Monday 30 November 2015

Not a lot

Heysham obs

Guillemot in harbour

Sunday 29 November 2015

Too wild and woolly with poor visibility

Heysham obs
Meagre fare as far as I am aware

Guillemot in harbour
Ad little gull in surf s of ocean edge
11 ringed plover oe

Saturday 28 November 2015

The start of more wind driven odds and ends

Heysham obs
Sea on and off for one hour mid am
Little gull - Gang of 4 adults lifted off sea then lost in poor visibility
Pintail - 2 south

Ocean edge/outfalls
Shag - juvenile close inshore
Ringed plover - 11
Snipe - 4
Linnet - c20

Friday 27 November 2015

Moths pulling above their weight

Heysham Obs
The trap, usually useless at this time of year, held two Mottled Umber, three Winter Moth and a Light Brown Apple Moth.  Don't think tonight will be too good but some 'warm' nights coming up with this site sheltered from south-westerlies

The only notable bird was an adult Med Gull on Fishers roof at high tide


Heysham Obs
A surprisingly unproductive visit to Middleton (no Cettis) followed a short ringing session by the office which included a huge male Chaffinch (92mm wing, 25.7g weight) and another two unringed female Bullfinch.  At least two other Bullfinch were seen and at least another further two on Middleton

A Mottled Umber graced the trap

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Late migration

Heysham obs
Middleton nr central and western marshes
Cetti's warbler - either one calling intermittently in both marshes or it sneaked across the road without me seeing it!   No simultaneous calls
Kingfisher - one
Water rail - at least three in western marsh reed bed
Long tailed tit - flock of 17
Goldcrest - one with above
Skylark - 2 se
Meadow pipit - 1 plus 1 se
Pink footed goose - 56 se
Grey wagtail - one sewage works legs not seen

Guillemot - 1

Two winter moth and one mottled umber

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Whistle stop

Heysham Obs
Med Gull - ad Fishers roof HT
Rock Pipit - one north wall near naze area

Single December Moth and Mottled Umber in moth trap

Monday 23 November 2015

THE cold frosty morning of the winter according to some forecasts!

Heysham Obs
Just drawing in the sightings for this year and doing a bit of preliminary "analysis"   What an odd year!   Some of it you couldn't make up like the only tern record after 2nd September was a moulting adult White-winged Black!!

Just to reaffirm what was posted the other day.  A conversation today indicated that vehicles parked in unexpected locations and unfamiliar people will be subject to more comprehensive security checks than has hitherto been the case.

Middleton NR am (Jean and Malcolm)
Chiffchaff - recording sounds interesting but views limited to 'greyish glimpse' - couldn't be found (by me) later - interacting with Cetti's Warbler for short period in same bushes along south end of Western Marsh
Cetti's Warbler - seen and recorded as per yesterday
Water Rail - absolute minimum of 6 (3+ in western marsh reedbed) during abortive warbler search by Pete at lunchtime
Song Thrush - two olive-coloured migrants - flew inland
Mute Swan - dead unringed imm central marsh
plus 6 tufted 4 mallard 70+ teal 9 moorhen 5 common snipe

Red-breasted Merganser - male by waterfall
Cormorant - 7 by waterfall
Guillemot - one by waterfall

Bullfinch - two unringed females caught

Ringing by office
Chaffinch (1), Bullfinch (2), Goldfinch (3), Greenfinch (5) plus a few retraps

Mottled Umber

Sunday 22 November 2015

New Cetti's located as the weather calms down

Heysham Obs
So there have been "46ish Goldfinches on the seed all month".  So why were 29 out of 39 un-ringed this morning, despite two 'comprehensive' catches earlier in the month!   The answer can be found in e.g. the vis mig data from Portland (and e.g. Gibraltar Point) - November is still a major passage month for this species, even if it is not so discernable vis mig-wise on the west coast

North wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult
Twite - one heard and seen in flight
Goldfinch - 45ish
Linnet - at least 8
Pink-footed Goose - 46 SE
Meadow Pipit - 1+
Guillemot - still in harbour - thanks Janet - taken today, hence sunlight!!

Cetti's Warbler - one calling all the time, including the little churr, (but no song) in the willows along the southern bank of the western marsh - near the sewage works.  Didn't appear to be ringed but views of esp left leg very brief
Reed Bunting - 2
Tufted Duck - 6

Heysham NR
Siskin - one heard

Goldfinch - 29 new and 10 retraps, Linnet - 3 new

Moths (Justine)
Stigmella alnetella/glutinosae on Alder at Middleton NR today. These two species need breeding through to be certain of which one it is.

Phyllonorycter rajella from MNR today. Alder is about the only species with leaves on now.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Wrong kind of cold

Heysham Obs
Not cold enough or cold long enough for here as north winds are pretty hopeless unless they encourage use of a migratory corridor (e.g. Whoopers) which has been closed for a bit or old weather movements.  Shame for the visiting birding group which seemed to disappear elsewhere in record time!   Locked gates for security and safety reasons, however, stay that way for visiting birding groups unless some form of  advance notice and a bit of negotiation is possible.  Therefore the only available bird of remote interest was an hour away rather than one minute.  Just to remind people that whilst birders are very welcome here, one of the duties of the harbour and power station police is to take details of any visitors they do not recognise, especially perhaps those with cameras. This especially applies to unsettled winter weather when the odd seabird might be tucked into a corner of the harbour or a gull of interest on Fisher's roof,  'necessitating' scopes being directed towards more sensitive areas than out to sea.  If you don't like this, simply please stay away (see sidebar).  Thanks to Malcolm for Middleton stuff

Publishable stuff of interest today
Guillemot - one in harbour by waterfall
Goldeneye - male far offshore off Heysham skeers
Woodcock - one Middleton NR
[Two 'dark geese' at extreme range in flight "along" the Barrow coast road!]

Also ran
Goldcrest - one by office
Meadow Pipit - one flew over office
Goldfinch - 20 ish north wall
Linnet - 5 ish north wall
Teal - 5 Middleton
Eider - only 8 could be found offshore around the skeers 

Friday 20 November 2015

Plummeting early afternoon temperatures

Heysham obs
A few bits today

Kittiwake - flock of 31 am
Little gull - ad seaward end outfalls early am
Guillemot - one still in harbour - dead r/g on sea
Fulmar - one observed flying out of Heysham airspace from stone jetty
Shag - 1cy in harbour pm only (and 8 cormorant)
Pink-footed goose - 62 s pm

First gadwall since the summer - very skittish male
Two redwing
Teal - 18 plus

Thursday 19 November 2015

Storm blown Gannet

Heysham Obs

The tired windblown Gannet
(photo taken with I-phone through the scope hence poor quality)
Guillemot in the harbour

Adult Gannet on the shore between Red Nab and the outfalls (it has been seen flying)

Adult Kittiwake Stage 2 outfall, 6 behind 1OM ferry

Whooper swan - 4 south

Goldeneye - two males by skeer off Heysham head

46 Goldfinch and 9 Linnet on seed but no Twite

No moths in trap - not even a mossie!

Poor visibility and rain

Heysham Obs
Wednesday 18th November
The search for the cutting edge involved a low point of waiting to see how many diving Tufted Duck there were on the model boat pond sitting in a warm car (8)

More credibility getting soaked and finding two storm-blown 1CY Shag sitting it out in the harbour but not feeding - by all accounts they didnt stay long

The Guillemot was also present in the harbour by the waterfall

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Calm down dear!

The wind abated slightly this morning and so did the birds.
A Guillemot was still in he harbour
60 finches were on the North Harbour Wall, about 40 Goldfinches and 20 Linnet. No Twite.
Just 6 Tufted Duck on the model boat pond at Middleton NR (3M, 3F)

Monday 16 November 2015

Nice selection over a very long time!

Heysham Obs
A little frustrating today with a male Snow Bunting heading south towards the area not located within and the Grey Phalarope's not quite clinched as the 'on the sea' views were just glimpses before being lost in the rather distant heavy seas.  One the plus side, the 'what's that' as viewed out of window by Reuben was also then seen by Steve and myself and proved to be the first 'from the office' skua spp in the form of a westbound Bonxie with a few trailing gulls warily keeping their distance,  Thanks to Bill, Andrew, Jean and Malcolm for coverage 
Sea on and off 1000 onwards to just before dusk
Whooper Swan - 9+7+2 south in the afternoon
Pintail - 19+3 south
Shag - 1CY afternoon
Grey Phalarope - "two very probable grey phalarope - long way out (beyond the red buoy) but they settled on the sea and then I lost them in the waves"
Leach's Petrel - one yellow buoy area late afternoon then lost in rough seas further south 
Skua spp - one very distant bird in Cumbria
Kittiwake - 15 or so behind the IOM ferry, one out
Med Gull - 2 adult
Guillemot - one in the waterfall area of harbour
Linnet - 7
Twite - 1
Goldfinch - c15
Office area
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one flew west at 1200hrs, almost certainly then headed south
Middleton NR
Chiffchaff - 1

Sunday 15 November 2015

Very fortunate

Heysham obs
The Heysham equivalent of sitting in a hide paid dividends this morning.   The maritime inaction was tempered by listening to the radio and reading the paper whilst regularly carrying out 180 degree scans.  Then at 1012hrs, a little black thing with a white rump sheared through the optics before turning and trying to fly out before the process was repeated.   Then it all happened as a flock of 16 Pintail flew out. Didn't expect this in the conditions which seemed a fraction too far to the south and certainly were an hour or two later .  Tried to intercept it at the stone jetty to give some inner bay watchers am idea of where to look but this coincided with some poor visibility.

Inshore sightings
Leach's petrel - one in 1012 hrs about 150m beyond the buoys
Guillemot - one by waterfall at low tide
Pintail- flock of 16 out
Cormorant - 5 waterfall
Med gull -  adult fishers h.t.
Wren - one near south Roundhead!

Dead hedgehog by reserve entrance

Saturday 14 November 2015

Making the most of useless conditions

Heysham Obs
As suspected, checking the synoptic charts, daylight hours today saw slack winds and heavy drizzle for the most part.  Watching the sea would be like watching paint dry.  So a bit of a low tide check, followed by a date with MapMate, whilst Malcolm did the full rounds before the heavy rain started.

Middleton NR
No Cetti's Warbler heard at 1030 0r 1315 and no sign of yesterdays 1CY male Goldeneye
6 mute swan
10 tufted duck
28 teal
2 moorhen
1 grey heron
2 little egret
5 snipe over to South (1 flock 12.45)

Ocean edge
1 Jack snipe
6 common snipe
2 little egret
23 turnstone
1 ringed plover
c30 linnet
6 mallard

Red Nab
32 wigeon
1 kingfisher

SW Round Head
1 juvenile shag

Nothing on or
over water

Low tide check north wall early am
Eider - 47
Med Gull - adult 

Friday 13 November 2015

A varied mix but missing the key species

Heysham obs
Should have implemented the previous experience of the best time for Leach's Petrel being one to three hours after high tide.  We missed the critical time for the Preesall sands sighting, assuming it came past and the later afternoon stone jetty bird was forced further out by lbbg attention and was presumably behind distant wave troughs or eaten by the time it should have reached Heysham . Fingers crossed for the next few days but unfortunately not a straightforward pattern of strong onshore winds and this is very bad news for any hoped for leach's. Worth checking the low tide channel first thing tomorrow?

Sea on and off 0930 onwards
Great skua - two sightings which suggested the two knott end birds having split up, the second of these also presumably the lighthouse cottage bird at long range off ocean edge.
Sanderling - flock of nine out unprecedented at this time of year
Golden plover - flock of nine out - unusual
Pintail- 13, 4, 32 out
Common scoter - 2 separate males in
Little gull - adult
Kittiwake - 14, 20, 16 in early on, one out, 3 in then out again behind the ferry, 11 out mid-afternoon and 4 in
Razorbill - flock of five out
Pink-footed goose - 21 se
Red-throated Diver - 1 heading out then landed on the sea
adult Med Gull floating along the north wall

Middleton NR
Goldeneye - 1CY male
Tufted duck - 11

Thursday 12 November 2015

Finch blitz

Heysham Obs
The only remotely suitable ringing weather (but not for mist nets) at the moment led to all or most of the north harbour wall finches being caught.  Unfortunately no Twite.  31 new Goldfinch and 6 new Linnets were ringed plus another 25 retrap Goldfinch

Med Gull - adult following freight ferry and 2CY roosting on Red Nab
Wigeon - 44 Red Nab
Mallard - 4 Red Nab
Shelduck - 178 off Ocean Edge
Little Egret - 2 Ocean Edge

Vis mig by office for two 15 min stretches
Chaffinch - 23 SW
Mistle Thrush - 3 SW
Woodpigeon - flock of 35 S
Goldfinch - 3 S

The first (and perhaps the only on previous form here) December Moth of the year

Grey Seal - 1 close under the north harbour wall on the incoming tide.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Bits and pieces

Four Pintail were mentioned by the person who was going to post them!

TUESDAY Heysham obs

Kittiwake - five ad behind IOM ferry
Auk spp on sea then out
Pintail - 16 plus 4 put
Wigeon - flock of 29 out

No moths!

Monday 9 November 2015

Thats more like it!

Heysham Obs
Some decent horrible weather for a change and some things which have been scarce/non-existent this year

Sea 0810-0940 Heysham north wall
Great Northern Diver - on the water 0845, then flew after about 30 seconds and disappeared around the wooden jetty remains - lost in the poor visibility.  Almost certainly a juv - faint impressions of dull edgings to mantle.  Big feet!
Red-throated Diver - 1+1+2 out
Guillemot - one on water close in
Pintail - flock of 13 out
Shelduck - 5+23+18+14 out
Great-crested Grebe - juv on water
Rock Pipit - one windblown bird

Grey Seal close inshore

All singletons of species with Red plus a hyphen, the latter pretty scarce here!  Red-line Quaker, Red-green Carpet, Red Sword-grass

Sunday 8 November 2015

A Lone Fisherman

Heysham North Harbour Wall
Conditions so poor this morning that only one fisherman was present, and this a Sunday morning!
High wind and very heavy rain discouraged me from leaving the car and visibility through the windows was awful. A group of  about 60 finches briefly on the seed were so tightly packed in the wind that it was impossible to count them.

They comprised approximately equal numbers of Goldfinch and Linnet.

Heysham NR
No moths in the trap - lamp failed during night.

No other reports


Late afternoon:   north wall feeding station completely flooded by a raging torrent
Adult Med Gull on the sea
Absolutely soaked between office and the car!

Saturday 7 November 2015

The A Team's Away

Heysham North Harbour Wall
At the feeding site this morning were:
Goldfinch - 32
Linnet - 8

from jm

Middleton NR
Sightings received from Malcolm, thanks very much:

Mute Swan - 7
Coot - 2
Moorhen - 3
Teal - 28
Tufted duck - 10
Grey Heron - 1
Cettis Warbler - male singing at 11.15 just after rain stopped.  No sign at 13.15.
Redwing - 54 minimum
Fieldfare - at least 4 feeding in hawthorns

Ocean Edge
Little Egret - 2
Linnet -c25
Meadow Pipit - 2

Just three moths in the Hut Trap:  Silver Y (2), Feathered Thorn (1)

Red Admiral - 1 Middleton NR


Friday 6 November 2015

Minimum Coverage

Heysham North Harbour Wall

Feeding Area:
Goldfinch - 30+
Linnet - 20+
Robin - 1
Magpie - 1

No Twite in the area.

Hut Moth Trap
This morning the trap held: Silver Y (3), Feathered Thorn (2) and Mottled Umber (1)

Thursday 5 November 2015

North wall on form

Heysham Obs
Visited the north wall in some murky but dry weather early morning and was surprised to see three Brambling and two Chaffinch amongst the Goldfinch/Linnet hordes on the seed.  Meadow Pipit were heard and there were about half a dozen scattered around.  Clearly further investigation needed in the absence of dog walkers and anglers.  Many of the birds were really awkward, feeding in mayweed on top of the bank and there was no easy way to get close and observe.  A rather short hard call was heard and then two brief silhouettes of something different which eventually gave itself up as an imm Yellowhammer - nice!   Unfortunately my left leg decided to give up as well and proposed visits to check the south harbour were abandoned.  Don't recommend sciatica.

Returned to the car and feeding station and gingerly staggered down with a new supply of nyger seed which inevitably flushed everything and the five larger finches headed off SE

North harbour wall mound/feeder
Brambling - male and two females
Chaffinch - two males
Goldcrest - 1
Yellowhammer - one immature
Linnet - 21
Twite - one
Goldfinch - 30+
Rock Pipit - 3 (two together)
Meadow Pipit - 6 grounded and joined by a flock of 17 which seemed to come in-off
Wren - 2
Pied Wagtail - 2
Starling - 13
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 2
Song Thrush - 1

Heysham Head - Stuart and Dan
Goldcrest - 10
Lesser Redpoll - 1
southbound vis:
Brambling - 5
Chaffinch - 3
Rock Pipit - 2
Redpoll - 2
Meadow Pipit - 5

Ocean Edge from car
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
surprisingly dead

Feathered Thorn and a late Common Marbled Carpet

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Lacking detail!

Heysham obs
Bit of an end of season feel about today. Blackbirds and chaffinches in small numbers but very little else. Unfortunately the exact figures in the ringing book - will be sorted tomorrow

Heysham nr
Brambling - 2 sw
Chaffinch - 50 plus sw
Blackbird - c50 grounded
Mistle thrush - 3 se
Pink footed goose - 6 s
Chiffchaff - one
Goldcrest - three unringed
Jay - one sw
A few goldfinch and greenfinch

Goldcrest (3), greenfinch (2), chaffinch (1), goldfinch (1), blue tit (1)

Just a parsnip moth!

Tuesday 3 November 2015

First Whoosh of the Season

Heysham North Harbour Wall
Much less misty this morning. A whoosh netting session was curtailed by noisy fabrication work close by in the Centrica compound, however not before two catches were made with a total of:

Goldfinch - 29 unringed plus 5 local retraps
Linnet - 3 unringed

There were more finches around before being displaced by the fabrication,  but apparently no Twite.  Apart from a local Robin and a pair of Pied Wagtails little else was seen by the ringers.


Meanwhile those not ringing went scouting round for odds and ends. JR found a few odds and ends while DH found some odds and ends worth reporting, including this superb Shortie):

Moneyclose Lane:
Brambling 1
Goldcrest 14
Chiffchaff 2
Blackcap 1
Redwing 15
Mistle Thrush 2
Coal Tit 5
Bullfinch 6
Red Nab:
Grey Wagtail 1
Twite 1
South Harbour Wall
Grey Wagtail 2
Meadow Pipit 3
Linnet 10
Goldfinch 1, Dunnock 1, Wren 1, Pied Wagtail 1
Sandplant and the Mound (North Harbour Wall)
Skylark - 1 grounded (very unusual here)
Song Thrush - 2 (the sea buckthorn has its uses)
Pied Wagtail 2, Robin 1, Goldfinch 2, Linnet 1, Wren 1, Carrion Crow 4, Starling 4
Heysham Nature Reserve
Of note - 15 Blackbirds, 1 Redwing plus 5 others over, 1 Brambling over, 1+Siskin over, 2 Goldcrests
Then saving the best till last:
Heysham Head:
Crossbill 2 - in sycamores by the Barrows, then flew east
Short-eared Owl 1 - sat on top of the cliffs, then was flushed by man's best friend and flew out over the water, then looped back and seemed to land on the rocks below the cliffs.
Brambling 1
Chiffchaff 1
Blackcap 1
Goldcrest 4
Redwing 3
Skylark 1

Monday 2 November 2015


Heysham Obs
Amazing difference between Heysham NR and Middleton this am - the former clear at dawn and the latter fogbound all morning.  Arrived far too late at Heysham with Long-tailed Tits already calling and entering the nets as I was setting up and one of the biggest grounding of thrushes I have known here with upwards of 100 Redwing and 50 Fieldfare was disturbed from the thin line of bushes alongside the mist net ride!   What a shame they were not up pre-dawn.  A decent catch at Heysham of the sort conspicuously absent this autumn i.e. dominated by finches, especially Greenfinch.  Middleton on the other hand was virtually thrushless with the only capture being the first Fieldfare to be ringed this millenium and the small catch was dominated by Goldcrest.  After a virtual absence of Blackcap in the second half of October, six have been ringed in the last two days in the SE winds - are these central European origin prospective winterers? 

Cetti's Warbler - singing male central marsh early on
Lesser Redpoll - 2 ringed
Brambling - 2 over
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Vis mig not possible due to fog but plenty of e.g. Pink-feet heard

Heysham NR
A good two hours of clearish conditions saw some vis mig
Redpoll - 1 S
Fieldfare - 50 at dawn, then inland + 25 SW
Redwing - 100 at dawn then inland plus a further 220 either SW or rising from bushes and heading inland.  Then it went pear-shaped about 0900 and many subsequently heard in the fog
Blackbird - at least 48 migrants
Chaffinch - at least 40 S
Song Thrush - at least 4 migrants
Carrion Crow - 6 S
Goldfinch - 25 S
Pink-footed Goose - 350 north then 5 lots heard after 0900hrs
Bullfinch - 2+2+1 S
Skylark - 15 SE and 4 subseuqnt registrations in the fog
Meadow Pipit - 2 S
Reed Bunting - 1 S
Collared Dove - 1 E
Short-eared Owl - one "found" by a gang of Magpies on the plateau and flew, chased by 7 Magpie towards the golf course
Chiffchaff - at least two new arrivals and one ringed yesterday at Middleton
Blackcap - female ringed
Greenfinch - some movement as evidenced by ringing total
Dunnock - two lightweight unringed birds unexpected so late in the season
Long-tailed Tit - at least three flocks at or just after dawn with the only ones caught being unringed 

Ringing Heysham and Middleton new birds
Fieldfare (1), Blackcap (3), Chiffchaff (1), Lesser Redpoll (2), Goldcrest (19), Chaffinch (5), Goldfinch (3), Greenfinch (16 - equalling the grand total for October!), Song Thrush (1), Blackbird (1), Dunnock (2), Long-tailed Tit (5), Blue Tit (2)

Angle Shades x 2, Silver Y x 1, LBAM x 1

Sunday 1 November 2015

What we used to call abietinus

Heysham Obs
The deal these days, as per Dutch DNA samples, seems to be if it doesn't look like a collybita and  looks like our former perception of abietinus, it is now a Siberian Chiffchaff (along with the more obvious 'classic tristis') .  HPY579 is the third Goldcrest ringed by someone else this autumn

Heysham NR (thanks also to Ian and Gavin)
Siberian-type Chiffchaff - one ringed
Chiffchaff - 4 (2 ringed)
Woodcock - 1
Goldcrest - c12
Wren - one unringed
Robin - one unringed
Blackbird - c20
Song Thrush - c5
Redwing - 250 early on SW, then very difficult to keep tabs on a significant dribble
Bullfinch - 1 S
Chaffinch - several calling from bushes early on and 4 x females caught
Whooper Swan - 2 S

Middleton NR
Cettis not heard
Blackcap - 3 ringed
Chiffchaff - one ringed
Lesser Redpoll - one ringed
Goldcrest - 6 unringed and one 'control'
Robin - pale lightweight unringed bird

Monthly ringing totals for October (=715)
A very odd month with some species doing very well, yet others, notably Chaffinch and Greenfinch in very low numbers in relation to effort
Above average:
Yellow-browed Warbler (4), Goldcrest (166), Chiffchaff (85), Redwing (67), Lesser Redpoll (109), Coal Tit (34), Blackcap (45 - but only four after mid-month - passage ceased when winds went NE)
Below average
Greenfinch (16), Chaffinch (9), Blackbird (6), Dunnock (9), Blue Tit (28), Great Tit (9), Reed Bunting (27 - lot of effort for little reward here)
Goldfinch (4 - not targeted), Kestrel (1), Wren (27), Long-tailed Tit (21), Bullfinch (7), Robin (25), Song Thrush (4), Tree Sparrow (3), Treecreeper (3), Cetti's Warbler (1), Garden Warbler (1), Grey Wagtail (4)

After the little flurry of late warblers this morning, a reminder that winter is around the corner - sat on Justine's trap this morning in the Obs recording area.  The office toilet trap was quite good with 3 x Silver Y, 2 x Red-line Quaker, Large Wainscot and Pink-barred Sallow