Saturday 31 January 2015

Brief Visit

North Harbour Wall to top up seed at feeding station.
Finches seen.
10 Linnets
6 Goldfinch and
2 Twite


Friday 30 January 2015

Pinks on the move

Heysham Obs
More detail later on Pink-feet

Shag - 2CY in harbour along with the resident Great-crested Grebe

Med Gull - ad north wall area

Linnet/Twite - at least 2 of the latter in flock of 10 by sandworks

Thursday 29 January 2015

Bits and pieces

Heysham obs
2cy shag in harbour

130 eider and ad med gull north wall

Ad kittiwake following iom ferry and ad med (same?) Heysham one outfall

Stoat Middleton nr

Thanks to Lou and Justine

Wednesday 28th jan

Just the 2cy shag in the harbour to report today (thanks tom)

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Twite with Finches

North Harbour Wall

Increased number of Finches coming down to seed mid-afternoon
c 40 comprising
25 Goldfinch
10 Linnets and at least
4 Twite (already ringed)

Middleton nr
Usual cr grey wagtail bottle dump area
30 teal
5 tufted duck
4 gadwall
Little egtet

26 January early morning pinks

Heysham obs

Pink footed goose - 700 on mudflats off ocean edge pre dawn then flew north in three lots. 200 north just after dawn

Ad med north wall

20 goldfinch and 10 linnet on seed

Sunday 25 January 2015

Another Grey Wagtail sighting

Heysham Obs
When catching and ringing vis mig Grey Wagtails and watching them climb back into the stratosphere heading south-east on release, we did not expect a load of sightings to be 'just down the road' or in two cases this winter, actually staying at Middleton.  Originally we thought the 'local' sightings might have been due to them being early morning ex-roost rather than "genuine" vis mig (sizeable wagtail roost within the power station with  scattering of Greys seen heading there in the evening).  However, the timing of ringing of these 'local' birds did not correlate with early morning ex-roost timing and ringing times were scattered throughout the morning, with no obvious interim loitering spots for ex-roost birds to confuse the timing issue.  So whilst there have been some lengthy movements (especially the quick one to Skokholm), as also suggested by the regular exodus of this species as recorded at e.g. Portland, it is clear that 'vis mig' for some of them might simply be a flight across Morecambe Bay to the first tasty bit of wintering habitat not already occupied.  In this respect, a high proportion of the autumnal birds are on a NW to SE heading with a seemingly concentrated flight-line towards and over the obvious landmark, Heysham Power Stations

Today's sighting involved a lengthy observation of a settled and seemingly habitual wintering bird (rather than a very early movement) at Warton Bank, north Ribble Shore and involved a bird ringed at Middleton NR as one of the latest of the 2014 passage migrants on 7th October.  Thanks to Ian Walker for documenting this

Webs highlights
Not a lot - the Purple Sandpiper could not be located
Med Gull - TWO adults Fisher's roof
Shag - 2CY in harbour

Saturday 24 January 2015


Awaiting news for today.  Meanwhile here is a gull that was successfully fishing in the harbour:

Friday 23 January 2015

Green Woodpecker joins the year list

Heysham Obs
A very fortunate addition today whilst checking the model boat pond in the form of a Green Woodpecker flying towards the golf course - usually need to work a bit harder for this species here.  A miserable one point, though, on the Patchwork Challenge

Shag - 2CY by grill/waterfall
Med Gull - ad fishers roof at high tide
House Sparrow - 7 by Half moon bay cafe

Thursday 22 January 2015

Guillemot woes

Heysham Obs
This is the cr Grey Wagtail residing near the bottle dump on Middleton - the site code and BTO ring visible on the left leg.  Thanks Janet.

The Guillemot was found floundering on Red Nab and was brought to the office by the Doggy Tired company (thanks Ann) and the best solution seemed to be to despatch it in the harbour by the waterfall where there is plenty of food and it would give the Shag some company......

The 2CY Shag was duly present

Med Gull north harbour wall 

Wednesday 21 January 2015

When junk is not junk

Heysham Obs
Completely mystified as to why some stuff goes into the junk folder and other stuff of far less interest comes through the inbox.  Need to start checking the junk daily.

Therefore belated thanks to Mike for reporting the pale blue over yellow Grey Wagtail on the 19th Jan from the shallow pools on the road by the bottle dump at Middleton.  It really likes this sheltered picturesque area

Ad Med north harbour wall again today but no other reports

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Med gull

Just the czech ringed med today from me and probably nothing tomorrow. An inauspicious start to patchwork challenge - can only get better

Nothing from me tomorrow

Monday 19 January 2015

Goldeneye top the bill

Heysham Obs
Circuits of the reserve and Middleton today plus some low tide offshore coverage in the afternoon.  Thanks Malcolm.

3 Blackbird and a Song Thrush in SD35 by gate 38 yesterday with at least 2 Blackbird today.  Two Blackbird NHW today.  No other indication of any possible CWM other than Malcolm's Redwing at Middleton today

Offshore low tide
Red-throated Diver - 1
Goldeneye - 2 males
Duck - 7 at extreme range were probably 2m, 5f Scaup but couldn't clinch in slight 'heat' haze - worth checking for tomorrow?
Eider - 147

2CY Shag by grill again

Heysham NR wetland circuit
Woodcock - one alder woodland
Reed Bunting - one male (unusual)
Jay - 2
Water Rail - at least one, prob two

Middleton NR
Only isolated pockets of open water
4 adult + 6 2CY mute swan
2 mallard
16 teal
1 pheasant
3 bullfinch
5 redwing

OE saltmarsh (2 hours after high tide)
7 mallard
2 little egret
10 common snipe
1 jack snipe
2 reed bunting

No sign of the Bluebottle in HNR kitchen today.

SUNDAY 18th January

Heysham Obs
A freezing cold afternoon walk to the wheel saw the 2CY Shag feeding by the 'grill' and the Purple Sandpiper feeding on the rocks below the lighthouse with 4 Turnstone

Saturday 17 January 2015

Bye bye babies

Heysham Obs
The adult Mute Swans were in the process of chasing the young away from the model boat pond feeding grounds today - about a week later than last year

Shag - 2CY on the lowest tier of the platform by the waterfall
Med Gull - Ad north wall
Eider - at least 180 offshore but choppy

Friday 16 January 2015

Grilled shag

The shag was feeding by the grills near the power station intake this lunchtime and the only other spark of interest was the Czech ringed med gull on the north harbour wall

Thursday 15 January 2015

Repeat: where are the Little Gulls?

Heysham Obs
There don't seem to be any/many Little Gulls around Shell Flat this winter judging by the lack of influxes into the Bay in what would normally be 'perfect displacement conditions'.  The same goes for Kittiwakes, but these are often more limited to big flocks rather than a steady drip feed and easily missed on todays short sea-watches as determined by the workload

Todays efforts saw:
Little Gull - one adult between Heysham one and two late afternoon
Kittiwake - 1 2CY as above & possibly an adult seen really briefly in difficult conditions

Another observer covered the area earlier in the day but did not report anything worthy of note

39 finches on the north wall with 17 Linnet, rest Goldfinch & no Twite

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Extra med

Heysham obs
Ad med gulls were by red nab and as usual along the north harbour wall today

The 1cy shag was in the harbour along with the great crested grebe

Fewer finches on the north wall and no twite seen

85 wigeon outfalls

Adult little gull off seaward end of Heysham two outfall then appeared to sit on the sea

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Woodcock influx

Heysham Obs
Three Woodcock were seen on Middleton Nature reserve today including two together.  The pale blue over yellow CR Grey Wagtail was also present there

The north wall feeder area held c40 finches including 4 ringed Twite - two quite old birds seen previously this winter

Ad Med Gull also soaring along the north wall

Thanks to John and Justine for these

Sunday 11 January 2015

Where are the Little Gulls?

Heysham Obs
Some lengthy observation by Ian Walker failed to register any of the usual gale-blown staple diet after the turn of the year - a chunk of the north Irish Sea Little Gull population.  Thanks for the records Ian.

Coastal areas late morning
Shag - 1CY in harbour
Med Gull - ad Fishers roof
Kittiwake - ad in harbour - 3 ad offshore
Eider - c120

Late news yesterday included an adult Kittiwake along the north wall and a flock of 50 which were blown into the bay off Carnforth Marsh

Saturday 10 January 2015

What will the wind blow in?

Nothing yet.

An adult Mediterranean Gull flew round the harbour.

7 Tufted Duck on the Model Boat Pond at Middleton Nature Reserve.

Customers at the feeding station on the North Wall:  a feral pigeon, 12 Goldfinches (some flew off as the picture was being taken) and a Dunnock -just about sums up today.



Thursday 8 January 2015

Purple sandpiper joins the year list

Heysham obs
Presumably "The" often elusive purple sandpiper was fortunately on the edge of a compact flock on the heliport seawall at high tide.

Only other bird of note during very limited observation was the adult med gull above what must be record numbers of anglers for a weekday.

I wonder if the sw to west winds are going to be sustained enough to produce the goods without wholesale  cancellation of a good source of birds - incoming ferries. We'll see but little gull and kittiwake have been really scarce despite some fairly promising days this winter

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Dead wet

Heysham Obs
A trawl round revealed:
Med Gull - ad Fishers roof
Tufted Duck - 4 Middleton MP pond
Oystercatcher - one on spit Middleton MB pond
Mallard - 6 MBP, 2 Ocean Edge

....................and a guy on a two-way journey along the Heliport seawall who had absolutely no comprehension about disturbing the wader roost - he "just wanted to walk his dog and hadn't noticed anything else".  Completely displaced were: 4200 Oystercatcher, 1950 Knot, 220 Redshank, 13 Turnstone, two Bar-tailed Godwit and 18 Ringed Plover.  This guy has two Basset Hounds dressed in jackets.  Familiar anyone?

6th January 2014

Heysham Obs

Two year ticks today:
Pintail - flock of four flew out of the bay

Mottled Umber - kicked off the mothing year at Heysham - a single

Bluebottle still HNR office

Monday 5 January 2015

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
Some good coverage today by Malcolm and John.  Thanks for info

Middleton NR
9 mute (2 adult)
1 coot
3 moorhen
5 mallard
1 gadwall
2 tufted
c50 teal
2 common snipe
1 greater spotted woodpecker
1 Roe deer (male by rump patch)
Ocean edge (1 hour after high tide)
1 golden plover
c40 linnet
13 common snipe
1 jack snipe
All snipe landed back on salt marsh. This is normal for jack, but unusual for

Red Nab
98 wigeon

North wall
Ad Med Gull
1 Twite

Bluebottle now in office.  No moths

4th January

Sorry for late posting - couldn't get on site last night

Shag - 1CY still harbour (& GCG)
Med Gull - north harbour wall
Wigeon - 108 Red Nab

Saturday 3 January 2015

Distant low tide fare

Heysham obs
An effort was made in the afternoon to search distant sandbanks and channels for the in transit pom skua seen off flookburgh in the morning. It was quite hard work as a lot of stuff  was at extreme range. However it opened up new possibilities if the conditions were right. Nine geese flew on to a hitherto unnoticed skeer far into distant Cumbria. Initially assumed to be low-flying pink feet until the landing where a later switch to 60x just about made two of them out as Brent geese but the rest of the flock appeared to be 'down a slope out of sight'.  They were absolutely miles away and definitely in Cumbria. Is this a regular routine visible from Heysham ?

The bluebottle seems to have disappeared from the Heysham NR kitchen, no sign of the Purple Sandpiper at high tide, just the one Ad Med Gull of note (Fishers roof at high tide) and similarly a single Twite with about a dozen each of Goldfinch and Linnet on the seed.  No moths in the trap.

A ground-breaking ringing recovery of a juvenile Goldfinch ringed at Middleton on 31/8/14 caught today by John in his garden at the Beaumont end of Lancaster, 7ish km to the north-east - the first of several I suspect!

North harbour wall and far offshore at low tide
Brent goose - at least two and probably all nine geese on distant skeer were this species
Red-throated diver - one flew out
Eider - 113
Great crested grebe - one in harbour and 8 offshore
Med gull - just the one adult
Shag - 1cY on rocks just below north wall Roundhead

Friday 2 January 2015

Bridlington timewaster

Heysham obs
Got it wrong today -  went east before visiting the blyths pipit enticed by a clear early morning run through Harrogate etc - should have turned right at Skipton roundabout and waited for news.

An alarming dearth of interesting stuff from north lancs so far this year and that includes Heysham with no reports from today. Some prolonged westerlies on the horizon might stir things up a bit at the back end of next week

Thursday 1 January 2015

10k square mode

Heysham Obs
Happy New Year everyone and hope you have all recovered from this horrible chesty cold or whatever it is.  This knocked thoughts of the M62/A64 via Pugneys getting xxxx wet through on the head and opted for a bit of coverage of the January 10km square survey we have been doing for about 10 years now. 

The Patchwork Challenge didn't happen last year - partly my computer skills and partly the computer not liking some of the methodology, so it all became rather too time-consuming.  Will make a real effort this year.  The other NY Res. - not swearing at inconsiderate drivers - lasted about half a day.

The cutting edge fieldcraft today unfortunately failed, but at least produced a species which has been very thin on the ground so far this winter.  This was to sit in the car waiting for the midday IOM ferry as the only possible mobile food source today which might attract the Knott End Glaucous and drag it within viewing range.  The problem was it probably could not even see the ferry

North wall SD36V
Twite - 2 (single white colour rings on both)
Linnet - 7
Goldfinch - 14
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult
Shag - 1CY along inner harbour by sandworks wall
Robin - 2
Dunnock - 1
Pied Wagtail - 1
Starling - 14
Feral Pigeon - 6
Magpie - 2
Wren - 1

IOM ferry
Kittiwake - one adult
Large gulls - c75

Heliport area
Meadow Pipit - at least 2, prob 3

Bluebottle - one NR kitchen - a notable new years day record
No moths