Friday 31 October 2014

Fieldfare duck broken in spectacular fashion

Heysham Obs
Bearing in mind the very early morning was not covered, we did pretty well this morning for vis mig.  Prior to that nearby nocturnal work indicated that Redwing and Fieldfare were moving for a significant part of the night.  A very small amount of ringing included the first Siskin of the year.  Thanks to Sean and Andy for nocturnal stuff/ early am vis data

Vis mig by the office 0730-1100 (NO thrushes after 1018hrs)
Fieldfare - 6055 SW (largest flocks 650 and 640) - day total included another flock of 150 mid-afternoon = 6205
Starling - 2308 SW plus 560 casually noted SW later
Redwing - 1538 SW
Chaffinch - 314 SW
Goldfinch - 100 SW
Lapwing - 3+7+38 high to SE
Woodpigeon - 34 S
Greenfinch - 21 SW
Carrion Crow - 15 SW
Linnet - 11 SE
Song Thrush -10 S
Siskin - 7 (at least) S
Rook - flock of 7 S
Mistle Thrush - 5 SW (1,1,2,1)
Bullfinch - 4 singletons south
Meadow Pipit - 4 SE (& one later!)
Blackbird - just 3 S
Tree Sparrow - 3 singletons S
alba Wagtail - 2 SE
Lesser Redpoll - 2 SE
Skylark - just one SE
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Surprising absentees - Jackdaw, Pink-feet, any raptors (and more Skylark)

Blackcap - female ringed
Goldcrest - c30 reserve
Blackbird - just 30 grounded reserve (mainly NE corner)
Treecreeper - 1
Chiffchaff - zero

Nocturnal stuff WED/THU night
Pink-footed Goose - 5 skeins
Greylag - one skein of presumably local origin, but, if so, why?
Whooper Swan  - 6

Nocturnal stuff  THU/FRI night
Whooper Swan - 5
Snipe over
lots of Redwing/Fieldfare
Tawny Owl - 3 Middleton Towers area on southern boundary of the recording area

Red Admiral
2 south & one unidentified dark butterfly glimpsed

Thursday 30 October 2014

Small fall by the office

Heysham Obs
The return of the warm and murky really justified a first light arrival, not wasting time en route spending a £30 gift voucher on a months supply of Shreddies and tins of tuna.  Arrival at the office saw a significant Long-tailed Tit flock gathering together an entourage of Goldcrest and a belated mist netting session (carried out by John) produced about 40 new birds.

Chiffchaff - minimum of 4, probably 6
Goldcrest - c20
Treecreeper - fifth of the year to be ringed
Blackcap - 1 male
Song Thrush - 15
Blackbird - surprisingly unremarkable - c15

Vis mig for an hour 0800-0900 (varying degrees of southbound)
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - 74
Goldfinch - 16
Greenfinch - at least 23
Redwing - 50+1+2
Song Thrush - 5
Woodpigeon - flock of 6
Linnet - ditto
Cormorant - one high to south prob a migrant

Green-brindled Crescent very late for here, also 3 x Red-line Quaker and a Feathered Thorn

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Still missing

Heysham Obs
This morning could have been labelled as a typical half-decent late autumn migration day of dribs and drabs, with peak movements of all the main passage species done and dusted, but for one thing - we are still awaiting any Fieldfare (Woodpigeon passage is not a major feature here for some reason) and this was supposed the be THE day.   I suspect we have not taken into account that half the night was probably unsuitable for migration and therefore we are too far west.  I wonder what vis mig sites to the east experienced?

Siberian Chiffchaff? What struck me (Jean) was the different (colder) tone of brown to the usual Chiffchaffs, the noticeable supercilium and especially the jet black legs.

Underparts.  Note the pointed tail feathers indicating a young bird.

Middleton NR dawn to late morning
Vis mig was very patchy with no consistent movements by any species and just the one minor highlight:
Yellowhammer - one SW c0930
Pink-footed Goose - 50+109 S plus another c500 S out to sea (thanks Sean and Andy)
Chaffinch - 24
Redwing - 12
Reed Bunting - 5 which didn't land
Siskin - 5
Meadow Pipit - 8
Skylark - 11
alba Wagtail - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2 (both caught and ringed!!)
Sparrowhawk - 2 south
Raven - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Starling - 16
Tree Sparrow - 2
Jackdaw - 54
Rook - 29

Chiffchaff - looked like a Siberian on current thinking but it failed to give any calls on release and slipped quickly through the bushes and away [pic later]
Goldcrest - just one
Blackbird - c25
Redwing - c10
Song Thrush = 2
Reed Bunting - c15 (9 ringed)
Cetti's Warbler - what was quite possibly this species was heard calling x 3 at the western end of the reed bed area in the western marsh
Water Rail - 5
Snipe - 2

Heysham NR office area (thanks Andrew)
Redwing 36, Chaffinch 23. Raven, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker all East.

Office 2 Goldcrests, Chiffchaff,unringed. Lots of Blackbirds.

North Harbour Wall Feeding Site - 06.30 to 11.30
Chaffinch - 12 on seed at dawn on arrival.  Whoosh net set up and two caught as they returned with Twite.
Twite - group of 15 caught and ringed.  Then 10 appeared on sandplant fence/gates but did not use feeding area.  Mid morning, a further three caught, including a retrapped bird from jan/mar 2011.
Possibly new birds arriving.
Linnet - c6 only seen but did not use seed.
Goldfinch - One only with Linnets.
Meadow Pipit - One grounded bird
Great Spotted Woodpecker - appeared in Sea Buckthorn and flew off northwards until out of sight.

Feathered Thorn x 3, Red-line Quaker and the first two Winter Moth of the autumn

Red Admiral down dog track (thanks Janet).  Small Tortoiseshell by office YESTERDAY

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Starlings on the move!

Heysham Obs
A slow start this morning with nothing weather-wise to suggest that filling up with fuel en route to Heysham was missing valuable vis time.

Vis mig 0905-1020
Starling - 1,347 in 24 flocks - all NE to SW, a lot of them quite low so some could have been missed nearer the power station
Chaffinch - 36 SW including flock of 18
Brambling - 5 together in close association with one of the Starling flocks SW
Greenfinch - 5 SW probably vis mig
Grey Wagtail - two - possibly both bloggers
NO thrushes!

Grey Heron - NR marsh
Water Rail - one Heysham NR marsh
Goldcrest - just one heard by office and none on a quick walk round
[No chiffchaff heard today]

Monday 27th

Heysham Obs
Not a lot from today: just 11 Twite seen and single Med Gulls of the three age classes at Middleton late afternoon where there was also a calling Water Rail and a Meadow Pipit

Sunday 26 October 2014

The dead sea scroll

Heysham Obs
........the scrap of paper I used after accidentally leaving my notebook in the office.  Apart from routine inshore stuff, nothing happened further out that we are aware of.

Seawatching/inshore coverage on and off
Common Scoter - 4
Razorbill - flock three out
Auk spp - 2+1 in
Shag - at least one juvenile.  One flew from the Morecambe direction towards the wooden jetty mid-morning and late in the afternoon one was in the harbour near the waterfall
Little Gull - 2CY on seaward end of Heysham one outfall am before tide came in
Med Gull - at least 2 adult, 3 2CY and one 1CY, mainly outfalls/Red Nab
Peregrine - 2 together flushed everything from Red Nab
Redshank - 375 in roost on beach just south of OE saltmarsh

One Large Wainscot

Saturday 25 October 2014

More Records to Come?

Heysham NH Wall

Twite - 9 on and around feeding area seen on a very brief mid-morning visit.  1 appeared to have a white colour ring so probably one of our birds from last winter.  Much human activity in the general area.

Hopefully some more records to come?


Friday 24 October 2014

Double sparrow surprise

Heysham Obs
A 'small bird' addition to the annual ringing species list could have been so good, but it was a House Sparrow - in the company of a single Tree Sparrow - a most unexpected combination outside a limited amount of dispersal in early autumn ('very' in the case of House Sparrow).  There were a few grounded bits this morning with a 'big' olivy-ish (64mm wing) Chiffchaff giving a consistent piping Dunnock call on release.  Not sure what these are labelled as these days now the abietinus cliché has been discredited

Grounded office area
Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - at least 7
Chiffchaff - 2
Tree Sparrow - 1
House Sparrow - one male

Vis mig
Just a few Chaffinch but no time to monitor

North Harbour Wall
Linnet/Twite - No sign of the group of 21 Twite from yesterday, 4 only positivily indentified, but much human disturbance and very difficult lighting conditions.  These 4 appeared to be new arrivals looking a little lost and not using the feeding area.  20-30 Linnets around with 16 new birds trapped and ringed plus 3 retrapped birds.

Red-green Carpet and November Moth agg new for year, Feathered Thorn and Red-line Quaker made up the quartet

A few bits to add to yesterday later on

Thursday 23 October 2014

Much better

Heysham Obs

Snow Bunting - At 1358hrs one flew low to the south calling past Middleton Towers towards Potts Corner where there was a dog walker in high vis, so presumably carried on towards Sunderland Point
Whooper Swan - flock of 29 south, then landed on mudflats off Potts Corner, then south again about 1345hrs
Twite - up to 21 on seed after first seen yesterday afternoon.  Please note that ringing takes place here and please approach cautiously if this is the case on your visit

More detail later

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Power walking

Heysham Obs need to stop.  Nothing at all blown into the outfalls/harbour area but it was an excellent fitness walk after yesterday's car-potato birding.

Inshore stuff
Pink-footed Goose - 62 + 50ish SW
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 1CY
Kittiwake - 1CY Red Nab
possible obscured Shag on wooden jetty
Grey Wagtail - unringed bird by harbour waterfall

No vis mig of any note and no grounded stuff of note by office

Grounded as wind dropped late afternoon HNR
Goldcrest - 5
Chiffchaff - 1 (by office)
Blackbird - 15
Redwing - 5
Song Thrush - 4
Treecreeper - 1

Feathered Thorn new for the year here plus a latish Pink-barred Sallow

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Difficult conditions with the wind too north-westerly

Heysham Obs

Various times by various observers
Skua spp - distant very dark one (not Bonxie)
Diver spp - one not seen well enough
Little Gull - 2 ad outfalls am
Tern spp - probably juv arctic glimpsed on outfalls
Auk spp - 1
Med Gull - 1CY and ad
Manx Shearwater - group of 3
Kittiwake - group of 3 & a 1CY
Pintail - flock of 19 out

Angle Shades and Red-line Quaker

Monday 20 October 2014

An unremarkable day

Heysham Obs
Joint 'highlights' were a Caloptilia stigmatella in the moth trap and a 'new' 2CY Little Gull which made a brief appearance in the morning but didn't seem to stay with the outfalls hordes.  A circuit of the reserve in slightly easier conditions than yesterday was unproductive, save some seemingly noisy and 'resident' Chiffchaff in the same places as yesterday

Med Gull - 1 x 1CY, 1 x 2CY, 1 x Ad
Wigeon - 64
Little Egret - 2
Linnet - 60 OE foreshore
Little Gull - 2CY off the end of the outfalls in the morning
Chiffchaff - 3 reserve
Meadow Pipit - one flew south in afternoon - the only vis noted!
Mallard - after being commendably 'wild' for years, three seen coming to bread at the model boat pond

Moth trap
The above and a Black Rustic & Red-line Quaker

Just out of the area, but possibly the bird from within the other day, a 1CY Shag on the Morecambe Stone Jetty groyne with two Cormorant

Sunday 19 October 2014

Displaced geese

Heysham Obs
Can anyone explain, please, why a cooperative effort between the shooting community and volunteers from the birdwatching community to do a comprehensive goose count is accompanied by "lots of people shooting" (per Fylde-based goose counter)?   This was evidenced even at Heysham where at least 8 skeins flew north-west from the direction of the north Fylde at a time of year when this certainly would not be the norm - indeed it might be unprecedented in such large numbers.  There are no local feeding flocks at this time of year, therefore origin was definitely south of the Lune.  Surely shooting of Pink-footed Goose (or at least in the vicinity of fields used by PFG) should not take place on the count day?

Pink-footed Goose - c600 NNW in eight skeins between 0745 and 0830
Med Gull - 2 x 1CY, 2 x 2CY Red Nab, ad Red Nab
Mallard - 3 OE saltmarsh
Little Egret - 2 Red Nab/OE
Blackcap - male NE corner reserve
Chiffchaff - 5-6
Goldcrest - 2-3
Gannet - 2 adult out
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Manx Shearwater - gang of 6 out
Common Scoter - 6-10

Hopefully more later but passerine searching conditions very tricky

Saturday 18 October 2014

Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler

Heysham Obs
Decided to put in an hour by the office to see what the vis mig was like whilst also being in a good area for newly arrived grounded stuff.  Initially it appeared slow, so decided to keep a species list as well as the vis mig totals

Grounded Migrants
Yellow-browed Warbler - heard giving a sequence of calls in the willows by the obs tower pond - a quick sprint uphill and really good views enabled the right tarsus to be seen - unringed - therefore a different bird to midweek.  Watched for a good five minutes but in the rush had left phone at the office and people needed calling.  Thereafter not quite so good views as it moved further back in the willows.  I decided to return to the office and set a mist net as it was also apparent that Goldcrests were on the move.  One further call at 0935 was the last definite example as four further single calls were quite possibly from playbacks, although it was odd that all were single calls.  No sightings in increasingly windy conditions
Goldcrest - 15-20
Chiffchaff - at least two, probably three - one ringed which was "Garden-warbler-coloured" but calling like collybita
Stonechat - female passed through very quickly at c1025
Blackbird - c10
Song Thrush - c5

Vis mig
Goldfinch - 15
Chaffinch - 109
Meadow Pipit - 4
alba Wagtail - 7
Woodpigeon - 3+11
Little Egret - one south
Reed Bunting - 2
Redwing - just 18
Greenfinch - 10
Coal Tit - 2 high to south
Cormorant - one SE
Bullfinch - flock of 6 high to south - the largest vis mig flock I've seen here
Skylark - H + H + 8

Routine stuff in order of appearance:  Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Magpie, Herring Gull. Great spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Curlew, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Ferla Pigeon, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit.

Speckled Wood - 2
Common Darter - 1

Friday 17 October 2014

The easterly is lost

Heysham Obs
The southerly airflow encouraged a spread of moth traps at the expense of early morning Heysham coverage.  Alan did a small amount of mist netting with rather bizarre results.  Just five birds but two were warblers (Blackcap and Chiffchaff) and another a Pied Wagtail responding to a Grey Wagtail tape!   The 'bread and butter' at this time of year - dawn Redwing followed by Chaffinch, failed to materialise.

Reserve circuit at lunchtime
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - c5
Blackcap - 1 female (& male caught in morning)
Blackbird - 10
Coal Tit - 3

Offshore/North wall
Meadow Pipit - 6 grounded
Linnet - c20
Eider - 3 flocks of 150, 150 & 30 offshore.

Speckled Wood - 4
SmallWhite - 1
Red Admiral - 6
unseasonal/migrant Turnip Moth in the moth trap
social wasps - hundreds, especially by the office and around a huge nest in NE corner

Thursday 16 October 2014

Stuttering morning other than grounded thrushes

Heysham Obs
A ringing session plus vis mig at Middleton this morning never really got going with a weak front bearing variable cloud neither producing a burst of rain nor allowing many diurnal migrants through other than in very limited fits and starts.   On the other hand, two species excelled in different ways - grounded Blackbirds and extremely noisy newly arrived Water Rail sorting out the territories

Vis mig Middleton NR dawn onwards, S/SE unless stated
Reed Bunting - at least 10 with a high proportion (8) ringed
Meadow Pipit - 31 in three small widely spaced 'lots' (4 ringed)
Grey Wagtail - two perceived migrants (one ringed)
Redwing - just 235, mainly first thing -all heading inland
Chaffinch - scarce this morning with just 31
alba Wagtail - 20
Siskin - 1+13+11+2
Jackdaw - 29+16
Rook - 5 with first lot of Jackdaw
Carrion Crow - 6 perceived migrants
Skylark - at least 28 mainly E
Jay - two very high flying birds
Song Thrush - 14 inland high
Blackbird - 20 inland high
Goldfinch - 7
Greenfinch - 6
Linnet - 15
Bullfinch - 5
Pink-footed Goose - 60
probable Ring Ouzel - one flew high inland, then 'leaf-fell' on to the rubble mounds but could not be confirmed or relocated - flashing silvery wing panel and structure only two things to go on with a high-flying bird

Grounded Heysham and Middleton circuit
Yellowhammer - female/imm on the rubble mounds
Goldcrest - 15
Blackbird - 72
Song Thrush - 26
Bullfinch - 17 - a really high count (inc flock of 5)
Redwing - just 9
Treecreeper - one dipping pond
Chiffchaff - one and one Phyllosc spp Middleton
Coal Tit - 3
Blackcap - 2
Water Rail - absolute minimum of 7 calling birds Middleton
Gadwall - 10

42 new birds at Middleton in pretty perfect ringing conditions a bit below par with no significant tit flocks (and what was eagerly anticipated to be with them!) and rather sporadic appearance of migrant Reed Bunting in the hit and miss vis mig conditions.   A Grey Wagtail was a welcome unexpected bonus so late in the passage season taking the annual total to a creditable 160

No sign of yesterday's Yellow-browed Warbler in dipping pond area

Two Silver Y in trap and Speckled Wood HNR yesterday.  Small White and 10 Red Admiral seen today.  At least two Migrant Hawker and three Common Darter Middleton

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Living up to the prediction?

Heysham Obs
A Ring Ouzel was seen (and the first Brambling of the autumn overhead) and later a 1CY Yellow-browed Warbler was caught in the net by the offices.  This had rather dull wingbars on the right wing and the pale tips to the tertials were also worn away.  The 'left hand side' was more typical.  No sign of yesterdays Black Redstart in a brief search.

Vis mig - a bit intermittent
Redwing - 362, many heading north
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - just 31
Bullfinch - 4
Meadow Pipit - 12
Song Thrush - prominent again by west coast standards - 27
Reed Bunting - 4
Starling - 38+16 high to south
Linnet - 5 (f) SE
Siskin - 10 (f) SE
Ring Ouzel - fem/imm, probably 1CY male low inland
Goldfinch - 17 SE
Greenfinch - 3 S
alba Wagtail - 3 SE
Coal Tit - flock of 3 S

Yellow-browed Warbler - one caught by the offices at 0900, showed on release in willows by the dipping pond to 0930, then seen in same place by visiting birder (thanks Lou) at 1250hrs (at least)
Chiffchaff - one by office, one Middleton NR
Goldcrest - just 6 on extensive check
Treecreeper - two HNR, one by dog-walk pond (and one Heysham head) - a good showing for here
Blackbird - 17, mainly Middleton, absent HNR
Redwing - 75 - all Middleton, none HNR circuit
Blackcap - female ringed by the office
Robin - unringed bird caught

Green Woodpecker - HNR again
Little Egret - two on shore to north of harbour

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Redwings arrive!

Heysham obs
First of all a warning . A wind farm is proving very profitable before it's even constructed with the associated cones and 30mph limit on the Heysham bypass being visited with relish by the mobile speed camera- so far all on the approach to Heysham.

Black redstart in inaccessible area this pm - f/imm

250 redwing grounded on tank farm but nothing else of interest in the bushes.

Vis 0800-1100hrs:
Meadow Pipit 3
alba wagtail 6
Redwing 291 some heading north, others heading east but all arriving from the south
Chaffinch 9
Greenfinch 23
Goldfinch 12
Linnet 2
Bullfinch 1

Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 6
Coal Tit 1

Monday 13 October 2014

Waiting for Redwings

The forecasted Redwings didn't materialise. In fact not much materialised in the F3 NE wind with 6/8 cloud cover. A shame as visibility was excellent.

Heysham Obs
Grey Heron - 1
Merlin - 1
Grey Wagtail - 3
Siskin - 4
Jackdaw - 110
Greenfinch - 10
Skylark - 3
alba Wagtail - 54
Chaffinch - 61
Goldfinch - 90
Meadow Pipit - 24
Redpoll sp - 1

Coal Tit - 2 at HNR
Chiffchaff - 1at Middleton NR
Meadow Pipit - 5 at Middleton NR

North Harbour Wall
Linnet - 22 on seed
Chaffinch 1 on seed

Sunday 12 October 2014

Chaffinch exodus continues

Heysham Obs

Vis 0730-1000
Chaffinch - 225
Reed Bunting - 6
alba wagtail - 61
Goldfinch - 10
Meadow Pipit - 67
Grey Wagtail - 6
Bullfinch - 8
Blackbird - 3
Song Thrush - 14
Coal Tit - 5
Dunnock - 2
Skylark - 24
Greenfinch - 2
Redpoll sp - 2
Blue Tit - 5 (first irruptive behaviour of the year)
Linnet - 1
Tree Sparrow - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 60 (32,6,22)
Swallow - 1
Jackdaw - one flock of 170, two other flocks of about 30-40 each

Coal Tit - 3
Goldcrest - 4
Chiffchaff - 2

More birds were recorded on vis over Middleton but I lost my notebook (Jean). Will add on data if I or someone else finds it.

Middleton NR
Barn Owl
Water Rail - 2

Saturday 11 October 2014

A bit of vis and that

Heysham Obs

Vis from the hut 07:30 - 09:00 and intermittently after that to 14:00
Pink-footed Goose: 224 (Thanks to the ELOC group)
Sparrowhawk - 3
Skylark - 4
Swallow - 5
Meadow Pipit - 74
Grey Wagtail - 5
alba wagtail - 32
Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush - 8
Carrion Crow - 11
Starling - 22
Tree Sparrow - 8
Chaffinch 389
Greenfinch 32
Goldfinch - 71
Bullfinch - 3
Reed Bunting - 6

Goldcrest - 11
Chiffchaff - 6

Friday 10 October 2014

Bits and bobs from the south of the site

Heysham Obs

South section of the recording area vis mig 0745-1200
Meadow Pipit - 209
alba Wagtail - 21
Chaffinch - 10
Linnet -28
Greenfinch - 54
Goldfinch - 2
Grey Wagtail - 1
Reed Bunting - 4
Skylark - at least 5
Whooper Swan - flock of 9
Pink-footed Goose - 40
Jackdaw - 3
Rock Pipit - 2
Starling - 12

Wheatear - 2

Common Scoter - 22 into bay - very unusual this time of year

Linnet - 20 on NH Wall feeding site nyger today

Thursday 9 October 2014

Jamming in down the road

Heysham Obs
To the annoyance of the regular bush thrasher, who has put hours in this autumn (but not today) a visit to a moth trap at Sunderland Point scored with a vocal Yellow-browed Warbler in a sheltered walled garden nearby.  It disappeared with two Blue Tit but was seen well again nearby mid-afternoon.  This delayed the intended vis mig slot at Heysham and there was absolutely nothing over head by the time we arrived at 1000ish (c/f Bryan Yorke's Chaffinch)

Obs recording area
A circuit of the reserve in challenging wind conditions saw one Chiffchaff and 4 Goldcrest whilst a similar circuit of Heysham head produced one male Blackcap, one Goldcrest and a gang of 6 Blackbirds behaving like early continentals

The Heysham moth trap held a Red-line Quaker whilst the aforementioned Sunderland moth trap was full of wasps!

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Not quite good enough

Heysham Obs
Before another tale of a missed opportunity to clinch a decent bird, some interesting stats on Grey Wagtail.  The vis mig total for September was 261 and the ringing total was 132 which gives a decent enough sample to say that you catch half of them!

Instead of being in situ on the chair with optics at the ready, grabbing a cup of coffee saw me 3-4 metres from my optics when what appeared to be a Richard's Pipit was heard calling in the sky to the NNW.  Unfortunately, by the time I had grabbed the bins, the bird was in the 'eastern sky' and silhouetted as well as heading progressively further away.  It was quite vocal with 5 calls heard and the undulating "large Pied Wagtail" silhouette obviously ruled out House Sparrow!  However rare flyovers require at least a little bit of plumage and this was not possible by the time it hit the eastern sky.  So its an 'almost but not quite' as regards a submittable Lancashire record

Vis mig by the office 0830-1000 - not a lot after the wind got up at 0920.
Chaffinch - 80 S
Bullfinch - 3+2 high to south
Tree Sparrow - 2 grounded then S
alba Wagtail - 26 SE
Meadow Pipit - 17 (forgot to enter first time round!)
Jay - one south
presumed Richards Pipit - see above ESE at 0902hrs
Siskin - 4
Carrion Crow - flock of 5 south
Linnet - 6 S
Greenfinch - 3 S
Goldfinch - 18 S
Skylark - 3+H+2 SE
Pink-footed Goose - flock heard to the west

Grounded HNR
Chiffchaff - at least 6
Goldcrest - 4

NH Wall
Linnet - 11 on nyger at the feeding station.

A blank for the first time since the late winter days

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Common migrants pile through

Heysham Obs
A nice bonus with some latterly forecasted slack air allowing a ringing session at Middleton along with some vis mig away from the racket at the harbour

Vis mig dawn to midday
Meadow Pipit - 709 SE with several probably missed on mist net rounds
Skylark - at least 96 SE with several (H) just counted as one
alba Wagtail - 83 SE
Goldfinch - 53 S
Swallow - 4 SE
Chaffinch - 160 S
Grey Wagtail - probably at least 5 but also at least two local birds doing the rounds
Jackdaw - 13 + (H) + 3
Carrion Crow - at least 18 migrants to south
Rook - one solitary adult south
Reed Bunting - at least 30 SE
Pink-footed Goose - 351 S/SE
Sparrowhawk - male high to SE
Linnet - 15 SE
Stock Dove - a group of 3 flew east but may have been local
Little Egret - one high(ish) to west
Grey Heron - 1 SE

The only things over and above the ringing totals were 13 Song Thrush - a good number reflecting several recent mornings.  The only Chiffchaff encountered was in a mist net with no calling birds and the same goes for the single Goldcrest.  The Blackcaps were interesting - two separate slight increases in wind/change of direction produced 3+2 lightweight and fat-free birds together in the net

Ringing at Middleton
Pretty perfect conditions with variable cloud managing to cover the sun for the whole morning.  New birds:  Meadow Pipit (26), Reed Bunting (16), Wren (6), Blackcap (5), Robin (4), Chaffinch (4), Blue Tit (3), Grey Wagtail (2) and singles of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Swallow - the latter caught before dawn and must surely have been ex-roosting on its own,

Monday 6 October 2014

Caloptilia surprise

Heysham Obs
.....but not sure what it is yet - a fairly long uniform ginger one.  One Pink-barred Sallow the only other moth

Ocean Edge
Med Gull - 1CY, 2CY
Little Egret - 2
Little Gull - ad

North wall (thanks Tom)
Gannet - one adult
Linnet - 11 on seed
Auk spp - one
Cormorant - 60 but no shag
Med Gull - 1-2 ad

Sunday 5 October 2014

Another Med Gull ring escapes identity

Heysham Obs
A 1CY Med with a green darvic on the right leg and below tarsus metal on the left was met with streaming eyes and steamed up scope - hopeless reading rings with a stinking cold!

Ocean Edge area
Med Gull - 2 x Ad, 1 x 2CY, 1 x 1CY as above (not yesterdays bird)
Little Egret - 4

Office area HNR
Chiffchaff - 2
Chaffinch - back end of an overhead passage on arrival at 0930 with about 15 in 20 minutes - elsewhere suggested quite a large movement missed in the absence of any early morning coverage

First Feathered Ranunculus of the year in the toilet trap

Saturday 4 October 2014

Fruitlessly grilled Dunlin

Heysham Obs
Limited coverage this morning with concentration on the large flocks of wader along the tideline off Ocean Edge.  About 700 Dunlin were unfortunately just that and nothing else of interest could be located other than:

Med Gull - 2 x 2CY, 2 x Ad, 1 x 1CY
Little Egret - 3
Knot - 1,750
Bar-tailed Godwit - 970
Grey Plover - 195
Shelduck - c490

Harbour mouth or just offshore
Shag 1CY wooden jetty
Guillemot c5

Odd: just three: Silver Y, Angle Shades, Riband Wave - i.e. none of the "everyday" stuff at this time of year (Green-brindled Crescent, Pink-barred Sallow and Red-line Quaker)

Friday 3 October 2014

Brief circuit bits and pieces

Heysham Obs

Single Wheatear north harbour wall (two yesterday)

Three Little Egret Red Nab area

Shag - the star of the show - a 1CY on wooden jetty

Med Gull - 2 x Ad, 1 x 2CY off Ocean Edge

5 Gannets just off the harbour

No other observers around today

Thursday 2 October 2014

Dead nice day

Heysham Obs
The last of the clear calm mornings for a bit - it was a bit too clear and calm this morning with stratospheric vis mig and not a lot of grounded stuff (albeit seemingly starting from a blank cheque after yesterday).  A very noisy boat made life very difficult during the first hour of daylight.

Vis mig by HNR office 0700-1000 (thanks to Brian for a lot of this)
Carrion Crow - 1 south - surprising absence of black corvid passage this am
alba Wagtail - 11
Meadow Pipit - 39
Grey Wagtail - 4
Skylark - 1
Song Thrush - at least 10, possibly 15
Chaffinch - 99(!)
Bullfinch - 2
Jay - 2+2+1 south
Coal Tit - flock of 6, then at least one other heard calling
Reed Bunting - 2

Afternoon vis mig
Swallow - 9 S
House Martin - 3 S
Pink-footed Goose - 15 SE

Grounded by office
Goldcrest - 3
Chiffchaff - 2
Tree Sparrow - 1
Wren - one unringed bird caught

Middleton NR
Goldcrest - 2
Chiffchaff - 3
Reed Bunting - 5 ringed

Blastobasis lacticolella in trap.  Brown Hawker Middleton NR along with single Migrant Hawker and at least 6 Common Darter

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Migration seems to take a day off

Heysham Obs
A bit of a lie-in seemed to justify itself as a short vis mig session degenerated into counting a wasp flight-line in the absence of anything numerically avian.   Whether this is going to set the tone for October, time will tell - certainly a repeat of the September ringing effort will surely not be possible.

This is not a site where ringing is an extensive effort -usually a single or two-person activity in a relatively small geographical area whilst e.g. also trying to keep an accurate handle on the vis mig.  Therefore individual species ringing totals are rarely high with an annual effort usually about 2,000.

To put September into context, over 1,500 were ringed with the Chiffchaff ringing total of 105 in excess of any annual grand total during the period of the Obs (since 1980).  The annual ringing total so far for Chiffchaff is 207 and, as implied, no previous annual total has exceeded 100!   Other very high totals for September included 113 Robin (out of a total of 199 so far) and this represented a steady trickle through the mist netting areas, not a result of a single big fall.   Blackcap numbers were also very high, especially in the early part of the month, with Middleton, not usually prime Blackcap habitat, producing the majority of the 102 ringed during the month (out of a total of 207 for the year so far, equalling Chiffchaff, and far in excess of any previous annual total).   The ringing effort also produced a total of 132 Grey Wagtail (out of a grand total of 157 - the rest at the end of August), as with Robin, this was a steady trickle in morning after morning of suitable migration/ringing weather and personnel availability, rather than any major individual day total.

The star of the show was Cetti's Warbler which saw three individuals, including (surprisingly at this central location and previous history) the only bird during the month bearing a ring from elsewhere (D765... anyone?)

Vis mig 0830-0900 by office
Chaffinch - 13
Meadow Pipit - 1
alba Wagtail - 3
Greenfinch - 4
Green Woodpecker calling
Wasp - 81 SW

Yet another unusual 2nd brood in the form of Small Fan-footed Wave.  Large Wainscot the best of the rest plus two Silver Y and a very late Square Spot Rustic.