Thursday 31 July 2014

Mainly moths

Heysham Obs
The new glasses arrived this afternoon - mow how to use a scope with variefocals coming up...........

Moths included fleabane-eating plume number 1523 at Heysham NR along with a Southern Wainscot.  An actinic along the southern border of SD45 produced a second brood Pale Shouldered Brocade and Fen & Southern Wainscot

What sounded like a cockatiel flew over HNR this am but was not seen

Wednesday 30 July 2014

More Meds milling around

Outfalls/Red Nab
7 Adult Mediterranean Gulls, 2 x 3CY, 4 x 2CY, 15 x 1CY

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Plenty of finches but few new warblers

Heysham Obs
Despite a ringing total of almost 60 new birds by the office, the cloudy conditions, albeit with a NW wind failed to deliver any numbers of warblers, with Willow Warbler especially absent and far fewer Whitethroat than yesterday (when there were five on a fence together by office).  However, 5 new juvenile Blackcap were ringed and a couple more Chiffchaff.  The Willow Warbler to Chiffchaff ringing ratio this year is something like 90:72 i.e. a fantastic number of Chiffchaff for this early in the autumn.  Every chance that Chiffchaff totals will be higher than Willow Warbler this year for the first time ever

Most of the new birds were a fresh gang of finches finding the seed again after a few days where the stock was empty - unlike many other places these days, we seem to have a bottomless pit of Greenfinches with some excellent recoveries providing the incentive to ring them.

A too late in the tide check of the outfalls produced 9 Med Gulls with the usual habit of 1CY remaining to feed over the tide reflected in 7 of them being of that age class

White-spotted Pug in the moth trap

Monday 28 July 2014

Overnight rain produces a few warblers

Heysham Obs

Med Gull - at least 16 (7 1CY, 3 2CY, 2 3CY, 4 Ad)

Mixed catch of about 50 new birds, mainly warblers and a noticeable influx of Common Whitethroat from about 0830 onwards.  First Garden Warbler of the post-breeding season and 5 unringed Lesser Whitethroat notable but Sedge and Willow Warbler numbers unremarkable

A Common Sandpiper was heard in flight and 6 Swift flew south

Sunday 27 July 2014

Gull lift-off

Far more gulls this morning now we have a decent onshore wind 38 Med Gulls reported before I got there (18 juv, 15 ad, 5 2CY). A quick check of Red Nab added 2 x 3CY. The darvic -ringed adult 2P96 was on Red Nab - hope the earlier observer(s) found some ringed birds (info on pager)

Ad Little Gull seen at 1015ish but not reported by earlier observer(s)

Hopefully the new glasses next week will allow telescope use to be comfortable not an eye-straining ordeal. In the meantime, as this mornings observer(s) indicated, there are a lot of birds to be seen and we know what happened last year when the big influx started......

News of a couple of bypass verge Pyramidal Orchid earlier this year - right at the Heysham end

Low numbers of roosting Swallow at Middleton - no more than 100 plus a few Sand and, surprisingly House Martin (one of the latter ringed)

Saturday 26 July 2014

Gull event sees proper coverage of the outfalls area

Heysham Obs

The highlight of the gull event was a full summer adult Little Gull.  Thanks to everyone for attending - shame the weather was not a bit rougher and Heysham One outfall was proving unattractive to gulls

Med Gull - 4 adults (including yellow 2P96, but no other birds bearing darvic rings), 2-3 3CY, 4 2CY and 6 1CY
Little Gull - adult summer new in
Whimbrel - one heard

Friday 25th July

Adult and 2CY Med anting over the reserve

Thursday 24 July 2014

Three Meds and an ant or two

Nothing happening yesterday other than a Canary-shouldered Thorn in the office trap

An enforced stay this evening - horrendous accident plus having no car led to plans being changed and the Swallow roost will be visited in an hour or so

In the meantime, two adult and a 2CY Med around the office targeting flying ants

The Swallow roost held about 400 birds of which 75 were ringed.  One Grasshopper Warbler singing regularly

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Tuesday 22nd July

Heysham Obs
11 Med Gulls on and around Red Nab but again terrible problems with heathaze and this is likely to be an underestimate - esp 2CYs.   2P96 was amongst them

Ringing at Middleton was limited to a trickle of Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat and a few other odds and ends in increasingly warm conditions.  A few Swifts were active but uncertain as to whether on the migratory move or blogging

An actinic at Middleton contained a rather early Bulrush Wainscot and the office trap held two Bordered Beauty.  Further north on Heysham Head (SD46A), Russell Edmondson kindly allowed a 125 MV to be set and this produced over 60 species with the most notable being 6 Barred Rivulet.  Thanks to Russell and family.  The north wall actinic held Common Footman - new for SD36!! plus a variety of previously recorded species, dominated as usual by White-line Dart

Monday 21 July 2014

Gull lift off

................loads of seagulls in a dreadful heat-haze.  Saw a couple of adult Meds in flight, but the rest impossible in the short time available.  Needs someone with really good pair of eyes to grill this lot on incoming tide - the numbers were equivalent to last year at this time

Middleton NR
c250 Swallows in the roost tonight but they roosted in the central marsh and only 20 or so were ringed in the western marsh.  Two Grasshopper Warlers at least around and Grey Wagtail again heard around the sewage works

Sorry getting a bit scrappy with postings

Heysham Obs

Fen Wainscot in the office trap this morning

At least 6 Med Gulls red nab/outfalls in very brief visit

Late afternoon check saw about 13 Meds including 2 x 2CY, 1 x 1CY and including 2P96 and the elusive as regards reading it green -ringed bird

I am having difficulty using a scope for any length of time at the moment which is one reason why the gull counts have been very patchy.  New glasses may help resolve some issues but there are long-standing right eye problems and I "cannot"! use a scope with left eye.

Saturday 19 July 2014

18th July Leps day

Heysham Obs
...............Not just this evening with a dozen Netted Carpet and an unexpected Beautiful Carpet at a local site.  The moth trap held the first Silver Hook for the reserve (population at Middleton) and a Dark-green Fritillary flew through late afternoon - a not quite annual visitor

At least 7 adult/3CY, 2 2 CY and 2 1CY Meds Red Nab/off Ocean Edge with one of the juvs looking very young 

Thursday 17 July 2014

Positively Mediterranean

The Mediterranean theme continues and includes the weather now as well. Today's Med Gulls included:
1 x Juv
3 x adults
1 x 2CY
If there were any others the heat haze hid them.

Middleton NR
A male Yellow Wagtail flew over heading east.
A Grey Wagtail seems to be in residence
13 Swifts flew south
3 Grasshopper Warblers were singing.
House Martins over the site may have been local birds feeding rather than birds on the move.

Moths of note at Middleton NR
Silver Y - first of the year
Bordered Beauty

Wednesday 16 July 2014

First juv Meds

Heysham Obs

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 5 x ad/3CY, 2 x 2CY, 2 x 1CY
Little Egret - 2
Whimbrel - at least one

300 Swallows in Middleton roost

Bordered Beauty best of the moths

Tuesday 15 July 2014

As you were but a few extra moths

Heysham Obs
Five Meds on the late incoming tide this lunchtime

The moth trap was the fifth checked this morning and it was one too many with the sun obviously sending a fair wadge out of the window.  The egg packing held a few bits and bobs with the main surprise being an early Least Yellow Underwing plus relatively scarce species here including Dark Spectacle

Monday 14 July 2014

High tide paucity

Heysham Obs
Didn't have to write anything down, memory-wise for the Heysham WeBS today - 25 Oystercatchers on the dog-disturbed heliport and three Cormorants on the wooden 4 Meds (3 x Ad 1 x 3CY) and 275 Black-headed Gulls remaining on the tide around the outfalls/Red Nab

Slender Pug in the moth trap

Sunday 13 July 2014

No obvious Med Increase

Heysham Obs
Should get back to normal in the next few days with postings.  Rather like the participants at the angling match on the north harbour wall on Saturday night (winner one crab?!), the sea has been in the doldrums - far too warm and calm and any gulls on the outfalls subject to dreadful heat-haze during quick scans from Ocean Edge.  Much better coverage today by Mark and Ian:

Whimbrel - 2 adults
Med Gull - 4-5 ads (one green-ringed), one 3CY, 4 2CY

Bordered Beauty a welcome new for the year but a big sign of autumn!
A session on the north harbour wall provided nothing new with a handful of White-line Dart, Cabbage Moth, Crambus perlella, Heart and Dart, Straw Underwing, Dark Arches, Large Yellow Underwing and Phyticodes maritima/saxicola - both have been recorded here but need genitalia examining

Bits and bobs from last few days

Heysham Obs
Saturday 12th
c20 Swift south Middleton

Friday 11th
Swallow roost - 75 plus a Sand Martin
6 Meds but again checked too late in tide (5 x ad/3CY)

Thursday 10th
to be added

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Heysham CES

Heysham Obs
Dunnocks have been featuring strongly recently and we have ringed 30 juvs and 11 (new) adults so far this year plus numerous retraps of other local birds.  This is far more than usual.  No problem getting used to/forgetting to put B rings on!

A few young Chiffchaff around this morning and odds and ends of other young warblers of presumably local origin

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Heysham Obs
Birds today included a very early Grey Wagtail at Middleton, 3 Little Egrets at Red Nab and four (2 x 2CY, 2 x Ad) Meds on the dropping tide.  At least three different Grasshopper Warbler singing Middleton.  Ringing at Middleton included 15 unringed Sedge Warbler
Thanks for the pics Janet: male Emperor, imm male Common Darter, Cinnabar larva, then some nice easy birds!
Moths in the trap included Dingy Shears.  Moths on the north harbour wall included Swallow-tailed Moth (new for 10k square), Agapeta zoegana and lots of White-line Dart and Lime-speck Pug


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Monday 7 July 2014

Evening at Middleton

Heysham Obs

Grasshopper Warbler - four singing males
Swallow - c100 in roost which took place very early as a dark cloud appeared

Moth trap fairly full but nothing better than Dingy Footman and an unfamiliar small brown micro which will be checked out.  Watch this space.

Sunday 6 July 2014

Med check

Heysham Obs
The final National Moth Night night was a dreadful cold affair after a roller-coaster with the previous two nights - these two were brilliant providing you did exactly what you were asked to do and set a trap in sheltered woodland.  Even managed a bit of sheet and lighting near my house (one hour, 30 spp, including a local mega - Dingy Shell) on the Friday night until the rain started to seep through the dense canopy.  A real shame for any event organisation and therein lies the problem.  Do you put all your eggs in one basket and tie yourself to an event or do you (perhaps selfishly) stay flexible and therefore able to play the weather conditions as best possible?    I always remember a similarly freezing cold night in upper Roeburndale at the end of May which produced lots of enthusiastic kids and parents, who assumed a "nice day" would mean a good night for moths.  Result: a few early midges and Daddy Long Legs, one geometer flying past and NO other moths before boredom quickly set in.

The Heysham toilet trap held Wormwood Pug this morning which added a new species to the list for the three nights in this area. 

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 4 ads (including 2P96), one 3CY, 4 2CY and another birder reported a green-ringed bird which was additional

Friday 4 July 2014

The first of the national moth nights

Heysham Obs
Two traps were in operation, the usual 24/7 toilet trap at Heysham NR and an actinic in a sheltered spot on Middleton - both checked by Alan as I had 5 other traps to check/collect!

Middleton produced some of the goods, although lack of Silver Hook a little disappointing.  It is a very good site for Double Dart and the local reeds produced Silky and Southern Wainscot plus the habitat in general favoured Scoparia subfusca, Eudonia pallida and what appears to be another Agonopterix conterminella

No birding today!

Thursday 3 July 2014

More Med Gulls

Heysham Obs
A bit more of Red Nab visible during a brief gull check this pm, but it was the very uneven outer part and gulls were difficult to observe

c600 in total with a few Meds scattered around:

5 Ad
1 Ad/3cy (wingtips not visible)
3 3CY
4 2CY (minimum!)

Yellow, green and white darvics seen at long range - no details - someone with a zoom, time and good eyesight gratefully received

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Little Ringed Plover lift off

Heysham Obs
The Little Ringed Plover nesting in glass-strewn rubble in the corner of Middleton Industrial estate (out side the reserve boundary) relocated their three chicks to the model boat pond today - presumably they can fly!

Four Meds at high tide included 2P96 and a 3CY with a green ring on it - perhaps one of the returning German birds?  Hopefully someone will get a reading

A ringing session at Middleton was pretty good, given the breeze probably reduced the catch by 10-15 birds.  10 each of new Sedge W and Whitethroat and a good variety including some old ringed Sedge and Reed Warbler as well as a Willow Warbler in rather early advanced moult (e.g. tailless!)

A couple of decent moths in an actinic on Middleton:

Not 100% sure of the first (conterminella?) but the second is the first Blue-bordered Carpet for SD45E.  Thanks Justine

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Juvenile Reed Warbler in early dispersal

Heysham Obs
Still at least one Burnet Companion around today - please stay alive until Friday morning!  Please support National Moth Nights (see Butterfly conservation website) - I'm happy to pass any casual kitchen window records on (  No Meds seen in quick HT check

A bit of office ringing produced a surprise in the form of a juvenile Reed Warbler - almost a km away from breeding habitat with no obvious 'straight' corridor.  Such records are usually August or later!

The moth trap produced Coleophora trifolii