Friday 31 July 2015

No blue moon surprises

Heysham obs

Red nab incoming tide
Med gull - four ad and two 2cy
Little egret - 1
Whimbrel - 3

Late dingy shears a surprise, marbled beauty scarce here. Best of the rest slender pug and ruby tiger

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Greenshank tops the bill

Heysham obs
Lengthy coverage of red nab over the tide saw:

Greenshank - one in rapid transit to the south
Med gull - 7 x ad, 1 x 3cy, 1 x 2cy
Little gull - no sign

Slender pug the best of an unremarkable catch

Butterfly transect
Highlight was a male common hawker dragonfly on the top path. Dominated by gatekeeper and dwindling numbers of meadow brown and small skipper with a couple of tatty large skipper. Three red admiral seen, one on transect , two on office buddliea and one comma in the ne corner

Tuesday 28 July 2015

More coastal stuff

Heysham Obs
Not quite as good a day as yesterday but a decent array of gulls and Curlew etc down the tideline towards Potts Corner as it is too early in the day for the chronic disturbance at this running sore of an access point.  Unfortunately its all talk and no action down at Potts Corner with the informative notices carefully designed as part of the 12 month licence for the caravan site "hidden away because the proposed wind-farm cable route would be in the way of where they need to be sited"  What rubbish - they were designed to be spread along the coastal strip there as per the slightly different wording for each location.  Last weekend saw massive disturbance over the afternoon neap high tides with vehicle access as far as the creek at Ocean Edge (the tyre marks are still there), pony and trap careering through flocks of Curlew and Oystercatchers trying to roost and model aircraft being flown near the neap high tide mark "because further inshore they disturb the caravan site residents".  Is it any wonder that there have been none of the more sensitive wader species along this section yet - Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and even Dunlin - they are usually present by this stage of the autumn.  

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Little Gull - adult along the tideline
Med Gull - 4 adults
Redshank - c40 Red Nab
Turnstone - c9 Red Nab
Whimbrel - 4

Ruby Tiger the best of a mediocre bunch with Straw Underwing top dog as usual at this time of year

Monday 27 July 2015

Another little gull?

Heysham obs
A good look round red nab and off ocean edge just after high tide was quite productive

Outfalls/red nab/oe foreshore
Little gull - summer adult
Med gull - four ads
Turnstone - 9
Whimbrel - 5
Little egret - 2

No moths of real interest

Saturday 25 July 2015

Last day of Red-veined Darter?

Heysham Obs
The first date for Red-veined Darter was a male photographed on 27th June (thanks Stan), not 'three weeks before' the previously assumed first.  A visit to Middleton at lunchtime saw cloud forming just before it reached the sun and it took a good half-hour to receive proper sunlight at which time the wind had increased.  So conditions not perfect

Middleton NR model boat pond lunchtime
Red-veined Darter - single male seen well and photographed by visitors.  Another male was seen over the water and was briefly "in cop" with (or holding) an ovipositing female which looked like Red-veined. 
Common Darter - 10+
Brown Hawker - 1
Emperor - 3
Black-tailed Skimmer - 7-9

Two adult Meds discerned through the heat haze

Single Comma, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell on the office buddleia which has resurrected itself after a year off being cut to ground level to to anticipated works

Moth trap
Bordered Beauty and Six-striped Rustic new for the year and White-line Dart, White Satin, Slender Pug and Garden Carpet of note - the latter is scarce here

Friday 24 July 2015

Possibilities and a new moth for Heysham NR trap

Heysham Obs

Middleton model boat pond
A quick visit just before the cloud and northerly wind kicked in saw a large dragonfly seen briefly chased by an Emperor.  Then it was again seen very briefly before being chased by another Emperor and heading high to the south over the model boat pond car park.  If the weather is suitable tomorrow worth checking the pond to the south of the road as a blue band at the top of the abdomen was seen and size 3/4-4/5 Emperor - also clear-winged (not Brown Hawker).  Nothing else, so nothing claimed.

Three male Red-veined Darter were feeding over the water, one rather geriatric one nearly ending up inside a House Martin - also at least 7 red male Common Darter around the edge of the pond

Red Nab
Med Gull - 5 x ad, 1 x 2CY

The first Triple-spotted Clay (with Double square Spot on left) for Heysham NR was a bit of a surprise and two White Satin were notable

Red-veined darters reappear

Heysham Obs
At least 2 male red-veined darters seen on a part-check at Middleton (thanks Jonny) along with ba Painted Lady

Butterfly census at Heysham NR saw 102 Small Skipper and 148 Gatekeeper

Juvenile sedge warbler out of habitat on Heysham NR

Wednesday 22 July 2015

CES moths

Heysham Obs
The CES's at Heysham and Middleton were terrible this morning as per predictions after this awful breeding season and seeming premature departure of many summer migrants, notably Sedge Warbler (shades of 2012).  Therefore a couple of moth traps were set at Middleton to provide some entertainment between empty mist net rounds and there was a reasonable catch in the Heysham hut trap.

Heysham NR
Treecreeper - juvenile ringed

Middleton NR
No obvious sign of Cetti's Warbler

No known seagull coverage today

Obscure Wainscot (late and worn) and Silky Wainscot, both at Middleton, the highlights

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Funny day

Heysham Obs
All fairly routine until the evening

Outfalls/Red Nab
Redshank - c51
Curlew - c420
Oystercatcher - 1050
Med Gull - 8, including a winter adult in heavy moult (2 x 2CY, 1 x 3CY, 5 x adult)
Whimbrel - 5
Little Gull - adult seen by visiting birder on the mudflats at low tide but no sign earlier (brief visit) or later during extensive tidal watch

Middleton NR
Cettis Warbler - contact calling in evening
Grey Wagtail - sewage works

First Flounced Rustic of the 'autumn'

Monday 20 July 2015

Superb little gulls arrive

Heysham Obs

Outfalls/Red Nab
Adult summer Little Gulls take some beating and one flew in-off with a 2CY in tow at about 1215hrs as they tide was rising and commenced feeding on Heysham 2 outfall.   Also 3 x adult and 2 x 2CY Med Gulls around but gulls seemed to be flying across to the Lune estuary very early in the tide cycle for what is not going to be a major tide.  Odd.

Included Chinese Character and the first T or N advenella for the year

Sunday 19 July 2015

Decent moth catch

Heysham Obs

Red Nab
The webs count was abandoned due to disturbance today - unusual on here these days - as usual a mutt and a ball in a sling were involved
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 3CY
Whimbrel - 1 heard fleeing

Barred Red, Elephant Hawk-moth, White Satin were all notable here in a rather large catch which should have been checked a bit earlier judging by the below par numbers on the walls in relation to the egg-packing fare

NNEW on dragonflies at Middleton other than to say we have a report of a photographer obtaining pics of a Red-veined Darter some three weeks before the first known sighting.  i.e. sometime in mid-June which is quite feasible

Saturday 18 July 2015

A better than seemed likely day

Heysham Obs
Better than seemed mid-morning with Malcolm having a decent walk around Middleton NR earlier on not rough enough for seabirds (no showers), too much sun and heat haze and too much wind for anything else

Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - 7 adult, 2 3CY, 1 2CY
Whimbrel - 1
Curlew - 361
Black-headed Gull - 820
Common Gull - 6 (2 adult)
Little Gull - adult reported but no sign as the tide started coming in

Middleton NR (Malcolm)
First dragon fly was a red veined darter, sunning on path next to top carpark. Only
saw the one, but also 9 common darter,  1 emperor and 1 black tailed skimmer.
Lots of big stuff hawking on west (Lee) side of "no swimming" pond, but out of
my recognition range. Only damsel were common and blue tail.
Butterflies dominated by gatekeeper (26), mainly on east side. Also 18 meadow brown, 4 small
skipper, 1 painted lady, 3 small white.
2 mute with 2 cygnets on boat pond, 6 (presumably displaced 2CY) on fence pond. Could only locate 1 adult on Tim Butler, but second bird and cygnet could have been out of sight.
Also, 1 little grebe, 1 little egret, 2 gadwall, 2 mallard with 4 chicks, 3 moorhen.
Garden Tiger, Double Dart the best of a meagre catch

Friday 17 July 2015

Depressed seagulls

Heysham Obs
If you are on the spit looking for Red-veined darters, why not take a small plastic bag and pull up  a few small sea buckthorn seedlings and help us with this perennial problem - not the big ones they are prickly! Thanks

Numbers of seagulls on Red Nab were perhaps surprisingly low today - will be interesting to see what tomorrows south-westerly brings in. Belated first Whimbrel of the autumn.

Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - 7 adult (one with Red darvic),2 3CY, just the one 2CY and one juv
Whimbrel - 2
Only 5 Common Gulls - they have disappeared along with most of the 2CY Meds

Middleton NR
Despite the wind, one male Red-veined Darter made a brief foray over the water at 1245hrs

Just 10 moths in the trap courtesy of an easterly into the window

This new insect book by Brock is great!   Spent ages yesterday on the internet and in various books trying to identify a hoverfly - straight to it in this new book.   Seen yesterday on the north harbour wall (SD36V) and the previous day on the Heysham NR butterfly census (SD45E) = Chrysotoxum bicinctum

Thursday 16 July 2015

Mixed bag

Heysham Obs
A ringing session by the office produced a handful of Greenfinch and Chaffinch, an unexpected unringed adult female Great-spotted Woodpecker (and ringed male) but very little else - just one juvenile Willow Warbler.   A bit of a bonus was continuing sunshine allowing observers to connect with Red-veined Darter and a/the Banded Demoiselle was recorded again

Middleton NR model boat pond
Red-veined Darter - 6 males, including four very close to each other
Banded Demoiselle - one
Black-tailed Skimmer - 15-20

Another visit to the model boat pond and more pics from Jackie and David Moreton.  Thanks for these

Outfalls area (thanks Pete)
Med Gull - 6
possible Great Skua seen in the harbour area but only briefly

Magpie new for the year in the trap

Two Bee Orchid sill just about in flower by office

Remains of Hedgehog on classroom path. 

Two Brown Hawker PA way and another seen by office today

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Insect day

Heysham obs
Started fairly low key with a misjudged north harbour wall actinic session in a north-westerly which was far too brisk.  A couple of silver y highlighted along with four white line dart

A late check after the butterfly census saw three male and one female red veined darter amongst an increasingly obvious common darter presence but no red males yet

Moth trap
Scalloped oak and yellow tail new for the year

Butterfly census
Hummingbird hawk-moth ne tearing on lady's bedstraw for five minutes the highlight in a niggling north westerly rendering some of the census route a bit too windy. Not a lot of choice this week on the forecast. Dominated by small skipper and meadow brown with a few gatekeeper and large skipper with ones and twos of white spp and comma and red admiral

Thanks to Jackie and David Moreton for these pics of Red-veined and Common Darters plus Black-tailed Skimmer

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Still in notebooks

Heysham Obs
Not involved in recording today other than casually noting a Large Emerald, a rare visitor here, which was passed to me - don't know what else was of interest.  Similarly a bird ringing session at Middleton

A Small Mottled Willow was found by day in the Middleton model boat pond car park (thanks Justine)

An evening visit noted 35 Swallow and 2 Sand Martin at the Middleton roost - early days

No seagull watching today

Monday 13 July 2015

Seagulls and moths

A lengthy spell over the tide produced nothing like the number of gulls on last Wednesday's dry day with an onshore wind.  Other inland wet-weather attractions?

Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - 4 x ad, 1 x 3CY, 2 x 2CY, 1 x juv

A good selection but new stuff was year tick category rather than unexpected: Antler, White Satin, Dingy Shears...............with one exception, Common Wainscot.  These are very rare here and indeed over quite a chunk of North Lancs and usually appear as by no means annual late autumn second brood individuals

Late news
The Czech-ringed Med Gull was on the north harbour wall railings on the evening of 9th July

Sunday 12 July 2015

And this is Sunday!

Red Nab at high tide
Mediterranean Gull - 2 adults
Black-headed Gull - 161 plus 30 still feeding on the Outfall
Herring Gull - 5
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 2
Curlew 51
Oystercatcher 455

Saturday 11 July 2015

Friday mega

Heysham obs

Friday news
At least one possibly two male banded demoiselle Middleton model boat pond early pm along the southern shore but obviously moving through

At least five prob six red veined darter males and one female. 15-20 black tailed skimmer

CES ringing visit carried out with single juveniles of six common local breeding species trapped.

Brown Hawker - first of the year on the reserve flying in ringing ride below the Obs tower site.

Roe Deer - one by reserve entrance 07.00
Red Fox - one adult on the acid bank at 08.00

CES ringing visit carried out here too.  Surprisingly few juvenile birds caught on this normally productive site. Hopefully more will be caught on further visits in this late breeding year.
Singles of Robin, Willow Warbler and Blackcap plus two Sedge Warblers were the only juveniles trapped.

Saturday news
No reports from out and about as most of time spent sorting moths out after best night of the year so far . New for the year in the office trap included garden tiger, barred yellow, straw underwing and first second brood early thorn. Numbers included five each of black neck and heart and club but double dart still in rather low numbers with just two

Friday 10 July 2015

This is Thursday!

Heysham Obs
A surprisingly good day for dragonflies at Middleton NR and perhaps the last "easy" day for Red-veined Darter location as the Common Darters are piling out, albeit without a trace of red yet

Middleton NR model boat pond
Red-veined Darter - 5 separate males, earlier two pairs in cop (per Steve Graham)
Emperor - 2
Black-tailed Skimmer - 15-20
Common Darter - c10 teneral
Four-spotted Chaser - 2

Thanks for these pics Janet - the Red-veined flight shot pretty difficult!

No known seagull coverage today in the sunny north-westerlies (rear-end views in a heat haze!)

Moth trap held the first Buff Arches of the year

Wednesday 8 July 2015

More ovipositing and another tidal vigil

Heysham Obs
Despite presence for the best part of five hours,  'only' Med Gulls could be found amongst the hordes

Outfalls on and off 1400-1900
Med Gull - 21 (no juvs) including a German ringed adult AxxY
Black-headed Gull - 1570

Model boat pond
Red-veined Darter - brief visit early pm - female ovipositing by spit and two males seen briefly over the water in rather marginal conditions

Double Dart x 4 and the first Dotted Clay of the summer

Hedgehog - 2 very small young animals encountered  next to the path above the hut at 14.10hr. Ironically these were found by LWT staff who on their way to deploy hedgehog monitoring equipment on the reserve.  The animals were moved a short distance to the edge of adjacent bushes, Hopefully they will be able to feed and develop before the colder autumn weather arrives.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

More red vein sightings during early afternoon window

Heysham Obs
A second-hand report of as many as five male RVD flying in very marginal weather early afternoon as seen by two dragonfly enthusiast on holiday up here.  Thanks for this.  One seen briefly at about 1530hrs - very late for this species still to be flying over the water

Painted Lady Nature park area (thanks Justine)

Six -spot Burnet out on Middleton (all reports so far have been the typically slightly earlier Narrow-bordered five-spot).  Thanks Janet

Red Nab lengthy pm vigil (Pete. Sean and Jean)
Med Gull:  juv, at least three 2CY, 5 x 3CY, 8 x adult
Black-headed Gull - 1,100
Curlew - 425
Oystercatcher - 370
Little Egret - one

Monday 6 July 2015

low key day

Heysham Obs
A thorough search of the outfalls on the incoming tide just confirmed how much turnover there is during spring tides when birds are displaced to the Lune Estuary - there were hardly any Meds!

Med Gull - 3 x Ad, 2 x 2CY, 1 x 3CY

Unsuitable weather for dragonflies

Moth trap held nothing remarkable, despite a promising overnight south-westerly with 2 x Blackneck, 2 x Double Dart, 3 x Heart and Club the best

Sunday 5 July 2015

Ovipositing red-veined darter

Heysham Obs
Subsequent to writing the post below, I have received a very strong complaint from a reasonable and tolerant individual over the behaviour of a single male with four dogs this morning.  He had a small one on a lead with a lurcher type, St Bernard type and another large dog all charging about through the shallow water either side of the spit.  This person with the dogs is apparently "difficult to engage with" - a not uncommon event with individuals with dogs behaving like this.  The dogs were also swimming after the swans and cygnets.  Any further info on this gentleman will be treated confidentially.  Thanks.

Perhaps the same female Red-veined Darter glimpsed a couple of days ago was in cop with a male today and then seen ovipositing.  The problem is that ideal shallow water and associated sensitive habitat in-between the spit and the western shore is invaded by large bathing dogs churning the whole place up on a daily basis (comment re-trying to reason with these people deleted).  Please do keep having a go at them politely if you are nearby.  Thanks.  There is no obvious problem allowing dogs to bathe by the swan feeding area near the car park & bench

Middleton model boat pond
Red-veined Darter - action from about midday - all in feeding over the water routine as they first appeared and there was a minimum of 7 males and one ovipositing female (usually in tandem)
Common Darter - at least one teneral - watch out for these at the water edge in the next few days complicating i.d.
Four-spotted Chaser - 6
Black-tailed Skimmer - 8+
Emperor - 3

Heysham NR
First second brood Comma of the year

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 11 2CY, 5 3CY, 5 adult, one juvenile.  About half of these examined for rings and one adult possessed R13E - we've had this before and I think it is Polish - will check tomorrow (Tuesday)
BEWARE a runt 2CY Black headed gull!

No moths of interest in a very late trap check.  Thanks to Arthur Pennington for locating the female Red-veined Darter in cop and John McCague for stuff from Heysham NR and Mark Prestwood for the late info on additional Meds & the darvic-ringed bird

Saturday 4 July 2015

First juv Med and continuing Red-veins in warm weather

Heysham Obs
The Red-veined Darters performed admirably other than the one I wanted to examine closely which was chased off by Black-tailed Skimmer - a teneral or female looking like this species but not 100% nailed

Middleton model boat pond
Red-veined Darter - 6 males on western shoreline - one spit, one inlet next to spit, one along reedbed, one between reedbed and swan-loafing area fighting at one stage with one just to east of swan loafing area and then one in the SW corner by small reedbed.  Yesterday there was also one near the bench where the swans were being fed along the southern shore but didn't get chance to check today, so possibly 7 males.  A female/teneral was along the reedbed for a very short time and looked like this species. A teneral darter multi observed late afternoon remains un identified but probably Common unless someone produces a pic to the contrary.
Black-tailed Skimmer - 12 (3 females), possibly more
Emperor - 2 males
Four-spotted Chaser - 2
Broad-bodied chaser - two in the rubble mounds by pond

Outfalls/Red Nab incoming tide
Med Gull - amazing turnover c/p yesterdays birds.  One (unringed) juvenile, just one adult, 6 3CY and 4 2CY. All but the juv sitting down so couldn't check for rings, then the sun came out, everything heat-hazed and time to check the darters

Friday 3 July 2015

The return of the red-veins

Heysham Obs
These were a regular fixture at Middleton model boat pond for most of the 'noughties' but have been hard to find in recent years until today.  Janet texted me about the swan family having moved to the model boat pond and I suggested (as a long shot) to check for any red- darters - the response was very rapid!

Outfalls/Red Nab (thanks to Pete)
Med Gull:  5 x Ad, 3 x 2CY, 3 x 3CY

Butterfly census
Still rather low numbers with a few Small Skipper seen, a decent influx of Silver Y moths and a single second brood Small Tortoiseshell

First Rustic and Single Dotted Wave of the year

Thursday 2 July 2015

A mothy morning

Heysham Obs
Bit of late news - this was nicely photographed by Steve Rock this afternoon on the spit on Middleton and therefore now represents the first record this year - no others noted, despite the observer searching for dragonflies, so the main influx appears to have been on 2/7

The Obs resembled a moth identification centre this morning with four people checking unidentified tiddlers from the Sunderland Point 125MV, pot-ticking upland fare from the Leck Fell actinics and going through the not inconsiderable contents of the toilet trap.  Thankfully the likes of Grey Mountain Carpet did not escape!

The toilet trap produced one of the highlights in the form of Apotomis semifasciana (with a putative Eudonia murana from Leck the best of the lot) along with a few year ticks such as pristine Common Emerald

11 out of the 15 VC60 records, and all the recent ones, have been from Heysham or Middleton NR or immediate surrounds

Not a lot of birding done today which was down to ineptitude - how many times have we advised birders not to turn up on high spring tides?  The outfalls visit was delayed and only a single 2CY Med Gull troubled the notebook at high tide.

Despite the dull weather, 2 x Painted Lady were along Ocean Edge foreshore (along with 3 x perhaps migrant Large White) and a Red Admiral was briefly on the 'orange ball' buddleia by the office

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Swift exit?

Heysham Nature Reserve

A bit of vis already (07:00-08:30):
Siskin - 11 - not sure of direction as difficult to see but 4 of them appeared to go NE
Swift - 19 south

Red Nab
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 12
Herring Gull - 4
Common Gull - 7
Black-headed Gull - 206 (only 4 juvs seen)
Mediterranean Gull - 8 (4 x ad, 2 x 3CY, 2 x 2CY)
Oystercatcher - 335
Curlew - 106

Mediterranean Gull - 2 (1 x ad, 1 x 2CY)
Black-headed Gull - 655 (only 4 juvs seen) These birds were in addition to the ones on Red Nab.
Comon Gull - 10

South Harbour Wall
Ringed Plover - 1