Tuesday 30 September 2014

Another Cettis!

Heysham Obs
One caught at Middleton NR mid-morning.  Another recent invadee also reached new heights as regards feeding birds with 9 Little Egret around Red Nab and Ocean Edge saltmarsh this am. 

Ocean Edge/Red Nab area lengthy observation
Greenshank - juv early morning in OE saltmarsh creek
Sanderling - one with the large Dunlin flock
Med Gull - minimum of 2 x ad, 2 x 2CY and 1 x 1CY
Little Gull - presumably the usual adult only seen the once in the morning
Rock Pipit - 2 grounded
Wheatear - 4 early morning, then chased off by Robins
Little Egret - at least 9!

Vis mig over OE (intermittently recorded) - all passerines 'in-off' - nothing vis mig-wise other than geese after 0900
Pink-footed Goose - 36+52+68+71+130
Grey wagtail - 4
alba Wagtail - 17
Meadow Pipit - 60

A Yellow-tail adds to the growing number of unusual second brood individuals this year

Monday 29 September 2014

Drying up in the sun

Heysham Obs
A quieter morning although the vis was quite varied with a nice early morning sighting.  The early morning seemed devoid of night migrants at both Heysham and Middleton although a trickle of Chiffchaff and Blackcap materialised later.  The vis was the opposite - very little once the sun appeared just after 0830

Vis Mig dawn to 1030 S/SE unless stated
Barnacle Goose - 28 NE at about 0720
Pink-footed Goose - H+130+120 (+80 later)
Meadow Pipit - 181
Grey Wagtail - 8 (4 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 55 (one ringed!)
Reed Bunting - 14 (7 ringed)
Chaffinch - 6
Song Thrush - at least 6 first thing
Siskin - first (2) of the autumn
Swallow - at least one ex-roost, then 17
Grey Heron - one high to NE
Common Buzzard - heard in distance
Skylark - 2
Jackdaw - flock of 16
Carrion Crow - 4 with above
Bullfinch - flock of 3

Grounded/miscellany Middleton NR
Green Woodpecker - heard calling from golf course direction - (also seen flying into Tank Farm area from Reserve hut).
Water Rail - 2
Chiffchaff - about 5 from mid-morning
Blackcap - 2 mid morning
Goldcrest - only seemed to be one

Sunday 28 September 2014

The species most likely to bear a ring from elsewhere...

Heysham Obs
On a morning when not a lot seemed to go 'right' e.g. Song Thrush in the net above the Grey Wagtail tape as three were about to descend, a major surprise was a Cetti's Warbler bearing a ring in the Middleton NR nets.  Then we found out that this was a high likelihood on a wandering Cetti's Warbler.  Where it was from would be interesting to find out (D765xxx sequence), although we'll obviously do all the IPMR stuff at our end. 

I contacted Seamus at Rossall to see if it was one of his and by coincidence he had just caught a ringed example of the species deemed least likely to already bear a ring from elsewhere - Meadow Pipit!

Please be careful to note whether the metal ring is above or below the red on any Grey Wagtail you might be fortunate enough to locate.  The colour sequence on the right leg has been used for BTO metal over red and red over BTO metal on all but a handful of unused sequences.  Therefore if you do not note the left leg sequence, the right leg could apply to one of two birds, including different years.  Having said that, please do send in part-readings as they can obviously be traced to site.  Thanks

Vis mig dawn (late: 0710ish) to 1100
Meadow Pipit - 325
Grey Wagtail - 15 (4 ringed)
Swallow - 46
Chaffinch - 58
Mistle Thrush - high flock of 3 SW
Linnet - 26
Song Thrush - at least 10 migrants, 4 of these 'vis only' in Redwing mode!
Carrion Crow - 4 S
Snipe - 2 S
Pink-footed Goose - 220 (4 skeins)
Greenfinch - 1 SW
Skylark - 3
Reed Bunting - c20 dropping, then heading off S/SE (7 ringed)

Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - at least 3
Chiffchaff - at least 6
Cetti's Warbler - one
Robin - 5 new lightweight birds
Goldcrest - 3-4


Saturday 27 September 2014

First calmish morning after a windy spell

Heysham Obs
Well worth a visit this morning even though the conditions were by no means perfect.  Half-decent variety on vis mig, with a noticeable increase in Chaffinch.   6 out of 7 Grey Wagtail perceived passing though were colour-ringed, the best capture ratio of the autumn and undoubtedly helped by the sun now rising further to the south and not invading the mist net ride at any stage.  One to go for 150 ringed during the autumn - an excellent total, especially when compared to the paucity during the dreadful 2012 with flooded rivers and awful breeding success (just over 20 with similar effort)

Vis mig by HNR office 0700-0930 - all heading SW-SE
Chaffinch - 182
Meadow Pipit - 48
Woodpigeon - flock of 6
Jay - 1+1+2+2
alba Wagtail - 47
Grey Wagtail - 7
Linnet - 3
Collared Dove - flock of 4 (no residents here)
Rock Pipit - 1
Bullfinch - 3+1+1+2 - all pretty high to S
Goldfinch - just 4
Grey Heron - one
Reed Bunting - 2
Dunnock - flock of 3
Magpie - 4 headed high to south
Greenfinch - just one flock of 8 - pretty scarce here recently
Common Buzzard - one circled to south over golf course
Pink-footed Goose - one flock heard
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 15 heading south were rather high-flying and hyperactive - a precursor of more to come?

Grounded - office area only
Ring Ouzel - one, almost certainly imm female, calling and then seen in flight heading into the tank farm at 0845hrs.  Unexpected, given the general lack of grounded stuff
Blackcap - one with LTT flock
Chiffchaff - just 2
Goldcrest - 2
Song Thrush - one which head high inland

Lunar Underwing and Mouse Moth were notable. Also single Silver Y and Pinion-streaked Snout

Friday 26 September 2014


Heysham Obs
No car, no birding!

The moth trap held loads of crane fly, very late Treble Bar and Square Spot Rustic and pristine Turnip Moth and Shuttle-shaped Dart.  More routine here at this time of year were Black Rustic, Pink-barred Sallow, Silver Y, Green-brindled Crescent, Rosy Rustic and Common Marbled Carpet

Thursday 25 September 2014

More bits

Heysham obs

Harbour area
Med gull - two ad
Cormorant - 85 wooden jetty

Red nab/outfalls
Med gull - 3 x 2cy
Shelduck - 517 at low tide

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Bits and pieces day

Heysham Obs
First of all, I need to play catch-up time with several records kindly sent in by various means from visitors.  Thanks for these and I'll address this tomorrow

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wigeon - 35
Med Gull - 2 x 2CY
Little Gull - ad
Sandwich Tern - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 38 S

Common Sandpiper
Med Gull - 3 x ad

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Coming from your direction................

Heysham Obs
A near miss this morning with one gang (21)of the huge Barnacle Goose movement ending up on this side of the country flying south at Sunderland Point and obviously "coming from the Heysham direction".  Thanks for the info, Dan.  After a fantastic run of early morning migration weather, looks like a few days of normal sleep and a bit of coastal coverage - so neglected recently that I had to look up the tide time!

This morning failed to produce any grounded night migrants, but another couple of Grey Wagtail were ringed (office nets at Heysham NR)

Small dusty wave in moth trap

Monday 22 September 2014

Decent numbers of chiffchaff

Heysham obs
Havnt had chance to count but I suspect chiffchaff had overtaken willow warbler in the ringing totals somewhere in the 180s. Bearing in mind chiffchaff ringing totals have never exceeded 100 in previous years this is pretty remarkable. Robin and blackcap numbers are also exceedingly high and a more modest dunnock total is already in excess of other years.   Seven grey wagtail ringed this morning after a few quieter days for this species

Vis mig Middleton dawn to 0930 only
Carrion crow - 4 s
Meadow pipit - 181 se
Grey wagtail -  10 se
Linnet - 10 se
Heron - 3 s
Swallow - 22 se
Alba wagtail - 37 se
Goldfinch - 13 se
Reed bunting - 21 migrants
Pink-footed goose - 38, 37, c180 se/e
Canada goose - 14 e
Chaffinch - just 3 a
Golden plover - one high to east - rare here
Skylark 4 se

Sunday 21 September 2014

Cetti's and Pinks

Heysham Obs

Heysham Nature Reserve
A Cetti's Warbler was trapped and ringed at 0830hrs. 
Late news: the two garganey were still present this am on model boat pond then central marsh
North Harbour Wall vis 0945-1045
Pink-footed Goose - 425.  Largest flock 165.
Meadow Pipit - 250
Skylark - 8
Swallow - 13
Rock Pipit - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2

Goldcrest - 1
Linnet - 35

Saturday 20 September 2014


Heysham Obs

Heysham Nature Reserve
A quick trawl round the reserve for night migrants yielded 15 Robins, 11 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Blackcap, 3 Song Thrushes.

Middleton Nature Reserve  Dawn - 10am

Crossbill - 3 at 0730hrs
Meadow Pipit -111
Grey Wagtail - 3
Swallow - 42
Song Thrush - 5
Snipe - 2 west
Collared Dove - 1
Tree Pipit - 1
alba wagtail - 12
Linnet - 3
Woodpigeon - 3
Reed Bunting - 6
Chaffinch - 8
Skylark - 8

Ringing highlights:
Sedge Warbler (late for this species)
5 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaff
2 Willow Warblers (one a grey-green colour/northern variety)
2 Robins
1 of the 5 migrant Song Thrushes

Friday 19 September 2014

Typical west coast migration day

Heysham Obs
Fidgety Dunnock migration and the like is hardly going to stop people deserting Lancashire and heading for the east coast.   This morning had a very west coast feel!

Vis mig dawn to 1000hrs Middleton
Meadow Pipit - 710 SE, big downturn in numbers after 0900 after being similar to yesterday up until then
Grey Wagtail - probably only six with other registrations being an off-passage bird visiting the sewage works on several occasions.  None of these visited the tape and that is probably because three of them had already been ringed at nearby Heysham NR, one was too far to the north and the last two appeared as the net was blowing about!
alba Wagtail - 36 SE
Linnet - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 20 S
Swallow - exactly 50 SE
Reed Bunting - difficult with some grounded birds but at least 18 SE
Goldfinch - 16 headed high to south and perceived as migrants
Tree Sparrow - singleton S
Little Egret - one high to east
Dunnock - 2+3 calling and flying south

Grounded Middleton NR
Blackcap - 4 ringed the only sightings
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed and at least three others
Willow Warbler - two ringed the only records
Goldcrest - 1-2 only
Song Thrush - 4 migrants, three few inland - all very early on
Robin - two ringed and no other evidence of migration
No tit flocks encountered to see what was with them

Grounded Heysham NR office area only
Garden Warbler  - one ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed
Goldcrest - one ringed
Robin - two ringed 

Thursday 18 September 2014

A great day to be outside watching migration in action

Heysham Obs
One of the Grey Wagtails ringed at Middleton on 12/9/14 was seen at Seaforth Nature Reserve today - the third individual to have been seen there over the years (50ish miles to south).  Thanks to Tony Conway

Wasn't sure what was going to happen this morning.  At 0714hrs, I was beginning to think staying in bed would have been a better option.  The wind was increasing and billowing the net set for my study species, Grey Wagtail.  Then at 0715hrs, the floodgates opened and the bushes were liberally sprinkled with the sounds of Chiffchaff and Blackcap.  Just two mist nets were set so the vis could be concentrated on and they produced 75 birds!!

Vis mig 0700-1100
Little Egret - flock of 6 high to the west, then appeared to split up (maybe ex-roost birds going to the shore to feed, but not seen it before and not on a direct line from Ashton Hall roost)
Meadow Pipit - exactly 2,047 recorded flying SE
alba Wagtail - 22 SE
Skylark - 4 SE
Reed Bunting - 6 SE
Linnet - 8 SE
Goosander - flock of 3 SE
House Martin - 1 SE
Swallow - 370 SE (many probably missed early on)
Woodpigeon - 4 S
Chaffinch - 17 S
Jay - 4+1+1 S
Starling - 249 seemed to be purposefully heading south!
Greenfinch - 4 S
Goldfinch - 74 S
Grey Wagtail - 16 SE, many of these after 0930
Lesser Black-backed Gull - a high gang of 32 SE
Grey Heron - 1 high to the E
Jackdaw - 4+6 S
Cormorant - 4 high to SE
Kestrel - 1 S

Grounded migrants Middleton
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Stonechat - one male
Blackcap - 8 ringed
Chiffchaff - 6 ringed
Song Thrush - flock of three first thing flew inland
Goldcrest - at least three
Willow Warbler - 4 ringed, 3 long-winged birds
Lesser Whitethroat - presumed curraca ringed (photographed)

Garganey - two flew across to the Tim Butler pond early on
Common Buzzard - one briefly by the sewage works (also seen yesterday)
Stock Dove - 2
Jay - one probably/ possibly just off-passage
Gadwall - at least 6
Mallard - three flew in from the direction of the shore

Heysham NR migrants at lunchtime
Goldcrest - 5
Chiffchaff - 5
Blackcap - 1-2

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Evening update

No heron returning at or after dusk this evening. Suitable compensation however in the form if two garganey whizzing about between the central marsh ponds and even responding to iPhone playback by circling over our heads!

More indeterminate birding!

Heysham Obs
A visit to Middleton this morning saw a silent compact medium-sized heron spp with "no" foot projection fly out of the willow/reedbed area and head low to the south over the sewage works.  This happened about 0615hrs so there was no chance of any plumage details, but it was light enough to see the structure of the bird except for the head and bill end.  I'll be back there this evening to see what happens at dusk...................    Not a good two days for clinching potentially decent records!

Middleton pre-dawn-1000hrs
Not quite what was expected with no Grey Wagtail movement at all until the sun and breeze started to affect the nets, but there was a very early pronounced Meadow Pipit (and to a lesser extent alba Wagtail) passage.   Autumn moves on a notch and this feeling was enhanced by Skylarks and Pink-footed Geese on the move.  If this is a sign the Grey Wagtail passage is finally tailing off, it has been an excellent autumn with 126 ringed and the chance of a handful more.   There was a small arrival of night migrants, notably Phylloscs, but also including some Goldcrests which managed to avoid the nets.

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - 463 SE
Grey Wagtail - just 10 SE, all after 0745hrs (the first two were ringed)
alba Wagtail - 45 SE
Reed Bunting - 11 SE
Goldfinch - 23 S
Chaffinch - 7 S
Skylark - 5 E
Pink-footed Goose - 9+59 SE
Jay - 2 together high to south
Jackdaw - flock of 6 south
Tree Sparrow - singleton south
Swallow - about 5 ex-roost and then the first sighting was two south at about 1000hrs!!

North Harbour wall vis 1020-1050
Swallow 11
Meadow Pipit 44
Grey Wagtail 1

Grounded at Middleton NR
Goldcrest - c5
Song Thrush - two together flew high inland at dawn
Willow Warbler - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - 6 ringed and one off-passage retrap
Robin - 3 ringed
Dunnock - 3 ringed, presumed migrants
Blackcap - just the one ringed
No obvious presence of any other warbler spp in what were quiet and calm conditions

Grounded at North Harbour wall
Robin 4
Linnet 4

See above re-heron
Water Rail - at least one
Gadwall - at least 4
Tufted Duck - male model boat pond

Painted Lady at North Harbour wall

Tuesday 16 September 2014

An unsatisfactory day

Heysham Obs
None more so than the Redstart/Black Redstart which was seen disappearing into the storage area next to the Twite feeding area,  Thanks to Andrew for a diligent search

Middleton NR
No ringing possible this morning with a Common Whitethroat the only notable record during unsuccessful Clouded Yellow searching

Heysham NR
Grey Wagtail - at least 14 SE (9 ringed, including flock of 6, but effort disrupted by human activity)
Treecreeper - 1
No vis mig coverage & no grounded migrants with most of yesterdays Chiffchaff departed

North Harbour Wall
Wheatear - 2
Shag - juv on sea. then wooden jetty
see above
Sample vis mig 0915-1015
Meadow Pipit - 76 SE
alba Wagtail - 21 SE
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE, including flock of 3
No hirundines!

Moths & butterflies
Nothing of interest in moth trap
High single figures of Red Admiral sooth in pm

Monday 15 September 2014

Weather disrupted morning

Heysham Obs

An unexpected wind gusting to 15mph followed by some rain soon put paid to any mist-netting attempts but not until after a flock of 4 Grey Wagtails was ringed.

Middleton vismig   Dawn to 0800hrs
Rock Pipit 1 south
Meadow Pipit 90 SE
Reed Bunting 3
Swallow 2
alba wagtail 6

Heysham Nature Reserve
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 15
No Goldcrest
Green Woodpecker - 1 below the classroom.

North Harbour Wall 0915-0945
Wheatear - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
alba wagtail - 1
Linnet - 2
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 2
Grey Wagtail - 1
Meadow Pipit - 3
alba wagtail - 4
Swallow - 1

Sunday 14 September 2014

More Grey Wagtail, a good variety of late common warblers, but dearth of Meadow Pipit

Heysham Obs
100 up for Grey Wagtail colour ringing this autumn (111 to date) - courtesy of an unbelievable run of suitable ringing weather - 15 more ringed this morning, covering two sites.  Do please check any Grey Wagtail you see.  Incidentally, we have ringed about 800 birds this month so far with only a handful being Swallows as the roost broke up very early this year.  A major feature has been the lack of re-captures as birds quickly moved through.  Perhaps most surprising, given the off-passage blackberry offerings, has been the complete lack of Blackcap re-captures out of record numbers ringed

Heysham & Middleton dawn to mid morning
Night migrants
Chiffchaff - 8 ringed
Willow Warbler - one ringed
Sedge Warbler - one ringed, the first seen for a few days
Reed Warbler - three ringed 'out of habitat'
Whitethroat - one ringed - the first for a bit
Goldcrest - just one ringed
Blackcap - 5 ringed
Robin - 6 ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - one seen Middleton

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - very poor, despite fairly clear conditions, with just 76 SE
Grey Wagtail - c22 SE (15 ringed)
Swallow - just 11 seen heading SE
Alba Wagtail - 27 SE
Flava Wagtail - one, sounding like flavissima, SE
Reed Bunting - 10 SE
Linnet - 2 SE
Rook - adult SE (unusual)
Collared Dove - two together heading south (presumed to be on the move!)

Red Nab incoming tide
A huge dread revealed nothing untoward flying over
Med Gull - 5 adults (couldn't see any 1CY)
Little Gull - ad
Sandwich Tern - 6 at least
Little Egret - 2

Saturday 13 September 2014

Varied vis compensates for lack of night migrants

Heysham Obs
Never found high uniform cloud at dawn up to much for 'dropping' night migrants here and ringing at Middleton combined with a bit of more coastal bush searching confirmed this.  The vis mig, however, was a bit better with the first Pinks for here and two nice corvid records.

Middleton NR dawn to 11ish
Pink-footed Goose - 15+71 S
Meadow Pipit - 415 SE
Grey Wagtail - 22 SE (only 9 ringed due to unhelpful light breeze on net)
alba Wagtail - a bit better with 40SE
Tree Pipit - 2 SE
Chaffinch - 5 SE
Jay - flock of three high and purposeful to the south
Raven - flock of 5 very high and purposeful to the north
Kestrel - two together south
Swallow - c50 SE
House Martin - heard once
Reed Bunting - 6 SE

Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed
Blackcap - 5 ringed
Chiffchaff - two ringed, the only ones seen/heard
Goldcrest - c5

Red Nab/Nature park area
WillowWarbler - 2
Goldcrest - 5
Chiffchaff - 2

Outfalls at low tide
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull - 3 adult
Red Nab high tide
Sandwich Tern - 9

Friday 12 September 2014

Similar weather, different species to the fore

Heysham Obs
This weather is great - just missing a scarce or two.  This morning saw another still slightly hazy session with the sun covered up the majority of the time by low cloud to the east.  A much better cross-bay corridor today with Grey Wagtail and Meadow Pipit soon on the move, but the big difference vis-wise this morning was the number of Swallows.  Had to cut the session short today and missed some Grey Wagtail!

Middleton dawn to 1000hrs
Grey Wagtail - 20 SE (7 ringed - the last four birds flew over after the net taken down and three missed due to extracting retrap Blue Tits!)
Meadow Pipit - at least 268 SE - some missed whilst at on mist net rounds
Swallow -  180 SE (as above)
House Martin - 6 SE
Jay - one high and purposefully SE
Reed Bunting - 3 unringed birds caught perhaps the sum total this morning
Tree Pipit - just one SE
alba Wagtail - just 11 SE - not got going here yet
Dunnock - see below - appeared from NW with heavy Meadow Pipit passage - not the first time this has been recorded here

Willow Warbler - surprising and a sign of north European origin? - 5 ringed and at least another three seen/heard.  Only seen odd ones/day recently
Chiffchaff - 4 ringed
Robin - a lot of ticking early on and 4 ringed
Reed Warbler - single juv ringed
Blackcap - 4 ringed
Dunnock - its that time of year - three presumed migrants landed and were caught and ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed at nearby Heysham NR on 2/9 was caught and showed a weight loss (10.3g as opposed to 11.3g).  Seemed healthy enough

Heysham NR
Whitethroat - one retrap - first caught as moulting adult on 7/8.  Odd it is still hanging about.
Grey Wagtail - 2 out of just three recorded ringed
Two each of unringed Dunnock and Robin plus single unringed Chiffchaff
Ocean Edge foreshore area
Whinchat - 1
Stonechat - one male

Red Nab
Rock Pipit - 1 (IOA)

Thursday 11 September 2014

Another hour in bed?

Heysham Obs
We have colour-ringed 78 Grey Wagtail so far this autumn, mostly in the last fortnight.  Please do keep an eye out for these.  The left leg is a single colour and metal and it is important to note in which order these two rings are.  The right leg has a unique combination of two colours and again it is important to note which order these are in.  Part-reads will be very useful, especially right leg, and you may be fortunate enough to find a combination which only applies (as yet) to one bird!  If any ringers want to know how to catch these, please get in touch.  We usually catch around 50% of the vis mig birds passing over, more on cloudy still mornings, less on sunny ones with a very slight breeze.  Meadow Pipit 'triangles' don't work - just provide more perches for the birds!

Middleton NR
The routine this week has been to set a net for Grey Wagtail passage by 0600hrs, along with various other mist nets to hopefully ring night migrants, Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits.  By 0630 hours, not a lot going on!   Then looked out west and there was a wall of murk which undoubtedly nullified the power station's greatest environmental asset - a landmark providing a concentrated flight-line of cross-bay vis mig (go over to e.g. Foulney/Walney too see why this happens).  These conditions also seem to slow down the inland trickle of coastal landfall by night migrants.  Things started to liven up around 0730 with quite a pulse of Meadow Pipit, but Grey Wagtails remained thin on the ground with just 4/10 ringed in (by then) sunny conditions.  More Reed Bunting on the move this morning than so far this autumn but the main 'feature' was the complete dearth of any hirundine passage with TWO Swallows in 3.5hrs!!

Vis mig 0600-0930
Meadow Pipit - 322
Grey Wagtail - 10
Linnet - 3 SE
Cormorant - high flock of 4 SE
Tree Pipit - 1 SE
Reed Bunting - 11 SE
Grey Heron - one high to south
alba Wagtail - just 7 SE
Swallow - TWO SE - unbelievably low numbers over here this last couple of days
Sparrowhawk - male high to south
Raven - one north
Common Buzzard - one circling SE (not very common here & usually migrants)

Night migrants ringed comprised:  2 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff (& at least three others), one Willow Warbler, 3 Robin, 2 Goldcrest i.e. not particularly dramatic.  In addition, a Reed Warbler was seen/heard

Middleton Nature reserve this afternoon

Raven just outside our area near the Lune estuary and Overton.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Full moon fall!

Heysham Obs
Another session at Middleton this morning and it was very good, if a little puzzling.  It was as clear as a bell first thing yet, for example, there were five un-ringed Blackcap in a mist net well before dawn.  We have caught nearly 50 Blackcap at Middleton this week without a single re-trap.  Indeed, despite ringing for the last four mornings, the number of re-traps has been really low with, for example, just a Wren (and local nestbox Great Tit bearing a B ring) out of 60 odd birds this morning!  

Sorry about the lack of proper migration postings the last two days - home computer playing up.

Middleton dawn to mid morning  
Vis mig (couldn't concentrate on this the whole time)
Meadow Pipit - c270 SE
Grey Wagtail - 13 SE (8 ringed, a high ratio on a sunny morning)
Tree Pipit - 1 SE
Grey Heron - one high to east
Jackdaw - flock of 4 S
alba Wagtail - 14 SE
Chaffinch - 3 S
Jay - 2+1 west
Swallow- only 2+1+14 SE!!!   No perceived ex-roost birds, implying there wasn't one!
Reed Bunting - just one, passage seems to have 'dried up'
Common Buzzard - one soaring around might just have been a local wanderer

Grounded migrants Middleton
Blackcap - 8 ringed
Chiffchaff - 5 ringed, plus at least 4 others
Lesser Whitethroat - single ringed
Robin - fewer than yesterday with just 3 ringed
Goldcrest - good number for here (HNR usually much better) with 8 ringed and at least 5 additional birds
Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, any acros - negative

Clouded Yellow Middleton bottle dump area

Tuesday 9 September 2014

8th and 9th September

8th September

Red Nab
At least 82 Sandwich Terns
Little Egret - 1
Mediterranean Gull - 13 x 1CY
Grey Wagtail - 1 south
Robin - 1 grounded

Middleton nr
Good numbers of grounded warblers, especially blackcap  and robin with on the other hand less vis mig than of late. Details tomorrow

9th September
Middleton saw fairly good vis mig including two tree pipit, c120 meadow pipit and 16 grey wagtail  more detail tomorrow

Sunday 7 September 2014

Invisible blue sky

Heysham Obs
Vis mig was high and tricky to see today and judging by the clear unambiguous call, something reasonably good was missed.  What's missed is mystery and what doesn't get specifically mentioned doesn't get any damning Chinese whispers on personal blogs and forums!

Heysham NR office area
Vis mig to 0930
Grey Wagtail - 13 over, 5 ringed, two escaped!
Chaffinch - 22 S - the first really obvious vis of the autumn
Meadow Pipit - 46 min
alba Wagtail - 9
Sparrowhawk - one high to south
Cormorant - flock of 8 high to south-east
Swallow - just 11

Goldcrest - 4
Robin - 7 unringed birds caught
Dearth of warblers with just one Willow Warbler and one Sedge Warbler ringed and two Chiffchaff heard - implicitly the first sylvia-free day around the office for a bit

Green Woodpecker juv seen and heard

Saturday 6 September 2014

Chatty show

Heysham Obs
The highlight this morning was the presence of 25 Wheatear on the north harbour wall - an excellent, possibly unprecedented, total for autumn (more like a good day in spring).  No other sites checked.

Office area
Grey Wagtail - 7 SE (4 ringed either side of a net closure due to rain)
Meadow Pipit - 1 SE!!
alba Wagtail - 2 SE
Robin - plenty with 4 new ones ringed
Blackcap - gang of three migrants caught
Goldcrest - at least 3
Chiffchaff - only two seen!
Willow Warbler - one ringed

Middleton late morning
House Martin - 11 SE
Swallow - 2 SE

Silver Y and second brood Burnished Brass &, more unusually, Large Fruit Tree Tortrix

Clouded Yellow Middleton NR this pm - thanks Malcolm.  At least two Red Admiral 'in-off' heading south and at least 10 around the HNR office area

Friday 5 September 2014

Another pre-dawn start at Middleton

Heysham Obs
.............the last for a day or two

Middleton NR 0545 onwards
A more open morning saw some early vis mig from especially Grey Wagtail and then steady stuff  until about 1000hrs

Sparrowhawk - 1CY male high to SE
Tree Pipit - 7 SE
Meadow Pipit - c140SE
alba Wagtail - 14 SE
Reed Bunting - 12 perceived migrants (5 ringed)
Grey Wagtail - 14 SE (6 ringed)
Skylark - one SE (IOA)
Sandwich Tern - two SE!!!
Common Buzzard - one of unknown status, but probably local, circling east of the site
Green Woodpecker - passed through early morning along the golf course edge
Carrion Crow - 10+5 on the move, heading east
Jackdaw - single high to the south, 4 with second lot of Carrion Crow
Redstart - female yesterday by model boat pond
Goldcrest - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 ringed
Whitethroat - 2 ringed
Chiffchaff - 3 ringed
Willow warbler - one ringed
Blackcap - just one ringed
Robin - 5 ringed

Ocean Edge quick visit at low tide
Med Gull - c10
Wheatear - 1

Moth trap
Rusty Dot Pearl
Red Darter at MNR

Swallow at MNR

Young Swallows at MNR

Thursday 4 September 2014

Blocking cloud spoils the early morning effort

Heysham Obs
A bit frustrating this morning with a great wadge of cloud out to the west blocking any cross-bay vis, certainly across the Middleton site.  Then as soon as the batteries went on the 'machine', the skies cleared across the bay and three of the main ringing target species - Grey Wagtail - flew through!

Middleton NR dawn onwards
Reed Warbler - two migrants ringed
Grasshopper Warbler - a short burst of song from a passage bird
Grey Wagtail - 5 or so (one off-passage bird?) - only one ringed today
Tree Pipit - 4 (one ringed)
Meadow Pipit - c70, mainly mid-late morning
Swallow - 50-100 again mainly late morning
House Martin - at least 30 as above
Whinchat - one early morning
Blackcap - 4 new birds ringed
Whitethroat - just one ringed
Robin - 4 ringed
Garden Warbler - a retrap from a couple of days ago had not put on any appreciable weight/fat
Sedge Warbler - as above species
Raven - 2
Starling - lots of small parties of young birds touring the place but rarely landing
Just 35 new birds ringed this morning

Middleton evening
Greylag - flock of 25 flew over - unprecedented in autumn I think!
Hobby - adult targeted the Swallow roost and seemed to catch one
Swallow - c150 roosted

Middleton central/western marsh area: Common Hawker, 5+ Migrant Hawker, 2+ Brown Hawker, c20 Common Darter, Clouded Yellow

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Marsh Harrier surprise

Heysham Obs
13 Grey Wagtail were colour-ringed this morning courtesy of the lack of sun on the nets.  Please do keep an eye open for these birds - both legs need to be in view to trace to an individual bird but any information will be of value

Two surprises this morning.  One was receipt of a grammatically-challenging leaflet including a piece where the king of the photo-op, local MP David (Canute) Morris, had "Saved (spelt Save's) Sunderland Point" by creating "rock amour".  The other was a juvenile Marsh Harrier flushed from an area of reed at Middleton Nature reserve - it headed off south with a larid entourage. 

Middleton first light to mid morning
Marsh Harrier - see above
Green Woodpecker - one on a brief noisy tour of the periphery
Kingfisher - 1CY male ringed
Grey Wagtail - c16 SE (7 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - c65 SE -  fewer than yesterday
Tree Pipit - one SE
alba Wagtail - c15 SE
Swallow - impossible to categorise but probably no more than 100 passed through
House Martin - 14 SE
Very few grounded warblers with only a single Sedge Warbler, three Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap and a Chiffchaff newly ringed.  Four migrant Robin were ringed

Heysham NR first light to mid morning
Grey Wagtail - 16 SE (6 ringed) - these were not the same birds as at Middleton other than perhaps two - the Middleton birds seemed to come ashore south of the power stations
Robin - 8 migrants ringed
Green Woodpecker - probably the same as at Middleton (heard only)
Only a few warblers, as at Middleton comprising one Sedge, one Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Blackcap and single Willow Warbler

A Rush Veneer was in the Heysham toilet trap and a Pinion-streaked Snout in an actinic at Middleton

Tuesday 2 September 2014

More early morning coverage

Heysham Obs

Heysham NR
A small amount of ringing included four migrant Robin and a Lesser Whitethroat

A Green Woodpecker, views suggesting a juvenile, was by Heysham NR office mid-afternoon

Middleton NR
Despite rather clear conditions with a variable, mainly northerly, then north-east wind, a reasonable chunk of birds on and over Middleton this morning where the raised road between the western and central marshes gives a really good vantage point.

Meadow Pipit - c100 SE
Tree Pipit - just one heard SE
Grey Wagtail - 7 SE
alba Wagtail - 25 SE
Reed Bunting - 5 perceived migrants SE
Swallow - difficult as high flying birds circling a lot but at least 57 SE
House Martin - 3 SE
Raven - 2
Skylark - 1 E (early migrant?)

Jay - flock of 3 east - at least on dispersal. I read recently about the lack of acorns in some areas this autumn. Could this be the start of a Jay autumn at vis mig sites?

Redstart - female
Blackcap - 20-25
Garden Warbler - at least 2 - doesn't breed here
Sedge Warbler - just 2
Reed Warbler - seemingly zero
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 5
Robin -at last 3 migrants
Chiffchaff - not many - about 5 migrants
Willow Warbler - tailing off now with just 3-4 seen
Goldcrest - two migrants - all records of this species here are migrants

Not a bad night, despite the cold early morning - the first part of the night had a veil of cloud.  In the office trap the highlights were Toadflax Pug, Grey Chi (outside wall) and Rusty Dot Pearl.  The Middleton actinic held an Autumnal Rustic - rare here - and the first Large Wainscot of the autumn plus a pretty late Drinker

Monday 1 September 2014

Toadflax Pug

Heysham Obs
The intrepid 'pug expert' Brian Hancock paid a visit today and six of the toadflax florets nearest to the office had a pug larva within.  The other revelation today was that we ringed just over 1,000 birds in August - the first time over 1,000 has been achieved in a month.....and only 200 or so of these were the Swallow roost.

 This is not a common moth up here with Heysham by far the best site

Tufted Duck - 8 Middleton
Gadwall - 10 Middleton
Mallard - 1 Middleton!
Sandwich Tern - one red nab
Swallow - 57 SW in morning - NO other vis mig over here in breezy north-westerly
Moth trap
Single Rusty Dot Pearl plus the usual stuff