Saturday 28 February 2015

Distracted by emails

Heysham Obs
Meant to do all sorts of things coverage wise today, but the computer took over after a model boat pond check on the way there.  Only report from others was a summer adult Med on the north wall, probably the Czech bird but not certain

The only notable things on the model boat pond were
Large gulls - 72 - still promising with good numbers of 2CY Herring
Black-headed Gull - massive reduction with only 24
Pochard - 3 males
Tufted Duck - 7
Mute Swan - just the imms

Brief visit to top up seed at feeding station saw.
30+ Finches in flight only

Friday 27 February 2015

Eider slowly increase

Heysham Obs

North wall low tide check
Red-throated Diver - 1
Eider - 320
Finches - flock of 40 in flight by the seed
Skylark - 1 north

Middleton NR
No Teal or Coot
Displaying pair of Kestrel
Mute Swan - 2+6
Moorhen - 4
Mallard - 4
Pochard - 2 males
Gadwall - 5 (3 M)
Tufted Duck - 16
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 10 feeding on reed mace heads

Thursday 26 February 2015


Heysham Obs
The Czech-ringed adult Med Gull was reported today

The only other thing worth saying is that there was a March Moth in the trap - a first for the year the night before last!

Time to see the Laughing Gull at last!

Eider fest on Wedesday

Heysham Obs
Sorry this is late - thought this had been posted

North wall
Eider - 295
Twite - at least 9/30 finches
Meadow Pipit - 3 seemed to be new in on the mound area

Green Woodpecker this am

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Gorse flowers on the menu

Heysham Obs
The usual heliport roost activities - lady with dog encouraging it to chase Oystercatchers and a photographer wanting flight shots contrasted with the most unusual sight of a Roe Deer buck chewing gorse flowers on Middleton

North wall
Med Gull - Czech bird still
Twite - 4 (plus 3 Linnet and 2 Goldfinch)

Middleton NR
Gulls - just 64 large and 149 Black-headed today
Pochard - 3 males
Gadwall - 2
Snipe - 1
Tufted Duck - 12
Gadwall - 2
Mallard - 8
Moorhen - 4

Monday 23 February 2015

Gulls and chips

Heysham Obs
Don't know whether the rubbish tip charges for excess cooked chips, but bucketfuls of the fatty remains of the previous evenings calorie-fest appeared from the back of a van and were deposited in the general direction of the Mute Swans on the model boat pond.  The episode was hijacked by hordes of gulls and if, this is repeated, this could be promising.  196 Herring/LBBG, 310 Black-headed with at least 4 Common Gulls with some undoubtedly missed still swirling around in the air.  Quite commendable as many other places would simply reheat the chips for today's fare

North harbour wall
Finches - 27 - amazingly 9 Twite (5+ unringed), 9 Linnet and 9 Goldfinch
Med Gull - Czech-ringed bird nearly in full summer plumage - only a week or so to go before departure

Model boat pond
See above
Pochard - 3 males
Tufted Duck - c7
Mallard -  5

22nd February

Heysham Obs
A horrible wet day saw 4000 Oystercatchers at the heliport, 3 male Pochard on the model boat pond

Saturday 21 February 2015

The cod army and two coot

Heysham Obs
The lack of small-fish-eating birds (e.g. Guillemot) this winter appears to down to a large, late and prolonged influx of cod - hence all the anglers - which have hoovered up all the small fish.  Don't tell the Arctic terns as they plan the spring migration

Ocean Edge flushed off saltmarsh by spring tide
Snipe - 9
Jack Snipe - 2
Reed Bunting - 1

Middleton NR wetlands
Coot - 1OY? 2
Pochard - 3 male
Tufted Duck - 26
Mallard - 6
Gadwall - 5
Teal - 2
Moorhen - 1
Mute Swan - 2 + 6 .

Ringed Plover - 11 Ocean Edge, 28 Heliport area
Dunlin - 17 heliport
Redshank - 210 heliport
Oystercatcher - 3850 heliport

Thanks to Malcolm for most of todays info

Friday 20 February 2015

Wader checks and anglers going through the motions

Heysham Obs
No sign of any Purple Sandpiper today in coverage which saw:
Turnstone - 58 on wooden jetty
Ringed Plover - 28 on heliport
Oystercatcher - 4000 heliport

30 anglers, two codling and a flounder - the cod bonanza seems to be over
Success! (for some)

Thursday 19 February 2015

Two short sessions

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall
Twite 4, Linnet 12, Goldfinch 2

Model boat pond
Pochard male, 6 Tufted Duck and increase in Lesser Black-backed Gull

Melanistic Dotted Border

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Undisturbed heliport roost for a change

Heysham Obs

The view from the top of the Heliport with waders spilling over from the wall.

The heliport roost was not 'dog-walked until at least high tide today and this allowed 4000 Oystercatcher and 800 Knot to roost

No finches this morning on the NH wall

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Congested NHWall

Heysham North Harbour Wall
Notwithstanding 4 cars, 1 large four-track and a camper van and some chatting fishermen, a decent finch flock of 40+ birds arrived and the majority dropped onto the feeding area. We were not able to fire the net since some were standing on the furled net. However, they flew and a reasonable proportion returned allowing 12 birds to be caught:

Twite - 11 including 4 retraps and 7 new birds.  Of the new birds 4 were probably adults - a high proportion.
Linnet - 1

Kittiwakes - 7 flew into the Bay at 0830hrs
Hybrid crow, unfortunately not a "pure" hooded crow, flew into the Bay at 0840hrs

Heysham Reserve
No sight or sound of the Cetti's Warbler around lunchtime.

Near Naze
Knot - 800 at high tide

Red Nab
Oystercatcher - 1087 at high tide

Heysham One outfall
Wigeon - 170 at low tide

Other areas
Jay - 3 were seen flying to the NE over Trumacar Store at 08.30


Monday 16 February 2015

Twitching the patch

Heysham Obs

Nothing much to report from me (Jean) - 155 Eider in the low tide channel.  Twitched the 3 Pochard at the Model Boat Pond on Middleton NR

Raven - this was the best bird seen today in recent context when it has suddenly become very difficult to see - purposefully south over Heysham NR at about 0840hrs

Med Gull - Czech adult north wall but just one Twite seen today.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Green Woodpecker shows well

Heysham Obs
A bit of a quiet (!) vigil by the dipping pond area for an hour produced great views of Green Woodpecker before it headed off over the golf course - gave four yaffles.   No sight nor sound of the Cetti's Warbler but it may have been up at the reed-bed end.  Ten species in song:  Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Wren, Song Thrush and (sort of) Goldfinch

Middleton NR (Justine)
Grey Wagtail - P/Y colour-ringed bird seen
Pochard - now 3 males
Pheasant - SEVEN on Middleton - the most for ages (2 male)

North harbour wall
9 unringed Twite caught

Moth trappers take note:  a woodland actinic trap in the Lune valley this morning contained 80 moths - near the place that had over 1000 Mottled Umber on 17th Dec last year!

Saturday 14 February 2015

Small scale spring activity

Heysham Obs
Not sure what you call someone with a big lens, no binoculars or telescope and a loud tape of singing male Cetti's Warbler?  Cant find it in Bill Oddie's Little Black Book. 

Heysham NR
Good coverage by Ian today - thanks.  He arrived after the abovementioned and no sight nor sound of the Cetti's Warbler today but the first Snipe on HNR of the season

Middleton and south foreshore area (thanks Malcolm)
2 adult + 6 2CY mute
7 moorhen
1 pochard (m)
16 tufted
6 mallard
2 gadwall (pair)
5 teal
1 skylark (flushed)
1 pheasant (m)
1 little egret on OE.
113 wigeon
Cormorant on waterfall.

Great Tit - one by Gate 38 - mega - almost as unlikely as Fair Isle!
Song Thrush - one by Gate 38 - wintering bird from NHW or new arrival?

North harbour wall
Twite - 15
Chaffinch - female
At least 25 other finches, possibly including more Twite
Eider - 175+

Friday 13 February 2015

Water Rail twitch

Heysham Obs
Busy today, but one of us 'needed' Water Rail for the year and it duly performed around the dipping pond. 

Middleton NR
Model Boat Pond:
Gadwall - 2prs
Tufted Duck - 4M, 3F
Mallard - 2prs
Mute Swan - 6 juvs
Moorhen - 1
Grey Heron - 1

Tim Butler Pond
Teal - 2M, 1F
Moorhen - 1

No Swimming Pond
Tufted Duck - 2M, 4F
Mute Swan - 2ad
Moorhen - 1

Fence Pond
Moorhen - 1

Other species of note (perhaps?): Kestrel 1

12th February

Heysham Obs
Cetti's warbler showing from the boardwalk this morning but no other news today

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Mallard fest

Heysham Obs

Heysham NR
Mallard - pair and single male in Heysham NR marsh
Cetti's Warbler - started calling briefly in response to flushing the pair of Mallard - between the boardwalk and the dipping pond along the stream
Water Rail - 1

North Harbour wall
Small catch of finches surprisingly comprised four unringed Linnet, three unringed Goldfinch, one retrap Twite with previous 2014/5 history, another retrap not seen this winter and one new bird

New Dotted Border

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Little coverage today

Heysham obs

Flock of three Siskin east
Cetti's warbler probably heard distantly

Dotted border in moth trap

Monday 9 February 2015

Two year ticks for the area

Heysham obs
Another local Grey Wagtail seen today (thanks Janet) in the housing estate next to Heysham Moss.  Ringed on 14/9/14 at Middleton.

The way Pochard have been going down the pan in this area and the fact that it is very much an early year species suggested a possibility that we might miss out on it for the patchwork challenge. All change today with a male on the model boat pond

Cetti's calling behind dipping pond this morning and at least one water rail (two yesterday afternoon)

Pair of mute swans back on nesting pond - fence pond- at Middleton

Pale brindled beauty new for the year in trap

Sunday 8 February 2015

Fog and ringless Cettis

Heysham Obs
The fog relented just long enough to get the webs done and the reward was a new species for the patchwork challenge, albeit the lower end of the points scale - black-tailed godwit 

Here are the Grey Wagtail details for the bird seen this morning at Crook of Lune, Caton, 15km or so to the north-east.  This is the first record from the Lune valley, as opposed to Lancaster or south of on the estuarine part of the river:

Y966256  P/M:DKG/R
Ringed:  Heysham NR          Juvenile                   15/09/2012
Seen:  Crook of Lune   08/02/2015     Photo Jean Roberts

I was a bit puzzled yesterday as inconclusive glimpses of the right leg on the Cetti's appeared to indicate there was no ring.  Brilliant views this morning behind the dipping pond- should have taken camera - indicated quite clearly it was un-ringed.  I suspect this isn't a two-bird theory, but the brief view of what appeared to be a right leg ring on the first day was clearly staining of some sort.  This, of course means it is definitely a different bird from the two Middleton and single Heysham records last autumn.   In close proximity to a Wren for quite a time and the two completely ignored each other!

Interesting how this species is getting treated now.  It doesn't qualify for the regional RBA, it's relegated to un-highlighted status on the Fleetwood and Fylde websites (but still worthy of individual daily mention) and it's about to come off the 'county description list'.  A bit of an also-ran at Leighton where presumably all the locals have already year-ticked it (song only??).  On the other hand it is Aldcliffe's "most wanted", its still a mega in Cumbria, it hasn't even turned up at Haweswater (Silverdale) yet and I think it is still a bit of a celebrity at Brockholes despite being 'down south' (or should that be the western outpost of East Lancs for regional year listing purposes?).   In other words, not to be taken for granted yet and no apologies for getting a bit excited about our first winter record.
Quite severe freezing fog this morning and still nowhere near cleared - no chance of WeBS count unless it improves, even with my 'inshore' (as opposed to salt marsh edge) roosts

Male Chaffinch giving the vaguely Chiffchaff - like contact call this morning as they do when setting up territories.  Otherwise, predictably not as much singing this morning but the Great-spotted Woodpeckers were active with a lot of calling and drumming


Saturday 7 February 2015

Pinkfeet with two agendas and Cettis warbler obliging

Heysham Obs
Interesting early morning - so much for the dawn start of work!

Cetti's Warbler
Calling a lot and showing well from the boardwalk below the classroom - now it is in this area, this is a very 'user-friendly' bird despite not being a singing male (call similar to quiet Great-spotted Woodpecker 'chit')

Red-throated Diver - two offshore but very distant

Eider - c300 offshore

Pink-footed Goose
Absolute minimum of 2,100 heading distantly over the golf course towards fields to the north of Heysham Moss - whether any carried on is unknown but.............

450 + 71 + 390 definitely north-west over the office heading across the bay on the usual migratory route

Single Dotted Border and rather late Dark Chestnut in hut trap

Friday 6th February

Heysham Obs
Sorry someone else was going to do the posting yesterday!

Med Gull - Czech bird north wall
Skylark - one high to east
Red-throated Diver - at least 5 in Kent channel about 3 hours before high tide in a narrow temporal window on the incoming tide (hopeless at high tide at present)
Cetti's Warbler - probably heard at a distance by two people (independently) along the eastern side of the marsh but 'drowned' by loads of singing birds, noisy Goldfinches and drumming & displaying Great-spotted Woodpeckers

Thursday 5 February 2015

Two Chiffchaff and a Peacock

Heysham Obs
More good stuff today:  Thanks to Janet for pics:

Middleton NR
Chiffchaff - two collybita types at the north western end towards anemometer/golf course edge

Peacock butterfly - one by red brick building

Heysham NR
No sign of Cetti's Warbler today
Siskin - 3

Offshore north harbour wall
Eider - 2 (male and femae) out
Pink-footed Goose - 8 north
Grey Wagtail - at feeding station
Linnet - 14 at feeding station
Meadow Pipit - 1

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Cettis circuit extended and pale-bellied Brent appear

Heysham Obs
First some excellent pics taken by Janet:

Two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were found by Pete Cook in just about the only part of the recording area which cannot be "seen from" with respect to the Patchwork challenge!  North side of Heysham Head on inshore cobble - visible from Knowlys Road footpath (plus 34 Ringed Plover)

The Cetti's Warbler was working its way through the wetland vegetation just to the north of the boardwalk below the classroom this morning at 0950-1000, specifically along the overgrown channel about 20m north of the water level marker.  Some people have asked how best to find it.  It is keeping very low in the wetland vegetation and nearby brambles, osiers etc.  As usual this morning, located on the rather abrupt call, not dissimilar to a very quiet Great-spotted Woodpecker and probably most confusable within its circuit with the sharp contact call (as opposed to the various trills etc) of Long-tailed Tit.  Beware also the louder but vaguely similar call of the (at least two) local Water Rail.  Views mainly limited to a Wren-like creature with whirring flight between bits of low vegetation.  It has not been heard to sing which suggests it is probably a female.

The osiers have been harvested as part of the annual basket-making routine today but there is plenty of suitable habitat on its circuit, providing it can withstand the low temperatures

Med Gull - Heysham one outfall and presumed same, the Czech bird, on north harbour wall
Goldcrest - by HNR dipping pond
Jay - two by dipping pond
Water Rail - one by dipping pond
Twite/Linnet - mixed flock of 7 north harbour wall

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Cetti's vocal again

Heysham Obs
Cetti's warbler was pretty vocal around the dipping pond area this morning and gave a couple of glimpses.  Also Water Rail near the 'tunnel' under the road, singing Coal Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker.......and singing Dunnocks, but it was still freezing!

Siskin was added to the year list in the afternoon, but the Cetti's went awol whilst Water Rail rose to two

Monday 2 February 2015

A few extra Twite

Heysham Obs
Surprisingly no sign of the Cetti's Warbler this am - hopefully it is still around somewhere

5 Twite caught on the NHW this morning, (4 retraps ), three of which had also been seen earlier this winter.

Also Czech ringed adult Med Gull on railings

Sunday 1 February 2015

Cetti's Warbler

Heysham Obs
One calling fairly regularly and showing intermittently in the osier bed next to the dipping pond at Heysham NR.  Only readily viewable from a wet uneven track with tripping hazards so access not recommended and certainly at your own risk.  This posting is for info only, not to encourage people to 'twitch' a species which is available nearby at Leighton Moss.  The first winter record for here following three from Heysham and Middleton last autumn and three previous all-time records

Two Water Rail, Coal Tit, 2 Mallard, 2 Bullfinch best of the rest on NR circuit

Cetti's showed very well and called a lot (no song) later in the afternoon and its ringed on the right leg