Wednesday 30 September 2015

Awkward Firecrest and wandering tern

Heysham Obs
Some seriously good pics from Janet - thanks:

Today saw a little more vis mig during the morning session but fewer grounded night migrants.  Coal Tits were in evidence and the vis mig highlights also included a flock of 8 Tree Sparrow, a flock of 7 Jay and a Collared Dove!  
Office area vis mig (S/SE unless stated)
Goldfinch - 24
Coal Tit - 25
Meadow Pipit - 196
Song Thrush - 1 flew west calling
Carrion Crow - flock of 4 S
Chaffinch - 21
Grey wagtail - 1
Jay - flock of 7 S, 1 S, 2 S 
Raven - flock of 3 NE
Dunnock - two singleton highflyers S
Collared Dove - 1 S - scarce of late on passage
Siskin - c5 S
Tree Sparrow - flock of 8 east, landing briefly
Bullfinch - 2 S - the first high-flying birds noted this autumn
Jackdaw - 15 N
Swallow - 4
Ringing Middleton and Heysham combined (new birds)
Wren (3), Chiffchaff (5), Goldfinch (1), Coal Tit (10), Great Tit (1), Greenfinch (2), Goldcrest (5), Meadow Pipit (2), Blackbird (2), Lesser Redpoll (2), Dunnock (1), Reed Bunting (2), Robin (1)
Heysham Head late afternoon 
Following up a strong claim of a Yellow-browed Warbler call from someone very familiar with the species, widening the search produced a series of 'insistent' calls in the canopy directly overhead on the Barrows.  This was followed over the next 25 minutes by two glimpses, one seeming to show some 'rust' on the shoulders but on neither of these views was the head visible.  Then another series of firm insistent calls, about 20 minutes after the first ones.  Then finally a brief glimpse which included the head and white supercilium.   To my horror, then realised my phone was dead - too many 'thank yous' to birthday wishes!  So sorry the news was a bit late being put out
Cormorant - 151 wooden jetty
White-winged Black Tern - very mobile today including roosting amongst the juxtaposed sleepers on the wooden jetty amongst Turnstone/Redshank/large gulls
Amazing today with Red Admiral between 70 and 100, Small Tortoiseshell also all over the place including along the seawall by the wooden jetty and a few Painted Lady & Peacock, Comma with slightly worse for wear Speckled Wood all over the place.  A few whites and two worn Common Blue also seen.  Silver Y were also all over the place with eg 25-30 on the yellow buddleia by the office and many along the seawall

So after all the xxxx of the summer/early autumn with awful local breeding success, dreadful ringing totals and complete lack of seabirds, what a month (with apologies to Leach's Petrel)!  A decent rarity, Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler already in the autumnal bag and really good numbers of migrants, especially Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Blackcap, but also including well-above average numbers of out of habitat Reed Warbler and a decent sample of colour-ringed Grey Wagtail, despite incessantly sunny mornings shining on part of the catching net.  Latterly a minor Coal Tit irruption, with more ringed in the last week than the last two years put together 

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Yellow-browed Warbler, White-winged Black tern and restless Coal Tits

Heysham Obs
Highlighted by a very early morning Yellow-browed Warbler and continuing presence of the White-winged Black Tern (although it appeared to fly north past the wooden jetty mid-afternoon - updates appreciated).  The circumstances were a bit bizarre.  I was setting a line of three nets by moonlight (plenty of it) with an MP3 in my pocket with Yellow-browed Warbler playing quietly, ready to raise the volume and stick on a branch next to the net when I had finished setting.  Then, whilst it was still virtually dark (pre-ticking Robin etc time), what sounded very much like a nearby response, then again!   The volume on the MP3 in my pocket was minimal, so there is no way this was a bird pulled down from the pre-dawn stratosphere.  A couple of shapes also flew into the nets as it they were being set (Blackcap and (long distance night migrant?!) unringed fat-less Dunnock).   Went back to ring these and the next round of the net saw a/the Yellow-browed Warbler neatly pocketed.

Then the agenda rapidly changed with clearing skies and the rest of the morning was very night-migrant free apart from three Chiffchaff (similar at Middleton) but a bit of vis mig kept the interest going, notably a minor Coal Tit irruption and a huge flock of migrant corvids.   So very, very fortunate to score with YBW on what was essentially a clear, moonlit early morning with just a few wisps of high cloud.  Focused on rather more why we need a new office building than the Yellow-browed Warbler, but you get the idea on the pic below.  Having real problems getting the pic to go right way round (photo Jean Roberts - sorry it isn't sharp, I-phone pic)     

Office area grounded
Blackcap - 3
Chiffchaff - 3-4
Yellow-browed warbler - 1
Dunnock - 1
Vis mig (tricky because of incessant harbour noise and the blue sky) HNR to 1030hrs
Meadow Pipit - 38
Grey Wagtail - 8 (5 of them after 1000 hours)
alba Wagtail - 72
Chaffinch - 33
Coal Tit - 44 S, largest group 11
Siskin - heard once
Jackdaw - 69 north
Rook - 30 north with above
Swallow - 2
Linnet - 5
Little Gull - ad
White-winged Black Tern - ad until at least mid-afternoon
Med Gull - at least 6
Ringing combined Middleton/Heysham
Coal Tit (7), Yellow-browed Warbler (1), Blackcap (5), Chiffchaff (5), Goldcrest (3), Grey Wagtail (2), Wren (2), Blue Tit (5), Chaffinch (1), Dunnock (2), Reed Bunting (1), Meadow Pipit (3)


Monday 28 September 2015

Routine migrants in clear conditions plus the White-winged Black Tern for its third day

Heysham Obs
Nice flight shots taken by Janet this afternoon - thanks Janet

Not a bad day for ringing, but too clear to raise expectations of any Yellow-brows. Indeed the night migrants were almost all early on in rapid transit.  Vis mig was its usual tricky self in the clear blue sky, not helped by a lot of traffic noise and the figures are an indication of ratios rather than anything definitive.  There was clearly a decent movement of alba wagtails and more noisy high-flying southbound Coal Tit.

Vis mig (mostly by the office)
Meadow Pipit - 64
Skylark - 3
alba Wagtail - 59
Woodpigeon - 14
Chaffinch - 28
Grey Wagtail - 9
Dunnock - 2 set off high to south
Mistle Thrush - 1 east
Coal Tit - 14 logged, probably more
Siskin - 3
Swallow - 2
Pink-footed Goose - c300 south just before dawn, no diurnal movement in morning

Outfalls/Red Nab
White-winged Black tern - reappeared on the outfalls mid-morning as the tide came in
Med Gull - at least 6 (5 x 2CY, 1 x Ad)
Little Gull - adult seen early on

In addition to ringing totals, at least 4 Goldcrest by the office, 4 Blackbirds behaving like (early) migrants and two Song Thrush descending from height into bushes also appearing to be migrants
Reed Warbler - the most notable grounded passerine, given time of year, was trapped/ringed by the office

Ringing Middleton and Heysham NR (new birds)
Grey Wagtail (4), Blackcap (10), Chiffchaff  (7), Goldcrest (6), Robin (2), Wren (3), Reed Warbler (1), Reed Bunting (4), Coal Tit (6), Lesser Redpoll (1), Great Tit (2), Blue Tit (2), Meadow Pipit (1)

Sunday 27 September 2015

White winged black, dodgy falcon and Goosander

Heysham obs
A bit slow first thing in the almost, but not quite, first light frost. Then things got going and produced some interesting sightings, none more so that that very tricky Heysham Patchwork species, Goosander. The White-winged Black Tern reappeared mid morning and subsequently on and off into the afternoon and just prior to that a large sandyish falcon with 'pale around the head' was chased east by one of the local peregrines - seemingly a saker or similar crossbreed.  Ringing at the Heysham NR was predictably slow but Middleton was surprisingly good for a clear morning with a huge reddish moon!

Thanks to Colin Davies for two more pics from yesterday

White-winged Black Tern - appeared about 0950 and showed on and off until at least 1330 at least including roosting on the wooden jetty and feeding on Heysham 2 outfall
Saker-type falcon - not as far as we know one of the gull-scaring birds from the Power Station - flew SE prompted by a bit of noisy aggro with the local Peregrine.  A "large sandy bird with a pale head"
Goosander - two female types on the sea at the southern end of Ocean Edge
Little Gull - usual adult seen
Med Gull - 12 Red Nab

Office area
Chiffchaff x 3, Goldcrest x 3, Blackcap x 1, Whitethroat x 1

Vis mig
Notable was a southbound flock of 14 Coal Tit and at least 27 southbound Red Admiral
alba Wagtail - 38
Chaffinch - 28
Grey Wagtail - 8
Siskin - heard 5 times!
Pink-footed Goose - at least 1870 (c1000 in one afternoon flock0
Swallow - 8
Redpoll spp - 2
Meadow Pipit - just 36
Coal Tit - 2+14
Mistle Thrush - flock of 6
Carrion Crow - 3+2
Linnet - 1
Skylark - 4
presumed escape Falcon spp - headed off SE 0940

Ringing office area
Whitethroat (1), Blackcap (1), Chiffchaff (3), Goldcrest (3), Grey Wagtail (1), Great Tit (2)

Blackcap (13), Goldcrest (9), Wren (5), Chiffchaff (6), Reed Bunting (3), Lesser Redpoll (3), Grey Wagtail (2), Blue Tit (2), Dunnock (2), Robin (2), Willow Warbler (1), Great Tit (1), Chaffinch (1)

A really good number around included a single worn Wall Brown by the slipway on Ocean Edge and at least 27 Red Admiral south - also a suggestion that Small Tortoiseshell were on the move with 2-3 flying past the outfalls along the seawall.  Worn Common Blue by the office

Saturday 26 September 2015

Moulting adult White-winged Black Tern!

Heysham Obs
A long, long overdue first for Heysham following a distant claim in the offshore channel in about 1974 which was rejected!  Kingfisher was a nice bonus on Red Nab late morning and a first of the year - perhaps also the one ringed earlier in the morning at Middleton

Thanks to Chris Batty for these afternoon pics and see below with further thanks for Colin Davies shots in the morning:

Outfalls/Red Nab
White-winged Black Tern - moulting adult Heysham 2 outfall on the incoming tide, first seen about 0830 a mile away on Heysham one outfall looking from Ocean Edge (and misidentified as a juv on the brief upperside views) but not able to stay and follow up.  Later views were still distant but closer on Heysham 2 outfall and underwing views clearly indicated a moulting ad (which is why, in retrospect, I mistook it for the regular Little Gull when initially glimpsed it banking at very long range with binoculars).  Showing well in flight and at rest (on Red Nab) late morning before returning to the region of Heysham two outfall where it alternated periods of feeding with resting on mudflats or, at one time, on seaweed covered rock until at least 1730hrs
Med Gull - up to 6 reported
Kingfisher - one appeared late morning on Red Nab

Vis mig office/offshore
Pink-footed Goose - approximately 1250 S/SE (but see below)
Grey Wagtail - 6
Chaffinch - 15
Meadow Pipit - none early on then a trickle

Grounded office area
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - 6

Ringing curtailed by discovery of the Tern, therefore only the following trapped:
Goldcrest (3), Chiffchaff (2), Robin (1+1R), Grey Wagtail (1), Wren (1).

Thanks to Colin Davies for the pics

Middleton NR
Pink-footed Goose - parties of 90+80+40+90 seen well to the east of the reserve, flying south

Blackcap (6), Chiffchaff (5), Robin (7), Wren (1), Goldcrest (8), Reed Bunting (5), 
Grey Wagtail (4), Goldfinch (2), Long-tailed Tit (3+4R), Coal Tit (1), Blue Tit (5+3R), Dunnock (3), Kingfisher (1), Greenfinch (1).   (ajd/jm/jb)

Friday 25 September 2015

Below par coastal check

Heysham Obs
Saved by a Red-throated Diver.   The rest of the coastal check was very unproductive with Meds seemingly having taken a nosedive

Offshore/Red Nab/outfalls
Red-throated Diver - one out - ad with at least some summer plumage visible but distant (IOA)
Cormorant - 103 wooden jetty
Med Gull - just one 2CY Red Nab, and 2CY & ad following ferry out
Little Gull - adult
Curlew - 170 Red Nab
Oystercatcher - 2950 Red Nab and still arriving from north
Redshank - 135 Red Nab
Wigeon - 6 Red Nab - the calculator suggests this is twice as many present last week
Knot - 93 Red Nab
Bar-tailed Godwit - 6 Red Nab

Stuff down the tideline towards Potts Corner was too distant in poor light

Afternoon Pinks
Pink-footed Goose - 135+18+37 south pre-1530 hrs, more later by all accounts

Thursday 24 September 2015

Day off

Heysham Obs
Attritional seawatching, mediocre vis mig or a lie in?  The latter, gearing up for a whole series of early morning starts from Saturday for at least a week? Nothing new on the outfalls

Red Nab/outfalls
Little Gull - adult
Med Gull - at least 10 Red Nab but many of the gulls down in the dips
Wigeon - still only three (present since last Friday)

Painted Lady by office

Two Copper Underwing unusual for this 'occasional singletons' species

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Exclusively Mediterranean

Heysham Obs
A post-tide scan of the remaining gulls on Red Nab was started at the outer end, usually favoured by Meds.   Not usually the first 14 gulls though, followed by Black-headed/Med/rest Black-headed!

A gusty wind from the WNW put paid to any Grey Wagtail ringing, with Middleton unfortunately being hopeless as the vast majority of the passage was over there via the south side of the power station.  A few odds and ends were ringed at the more sheltered Heysham NR site by the office

Outfalls/Red Nab post-neap tide
Med Gull - 12 2CY, 3 adult-type Red Nab.  Once again no 1CY which have been conspicuous by their absence this year.  Last autumn saw a decent number of unringed 1CY, this year a decent number of unringed 2CY - same birds?
Little Gull - adult dip-feeding off seaward end Heysham one outfall, on Heysham 2 late afternoon

Migration over Middleton/Heysham N Reserve
Goldcrest - at least 10 Middleton (high count for there), four ringed Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - conspicuous by their absence at both sites
Blackcap - at least three Middleton, one ringed HNR
Meadow Pipit - c35 SE over Middleton
Grey Wagtail - 2+2+1+1+1 over Middleton only one over HNR
Goldfinch - c20 SE Middleton.
alba Wagtail - 14 SE Middleton, 2 HNR
Common Buzzard - one seen to the east of Middleton - seemed to land towards Heysham Moss
Tufted Duck - 9 model boat pond

Blackbird (1-wow - see yesterdays comment), Goldcrest (4), Blackcap (1), Wren (1), Great Tit (2), Bullfinch (2), Coal Tit (1), Greenfinch (1)

2 Black Rustic and rather late were two pristine Small Square Spot.  Everything is now up to date on MapMate!

Tuesday 22 September 2015

One confirmation off a decent morning

Heysham Obs
Due to mist net responsibilities, wasn't able to immediately follow up two Yellow-brow-like calls from the top path at 0705hrs and that was it, no further calls or sightings in a search ten minutes later.  Nice combination of rain just before civil twilight, then the sun covered up for the next hour before the sky cleared and a decent vis mig passage by recent standards was just about low enough to sort out.  The first hour produced some Chiffchaffs, yet more Reed Warblers and an unringed off-passage Blackcap (but only one Goldcrest), then grounded migrants dried up after 0800hrs

Office area 0635-1100
Common Buzzard - one south at 1033hrs
Tree Sparrow - one south
Skylark - one SE (first of autumn)
Jay - 2 south
Coal Tit - 6+2+3+4 south
Mistle Thrush - 3 NE high
Grey Wagtail - 17 SE, 6 of these on a flightline way to the east
Meadow Pipit - 202 SE
alba Wagtail - 39 SE
Chaffinch - 53 S
Goldfinch - c20 S
Raven  1 NW

Chiffchaff - 10+ first thing only
Goldcrest - just one
Blackcap - on female with F2
Reed Warbler - 2

Grey Wagtail (6), Chiffchaff (8), Blackcap (1), Reed Warbler (2), Great Tit (1), Wren (1), Song Thrush (1).  Incidentally I have not taken a Blackbird out of a mist net for 1.5 months - really low numbers

Middleton NR
Meadow Pipit - 110 SE
Swallow - 6
Skylark - 4 SE
Grey Wagtail - 3 SE
alba Wagtail - 2 SE

Grey Wagtail (1), Chiffchaff (8 - 1 retrap, 7 new), Blackcap (9), Reed Warbler (1), Great Tit (1), Robin (2), Reed Bunting (3 - 1 retrap, 2 new), Meadow Pipit (13), Dunnock (1).

After only one previous record of an adult, three (out of a total of 65) non-breeding season plumage adults have been caught this autumn, sticking out like 'sore thumbs'.  Three features to note here are the uniform fresh e.g. greater coverts, fully 'developed' supercilium and yellow extending to and forming a clearly defined border with the white throat.  Yellow on the juvenile becomes increasingly buffish and dirty with no clear contrast with the throat, the supercilium is not fully formed and the e.g. greater coverts are worn and tipped white (more obvious in some than others)

Would have posted pics hours ago but couldn't get them to 'stay' landscaped uploading from the laptop!!

Monday 21 September 2015

Wet minima

Heysham Obs
More effort tomorrow - honest

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 8 x 2CY, 2 x Ad

Black Rustic new for the year

Sunday 20 September 2015


Heysham Obs
Didn't expect much today - just a routine trickle - instead nothing - not even a Carrion Crow on a list of 23 species from a 'big sit' at the vis mig spot in about an hour - usual takes 5 minutes to reach that total!  Same elsewhere by all accounts, esp Oxenhope! What a shame for maximum observer availability day - you could even sit in a hide and not miss anything today

Vis mig dawn to 0800
Chaffinch - 6 S
Grey Wagtail - 2 SE
Meadow Pipit - 7 SE
Goldfinch - 2 S

Grounded by office
Goldcrest - 1
Chiffchaff - 1

One net dawn to 1030hrs - Goldcrest (1)

Treble Bar down to 7, Silver Y down to 3.  A few scruffy autumnal common stuff plus 2 pristine Pink-barred Sallow

Saturday 19 September 2015

Nice migration morning for British stuff plus a Black Tern

Heysham Obs
Without ever feeling that a Yellow-browed was going to pop up, cloud from the south-west at dawn dropped a few Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and Robins, yet still 'allowed' reasonable vis mig........ and kept the sun off the net.   Best was a juv Black Tern in the boat channel

Brief look at outfalls low tide
Med Gull - 2 x 2CY
Black Tern - juv in the boating channel by No 8 buoy gradually making its way along the outfalls 'slick'
Little Gull - adult Heysham one seaward end

Vis mig intermittently dawn to 1100hrs
Only the last hour was in the stratosphere, so the vis was numerically manageable in the cloud cover apart from, as usual, Siskin noises!  However visits to the mist nets obviously saw the eye off the ball for 5 minutes at a time every half hour

Coal Tit - further signs of a small irruption or beginnings of a larger one - 6+4+2+2 south
Meadow Pipit - better - 87 S
Grey Wagtail - 17 S (9 ringed - one a freshly moulted adult - the second this year but only the third ever)
Chaffinch -49 S
alba Wagtail - 23 S
Siskin - H+4+H+H
Goldfinch - 53 S
Linnet - 5 S
Reed Bunting - 1 S

Grounded (office area only)
Goldcrest - 20+
Chiffchaff - 3
Blackcap - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Robin - at least 3 migrants

Ringing (single 18m net by office with Grey Wagtail and Goldcrest tape)
A Reed Warbler was given the full works then forgot to ring it (long history of this with birds needing the full works!), Grey Wagtail (9), Goldcrest (12), Robin (3), Chiffchaff (1), Blue Tit (2), Wren (1)


Friday 18 September 2015

Meadow Pipit free zone

Heysham Obs
One of our team, Jean Roberts, was working in coastal Lincolnshire this morning and had more Meadow Pipit during half a sentence of phone conversation than in total over here.  Bearing in mind the virtually complete lack of breeding success on our local moors (e.g. no post-breeding gatherings), followed by a very below-par autumn passage so far, where are all these east coast ones coming from as there certainly aren't any westerlies of any strength to send "ours" over there?

The weak front pre-dawn heading south-east did absolutely nothing in terms of producing grounded migrants and, apart from the eight Grey Wagtail caught, a Reed Warbler ringed elsewhere (Z152 sequence) and a few fat off-passage Blackcaps at Middleton, the double-site ringing effort was pretty rock-bottom.  On the subject of birds ringed elsewhere, thanks to the North Solway Ringing Group for providing information on the Appletowngarth Sand Martin which will, of course, be sent in 'as usual' via our IPMR

Middleton NR
Reed Warbler - one retrap and one ringed elsewhere
Blackcap - 4 x 20g plus new birds, one F0 new bird and three F0/2/0 recently-ringed retraps
Chiffchaff - one new bird
Robin - one unringed very low weight
Grey Wagtail - flocks of 4 & 2 caught and ringed

Heysham NR
Goldcrest - one ringed bird seen in the field, none caught
Blackcap - the only warbler species to trouble the mist nets was F1, probably from off-passga ein the tank farm
Chiffchaff - one passed rapidly through - the only warbler passage of the morning
Robin - one unringed low weight

Vis mig Heysham NR dawn to 1000
Grey Wagtail - only six and they were all individuals on a flightline almost NNE-SSW to the east of the office - only two of these were caught and ringed.  
Meadow Pipit - as above but only 10 seen -why there was no cross-bay vis mig NW/NNW-SE/SSE is puzzling as the remnants of cloud did not seem to pose a barrier
Siskin - heard distantly twice
Coal Tit - 2 south
Dunnock - two heading south and climbing
Mistle Thrush - the 'star' of the show at HNR! 9 together high from the south, landed on pylon then flew high and purposefully ESE
alba Wagtail - 6 as per Grey W and Meadow Pipit
Pink-footed Goose - a "sensation" of distant calls to the west - Alan at Middleton then picked up 11 distant geese heading SE after being alerted
Chaffinch - 44 S
Goldfinch - 60 S

Ringing (2 x 18m nets at each site) - new birds only: 
Grey Wagtail (8), Robin (2), Blackcap (6), Chiffchaff (1), Dunnock (2), Wren (1), Reed Warbler (1 ringed elsewhere), Goldfinch (2), Greenfinch (2), Great Tit (1)

Heap of Treble Bar and Silver Y again and a minor break-out of Light Brown Apple Moth - the latter summing up the whole morning's mediocrity


Thursday 17 September 2015

Fits and starts morning

Heysham Obs
A great wadge of cloud came in off the sea just after dawn and progressed south-east.  Quite a concentrated N-S vis mig along the edge of the cloud as it slowly passed overhead and it presumably dropped a few Goldcrest which did not seem to be around at first light.  One of the Grey Wagtail caught was an adult - only the second caught here

Office area dawn to 1100hrs - intermittently
Chaffinch - first significant movement of the autumn with most of these during a 15 minute spell along the cloud edge - 72 S
Grey Wagtail - 1+1+2 SE
Meadow Pipit - just 8 SE
alba Wagtail - 27 SE/S
Goldfinch - c50 S
No Siskin heard today
No hirundines seen pre-1100hrs!

Redstart - female mid-morning
Treecreeper - one passed through mid-morning
Chiffchaff - 2-3
Goldcrest - at least 20
Reed Warbler - 1
No Sylvia warblers seen/heard

One 18m net (Robin and Dunnock presumed migrants):  Goldcrest (14), Chiffchaff (2), Grey Wagtail (2), Reed Warbler (1), Robin (1), Dunnock (1), Blue Tit (4 - two unringed adults unusual)

A buck Roe Deer sauntered past the office early morning, then headed off towards the classroom!

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Routine british migrants in the clear conditions

Heysham Obs
Tom Walkington joined the "reading Barrow town hall clock from the north harbour wall" club today and that summed up the conditions although the easterly wind was a big plus which undoubtedly prevented the ringing effort being a watch paint dry.  The Sand Martin caught at the Swallow roost on Monday was ringed at the artificial colony at Appletowngarth near Lockerbie - the second one we have had in the Middleton roost from there

Heysham/Middleton selected ringing totals relating to migrants
Goldcrest - 11 plus a bird ringed elsewhere (HJC sequence)
Chiffchaff - 7
Willow Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 3
Blackcap - 5
Robin - just 3
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
In addition some rather odd lingering 1CY Reed Warblers at Middleton which don't seem to be putting on any weight

Vis mig
Swallow - 16
Meadow Pipit - really poor with only c30
Grey Wagtail - bit sunny and breezy so only 2/c5 caught
Carrion Crow - 4 S
Coal Tit - flock of 4 S
Chaffinch - 5 S
Song Thrush - one flew high inland just after dawn - typical migrant behaviour
alba Wagtail - 3 SE

Swallow roost
10 of the 15 birds in the roost were caught and ringed!
Water Rail calling from three locations
Sand Martin - two about

White Wagtail - very strong candidate Ocean Edge
Little Gull - usual adult on sea by Red Nab - primary moult seems to be complete
Ringed Plover - 26

26 Treble Bar and 20 Silver Y dominated the catch

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Steady routine

Heysham Obs
A light north-westerly airflow this morning, so another single net set for Grey Wagtail before the projected wind increase

Office area
Grey Wagtail - 4 SE
Meadow Pipit - c27 SE
Siskin - 14, then four calls heard - well separated
Carrion Crow - flock of 18 SW
Coal Tit - irruptive flock of 5 high to south - is this the start??
Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - c5
Robin - a few extras

Outfalls/Red Nab and area 1hr pre-HT
Little Gull - ad
Med Gull - most small gulls had left - just one ad and 2 x 2CY
Ringed Plover - 28
Redshank - 210

Ringing (one net)
4 x Grey Wagtail, 3 x Goldcrest, 1 x Robin, 1 x Chaffinch, 1 x Dunnock, 1 x Chiffchaff

5 Treble Bar, 3 Silver Y

Monday 14 September 2015

Bit of a fall

Heysham Obs
Just put one net up this am for Grey Wagtail as it seemed too windy for the full works.  Wind dropped, cloud increased - no Grey Wagtail but Reed Warbler, 3 x Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Robin and this female Firecrest on the first round:  Thanks to Steve Ryder for the pic:

Grounded office area am
Pied Flycatcher - female/imm in trees along the top path by the pylons 0900, calling regularly but not seen 1015
Firecrest - female caught and ringed 0700hrs
Goldcrest - at least 5 - 2 ringed
Willow warbler - 4 ringed
Chiffchaff - 3 ringed, at least two others
Robin - two migrants ringed, at least 5 others (more nets would have shown this)
Blackcap - two, one ringed
Whitethroat - 1 ringed
Reed Warbler - 1 ringed
Dunnock - I ringed
Vis mig on and off 0700-0900
Meadow Pipit - 75 SE, probably more
Merlin - female south
Chaffinch  - 7 south
alba Wagtail - 12 south-east
Grey Wagtail - just the one heard way over golf course
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Siskin - heard once
Middleton pm
Went to see if the Swallow roost was still extant after reports of just 4 leaving it the other morning.  It was with c80-100 birds involved.  On my own so tape switched off before dusk.
Reed Warbler - two juveniles ringed in early September retrapped
Grasshopper Warbler - juvenile caught in the middle of the Swallow roost!
Sand Martin - two caught at the roost - one bearing a ring from elsewhere (Z419xxx)
Swallow - 46 ringed (two adults) 
Water Rail - at least two in western marsh reedbed
Chiffchaff - at least three

Sunday 13 September 2015

Back to normal after today

Heysham Obs
Quite a decent little day for migrants in weather which did not exactly look any big deal

Landbird migrants
5 Grey Wagtail ringed - only one other bird known to have flown over
11 Chiffchaff caught - one a 'control' = ringed elsewhere
4 Willow Warbler ringed
Whitethroat, Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat in low double figures
Goldcrest - just one heard

Outfalls pre-high tide
Med Gull - 9 x 2CY, 1 x Ad - where are all the 1CY?
Little Gull - usual ad
Oystercatcher - 2750 Red Nab
Redshank - 210 Red Nab

Red-line Quaker early

Will play catch-up with last few days tomorrow

Wednesday 9 September 2015

An already ringed Grey Wagtail!

Heysham Obs
A Grey Wagtail ringed as a nestling by the five gate road Upper Roeburndale ford on 21/5/15 (much nearer my house than Heysham NR!) was caught along with an unringed bird at Heysham NR at 0815hrs.  Given that the usual flightline of vis mig birds is NNW to SSE it was a bit unexpected to find a movement of 19km SSW.  Its obviously had a good wander since fledging.  A case of 'scrutinise properly and you will find' with the neap high tide roost this morning - 13 easy to miss 2CY Meds!

Red Nab/Ocean Edge high tide
Mediterranean Gull - 5 adult, 13 2CY but only one 1CY - usually far more than this.   13 of the Meds were in the small flocks of roosting gulls on the sand-flats south of Ocean Edge
Little Gull - the usual adult bathing in the stream - the easiest time to find it!
Grey Plover - 260
Bar-tailed Godwit - 82
Curlew - 230 Red Nab
Redshank - 220 Red Nab

Heysham NR
Large bird of prey - one in-off very high, then south, seaward side of the power station - light very poor but structure, flight mode and size suggested a migratory Common Buzzard - c1305hrs
Grey Wagtail - flock of four, then two caught (one already ringed elsewhere) - no others seen/heard - an excellent ratio of captures to sightings so far this autumn
Meadow Pipit - 2
Goldcrest - 4
Willow Warbler - one ringed
Blackcap - 4 ringed
Whitethroat - one ringed
Treecreeper - one ringed - unusual in early September

Middleton NR
52 Goldfinch ringed but otherwise just two Blackcap, two Whitethroat, a Reed Warbler and a Chiffchaff

Tuesday 8 September 2015

More vis, less grounded

Heysham Obs
Another clear morning saw nets being set at Middleton and Heysham.  Despite the half-light at least one Grey Wagtail was over at Heysham before the nets were set along with a very early morning Meadow Pipit.  The vis was tricky to keep tabs on with the clear blue sky but a fair amount was on the move.  The first mist net round saw seven Grey Wagtail in the net with an additional bird 'hovering around'.

Heysham nature reserve
Vis mig intermittently 0620-1100
Grey Wagtail - at least 14 over, 9 ringed, but the sun was on the nets preventing captures 0715-0900
Meadow Pipit - c40 SE, mostly early on
alba Wagtail - 12 SE
Siskin - at least 15 registrations in rapid transit but birds impossible to see
Swallow - difficult to separate off passage from movement but at least 50 birds SE
House Martin - 7 SE
Tree Pipit - 2 separately SE and 2 heard at midday
Goldfinch - appeared to be on the move but so difficult to isolate from off-passage birds
Chaffinch - 25 south early on, including a flock of 14

Grounded by office
Very little
Goldcrest - 3
Blackcap - 2
Whitethroat - 2
Chiffchaff - just one

Middleton NR
Vis mig 0600-1100
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Siskin - 15
Grey Wagtail - 4 over, 1 ringed
Swallow - 46
Alba wagtail - 2
Meadow Pipit - 14
House Martin - 2
Carrion Crow - 1

Grasshopper Warbler - one juvenile ringed

Water Rail still squealing
Snipe 1
Sparrowhawk 2
Reed Bunting 1
Goldfinch 15 in one flock

Monday 7 September 2015

Not quite what was expected yet again!

Heysham Obs
A very clear night with a decreasing north-westerly leading to a cold flat-calm morning did not seem a good recipe for night migrants, but conversely seemed promising enough for e.g. Grey Wagtail passage.   Instead the nets were 'full' of night migrants with Middleton seeing the 'full house' of common warbler species being ringed - not bad for the end of the first week in September.  There were no Grey Wagtail seen or heard at Middleton and just two (three birds?) seen/ringed at Heysham NR.  Some really good photography from Janet during the afternoon

Middleton NR
Some of the ringing data:
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 ringed
Sedge Warbler - 1 ringed, one retrapped
Reed Warbler - 2 ringed
Willow Warbler - one ringed
Chiffchaff - 5 ringed
Whitethroat - 6 ringed, one retrap
Blackcap - 4 ringed, one retrap
Garden Warbler - one ringed
Dunnock - 7 ringed and two escaped (!) - definitely on the move this morning
Robin - 3 presumed migrants ringed

Vis mig
Tree Pipit - 1 south early on, then a flock of 3 grounded later on
Lesser Redpoll - 1 S
alba Wagtail - c10 SE
Swallow - c35 S all mid am onwards
Meadow Pipit - c5 SE
Siskin - 7+10+1 SE
Tree Sparrow - 4 west
Common Buzzard - heard to east
House Martin - c5 S

Heysham NR
Grey Wagtail - at least two possibly three
Robin - three ringed
Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff - singletons ringed

More excellent pics from Janet

Sunday 6th September

Heysham Obs

I left a single mist net up for a couple of hours whilst finishing the county ringing report - 3 x Grey Wagtail arrived in singletons

The Swallow roost in the evening held about 80 birds and 38 Swallow and 2 Sand Marin were ringed

Water Rail in the usual area

Saturday 5th September

Heysham Obs
Little Gull and 52 Treble Bar in moth trap

Friday 4 September 2015

So you think you know the routine...........

Heysham Obs
This was a very odd day.  Not a lot was seen but it involved two lots of unprecedented multiple records and a good individual wader sighting for here.  Also record numbers of Treble Bar.

Vis mig 0700-0730 Heysham NR office
Carrion Crow - flock of 8 south
Chaffinch - 9 singletons south
Song Thrush - one ticking from a bush then high inland - typical migrant behaviour and we do get quite early ones here from about now - 'British' plumage (one ringed at Hexham)
Black-tailed Godwit - flock of 12 high to the north!  Never seen one from the office and not common here even on the coast
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE
Linnet - 5 SE
alba Wagtail - 7 separately SE
Grey Wagtail - one heard to the east

Red Nab & area late stages of incoming tide
Golden Plover - flock of 42 on Red Nab - completely unprecedented
Spotted Redshank - winter adult with Redshank
Grey Plover - one
Redshank - c220
Dunlin - 14
Ringed Plover = 16
Curlew - 230
Oystercatcher - 2650
Med Gull - 1 x juv, 3 x 2CY, 1 x ad
Little Gull - usual ad bathing in the stream
Wheatear - two OE foreshore

Mainly two species - 52 Treble Bar and 20 Silver Y (& 3 A. latistria).  This is a record single catch for Treble Bar for at least Lancashire

Thanks for these great pics Janet

Thursday 3 September 2015

Big red

Heysham Obs
A Red Underwing graced the wall of the toilet trap along with 33 Treble Bar.  The rest of the day was rather more mundane in a useless clear north-westerly

Outfalls and Red Nab near high tide
Little Gull adult
Med Gull - 1CY
Ringed Plover - 17
Little Egret - 1

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Too clear, too sunny

Heysham Obs
The light winds prompted a Grey Wagtail ringing session, but unfortunately a flock of three was missed due to a new 18m net being shorter than we expected, knocking the line of three out of sync and slowing down the net setting.  Only two subsequent birds were recorded which were both ringed and little else happening with just one Whitethroat and not even any hirundine passage

Red Nab/outfalls midday
Sandwich Tern - adult
Little Gull - moulting adult
Med Gull - 3 x 2CY, 1 x Ad, 1 x 1CY
Ringed Plover - 16

North wall
Wheatear - 2
Linnet - 20
Meadow Pipit - 2 SE

A heap of Silver Y but no sign of yesterdays escapee.  Treble Bar in double figures and the rest of the catch was strictly routine

Highlighted by the first September record of Small Skipper, also Painted Lady and Meadow Brown on the office buddliea

Tuesday 1 September 2015

One of those mornings you need to be everywhere, especially checking the moth trap early on!!

Heysham Obs
Nice mixture of calm, a few dark clouds and a light northerly airflow for the first half of this morning.  'Bet there is a Wryneck somewhere' was the assessment - a Red-backed Shrike later materialised just to the south - but there was no way that we could cover everywhere and complete the final Middleton CES.  As I type this, rumbles of thunder to the north might liven things up again after a breezy sunny spell late morning/early afternoon

Middleton CES
There seemed to be quite a few common migrants whizzing through at a vast rate of knots, including at least four Common Whitethroat and a Wheatear.  Others migrant warblers latched themselves on to the local LTT flock
Goldcrest - 2-3
Grey Wagtail - 2 early on and one after we had packed up - SE
Swallow - c120 south, with the ex-roost birds earlier swirling up and disappearing high to south
House Martin - just one
Siskin - 5-6 registrations totally an absolute minimum of 8 birds i.e. didn't see any of them!!
Wheatear - one inland
Pied Wagtail - at least 7 SE
Reed Bunting - just one migrant - conspicuous absence of local birds
Reed Warbler - 2 ringed - no other obvious birds
Sedge Warbler - 3 ringed
WillowWarbler - 5+
Chiffchaff - 2+
Whitethroat - up to 4 rapidly passed through and one ringed
Lesser Whitethroat - one ringed
Blackcap - at least 5
Meadow Pipit - 5 SE
Goldfinch - c50 grounded
Water Rail - one in the breeding area western marsh

A NI MOTH was on the wall of the toilet trap but unfortunately tried to pot it when a pic would have been a better option and it shot out of the window.  Very good views but not a proper documentation.  This is the problem when the trap is not checked until mid-morning with the sun blazing on it