Wednesday 30 April 2014

Early morning Wood Warbler reward

Heysham Obs
An early start saw a decent first light migrant spread by recent standards, although Willow Warbler conspicuously absent.  Then the nets had to be furled due to heavy rain which I hadn't foreseen

Tomorrow looks a bit better with a decent fall of migrants yesterday on Portland suggesting that stuff is at last getting thorough in numbers after a difficult week of weather around the channel.  Middleton CES with a few extra migrants/Heysham migrants/which forecast to believe???

Early morning Heysham NR
Redstart - female by office first thing appeared to move off north across the plateau, then probably another female escaped from mist net!
Wood Warbler - singing male started in the screening planting by the dipping pond at 0555hrs, then presumably the same went via the car park willows into the trees along the pylons.  Last heard singing about 0610.  A rather strange route through the site by a migrant!
Whitethroat - 2 ringed and at least one other migrant
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed
Lesser Redpoll - one ringed - 3 over when nets furled
Willow Warbler - no evidence of any migrants
Wheatear - 7 Ocean Edge
Sedge Warbler - one by office first thing
Garden Warbler - singing male by obs tower pond first thing (IOY)

Middleton nr
Four different grasshopper warblers, single singing male garden warbler and seven other species of warbler. Surely the best dawn chorus site in this area?

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Please dont say "isnt it a lovely day"

Heysham Obs
More 'fly straight over' weather this morning with migration being absolutely hopeless

Sandwich Tern - 6 bloggers
Common Scoter - 1
Wheatear - 8
Redpoll - I lesser ringed
Willow Warbler - 1 ringed
Sedge Warbler - 1 ringed
Swallow - 6 or so
House Martin - 3 or so

Oak Tree Pug and Spruce Carpet at Middleton

Monday 28 April 2014

Slack and slow

Heysham Obs
Just about worth an early start this morning in conditions with no clearly defined airflow which produced exactly as expected

Sea 0625-0800
Sandwich Tern - 9 blogging, 6 in
Arctic Tern - flock of 23 in
Black Tern - one in at 0705hrs
Swallow - 1!
Whimbrel - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 4
Redpoll - 1

Ocean Edge
Whimbrel - 1
Wheatear - 7 male, 2 female

Four 'new' Lesser Whitethroat were caught in the office nets comprising half the new birds by 0900hrs!
The only vis noted over the office was a pre-dawn redpoll

Sunday 27 April 2014

Early morning sea passage switched off just after 0730

Heysham Obs
'Facilitation' can mean missing most things in rapid transit and this was the case for me this morning (including the Wood Warbler giving two bursts of song as it passed through).  However, the fare for the early morning sea-watchers was reasonably good, for the later ones it was an empty sea, as also happened at JBP.  Not sure where the additional 500 Arctic T passing Rossall ended up unless they were pre-0600hrs or went up the Lune 'flightline'?

Heysham North Harbour Wall (0605 - 0850 hrs) (thanks Pete C for count - the Tree Pipit were over the gate area):
Arctic Skua - 1 dark morph flew into the Bay at 0620 hrs
Black Tern - 10 - comprising a flock of 9 flew into the Bay at 0630 hrs, then 1 followed a flock of Arctic Terns into the Bay at 0705 hrs
Arctic Tern - 337 flew into the Bay, including double-figure flocks of 90, 74, 16, 41, 17, 54 and 35
Common Scoter - 13 - groups of 3 in, 2 out, 2 in and 6 out
Sandwich Tern & Red-throated Diver - None!

Also offshore: 1 Gannet, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Eider, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Whimbrel

Overhead passerines included 20 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 6 Tree Pipit, 2 Sand Martin, c20 Meadow Pipit and 1 Grey Wagtail, while grounded migrants comprised 3 Wheatear and 1 Willow Warbler

Grounded elsewhere
Wood Warbler - singing male by the dipping pond mid-morning
Wheatear - at least 19 different birds, mainly Ocean Edge
Whinchat - male Ocean Edge
Blackcap - three new birds ringed
Willow Warbler - just two new birds ringed

Middleton NR
A 'new' continuously singing male showed well to some observers, increase in Sedge Warblers to low double figures of singing males
Gadwall - 5

Saturday 26 April 2014

Belated Black Terns

Heysham Obs
You are welcome to join seawatchers on the north harbour wall tomorrow where there will be people present from 0700hrs and there is a reasonably good forecast for tern passage (although the southern Irish sea route for other seabirds is 'blocked' big-time by a Biscayan swirler!).  Please bring your own optics as sharing scopes is not an option during seawatching.  The main consideration is parking.  We share the seawall with large numbers of anglers who have been prevented from using the south side by the bass-related angling ban.  Therefore please DO NOT park along the seaward edge of the north harbour wall road as the anglers will be piling in from 7ish onwards and need to use that side of the road.  Please park appropriately on the wide section of road and walk along the narrow section and past the red gate to join other observers. Thanks.

Please remember dress-wise there might be quite a wind-chill at that time of the morning.  No young children please - not safe.  

The weather seemed to prevent migration this morning with key observations in the 'blogging'/going the wrong way categories

Coastal areas 0730-0845
Black Tern - distant flock of 3 flew in at 0810hrs
Meadow Pipit - one grounded
Redpoll spp - 1+1 north (the only perceived 'vis')
Wheatear - 10 Ocean Edge foreshore
Whimbrel - flock of 7 close inshore OE, then flew south, 1+1 south north harbour wall
Arctic Skua - 2 dark morph out together at 0750, dark morph out at 0820
Red-throated Diver - distant one out, close one in
Tern spp, presumed Sandwich - 2 very distant!
Common Scoter - flock of 6 out

No sign of yesterday Black Redstart Red Nab area

Friday 25 April 2014

Reasonable variety but no great numbers, other than perhaps Wheatear

Heysham Obs
Another dawn start with the persistent and irritating moon still a prominent feature in yet another clear sky - we have been very unlucky this week

Grounded highlights
Wheatear - max of 21 Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Black Redstart - rather abraded female-type Red Nab early morning at least
Sedge Warbler - one singing briefly by HNR office and increase to 7 on Middleton
Reed Warbler - increase to 7 singing males Middleton
Willow Warbler - a trickle of migrants, mainly presumed females (7 ringed)

Vis mig and sea
Lesser Redpoll - just 3
Meadow Pipit - just 4
alba Wagtail - just 5
Swallow - very few early morning - just 8 seen!
Sand Martin - on north
Carrion Crow - flock of 5 north
Whimbrel - 5+3+H+1+1 north
Sandwich Tern - 6 blogging
Gannet - adult out
Arctic Tern - 7+12+3 in
Red-throated Diver - 2 sp birds out together
Common Scoter - pair in

Full Middleton list from Malcolm & Pete:
Mute 4 (including two sitting)
1 Stock Dove
8 tufted
7 gadwall
1 female mallard with 12 new chicks
2 shelduck
2 greylag
5 coot + 3 chicks
4 moorhen
2 little grebe
1 pheasant
5 linnet
5 reed bunting
1 wheatear
5 swallow
1 stoat
The reeds and scrub was awash with warblers. The following is just a list of individual birds heard in song.
10 Willow warbler
4 Chiffchaff
2 lesser whitethroat
11+ common whitethroat
7 sedge
7 reed
1 grasshopper (only heard on return trip)
Ocean Edge miscellany
2 little egret
28 Linnet feeding in short grass early am
285 Dunlin along the saltmarsh creek or on red nab

Thursday 24 April 2014

Crow mystery

Heysham Obs
Went through the motions this early morning, despite the wind being a bit too southerly for here, and, unlike yesterday, where we were a bit of a migrant-free oasis under the dawn clear slot by all accounts, the early fare was better than expected. 

A corvid headed high to the north at 0745hrs - probably higher than I've ever seen one fly here!  It certainly had a grey belly but no more detail could be seen.    One Lesser Redpoll was caught early on and it was a control - D287 sequence. 

The nets were furled for a bit of a run-round as the sun was shining directly on to them (0700-0740), most of which was spent staring at an empty sea, but did include a gang of 16 Wheatear on Ocean Edge, a few looking really wet and bedraggled and the first Whimbrel of the year

A mixture of work/net-checking/listening for gull alarm calls beckons but I cannot see anything dramatic happening..................and it didn't.... but a few odds and ends added since the first post

Seawatch - 0700-0800
Gannet - 1
Sandwich Tern - 14 in 6 blogging
Arctic Tern - 9+3+5 in
Common Scoter - 5 (f) in

Seawatch 1000-1015
Arctic Skua (dark morph) - 1 harrying Sandwich Terns
Common Scoter - 5m, 1f on sea offshore
Sandwich Tern - 16 (8 on yellow buoy, 8 out)

Gannet - adult fishing close inshore!

Wheatear - 16 Ocean Edge, one mound, 4 Middleton
Whimbrel - one Red Nab (IOY)

Vis mig
Pretty non-existent with the only two Lesser Redpolls registered both caught and one was ringed elsewhere
Meadow Pipit - c15
Swallow - just 10 seen

Gadwall - pair and single male Middleton
Little Grebe - definitely pair on no swimming pond
Grasshopper Warbler - 3 singing male (as yesterday)

First (12) Large Red Damselfly at Middleton (IOY)
Orange Tip - c40 Middleton
Brown Silver Line - one by office (IOY)

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Potentially decent morning spoilt by extensive clear skies at dawn

Heysham Obs
Unlucky this morning as dawn saw a great big clear slot complete with the lingering moon after travelling from home thorough some tasty 'fall' weather.  It was also too windy for the office nets

Vis mig, including an hour on the sea
Tree Pipit - 4
Meadow Pipit - 18
Grey Wagtail - 1 (very late)
Marsh Harrier - dark bird north and inland over Middleton 1100ish (missed it c/f patch challenge!!)
alba Wagtail - 6 NE
Swallow - relatively few with just 25 noticed
Sandwich Tern - 13
Gannet - adult in
Siskin - 1+ NE
Redpoll - 2 NE
Auk spp - one out
Carrion Crow - flock of 5 north

Grounded/newly arrived territorial birds
Wheatear - 14 scattered around, including 6 on Red Nab
Redstart - 1 female
Reed Warbler - 3 singing males Middleton
Sedge Warbler - increase to 6 singing males Middleton
Common Sandpiper - 1
Willow Warbler - no great evidence of arrival - far less than yesterday in clear conditions - 3 ringed during very short mist netting session
Grasshopper Warbler - additional singing male by office/obs tower pond (as well as tank farm bird)

Turnstone - 187
Gadwall - still at least one pair Middleton
Todays photos from Red Nab and the Harbour

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Early morning sampling

Heysham Obs
Could do with another early morning birder this week as we are a bit short-handed if I'm tied down by mist net supervision.  Grasshopper Warbler retrap by the office of last year's territorial male the highlight

Vis mig on and off plus two sessions on the sea
Arctic Tern - 3+14 'in'
Kittiwake - one adult in
Swallow - early movement with 92 between 0600-0700, fewer later with blocking cloud to the south
alba Wagtail - 17 NE
Meadow Pipit - 4 NE
Tree Pipit - one NE
Carrion Crow - flock of 4 NE
Redpoll - just the one NE
Sparrowhawk - possible migrant high and purposeful but to the south!

Willow Warbler - probably about 30 grounded by office
Whitethroat - at least two extras by the office
Grasshopper Warbler - migrant singing male by classroom briefly early am
Whinchat - male Middleton afternoon (IOY)
Common Sandpiper - one model boat pond shore afternoon (IOY)
House Martin - one Middleton pm (IOY)
Snipe - late one central marsh Middleton

Monday 21 April 2014

Retrieval of sorts highlighted by another Osprey

Heysham Obs
Another early morning no-show due to other commitments, but, even if the bulk of a promising morning was missed in a mixture of tasty cloud cover and light easterly (contra forecast), some decent odds and ends were seen later

Arrival at 0900hrs saw the last 15 minute or so of the cloudy murky light winds and a couple of hastily-erected nets caught a couple of Willow Warbler.  Then, as often happens as soon as (especially late) nets are set, the conditions suddenly went 'mid-morningish' with bright sunlight, a developing breeze and melting away migrants

Redstart - female by office 0910 at least, probably another at south end of tank farm 1200hrs
Whitethroat - at least 3 moved quickly through 0900-0920
Willow Warbler - c6 migrants by office in the first half-hour
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male in the tank farm to mid-morning only

Vis mig
Very little post 0900 other than hirundines and a trickle of Meadow Pipit (no redpoll recorded)

Arctic Tern - 3+2+1 'in' 0845-0900 but no others seen
Arctic Skua - dark morph on then in at c1030
Osprey - one high up the Bay chased by gulls at 1125
Meadow Pipit - c15 north
Swallow - reached 120/hr north by late morning
Siskin - one NE

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - four singing males this evening
Reed Warbler - singing male this evening -first of year

 A very difficult to photograph ringed grasshopper warbler at MNR

Sunday 20 April 2014

Two hour window missed

Heysham Obs
Decided to enter the national Patchwork Challenge.  This reflects the activities of several people who extensively cover Middleton NR and Heysham EDF Energy land on a regular basis, notably Malcolm and Janet.  The challenge is limited to 3km square or a shape equating to 3KM square or less.  Bearing in mind the design includes any possible vantage point for offshore 'seen-froms', the remainder reflects the likely hot-spots which are visited as part of a circuit.  

A frosty start at home was accompanied by redpoll flying overhead but unfortunately as soon as the single mist net was set at Heysham at 0700 (with a flock of 5 Redpoll passing over), the forecasted cloud cover arrived, the wind got up and nothing happened.  The net was soon taken down

In the meantime a text received from Janet re-two singing male Grasshopper Warbler on Heysham Moss following yesterday's male Pied Flycatcher passing through there.   This prompted a circuit of both Middleton and Heysham NR and the results indicated that there was a significant male Willow Warbler passage, in contrast to yesterday, and also Middleton hosted two singing male Grasshopper Warbler

Another seawatch prior to midday as a heavy cloud was approaching from the south produced a flock of 7 Arctic Tern, which appeared to drop out of the sky before heading up the Bay

An osprey was seen heading past Heysham low over the sea at about 1635hrs

Vis mig on and off from 0700
Redpoll spp - flock of 5 NE at 0700 and no more
Meadow Pipit - 11
Swallow - 41
Sand Martin- 2
Arctic Tern - 7 in about 1140hrs
Osprey - one watched flying low over the sea towards Heysham along the west side of Middleton saltmarsh c1630hrs

Willow Warbler - two quick circuits revealed 11 singing males on Heysham NR and 15 singing males on Middleton, way above the local breeding population
Common Whitethroat - one singing by HNR office new in
Wheatear - one north wall
Grasshopper Warbler - two presumed territorial birds arrived at Middleton

Guillemot - one harbour mouth
Common Gull - 115 outfalls

Saturday 19 April 2014

Red-lister back from the dead

Heysham Obs
Following a second-hand report last year, two Grey Partridge were discovered in the recording area on Middleton this morning.  Hopefully they will nest successfully.  A male Yellow Wagtail also flew over Middleton but the downside this morning was almost unbelievably bad fortune intercepting the Lesser Redpoll passage, but at least one of the three already bore a ring from elsewhere = Rishton Bird Observatory near Blackburn!  It was ringed on 16/2 and retrapped there on 19/3 and 10/4

Vis mig (from three sites with no duplication (also low tide)) 0700-1000
Lesser Redpoll - c35 NE
Meadow Pipit - 37 NE
alba Wagtail - 11 NE
Goldfinch - 3 NE
Swallow - 8 NE
Sand Martin - 2 NE
Yellow Wagtail - male N
Sandwich Tern - 6
Red-throated Diver - one
Linnet - 6 NE

Middleton NR (thanks Malcolm and Pete)
Whitethroat - 5 singing males
Sedge Warbler - 2 singing males (neither of them early morning arrivals/songsters)
Lesser Whitethroat - 3 singing males
Little Grebe - 2
Greylag - up to 11 blogging
Grey Partridge -  two at the south-western end

Grounded migrants
No evidence of anything other than a surprising 6 'new' Blackcap Heysham NR.  Migrant Willow Warbler 'non-existent' with just territorial birds seen and it is very unusual to get Blackcap moving without simultaneous larger Willow Warbler movements

Friday 18 April 2014

Seen one birdless sunrise...................

Heysham Obs
Not a lot happening in freezing cold, moonlit conditions this morning with a rising sun untroubled by any cloud cover.  Vis mig did not get going in any form until about 0700 and then only a trickle

Willow Warbler - at least 6 passed through by the office very early on
Lesser Whitethroat - one as above
Redstart - male by office very briefly as chased by Robin

Vis mig
Lesser Redpoll - 8 (6 ringed) NE
alba Wagtail - 16 NE
Meadow Pipit - 9 NE
Goldfinch - c15 NE

Greylag Goose - two visited the pond above the office

No chance of me checking anywhere else today

Comma and Female Orange Tip at HNR

Thursday 17 April 2014

Stock Dove highlight

Heysham Obs
Not a lot today

Middleton MB pond
Stock Dove - one on spit
Jackdaw - two collecting material on spit
Gadwall - two males

One over the horizon adult Gannet

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - one

Wednesday 16 April 2014

There is only one Brent

Heysham Obs
........and not a lot else either as a niggling wind was probably a bit too far to the south and soon became too strong for effective use of mist-nets

Brent Goose - one dark-bellied on offshore sandbank at low tide
No passage

Vis mig 0630-0930 on and off
Meadow Pipit - 47 NE
Redpoll spp - at least 19 (6 ringed were all Lesser) NE
alba Wagtail - 17 NE
Linnet - 12 NE
Goldfinch - 3 NE

Very few Willow Warbler this am (only 2 ringed), 4 Blackcap ringed, one Chiffchaff ringed.  Two Wheatear along north wall.  Nothing else obviously new in

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Much more like it..........

Heysham Obs
A morning which was mostly concentrated by the Heysham NR office with a short seawatch just after low tide.  Alan produced a Common Redpoll out of the nets before dawn and a couple of Avocet heading north up the bay were (eventually!) identified - must spend more time at Leighton Moss.  A few other odds and ends of migrants - not bad for a clear moon-ridden morning

Office area
Common Redpoll - male caught and ringed at 0600hrs - see pics and note the 'barbie doll pink' on this species on the sides of the head and breast c/p the deeper red on most lesser males
Lesser Redpoll - at least 37 with 18 ringed - amazingly none already bearing rings..........until as soon as I posted this the next round produced L978xxx!
Redstart - female by office briefly
Blackcap - 4-5 moved through
Willow Warbler - very difficult as they whizzed through just after dawn with bits of temporary song from various sites - 20-30?
Lesser Whitethroat - newly arrived singing male by office, almost certainly the bird seen dropping out of the sky just previous to song registration (yesterdays bird did not stay)
Meadow Pipit - 18 NE, prob more - very high
Common Whitethroat - male appeared at lunchtime
Siskin - 5 NE
Collared Dove - flock of 3 NE
Tree Pipit - one NE

Swallow - 15 NE
Avocet - 2 north
Eider - 221
Red-throated Diver - one on

Monday 14 April 2014

Orange Tip kick-start

Heysham Obs
A rubbishy north-westerly this morning and the coverage was limited to 30 minutes on the cold north harbour wall

Guillemot - one on
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Swallow - 15 in (loose flock of 13)
Meadow Pipit - 26 NE
Common Gull - 48 NE
Large gulls - a procession out, mainly 2CY Herring, totalling 160

Lesser Whitethroat in song by Heysham NR office

Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
6 mute (2 sitting)
3 coot
2 moorhen
4 mallard
7 tufted
2 gadwall (male)
1 teal (female)
2 shelduck
2 greylag
2 little egrets
3 little grebe
1 lapwing
1 pheasant
7 meadow pipit
6 reed bunting
Great spotted woodpecker drumming
8 Swallow (north 1s & 2s)
Warblers heard singing
8 chiffchaff
8 willow warbler
1 lesser whitethroat

Orange Tip - 5 males

5 orange tip

Sunday 13 April 2014

Brent sensation

Heysham Obs
A distinctly un-lively seawatch this morning at least produced some quality.  Brent Goose status is odd.  Both light and dark-bellied a routine feature just out of visual range over the Bay (including a Black Brant the last two winters) but they are pretty scarce on this side, especially a flock.  Something to do with eel-grass?

Sea 0730-1010ish (thanks Mark, Jean and Pete)
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - flock flew along the tideline from south of Red Nab, then turned north past the wooden jetty and apparently split into 2+5 as entered the Bay
Arctic Skua - Dark morph distantly at c0755 sat on the water and floated in.  Presumably different was an in-bound dark morph at 0855hrs and a dark morph out at 0955 was presumably one of the two
Common Scoter - 5 on the water
Red-throated Diver - 2 in and 6 out
Mute Swan - 2 'in-off' from Barrow direction to Red Nab direction
Meadow Pipit - one north!

Grey Seal offshore

Saturday 12 April 2014

Early shift seabirds, late shift seagulls

Heysham Obs
A few seabirds early morning but the pre-high tide late shift was like watching paint dry

Sea 0745-1015
Arctic Skua - dark morph in, intermediate morph out
Red-throated Diver - 16 seen, including flock of 4
Gannet - 13 out, 3 in, all adults and including flock of 8
Common Scoter - flock of 5 in, one on the sea close inshore
No Kittiwake or terns
Passerine vis mig at the same time non-existent in mod/fresh SW wind

Nine species, including Herald

Friday 11 April 2014

Early morning routine

Heysham Obs
To windy from a nasty direction for the office mist nets until 0720, so a bit of sea/vis

Dead 0650-0720

Vis mig north wall then office 0650-0750 on and off
Meadow Pipit - 32 NE
Golden Plover - one high to east (rare here)
Siskin - at least 5 NE
Redpoll spp - 10 NE
alba Wagtail - 13 NE
Linnet - 7 NE

Another Herald was the highlight along with Parsnip Moth

Thursday 10 April 2014

The 15 minute 'coverage'

Heysham Obs
Lots to do after checking moth traps this morning, so little time for coverage.  One of those annoying mornings where things are obviously happening but not necessarily funnelled through a coastal obs.  I had three Willow Warbler near home which were not there yesterday plus a singing Redstart but nothing appeared to be concentrated at Heysham

Seawatch 0900-0915
Sandwich Tern -1 out
Red-throated Diver - one in
Carrion Crow - 9 north
Meadow Pipit - 5 north

Decent catch included two  Shoulder Stripe, a late March Moth and two Powdered Quaker

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Herald and Arctic Skua new for the year

Heysham Obs

Sea 0730-0830ish (thanks Pete C)
Arctic Skua - flock of three dark morph headed 'in' at 0750, close inshore at Yellow Buoy range
Lots of imm large gulls around but nothing could be found with them

No other seabirds!

Vis mig comprised 4 Meadow Pipit over the space of about an hour.  Dead!

Nothing grounded Wheatear-wise early morning

Afternoon (thanks Janet)
Swallow - three north
Wheatear - one Ocean Edge

Moths & butterflies
Herald new for the year
The first Speckled Wood of the year was seen as well as the first Green-veined White of the year (pic)

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Great Northern Diver and Fulmar and Gannet at last!

Heysham Obs
NB Early morning seawatching looks a decent option tomorrow

Unfortunately held up by traffic this am, much earlier in the morning than usual and the seawatch was limited to 0745-0830.  Highlighted by close views of a 2CY/winter adult Great Northern Diver which flew south, then about 15 minutes later what was presumably the same bird/species was seen at extreme range towards the windfarm and appeared to land.  Decent numbers of Red-throated Diver, including a flock of 5.  Oddly no first Gannet of the year and amazingly no Kittiwake flocks in the 45 min seawatch, especially as a couple of casual glances by a non-seawatching birder later in the morning produced four Gannet and there were loads off Blackpool

Sea 0745-0830
Great Northern Diver - one 'out' at c0750, then perhaps the same very distantly at c0815.  Probably a 2CY as no sign of summer plumage coming through
Red-throated Diver - absolute minimum of 11, probably 14 and possibly 20, mainly 'in', including flock of 5
Fulmar - one in and across was rather unexpected at 0820
Little Gull - 2 x 2CY 'in'
Lots of LBBG and Common Gull moving but no obvious pattern
Gannet - four later in the morning offshore

Guillemot still by waterfall
Turnstone - 50 wooden jetty

Red Nab 0835
Little Egret - one
Good lot of imm large gulls around wooden jetty/outfalls but nothing of interest

Good catch, perhaps surprisingly including first Powdered Quaker of year

Monday 7 April 2014

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
Yesterday there were no birds, today was a bit of a priorities struggle for a single observer as stuff was obviously around in the bit of a window from early morning till about 10 when some nasty wet drizzly stuff filled the air.  A belated hour of ringing saw just one net operated with threatening rain and this catch included a Reed Bunting

Vis Mig north wall 0755-0825
Meadow Pipit - 18 NE
alba Wagtail - 8 NE
Redpoll spp - 7 NE, including flock of 5
Swallow - 2 NE
Wheatear - 2 heliport
Nothing obvious offshore

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 6

Heysham NR office area
Goldcrest - one
Willow Warbler -  at least 2

Sunday 6th April

Heysham Obs
A classic rubbish day early in the migration season at a time you have no winter lingerers to keep the website going

Some one saw a Little Egret at Red Nab and there was a Common Quaker in the moth trap

Saturday 5 April 2014

White things

North Harbour Wall 0800-0915
0825hrs - 33 Whooper Swans headed into the Bay, then turned north
2 Meadow Pipits
2 alba wagtails
2 Goldfinch

1 Meadow Pipit

9 Linnet

1 pr Eider
Red-breasted Merganser

Outer channel
Usual Eider flock.

Red Nab
2 Little Egrets fighting over fishing rights in one of the channels.

Middleton Nature Reserve
21 Tufted Duck

Friday 4 April 2014

Migration delayed by the murk

Heysham Obs
The rain shower mid-morning did the trick and dropped three Lesser Whitethroat (one HNR, two Middleton) - the earliest ever records here but following one at Aldcliffe yesterday.  A trickle of phylloscs was most apparent on Middleton although 5 Chiffchaffs were ringed HNR along with the first Willow Warbler of the ringing year.  Thanks to Malcolm for extensive coverage.

Heysham NR (vis mig session 1200-1300 as it cleared)
Meadow Pipit - 56 NE - started moving as soon as started to clear
alba Wagtail - 12 NE
Redpoll spp - one ringed early (Lesser) and one NE early pm
Carrion Crow & Jackdaw - mixed flock north early on but don't know exact numbers (8+ Jackdaw) - very unusual in spring
Lesser Whitethroat - singing male appeared 1330hrs
Goldcrest - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - 5 ringed

Middleton NR
2 lesser whitethroat
1 willow warbler
14 chiffchaff heard + several CC/WW seen only
1 singing skylark
Tufted Duck - 19 (5 obvious pairs) 
5 gadwall (4 males)
2 mallard
6 teal
2 shelduck
Mute Swan: 2 on boating pond, 1 sitting on Tim Butler pond, 1 sitting on Fence pond + mate
6 coot
5 moorhen
1 little grebe
2 lapwing
2 snipe
2 pheasant
2 reed bunting
24 linnet
Ocean Edge
1 little egret
2 snipe
4 greylag low to SE
5 wheatear
12 meadow pipit grounded - 1 parachuting

North harbour wall in mist first thing
Linnet - 8
Robin - migrant at the end which flew across the harbour
Otherwise totally dead with useless offshore visibility

Thursday 3 April 2014

There early but coverage one-dimensional

Heysham Obs
Bare minimum this morning as sole observer (with work to get on with) and the wrong decision.  The 'lure' of Mealy Redpoll, never mind a high percentage of Lessers already ringed in distant parts, led to a single net & tape.  This meant I couldn't do the rounds and the hour's coverage comprised some vis and whatever night migrants were round the office.  Result - zero redpoll, despite patchy clear sky encouraging other vis.  There were a few drops of very 'muddy' rain!

Vis mig office area 0715-0815
Meadow Pipit - 73
alba Wagtail - 22
Siskin - 3
Swallow - 1
Pink-footed Goose - flock of c97 north over golf course
Carrion Crow - 3 north - chased by locals
Linnet - 16 north
Chiffchaff - at least 3 'silent' migrants
Goldcrest - two noisy migrants
Blackcap - very lightweight female ringed
Great Tit - unringed one trapped
Blue Tit - unringed one trapped, surprisingly an adult

No further coverage from me, but Janet texted (thanks):
Wheatear - 6 Ocean Edge

Mass break-out of Common Quaker by Heysham standards with 7!
Wheatear(6) and Linnet (2)at Ocean Edge

Wednesday 2 April 2014

The classic departure night

Heysham Obs
Set off yesterday evening with the intention of setting a moth trap in a limestone woodland near Dalton, then go on to Leighton Moss for dusk in the hope of seeing migrant Bittern departure in similar conditions to last year's fest at this time.  Unfortunately got delayed setting the trap as it was difficult to site in a leafless wood without being visible from a road, it reached 8.15pm and I wrongly thought, after another 10 minute journey, I would be too late and missed what is one of the great birding spectacles in this area (6 seen to leave)

The early overnight weather was relevant here as it prompted the Scaup to move on at last.  Birding was otherwise low-key today with perhaps the last (two) rather flighty Twite of the spring, leaving Guillemot in the harbour as the only remaining 'winter target'

Mainly North harbour wall 0830-0930
Meadow Pipit - 162 NE
alba Wagtail - 13 NE
Linnet - 16 NE (& 7 on seed|)
Siskin - heard once NE
Twite - two arrived in the vicinity of the seed from the south, at least one unringed
Eider - couldn't see properly due to foreign dust in the air, but at least 300
Great-crested Grebe - two displaying pairs in channel!
No night migrants on the mound/sandworks
Outfalls not checked at low tide

Gate 38 area
House Sparrow - male chirping away in the willow there - this is the second time this has been seen - what's going on!
Guillemot - 2 in harbour but no Kittiwake

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 2

Included Double-striped Pug, Early Thorn and a late Chestnut in more ways than one (it was in a spider's web but not there yesterday!)

Chiffchaff, Gadwall and Reed Bunting at Middleton today, and a very bad tempered Swan!!

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Osprey and Blackcap lead the way

Heysham Obs
Alerted by Dan Haywood on the other side of the Lune where it was a very distant 'shape' in and out of the cloud over Lades Marsh.  Then a 'bigger-than -Buzzard-raptor' flashing pale underparts and showing a gull-like 'arm' caused mayhem amongst (and giving size-comparison with) the Middleton roof-nesting gulls and even spooked what looked like the 5 Gadwall (as seen from miles away by Heysham NR office).  This disappeared behind a building/golf course trees and the final part of the trilogy was an angler on a bike who said 'someone with binoculars' had seen an Osprey over Middleton at about 1130.  I think we can go for it! 
Jackdaw - one north over HNR office
Scaup - 2CY male still Middleton (for its 92nd consecutive day on this pond)
Blackcap - male ringed (IOY)
Goldcrest - at least 4 migrants Heysham NR
Rock Pipit - one Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wheatear - how many were there please, Janet?
Meadow Pipit - no more than 5 per hour!

Todays selection at Middleton and Ocean Edge (thanks Janet)