hrs
Kittiwake - c15 in harbour early morning, c20 more behind the IOM ferry
Shag - 3 juv by the wooden jetty early morning then in harbour
Guillemot - one offshore, one by the waterfall, 3 later in harbour
Little Gull - 1CY outfalls, 1CY harbour area
Purple Sandpiper - one on the big skeer by the red gate (not the 'white feathered' bird)
Pink-footed Goose - 51 north 1215ish, c200 grey geese north at 1330ish
Rock Pipit - one by the gate, one half-moon bay, one Heysham barrows
Meadow Pipit - one, poss two on mound
Twite - 3
Goldfinch - 3
Wren - one on mound
Dunnock - one by gate 38

One Mottled Umber

Monday 26 December 2011

Productive quick run-round 0915-0950

Heysham Obs
Can I remind people that "Gate 38" is a bit 'stiff' and needs a good yank to open it (or a shoulder-charge on the way back!).  Conversely, please dont leave it 'half pushed to' in these strong winds as it will swing open.  Thanks.   Also there is absolutely no substitute for detailed directions when birding in this area as per sidebar (and map if you scroll down) - there have been several people receiving 'vague details' as per word of mouth in e.g. Leighton Moss hides (e.g. Sarfraz as per LDBWS posting) and relying on this will get you lost or, in the case of the power station entrance road, becoming an unauthorised person wandering into a restricted area.  If in doubt, try the NR office - someone may be in

Mid-morning trawl/midday IOM ferry and mid-afternoon trawl produced:
Behind IOM ferry
Kittiwake - 41, mainly 1CY

Red Nab
Glaucous Gull - juv bathing in stream at 0945hrs, not seen subsequently.  It has not knowingly been in the harbour area for two days, therefore not sure where it is feeding at the moment
Med Gull - 1CY

Little Gull - 2 x 1CY
Kittiwake - 13

Wooden jetty/harbour
Shag - 3 1CY

Waterfall area of Harbour
Kittiwake - 16
Guillemot - 3 & one just offshore

North harbour wall
Twite - just 2

Fisher's roof
Med Gull - 2 adults

Sunday 25 December 2011

Satellite ticks the Christmas theme

Heysham Obs
Happy Christmas everyone and its looking good for a reasonable New Year's Day list looking at the stuff round Heysham and elsewhere

Coastal areas
Glaucous Gull - the juv was sat on the grass on Ocean Edge with other gulls and Oystercatchers at 1015hrs
Kittiwake - 20ish harbour/outfalls
Twite - 9 on the seed but no chance to check rings
Guillemot - 2 in the harbour, none seen offshore at high tide
Shag - 3 1CY around harbour area
Goldfinch - one on Twite seed
Little Gull - 1CY Heysham one outfall at high tide
Med Gull - 2 adults
Grey wagtail - one by harbour 'waterfall'

Heysham NR
Green Woodpecker - one next to the office at 1300hrs

A single Satellite was quite appropriate, especially as it actually had one, not one of your brown ones

Saturday 24 December 2011

Unhappy Guillemots

Heysham Obs
Bit of a sign of a 'wreck' this morning with at least 7 Guillemot off the mouth of the harbour with an additional dead one being eaten by gulls.  Thanks to Malcolm for many of the following:

North harbour wall/outfalls
Glaucous Gull - juvenile on Fisher's roof, then in harbour late morning, but could not be found earlier
Med Gull - 3 adults
Shag - 3 in the SW corner of the harbour (plus one Cormorant), one roosting at the same time on the wooden jetty (all juvs)
Kittiwake - in the absence of any boat traffic, just 17 seen (4 of these on the outfalls), all but 4 were 1CY (morning), increasing to c30 on the waterfall in the afternoon, plus another 30 behind a ferry and 4-5 on outfalls 
Guillemot - one in the harbour, at least 7 inshore and one dead one
Twite - 11 (one 2011 Machrihanish-ringed bird and one unringed bird)
No sign of any Little Gulls on the outfalls (yesterdays bird was only seen following the IOM ferry)

Ocean edge saltmarsh
High tide produced:
Jack Snipe - one
Common Snipe (2)

Middleton NR
Paucity of wildfowl continues with just one f/imm Pochard of note

Friday 23 December 2011

Glaucous Gull does a morning disappearing act

Heysham Obs
Unless someone can indicate to the contrary very first thing, the juvenile Glaucous Gull could not be found anywhere this morning, despite a careful search of the nooks and crannies over the high and early dropping tide.  However, as soon as the waterfall came into its own as the tide dropped even further in early afternoon, it appeared.  Presumably hauled up on an obscure rooftop (definitely not on the wooden jetty or Fisher's roof)

Inshore/offshore sightings
Shag - definitely four juveniles today, a gang of three and a separate singleton
Glaucous Gull - present under the waterfall from 1330hrs (se above) - thanks Sean
Kittiwake - only 20 or so during the morning, mainly SW corner of the harbour, then 7 behind a rig supply boat closely followed by 34 behind the
IOM ferry
Pintail - flock of 17 flew 'in'
Red-throated Diver - one distantly 'out'
Little Gull - at least one 1CY
Twite - c15
Med Gull - just one adult seen during the morning and none following the ferries!

Heysham NR
Green Woodpecker - one lunchtime

No moths, Guillemot or Purple Sandpiper seen today

Thursday 22 December 2011

Seagulls and an unseasonal moth

Heysham Obs
A good day today.  The departure of the ludricous number of waders off Ocean Edge, which were a feature of October/November made the work part of it much easier than usual.  Ocean Edge also excelled in at least one of the 's' words today with NINE species of seagull in the 'scope at once at 1215hrs, as it was trained towards the outfalls/wooden jetty.  Earlier, Song Thrush, Wren and Robin were singing-by-streetlight in ASDA carpark at 0700hrs, another array of songsters greeted the arrival at Heysham NR and a check of the Heysham moth trap just as it started to get light produced a worn 'primary-migrant-like' Silver Y.   Better still in a local context was a female December Moth - by no means guaranteed to grace the year-list here.  The catch was completed by 3 Mottled Umber and a few gnat-type things, but surprisingly (or not as it was a bit windy?) no Winter Moths

By the HNR office
Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Mistle Thrush and Goldfinch heard singing

Coastal stuff/IOM ferry followers
Shag - 3 together in SW corner harbour
Kittiwake - at least 27 around harbour, 4 on outfalls and a massive 55 behind the IOM ferry, despite not being very windy
Med Gull - 3 adults around outfalls/Red Nab, additional adult followed the IOM ferry in before returning 'out', 1CY again on Heysham one outfall
Glaucous Gull - juv still around but ended up perching on a section of the (inner) wooden jetty not visible from the north wall at 1215hrs (but contributing to the nine species at once!) - beware if this habit continues.
Little Gull - 2, possibly 3 1CY outfalls
Twite - 12- including unringed bird and one ringed at Machrihanish in autumn 2011
Meadow Pipit - 2 sandworks
Rock Pipit - one by harbour mouth
Ringed Plover - 17 Ocean Edge south beach
Wigeon - just 56

Silver Y, female December Moth, 3 Mottled Umber

Wednesday 21 December 2011

15 degrees warmer than last year!

Heysham Obs
A mild and murky day with no chance of any morning coverage as we became computer-screen-potatoes from pre-dawn with a 1200hrs work deadline

A short post-lunch foray produced (thanks to Sue and Mike for most of these records):
Glaucous Gull - by wooden jetty per Sue & Mike
Med Gull - yesterdays 1CY visible on the end of Heysham one outfall
Little Gull - at least one 1CY Heysham one outfall
Shag - one 1CY
Kittiwake - 20+
Twite - 14 on feeder
Lesser Redpoll - 1 on feeder(uncertain whether ringed)
Goldfinch - 2 on mound/feeder

After publicising the re-opening, there is now some minor fence work going on along the 'corridor' from Gate 38, so it may be a 'construction site' for the next day or so and therefore not accessible

The unseasonal conditions produed 2 x Mottled Umber and 1 x Winter Moth in the hut trap, a site usually "useless" for very early and very late species compared to my Millhouses woodland site

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Whistle stop

Heysham Obs
About 3-4 minutes around 10ish along the north harbour wall, then some info from Andrew Cornall at lunchtime.  Thanks Andrew.  Sorry for the late posting - very busy today.

North wall/harbour area
Glaucous Gull - juv on the wooden jetty at 1000hrs, in the harbour at lunchtime
Twite - 10 on seed
Shag - two 1CY seen
Med Gull - 2 adults seen
Guillemot - one in harbour
Kittiwake - 28 at the very least

HN reserve
Goldcrest - one by the HNR office

3 x Winter Moth in the trap.  This is a good year if you want a Christmas Day moth list - a bad one if you have bet on a white christmas!  Worth getting the traps out for at least tomorrow and Saturday nights if you are sheltered from SWish winds

Monday 19 December 2011

Full house in 5 minutes

Heysham Obs
A visit to the north wall around 11ish was the stuff birdrace dreams are made of

Glaucous Gull - juv by the waterfall morning 1100ish and again about 1445hrs
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on the rocks below the north wall
Little Gull - 2 x 1CY seaward end Heysham 1 outfall - visible through the outer gap in wooden jetty, later at least 3 1CY and possibly 4 on outfalls
Med Gull - 3 adults, including one with blackish head, 1CY Stage 2 outfall 1500hrs
Shag - two together in the harbour, one on wooden jetty
Kittiwake - 35 harbour, 4 outfalls
Guillemot - one by the waterfall
Twite - 17 on the seed
Rock Pipit - heard along the harbour side of the mound

Sunday 18 December 2011

Good variety for the Sunday birders

Heysham Obs
Harbour area and outfalls
Shag - 2 1CY together, no reports of 3 today
Glaucous Gull - juv still present but mobile; sat on the wooden jetty at 1315hrs (on there for c3 hours so looks like this is now the preferred loafing site!)
Kittiwake - 39 harbour, 5+ outfalls area
Rock Pipit - one west quay
Little Gull - 2 1CY outfalls area
Med Gull - 2 adults outfalls area
Twite - 14
Lesser Redpoll - one on feeder, now ringed!
Guillemot - one inshore lunchtimeish
Purple Sandpiper - singleton on the rocks below the wooden jetty (thanks Nick)

Anything else from the large number of birders around, please?

Saturday 17 December 2011

All present apart from the hidden or departed Guillemots

Heysham Obs
The big question here is have the Guillemots gone or are they in the underground reservoir enjoying themselves until the next high spring tides when they can emerge?  If this is the case, there are several precedents from the days when Guillemots were a regular winter feature in the harbour.  Graeme Dunlop used a landing net to catch them (including a large, dark nominate individual), then ringed and released them offshore until a sizeable risk assessment appeared stopping the catching process, which involved hanging on to a metal ladder with one hand and waving the net around with the other

Check from the west quay/wooden jetty area
Glaucous Gull - juv sitting on the edge of the south quay, then wandering around, including sitting on the end section of the wooden jetty, to 1315 at least
Shag - three around (2+1)
Kittiwake - 36 intake area & rest of harbour, increasing to c60 c5 outfalls area (mainly 1CY)
Med Gull - 2 adults seaward end Heysham one outfall, then 4 adults around later on, including boat followers
Little Gull - 2 x 1CY outfalls, ad briefly
Purple Sandpiper - the 'white-feathered' bird was on the seawall between the two outfalls mid-afternoon

North harbour wall
Twite - 21 (rings not checked)
Lesser Redpoll - one with Twite!

More evidence that the moths at this time of year like the colder, stiller weather with a Mottled Umber and another Dark Chestnut present

Friday 16 December 2011

Dredger disruption

Heysham Obs
After some ice-road trucker conditions between Bentham and the A65 this earlyish morning (trucks coming the other way until one jackknifed), followed by a phone call at the A65/A59 roundabout that the Bradford meeting was cancelled, an unscheduled belated visit to Heysham this lunchtime/afternoon.  This included a short spell of ringing where the December total was more than doubled with the capture of 5 unringed finches!   It also revealed that dredger activity had dispersed many of the large gulls from around the inner harbour, perhaps 'dragging them offshore'.  No obvious sign of the Glaucous this afternoon.

Harbour area, mainly morning reports
Kittiwake - 35, mainly 1CY
Glaucous Gull - juvenile present during at least mid-morning around the waterfall, not seen in afternoon as far as am aware
Shag - 3 1CY around (2+1)
Twite - 17
Little Gull - at least one 1CY on outfalls
NO sign of any Guillemot - are they all in the underground reservoir?   Will try and find out.

Excelled themselves with a Dark Chestnut and two Winter Moth

Thursday 15 December 2011

Despite the calm, many birds still in situ

Heysham Obs
Calm slightly frosty conditions saw a net loss of Guillemot, but all the other waifs in place

Glaucous Gull - Juv on the top of the old Fisher's roof along the south quay most of the day.  Only visible at long range from north harbour wall
Twite - 22, including Machrihanish 2011-ringed bird
Shag - 1+2 around, later all three together
Kittiwake - 22 in SW corner of harbour, c5 outfalls
Little Gull - 2 x 1CY outfalls
Med Gull - Two adults along north harbour wall (one Czech-ringed)
Guillemot - just 2 seen
Red-breasted Merganser - two in harbour
Goldfinch - 2 on Twite seed

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Dont turn your back on the sea

These were taken today by Janet with the three Shag together by the waterfall.  Thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
Good sea conditions were somewhat neglected as observers looked the other way at the increasing number of waifs and strays in the harbour.  This included serious neglect on my part as a 'Glaucous-finding' session for a visiting group did not include the compulsory scan of the wave troughs behind my back.  A late Leach's Petrel was slowly making its way out but the observer was out of communication range at the harbour mouth.  Just to show the luck of the draw with seawatching and the need to be there in the short time-period, the Leach's observer then took a short break and missed the 'dark-morph' Fulmar seen by another local observer arriving just after the Leach's had disappeared!

In the harbour area
Shag - 3 1CY
Guillemot - max of  ELEVEN in the SW corner
Glaucous Gull - either on the waterfall or somewhere on the corrugated roof, but a bit elusive
Kittiwake - c30
Med Gull - 2 adult
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on the end of the north wall about 1300hrs

Freight ferry
Kittiwake - c60 (mostly 1CY)
Little Gull - 2 x 1CY

Leach's Petrel - one slowly 'out' at 1300hrs
Fulmar - light and dark (not double-dark) morphs out together at 1315hrs.  This bird had a greyish head concolorous with the grey mantle and contrasted with the white-headed 'normal' light morph
Pintail - 7 out
Guillemot - 2 out
very little else other than a trickle of Kittiwake

Little Gull - up to 3 adult and two 1CY, but birds dispersed as the tide/rough sea came in

Song Thrush - one still around the mound!
Twite - max of just 6 today
Goldfinch - 2 on mound area

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Hanging on to what we have got in wild and woolly weather

Heysham Obs

 Thanks for these pics Janet - taken today in the SW corner of the harbour

Seawatch 0845-0930
Little Gull - 3 adults out
Kittiwake - flock of 15 sat on the sea, 'small numbers' offshore mid-afternoon
Pintail - three out
Razorbill - 2 together out
Guillemot - 2 closer inshore on the sea
Common Scoter - male inshore along the north wall
Med Gull - adult

Harbour area
Glaucous Gull - again did not arrive until about 0945hrs, then sat on the old corrugated roof along the south quay, still there 1145hrs
Kittiwake - 22 in the harbour
Shag - two together in the inner harbour - both looked 1CY at long range, but one much darker than the other
Guillemot - 4 in the harbour

Little Gull - 2 1CY, later also 3 ad
Kittiwake - 12

Monday 12 December 2011

Glaucous Gull still present

Heysham Obs

First two in the harbour (thanks Pete) and the third from Ocean Edge beach (thanks Janet)

Inner harbour
Shag - at least two, probably three (at least 2 1CY, one possibly 2CY) either in the harbour or on wooden jetty
Guillemot - 4
Kittiwake - c25 - one Ad metal ringed (looked British) sat on the SW corner 'pipe'
Glaucous Gull - juv under the waterfall SW corner of the harbour at 0945hrs (also visible rather distantly from the north harbour wall) then later either under the waterfall or on the old Fisher's roof along the south quay.  This can only be viewed from the north harbour wall (north side of roof) or by the Moneyclose Inn traffic lights at long range (south side of roof)

Little Gull - 2 1CY
Kittiwake - 5

North wall
Twite - 17
Med Gull - two adult

one Winter Moth

Sunday 11 December 2011

Rather impressive cast headed by Glaucous Gull

Thanks to Pete Cook for these pics

Heysham Obs
It has taken time, as it usually does before the turn of the year, but the gales are producing the goods.  This site really comes into its own in winter after a few days of strong onshore winds, both on the outfalls and in the shelter, and food availability under the waterfall, of the harbour

Glaucous Gull - juv feeding below the waterfall late morning and still around the harbour area to at least 1445hrs
Shag - mobile juv touring the harbour
Little Gull - two 1CY still on outfalls
Kittiwake - c18 in harbour
Guillemot - 4 in or just outside the harbour, one offshore
Purple Sandpiper - one on wooden jetty outer section
Twite - up to 30 seen with 17 around the feeder
Med Gull - three adults, one quite 'black-headed'
Sanderling - still with Dunlin on Oceab Edge beach
Eider - 1CY male inshore
Little Grebe - one in the inner harbour (thanks to the couple of birders for alerting us to this)

A single (20 minute) round produced two new Greenfinch

They got into the act for the first time for a few days with Mottled Umber and Winter Moth

Saturday 10 December 2011

Waifs and strays slowly increase

Heysham Obs
The SW corner of the harbour is accumulating a collection of Kittiwakes and Guillemots and at least four Little Gulls were also inshore

Sea 0915-1015
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Kittiwake - flock of 13 out, plus 3 singletons
Auk spp, prob Razorbill - 2 together out but distant
Guillemot - 2 offshore

Kittiwake - 10 in SW corner of harbour, c5 outfalls/harbour entrance
Little Gull - at least one 1CY, one 2CY and 2 adult, mainly Heysham 2 outfall
Med Gull - 2 adults around; patrolling the north wall early afternoon, additional adult Red Nab
Twite - 16
Guillemot - now 3 in the SW corner of the harbour
Sanderling - one still roosting with Dunlin on Ocean Edge beach
Red-breasted Merganser - 6 together inshore near Red Nab (4 male)
Wigeon - still 102
Linnet - one OE saltmarsh (at least)
No sign of any Purple Sandpiper or Shag

Friday 9 December 2011

Harbour fare

Heysham Obs
Todays news included the possibility of yesterdays 'whirring thing' ending up as a Little Auk inside a Great Black-backed Gull at Rossall today.  Work prevented high tide coverage of the south side but there were a few bits and bobs around the harbour/north wall

The fare in the south-west corner of the harbour.  Thanks Janet

North harbour wall/harbour
Med Gull - adults patrolling the north wall and sitting on Fisher's roof (two birds)
Kittiwake - 7-8 in the harbour
Cormorant - two in the harbour (no Shag seen)
Guillemot - 2 in harbour
Auk spp - probable Razorbill out but very distant

Thursday 8 December 2011

Stormy Sanderling and whirring mystery

Heysham Obs
What appears to have been a small auk was reported as having whirred past the north harbour wall, quite close inshore, about 1300hrs, but carried on beyond the wooden jetty.

Coastal sightings
Sanderling - one with Dunlin (27) and Ringed Plover (11) on Ocean Edge south shingle beach.  All winter records have been associated with stormy weather.
Kittiwake - flock of 35 on the sea first thing and 6 waifs in the sw corner of the harbour (2 1CY)
Guillemot - 1 in sw corner of harbour
Shag - mobile 1CY touring the harbour early afternoon - very elusive!
Twite - 3 seen
Whooper Swan - two adults flying out over the sea into the teeth of the gale early morning.  Why?!
Little Gull - adult outfalls in the morning

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Tricky conditions

Heysham Obs
Neither Tom not Pete enjoyed the conditions today during brief visits which produced a few bits as per yesterday and a few extra Kittiwake.  Thanks for the info.

North harbour wall
Purple Sandpiper - yesterday's bird with white feather in right wing
Guillemot - 2 in the harbour by the 'intake'
Med Gull - adult patrolling
Kittiwake - 2 1CY in the harbour, at least 9 in transit offshore in two groups during very brief seawatches
No Twite seen (no food left?)

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Blanket coastal coverage gives a reasonable selection

Heysham Obs

North wall area/off outfalls/IOM ferry
Common Scoter - one on the sea, then presumably the same in flight just after IOM ferry
Guillemot - 2 harbour
Kittiwake - not so windy today and just 3 in harbour (2 1CY) and four behind the IOM ferry, 3 of which 'signed off' at green No 7 buoy
Shag - at least one juvenile seen, possibly two
Purple Sandpiper - what appeared to be a new arrival with white feather(s) in the right wing and 'uniform' plumage half way along NH wall
Twite/Linnet/Goldfinch - c25 birds in total, at least 18 Twite & 2 Goldfinch
Meadow Pipit - 2 on mound (one ringed)
Red-throated Diver - one offshore
Med Gull - just the one adult seen today
Pink-footed Goose - c60+85+78+ c140 south/south-east plus a large gang circling around to the south off Cockersands/Lune Estuary
Dunnock - one along the west quay (35Z)
Song Thrush - two 'wintering' on the mound!
Rock Pipit - one heliport seawall
Wigeon - 102 Red Nab (as the 'other day')

Grey Squirrel - 2 together Moneyclose Lane (one there yesterday)

Monday 5 December 2011

Cutting edge identification

Heysham Obs
A decent Kittiwake influx this morning, but the main identification challenge was to work out what had happened to red Number 8 buoy, a key feature just before the harbour entrance.  After a discussion over whether the top had blown off, it was deduced that it had turned turtle! 

North wall/harbour 0900-0945
Kittiwake - flock of 41 out, at least 8 close inshore, including 5 around the harbour waterfall
Med Gull - 2 adults in the harbour
Guillemot - at least one in the harbour mouth
Twite - at least 14 around

North harbour wall IOM ferry time
Kittiwake - c30 behind ferry
Shag - juv flew into the inner harbour, arriving from the north
Purple Sandpiper - one on the seawall with Turnstone by the red gate

Sunday 4 December 2011

A decent array of species........eventually

One of the two Guillemot in the harbour this morning.  Thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
The birds were not being 'consistent' this morning and it was really unfortunate to see a visiting couple of birders, including a keen youngster,leaving just too early to see anything.  Always worth taking your time when visitig the north harbour wall as birds can hide in many nooks and crannies, notably the corners of the harbour during strong winds

Harbour/north harbour wall
Shag - juvenile on the wooden jetty this afternoon (first for a bit - very tricky to see this autumn, with all so far being single point in time (not even single day!) observations)
Purple Sandpiper - two flew in about 0930 nd sat on the seawall at the harbour mouth
Guillemot - two tucked right in the SW corner near the 'shag waterfall'
Kittiwake - 1CY SW corner of harbour, 3 1CY & one adult Stage 2 inner end at various times
Twite - 8 on the seed
Med Gull - adult(s) north wall and Heysham one outfall at different times
Little Gull - adult at the seaward end of the outfalls/in the boat channel

There has been a definite influx of continental Blackbirds over the last three days as the weather has turned colder, starting with an unexpectedly large flock of 26 along a hedgeline at Wray on 1/12 (area walked virtually daily during November).  There were at least 20 restless individuals on the nature reserve today, some of which moved down Moneyclose Lane using the 'seeiiip' call you often hear from continental night/early-morning-landfalling migrants, but not usually, apart from at roosting time, from "British" birds

Saturday 3 December 2011

Saved by an interesting Twite recovery

Heysham Obs
Med Gull - adult over Tranmere Crescent and the usual two adults around the harbour mouth/Heysham one outfall, possibly just two birds involved here
Guillemot - one far offshore sat on the sea
Twite - 11 in flight mound area

Ringing recovery
Thanks to Gary Woodburn for the following
It was ringed at Heysham in spring 2011 (note pale blue site ring and split dark blue/orange season & year code) and photographed today at Long Nanny, Beadnell, Northumberland.  This site has also received at least two birds ringed at Machrihanish and one from Clachtoll (Lochinver), so obviously at least some of the flock are of western Scottish origin and therefore a Heysham-ringed bird was perhaps not unexpected
A Winter Moth in the trap (two the previous night)

Friday 2 December 2011

Ringing window closed

The two Purple Sandpipers taken in foul weather conditions this afternoon on the north harbour wall.  Thanks for this, Janet

Heysham Obs
A possible ringing window as I left home in calm frosty conditions became a shower-laden F3 wind on arrival at Heysham, no good for a Twite session or the anticipated feeder ringing session where new Goldfinches and Greenfinches have been trickling in (observation of unringed birds).  Shame as there were plenty of birds around the office feeder and the Twite situation was more interesting than it seems to have been of late.....and there are not many calm possibilities on the horizon!

North harbour wall 0900-0930
The plan B (or C) was actually quite productive:
Kittiwake - flock of 5 1CY headed distantly into the bay
Red-throated Diver - one on the sea, one flying out
Med Gull - adult on beach
Purple Sandpiper - two flushed from below the north wall by the gate by tackle scavenger and headed towards the harbour mouth.  Later present on the north harbour wall (see pic)
Robin - unringed bird on feeder
Meadow Pipit - 2 (unringed) in sandworks
Twite - flock of 17 with 2 unringed birds were joined by another flock of 9 where 7 were unringed and one sported 2011 Machrihanish-ringed sequence.  Then everything was spooked and the Twite flew to the south towards the mast in two separate flocks
Goldfinch - 2 unringed birds

Thursday 1 December 2011

Coastal blanket

Heysham Obs
Work-related wall-to-wall, apart from the harbour mouth/wooden jetty area, coverage of the coastal areas produced a slightly meagre fare (e.g. behind IOM ferry), other than the Whoopers and three 'large dark distant wildfowl' flying out in very bad light which were quite possibly Brent Geese!

Whooper Swan - 3 off Heysham Head, flew low to the south at 1155hrs
Kittiwake - 1CY behind the IOM ferry at midday, then flew rapidly out
Med Gull - the 'pelagic' adult followed the ferry in to No 8 buoy before flying back south down the shipping lane (regular habit).  Usual two adults inshore early morning
Twite - not searched for early morning - post-lunch check revealed just 5
Goldfinch - 2
Song Thrush - 1 mound area
Knot - c14,000 off Ocean Edge
Wigeon - 102 Red Nab area
Definitely no sign of any Little Gulls, despite strong winds and incoming tide watch
No targeted search for Purple Sandpiper as outside survey area (see above)