Sunday 31 May 2015

Seawatching cameo

Heysham Obs
At last a seawatch which over-achieved, albeit just a half-hour session possible as the wind edged fractionally back to the west and increased.  Possibilities the next couple of days, including incoming tide in the evening for e.g. Manxies..............but where are the dedicated seawatchers with time?

North wall 0730-0840 (murk and the initial stages of clearance) (Mark), 0840-0900 (nowt as the immediate post-clearance had too much NW), 0940-1010 (surprisingly good) (Pete)
Arctic Skua - light morph out at 0830, ?same in close inshore at 0948, dark morph distantly in at 1004
Great Skua (Bonxie) - one out very close inshore, including over the wooden jetty 0954
Manx Shearwater - flock of three in at 0949
Gannet - 11 in Mark's session, 2 more 0955, one behind iom ferry
Razorbill -singleton in, close inshore at 1000
Fulmar - one behind iom ferry (at last!)

Grey Seal 1005 off north wall

Saturday 30 May 2015

Gulls and moths

Heysham obs
An evening visit to do the ces in the only calm weather suitable for Middleton

Outfalls and red nab late pm
Med gull - two 2cy
Common gull - 201
Large gulls - 720!
Wheatear - one large female and one small male

Middleton sheet and light with John and Justine
Oblique carpet the pick of a decent little catch unless one or more of the micros comes up trumps in daylight tomorrow

Friday 29 May 2015

At last!

Heysham Obs
A very short seawatch - indeed the first scan - revealed a pair of Common Scoter heading into the Bay.  There did not seem to be much prospect of anything else so the seawatch lasted 5 minutes!

North wall 0930ish-0935
Common Scoter - pair in
Great Black-backed Gull - to add to yesterdays census - pair nesting Fisher's roof
Lesser Black-backed Gull - two young Fisher's roof - at least 2-3 days old

Ocean Edge/outfalls
Starling - one carrying food into power station SW corner (very few nesting attempts recorded EDF site)
Wheatear - female on grass - big one
Red Nab consisted of 5 in yellow high vis, two in orange high vis, one in donkey jacket and one in anorak examining the culvert and not a lot of roosting gulls etc. but most of the displaced birds were in view from Ocean Edge
Oystercatcher - 420
Curlew - 32
Shelduck - 2
Common Gull - 178

Some okish weather by recent standards this afternoon - cold but sunny!
The trap held a single Ingrailed Clay but the new bulb is now in - these 160 blendeds seem to lose the MV element over time and the old, bulb was getting very yellow

Justine had the second Grapholita lunulana for Middleton

Janet had 5 x Burnet Companion on Heysham NR plateau and the following pics:

Thursday 28th May

Heysham Obs
Roof nesting gull census today comprising buildings on
a) the power station non-operational land  (LB 14 nests, GB 1 nest)
b) Fisher's Roof and adjacent building at the harbour (LB 82 nests, HG 35 nests),
c) Centrica building along the North Harbour Wall (LB 15 nests, HG 7 nests),
d) Ocean Edge caravan park reception building (LB 10 nests, HG 1 nest) and
e) Middleton industrial estate (LB 41 nests, HG 17 nests)

Therefore a total of 163 Lesser Black-backed Gull nests, 60 Herring Gull nests and 1 Great Black-backed Gull nest. 

There were probably more nests on the Centrica building but it was difficult to see the rooftops properly.

Gannet - two far offshore

Common Gull - 194 outfalls

Wednesday 27 May 2015

More coverage

Heysham Obs
An evening seawatch was not quite the cutting edge but did produce a belated year tick

North wall evening seawatch (Jean & Pete)
Manx Shearwater - 17-18
Gannet - 13 , including two fishing birds

Outfalls/Red Nab evening
Med Gull - 2CY
Common Gull - 193, all but one a 2CY
Large gulls - 370 Red Nab
Sanderling - 3

Office area
Spotted Flycatcher - one on fence by mist net ride - very unexpected so late in the spring passage

Small Square Spot new for year

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Back into action

Heysham Obs

Outfalls/Ocean Edge
2CY Med Gull outfalls
5 x Little Egret Red Nab and area contrasting with one Grey heron
Wheatear - two large females Ocean Edge grass

Middleton NR (thanks Janet)

Heysham NR plateau sheltered NW section
Burnet Companion - 2
Common Blue - 36
Crambus lathoniellus - 6
Scoparia pyralella - 1
Azure Damselfly - 1
No sign of the morning's Pyrausta spp in what was a very windswept area this pm

Moth trap
Heart and Dart debut for the year plus a worn highflyer spp which might possibly be Ruddy (occurs here in very small numbers)

2CY Med Gull outfalls

Hopefully the incoming weather will produce a decent seawatch when at least one of us is available and re-dress the ridiculously deficient year list

Saturday 23 May 2015

What no seawatching

Nice holiday in Belarus marred by an almost unbelievably unfortunate unavailability of all the local sea watchers this week - great weather for a few long tails and, since Sunday, best seawatching weather for ages

Highlight in Belarus was 20 minutes of lynx - usually really tricky

From Malcolm for Friday 22nd at Middleton:

Little Ringed Plover  1
Grasshopperhopper Warbler 1
Swift at least 10 over main pond by 12.00, none earlier in day.

Monday 18 May 2015

Sunday Sea Watching

North Harbour Wall

Sea-watching from 6.30 to 10.00am produced:
Marsh Harrier - 1 flew into the Bay at 7.40am, but very distant
Arctic Skua - 3 flew into the Bay - a dark morph at 8.10am, a light morph at 8.45am
and another dark morph at 9.00am.
Gannet- c70, though difficult to be certain as many were flying in, as others were flying out.
Auk sp - 3 flew in, all distant
Arctic Tern - 2 flew out
Fulmar - 2 flew out

Thanks to Pete Crooks for the above records

Saturday 16 May 2015

Records received from Malcolm today,  thanks very much.

Middleton NR
Mute Swan  2+1 adult and 6 2nd CY
Mallard  3
Shelduck 4 (2pr)
Moorhen  3
Coot  2
Skylark 2
Wheatear  1
Little Ringed Plover  1
Grasshopper Warbler  1 reeling in central Marsh

Ocean Edge
Wheatear  4
Linnet  6
Ringed Plover  4

Stage 1 Outfall
Common Gull  37 2nd CY

Friday 15 May 2015

CES Morning

Advantage was taken of the only morning with winds light enough for mist netting to complete the second Constant Effort visits at both Middleton & Heysham sites.

Catches were low, 13 & 14 birds respectively, with a high proportion already ringed, suggesting local breeding birds.

Of the 20 nestboxes on the reserve, just over half are occupied by Great Tits, 5 by Blue tits and 4 not used. A good occupancy rate.

Moths:  virtually absent from the hut trap lately but should be picking up very soon, especially if the weather warms up a bit. A single moth was in the trap thus morning but only glimpsed as it shot out of the window!

Four Spot chaser on the pond at Middleton over the road from the boating pond

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Evening Sightings

Two of the main recorders and contributors to this blog are out of the country for a period.  Consequently, postings here may be rather sketchy for a while - please bear with us.

Malcolm has made the most of a lovely evening and reported the following:

Ocean Edge
Wheatear  10
Little Egret  1
Linnet  16
Dunlin  58

Red Nab
Whimbrel  1

Harbour South Round head
Wheatear  1


Tuesday 12 May 2015

Another below par seawatch

Heysham Obs
Not quite right this morning with no hefty squalls, just some layered high-ish cloud which eventually cleared. A better day, however, than yesterdays disaster when I got absolutely soaked retrieving moth traps early morning and then, when we wanted some heavy showers, not a drop of rain fell for the  rest of the day

Sea 0550-0740
Arctic Skua - light and dark morph lifted off the sea and headed quite leisurely into the Bay at 0610
Great Skua (Bonxie) - one wheeled in very quickly at very long range (any other skua spp would have remained exactly that) at 0622
Gannet - 7 out
Canada Goose - rarest birds of the morning - 5 flew north at about 0720
Dunlin - 85 out
Whimbrel - 2 north
Swallow - just one north!
So nearly two hours without addition to the patchwork challenge (I still need Fulmar, Common Scoter, Manx Shearwater, Common Tern and any identified auks!!)

That's me for 10 days or so - my first holiday at migration time for a bit - hopefully others will find some stuff of interest as the sea looks promising e.g. Thursday early am

Monday 11th May

Heysham Obs
Just 11 Wheatear on Ocean Edge with a couple of brief and blank looks at the sea

Sunday 10 May 2015

House Sparrow hits a new 10k square

Heysham Obs
A female House Sparrow joined the select list of species to have graced SD36V this morning - this square is 99% sea/intertidal.  The rest was a bit dire but perhaps missed some early morning stuff

North wall 0640-0910
Swallow - 100 NE
House Martin - 6 NE
Sand Martin - 1 NE
Wheatear - probably 5 'in-off'
House Sparrow - female grounded briefly at the end of the mound
Arctic Skua - dark morph in, very distantly, at about 0655
Sandwich Tern - two on posts
Gannet - adult u-turned then blogged for a bit
Much reduced numbers of Turnstone

Ocean Edge foreshore
Wheatear - 11 - looked different birds from yesterday - very flighty like new arrivals and soon disappeared
White Wagtail - 1

Grey Seal harbour mouth

Saturday 9 May 2015

Quiet day

Heysham obs
Early golden rod pug in the moth trap topped the bill!    Next best 9 wheatear ocean edge foreshore with two whimbrel on red nab. No obvious seabird records but morning tide unfavourable

Friday 8 May 2015

Nice sunny morning dribs and drabs

Heysham Obs
The hint that there might be some Dotterel around (located at Cockersands in the afternoon) was provided by quite a noticeable day for Whimbrel movement for here.  A decent drop of Wheatear on to Ocean Edge, but grounded migrants otherwise seemed a bit sparse, especially given good coverage with mist nets

Nice ringing recovery of a Goldcrest.  Ringed in Essex on 9/10/13 as a 1CY female, caught Heysham NR on 8/4/15 and, as suspected by the tail, obviously an adult probably on its way to completing its second long-distance migration (303km).  The vast majority of captures are of birds in their first autumn or first spring migrations

Middleton NR
Mute Swan 2+2+6 - pair on Tim Butler still sitting
2 shelduck
6 gadwall
1 Tufted Duck
4 mallard
1 heron
3 poss 4 singing Grasshopper Warbler
Thanks Janet
Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
24 wheatear (mostly females)
White Wagtail - 3
Little egret - 3
Turnstone -190

Vis mig
Swallow - 190 north - mainly over Middleton 0900-1000
House Martin - 21 (as above)
Sand Martin - 2 north
Wheatear - 2 in-off north wall
Whimbrel - 17+14+7+4 north, at least 3 off-passage
Arctic Tern - flock of 6 north
Sandwich Tern - 20 blogging early on soon melted away
Jackdaw - three purposefully north
Carrion Crow - big cluster on Heysham NR may have included migrants
See above for Wheatear
Garden Warbler - one ringed Middleton
Sedge Warbler - single figures of migrants
Whinchat - female moved rapidly inland Middleton
Blackcap - 2 unringed birds Heysham NR
Willow Warbler - conspicuous by absence with only one ringed

Harbour Porpoise off harbour (probably the same three days ago)

Thursday 7 May 2015

Gadwall take the mickey

Heysham Obs
Two Gadwall in their wisdom decided that it would be a good idea to fly into the Bay hugging the sea heading straight for me.  Two blackish ducks looking too small to be Eider (4+ miles) - surely Common Scoter at last - flashes of white but definitely 'all dark' (2+ miles) - mmmm! then the reality as they swung laterally and headed inland.  Never seen Gadwall from here on a seawatch before, but they are an everyday occurrence on the Middleton part of the Patchwork challenge.  The rest of the seawatch highlights were also 'been there, done it' for this year, even the often annually tricky Brent Geese

North harbour wall 0850-1000ish
Arctic Skua - dark morph seen heading 'in' far offshore before it seemed to land on the sea (0900)
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - two headed in close inshore at 0936hrs
Swallow - 18 in
Gadwall - see above - two males?
Sand Martin - 1 in
Meadow Pipit - I NE (very late)
Med Gull - 2CY on outfalls
Dunlin - 150 out
an earlier seawatch recorded at least one Sandwich Tern but no details yet and there may be more from Phil, who watched for a further hour from 1000.

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Interestingly (or not!), there were no Curlew on the wind and rain-swept mudflats yesterday morning, yet in more gentle conditions today there were 17 scattered around off Red Nab
Oystercatcher - 490 Red Nab just before high tide
Common Gull - 188 (two adult)
Black-headed Gull - 86 (more than yesterday)
Little Egret - 3 around
Dunlin - 68 roosting on Red Nab two hours before high tide
Whimbrel - 3 as above
Wheatear - 11
White Wagtail - 3

Heysham Skeer
Knot - a murmuration of about 900 or so at 0500hrs as reported by a local fisherman

Brown House Moth the only capture summing up recent mothing times!

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Sporadic quality over the sea

Heysham Obs
Pretty wild and wet today with poor visibility a lot of the time.  Seabirds amounted to 6 terns of two species and three skuas of two species, one Little Gull and NOTHING else.

So Pomarine Skua is now on my 2015 Patchwork Challenge list for here, but not Common Scoter, Guillemot, Razorbill or Fulmar!

Coastal observations 0600-1345hrs, when wind swung WNW 
Pomarine Skua - light morph adult picked up very early to the south as a 'dark wheeler' in the shipping lane at c1317, then continued to wheel quickly NE at yellow buoy range.  A nice full-tailed bird
Arctic Skua - two dark morph in the very murky weather headed south along the tideline from Ocean Edge past Middleton at 1220hrs, 3 dark morph late afternoon
Little Gull - adult slowly 'in'
Med Gull - 2CY seen twice on outfalls
Arctic Tern  - 3 in early on, then two off seaward end of Heysham two outfall briefly
Sandwich Tern - one off the seaward end of Heysham one outfall briefly
Knot - flocks of 600 and 400 south - didn't land in the area
Kittiwake - adult behind freight ferry late pm
Dunlin - up to 2,500 pre-tide on mudflats south of Ocean Edge, c200 south
Swallow - Just a couple early on, then a gang of 19 in-off just prior to the first lot of rain
White Wagtail - at least 6 birds Ocean Edge with up to 10 Pied Wagtail for the whole morning -what are the latter doing - mixture of male and female?

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Hirundines get going but terns still stutter

Heysham Obs
Easterly then SE plus rain to begin with - switch to SW near gale midday, then clearing up - stuff probably missed pre-0725.  Offshore visibility poor early morning with 'Gannet range' not discernable

Sea 0725-0900 then short spells at lunchtime as wind went SW plus Ocean Edge check
Swallow - 283 NE (220 of these 0730-0800)
House Martin - 1 NE
Sand Martin - 5 NE
Swift - 1 NE (IOY)
Arctic Tern - 30+2+5 NE
Sandwich Tern - 10
Whimbrel - 1
Wheatear - 4 north wall, 14 Ocean Edge
White Wagtail - 3 Ocean Edge (with c8 Pied of unknown status)
Meadow Pipit - 2 very late migrants NE
Kittiwake - 10 on sea
Med Gull - same 2CY outfalls
Common Gull - 182 outfalls
Black-headed Gull - much reduced - 28 outfalls
Knot - c1750 flew south along the tideline towards the Lune Estuary at 0919hrs as seen from OE
Dunlin - c250 out
Eider - c120 on sea
Bar-tailed Godwit - 10 in

one probable dark morph arctic skua in but unfortunately optics steamed up!
Turnstone not counted today

Monday 4 May 2015

Tern watch

If only there were terns to watch! Where are they all?  They are very late arriving this year.

North Harbour Wall 0600-1020 then an hour or so over high tide (thanks to pete and Ian)
Most pre 0700
Gannet - c20
Fulmar - 1
Common tern - 1 in
Red-throated diver - 2 out
Kittiwake - 5 out
Great-crested Grebe - 1 in
Little Egret - 1 in
Distant waders, probably Dunlin - 150 + 50 + 150 out
Ringed Plover - 16 out

Wheatear - 10, nine on oe
Chiffchaff - 1 north wall
White wagtail - 2

Wooden jetty
Turnstone 149+

One Hebrew character, one powdered Quaker, one double striped pug

9 brimstone, 6 peacock , 3 speckled wood, 6 orange tip on reserve circuit (thanks Malcolm)

Sunday 3 May 2015

Migrants in the rain

Heysham Obs
Worth a bit of a search when the rain stops judging by stuff visible from the car.  Record Whinchat count for the Obs and all males! = 8

Yesterdays rather oddly plumaged male Pied Flycatcher (thanks Dan)

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/outfalls
Whinchat - 4 males
Wheatear - 14, including two very large birds
Meadow Pipit - 1
White Wagtail - 1
Med Gull - yesterdays 2Cy or identical bird
Gadwall - pair on Red Nab - unexpected!
Common Gull - c180
Black-headed Gull - c210

North wall
Wheatear - 4
Whinchat - one male (heliport)
Arctic Tern - 4+10+6 in 0735-0740, nothing after that as tide came in
Sandwich Tern - all heading in this morning, no bloggers - 22 in 0730-0745, just one thereafter until 0900

South harbour area
Purple Sandpiper - at least one
Wheatear - 5
Sedge Warbler - 1!

Middleton NR
Whinchat - male near the bottle dump, male west of the western marsh

Recycling centre road
Whinchat - male in the horse paddock within the recording area
Wheatear - 1

Saturday 2 May 2015

Inshore grilling

Heysham Obs
Nothing offshore other than a very distant bird heading steadily into the bay which fitted the bill for a dark morph Arctic Skua (0715hrs).    All the waterbirds (mainly Curlew, Oystercatcher and Shelduck) along the shore south of Ocean Edge were flushed by the "regular pony and trap who does no harm" (per owner of access) going both ways right along the tideline.  As has been gently explained (numerous formal or informal meetings), this is all very well at low tide or near low tide but completely out of order at high tide - there is supposed to be a law called reckless disturbance but I have yet to see or hear about it being used with respect to coastal issues.  Potts Corner shore access remains a running sore of unnecessary disturbance.

Coastal area
Purple Sandpiper - at least two with the large Turnstone flock
Turnstone - 321, possibly more towards Red Nab
Med Gull - 1 2CY with a 'mask' (not a trace of head s.p.) seemed to arrive from high in the sky with three Common Gull and then fed on Heysham 2 outfall
Common Gull - 143
Black-headed Gull - 220
Knot - one in summer plumage with Turnstone, then flew south on its own
Whimbrel - 2 by Heysham 2 outfall
No Wheatears either side of the harbour area (pre-rain check)
Dunlin - 5
Sandwich Tern - 16 on posts/buoys pre-tide, two further out fishing
Arctic tern - 2 out

Grounded migrants
Pied Flycatcher - probable 'grey male' - (not yesterdays 'brown primaried' female) western marsh bushes Middleton
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed
Wheatear - 11 Ocean Edge - many seemed to materialise when the rain started
Meadow Pipit - 2 with the above
White Wagtail - 1 with Wheatears ocean edge

Middleton NR
Gadwall - 5
7 house martin & 11 swallow over model boat pond after rain started

Friday 1 May 2015

Much more like it except on the distant sea

Heysham Obs
Lots of odds and ends this morning, the most notable being a female Redstart bearing a ring from elsewhere - D1797xx anyone (not supposed to post full numbers)?  The oddest sighting was a flock of 10 Tufted Duck on the sea (9 males one female!) and the biggest miss a Hooded Crow flagged up by Chris Batty heading for the wooden jetty/power station from Knott End

North wall 0720-0820
Wheatear - 4
Willow Warbler - 2
Sandwich Tern - 16 on buoys, 18 others out - all early on
Tufted Duck - flock of 10 floated in then flew out
Black-tailed Godwit - flock of 5 out
Black-headed Gull - steady northwards movement of 78

Ocean Edge 0825 onwards on and off
Wheatear - at least 21, assuming all stayed put and no through movement
Whinchat - 3 males along beach
Little Egret - 5 Red Nab and area
Dunlin - 72 roosting red nab
Turnstone - nice counts of 275 wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - at least one and possibly two wooden jetty

Middleton NR
Redstart - female caught (already ringed)
Pied Flycatcher - female in tall trees alongside golf course (unringed!) (IOY)
Grasshopper Warbler - two singing males to the west of the western marsh road - prob 5 in total

General vis mig
Meadow Pipit - 3 in-off
Sand Martin - 2 N
Swallow - 42 N
Tree pipit - 1 ne
Redpoll - 6 ne

Heysham NR
Garden Warbler - one ringed (IOY)

Willow Warbler
At least 30 migrants in various places

At least 8 migrants

No Arctic Tern passage or any other seabirds further out