Sunday 30 November 2014

Decent collybita candidate

Heysham Obs
The reserve may be shut for a day or so to vehicle access.  Sorry.  Any postings for the daily blog on Monday and Tuesday gratefully received.

The only sighting of interest today was a calling and plumage-obvious collybita-type Chiffchaff by the dipping pond.  Didn't connect with the LTT flock dragging yesterday's tristis-type around today on a quick walk round the reserve

Saturday 29 November 2014

Decent Siberian Chiffchaff candidate?

Heysham Obs
Very buff individual with soft Bullfinch-like call x 4 located with LTT flock by office at 1410hrs - headed fairly rapidly towards the dipping pond area

Friday 28 November 2014

Routine fare

Heysham Obs
...............or take your pick of the 'nothing new' clich├ęs - watch out for "slim pickings" in the near future

Med Gull - ad north wall - Czech ringed
Linnet - 15 north wall feed
Goldfinch - 21 north wall feed

Yesterday there were 2 x Mottled Umber and 1 x Winter Moth, this morning there were two different Mottled Umber

Late news for yesterday:  2 x ad and 2 x juv Whooper Swan on sands off Middleton, also c5500 Knot and 2600 Dunlin

Teal surprise - Thursday 27th

Heysham Obs

A small amount of time spent monitoring dog walkers at Red Nab saw a preliminary visit registering a male Teal - very unusual here unless inland waters frozen

Ad Med Gull north harbour wall and a selection of Linnet/Goldfinch, but no apparent Twite on the seed here

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Dank day delivers

Heysham Obs
...............the commonest bird we just do 'not get here'?  Just the one previous of Nuthatch, which refuses to colonise the 'tasty' Heysham Head, and the second was found by Justine on Middleton NR this afternoon along with "the"? wandering Green Woodpecker

A bit of ring-reading today to knock any accusations of presumptuousness on the head concerning a Med Gull 'with a ring above the tarsus'.  'Ex78' and the word 'Praha' were revealed on the 'metal above tarsus' Med Gull on the north harbour wall - the Czech-ringed veteran which has been present since 2003 outside the breeding season

Chiffchaff by office but could not see the legs to see whether it was yesterday's bird

Tuesday 25 November 2014

More late migrants

Heysham Obs

Blackcap - female ringed by office

Chiffchaff - one ringed by office

Goldcrest - one ringed by office

Whooper Swan - 3 heading towards Heysham at lunchtime as seen from both Walney and Foulney!

Monday 24 November 2014

No black tern

Heysham obs
Work related stuff produced

Negative on black tern on outfalls

Purple sandpiper - high tide on heliport seawall in small mixed wader flock

Rock pipit - two ocean edge

Little egret - at least eight Potts corner to Heysham head!

Twite - at least five in 50 mixed finches north harbour wall

Winter moth in trap

Sunday 23 November 2014

Black tern

Still there this morning

Updates gratefully received for next two days please as we are in uncharted territory as regards latest ever lancs record. Thanks

Also Purple Sandpiper on heliport seawall until disturbed at high tide by dog walkers

Saturday 22 November 2014

Saturday daytime!

Heysham Obs

Black Tern - still Heysham two outfall at least 0930 and again at least 1315

Shag - juv possibly a new bird in the harbour on stanchion by waterfall

Purple Sandpiper - on heliport seawall until 99% of the birds displaced for the rest of the tidal cycle by a dog walker

Heysham NR
A single mist net round before I had to leave the site produced an unringed Goldcrest and unringed juv female Great Spotted Woodpecker.  This takes the ringing total for the year over 4,000 for the first time and this is with unremarkable numbers of the two most numerous species, Swallow and Greenfinch

Grey Wagtail
The long-stayer at  Connah's Quay, ringed at Middleton in early September, was still there on at least the 19th November

Red Admiral by the office during a sunny midday period 

Black Tern and Purple Sandpiper remain

Heysham Obs
The juvenile Black tern remained on Heysham 2 outfall

The Purple Sandpiper roosted along the heliport seawall at high tide

A Hey Nat reserve circuit produced 3 Redwing and 5 Goldcrest and c20 Blackbird

At least 45 finches on the north wall seed but nothing definite on species composition

Thursday 20 November 2014

Black Tern remains

Heysham Obs
A few decent sightings today included in this lot:

Black tern - still on Heysham two outfall at least 0830hrs
Pink-footed Goose - 5700 over office at dawn heading for Heysham moss area
Purple Sandpiper - one with a rather mobile group of Turnstone on heliport seawall pre-high tide but seemingly not later
Med Gull - unringed adult north wall
Red-throated Diver - one casually noted offshore
Reed Bunting - one office feeder
Meadow Pipit - 6 heliport
Rock Pipit - one briefly at the near naze

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Most unexpected sighting of the year?

Heysham Obs
More coverage of Red Nab area after yesterday's lengthy session also included a quick check of the outfalls at high tide and there was a small dark thing flying about - obviously a Black Tern spp.

Thanks to Pete Cook

It was soon confirmed as a late juvenile 'niger' and I suppose they do turn during ESE winds.  It is the latest in Lancashire by about a week according to the avifauna.

Red Nab area
Black Tern - one juv
Little Egret - 4
Wigeon - 92
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Better late than never

A good mixed flock of Barwits and Knot have arrived at last and were putting on a good flight show today at Middleton shore.  At least 1350 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2000 Knot.  Dunlin were in good numbers, too, with at least 1990.  Only 40 Grey Plover, though, but numbers of all waders should increase in the next few weeks.

A Snow Bunting (presumed female) was seen at Red Nab (0810), then the observer had to leave the area and on return at 0910, the beach was occupied by 3 off-lead dogs and two welly-clad females!  The bird could not be found there or on the Ocean Edge saltmarsh beach but the suitable section between Ocean Edge and Potts Corner was not searched

Several flocks of Pink-footed Geese headed to Heysham Moss area from the Lane Ends roost.  About 2340 in total with the first two big gangs at 0745 (1300) and 0800 (950)

Vis mig
Fieldfare - flock of 23 SW at 0750
Chaffinch - at least 15 SW 0730-0800
Skylarks were heading south again, at least 7 over Middleton shore this morning
Brambling - singleton associating with the office feeder birds at 0800

Blackbird - at least 30 in office area 0730
Goldcrest - one unringed bird caught

A Rock Pipit was on the salt marsh and another near Red Nab
Black-tailed Godwit - singleton associating with Redshank in Ocean Edge saltmarsh creek.
Linnet/Twite - at least 7 Twite and 30 Linnet Ocean Edge saltmarsh area but very mobile and elusive

Sunday 16 November 2014

Local cr grey wagtail

Heysham obs
The only news today was a partial read on a grey wagtail by Middleton bottle dump. The right leg had an orange top colour ring and probably a pale coloured lower ring. Please keep an eye open for it - it should now be around all winter (thanks Justine )

Woodcock by the reserve entrance gate

Saturday 15 November 2014

A bit of routine landbird coverage

Heysham Obs
Coverage limited to the Heysham NR with a thorough thrash round included the following:

Chiffchaff - probably two, including a lightweight unringed bird caught
Woodcock - two flushed
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Siskin - 2
Goldcrest - 5
Blackcap - one male
Blackbird - c35
Redwing - 6
Song Thrush - 3
Water Rail - 2
Chaffinch - difficult  - a gang of 6 grounded birds in the alder wood and 8 southbound fly-overs which were probably late vis mig
Carrion Crow - flock of 4 south

North wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed bird
Rock Pipit - 3

Moth trap
One December Moth

Friday 14 November 2014

The unexpected gap in the year list falls at last

Heysham Obs
Black-tailed Godwit is oddly scarce here, yet plenty at Leighton Moss, regular around Teal Bay and common enough on the Lune Estuary........and therefore not something a casual visitor to Heysham would think to report.  A quick search failed to find any log entries this year until today

Ocean Edge/Red Nab 1000 onwards
The most significant feature was the complete absence of the usual heaving flocks of Knot/Dunlin/Grey Plover/ Bar-tailed Godwit which make intertidal count work so difficult here
Med Gull - at least one adult outfalls
Little Egret - 4
Black-tailed Godwit - flock of 9 flew south from the Red Nab area over Ocean Edge before 'u-turning' and landing briefly at Red Nab before heading off north

Office area
Blackbird - 25+
Chiffchaff - one still by the pond

Thursday 13 November 2014

Return of Czech Med Gull confirmed

Heysham Obs
Czech ringed Med Gull north harbour wall

Chiffchaff: One calling by office early am

Twite/Linnet - c23 early am north harbour wall

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Belated Tree Sparrow

Heysham Obs
Very little coverage from the regular observers this week, so please excuse any blog gaps and there are some easterlies coming up after the weekend for a last chance of a late autumnal stray.  Check the rocky beaches/sandworks and e.g. south harbour wall!

A Tree Sparrow was around the office feeder at lunchtime - the first record in the 'winter months'

Adult Med Gull outfalls late afternoon and at least one Meadow Pipit by the Near Naze (45+ Ringed Plover

Late record of significance: drake Shoveler Middleton model boat pond at least three days ago

Two December Moths in the moth trap

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Working weather

Heysham Obs
Lots to do in the office today and just two brief forays by two observers:

1) The office feeders
Largest number of birds I have seen this year with 50-60 finches disturbed when refilling the feeders, mainly Green and Gold.
Chiffchaff - one calling from the willows surrounding the pond up the hill from the office

2) Moth trap
Two x December Moth new for the year and a Feathered Thorn had migrated into the kitchen!

3) The north harbour wall
Nothing seen on the seed there in very brief mid-morning visit

Monday 10 November 2014

Early Birds

North Harbour Wall
A catch of mixed finches almost immediately after setting the whoosh net early this morning comprised:
Linnet - 3 new and 1 retrap
Goldfinch - 3 new, 2 retrap
Chaffinch - 1 retrap
Twite - 8 new, 6 retrap

Subsequently a further 6 Twite seen but did not take advantage of the seed.

2 nets set for a couple of hours resulted in only 3 greenfinches, 1 chaffinch and 2 blue tit plus a few retrapped birds.

From Malcolm:
Ocean Edge Saltmarsh - on the rising tide
Snipe - 10
Jack Snipe - 1
Twite - 1

Red Nab
Little Egret - 1
Green Woodpecker - 1 in bushes

No Moths in hut trap


Sunday 9 November 2014

No Twite


North Harbour Wall
Early visit this morning saw only 23 finches, comprising mostly Linnets and a few Goldfinch. No Twite identified.  The early morning light makes positive separation of Twite/Linnet surprisingly hard.  No attempt made at catching owing to the usual human disturbance in the area on a fine Sunday with a late morning high tide!

(A small flock of 19 Twite present at Askham in Furness this morning included 2 birds ringed at Heysham last winter plus 2 returning birds ringed at that site previously)


Saturday 8 November 2014

Overdue year tick? Not quite!

Heysham Obs
There were no records of Purple Sandpiper during the first half of the year and the future looked bleak.  However today's WeBS count produced one on the heliport seawall.  One of the phone calls indicated that one had been seen on the wooden jetty on 28th September, but not since, by an observer who doesn't 'do' the internet and wasn't aware of the lack of records.  Suspect a passage bird followed by hopefully a future winter resident - wintering birds seem to regularly first turn up in early November following a few scattered earlier autumn records

WeBs count included:
Purple Sandpiper - one on heliport seawall
Ringed Plover - excellent count of 47 heliport seawall
Knot - 650 on heliport seawall
Cormorant - 56 wooden jetty
Med Gull - one adult fisher's roof

Has anyone seen the Czech-ringed veteran Med this autumn? - very little effort spent on north wall in absence of seawatching conditions - this will change in the next few weeks as passerine distractions dwindle away

Ten small finches seen in flight north wall feeder area

Amazingly good with a late Figure of Eight, Feathered Thorn, Red-line Quaker and Angle Shades.  So much for thinking the year has ended apart from the odd Winter moth, Mottled Umber and perhaps Chestnut/Dark Chestnut

Friday 7 November 2014

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
A little bit of ringing during a calm slot early morning.  No vis mig of note

Office area
Chiffchaff - one ringed
Goldcrest - one ringed

North harbour wall
Twite - 16 - 3 with white rings and one with older red/blue split ring, 12 unringed
Linnet - 2
Goldfinch -3

The Cetti's Warbler caught at Middleton on 28/9/14,  bearing a ring from elsewhere, was caught as a juvenile at Wintersett Reservoir, Wakefield on 22nd July 2014 - a dispersal of about 100km to the NW.

The Middleton c.r. Grey Wagtail was still at Connah's Quay yesterday 

Thursday 6 November 2014

Nice timing

Heysham Obs
An intended early start to clear the backlog of paper work meant we were in place for a rather unexpected load of vis mig ahead of the weather front.   Plan B was 1.5 hours of vis and coastal coverage.  This weather front, when it arrived, ensured that conditions were just right for getting on with the work.

Vis mig by the office (but see below) 0740-0910
Fieldfare - 2601 mainly S then W
Redwing - 90 with above
Starling - 284 SW
Chaffinch - 30 SW
Goldfinch - 13 SW
Blackbird - 3 high-flyers SW
Mistle Thrush - 3
Greenfinch - ? = possibly all bloggers
Twite - 1 S
Redpoll sp - 1 S
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
alba Wagtail - 2 SE
Collared Dove - 1 south (scarce these days)
Woodpigeon - just 2 south
Cormorant - 1 S

Grounded by office
Goldcrest - 4
Chiffchaff 1

NHW mound area
Linnet - 9
Twite - 14
Goldfinch - 4
Song Thrush - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
No sign of Stonechat or any Rock Pipit

Red Nab
Included 750 of the vis mig Fieldfare heading high out to sea to west
Little Egret - 3
Med Gull - ad

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Tree rat influx, in-off Twite and a Stonechat

Heysham Obs

Hey NR circuit
Grey Squirrel - 5 - record count!
Goldcrest - 4
Chiffchaff - 3 (at least one unringed)
Blackbird - 30
Water Rail - 2
Coal Tit - 1
Redwing - 6
Treecreeper - 2 NE corner

North harbour wall
Stonechat - female sandworks
Twite - 5 with Linnet early on then 3+8 in-off.  Later 14 on seed
Linnet - 21
Song Thrush - back in the gorse (4th winter in this 'extreme' location!)
Meadow Pipit - 2
Rock Pipit - 1
Med Gull - adult

South harbour area
Checked - zilch

Mottled Umber

Red Admiral

Still plenty of wasps with 10/minute entering/leaving nest in NE corner

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Near misses!

Heysham Obs
Definitely a day for nearby sites with our humble share being a few Chiffchaff, one of which had enough fat to open a chip shop whilst at least one other was obviously a new arrival, and the usual mainstay of early November - a shedload of Blackbirds.  Woodcock new for the autumn

Middleton NR dawn to 1030 (wrong choice?)
Assumed vis mig stuff would be to the fore this morning - instead greeted by a series of shower clouds which managed to avoid us.
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Water Rail - at least 5
Reed Bunting - just 5
Goldcrest - just two unringed birds and two retraps with LTT flock
Blackbird - c15
Redwing - c200 over first thing noisily heading SSW
Fieldfare - c40 over first thing with the above
Whooper Swan - 5 south, possibly the top birds of a larger flock obscured by bank
Woodpigeon - 15 S
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE
Chaffinch - just 3 S
Redpoll spp - 6 SE (2 Lesser ringed)
Starling - one flock of 50 S
Jackdaw - 45+6
Mistle Thrush - 4 SE
Little Egret - one model boat pond
Mute Swan - the 7 juvs flew out to the shore then turned round and flew back on to model boat pond

Heysham NR 1100hrs onwards
Woodcock - one flushed from under dense willows along the office mist net ride
Chiffchaff - 4-5
Blackbird - 55-60
Redwing - 16 grounded
Song Thrush - 5 grounded
Siskin - 1
Chaffinch - 10 grounded on east side
Goldcrest - just 3
Blackcap - one male
Greenfinch - 20+ unringed birds caught at feeder
Water Rail - one in NW section of marsh

Migrant Hawker - one Middleton
Common Darter - 2 Middleton, one HNR
Red Admiral - one HNR
Honey Bee or similar - one nectaring from gorse
Wasps - still plenty

Monday 3 November 2014


Heysham Obs
Unfortunately no birders able to strut their stuff this last two days with at least a bit of vis mig certainly missed.  Back to normal tomorrow

Grey Wagtail
Sightings at Seaforth, Appleton (Warrington) and near Sunderland Point were followed by one that is in at least temporary residence at Connah's Quay Nature Reserve where it has been observed on and off from 6th October to at least 28th October, the 'on' bits during periods of high spring tides.  It was ringed at Middleton Nature Reserve in early September

Saturday 1 November 2014

Back to the Fieldfare duck

Heysham Obs
A dribble of mainly finch vis mig in winds which were crucially in the west (albeit south/west) this morning

Vis by the office 0830-0930
Meadow Pipit - 3
alba Wagtail - 3
Chaffinch - 85 SW
Blackbird - 4 S
Song Thrush - 3 S
Redwing - 3 S
Starling - 1+25+32+18 S
Grey Wagtail - 1 - possibly just blogging
Carrion Crow - 2+3 S
Goldfinch - 24 S
Sparrowhawk - 1+1 high to S
Kestrel - one high and purposefully S
Mistle Thrush - 2 together SW
Greenfinch - just 2 S
Cormorant - one S
Jackdaw - 3 S

Grounded - not a lot
Blackbird - c25
Redwing - one? (ringed)
Chiffchaff - one heard and presumably the same ringed
Goldcrest - one ringed
Robin - unringed bird caught

Black Rustic rather late