Friday 31 August 2012

Birdless blue moon

Heysham Obs
Spurred on by the possibilities of Grey Wagtail and Tree Pipit passage, but also noting that most of the night migrants would have cleared off (had to scrape ice off the windscreen in 1.5C at 0530hrs - the first time I can remember this in August) in the crystal-clear conditions, an mist-net early start was made at both Middleton NR and by the Heysham NR office.  The result was more night migrants than might have been expected but virtually zilch vis - I did not see a single hirundine by the office and Grey Wagtail passage amounted to two birds

Office area
Captures included 2 Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler and fly-overs comprised 12 Chaffinch (all early morning) and two Grey Wagtail.  Not a single pipit or hirundine.

Middleton NR
4 Whitethroat, 4 Sedge Warbler, one Blackcap and the star of the morning, a Garden Warbler, were ringed.  No visible migration other than a handful of Swallows

Ocean Edge just after high tide
One jetski, no birds other than a single juv Med on Red Nab

21 Small Tortoiseshell on the office buddlieas - a dramatic increase
Thanks to Janet for the following pics taken yesterday:

Thursday 30 August 2012

Heysham Obs
Should have looked a little more carefully at the weather but the home internet is not working.  A half-baked 'earlyish' start should have been a full-blown 'nets up at dawn'.  Arriving to a lot of tick-tacking, interspersed by hueets and an overflying Grey Wagtail & Tree Pipit

Office area 0650 onwards
Probably about 6 Blackcap, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 10+ Willow Warbler and 5+ migrant Robin.  Best was a fem/imm Common Redstart by the entrance gate but, in the context of this year, no surprise that Common Whitethroat did not feature

Belated ringing effort just as the wind started to get up and the sun shone on the nets and 'new' birds included 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Robin, 3 Blackcap and a Lesser Whitethroat.  After two hours, it became too windy.

Southbound vis comprised:  10 Chaffinch, 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit (all in the first 30 minutes) and 27 Swallow

Ocean Edge/Red Nab over the tide
Med Gull - 11 juvs on Red Nab/outfalls, two of them now sporting 1st winter masks as opposed to the rather uniform gingery brown juvenile head pattern, 1 3CY, 2 2CY and one adult
Sandwich Tern - one
Little Gull - usual adult
Grey Plover - 226
Dunlin - 370
...............then before the Barwit and Knot could be counted, a gentleman who proceeded to walk out and started to 'kick' the water flushed everything.  He was wearing a teashirt with what seemed to be Mickey Mouse on the front.

Moths not worth mentioning

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Experimental photography

Heysham today.

Ocean Edge/Red Nab medium high tide
Grey Plover - 223
Bar-tailed Godwit - 270
Dunlin - 320
Ringed Plover - 32
Knot - 295
Oystercatcher - 5,650
Curlew - 52
Redshank - 480
Whimbrel - 1
Turnstone - 13 (+105 on wooden jetty)
Med Gull - 4 juvs, 2 ads, 2 2CY (& 2 juv, 1 Ad north wall area)
Little Gull - adult

Last night's Middleton Swallow roost
About 450 in the roost but did not arrive en masse until about 2015hrs and roosted in the more sheltered reed bed next to the gate in the western marsh.  Plenty of Sand Martin calls heard and 4/73 birds in the net were this species despite no tape. Just 3 adult Swallows ringed.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Toad in the trap and a leaf-mining expedition

Heysham Obs
A bit of going through the motions with seabird coverage this morning with no high expectations.  The most exciting thing this morning was a smallish Common Toad in the moth trap - quite a feat climbing a 3.5 metre wall, then presumably leaping/falling another 1.5 metres down a smooth inner wall on to the floor.  The most exciting thing this afternoon was breaking my duck with Southern Hawker with a nice male on the HNR top path (only about 5 previous records).  A leaf mining expedition provided some riveting discoveries for John.

North harbour wall
Manx Shearwater - 2 together out
Gannet - one adult in
Fulmar - one out
Shelduck - 7+10 out
Whimbrel - 3 out
Med Gull - one 2CY

Red Nab
Linnet - 60
Med Gull - 4 adult, 6 juv (one on outfalls), 1 2CY
Little Gull - one adult
Oystercatcher - 3,500
Redshank - 345
Curlew - 56
Dunlin - 2
Turnstone - 17
Black-headed Gull - just c250 (therefore many of the gulls far away on the sands south of Ocean Edge)

Birds along Ocean Edge-Potts corner foreshore too far away in bad light

The first two second brood Treble Bar of the late summer/early autumn or whatever this time of year is and a (scarce here) Garden Carpet.  A Rush Veneer was in SD46A along the top path this afternoon along with 10+ Silver Y on the reserve circuit.  Leaf mining produced Aspilapterix tringipenella, Mompha raschkiella, Parornix anglicella, Stigmella aurella  

Male Southern Hawker, 6 Migrant Hawker on a circuit of the reserve

Three Comma, 3 Brimstone, 2 Small Copper and a late Small Skipper on reserve circuit

A smallish Common Toad in the moth trap (see above)

Monday 27 August 2012

No birds or big cats in the wrong kind of wet weather

Heysham Obs
A gang of four ducks on Middleton 'fence' pond first casually noticed just prior to racing round and putting the CES nets up yesterday morning were sorted out later as 3/4 sized juvenile Gadwall - surely, in conjunction with regular adult sightings, proof of breeding in SD45.  Thanks Mark

Better wind direction tomorrow on the earlyish morning tide for a seabird or two

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Once again an intruder flushed all the gulls from Red Nab on the early morning tide and they were vefry unhelpfully rear-on miles away towards Potts Corner.  Just 4 juv and one adult Med located
Waders as per yesterday other than increase in Knot (at least 150) and Dunlin (c200)

Agriphila latistria best of the small catch

Sunday 26 August 2012

Common Buzzard double

Heysham Obs
Not too bad a morning for migration although the overhead passage was a little disappointing as recorded during the Middleton CES.  Thanks to Mark Breaks for helping with the evening Swallow roost.  120 Swallow and 8 Sand Martin were ringed with an additional Sand Martin control: Y551211

Low single-figures of each of the common warbler species (Willow, Reed Sedge, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Lesser & Common Whitethroat) were ringed but no sign of any Grasshopper Warbler
Grey Wagtail - one south very early but none subsequently, despite tape being played by a non-CES net
Tree Pipit - two south
Meadow Pipit - 5 south
House Martin - c70 south-east in three swirling groups
Swallow - probably about 40 SE (hope the roost is still extant later today!)
Common Buzzard - 2 juveniles circling around high then headed north at about 0845hrs - rare here!

Heysham NR
Much quieter migrant-wise but out of habitat Reed Warbler caught in the office nets

Outfalls/Red Nab pm (thanks to Mark for info)
Med Gull - 17, including 6 juvenile
Little Gull - adult
Sandwich Tern - 3
Grey Plover - 230
Bar-tailed Godwit - 260
Dunlin - c150
Knot - c60

Large Wainscot was early

Saturday 25 August 2012

Early morning trick missed?

Heysham Obs
A cluster of 5 Chiffchaffs seen at Middleton whilst on a mist net guy replacement mission mid-afternoon hinted at what might have been missed in the dull calm conditions this early morning.  Contra several forecasts, the lack of early morning wind and rain should perhaps have been responded to with a short monitoring ringing session

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 5 juvs, one adult, one 2CY

Included Agriphila latistria and geniculea but nothing dramatic

Friday 24 August 2012

A day for aerial feeders

Heysham Obs
Middleton NR in the evening
Big Swallow roost this evening with over 450 birds and the single net was closed at 2000hrs allowing 70 birds to be processed in good time ahead of the threatening skies to the south
Male Gadwall seen this evening and also yesterday evening

Ocean Edge
A quick pre-tide check mid afternoon was a little early and just 5 distant juvenile Meds were recorded

Office area
Virtually nothing grounded - not a single Willow Warbler seen for example.  A few Swallow tricked south (c40) and a further 65 moved ahead of a area of dark cloud along with a late Swift and c10 House Martin

A late Gothic was unexpected

Red Admiral on the office buddliea but no sign of yesterdays Painted Lady

Thursday 23 August 2012

Twenty one Meds and an obscure moth

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab area
Med Gull - 10 juv, 7 adult/3CY, 4 2CY
Little Gull - adult

Middleton swallow roost
A cautious session this evening as befitted the possible threat of sudden rain out of a pretty uniform grey sky.  A single net visited regularly and taken down before dusk produced 44 Swallows (one adult) and a Sedge Warbler


Thanks Janet

Moth trap
An obscure thing I've forgotten the name of like a Coleophora with a tapering body - managed to locate it = Batrachedra praeangusta. Also three Agriphila latistria

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Summer is over as the Old Lady visits the toilet?

Heysham Obs
A fresh autumnal morning after quite a warm early part of the night saw a moth catch seriously reduced in species as we seriously hit the 'rustic' season

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - at least 6 juvs, 3 adult, 3 2CY
Little Gull - adult
Whimbrel - one

Old Lady was new of the year in the 'toilet trap' and Bordered Beauty best of the rest which saw a significant increase in Flounced Rustic (36) and surely the last Straw Underwing and Heart and Dart of the year?

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Plumes highlight a full moth trap

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab
A miscreant racing around the mudflats in a four-wheel drive (N957 FWY) followed by three dogs.
Med Gull - 10 juvs, 3 adult/3CY, 4 2CY
Little Gull - moulting adult
waders pushed too far away towards the Lune by above vehicle

Yesterdays Swallow roost ringing
Sunday evening's session at Middleton NR was pre-roost and another session yesterday evening led to a further 85 Swallow and one Sand Martin being ringed out of about 250 roosting in a nearby reedbed.  In addition, there was a Swallow bearing a brand new ring from elsewhere - Y519776.

Insects from Heysham Nature reserve north yesterday afternoon:

Comma have not been particularly common this year and Least Yellow Underwing is a regular day-time flier, usually seen whizzing about rather than quietly nectaring like this individual.  Thanks Janet.  

Todays catch was large and typically dominated by Sallow, Flounced Rustic, Square Spot Rustic and the 'back-end' of the Six-striped Rustic emergence.  The other two 'plague species' at this time of year are never common in this trap (Large Yellow Underwing) and are having a bad year (Common Rustic (agg)).  Highlights were a late Grass Emerald, Agriphila latistria (3), Cochylis dubitana, Dusky Plume (Oidaematophrus lithodactyla) and Ambtyptilia acanthadactyla


Monday 20 August 2012

Reptilian mega

Heysham Obs
A non-bird day as the murk and mist of the morning failed to deliver - it was the wrong kind for Willow Warblers and the like.  It was also a little too wet and the Heysham CES was seriously affected.  However, the afternoon really produced the goods in the form of the first ever Slow Worm for the Heysham area in at least recent times, found on the boardwalk to the pagoda on Heysham reserve by Cameron Bell and photographed by Alex Simpson and Kirsten Bradley

Female Slow Worm Heysham NR taken by Kirsten Bradley

Ocean Edge/Red Nab incoming tide
Med Gull - 3 juvs
Grey Plover - 260 
Bar-tailed Godwit - 185

A nice emergence of Peacock in recent days with up to 5 on the office buddleia.  At least one Comma around the reserve and a small influx of Large White

Another Bordered Beauty, Herald, Epinotia tenerana and Agriphila latistria highlighted a rather small catch

Sunday 19 August 2012

Paragliders seriously disrupt roosting waders

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Half way through the wader check on the incoming tide, two paragliders appeared over Potts Corner and the effect on Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Dunlin and Knot was quite immediate and dramatic.  Despite being over 500m (horizontal distance) from the paragliders, all the above species towered up into the air and headed in the direction of Pilling/Knott End, high in the sky.  This was the most dramatic and far-reaching disturbance I have seen on this section of coast and it is to be hoped this does not become a regular event 'within range' of this major roost which will soon build up to internationally important numbers.  I am not sure how these people became airborne but they definitely landed on the shore by Potts Corner

Fast estimates of waders:
Grey Plover - 230
Bar-tailed Godwit - 190
Knot - 130
Dunlin - 65
Med Gull - just 4 juvs seen

Middleton CES
Slow with clear skies/very high cloud in the morning not conducive to major arrival!  Nevertheless a small number of Willow Warblers filtered through (9 ringed) and 4 juvenile Sedge Warbler, two juvenile Reed Warbler, three juvenile Whitethroat were ringed.  The only other warbler in the nets was a Blackcap.  No Grasshopper Warblers were seen/heard
Tree Pipit - one south
Pheasant - male in the western marsh
Swallow - c30 south

Heysham NR office ringing
A small arrival of Willow Warbler from about 0700hrs onwards (14 ringed), the first multiple capture of presumed migrant Robin (4), three Whitethroat and a few feeder-related odds and ends

Swallow roost Middleton NR
CES nets 2 and 3 were set and 64 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin and a few odds and ends including Linnet and Sedge Warbler were ringed prior to 2030hrs when the nets were taken down to avoid a heap of Swallows in fading light.  About 300 seemed to be roosting with 'quite a few' Sand Martin judging by calls, but too busy to really study the swirling birds

A much better catch with the highlights being the overdue first Bordered Beauty of the year, Currant Pug, a late Dingy Footman, Flame Carpet (rare here) and Cochylis atricapitana

Saturday 18 August 2012

Tidal mistiming and a decent drop of migrants

Heysham Obs
Plenty of Willow Warblers around this morning and a belated mist-netting session by the office is still proving productive at 1230hrs.  The record count attempt for juv Med Gulls needs to wait for another day as the tide was too far in yet still 12 were seen!

Office area
Willow Warbler - 30+
Whitethroat - at least 2
Swallow - c45 SE
Swift - two together south (late for here)

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - 12 juveniles (no other birds seen!), mainly sat on the sea by Red Nab
Common Gull - 2 juvs
Common Sandpiper - one along the shore
Wheatear - at least three

Another poor catch included a Silver Y

Friday 17 August 2012

One man and his dog

A check of Red Nab on the incoming tide saw the above but not a lot else in good viewing position.  Certainly a good chance of beating the record count of juv meds in the next two-three days

Red Nab
Med Gull - 12 juvs, 2 2CY, one adult
Common Gull - 2 juvs (beware!)
Oystercatcher (high tide WeBS) 43
Tide and waves too high for any other waders roosting south of the harbour mouth/wooden jetty

Wooden jetty
Cormorant 24
Redshank 37
Turnstone - 41

Oystercatcher - 350
Redshank - 52
Lapwing - 7

Rubbish - wind into the window

Thursday 16 August 2012

Dramatic increase in Meds

Heysham Obs
A late incoming tide check of Red Nab & Ocean Edge mudflats produced:

Med Gull:  13 juvenile, 5 ad/3CY, 4 2CY with about 400 gulls not checked as too far away
Little Gull - adult
No terns
Grey Plover - 180
Bar-tailed Godwit - 165
Dunlin - 320
Knot - 25
Rest of the waders not counted

Wednesday 15 August 2012

A few early morning migrants

Heysham Obs
A dawn start with mist nets for an hour or so might have been profitable today.  Pretty hopeless after about 0745hrs with a strong easterly (but no low cloud) producing nothing new, despite three checks of the outfalls area

Office area
Willow Warbler - at least 10 calling at 0715hrs
Chiffchaff - at least 4 calling 0715hrs
Lesser Whitethroat - one by office
Tree Pipit - one south-east
Swallow - 4 SE

North wall
Goldfinch/Linnet - 10 or each on the north wall on thistles
Wheatear - one
Kestrel - one - seen there two days ago

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - 4 2CY, 2 juv, 2 adult
Little Gull - adult
Grey Plover - 163
Knot - 85
Bar-tailed Godwit - 170
Dunlin - 185
all the above waders very distant along the tideline
Redshank - 419 - Ocean Edge saltmarsh creek/Red Nab
Oystercatcher - just 1950 Red Nab/OE beach

Brown Silver Line was a bit of a surprise this late in the season.  Double-lobed was new for the season in the hut trap.  Cochylis dubitana was also, I think, new for the year - a highly localised coastal species in VC60 with most records from here  Overnight sheet and light trapping below the classroom produced a Kitten which looks a candidate for Poplar - it is being checked out at the moment.  Also notable there were lesser Swallow Prominent (very rare in the hut trap!), Fen Wainscot x 2, Southern Wainscot and another Double Lobed

There was a Red Admiral next to the office yesterday and the north wall (SD36V) produced Peacock and Common Blue this morning with an excellent profusion of flowers - worth a moth trap session if they would switch the harbour lights off for a night!

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Wader increase and a dribble of phylloscs

Heysham Obs
Rossall Point seawatching persistence seems to suggest we are missing a trick or two as the coverage has firmly revolved around checks of the outfalls/Red Nab area, a bit of routine monitoring ringing and moths.  Maybe we ought to start giving the sea (and overhead coastal vis) an hour or so each morning

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - 5 2CY (all roosting together!), 3 juv, 2 ad or 3CY but at least half of the gulls too far away down the tideline towards Potts Corner
Little Gull - usual moulting ad
No terns
Bar-tailed Godwit - 260
Grey Plover - 172
Dunlin - 320
Sanderling - 1 adult
Redshank - c250 but some possibly missed on Red Nab
Curlew - 180
Oystercatcher - 3250 (75% on Red Nab)

Dog exercising statistics
A dog exerciser and a small child & a black lab-type were observed for 20 minutes on the tideline south of Ocean Edge just after high tide.  The action was to use a ball sling and throw it into the sea for the dog to fetch.  The child remained under 'close control' and was not an influence. Therefore all the movement was at right angles to the tideline.  Waders were displaced either side as follows
250m - Dunlin
300m - Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Black-headed Gull
400+m - possibly coincidence, but no Curlew within 400m
The remainder of the waders were not using that stretch of beach

I didnt see the walk out to the tideline but a previous check suggested that this was right in the centre of the feeding/roosting assemblage, hence equal numbers of the four main species either side of the activity

Office area
Trickle of migrant Willow Warbler (9 ringed), 3 Chiffchaff ringed (possibly migrants but a bit early) and, encapsulating the poor success during the recent breeding season, just the one Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat ringed.  No evidence of overhead passage with up to 30 House Martin and 25 Swallow probably just milling about.

Pristine Heart and Dart and True Lover's Knot were unexpected.  Another latish Dingy Shears

Monday 13 August 2012

A bit of coastal coverage

Heysham Obs
No ringing this morning although the dumbed-down TV forecasts of "rain from the word go" did not happen. Always best to look at the fine detail in proper forecasts in this sort of weather

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Med Gull - 6 juvs, 3 2CY, one adult & could have been more with one large chunk of gulls too far away down the tideline to the south (locations a mixture of Red Nab and on the sands)
Little Gull - moulting ad Red Nab
Sandwich Tern - juv Red Nab
Grey Plover - 141
Bar-tailed Godwit - 75
Dunlin - 52
Whimbrel -1

Checked rather late (0900) and they were very flighty.  Square-spot Rustic new for the year and Dingy Footman getting a bit late

Sunday 12 August 2012

Shoveler surprise

Heysham Obs
No migrants and nothing new with the outfalls collection other than a couple of 1CY Shoveler - most unexpected at this time of year

Outfalls/Red Nab high tide
Med Gull - 2 ads, 3 2CY and 2 juv
Little Gull - moulting ad
Shoveler - 2 1CY in the saltmarsh channel
Whimbrel - 3
Grey Plover - 115 but distant
Dunlin - c150 distantly
Bar-tailed Godwit - 75 distantly

Grounded migrants
No evidence

Not a lot in the easterly wind

Saturday 11 August 2012

Routine stuff

Heysham Obs
A stiff easterly breeze restricted the mist netting but there didn't seem to be any great number of migrants around, although perhaps Willow Warblers were missed very first thing.  Moths were similarly knocked on the head as the trap window faces east

Red Nab/outfalls/Ocean Edge dropping tide
Grey Plover 93
Bar-tailed Godwit 86
Dunlin - 32
Redshank - 168
Med Gull - 2 ads and a juv

Best were single White-line Dart, Barred Rivulet and (for here) Ruby Tiger

Thursday 9 August 2012

Great weather at last for the butterflies

Heysham Obs
The flower-rich grassland next to the office was a hive of activity today with Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Common Blue in good numbers.  Ten years ago for Gatekeeper you would have read Wall Brown, but the latter seems to have mysteriously disappeared from this area.  Warblers seem to be moving around a bit with the retrap evidence suggesting at least some of this involves dispersal of locally born birds.  Unusually, two Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler ringed as recently fledged juveniles about 1.5km away at Middleton NR in July have been caught next to the office in the last two days.  In the absence of rings, these would have been labelled as 'early migrants'

Office area
Unringed Sedge warbler, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler (3) and Chiffchaff but not many Greenfinch today

Red Nab/Ocean Edge well before high tide
Med Gull - at least 4 juvs, 2 x 2CY and at least one adult

A nice mixed catch including a rather late Barred Red (uncommon here), Barred Rivulet, White-line Dart, 3 Dingy Footman, Dingy Shears, Agriphila latistria.  Of the specialities, Bordered Beauty conspicuous by its absence - maybe its having a late emergence like a few other species

Wednesday 8 August 2012

'Enjoy your birding' or see it as a challenge?

Heysham Obs
There were 760 small gulls on Ocean Edge beach, mostly asleep, mostly facing in all directions, mostly in various stages of moult, mostly 'into the sun' and all in a shimmering heat-haze.  It took about 8 slow 'pans' with the newly cataract-free eye to sort them out.  All due to a ginger and white spaniel-type-thing flushing them from the more observer-friendly Red Nab

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Grey Plover - c110 silhouettes along the tideline
Redshank - c230 as above
Oystercatcher - c2950 as above
Med Gull - 5 juvs (these were easy!), 2 ad and 2 2CY
Common Gull - one juv
No sign of Little Gull or any tern spp

Office area
Quite a bit of movement in the context so far of this low-key post-breeding season with 3-4 Whitethroat the first for over a week!  About 40 birds were ringed, including two juv Bullfinch, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff, 4 Swallow and about 15 Greenfinch.  11 Swift recorded flying south in the afternoon

Quite autumnal with the first Sallow, Rosy Minor and a local speciality Agriphila latistria   

Butterflies & dragonflies
A walk round the reserve saw c40 Meadow Brown, 15 Common Blue and a few Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Skipper.  Best were two Peacock (scarce recently), Red Admiral, Small Copper, Large White.  Single Emperor, Brown Hawker and a notable three Common Hawker

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Meds, two terns and some moths

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - now 5 x juv, 2 x 2CY and at least 1 x ad
Common Gull - first juv of the autumn
Little Gull - adult early morning
Arctic Tern - adult
Sandwich Tern - adult
Ringed Plover - 3 - possibly the local breeding birds as they were seen yesterday within the power station grounds (thanks for the info, Mark)
Oystercatcher - 2400
Redshank - 216
Grey Plover - c105 but very distant

Small Wainscot was new for the year with the best of the rest for here being:  Golden Rod Pug, Southern Wainscot and a Dingy Footman.  Micros included Garden Rose Tortrix and Cydia splendana

Monday 6 August 2012

Moths and Oystercatchers dominate the numbers

Heysham Obs
Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Little Gull - adult
Kittiwake - 2CY
Med Gull - 4 juvs, ad & 2CY (Czech-ringed adult seen a week last Sunday along the north wall)
Oystercatcher - 2100
Redshank - 206

Single Common & Brown Hawker & male Emperor on the dog-walk pond

About 200 of 54 species including the long-awaited Barred Rivulet, Lime-speck Pug (not so common these days), Eudonia pallida, Agonopterix ocellana, Dingy Shears and Pebble Prominent

Sunday 5 August 2012

Fault-barred CES

Heysham Obs
Middleton CES
Predictably rather poor with a couple of juv Sedge Warblers caught with massive fault-bars on the tail, undoubtedly a product of a weather-induced pretty rough ride in the nest which presumably led to the vast majority of breeding attempts failing.  So far, our impressions are that the species which has suffered the most from the awful breeding season weather has been Whitethroat and the singleton ringed this morning does nothing to alter that.  Willow Warblers on the other hand seem to have done "OK" by comparison, no vast numbers but a steady trickle of unringed adults and juveniles.  The question was asked the other day and repeated here - where are the tit flocks - is the absence of especially Long-tailed Tit just a 'Heysham problem'?

A high tide check saw two juvenile Med Gulls on the outfalls

Purple Thorn provided the second record for the site

Saturday 4 August 2012

Nothing new other than a swift trickle

Heysham Obs
The most exciting thing this morning was a Common Hawker in a mist net - successfully extracted

Ocean Edge/Red Nab incoming tide
Grey Plover - c95
Bar-tailed Godwit - c20 - this and the above very distant along tideline
Med Gull - 4 juveniles (all unringed), adult and 2 2CY
Little Gull - no obvious sign
Sandwich Tern - two adults

Office area
Pretty dead - not a single 'sylvia' seen/heard, reflecting the dreadful breeding season - at this time of year we normally have to beware of Whitethroats 'using' the moth trap
Willow Warbler - one new bird ringed
Swift c15 S 0930-1130
Swallow - 10 S plus others blogging 0930-1130

Common Hawker by office - unusual here
Moths were mundane with a bit of an influx of Antlers and the 'highlights' being Carcina quercana and another Elachista atricomella

Friday 3 August 2012

New moth, juv Med influx and afternoon Swift passage

Heysham Obs
Red Nab/Ocean Edge
More people on quad bikes surveying and disturbing birds on the incoming tide.
Med Gull - 4 juvs (all unringed), one adult, three 2CY (one metal-ringed on right leg) Red Nab
Little Gull - adult Red Nab, now showing white forehead
Oystercatcher - 2,650
Whimbrel - 2
Curlew - only 15 (flushed?)
No Redshank - all flushed prior to my arrival
Similarly no other visible wader spp along the tideline

Office area 1415-1515
Grasshopper Warbler - still singing very distantly in tank farm
Swift - 77 south in one hour, including gang of 17
House Martin - at least 3 seemed to be moving south
Swallow - mainly if not exclusively 'blogging'

A Twin-spot Carpet was a long-expected addition to the moth list this morning.  This species is scarce on the coast in this area (and perhaps confused occasionally with Barred Rivulet, a species which has surprisingly not kicked off its 2012 account yet here).  A nice catch dominated by weak-flying species after a calm rather clear night which knocked the noctuids on the head (e.g. only 12 Straw Underwing).  Other species included Caloptilia stigmatella, Ebulea crocealis, White Satin, Chinese Character, 3 Dingy Footman, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet and Bee Moth.  The latter has been in good numbers at various trap sites this year

Thursday 2 August 2012

A sprinkling of new species for the autumn

Heysham Obs
A couple of recent moths of interest:

The first is Agonopterix liturosa which is a case of "at last" (to quote Steve Palmer) with respect to Heysham and indeed VC60 this millenium as there is plenty of the larval foodplant, St John's Wort species, here.  The second is Elachista atricomella, perhaps a consequence of the cataract operations as regards actually noticing it.  Thanks to Alan Draper and Janet respectively for the pics 

Office area
Garden Warbler - one ringed (do not breed here) - first of the autumn
Grasshopper Warbler - again singing from the tank farm
Willow Warbler - low single figures of presumed migrants around (2 ringed)
Grey Wagtail - first of the autumn south
Swallow - c20 perhaps southbound migrants

Red Nab/Ocean Edge area incoming tide
Disruption from a gang of surveyors on quad bikes etc. seemed to displace all the Redshank
Med Gull - 2 juvs (unringed), 2 adults, 2 2CY
Little Gull - no sign
Grey Plover - now up to 116
Bar-tailed Godwit - 18
Dunlin - c25 small waders at extreme range seemed to be these
Little Egret - one Red Nab - first of the autumn

New for the autumn were Orange Swift and Ruby Tiger with the most 'notable' being single Dingy Footman, Dingy Shears and White Satin

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Blotchy adult Spotted Redshank almost slips under the radar

Heysham Obs
A quick visit to Ocean Edge/Red Nab at high tide was almost too quick, indeed very much under the label of 'must do better'.  A large Redshank roost on Ocean Edge saltmarsh was 'block-counted', determined to be the largest roost of the autumn so far and therefore deserving a more detailed count.  It was only at this level of scrutiny that the moulting adult Spotted Redshank was located, albeit partially obscured.  Need to spend more time on the other side of the Lune with the experts on picking this species out!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab just before high tide
Oystercatcher - 1,750
Redshank - 465 (only 4 juvs seen)
Spotted Redshank - adult well into winter plumage but still fairly blotchy on the underparts, therefore not standing out as a 'pale' bird - flew south approaching high tide with about 1/4 of Redshank.  Rare here, but second in two years
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull - unringed juvenile on saltmarsh, 2CY on saltmarsh, adult Red Nab

Some interesting ringing recoveries received yesterday
Sedge Warbler
Ringed as juvenile at Middleton NR on 26/6/11
Caught by another ringer at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire on 5/5/12  285km

Lesser Whitethroat
Ringed as juvenile at Middleton NR on 27/7/11
Caught by another ringer at Icklesham, Sussex on the very odd date of 5/6/12  423km

Lesser Redpoll
Ringed as a young male at Heysham on 1/4/12 (tape lured on vis mig)
Caught by another ringer at Bidston, Wirral on 7/4/12  72 km south!

So much for all the spring vis mig seeming to be of birds heading north!

At last a bit of east in the wind knocking the catch on the head - nothing of real interest with the best being Agapeta hamana