Wednesday 31 October 2012

Goldfinch plague

Hopefully they will clear off south soon and leave some food and room for Twite.  

North Harbour Wall
Goldfinch - c55
Med Gull - adult and 2CY

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Large thrush fall

Heysham Obs
Change of plan (c/f yesterdays notice) and a decision to cover the early morning - this was 'scientific' and nothing to do with leaving my computer glasses in the office yesterday!  Well worth it - you just never know what to expect in wet conditions at this time of year, irrespective of wind direction - it often depends whether the birds are kick-started earlier in the night by favourable overnight migration conditions at their previous landing.  The rain must have 'dropped' large numbers of thrushes at Heysham this morning and I think I just about got there in time to witness most of the 'heading high inland' phase.  This was assisted by an unknown disturbance 'clearing out' the tank farm.  Good morning to possess a Heligoland trap!

Coverage of Heysham NR only - mainly round office, incl vis from 0710 onwards to 0825
Blackbird - 160-180 scattered around - "in every bush"
Redwing - 67 flew inland, 20-30 still grounded
Continental Song Thrush - a lot - at least 27 flew inland and at least another 20-25 grounded
Meadow Pipit - still moving - 3 SE
Siskin - heard once
Greenfinch - a lot on the move - perhaps 35 straight over high to SW with others dropping in to feeders which were inundated with finches (30-40 Greenfinch, 20-30 Goldfinch........and no food left!)

Quick walk around the reserve at 0930hrs
Amazing - hardly any sign that there was a major thrush arrival, confirming that even the usually more sedate Blackbirds were restless and wanting to head inland.  c15 Goldcrest, c25 Blackbird, 14 Redwing, 8 Song Thrush were logged with the onlt 'notable' being a Water Rail calling near the dipping pond

North harbour wall
43 Goldfinch (17 ringed), 4 Linnet (1 ringed), 7 Twite, with the 5 unringed ones soon flying off towards the harbour mouth.  Dog-walker on the heliport flushing Oystercatchers

Red-line Quaker

Monday 29 October 2012

late autumn migratory dribble

Heysham Obs
Perhaps the last of the pre-dawn starts this morning.  A smattering of Redwing, at least one early Redpoll, a small flock of Brambling, three irruptive Coal Tit and a minor 'fall' of Goldcrest

No coverage tomorrow from usual people - can anyone help, please? 

Vis dawn to about 0830hrs
Redwing - 60 SW (no Fieldfare of Mistle Thrush)
Song Thrush - 5
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Meadow Pipit - 3
Goldfinch - at least 8 on vis
Greenfinch - 10-15 thought to be on vis (e.g. 13 new ones ringed to back this up, plus control from TS061 sequence)
Chaffinch - at least 18 SW on vis
Brambling - flock of 4 SW
Coal Tit - flock of 3 high to south very early on, plus one unringed bird caught later
Bullfinch - 1 high to S
Carrion Crow - 1 high to south
Siskin - 2 SE

Blackbird - 25-30
Redwing - 14
Song Thrush - at least 6
Chiffchaff - one in NE corner
Blackcap - male ringed
Goldcrest - at least 15 new birds (7 ringed, 8 unringed birds in rest of reserve)

Mottled Umber, Red-line Quaker, Pink-barred Sallow

Sunday 28 October 2012

Mobile hide birding

Heysham Obs
Had to resort to a little bit of mobile hide i.e. sat in the car birding today as short breaks from work and give myself just a tiny amount of time on what looks like a promising morning tomorrow.  I don't think anything was missed flying overhead today in what was mainly driving rain!

Bits and pieces
Razorbill - two out
Twite - Just two plus 23 Goldfinch and 1 Linnet
Med Gull - 1CY outfalls, ad north wall
Tufted Duck - 18+ model boat pond
Pochard - 2 males model boat pond

Angle Shades

Saturday 27 October 2012

Wintry chill

Heysham Obs
A dawn start saw a gradually increasing and progressively colder wind correlating with fewer birds until going back indoors and getting on with work seemed a better option.  Then the thrushes got going again!  Brief visit to north harbour wall, then work-related spot counts of waders may produce something to add to this lot:

Vis 0730-0830
Fieldfare - flock of c350 north, then east(ish) plus another 570 in three flocks all heading north on a line to the east of us by 0930 (very intermittent checks)
Redwing - dribs and drabs totalling about 30 in the half-light, including flying inland(see reserve circuit for leftovers). 16 with the first lot of Fieldfare, plus another c45 scattered amongst the later vis mig Fieldfare
Song Thrush - 3 migrants headed inland
Chaffinch - c15 SW
Brambling - heard on two separate occasions but could not see them - very high!
alba Wagtail - 5 SE
Jackdaw - 41 S
Rook/Carrion Crow - 4 with above but not seen very well
Meadow Pipit - 1 SE mid am
Grey Wagtail - one heard mid-am - blogger?

North wall
9 Twite (later 10), 14 Goldfinch (later 23), 8 Linnet on/around feeder, 6-7 Meadow Pipit scattered around

Reserve circuit
Not bad for thrushes in the sheltered NE corner but no more seen flying overhead
Blackbird - 30-40
Song Thrush - 8-10
Redwing - 8-10
Treecreeper - one NE corner
Woodcock - i flushed from eastern woodland
Goldcrest - 6, including group of 5 unringed birds

Ocean Edge
Med Gull - adult and 1CY outfalls but no sign of long-staying adult Little Gull at a stage of the tide it is normally visible
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1,350 along tideline
Whooper Swan - 7 very distantly and high to ESE

Light-brown Apple moth.  No butterflies or dragonflies on circuit of the reserve 1100hrs, including checking the NE corner ivy which was sheltered in full sunlight and covered in drone flies etc

Friday 26 October 2012

Yellowhammer surprise

Heysham Obs
A check of the mound/north wall produced a bunting but not the species which was being looked for in the freezing cold northerly wind!  A female/immature Yellowhammer was finally clinched after getting right side of the sun - loosely associated with the finch flock, but then remaining on the mound when they returned to the gate area.  The remainder of the 'coverage' amounted to oversleeping (last night's rock and roll lifestyle playing at a ceilidh at Lowgill village hall?) and picking up the very back end of a few thrushes, Chaffinches and Meadow Pipit before the wind started getting up and it 'went dead'

Not a good morning to give vis mig coverage a bit of a miss - see thread on LDBWS and FBC sites - however most of the birds seemed to be heading north to the east of us

North wall 
Finches amounted to about 22 with circa 15 Goldfinch, 5 Twite and 2 Linnet but heavy duty work in the centrica compound kept them off the food
Yellowhammer - female/imm with the above - what was probably this gave a single half-heard (a lot of background noise here for hearing vis mig) call seemingly quite high in the sky, so may have just come 'in-off' before pitching in and being located five minutes later in loose association with the finch flock.  Last seen around the gorse on the mound
Med Gull - adult and 1CY

Office area
Single Goldcrest ringed and not a lot seen (see intro): 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Chaffinch and 5 Redwing

Surprisngly there were some: Caloptilia stigmatella, Light-brown Apple Moth and Pink-barred Sallow

Thursday 25 October 2012

Pre-dawn coverage

Heysham Obs
Pretty lively pre-dawn this morning, including catching and ringing four Lesser Redpoll in the dark - hadn't had these on the 'night-migrant' radar.  Coverage guillotined at 0830 due to work - plenty of Redwing, a few Brambling and Fieldfare, no moths.

Pre-dawn by the office
Redwing - 162 grounded but only one caught - counted as they flew inland from the tank farm - odds and ends casually seen later but no time
Lesser Redpoll - a bit surreal.  Whilst sitting by the office in the dark listening to Redwing, at 0715hrs, I heard a redpoll calling.  Pure laziness had led me to switch on a Redpoll MP3 by the nets to save going back in daylight and four were sat in the net by 0720hrs!  Definitely vis mig droppers, not ex-local roost.  Also surprising was that only one was subsequently seen/ringed when daylight arrived
Fieldfare - 25 pre or just after dawn
Grey Wagtail - another call in the dark and then again just as it was getting light - surely a 'wintering' blogger?
Brambling - 6+3+4+1 south-west in about a 2 minute spell just as it there was enough light to see them
alba Wagtail - 5
Meadow Pipit - 4?+ (at least 2 of these in the dark!!)
Chaffinch - 27 SW
Song Thrush - 2 east at dawn
Chiffchaff - one calling at dawn
Goldcrest - not one heard or seen pre-0830 (or afterwards)
Goldfinch - 3
Raven - 1+1 high to south just as it was getting light
Woodpigeon - 6 SE

Wednesday 24 October 2012

More rubbishy medium-high cloud

Heysham Obs
Almost relieved when I saw the rubbishy clear but cloudy weather at dawn today as had so much work to do!  A few early morning thrushes and a miniscule scattering of Goldcrest = the grounded stuff.  Overhead was more productive, especially Pink-feet

Vis mig until 0930, then very on and off (S-SE unless stated)
Lesser Redpoll - 5 (4 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 17
Redwing - 124
Grey Wagtail - 2
Fieldfare - 3
Chaffinch - 16
Goldfinch - 6
Mistle Thrush - 1
Greenfinch - 8 (NONE on feeder!)
alba Wagtail - 5
Pink-footed Goose - 250N, 20S, 140N, 10S, 70N
Carrion Crow - 1
Bullfinch - 4+2+1
Woodpigeon - 3
Coal Tit - one irruptive flock of 5

Highlight of the walk round was meeting another moth trapper, Justine, who had set an overnight actinic.  Absolutely dead bird-wise apart from 12 Blackbird, flock of 5 Song Thrush, one Chiffchaff and four Goldcrest

The actinic produced Dark Chestnut, Epirrita, 2 Large Wainscotand a Mottled Umber.  The hut produced a Silver Y, Light-brown Apple Moth, Red-line Quaker and Pink-barred Sallow

Speckled Wood in the eastern woodland

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Still a bit too clear

Heysham Obs
Nice to meet photographer David Millward and coloured pencil artist Jo Goudie today who are heavily involved in the Machrihanish twite ringing.  Jo has re-vamped the Machrihanish website and it can be accessed at the moment via:

Bird-wise this morning was a little disappointing, although par for the course once the uniform medium-high cloud and clear visibility across the bay was evident.  This seemed to suppress vis without producing a vast amount of grounded stuff.  However, its usually day 2 after the big east coast fall, so tomorrow is hopefully 'game-on'

Vis mig until about 0930
Redwing - 122
Woodcock - one flew over the office and landed in the wood by the pylons just before dawn
Chaffinch - just 6
Meadow Pipit - 8
Blackbird - 12
Starling - 29 south
Lesser Redpoll - 6 (3 ringed)
Bullfinch - one high to south, at least one other 'grounded'
Fieldfare or Mistle Thrush - 6 high in the sky to the east, heading north
Greenfinch - low single-figures only
alba Wagtail - 1
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch - just 12
Rock Pipit - 1

North harbour wall
At least one Twite and a Rock Pipit

Grounded migrants
Redwing - c10
Song Thrush - 5
Blackbird - 25
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - at least 3
Brambling - one Heysham head

Much better: Large Wainscot, 2 Feathered Thorn, Feathered Ranunculus, Silver Y, Epirrita spp, 5 Red-line Quaker and a Pink-barred Sallow

Monday 22 October 2012

The day before it all happens?

Heysham Obs
Coverage limited to intermittent vis mig and a few mist nets by the office (thanks John) due to work.  A Twite-ringing session took place on the north wall with the site inundated by Goldfinch.  Quite a 'finch' morning with the notable exception of Chaffinch which saw very few on vis mig.

Vis mig intermittently to 1100hrs
Redwing - 19
Lesser Redpoll - 11
Goldfinch - 13
Starling - 600 ex-roost
Chaffinch - 11
alba Wagtail - 2
Meadow Pipit - 29, including flock of 14, most mid-morning
Coal Tit - no obvious movement - just two unringed singletons
Mistle Thrush - 1

Goldcrest - 3 new ones
Blackcap - one caught pre-dawn
Chiffchaff - one by office mid-morning
Very few thrushes grounded first thing (e.g. none ringed)

Late afternoon circuit of the reserve
Brambling - flock of 9 headed south
Redwing - dribs and drabs over, about 15 in total
Chiffchaff - one by dipping pond
Goldcrest - 2 in NE corner
Blackbird - c20 grounded

New birds: Twite (7), Coal Tit (2) Greenfinch (11), Lesser Redpoll (9), Goldfinch (19), Dunnock (2), Goldcrest (3), Coal Tit (2), Chaffinch (1), Blackcap (1), Blue Tit (2)

No Saharan migrants - just Red-line Quaker, Pink-barred Sallow and Light-brown Apple Moth and a Silver Y seen in the field

Sunday 21 October 2012

Plane-spotting day

Heysham Obs
Too clear this morning and this led to boredom and messing about with an 'app' which revealed one of the 'northbound' planes was heading for Orlando and another, just to the west, for Mexico.  Very poor vis mig this morning and an almost unbelievable situation where NO Redwing were recorded, either pre-dawn or subsequently overhead!  Highlighted by a flock of Rook and Jackdaw and a few Lesser Redpoll.  A few new Coal Tits were caught this morning, but in dribs and drabs, not sizeable irruptive flocks

Vis mig on and off to 1000hrs (S/SE unless stated)
Bullfinch - 1 (and one unringed bird caught)
Mistle Thrush - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 12 (4 ringed)
Carrion Crow - 4+2+2+1 high to south
Meadow Pipit - 21 (including 11 in-off on north wall)
Rock Pipit - 3 in-off together on north wall
Chaffinch - only 8 recorded but the only bird caught was bearing someone else's ring! (Y868 sequence)
Woodpigeon - 4+6 high to SE
alba Wagtail - 7
Siskin - 1
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 15 north
Goldfinch - c15 SE
Jackdaw - flock of 58 eventually high to SE
Rook - 5 with above

Meadow Pipit - 17 already grounded on north wall (plus the 11 in-off)
Rock Pipit - 2 on north wall (plus 3 in-off)
Song Thrush - at least 8 at or just after dawn
Blackbird - c10 at or just after dawn
Chiffchaff - one round office (caught and ringed)
Goldcrest - one mound, one sandworks, four new ones on reserve
Coal Tit - 12 unringed birds caught
Great-spotted Woodpecker - unringed bird caught
Blue Tit - one unringed bird caught
Great Tit - one unringed bird caught

A bit slow, but 30-odd new birds eventually ringed, including 12 more Coal Tit

Feathered Ranunculus was late

Saturday 20 October 2012

Snapshot coverage

Heysham Obs
Dawn was not very promising with a niggling southerly and medium-height cloud spilling in from the west, prompting a decision to get on with a pressing workload.  Coverage of the reserve was limited to a few mist net rounds and associated snapshots of vis which seemed to increase mid-morning as the skies cleared to the north.  The outer circuit of the reserve was lapped late afternoon

Grounded Heysham NR only
Single-figures of Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbird
Chiffchaff - 2 in north-east corner, one high in the canopy by the entrance gate, the latter with an interesting rather soft and 'feeble' call (but not tristis), but only offering silhouette views
Goldcrest - small influx with 8 ringed and about 6 in the NE corner
Robin - two unringed birds caught

Extra bits and pieces of vis mig from mist-net rounds 
Grey Wagtail - 1
Skylark - 2
Meadow Pipit - 12
Redwing - 25
alba Wagtail - 5
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Linnet - 3
Goldfinch - 27, including flocks of 11 & 7 high to SE
Siskin - heard once
Bullfinch - 1 high to south
Pink-footed Goose - 63 N
Greenfinch - at least11 high to S

Vis at Heysham Head 0740-0920
Grey Wagtail - 2
Skylark - 1 heard.
Meadow Pipit - 9
Redwing - 4
alba Wagtail - 4
Linnet - 4
Goldfinch - 16
Siskin - 1 heard
Pink-footed Goose - 475 N, 90 SE
Greenfinch 6
Chaffinch - 57
Brambling - 1
Numbers and species very similar to the Nature Reserve over the same time period.  Difficult to say whether they are the same birds, more likely just indicative of the rates per hour. Some birds arrived over Heysham Head from the east and then, on reaching the sea, circled trying to decide which way to go.  Some went along the coast, others went SE.  Other birds arrived from the NW and continued SE.  Some were just coming down the coast. 
No obvious grounded birds.

North Harbour Wall
Goldfinch 26 (mostly ringed), Twite 3 (1 unringed), Robin 2, Meadow Pipit 8 grounded, local Pied Wagtail family (mum, dad and the kid).

15 new Greenfinch confirmed the impression that new birds were passing through today, 8 Goldcrest, just four Coal Tit with no obvious flocks on the move, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Robin (one quite orange-breasted & grey, the other very christmas cardy), 1 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird

Epirrita spp and a Silver Y.  2 Silver Y and a Small Tortoiseshell on the yellow buddliea yesterday

Friday 19 October 2012

Varied vis and mid-morning tits

Heysham Obs
This morning 'evolved' into quite a reasonable one after a poor start where useless uniform cloud cover at 'medium height' knocked any dawn thrush arrival on the head.  The rest of the morning saw gradual clearance to 'fine, sunny with light winds' by 1100hrs.  Interesting to note the different behaviour by two Coal Tit flocks where the birds were released together (after ringing) to try and retain the 'irruptive flock mode'.  The first was caught when the cloud cover was prominent, the second as the sky was virtually cloud-free.  The first lot just trundled into the nearest bushes and ambled their way south, the second lot circled up and within 10 seconds of release were at 'top of pylon height' and heading off noisily to the south-east.  Justification indeed for a strict protocol re-releasing these birds together instead of in dribs and drabs as they are ringed.

Vis mig dawn to about 1000hrs with a few bits thereafter
Meadow Pipit - 17 SE
Chaffinch - 182 SW
Lesser Redpoll - 4 SW
Brambling - 2 SW
alba Wagtail - 17 SE
Grey Wagtail - possibly the same off-passage bird seen twice
Starling - flock of 10 S
Mistle Thrush - 2 SW
Carrion Crow - 3+2+1 high to south
Goldfinch - 43 S
Redwing - 93 SW in dribs and drabs, no double-figure flocks!
Woodpigeon - 4+2 high to SE
Pink-footed Goose - 12+4 SE
Linnet - 3 SE
Skylark - 10 SE
Song Thrush - 2 SW
Greenfinch - at least 38 SW
Tree Sparrow - 4 together S
Siskin - flock of 25 SE
Jay - 2 S
Coal Tit - at least 16 migrants
Long-tailed Tit - 10 unringed birds were retained and released together along with two 'locals' caught at the same time - headed off to the south
What was probably a Snow Bunting was heard twice high to the west but it obviously isn't being claimed

Hardly anything, so two Chiffchaff a little unexpected
Song Thrush - c10
Blackbird - much reduced on yesterday - 10-15
Chiffchaff - two newly arrived birds caught and ringed
Blackcap - one female ringed
Goldcrest - only two seen and both caught and ringed

Expensive!  New-ringed stuff:  Goldfinch (45 plus a control), Long-tailed Tit (10), Coal Tit (16), Chiffchaff (2), Redwing (2), Song Thrush (1), Blackbird (1), Chaffinch (3), Bullfinch (1), Goldcrest (2), Greenfinch (10), Dunnock (1), Blue Tit (7), Blackcap (1), Linnet (2), Twite (5).  Goldfinch control was D057 sequence = pretty recent.

Thursday 18 October 2012

More south-easterly and a different package of migrants

Heysham Obs
Love this time of year if you have just a bit of time pre-work.  With or without scarcities, each morning has a different character, sometimes a negative 'clear out', unfortunately the latter usually 'perfect ringing/staring at empty motionless nets' weather.  This morning was dodgy for ringing as per forecast, but would have been quite manageable and productive on the evidence of the wander round.  As is often the case on Thursday, I was a lone observer (with limited time) and plumped for a bit of bush coverage/'mobile' vis migging as opposed to mist nets by the office

Vis mig 0800-0930 (first half hour concentrated, final hour whilst on the prowl)
Great-spotted Woodpecker - in the right place to see one coming 'in-off' and heading high to SE
Chaffinch - 78 SW
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Jay - flock of 5 high to south
Coal Tit - more 'cascading from the sky' birds - 2+17+27 heading south after dropping down once
Long-tailed Tit - 3 flocks, two of them 'fast moving' single species with unringed birds (6+8) - suggesting birds in transit which had not gathered an entourage
Siskin - heard once
Reed Bunting - 1 S
alba Wagtail - 16 SE
Goldfinch - 21 SW
Greenfinch - 45 SW
Redwing - 51 SW (largest flock 32)
Snipe - 4 together S
Linnet - 5 S
Starling - flock of 15 S

The LTT flock below the obs tower (assuming the same) was accompanied by single Blue and Great Tit and just one Goldcrest.  No sign of yesterdays YBW but a lot of the habitat is out of bounds if it has 'settled' somewhere
Chiffchaff - 2 together NE corner (both unringed)
Song Thrush - notable increase with at least 25 grounded
Blackbird - at least 30 grounded
Redwing - a slightly late arrival so may have missed dawn birds heading inland but 'only' 10 located grounded this morning
Goldcrest - just 6 located - scattered around
Treecreeper - 2
Water Rail - first of the autumn in the marsh
In addition a tack call coming from the reedbed bushes could not be identified and the bird fell silent (sounded like Blackcap)

Mottled Umber was new for the year

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Yellow-browed Warbler at last!

Heysham Obs
Arrival at Heysham NR saw a cessation of the driving rain, a few Redwing calls, a note of the east of south wind and a search of the sheltered areas below the observation tower, some of which are within the licensed nuclear zone and cannot be advertised as public access.  The Yellow-browed Warbler was at the base of a path which has had to be closed due to an unsafe boardwalk and imminent removal of the old Observation Tower.  Apologies for having to use the "no general access" phrase on the pager, but there is no way round it for this area until the observation tower is taken down and the access track down to the Power Station made safe.  YBW found during about the 101st hour of searching during the potential arrival period so far this autumn!

Yellow-browed Warbler - a bright individual seen for about 15 seconds at c0830hrs with a small tit flock below the observation tower - it seemed to move towards the old quarry but may have crossed the road into a copse within the power station area as the flock could not be relocated after a quick dash back to the office.  No calls heard definitely ascertained to be this species but there were quite a few Coal Tit scattered around.  However the brightness of the plumage seemed to rule out Hume's.  No further sign by 1030hrs
Goldcrest - c10, including gang of 8
Redwing - perhaps 25 grounded
Blackbird - 25-30 around - definite arrival
Song Thrush - 5+ grounded
Chiffchaff - one NE corner

Heysham Head - St Peter's Churchyard and surrounding trees/scrub
Mega habitat - should be compulsory to check this area on east winds - like next week?  Totally sheltered
Crossbill - two south
Meadow Pipit - 3 south
Chaffinch - 13 south
Blackcap - male
Chiffchaff - ordinary-looking one
Goldcrest - 3
the lower three species with a LTT flock

Vis mig
Grey Wagtail - 1 but may have been off-passage
Lesser Redpoll - 1E
Reed Bunting - 1S
Brambling - at least one SW
Chaffinch - c30 SW
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Goldfinch - flock of 11 SW
plus grounded thrushes flying inland

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Windy webs and disrupted waders

Heysham Obs
A completely different morning to many recently, indeed since the last time we tried to run a coastal event!  This time we didn't cancel and the people who didn't turn round and go home were treated to a wader spectacular in the car park at Potts's Corner!

Webs and other coastal birds
Little Gull - a 1CY on the outfalls, joining the long-staying adult
Med Gull - 5-6 1CY outfalls, 2CY and at least one ad north harbour wall
Kittiwake - 1CY outfalls
Ringed Plover - 21 Ocean Edge, 13 heliport
Turnstone - exactly 60 on Ocean Edge grass, c10 on heliport
Pintail - 19 'out'
Auk spp, probably Razorbill - 10 out (3+7)
Linnet - 17 on seed north wall
Goldfinch - 22 on seed
Twite - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh edge (none seen north wall)
Oystercatcher - 5,500 heliport

Monday 15 October 2012

Dawn downpour fails to deliver

Heysham Obs
A really 'messy' morning with the routine disrupted by a torrential downpour just after dawn, followed by some moderately reasonable 'vis from about 0800hrs, but nothing 'scarce' on a circuit of the reserve plus dog walk pond area (c/f Knott End and Fleetwood cemetary!)

Vis mig 0800-1000ish
Pink-footed Goose - 29 S
Grey Wagtail - 1
Jackdaw - 8 S
Skylark - 8 SE
Meadow Pipit - 9 SE
Siskin - 8 SE
Linnet - 3 SE
Chaffinch - 26 SW
alba Wagtail - 9 SE
Redwing - 65, mainly SE (& heard pre-dawn)
Song Thrush - 4 S
Redpoll - 1 S
Brambling - 2 S (see grounded)
Curlew - 2 S
Bullfinch - 5 S
Woodpigeon - 2 S
Coal Tit - just 4

Brambling - 4 - sorry forgot to enter yesterday
Redwing - 13
Song Thrush - 10
Goldcrest - 11
Chiffchaff - 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Robin - 2 unringed (migrants) caught - one very orange-breasted

North harbour wall
Twite 9 (one ringed here last autumn) & 55 mixed Linnet/Goldfinch

Grey Squirrel NE corner

Epirrata spp new for the year - all those checked here have been November Moth

Sunday 14 October 2012

Clear weather routine plus a few Chiffchaff

Heysham Obs
Higher and more tricky vis mig this morning in clearer conditions with Chaffinch & Redwing comprising the vast majority of the records and 5 Tree Sparrow the 'highlight'.  Grounded-wise, four Chiffchaff were perhaps unexpected given the conditions and recent paucity.  The vis continued steadily until at least the early afternoon with small numbers of Chaffinch and Redwing noticeable throughout

Vis mig by the office until 1015hrs
Redwing - 281 SW in dribs and drabs with quite a few grounded
Song Thrush - 6 SW as singletons
Carrion Crow - 11 S
alba Wagtail - 11 SE
Chaffinch - 336 SW
Meadow Pipit - 7 SE
Linnet - 4 S
Coal Tit - dribs and drabs, possibly no more than 25-30 (15 ringed during morning)
Goldfinch - 38 S
Rook - 9 NE with Jackdaw
Jackdaw - 4 NE
Raven - 2 S
Greenfinch - very few this morning - no more than 10-15 perceived flying SW and very few around feeder
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
Mistle Thrush - 3 SW
Tree Sparrow - flock of 5 S
Pink-footed Goose - 78N & flock heard only to west
Jay - 3 S
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Skylark - 17 SE

Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 4
Goldcrest - c5 new
Great Tit - a ringing total of 6 for the day is very high for here - obviously a bit of movement

North wall
About 50 small finches around, mainly Goldfinch but also including 10+ Linnet and at least 4 Twite
Rock Pipit - 1
Chaffinch - one grounded on mound
Meadow Pipit - 4 on mound

New birds:  Redwing (17), Coal Tit (15), Wren (1), Goldcrest (4), Chaffinch (13), Chiffchaff (2), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (6), Dunnock (1), Blackbird (1), Greenfinch (just 3 - conspicuous by absence this morning), Goldfinch (1),

Catoptria stigmatella and a single Green-brindled Crescent

Saturday 13 October 2012

A nice varied morning by the office

Heysham Obs
This was very much a 'big sit' list this morning as I was "tied" to mist nets and vis mig, as well as having to deal with a heavy shower mist-net-wise.  Going to have to work this evening as spent far too long on coverage today!

Vis mig dawn to 1030hrs
Redwing - 325 SW, including flock of 140
Mistle Thrush - 3 heading SW with a flock of Redwing (definitely MT!)
Goldfinch - prominent this morning with 57 S and 3-4 grounded flocks
Meadow Pipit - 29 SE
Grey Wagtail - one heard in the distance early on
Reed Bunting - 5 SE
Chaffinch - 168 SW
Greenfinch - an attempt to isolate vis suggested c84 SW
Song Thrush - 10 on vis mig, heading SW in ones and twos, 14 grounded birds headed inland
Bullfinch - a prominent passage this morning with 17 heading S/SW at considerable height, including a flock of 5
Brambling - one SW with an early group of Chaffinch
Coal Tit - at least 35 south in flocks of up to 6 (19 ringed)
Starling - ignoring the ex-roost west to east birds, 63 flew south in four flocks
Blackbird - 4 high to SW and c15 grounded and heading inland just after dawn
Lesser Redpoll - 2 S
Golden Plover - one south (rare here)
alba Wagtail - 25 SE
Skylark - 14 SE
Common Buzzard - one high to the east heading south
Sparrowhawk - 1 S
Kestrel - one low to south may have been on vis mig
Curlew - 5 S
Siskin - 15 SE
Carrion Crow - at least two southbound high-flyers
Jackdaw - one flock of 6 S
Pink-footed Goose - 25 SE
Cormorant - 2 S
Yellowhammer - a female/imm flew low from the north, landed for about 10 minutes before heading SE

Bear in mind that all this was from by the office - no reserve circuit (yet)
Stonechat - female (IOA) - headed off the plateau towards the tank farm
Treecreeper (one ringed)
Chiffchaff - 1 (ringed)
Blackcap - one very heavy off-passage female ringed and another calling
Goldcrest - 10
Robin - two lightweight birds ringed
Wren - 3 ringed
Song Thrush and Blackbird see above

Not too bad considering limited to nets by office & disrupted by shower:  New birds:  Coal Tit (19), Robin (2), Goldfinch (6), Goldcrest (5), Greenfinch (7), Blackcap (1), Wren (3), Blue Tit (1), Chiffchaff (1), Treecreeper (1)

A further 18 'blogging" species were seen from the office vantage point, giving a 'big-sit-type' total of 52 species with no wetland or intertidal stuff within visual range to give 'easy' additions.  Linnet was the unexpected absentee from the vis.

Friday 12 October 2012

Was anything missed?

Heysham Obs
The early morning received no coverage today as a late night and unfavourable forecast (especially for mist-netting) took its toll.  A quick whizz round suggested that perhaps a bit of effort might have been worthwhile as there were plenty of breaks between short showers

Vis by the office 0830-0845
Meadow Pipit - 2
Chaffinch - 6

North harbour wall area
Twite - 2 (couldnt see whether ringed or not)
Linnet - 21
Goldfinch - 8
Rock Pipit - one
Meadow Pipit - 11 grounded
Razorbill - flock of 4 'out'
Med Gull - adult

Red Nab area
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull - 2 1CY
Knot - c6,500

Light-brown Apple Moth in the trap & amazingly still a Nettle Tap moth in the mist net ride next to the office

Thursday 11 October 2012

Pre-frontal trickle

Heysham Obs
A few bits ahead of the weather front this morning.  A horse and trap racing around on Middleton shore pushed all the waders up to the Ocean Edge end, 'allowing' location of a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper.

Heysham NR circuit/vis mig to 0930
Chaffinch - 36 SW
Goldfinch - 17 SW
Siskin - heard once
Reed Bunting - one S
Bullfinch - 1+2 high to south
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Woodpigeon - 8+5 S
Coal Tit - 7+8+12 S first thing, then no further movement (none(!) seen during circuit of reserve)
Curlew - one high to south
Meadow Pipit - 17 SE, all just before the rain in two groups

Song Thrush - 16 grounded first thing, then inland
Blackbird - at least 12 behaving like migrants first thing, then inland
Redwing/Fieldfare - no sign (c/f east of here)
Goldcrest - small influx with c15 seen (4 ringed)
Blackcap - just the one  seen (& ringed)
Tawny Owl - one with a halo of Great Tits and the like in the eastern woodland - flew across the road on to golf course

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
First visit for a few days!
Med Gull - just two adults
Wigeon - 45
Shelduck - 81
Knot - 6,500
Bar-tailed Godwit - 395
Dunlin - 2,200
Curlew Sandpiper - juvenile

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Nasal double

Heysham Obs
The easterly didn't seem to have a lot of fetch on it and dawn saw a layer of cloud at the 'useless' level for dropping any great numbers of migrants and at the same time inhibiting clear-weather tit movements.  We ended up with reasonable vis, much easier to record than yesterday, a few extra grounded and a reduced, but still significant Coal Tit passage with 20 ringed and no large flocks.  The blog title refers to singleton Twite and Brambling, the first of the autumn.  The morning also provided an object lesson in how not to assume high-flying small thrushes are Redwing - all were heard and all went 'tick'

Vis to 1000hrs (Greenfinch ignored - certainly no obvious vis mig)
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE
Chaffinch - 79 SW
Bullfinch - 1+1+1 high to south
alba Wagtail - 45 SE
Cormorant - one high to SE
Song Thrush - 1+1+1+2+1 high to S/SW
Blackbird - 2 high to SW, then u-turned and landed
Meadow Pipit - 89 SE
Goldfinch - scarce this morning with just 6 S/SW
Lesser Redpoll - 2 S
Linnet - 2 S
Brambling - one SW
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Twite - one 'in-off on the north wall, landed on mast then headed low over the harbour
Carrion Crow - 3 SE
Jay - one high to east and a call, probably this spp from very high in the sky but couldn't locate!
Coal Tit - just one irruptive flock of 8 birds which avoided the mist nets, all the rest were more sedate ones and twos (20 ringed)
Great-spotted Woodpecker - one high inland which may have come in-off - seen to fly over the golf course without dropping - most unusual here

Grounded (circuit of reserve)
Slightly better than yesterday but no obvious migrant Robin
Goldcrest - 6-8
Blackcap - at least 3
Chiffchaff - new arrival by office, then inland
Blackbird - 6 in NE corner
Song Thrush - 3 in NE corner
Wren - at least 2 new birds (ringed)
Rock Pipit - 2 north wall together
Meadow Pipit - 5 north wall (& 21 Linnet and 7 Goldfinch)

Coal Tit (20), Wren (2), Grey Wagtail (2), Blue Tit (1), Blackcap (2), Goldcrest (2), Chaffinch (2), Greenfinch (2)

Rhomboid Tortrix and the usual suspects in the form of Pink-barred Sallow and Red-line Quaker

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Cold clear Coal Tit irruption

Heysham Obs
The largest Coal Tit irruptive movement since 1985 took place during the first 2 hours of the day with a significant trickle for the rest of the morning.  The count is likely to be an underestimate as I had to leave the vis mig operation to help with mist net extractions at the key time

Vis mig by the office dawn to c1030hrs
Coal Tit - 164 logged flying south, largest flocks being 32 & c40.  Only small numbers after 0830hrs
Long-tailed Tit - one unringed flock of c11
Blue Tit - single figures of unringed birds - more than usual this autumn!
Great Tit - no sign of any movement as usual here
Dunnock - at least two southbound migrants
Skylark - 12 SE
Reed Bunting - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 108 SW, but significant underestimate as they were very high and not 'casually' recorded during mist net rounds
Goldfinch - 15 & comment as above
Jackdaw - 11+16+1 south - really high!
Pink-footed Goose - 60+39 SE, second flock stratospherically high
alba Wagtail - just 4 SE
Jay - 3+2 south
Carrion Crow - 6+2+1 high to south
Sparrowhawk - one south
Bullfinch - 3 high to south & c5 others moving through bushes
Raven - 2 south
Meadow Pipit - just 11 noticed, comment as Chaffinch
Mistle Thrush - 5+1+1 SW
Greylag - 2 south together c1130hrs
Peregrine - large pale bird flew ESE with quite slow wingbeats at c1145hrs (!!) - no fine detail seen

Wren - 5
Robin - 13
Chiffchaff - singing male, the first for a few days
Blackcap - 1 female
Goldcrest - 2
Jay - 2
Bullfinch - 7
Mistle Thrush - 1
Coal Tit - 13 (including a flock of 7) seen on a walk round the reserve at 1030am

North harbour wall
Rock Pipit - 1-2
possible single twite on the food but silent in bad light and flew off

Coal Tit (39), Greenfinch (4), Blue Tit (9), Long-tailed Tit (10), Wren (4), Chaffinch (2), Great Tit (1), Robin (4), Goldcrest (2), Blackbird (1), Bullfinch (1), Goldfinch (1), Dunnock (2), Lesser Redpoll (9)

Monday 8 October 2012

A Coal Tit morning

Heysham Obs
Nothing startling this morning in conditions where the weather didn't seem to know what to do.  Initially northerly at low level and south-west at cloud level, this then turned easterly and south-south east respectively.  The first Redwing(s) of the year were heard overhead but not seen and there was a sprinkling of grounded continental Song Thrush.  Vis consisted of the usual suspects and was very slow to get going, in contrast to yesterdays clear dawn 'rush'

Vis mig dawn to 0930hrs (all flying between SE and SW) & supplementary odds and ends
Grey Wagtail - 1
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 125
Goldfinch - 62
Chaffinch - 91
Meadow Pipit - 43, including flock of 17
alba Wagtail - 63
Collared Dove - 1
Woodpigeon - 11
Kestrel - 1
Siskin - 8 (& 2 later with the Coal Tit flock in the eastern woodland)
Linnet - 2
Coal Tit - 7, later another 8 and a flock of 29 in the HNR eastern woodland which moved inland
Redwing - high flying calls just after dawn but bird(s) could not be located!
Skylark - at least one SE c1030hrs

Song Thrush - c15, 5 flying inland and 4 ringed
Blackcap - 4
Goldcrest - c8
Bullfinch - flock of three unringed birds caught
Robin - one unringed bird
Kingfisher - one in marsh
Treecreeper - one with the Coal Tit flock in the HNR eastern woodland

Sunday 7 October 2012

Cold clear corvids

Heysham Obs
The sort of cold and clear conditions which kick-start corvid movements, render small bird vis rather tricky at a low-level site and produce a dearth of night migrants.  A few Mistle Thrushes on the move

Vis mig on and off dawn to about 1000hrs
Siskin - 3
Carrion Crow - 17 (max flock 6)
Chaffinch - 105 SW
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE, possibly 6 but one appeared to be off-passage
Goldfinch - at least 19 migrants S
Coal Tit - at least 17 migrants, mainly heading south (7 ringed) and one of yesterday's birds ringed at Heysham NR retrapped at Middleton this morning
Jackdaw - 54 SW (max flock 24)
Meadow Pipit - just 12 seen SE
Mistle Thrush - 2+3+11 SW
alba Wagtail - at least 35 SE
Bullfinch - 1 S & others heard in bushes which may have been on the move
Skylark - at least 8 SE
Blue Tit - 3 flying high to the south & another two unringed birds caught together, a further 3 ringed at Middleton - multiple movement at last!
Jay - one to south & it or another over Middleton
Greenfinch - as in other recent days, ignored but some of the trickle may have been on the move
Reed Bunting - 1 SE & 4 ringed at Middleton & 2 on north wall
Pink-footed Goose - four flocks of c100 (3) and 72 SE
Lesser Redpoll - 5 ringed (Middleton) but none heard arriving!

Blackcap - 4 (3 ringed) - all high fat/high weight off-passage birds, one ringed Middleton
Chiffchaff - just the one encountered at Middleton, none Heysham NR
Goldcrest - just 2 unringed birds encountered at HNR
Snipe - 11 Middleton
Song Thrush - at least 4 dawn migrants round HNR office (one ringed)
Wren - 7 ringed, obviously some movement
Dunnock - no evidence of any migrants
Robin - no evidence of any migrants at Heysham NR (locals singing from dawn), but 3 ringed on Middleton

Ringing recovery
A colour-ringed adult female Ringed Plover on the heliport at the high tide roost on 17/9/12 (only) was ringed at nearby Arkholme in the Lune valley on 17/6/99 (as nesting adult female)

Ringing at Middleton/Heysham NR
New birds, indicating the lack of 'night' migrants: Goldcrest (2), Wren (7), Chaffinch (3), Song Thrush (1), Coal Tit (7), Blue Tit (6), Great Tit (1), Greenfinch (6), Goldfinch (3) Robin (3), Long-tailed Tit (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Lesser Redpoll (5), Reed Bunting (4), Blackcap (4), Chiffchaff (1)  

North wall
Reed Bunting - 2 on seed along with c12 each of Linnet and Goldfinch

Predictably, in the conditions, no sign of any terns left in late afternoon.  Ad Little Gull and 9 Med Gulls

Not too bad, but routine with Feathered Ranunculus the best

Saturday 6 October 2012

Par for the course in a north-westerly

Heysham Obs
The leftovers were still in place on the outfalls, but precious little of any interest overhead or in the bushes with top billing the Rusty Dot Pearl in the moth trap and two flyover House Sparrow!

Quick check revealed
Black Tern - juv
Common Tern - 2 juv
Little Gull - ad
Med Gull - 5 1CY, at least one 2CY, one adult

Office area vis mig dawn(ish) to 0915hrs
Chaffinch - 43 SW
Meadow Pipit - 17 SE but high and the harbour very noisy
Grey Wagtail - 2-3 (two ringed)
House Sparrow - 2 SW
Goldfinch - c25 S
Reed Bunting - 2 SE (1 ringed)
Coal Tit - at least 16 passed through to the south
alba Wagtail - 26 SE

One unringed Goldcrest the only evidence of new stuff.  Blackcap of unknown status calling by the office

Highlighted by Rusty Dot Pearl and Feathered Ranunculus

Friday 5 October 2012

Selection remains on the outfalls

Heysham Obs
No landbird coverage this morning after a late night in the Hill Inn, Chapel-le-Dale, although there appeared to be a small influx of Goldcrest around the office area.  Quick check of the outfalls produced the goods in the space of about 6 seconds scanning from Ocean Edge!

Outfalls 0900hrs
Black Tern - juv
Common Tern - 2 juvs

Thanks to Janet and Pete for these

Little Gull - ad
Med Gull at least 3 1CY and one 2CY

Thursday 4 October 2012

Reasonable by this autumn's standards

Nice action shot taken today.  Thanks Janet

Heysham Obs
A good variety of clear still morning visible migration although the absence of jay (and corvids generally) or any hirundines was perhaps unexpected.  Interest included quite a number of Coal Tits, 'obvious' Bullfinch movement, high-flying Dunnock.  As is usual when multi-tasking in clear weather, some of the vis was missed.  A single Blue Tit descended noisily from the sky Falsterbo-fashion, the first such behaviour from this species noted this autumn.  Very early on we had to be very careful as the last of the showers passed over at dawn and this, combined with the ultra-stillness, led to the extremely humid air in the mist-net rides causing some problems with condensation on the nets

Vis mig dawn to about 1030hrs 
Meadow Pipit - 182 SE
Chaffinch - 110 S
Goldfinch - 28 S (underestimate)
Grey Wagtail - just two singles
alba Wagtail - 37 SE
Siskin - 3 SE
Carrion Crow - 1+3 high to south
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Common Buzzard - 1 SE at 0815hrs, may have come 'in-off'
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 680 north-east (!) and 230 SE
Coal Tit - 27 south in flocks of up to 5
Dunnock - 2+1+1 high to the south
Blue Tit - one descended from the north, then headed off south
Mistle Thrush - 2 SE
Skylark - heard twice
Bullfinch - 8 S

Chiffchaff - 2 (ringed)
Goldcrest - just 2 new ones ringed
Blackbird - a flock of 5 early long-winged migrants which eventually headed  inland
Song Thrush - 3 grounded migrants headed inland singly
Blackcap - one male and one calling from tank farm
Robin - certainly some new birds with four ringed and others being chased off

Common Tern - 2 juv and an additional juv tern spp reported by others which may be Arctic (waiting to see photos)
Black Tern - juv
Little Gull - adult
Thanks Janet
Med Gull - at least 5 1CY, 2 adults and 1 2CY
Red-throated Diver - imm or winter adult close inshore early morning
Grey Heron - one red nab area

Mound/north wall
Linnet - c20
Goldfinch - c20
Lesser Redpoll, one, possibly 2
Rock Pipit - 2 (1OA)

Red Admiral (SD46A), Migrant Hawker by the office and about 7 Common Darter seen, mainly SD45E.  2-3 Speckled Wood Nature park area.  Just two Pink-barred Sallow in the moth trap but at least one Nettle Tap moth still surviving in the mist-net ride by the office

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Same again?

Heysham Obs
Nadine confusion was resolved today!  Apparently the version at the beginning of last week, referred to at the time as being 'Nadine' was actually "Child of Nadine" which developed into the nasty rain-filled depression which 'sat on us'.  The name is still being mentioned on weather forecasts because the original Nadine is still spinning around rather aimlessly near the Azores.  A Lesser Redpoll on the north harbour wall was new in, but a semi-promising wind failed to deliver anything extra unless the IOM ferry produces in about half an hour = one adult Kittiwake which carried on into the bay
Thanks Janet - great pic for determining racial identity
....................and a summary of large chunks of today's weather
Outfalls/Red Nab area, quick check
Black Tern - juv, still there 1545hrs
Common Tern - juv, TWO juveniles late afternoon
Little Gull - ad
Med Gull - at least 8 (5+ 1CY)

North wall
8 Linnet, 3 Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll on seed
Kittiwake ad flew into the bay just after IOM ferry
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult

Late Flounced Rustic a surprise

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Stop and start vis mig

Heysham Obs
The absence of Blue Tits, with no flocks at all seen this autumn and only 21 ringed (all singles) in August/September contrasts with 87,400 passing thought Falsterbo yesterday!  Disruptive weather produced disrupted vis mig this morning and seemed to close the corridor across the Bay with observations limited to:

Thanks for these, Janet, there were up to 14 Meds on Ocean Edge grass at high tide, 3 of them on the lower pic.  Top pic = the long-staying Common Tern

0745-0815hrs office area
Chaffinch - 38 SW
Goldfinch - 19 SW
Siskin - 2 S
alba Wagtail - 13 SE
Meadow Pipit - 7 SE

Outfalls area low tide, then lunchtime high tide visit
Med Gull - 8 1CY (one metal-ringed above tarsus, top line starting with letter 'S'), 2 Ad, 5 2CY (one ringed below tarsus on right leg), almost all initially on seaward end of Heysham one outfall, then 14 roosting on Ocean Edge grassy foreshore at high tide
Little Gull - ad heysham 2 outfall
Black Tern - juv still on seaward end of heysham one outfall, then heysham 2 at high tide
Common Tern - juv outfalls at least high tide

A late Treble Bar was the first for a few days and probably the last of the year

Late afternoon walk round reserve perimeter
Goldcrest - 2
Song Thrush - 2 presumed migrants
Speckled Wood - 6
Nettle Tap Moth - 2 in mist net ride next to office (45E), one north end (46A)
Migrant Hawker - one NE corner (5 in the nature park yesterday along with ovipositing pair of Common Darter and a single male Common Darter)

Monday 1 October 2012

Irish/Manx drift?

Heysham Obs
Thanks Janet 

One of those mornings where you hear a few Goldcrests, but don't get too excited as the fare is surely from across the Irish Sea or the parts of Scotland (most of it) west of Carlisle.  This is because the wind was firmly in the south-west and the accompanying grounded migrants appeared to comprise a few Wrens, Robins, Dunnocks and a single female Blackcap.

Office area with a birthday-delayed start at 0745hrs
Goldcrest - 15-20, but soon melted away (2 belatedly ringed)
Blackcap - one female
Wren - two unringed birds caught as nets being set
Robin - at least 2 unringed birds being chased
Dunnock - 3 'fidgety' birds emerged from brambles and flew south together
Song Thrush - one grounded in tank farm, flew inland

Vis by the office 0745-0930ish
Pink-footed Goose - flock heard but not seen, then 95 north
Meadow Pipit - 66 SE. mostly in the first 15 mins, therefore a lot presumably missed
Chaffinch - 39 S/SW, mostly in first 15 mins
Goldfinch - 14 SE
alba Wagtail - 7 SE
Woodpigeon - 3 high to SE
Siskin - 7 SE

Outfalls and harbour area
Black Tern - juv
Common Tern - juv
Med Gull - 8+ 1CY, 2 ad, 2-3 2CY (7 1CY behind IOM ferry)
Grey Wagtail - 1 SE
Guillemot - rather sad looking bird close inshore by Red Nab
Little Gull - adult