Thursday 31 December 2015

Cettis doubleton

Heysham Obs
The bad news for year listers is that I couldnt find any Guillemot.  The good news is that there were two Cetti's Warblers in Middleton central marsh this morning but very elusive.

Harbour area
Med Gull - Czech adult north harbour wall
Cormorant - 6 in harbour
Red-breasted merganser - male by waterfall

Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
Cetti's Warbler - 2
Tufted Duck - 9
Teal - 28
Water Rail - 2+
Coot - 1
Mute Swan - 2 pairs & 2 young
Pink-footed Goose - 20 S

Wednesday 30 December 2015


Heysham obs
No coverage yesterday

Harbour area late pm
Pintail - 6 out
Mallard - 4 out (unusual)
Guillemot - 1
Dark-toned common gull - 2cy south (only seen briefly)

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Monday 28th December

Heysham Obs
Med Gull fest!

Harbour area (thanks also to Malcolm)
Med Gull - three adults appeared behind the IOM ferry - two smaller ones together, including the NHW Czech bird, starting to get a bit of summer plumage and a very large bird in full winter plumage
Kittiwake - one adult very briefly behind IOM ferry
Guillemot - one near waterfall
Linnet - 8
Goldfinch - c30

Sunday 27 December 2015

Quiet warblers

Heysham Obs
A day for a long careful grilling of wetland nooks and crannies in perfect conditions

Loud and aggressive multiple dog (including Staffies and Alsatian) walkers set the agenda at Middleton with a polite request to keep their dogs to themselves met with abuse (especially the words 'old man'!!) and at least two other dog walkers seeing/hearing them and turning round and heading in the opposite direction.   Lots of minor complaints about this lot, especially from Red-veined Darter photographers, but most people seem to just head in the other direction for a bit of peace and quiet.

Middleton NR
Redwing - one
Cetti's Warbler - one called twice in central marsh
Wren - loads including six singing males!
Water Rail - 2+

Heysham NR wetland area
Chiffchaff - one seen a few times and called once alder woodland boardwalk area (collybita)
Goldcrest - just two - no crests at all by entrance gate
Woodcock - one
Water Rail - 1
Coal Tit - singing!!
As certain as can be no wintering Cetti's here

Boxing day haul

Heysham Obs
A few bits and bobs in the rain courtesy of Malcolm's efforts

Ocean Edge/Red Nab/harbour
1 common snipe
1 skylark (saltmarsh)
5 reed bunting
8 linnet
12 ringed plover
1 kingfisher (Red nab)
3 Great-crested Grebe
1 guillemot (harbour mouth)

Friday 25 December 2015


Heysham Obs
Very poor today with absolutely nothing, other than an adult Med Gull to attract any year listers!  We are about 6 key species down on 'normal', especially if the Guillemots have in fact gone and not having a session in the underground reservoir (no 'resident' Rock Pipit, Purple Sand, Shag, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Twite)

What we do have are a new habit - Cormorants roosting on top of the platforms by the waterfall - watch this space for being able to read ring numbers and storm-sheltering Great-crested Grebe with up to 5 inshore (thanks Janet)

 3,000 oystercatcher 500 knot 150 redshank 20 turnstone heliport roost today

Ad Med Gull on railings north wall.  Up to 9 Linnet and double-figures of Goldfinch on seed

No moths! (we do check)

Up to 40 teal, 5 Snipe and 7 Tufted Duck Middleton yesterday (thanks Malcolm)

Thursday 24 December 2015

Czech Med

Heysham Obs
Just the Czech Med along the north wall on the morning run; nothing obvious on the sea in 15 mins and common seagulls on Fishers roof.   Ferry not very productive - closely followed by Seatruck which then moored offshore and presumably 'held' most of the birds!  Just checked a few long range forecasts and its going to be mild and wildish right through until severe blizzards on 27th March!  Sandbags against the door if you are away this Christmas?

The IOM ferry link by the way is under 'Ben my Chree'

Sea 1200-1220
Pintail - 10 out (flock)
Kittiwake - 19 in very distant and 5 in probably associated with ferries
Great-crested Grebe - 5
Guillemot - 2

North wall
Czech-ringed Med Gull early morning
c25 'finches' but flighty

Wednesday 23 December 2015

What is a high tide roost?

Heysham Obs
Please note the link to the midday IOM ferry details - sometimes the wake of this is quite productive, especially if wind/sea conditions are verging on cancellation, providing it hasn't passed an outbound ferry shortly beforehand!  Today produced 5 x adult Kittiwake and an adult Little Gull.   The map will also give general info on eg any incoming freight ferries but I think these are currently in darkness

Heysham Heliport wader roost.  Feedback from others would be good here.  It suddenly struck me this morning that a nice pleasant couple who flushed all the birds from the heliport, "hadn't noticed them" and were "not aware what a high tide roost was" were almost certainly from an inland location down south (certainly not local).   So the stuff we take for granted re-high tide roosts and low tide feeding areas will presumably have been very unfamiliar territory.  Still does not explain how they didn't notice 4,000 Knot and 4,500 Oystercatcher swirling about!  Or they were simply and very convincingly flat-batting what was a very conciliatory approach from me, allowing me to waste my breath carefully explaining the tidal cycle for these birds?  Most of the birds departed and the rest were soon given the heave ho by a jogger, but we don't expect joggers to notice anything, do we?

Come on Peel Energy, please get your act together re-fencing proposals - every time the roost starts to build up after a few days of grotty weather, it is seriously disturbed on the next "nice" day and the birds have nowhere else to go on the higher high tides nearer than Middleton saltmarsh or (if not wave-lashed) the Sunny slopes groyne.

Sea 0915-0945
Red-throated Diver - one out distantly
Kittiwake - tightly packed flock of five adults lifted off sea then re-landed
Guillemot - one in harbour

Ferry 1220ish
A lot of birds, some quite a way out
Kittiwake - at least 5 adults carried on into the Bay
Little Gull - adult slowly making its way out, perhaps not even associated with ferry

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Bonxie but a kitless ferry

Heysham obs
A short break from the computer screen was surprisingly productive but a targeted break for the IOM ferry only saw common seagulls

North wall 1000-1030/lunchtime check
Pintail - 6 s
Bonxie - one south c1008 yellow buoy range
Great crested grebe - four in or in mouth of harbour
Guillemot - one harbour
No shag

Monday 21 December 2015

Harbour fare

Heysham obs

A rather nervous 1cy shag was new in in the harbour wandering all over and last seen heading for the inner harbour

Harbour late pm
Guillemot - one
Shag - 1cy
Cormorant - 3
Great crested grebe - 1
Med gull - ad

Sunday 20 December 2015

Guillemot calculations and Red Admiral report

Heysham Obs
Still a few problems with my eyes, especially staring through tanalised (tantalised?) fences.  Images of six Guillemot through three adjoining gaps in the fence, where previously there were three.  So there were two birds!

Harbour area
Great-crested Grebe - two (definitely!) in outer harbour
Med Gull - adult harbour mouth briefly
Guillemot - two together by waterfall

Tufted Duck - 11 model boat pond

Report of a Red Admiral (correctly described not dogwalker-speak for small tortoiseshell) down the dog track this morning (Brown House Moth in moth trap)


One winter moth in trap!

Friday 18 December 2015


Heysham Obs
A 2CY sinensis Cormorant was on the island at Middleton model boat pond

Vicious Mute Swan behaviour on Middleton including a report of one adult being killed by one of the two territorial males.  At least two others being chased about.  I would have thought that flying off was a decent option given the amount of suitable water to land on locally

Otherwise unremarkable (per Malcolm, thanks for the effort)
No sign of barn owl at twilight.

Middleton NR
5 mallard, 7 tufted, 8 teal

Ocean Edge
2 little egret 32 linnet 1 common snipe

Red Nab
52 wigeon on Red Nab

Nothing of note on outflows or in harbour.

North wall feeder
 held 15 Goldfinch and 3 Linnet

No moths!

Thursday 17 December 2015

Two bits

Heysham obs
Barn owl flying about at Middleton pm and dark chestnut moth in the trap

Tuesday 15 December 2015


Guillemot and med gull adult harbour area mid pm

Monday 14 December 2015

Calm weather activity

Heysham obs
Gave Heysham nr a good grilling this morning but ce up short as regards real interest eg no warblers

Heysham nr
Goldcrest - 4
Blackbird - 20
Goldfinch - 15
Water rail - 1
Coal tit - 2

North wall
Goldfinch - 18 13 caught 9 of these unringed
Med gull - adult but not certain whether czech bird

Single mottled umber and winter moth

Sunday 13 December 2015

WeBs and short walkies

Heysham Obs
To add to yesterday, a Cormorant was seen to eat a Rockling by the waterfall.  Today an imm Cormorant attacked a 1CY Great Black-backed Gull in its 'space' and the gull backed-off!

Guillemot 1

Wooden jetty
Shag - 1 imm - the presumed 2CY, then disappeared

Red nab (thanks jenny)
Kingfisher - 1

North wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult
Feeding site
Goldfinch - 18

Fishers roof
Runt Black-headed Gull - gave me a bit of a shock as couldn't see bill and nape on initial views - barely 2/3 size of adjoining birds at same angle

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler - one central marsh but very elusive even in perfect conditions
Water Rail - at least five
Tufted Duck - 7
Mallard - 7 model boat pond
Grey wagtail - colour ringed bird seen late afternoon on bottle dump ponds (orange over white with 2014 ring on left leg)

Waterproof birding

SATURDAY - thanks Malcolm - the rest of us were wimps

Nothing unpredictable, but not uninteresting. No sign of Cetti's.

MIddleton Nature reserve
adults + 2 juv mute swan
31 teal
7 tufted
3 mallard

Ocean Edge high tide
1 jack snipe
4 common snipe
9 linnet
1 reed bunting
1 meadow pipit
3 mallard

Red Nab
1 Kingfisher

1 Guilemot

Friday 11 December 2015

Midday ferry and extras

Heysham Obs

Harbour area
Kittiwake - 6 ad, 2 1CY behind ferry
Little Gull - ad behind ferry
Shag - imm prob 2CY harbour
Guillemot - 2 harbour - one very wary new arrival
Pintail - 7 in
Med Gull - adult harbour mouth and it/another earlier coming to garden bread in NE recording area

Feeding Site:
Linnet - 9
Goldfinch - 15

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Ferry fare

Heysham Obs
Went to check the IOM passenger ferry from the 'gap' by gate 38 where you have no idea where it is until it looms into view round the wooden jetty......but you do get a good view of the 'whirlpool gulls' as it turns the corner.   A predicted headline on the Waiting for Godot theme (it was late) proved unjustified as time could be spent scrutinising a presumed 2CY Shag which was new in in the harbour mouth.  Nearly all records from here are obvious brown 1CY.

Harbour mouth area 1150-1220
Med Gull -  definitely two adults, one of which was earlier on Fisher's roof
Kittiwake - adult with damaged outer primaries on left wing - behind ferry
Shag - 2CY (presumed) in harbour mouth throughout
Red-breasted Merganser - male harbour
Great-crested Grebe - one harbour
Guillemot - one by waterfall as usual

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Cettis and Merlin top the bill

Heysham Obs

Middleton NR (thanks Malcolm)
Cetti's Warbler - as yesterday in central marsh but similarly elusive
Grey geese - 80 S (distant and silent)
Merlin - male
Sparrowhawk - 2 female
Teal - 81 and others still in reeds
Tufted Duck - 6
Mute Swan - 4 ad & 2 juv grounded - 2 ad S
Long-tailed Tit - 20+
Snipe - 2


Monday 7 December 2015

Fairish weather fare

Heysham Obs

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler - one calling in central marsh just NW of overgrown central pond
Meadow Pipit - 1
Gadwall - pair but flew off
Grey Wagtail - one dropped into sewage works - legs not seen for rings
Mute Swan - pair plus two young MBP
Tufted Duck - 3 MBP
No Water Rail heard - water levels very high

Heysham NR
Mottled Umber in trap

Sunday 6 December 2015

Ferry fare

Heysham Obs
Going through the motions with a powerwalk to the south harbour mouth to check an incoming ferry was rather better than expected but would probably have been even better staying at the car with the scope to sort a distant skua.  Apologies for not putting this out at the time - no reception at the time or indeed until I reached home at 1600ish

Gate 38/south harbour 1135-1155
Great Skua - one behind freight ferry, then sat on sea
Skua spp - probably juv Pom - one flying out rather slowly - quite distant, then appeared top head across towards south Walney
Guillemot - usual bird
No Kittiwakes behind the ferry
Note this gate is locked

North wall
Goldfinch - 16 on seed

Dark Chestnut but this may have gone into the trap on the previous night

Friday 4 December 2015

Angle shades of unknown origin

Heysham obs
A battered looking angle shades was in the moth trap along with single winter moth and mottled umber.   Is this migrant ?

Bird wise - quick check of the harbour and just offshore produced a cancelled IOM ferry and the usual guillemot

Thursday 3 December 2015

Pre-empting nothing else to say!

Heysham Obs
Desperate times when the 'highlight' is checking whether a Guillemot is still in the harbour - may not have time today so the only posting might be:

Moth trap
Unseasonal Daddy Long Legs, Dark Chestnut, 3 x Winter Moth and Mottled Umber

Not quite a birding blank - a break in the weather as the IOM ferry came in
Kittiwake - adult
Guillemot -1
Pink footed goose - 20 se

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Dull and wet rut

Heysham obs
Nothing much happening

Guillemot in harbour the last two days

Ad med gull harbour entrance this am

Three mottled umber in trap two nights ago, one mottled umber and one light brown apple moth last night