Saturday, 31 March 2012

Sandwich tern invasion

Heysham Obs
A light localised north-easterly prompted a routine visit and seawatching (& Pete C) saw 22 Sandwich tern, a mixture of inshore birds on the yellow buoy and ones and twos patrolling offshore

Two mist nets next to the office produced their first 'new unringed bird' for about three hours (none yesterday) in the form of.........a Blue Tit [in contrast, 600 ringed at Portland BO so far today (1830ish)!].  Definite block on grounded migrants and, bearing in mind the female/2CY content of the later birds, has the Lesser Redpoll passage finished!!  It wasn't many years ago when this was a consistent feature of late April/early May, then it shifted to mid-April, then last year to around 9/10 April, then this year the fourth week of March!  Is it just the first available warm anticyclonic weather of the spring which prompts the movement?

Sea 0735-0905
Sandwich Tern - 22 (c7 on yellow buoy) [first of year]
Red-throated Diver - 4 floating out on sea
Red-breasted Merganser - 3 'in' (2+1)
Eider - 80+
Great-crested Grebe - 2 'in'
Just 3 Linnet around the mound area

Office area
Meadow Pipit - 7 NE
Blue Tit - unringed 2CY caught
No evidence of any other movement c/f south-coast 'falls' of last two mornings

A late Chestnut was the only surprise

Friday, 30 March 2012

North-westerly dross

Heysham Obs
A small clear slot just after dawn plus some mistiness produced the only perceived migratory 'event' of the day:

Siskin - 5NE
Goldfinch - 2NE

This precipitated what was turned out to be a birdless two hours with two mist nets

Rather better than the birds with the first two Powdered Quaker of the year, an Agonopterix heracliana and another Shoulder Stripe - a moth which is gradually becoming commoner here

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Uncooperative redpolls and unexpected Blackcap

Heysham Obs
Maybe some of the redpolls are getting wise to people trying to catch them as they move up the country and they failed to enter the (albeit 'suntanned' and visible) nets again this morning.  For the last two mornings. there has been at least one bird per flock acting as though it knew the score and dragging the rest of the group off to the north after a brief rest and chat at the top of a bush.  Therefore ringing has been limited to the occasional singleton.  The morning was a "bonus" of another still and sunny first three hours or so before the forecasted west-north-west wind kicked in.  The only evidence of a night migrant was a female Blackcap which unexpectedly appeared in the mist net

North harbour wall
No Twite, just 6 Linnet.  Immature Peregrine successfully caught a Turnstone and flew off out to sea with it!

Office area dawn to 0915ish; not very conscientious vis coverage
Woodpigeon - 2 NE
Raven - one north
Meadow Pipit - 17 NE
Lesser Redpoll - at least 35 north
Goldfinch - 13 NE
Chaffinch - 5 NE

Blackcap - one female ringed with zero fat and a weight of 16.9g
The only other ringing comprised 2 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Goldfinch and a Chaffinch

Ringing totals so far this year
Despite the unsuccessful redpoll ringing and complete lack of night migrants during the last three days,
a pretty impressive start to the year with good numbers of Goldcrest and quite a few rather unexpected unringed individuals of the likes of Long-tailed, Blue and Coal Tit:  Siskin (2), Lesser Redpoll (39), Goldfinch (36), Goldcrest (165), Blackcap (1), Robin (22), Chiffchaff (21), Blue Tit (18), Dunnock (8), Great Tit (5), Linnet (3), Coal Tit (4), Chaffinch (22), Twite (17), Greenfinch (51), Blackbird (5), Song Thrush (1), Wren (2), Long-tailed Tit (7), Meadow Pipit (71)

Birds ringed elsewhere comprised Reed Bunting (from Walney), Meadow Pipit (as yet unknown origin British) and Lesser Redpoll (unknown origin French), Shag (from Puffin Island, Anglesey) and the returning wintering Czech-ringed Med Gull which departed for its unknown breeding site on 29th February.  The wintering Twite ringed at Machrihanish Seabird Observatory (Mull of Kintyre) in autumn 2011 was also re-caught during March.  It may also prove possible to trace the origin of the Lesser Redpoll with a 'closed' aviculture ring!  One of the Blue Tits was caught a day or so later at Brookhouse in the Lune valley - an established pattern of spring movement in this area.

Queen social wasp seen for the first time this year.  Loads of drone flies!

Seen today on Heysham NR.  Thanks Janet

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Nice sunny birdlessish day

Heysham Obs
Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - c35
Skylark - 1
Siskin - 1
Lesser Redpoll - c25
alba Wagtail - 3
Goldfinch - 6

Gannet - 2 'in'
Eider - 145

Goldcrest - 1 - first noted early afternoon!
Blackcap - 1 singing male very first thing, moved on
Wheatear - 1 on mound
Robin - unringed adult was a surprise
Twite - four on the north wall seed, including two unringed birds

Stunningly unsuccessful with the two migrating flocks of Lesser Redpoll both containing 'spooky' individuals which dragged the flocks away from the netting area almost as soon as they had landed, possibly also due to this being the worst time of the morning for sun on the nets.  Ringing limited to the above Robin plus 1+1+1+1+2 Lesser Redpoll

Interestingly, we have ringed almost 500 birds so far this year, the vast majority in March with a big chunk of these being 165 Goldcrest - by far the largest ever spring total for this species

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

In-off Red Admiral surprise

Heysham Obs
Office area dawn to 0930hrs
As is often the case, the main migrant in the clear conditions this morning was Lesser Redpoll, perhaps surprisingly (for so early in the redpoll migration season) all those ringed were adult females or last year's young birds.

Vis mig dawn-c0930hrs
Mute Swan - 3 east (low)
Whooper Swan - 5 north
Meadow Pipit - c60 north
Lesser Redpoll - 27 north (16 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 2 north
Linnet - 5 north
Grey heron - one high to NW
Goldfinch - 4 north
Carrion Crow - 1 north

No definite night migrants seen at all!
Twite - one north wall

Loads of Small Tortoiseshell and a few Peacock around but the main surprise was a Red Admiral butterfly (probably male) which flew in-off from the SW at Ocean Edge at about 1355hrs.  Surely a hibernator spurred by the weather and not a primary immigrant?  Diurnea fagella in the moth trap

Monday, 26 March 2012

Clear weather fare

Heysham Obs
The problem this morning was traffic noise during the peak vis mig period - it is odd how this is only a problem on certain mornings, seemingly unrelated to the wind - the wrong kind of air?  Nice flock of Knot at Middleton/off Ocean Edge which we have been counting all week - 12000-14000 each day:

Office area
Ring Ouzel - probable male tank farm then flew inland 0725hrs
Redwing - 2 flew inland just after dawn - late for here
Chiffchaff - just the one obvious migrant ringed
Goldcrest - none
Lesser Redpoll - at least 42 north (just 7 ringed)
Chaffinch - 5 NE
alba Wagtail - 9 N
Meadow Pipit - c80 N
Carrion Crow - 2 N
Linnet - 7 N
Woodpigeon - flock of 6 N
Collared Dove - 1 NE
Goldfinch - just one N!

Eider - 122

North wall in afternoon (more seed put out after Twite seen this am)
Twite - at least 5 on seed but flew off before could be examined
Linnet - at least 6 as above

Ocean Edge
Twite - 5, then flew north, possibly out to sea (at least two were unringed, rest not seen properly)

Surprisingly good catch considering it was 3.5C at dawn, with a mass break-out of Double-striped Pug (8), Early Thorn (4) and a nice individual moth in the form of Red Sword Grass (not common here). Another Speckled Wood seen today - this time at Middleton:

All pics taken by Janet today - thanks for these

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Very early morning fencehopping redpoll?

Heysham Obs
Quieter morning with the main interest being a Lesser Redpoll sporting a closed ring as used by aviculturalists.  This was removed as it was too large for the leg - easily passing over the joint on to the upper leg - and has been despatched to the BTO

Office area
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed, including the first female of the year
Goldcrest - 7 ringed (one male)
Lesser Redpoll - at least 19 (two registrations not seen, counted as 'one') (5 ringed (or re-ringed!))
Meadow Pipit - 288 NE
Siskin - 1+10 NE
Chaffinch - 2 NE
Goldfinch - 6 NE
Sand Martin - 1 NE
Linnet - 6 NE
alba Wagtail - just 2 NE
Jay - two of unknown status making a lot of noise and flying about
Bullfinch - 'lost' female contact calling around the office for 5 minutes before heading north
Lapwing - 2 south
Woodpigeon - fairly definite migrant flocks of 6+4 north
Rook - star bird of the morning - one south-east
Dunnock - one unringed bird caught
Wren - as above
Kestrel - 2 north

North wall
0740-0840, 0915-0935
Meadow Pipit - 65 N and NE
Redpoll sp - 10 N
Grey Wagtail - 1 N
alba wagtail - 18 N
Siskin - 3 N
Linnet - 6 N
Jackdaw - 1
Black-headed Gull - 82 in

Wheatear - the only one seen anywhere this morning was a male on the mound

Ocean Edge
Knot - 12,000
Bar-tailed Godwit - 600
Ringed Plover - 20 at high tide on OE beach (as yesterday)

The earliest ever Speckled Wood made and appearance next to the office in the early afternoon

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Very early morning French redpoll

Heysham Obs
Net-setting rather too late at 0600hrs missed two lots of Lesser Redpolls, apart from one bird which entered the half-opened net as it was being set - it bore a Paris ring!

Later, perhaps even less-likely, a Meadow Pipit was caught bearing ring number L742790 - any one own up to this, please?

Office area/north harbour wall vis mig/grounded
Meadow Pipit - 299 logged over the office (0600-1200) + 52 over NHW (0645-0700 and 0935-0950)
alba Wagtail - just 3 over the office and 2 over NHW
Lesser Redpoll - early morning groups of 18 + 9, then just two singletons, and 4 NHW
Carrion Crow - 2 north very high
Raven - two northbound migrants tracked from Potts Corner to high over Heysham Head
Sparrowhawk - two singletons high to NE
Chaffinch - 3 NE
Goldfinch - 13 NE (underestimate)
Linnet - 4 NE + 2 over NHW
Woodpigeon - 4 to east, high, and 5 high over NHW
Chiffchaff - at least 10 migrants (7 ringed)
Goldcrest - a few early morning, then a reasonable arrival mid-morning after a change in wind direction - 40+, all but one trapped a female (27 ringed).  Also 3 on the NHW 'mound'
Jackdaw - 2 high to the west (rare here!)
Tree Sparrow - one (+?) heard but not seen
Siskin - 7 NE  over NHW
Skylark - 1 NE over NHW
Greenfinch - 2 over NHW
Goldfinch - 1 over NHW

Ocean Edge area
No Wheatears, despite good coverage doing survey work
Knot - 14,500
Bar-tailed Godwit - 390
Blackcap - singing male by the OE entrance gate for a short period (first of year for British Energy Obs area, but birds wintering in suburban area), heard later nearby by visiting birders (thanks for the report)
Med Gull - 2CY, probably same as the other day

A few Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock on the reserve.  Early Thorn a bit of an overdue addition to the moth year list

Friday, 23 March 2012

Pollinated male Chiffchaffs and female Goldcrests

Heysham Obs
Another pretty good early spring migration morning, highlighted by a significant influx (at last) of male Chiffchaffs, some showing evidence of pollen, apparently from 'Mediterranean' flora, on and around their foreheads.
                                                                                                    Thanks, Janet

Grounded Heysham NR/dog track/Ocean Edge
Goldcrest - not many and all females (11 ringed)
Chiffchaff - probably at least 20 migrants (9 ringed), a good spring day count for here
Wheatear - 5 Ocean Edge foreshore
Other ringing included Lesser Redpoll (first 3 of the year) and Meadow Pipit (21)

Vis mig 0700-0930
Meadow Pipit - 448 (Peak time 0830-0900 when 265 were logged); then small numbers moving all day
redpoll sp - 3
Siskin - 14
alba wagtail - 9
Skylark - 1
Goldfinch - 5
Sparrowhawk - 3 at 0940
Reed Bunting - 1
Coal Tit  - 2
Carrion Crow - 2 north-east
Small flocks of Meadow Pipit, Siskin and redpoll still coming over at 1600hrs.

Nothing visible on the sea except a Great-crested Grebe due to poor visibility.

68 Turnstone on the wooden jetty

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Plenty of Meadow Pipit

Heysham Obs
Slightly murky 'clear-sky' morning producing a lot of northbound Meadow Pipit and a decent number of grounded Goldcrests, especially after the easterly wind kicked in about 0830hrs.

Vis 0730-1330 (quite a few short breaks during this coverage)
Meadow Pipit - 1088. Bulk of movement came to an end at 1330 but odd ones continued to move through e.g. 4 at 1540
Siskin - 50
alba wagtail - 42
Lesser Redpoll - 15
Goldfinch - 15
Greenfinch - 4
Collared Dove - obvious migrant high to NE early morning
Sparrowhawk -3 singletons east
Kestrel -2
Common Buzzard -1 flew to the east at c1100hrs
Skylark - 1
Linnet -9
Grey Wagtail -1
Whooper Swan - 35 at 0715 and 3 at 0830 north

North Harbour Wall
Wigeon - 2 in channel
Eider - 72 in Kent channel
Red-breasted Merganser -2
Linnet - 2 on food
No Twite
Gannet -3 out
Wheatear - 1 female landed briefly

Grounded/Ringing (to just after 1000hrs)
Chiffchaff - singing male by the reserve entrance and passage male early morning by the office
Goldcrest - 37 ringed, at least 10 seen to escape from nets as the wind increased, plus others obviously moving through - estimate 70+.  We tend not to dwell on ringing totals on this site, but it is worth mentioning that the Goldcrest total of over 120 ringed so far is already the highest spring total in the Obs history (since 1981).  Only two springs ago (2009), just one individual was seen and none ringed, following some severe weather!
Meadow Pipit - 9 ringed = 0.1ish% of those seen!
Dunnock - 1
Wheatear - 7

Late Chestnut of interest. Peacock butterfly seen on reserve - surely more than this around?

Male and female Gadwall at Middleton:

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Distant Osprey highlights some excellent coverage

Heysham Obs
Work-related coverage added some bits and bobs today, as is inevitable during the migration period.  Mid-afternoon saw an Osprey circling high then heading north being mobbed by a black-backed gull as viewed in the direction of Grange from Heysham heliport area

Grounded migrants
Still no Chiffchaff on HNR or dog-walk strip!
Goldcrest - 20+ (13 ringed)
Wheatear - 4 OE foreshore

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - trickle with about 70 north during the morning
Chaffinch - 10 north first thing
Carrion Crow - 2 north
Goldfinch - 1 north

North wall
Twite - c7 with at least 3 unringed
Linnet - 7
Shag - one 2CY in the harbour

South of the harbour
Med Gull - 2CY on the tideline by the sewage pipe at c1400hrs
Little Gull - adult flying into the Bay about 1410hrs
Knot - 18,000 between Ocean Edge and Lune Estuary late afternoon, then 16,000 of these flew across the Bay towards Barrow!

Diurnea fagella was new for the year - 3 of them, also a Shoulder Stripe of note.  Plenty of bumblebees prowling around today looking for nest sites

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

High-flying Red-throats

Heysham Obs

The elusive Green Woodpecker and male Pied Wagtail taken today.  Thanks Janet

North harbour wall
Twite - 4 on the food
Linnet - 1 on the food
Pied Wagtail - male as per usual
Dunnock - pair on the mound, one singing.

Vis mig
alba wagtail 4 north
Meadow Pipit 7 north and another 6 north 0835-0905
Grey Wagtail 1 from south which landed 
Red-throated Diver - flock of 25 very high above power station, seen when there was a break in the cloud, heading north.  Just shows how easy it is to miss this species during 'conventional' seawatching viewing fields - this observation was 'pure chance' during a break in offshore coverage

Shag - 2CY by the waterfall
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on wooden jetty
Turnstone - c65 wooden jetty
Nothing moving offshore in improved visibility

Dog track pond area
Goldcrest - 2

Middleton NR & area
Green Woodpecker

Monday, 19 March 2012

More bits over the sea and Meadow Pipit increase

Heysham Obs
Wheatear Ocean Edge today - thanks Janet

North harbour wall 0700-0850
Meadow Pipit - 80N
alba Wagtail - 18N
Red-throated Diver - 10 sightings (7 in, 3 out)
Siskin - 1N
Linnet - 1N
Kittiwake - 30+6+35 'in'
Gannet - 10 'in', including flock of 7
Whooper Swan - 19 north over the sea at 0754

N H Wall  0930-1130
Feeding Area:
Twite - 11 (all ringed - colour combinations from six different seasons)
Linnet - 6 (one ringed left leg)
Goldfinch - 2
Dunnock - 1 (ringed right leg)

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - one

Office area
Trickle of Meadow Pipit and Siskin (6+)
Goldcrest - 1 ringed
Coal Tit - passage bird ringed (second this week and unusual in spring)

The most interesting of 14 individuals was a single Shoulder Stripe

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Nice sunny day for admin

Heysham Obs
A day for leaving everyone else to pull-back Laughing Gull for Cumbria and, apart from some early movement on the sea, one of those clear northerly-wind days when you can get on with admin catch-up without worrying what you are otherwise missing.

North harbour wall 0645-0830
Twite - 8, but no food left, put out at c0900hrs
Linnet - 2
Rock Pipit - migrant on the mound, then flew north
Red-throated Diver - 14 'in' (two lots of 4, rest singletons) and one out
Kittiwake - flocks of 18+16 floating in on the sea, then circled up and headed north
Common Scoter - 6 out
Little Gull - adult winter 'in'
alba Wagtail - 4 NE
Siskin - 1 NE
no Meadow Pipit passage

Middleton NR
Tufted Duck (19), Goldeneye (1 female)

Office area
Green Woodpecker - heard early morning
Raven - on the pylon
Goldcrest - 3 (2 ringed)
Siskin - 11 NE (one ringed)
Meadow Pipit - conspicuous by absence - only 5 seen/heard
Chaffinch - 7 NE
Pink-footed Goose - c100 north just to the east of here

Half Moon Bay
Wheatear - 1 male

Moths & Butterfly
The only new one for the year was a Herald (mention of Hebrew Character (6) and Clouded Drab (1) will cease forthwith!).  Small Tortoiseshell out in suburban SD46A but no check made on nature reserve.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

All sorts of odds and ends on the move

Heysham Obs
Heysham NR office area
My muttered request to the rain clouds to stay away from here worked well-enough to allow a morning's ringing, albeit with double the usual number of mist-net rounds and a careful eye kept on the sky.  The ringing was not quite what was expected with a real mixed bag, in contrast to the Goldcrest-fest of the previous few days
Blue Tit - three unringed birds caught
Long-tailed Tit - unringed bird caught
Dunnock - unringed bird caught
Robin - 4 migrants caught
Blackbird - female ringed with 'continental' wing length
Goldcrest - just four ringed and another escaped from the net a few Chaffinch & Greenfinch finches  

North harbour wall
Twite - 10 (one unringed out of 7 examined)
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch- 2
Song Thrush - one on mound
Robin - one on mound (first for a bit, presumed migrant)
Common Scoter - 65 (flying about, then on), 4 'in' at 0800hrs
Red-throated Diver - 2 'out' at 0800hrs
(no Shag seen)

Half-Moon Bay
Wheatear (2) - 2CY male-type and ad male-type - same birds as yesterday moved north a bit?

Vis mig by the office
Sand Martin - 2 north (IOY)
Sparrowhawk - female north-east (high)
Woodpigeon - possible migrants comprised flocks of 5 & 4 & 6 arriving from SE and landing
Meadow Pipit - 15 north
Sisikin - 3 north
Chaffinch - 14 north
Grey Wagtail - one north

Hebrew Character (12), Clouded Drab (1), Double-striped Pug (1)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Good variety including slightly overdue Wheatear and Chiffchaff

Heysham Obs
Office area
A bit breezy but quite a few birds around
Goldcrest - 30+ (17 ringed)
Robin - 2 migrants ringed
Coal Tit - passage bird ringed (unusual in spring)
Reed Bunting - 2 vis mig birds and one caught which had been ringed on Walney, across the bay (details not known)
Grey Wagtail - 6 north - all early morning as the nets were being set
Meadow Pipit - 109 north
Chaffinch - 15 north (mostly early morning)
alba Wagtail - 12 north
Siskin - 5 north

North wall
Intermittent early vis mig saw far fewer birds than heading across the reserve, but the sea could be covered....
Shag - 3 still around
alba Wagtail - 11 north
Meadow Pipit - 21 north
Skylark - 1 north
Siskin - 4 north
Goldcrest - one on mound
Red-throated Diver - flock of 6 'in' at 0915hrs
Gannet - flock of 6 adults 'in' at 0850hrs
Twite - probably no more than 10, including the 'winter resident' Machrihanish bird and one unringed bird (5 caught)

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - Two:  probably 2CY male mid-afternoon and a bright probable adult male just after a rain shower at 1700hrs
Little Egret - one off Red Nab (but no sign of Little Gull on incoming tide)
Linnet - c6

Middleton NR
Chiffchaff - one singing by no swimming pond
Gadwall - 2
Also: 3 mute swan, 5 coot, 3 moorhen, 16 tufted duck, 1 goldeneye, 4 mallard, 2 little grebe

Thursday, 15 March 2012


Heysham Obs
Significant Goldcrest passage today with only a limited ringing effort next to the office seeing as many as 36 new birds and one rather unexpected retrap from last autumn.  Up to 6 appeared 'in-off' the foggy sea on the north harbour wall mound, mainly after mid-morning

Becoming regular at Heysham NR but the first to be photographed - thanks Janet

Vis mig
Grey Wagtail - 4 (including 3 together)
alba Wagtail - c15
Meadow Pipit - c40, possibly many more, but mostly above the cloud level!
Siskin - 1
Chaffinch - at least 7 north

Still no Chiffchaff or Wheatear
Goldcrest - 50+
Robin - 3 unringed birds caught by the office

North harbour wall
Twite - odd - c27 early morning included 7 unringed birds out of about 12, then they all seemed to fly off to the SW and there were no further sightings all day
Shag - one
Eider - 110+

Cant remember exactly but newly-ringed approx: Goldcrest (36), Chaffinch (2), Goldfinch (3), Greenfinch (4), Robin (3), Blur Tit (1), Meadow Pipit (2), Blackbird (1), Linnet (2)

Ocean Edge area
Nothing of interest passerine-wise
Little Gull - adult still on heyhsam 2 outfall on the incoming tide
Little Egret - one next to the sewage pipe
Wigeon - just 6 left

Early Grey, Clouded Drab, Common Quaker, March Moth, Hebrew Character and an agonopterix still to be identified but probably heracliana or an obscure form of arenella

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Male Rustic Bunting!!

Heysham Obs
Rustic Bunting
At 1020hrs, an unfamiliar flight call was heard approaching from the south.  This was repeated about 4 times before a small bird was located high in the sky.  After circling and giving a few more calls, it landed in a willow bush neat to the reserve office.  Binoculars were grabbed and expecting, at best, a Yellowhammer (rare here) giving a consistently odd call, I was surprised to see a "black head".  The call definitely wasn't Reed Bunting!  Then it turned sideways in full view.  Wow!  All the time it was giving this clipped call.  After about 10 seconds absorbing this and a bit of unrepeatable language, it headed off to the north-east over the classroom, still calling, and was last seen at a height level with the top tier of the nearby pylon.  "Vised off", and the obligatory search of the north-east corner of the nature reserve drew the predictable blank.  Seen this several times here - a 'vis mig' bird landing, contact calling and then changing direction slightly when taking off again

Quite a bit of odds and ends of migration this morning 
Northbound vis (but coverage intermittent)
Meadow Pipit - c45
alba Wagtail - c15
Chaffinch - c12
Reed Bunting - 3
Siskin - 2
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 86

Goldcrest - 8 ringed, but seemingly not many others around, perhaps 5 additional birds
Robin - a few migrants around (birds being chased by 'residents') with 4 ringed, including a very orange/grey low-weight bird
Redwing - one
Blackbird - 4-5 presumed migrants
Song Thrush - one probable migrant ringed
Wren - one unringed bird

North wall
Twite - 27
Linnet - at least 8
Goldfinch - 2
Shag - just the one seen

6 Hebrew Character and two new species for the year: a routine couple of Common Quaker and a rather more interesting third site record (and 30-something county record) of Agonopterix ocellana

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

More murky calm and little movement

Heysham Obs
North harbour wall
Quick check saw
Eider - 103
Red-breasted merganser - 11
Great-crested Grebe - 2
Twite - 33
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - 2
Meadow Pipit - 2 north
Pied Wagtail - 2 north

Middleton NR
Skylark - one singing
Gadwall - 2
Tufted Duck - 17
Goldeneye - female
Grey Wagtail - one sewage works
Oystercatcher - pair on model boat pond
Reed Bunting - 4 singing males

Twin-spotted Quaker was a very good record for here, also Shoulder Stripe (1) and Hebrew Character (10)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Reasonable on quality, low on quantity

Heysham Obs
Good coverage today of especially the coastal bits and a short check of Middleton NR

Office area
Not a great deal with the only birds caught being a two legged Meadow Pipit, a one-legged Meadow Pipit (released unringed) and an unringed Goldcrest

Vis mig
Probably no more than 20 Meadow Pipit north, including an early group of 6
Grey Wagtail - 1 north
Pied Wagtail - at least 6 north
Carrion Crow - flock of four north-east

Red Nab/outfalls
Little Gull - adult on Heysham 2 on the incoming tide was a bit of s surprise in the calm weather

Harbour/north wall area
Twite - up to 30 at once with regular incursions on to the food
Linnet - up to 7
Goldfinch - 3
Great-crested Grebe - 11 offshore
Red-breasted Merganser - 7 offshore
Eider - at least 96
Shag - at least three, possibly four in the harbour area
Med Gull - a passage adult in full summer plumage appeared mid-afternoon

Middleton NR
Stonechat - female by the no swmming pond
Tufted Duck - at least 11 on model boat pond, but feeding continuously

Agonopterix heracliana was the only one

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Motley mish-mash of low-key migration

Heysham Obs
The highlight, in a strictly local fashion, was a northbound flock of 8 Carrion Crow - not the commonest spring migrant here

North wall 0800-0825
Red-breasted Merganser - influx with 17 visible
Carrion Crow - flock of 8 north
Meadow Pipit - 2 out of only 6 seen all morning heading north
Pied Wagtail - 3 north
Twite - 9, c15 later
Goldfinch - 2
Linnet - 2
Shag - at least 2 around
Cormorant - still 35 at high tide
No obvious sign of Purple Sandpiper amongst the mass of Turnstone and a few Redshank on the wooden jetty but could easily have been in the flock

Unringed Robin (2) and Dunnock (2) hinted at something happening, but the only Goldcrest caught (out of two present) was ringed a week ago, most unusual for a spring migrant!
Green Woodpecker - in the tank farm about 0730hrs

Early Grey new for the year and welcome here where not quite annual plus Hebrew Character (3), Dotted Border (2) and March Moth (2)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Singing 'wintering' Blackcap

Heysham Obs
Urban Heysham
A garden in the suburban Heysham part of the recording area (SD46A), which earlier this year housed 'wintering' Blackcaps, has played host to a singing male from 4th March and this was heard again today.  This coincides with singing males in the Silverdale area at/near other traditional wintering sites.  I would suspect that these will be leaving soon to head back to ?central European breeding sites and are not early migrants from the local breeding population

North harbour wall
No Twite, no food remaining at 0900hrs, but more put out.
Not a great deal of food left at 16.00 either (although plenty of less fresh seed in the more grassy sections of the feeding area) but -
Twite - 15
Goldfinch - 2
Linnet - 2
Feral Pigeon - 4
Further small supply of food put down.

Wigeon - presumed migratory group of 12 offshore
Shag - at least 2 in the harbour
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on wooden jetty with 80+ Turnstone

Shoulder Stripe new for the year, also March Moth (2), Dotted Border and Hebrew Character

Friday, 9 March 2012

Migration on hold for another day or two...

Heysham Obs
Good coverage today, but almost all left-overs

Thanks for these, Janet - all taken on a walk from Red Nab to the harbour via the outfalls. 

North harbour wall
Visibility poor during the early morning seawatch and nothing recorded other than:
Red-throated Diver - one out at about 0930hrs
Twite - 14, inc 3 unringed and one ringed at Machrihanish in autumn 2011
Linnet - 3
Goldfinch - 2
Dunnock - 2 (one singing)

South harbour wall/outfalls
Little Egret - one Red Nab again
Kittiwake at least one 2CY outfalls
Shag - four on the platform by the waterfall

Middleton NR
4 mute swan, 8 coot, 6 moorhen, 15 tufted duck, 3 teal, 1 goldeneye, 2 gadwall (pair), 2 mallard, 2 little grebe

Single Hebrew Character and March Moth

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Early morning Kittiwake passage

Heysham Obs
Seawatch 0705-0825
Kittiwake - 4 flocks totalling 114 (30+29+52+3) 'in' then high to N/NW
Red-throated Diver - 1
Purple Sandpiper - 1
Twite - 14, increasing later in the day to c18
Linnet - at least two

Harbour area
Shag - 3 on the platform in the afternoon

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

High-flying Red-throats

Heysham Obs

Little Egret leaving Red Nab - thanks Janet

North harbour wall seawatch 0900-0945hrs
Auk spp -  very distant out
Gannet - adult very distant heading north
Red-throated Diver - high flock of 14 plus a trailing singleton some way back flew out of the Bay, gaining height at 0920hrs.  Appeared to be all in winter or the start of partial summer plumage, none in full s.p.
Lesser Black-backed Gull - steady northward movement, including an apparent 2CY
Common Gull - as above with c35 in the 45 mins watching

Little Egret - first of the year on Red Nab -then flew south
Shag - 2CY on wooden jetty
Twite - 18 on the seed
Goldfinch - one as above
Linnet - 2 as above
Ringed Plover - 4 on the heliport and 12 still at Ocean Edge beach
Kittiwake - 2, possibly 3 2CY on the outfalls
Knot - 1,250 on heliport seawall roost but flighty

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Linnets slowly increase

Heysham Obs
Bullfinch near Ocean Edge - thanks Janet

North wall area
Twite - c30
Linnet - at least 5
Goldfinch - at least 2
Shag - still at least one around

Office area
No vis reported
The net produced unringed Great Tit and two unringed Greenfinch

No moths or butterflies reported but the long-staying fly spp. remains on the kitchen window

Monday, 5 March 2012

Tundra Beans five minutes away!

Heysham Obs
Different world just down the road outside the recording area with an excellent flock of Pink-footed Geese on Heaton Marsh including two Tundra Bean and nine Whitefronts.  Thanks Dan!  "In-house" it was a little less exciting

North wall
Shag - still two around
Twite - at least 23
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - 1
Eider - 214+ offshore
Large gulls - loads on the offshore sandbanks but no white-wingers.......matter of time, keep checking at low tide

Goldcrest - 1

Lapwing - male again on model boat pond
Tufted Duck - 14+
Pochard - female
Goldeneye - 2 female

Peacock again NE corner

One Dotted Border

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Tree Sparrow joins the year list

Heysham Obs
Office area
A Tree Sparrow visited the feeder at lunchtime

North wall and harbour area
Purple Sandpiper - two reported to me
Shag/Med Gull/Kittiwake - none seen
Twite - one early morning
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Eider - at least 154 offshore

Outfalls/Ocean Edge
Wigeon - 72

Two:  Double-striped Pug new for the year also another Chestnut

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Just the one seabird left in the harbour

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall/harbour
Shag - just the one
Linnet - up to 4 (2 ringed)
Twite - 23 in am, 41 late afternoon
Med Gull - again no sign
Purple Sandpiper - 2

Thanks to Mike Baron for some of these records

Friday, 2 March 2012

Stonechat headlines a further dribble of migrants

Heysham Obs

Middleton NR
Stonechat - female western marsh
Gadwall - 4
Tufted Duck - 19
Pochard - 1
Little Grebe - now up to 5

Heysham NR
Goldcrest - first migrant of the year ringed
Meadow Pipit - at least 7 heading north

North wall area
Shag - at least one
Purple Sandpiper - 2
Twite - 23
Linnet - 4 with Twite, 1 with left leg ring, 2 with right leg rings (these probably not 2011 birds)
No sign of any Med Gulls

Peacock NE corner early am - another check planned imminently, now that it has warmed up even further

Bumble Bee
Female probable Bombus terrestris by the office another 'first of the year'

Two Dotted Border, Clouded Drab and (provisionally) Agonopterix heracliana

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Trickling migrants

Heysham Obs
Today was the sort of thing which can happen in March, albeit usually a bit later in the month and absentees may just have been 'hiding'

Pied Wagtail - two 'in-off' and joining a 'resident' bird in the sandworks
Rock Pipit - one flew south over the nature reserve
Linnet - one on the seed was joined by another later in the day
Single unringed Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and, surprisingly, TWO Long-tailed Tit at the feeder
Meadow Pipit - Probably, but not definitely, the winter resident bird around the north wall nyger seed

Twite - no sign in three quick visits to 1430hrs, no food left when I got there at 1000ish
Med Gulls - no sign as above

No time to visit the harbour mouth end of the north wall, therefore not possible to be sure whether any seabirds were still around the waterfall or Purple Sandpiper on/under the wooden jetty

Just the one Acleris hastiana as the skies cleared at dusk

Just three Goldfish fished out of the dog-walk pond during management work, following "hundreds" last summer