Thursday 30 April 2015

A funny old day

Heysham obs
The seawatching was curtailed as a mixture of armed and unarmed police converged on the north wall after a super-mutt had been reported as being a seemingly toxic mixture of husky x Alsatian x wolf.  It was said to be distressed and liable to bite. Not sure of the outcome of this escapade.

Much more positive was connection with a single Canada goose on the model boat pond - a tricky one for PWC.

The only other bird sightings of any remote interest were six wheatear ocean edge, a male mallard on red nab along with two little egret and 520 oystercatcher plus a single late northbound meadow pipit

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Bonxie and better still Goosander!

Heysham Obs
More perseverance on the sea lead to an earlier start this morning and a good job as it soon went completely dead

Sea 0715-0900ish
Dunlin - 45 S
Red-throated Diver - 2 south
Gannet - one south
Auk - one south (distant, prob Razorbill)
Great Skua (Bonxie) - one sat on sea then flew into bay 0730
Goosander - male flew high to south

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Common Gull - 94
Black-tailed Godwit - one feeding close inshore by Red Nab
Wheatear - 7
Little Egret - one Red Nab

Middleton NR
Reed Warbler - three singing male main reedbed
Little Egret - one no swimming pond (one on HNR dipping pond yesterday!)
Tufted Duck - 7
Mute Swan - 6 2CY scrapping

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Bits of seawatching

Heysham Obs
It is a sign of the times that I dropped everything in the office and headed to the north wall hoping to intercept a Fulmar.  Failure.... and that might be it for the Patchwork Challenge with this spp.  No idea why it become so rare off Lancs in recent years after being staple diet of summer period seawatching.

North wall (Jean Roberts)
Fulmar - one in 0915
Gannet - 3
Kittiwake - flock of c25 u-turned
Sandwich tern - just one as is typical in windy conditions

Sorry getting behind with posting

Heysham Obs MONDAY sightings
Not sure what else was in the main observer's notebook!

Arctic Tern - one in
Sandwich tern - up to 38 mainly blogging

White Wagtail - up to four along tideline towards Potts corner
Dunlin - 5 on the rocks north harbour wall

Thanks for these Janet

Sunday 26 April 2015

Frosty start

Heysham Obs
A few migrants this morning although could have done with being there a bit earlier - maybe some additional stuff from Pete who was seawatching early on

North wall 0845-1000
Sandwich Tern - 23 out
Whimbrel - 4+4 in
Meadow Pipit - one NE
Linnet - 16 NE
NO hirundines! - see below
Turnstone - 162 - but didn't see any Purple Sandpiper - definitely did not move across to north wall on dropping tide with vast majority of Turnstones
No sign of the Iceland Gull

Office area 0655-0840
Redpoll - 14 north including flock of 8
Linnet - 13 N
Rook - flock of three south-west - quite high and purposeful - what on earth were they doing!
Swallow - 61 NE between 0730 and 0830
Sand Martin - 2 NE as above
Willow Warbler - at least four passing through
Redstart - female showing well by the office after first turning up at 0745, last seen 0755
Grasshopper Warbler - one singing briefly tank farm (on territory?)
Whinchat - 2 males together on tank farm 0735 then flew across the non-op towards golf course
- very lucky to see these - perhaps need to look that way more often! (IOY)

Middleton NR (thanks Malcolm).
Wildfowl as yesterday plus 2 greylag & 2 shelduck.
Still lots of common whitethroat around plus there were more sedge singing. Also 2 lesser whitethroat and 2 grasshopper reeling (1 one top of hill in west section - new bird or relocation?).
3 orange tip
1 weasel

Just an update on swans. Pair on Tim Butler
still sitting. Pair nesting on Fence pond failed, but were mating again this
morning. The 6 2 cy are splitting into increasing aggressive factions.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Another Iceland Gull

Heysham Obs
2CY Iceland Gull harbour mouth and area at least 0810-0815, then drifted between gap in wooden jetty towards outfalls - couldn't find on scan from Ocean Edge but plenty of visually dead ground between outfalls.  Will have a wander down soon

Purple Sandpiper with c130 Turnstone along north harbour wall after being flushed from beneath wooden jetty

Gannet - 3 distant ad offshore but didn't get here until 0800

Still 'need' Common Scoter (for the year) but fortunately not Hudsonian Godwit (see todays national news)!

Friday 24 April 2015

Bits and bobs

Heysham obs
Another rather slow day with dawn way before the cloud and murk rolled in . Blackcap continued to be above average with eight ringed, about half the new birds handled.

Grasshopper warbler - one singing by office on tank farm
Purple sandpiper - one on rocks by wooden jetty
Turnstone - 95 by wooden jetty
Wheatear - 11 coastal birds
Little egret - 3 red nab
Whimbrel - one

Thursday 23 April 2015

Another sunny day

North Harbour Wall

Vis 0700-0845
Meadow Pipit - 6
Swallow - 3
alba Wagtail - 4
Linnet - 3

Sandwich Tern - 9 blogging

Wednesday vapour trails

Heysham Obs
Lots of aeroplanes over this morning making themselves very obvious but not a lot of birds considering the time of year, with the sea yet another disaster with so much stuff seen at Rossall just not making its way into the Bay

Green Sandpiper model boat pond pm
Tree Pipit - 1 north
Meadow Pipit - 4 north
Linnet - 10 north
Swallow - 13 north
Jay - four north chased by two residents
Reed Warbler - one ringed heysham nr
Willow Warbler - 9 ringed
Blackcap - 4 ringed
Grasshopper Warbler - one ringed
Goldcrest by hnr office

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Canada Goose tops the bill

Heysham Obs
Canada Goose is a bit tricky within the Patchwork Challenge area - this was on the model boat pond this morning

A small amount of ringing by the office was again in clear sunny weather with little or no wind.  Meagre fare with just four Blackcap and about the same number of Phylloscs

Canada Goose and two Greylag but no increase reported in warbler species

Thanks Janet

Monday 20 April 2015

More bits and pieces rather than major arrival

Heysham obs
Most interesting email last night via twitter source concerning one of our grey wagtails seemingly a paired female at Marbury country park on at least 17th. More later - thanks to all concerned
Otherwise another below par clear day with the sea especially poor

Office area 0530-0700
Female ring ouzel by office 0530 flew on to plateau by classroom
Redpoll - 6 north
Linnet - 13 n
Goldfinch - 13 n
Sparrowhawk - male chased off by local pair headed off east
Collared dove - one n
Alba wagtail - 2 n
Swallow - 6 n
Meadow pipit - 5 n
Carrion crow - flock of four eventually ne high
Willow warbler - at least five migrants

Barn owl first thing
Buzzard high to east 1020
Reed warbler new for year
Whitethroat - 2
Goldcrest - very late singleton
Wheatear - one ringed

Wheatear 4 sand works plus at least one phyllosc
238 eider
3 great crested grebe
Grey seal still present

Sunday scraps

Heysham obs
Limited coverage today
New for year - common Whitethroat Middleton
Highlight - tree pipit ringed
Purple Sandpiper still present
Also ran - 2 sandwich tern, one common scoter, ad summer little gull and a grey seal

Saturday 18 April 2015

Crystal clear

Heysham Obs
Nothing much happened this morning but still three new species for the year as is par for the course in mid April

Coastal areas on and off till 1130
Arctic Tern - 2 in (no Sandwich tern seen!)
Swallow - 15 in
House Martin - 3 in
Purple Sandpiper - one under the remains of the middle tier of wooden jetty
Turnstone - at least 74
Cormorant - 46
Common Sandpiper - one flew round into harbour area
Linnet - 4 north

singing Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Sedge Warbler

Heysham NR
Tree Pipit - 1 NE
Grounded stuff virtually non existent

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 7

Huge numbers of Common Gulls - figure to be added by another observer

Grey Seal number one outfall.

Friday 17 April 2015

Slow and rather early

Heysham Obs
Good coverage by Malcolm, Janet, Jean et al

Thanks Janet

North harbour wall 0700-0830
Wheatear - 1
Linnet - 12 NE
alba Wagtail - 3 NE
Goldfinch - 1 NE
Swallow - 12 NE
Redpoll - 1 NE
Carrion Crow - 7 NE
Whimbrel - 1 NE (IOY)
Sandwich Tern - 2 in
Common Scoter - 4 u-turning
Purple Sandpiper - one wooden jetty middle section
Turnstone - 80 

Heysham office area
All before 0610hrs!
Redstart - male on fence
Meadow Pipit - 8 NE
Linnet - 7 NE
Redpoll - 1+2 down then NE
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff - one of each ringed

Middleton NR
Lesser whitethroat  - singing male by no swimming pond (IOY)
Sedge Warbler - 3 singing male (IOY)
Mute Swan - 2 nesting pairs and 6 2CY
Coot - 4
Moorhen - 6
Shelduck  - 2 (+ 8 over to west)
Tufted Duck - 8
Mallard - 4
Gadwall - 3
Grasshopper Warbler - 3 singing males
Skylark - 2
Wheatear - 3
Stock Dove - 1
Swallow - 7 NE
Sparrowhawk - 2 NE
Jay - activity at both HNR and Middleton involving at least two mobile birds
Sparrowhawk - 2 NNW
Wheatear - 3.

Ocean Edge
9 wheatear
9 linnet
Grey Seal off harbour

Thursday 16 April 2015

Hirundine and Sandwich tern trickle

Heysham Obs

North harbour wall
Sandwich Tern - 32
Little gull - 4 plus 2 distant adults
Meadow Pipit - 2
Swallow - 2

Middleton NR
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 singing male, 3 later
Snipe - 1
Swallow - 16 NE
Sand Martin - 3 NE
House Martin - 1 NE
Willow warbler - 4ish migrants

Heysham NR
Trickle of Willow Warbler (7) and Chiffchaff (2) ringed along with two Blackcap

Powdered Quaker and Shoulder Stripe (2) 'highlighting'

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Misty drizzly 'fall'

Heysham Obs
Not a morning for glasses-wearers in fine drizzle and poor visibility.   Decent numbers of the 'obvious' =Wheatear made you wonder what of the non-obvious might have slipped through.  However, coverage not at all bad and thanks the Bill and Janet for early morning Middleton visits (and Malcolm's and Justine's on previous days)

Middleton early am
Grasshopper Warbler - one presumably singing on territory, the other a probable migrant alongside Ocean Edge
Redstart - male (IOY)
Jack Snipe - late bird flushed from shallow wetland
Willow Warbler - 8+, c40 later on
Stock dove - 2 (Ioy)

Heysham NR circuit
Goldcrest - late female
Willow Warbler - 2 migrants
Chiffchaff - 4 migrants, two on territory

Ocean Edge - 11
North harbour wall - 17
South harbour - 1
PS non-operational land - 3
Middleton - 7

North harbour wall
Meadow Pipit - 6 grounded

Tuesday 14 April 2015

A quieter day

More updates to come.

North Harbour Wall 0640-0740
No vis (too windy)
Gannet - 1 out
Common Scoter - 9 out
Wheatear - 1 female on mound

Middleton NR
Willow Warbler - 7 singing
Chiffchaff - 2 singing
Mute Swan - 2 pairs plus the 6 imms
Tufted Duck - 3 pairs
Gadwall - 2 pairs
Little Ringed Plover - 2.  A pair back on territory
Wheatear - 3
Swallow - 2
House Martin - 2 in late afternoon
Skylark - pair

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - 7
Linnet - 30
White Wagtail - 1

Shore to south of OE
White Wagtail - 7
Wheatear - 4

Included Early Thorn (at last!)

Monday 13 April 2015

Quality not quantity

Heysham Obs

Thanks to Joanne and Janet for the above pics

Pretty decent morning unless you were into hordes of visible migration!

North harbour wall
Marsh Harrier - cream-crowned bird north at 0802 (IOY) - well into Cumbria
Sandwich tern - 2 offshore

Office area
Willow Warbler - 10+
Firecrest - 2CY male caught and ringed - still showing late afternoon
Ring Ouzel - 2CY male ringed (IOY)
Blackcap - at least 3 males and two females
Robin - two unringed birds caught
Meadow Pipit - 9 NE

Middleton NR
Ring-necked Parakeet - flew north towards Tradebe
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male early morning only (IOY)
Little Ringed Plover - single mobile bird (IOY)
Greylag - 4
Tufted Duck - 8
Gadwall - just two males seen

5 ocean edge
4 non-op land
one heliport

Weasel ran across near office
Grey Squirrel below obs tower

Shoulder Stripe of minor interest

Sunday 12 April 2015


Heysham Obs
Awful weather during the morning/over lunchtime - nothing of interest blown in

Sand Martin - Middleton model boat pond first thing
Wheatear - Ocean Edge foreshore
Common Gull - 89 outfalls

Saturday 11 April 2015

The osprey and the loo

Heysham Obs
Patchwork Challenge going pear-shaped in the last two days.  This morning's saga comprised dropping off some Lead-coloured Drab for the Belted Beauty workshop people to see at Pott's Corner, needing the loo, so atypically driving right past Middleton NR at 0950 heading for Heysham NR office.  Osprey flies north-east over Middleton at 0955!

Not a lot else today with no change from yesterday as regards additional sightings at Middleton and a single gannet far offshore was the only flicker of additional avian interest

Shoulder stripe and the three commonest orthosias in low single figures

Friday 10 April 2015

Clear sky trickle livens up late morning

Heysham Obs
Undoubted highlight, two Green Sandpiper together Middleton flying about before heading SE - a bad personal miss of this barely annual visitor for the Patchwork challenge!  Lesser Redpoll with brand new ring from elsewhere (Z318 sequence)

Vis mig
sample count from the north wall 0635-0705
Meadow Pipit - 41 (plus 13 in 30 minutes 1030-1100)
Linnet - 27
alba Wagtail - 7 (2 grounded white for a short time)
Redpoll - 1
Mute Swan - 2 on sea

Heysham NR
Redpoll - 3 flocks flew over whilst putting the nets up - 10 birds plus 6 Lesser caught
Meadow Pipit - just 15
Linnet - 4
Chaffinch - 2 NE high
Rook - single adult high and purposefully to the east (in-off on that line - odd!)

Grounded HNR/OE
Stonechat - female by office
Wheatear - 6 scattered around plus 7 (in one
compact group at OE, including 3 female - suspect they had just come in 10:20)
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed and at least 6 other migrants
Goldcrest - just the one seen/ringed
Redwing - 2 grounded on tank farm then flew high inland

Middleton NR
Shelduck - 2 mbp
Cormorant - 2 mbp
Greylag - 2 briefly mbp then inland
Water Rail - squealing
Gadwall - 14
Tufted Duck - 17
Teal - 2
Mallard - 4
Coot - 4
Mute Swan - 4 ad, 6 2CY
Willow warbler - 9
Chiffchaff - 8 (& 4 unspecified WW/CC)
Blackcap - 1
Swallow - 1 north
Skylark - 2 singing male
Meadow Pipit - 37 grounded

9th April

Heysham Obs
Most of the stuff still hiding in a notebook - post later!

Hey NR Office vis
Meadow Pipit - 84
Redpoll - 1

North Harbour Wall vis 07:00-10:45:
Meadow Pipit - 139
Redpoll - 8
Linnet - 54
Goldfinch - 4
alba wagtail - 9
Woodpigeon - 3
Swallow - 5
Carrion Crow - 15

Wheatear on non-op land and 3 Wheatear on North Harbour Wall (2 female, 1 male)
Two Goldcrest and single Blackcap ringed

Middleton NR
No sign/sound Cettis warbler
Water Rail definitely on breeding territory from behaviour in main reedbed (response to playback - standard survey technique)

Acleris hastiana

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Crumbs under the clear sky

Heysham Obs
Coverage was pretty good today and great for butterflies and year-ticking various flies and the like..........but bird-wise it was a real scraps under the table effort after the last two days, but not without interest, notably a Goldcrest 'control' EPR198

Grounded office area etc
Goldcrest - 15 ringed plus one control
Willow Warbler - at least 3 singing males early on (2 ringed)
Blackcap - 2 singing males early on
Chiffchaff - no evidence of any migrants - odd
Wheatear - just one

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - 255 NE
Redpoll - 12 NE
Woodpigeon - very prominent early on but uncertain of status - definitely at least 14 migrants heading north
Goldfinch - 11 NE
Carrion Crow - definite passage birds comprised 4+2+8 north
Reed Bunting - 4 NE
Swallow - 3 NE
Linnet - 23 NE
alba Wagtail - just 2 N E

Cetti's Warbler - 2 bursts of song western marsh
Snipe - 2 Middleton
Gadwall - 3 pairs Middleton
House Sparrow - male gate 38 (again)
Bullfinch - unringed bird caught
Wren - as above
Great Tit - as above
Eider - 180

Day-flying small bat spp by dipping pond

Brimstone (6), Comma (2), Peacock (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1) Heysham NR transect
Lots of drone flies for the first day.  Moths included Shoulder Stripe

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Ringing coverage

Heysham obs
Ringing by the office today saw large numbers of meadow pipit early am with up to 60 grounded at any one time and 200 plus an hour at least early on overhead - grand total estimated to be in excess of 500

The absence of chiffchaff was inexplicable but ringing included 7 goldcrest and, a typical early April feature, four unringed female chaffinch

Monday 6 April 2015

Selective migration

Heysham Obs
Difficult one this morning - limited time - late arrival - no other birders/ringers .............and plenty of birds by recent standards..............except a complete lack of Wheatear!  Visibility very limited - no chance of covering the sea.  Times at each site after 1000 approximate

Office area 0900-1000
Meadow Pipit - 312 north
alba Wagtail - 8 north
Reed Bunting - 1 north
Redpoll - 1 north
Chiffchaff - minimum  of 6 around office
Goldcrest - 2 round office

Ocean Edge 1005-1010
Meadow Pipit - 40 grounded, 10-15 over
Chiffchaff - one amongst the rocks

North wall 1015-1045
Meadow Pipit - 60 grounded, 30 flew off plus another 118 heading north
alba Wagtail - 18 north
Rock Pipit - one north
Goldcrest - 4 in the twite sea buckthorn, one in the sea buckthorn at south end
Surprisingly nothing in the gorse e.g. wren, dunnock, robin

South harbour 1050-1105
Robin - two
Goldcrest - 1
Phyllosc - shot out of brambles and over the fence - prob Chiffchaff
Meadow Pipit - 13 north
alba Wagtail - 2 north

Middleton NR 1115-1135
No audible sign of Cettis (not heard yesterday either but this morning's visit was accompanied by a lot of other song
Water Rail - one still in main reedbed western marsh
Meadow Pipit - 24 north

Two hedgehog dead on Moneyclose Lane, one from 5 days ago, one from yesterday

Double striped pug x 2 and Diurnea fagella new for the year

So much for coming to do some work before working away for an evening/early morning!

Sunday 5 April 2015

Afternoon meadow pipits

Heysham obs
Decided to take down mist nets which had been rather slow since dawn and this completion seemed to flick a switch and there was a significant meadow pipit movement following a morning which struggled to reach three figures. Same happened on the lune flight line

Vis mig
Meadow pipit - 327 ne 1315- 1415 then 120 1430- 1500. Followed by 145 n at high tatham 1705-1805
Reed bunting - one north
Hirundine - one disappearing rapidly ne looked like sand Martin
Chaffinch - 3 ne

Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - 5

Saturday 4 April 2015

A bit better

Heysham Obs
A rather late start on the vis mig coverage saw a sample hour between 0815 and 0915 at the southern end of the north harbour wall out of the way of anglers.

The last  week or so has seen Reed Bunting in two different occurrence patterns at Middleton - territorial males and a gang of presumed off passage migrants feeding on reed mace seed

Wooden jetty and outfalls
Turnstone - 171
Purple Sandpiper - at least one, possibly two
Common Gull - 141

Vis mig 0815-0915
Sandwich Tern - 2 out far offshore the only semblance of seabird movement
Meadow Pipit - 172 N (and a subsequent trickle over the reserve)
alba Wagtail - 71 N
Linnet - 23 N
Twite - 1 N
Redpoll spp - 4+1 N
Chaffinch - 1 N
Rock Pipit - 1 grounded then N

Middleton NR
Highlighted by a gang of 6 girls and 10 dogs and massive disturbance as they ran around yapping.  Anyone know any polite three word tweets which might signify communication?
Cetti's Warbler - singing from central marsh near fence pond
Little Grebe - visible on fence pond
Coot - two mbpond

Office area
Ringing was again low key with the only sign of migration being 3 Goldcrest, one Chiffchaff and one Robin (& two unringed Blue Tit)
Grey Wagtail - 1 north

Friday 3 April 2015

Good variety on Middleton but no arrival of summer migrants

Heysham Obs
Another colour ringed grey wagtail sighting today by Stuart sharp after two years of trying within his dipper study area . Seen at killington bridge on the lune east of killington services and seemingly a paired female on territory. Thanks Stuart !  This bird was ringed at Middleton on 20/9 and seemed to winter in the area being seen on several dates in nov and dec up to 24/12 but not since.

Middleton NR (mainly Malcolm - thanks)
Mute Swan 2+1+1 adult + 6 2CY
6 coot
6 moorhen
2 shelduck
1 little grebe
7 tufted duck
4 mallard
9 gadwall
1 teal (male)
Cetti's Warbler heard during brief visit at 0850, then singing about every minute from central marsh at 10:20. Slightly slower rate at 12:20, but back in normal corner.
3 chiffchaff
1 skylark (full display flight/song)
green woodpecker
1 pheasant
Vis mig
Didnt seem to get going until midday with 8 meadow pipits over Middleton to north (12:15) and 72 in 20 minutes over Heysham NR 1240-1300 when it went 'dead' again - a mass departure from a nearby off-passage gathering ground?

Ocean Edge
Single snipe
mistle thrush with beak full of worms

Thursday 2 April 2015

Slow going in decent conditions

Heysham Obs
The best sighting received today was at 0028hrs - an email indicating one of our Grey Wagtails was at Melrose sewage works (c210km NNE) on 25th March.  More details needed to see exactly which bird (i.e. which way round the rings were).  Thanks to David and hope to hear back from you soon and we'll get it individualised

Offshore 0830-0900
Pretty dead other than:
Carrion Crow - a straggling line of 17 heading across the bay plus one high to north over Middleton

Vis mig - interrupted as travelling between sites
Meadow Pipit - 95
alba Wagtail - 14 (all along coast)
Carrion crow - see above

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler - singing from usual spot along the bank on north side of Middleton western marsh reedbed (near sewage works)
Shelduck - pair model boat pond

In the calmer weather, most of the large gulls 'replaced' by Common and Black-headed:
Common Gull - 225
Black-headed Gull - 75
large gulls - 60
Little Egret - 1

Not a lot
Goldcrest - four ringed
Chiffchaff - one at red nab probably a migrant
Reed Bunting - still 5 feeding on reed mace seed on Middleton (whilst three singing males also on territory)

Wednesday 1 April 2015

First Gannet and Greylags

Heysham Obs

Offshore one hour early am
Kittiwake - 16+3+3+2 out
Common Scoter - one out
Gannet - 2CY in
No small passerine vis

Model Boat Pond
Greylag - 2