Friday, 30 December 2016


 Five Waxwing were seen by Peter in Plover Drive (Mossgate estate) area late morning. These flew off in the direction of the bypass, but could not be relocated.
Czech ringed Mediterranean Gull on North wall

183 Wigeon remained at Red Nab at high tide (some had already flown out).

Watched tide (9.27m) cover Ocean Edge salt marsh.
91 Common Snipe
2 Jack Snipe
3 Linnet

Heliport highish tide count (unsuitable for consultants - only 20 minutes allocated)
Ringed Plover - 43
Redshank - 175
Turnstone - 31
Oystercatcher - 4100 (block 50s and about 600 flew off from near naze south)
Knot (careful count) - 920
Dunlin - c60
Lapwing - 15

28th Dec - 2nd Warbler

The very last bird of the winter bird survey of Middleton Nature Reserve was a Chiffchaff (collybita). This was not far from where yesterday's Cetti's was signing in the western scrape - no sign today.
Also at least 3 water rail squealing.

27th Dec - Cetti's song

The first half of the winter bird survey on Middleton Nature Reserve included a brief burst of song from Cetti's warbler in the western scrape. This, I believe, is the first confirmation of Cetti's here since mid autumn.
Goldcrest on eastern boundary of golf club.
Gadwall 5
Mallard 6
Pochard 1
Tufted 5
Teal 34
Little egret 1
Jack snipe 1

Monday, 26 December 2016

Ferry fare

The Ben my chree was followed by:
Kittiwake - 1ad and 3 1CY - these continued into the bay
Med gull - 2ad

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Gull turnover

There is a pretty decent turnover of gulls on the Middleton model boat pond with at least 70 in and 70 out in just 25 minutes, including at least 40 large gulls.

 North wall
Med gull - ad floating about

Model boat pond
Pochard - 1 mae
Rest of stuff in reduced  numbers with one gadwall, 4 tufted duck

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Stationary technology

We're really high tec birders at Heysham, so I checked my IPhone ferry finding link at 1130hrs to see a little toy boat (the Ben My Chree) on a map somewhere off Fleetwood.  Peered out there but could not see it.  Then checked the interactive map ten minutes later, but it hadn't moved.  It transpired it was sitting it out until low tide in the rather dodgy conditions.  No chance of a procession of seabirds behind it.  Hope the passengers are fit to eat Christmas dinner.

Sea on and off late morning
Little Gull - one ad seaward end of outfalls briefly
Kittiwake - flock of 5 adult in
Razorbill - two out as soon as I got there (Suggesting some earlier?)

Middleton model boat pond
Gadwall - 3 (2 male)
Mute Swan - 3 1CY
Tufted Duck - 8
Pochard - drake

Interestingly all the seagulls flew and all the wildfowl went on alert when two nags went through the car park - I think it was the high vis jacket as thought they would have been used to these by now

Friday, 23 December 2016

Ducks consolidate

Middleton Nature Reserve
The increasingly aggressive mute have cleared the "no swimming" pond of ducks. All except the teal and an odd mallard are now on the main pond.
2 adult mute ("no swimming" pond)
4 juvenile mute (main pond)
8 tufted
1 pochard
5 gadwall
20 teal (Tim Butler pond)
4 mallard
1 little egret

2 roe deer

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Brief visit

ad kittiwake and ad med gull behind IOM ferry lunchtime

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Pochard present

Middleton Nature Reserve
A male pochard has joined tufted on main pond. This is, I think, the first record this winter.
6 Tufted duck
1 Pochard
6 Gadwall
5 Mallard
4 Teal
1 Little egret
2 Pheasant
24 Redwing
47 Pinkfoot (south)

Earlier 62 pinkfoot north

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Amateur dramatics at the Heliport roost

Just managed to make it back from work - counting waders - to change into an 'unreliable amateur' (details confidential) and count waders for WeBS.  The heliport roost revealed a good array of birds and enabled most species to be counted at the individual level

Heliport roost
Redshank- 385 (initial guesstimate 370)
Ringed Plover - 43
Lapwing - 21
Dunlin - 68
Turnstone - 41
Knot - zero (all at Middleton?)
Black-headed Gull - 6

which left Oystercatcher.  Had just enough time to spend about 15 minutes on these:
"Visual impression" - 4500
Block count in 50s - 4800
Block count in 100s - 4700 plus about 60
Block count in 10s - took 'ages'! - 4840 - fortunately they kept still throughout
So yet again visual impressions underestimate - always doing this - especially with V or W geese flying over - amateur!!

The number of Oystercatcher at the sunny slopes and battery/west end groyne roosts were rather on the low side with 475 Redshank the stand-out. Adult Med just out of the area by the Battery groyne but anglers prevented access/time for access for a thorough check of Fishers roof for the Czech bird (can someone do this tomorrow pm please?)

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Fishing Fest

North Harbour Wall
More than 30 vehicles along the wall just after lunchtime today.
Brief visit to replenish nyger seed saw just 13 Linnet and 1 Robin at the feeding area.

Heysham Reserve
A ringing session at the hut feeding area, still limited because of access difficulties, produced the following:
Goldfinch - 13 + 2 retraps
Blue tit - 7 + 3 retraps
Greenfinch - 6 + 1 retrap
Dunnock - 4 retraps
Chaffinch - 3
Robin - 2 retraps
Great tit - 1 + 3 retraps
Coal tit - 1 + 1 retrap
Blackbird - 1
GS Woodpecker - 1 retrap

Friday, 16 December 2016

Peace returns

The 12 squabbling gadwall from yesterday on Middleton Nature reserve have now reduced to a peaceful 7.
2 tufted
36 snipe circling
12 & 18 pinkfoot low to south
 2 water rail calling
1 pheasant.
Didn't check out the teal

Ocean Edge
Watched as tide covered salt marsh
54 common snipe
0 Jack snipe today

Red Nab
35 widgeon
1 little egret

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Good Gadwall

Full troll of Middleton Nature Reserve this morning revealed the following:
2 goldcrest and a chiffchaff (collybita) with mixed tit flock on eastern boundary of golf course. This is less than 100m from earlier chiffchaff sighting near Solrec.
4 adult + 4 juv mute
6 moorhen
5 mallard
2 tufted
12 gadwall, from memory this is the highest record of adult birds for the reserve
c30 teal
10 common snipe accidentally flushed, mainly singles.
8 + 10 flocks common snipe in from Ocean Edge direction, just before high tide.
1 meadow pipit.


 Also seen on Middleton  was an  all white blackbird - thanks Doreen

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

High tide - Low count

The current 10m tides completely flush Ocean Edge salt marsh twice a day. This, coupled with slightly late start (marsh already 90% covered an hour before high water), resulted in lower than recent counts of snipe.
26 common snipe
1 Jack snipe
17 ringed plover
2 reed bunting

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Peacock surprise

Peacock butterfly on scrub on top of cliffs between Heysham Head and Half Moon Bay.
1 Great crested grebe feeding offshore.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Med Gull Again

North Harbour Wall

Brief visit saw the Czech ringed Mediterranean Gull, in flight and on the railings, but no finches at the feeding area, just Starlings, a Robin and a Dunnock.


Ocean Edge salt marsh at high water
106 Common snipe
4 Jack snipe

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The return of the ducks

seven gadwall and fourctufted duck graced Middleton today after a lengthy absence

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Little to Report?

Heysham Reserve
A low key ringing session by John at the hut feeding area which has only occasionally been topped up with food recently owing to access difficulties produced the following:
Goldcrest - 2 + 2 retraps
Goldfinch - 10 + 6 retraps
Chaffinch - 3 + 1 retrap
Robin - 1 + 1 retrap
Blue tit - 2 retraps
Great tit - 1 retrap
Blackbird - 1
Greenfinch - 2

Heysham Head
Nuthatch present near the Cafe again, apparently becoming resident at this location.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Partial Access Resumed

Heysham Nature Reserve
Access is now open into the reserve approach road. The car park, feeders and hut area are still closed, but the reserve is accessible via the classroom track and dipping pond area stile.

North Harbour Wall
On the feeding area were:
Linnet - 7, of which 3 were ringed
Goldfinch - 2
Robin - 1
Feral Pigeon - 2

North wall
70Bar-tailed Godwit
2 Little Egret
2 Snipe in heliport grass

Middleton NR
Buzzard still lingering
7 Mallard
Once again no sign of any Cetti's Warbler

Unseasonal Common Buzzard flew in
Roe Deer - 2
No ducks other than Mallard - most surprising

Thanks Malcolm/Alan

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Beauty and the beast

 Thanks to Derek for this Czech Med Gull pic
An 'artistic' tree rat taken through the front windscreen HNR entrance today

The reserve should be open again soon

Friday 2nd December

Ringing took place at a low level on Middleton NR this am and did nothing to change the opinion that most small birds evacuate this area although a flock of 9 retrap Long-tailed Tit did materialise!  No sign of the two Chiffchaff (one collybita and one Siberian) noted on the last thorough search although both of these were a bit away from the mist net sites and how much searching between rounds was done is not known

Malcolm covered Ocean Edge saltmarsh and Red Nab again and counts included at least 84 Snipe, one Jack Snipe and 196 Wigeon - further update tomorrow

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Snipe bonanza

Four possibly six jack snipe and 58 common snipe ocean edge saltmarsh along with a Reed bunting and 40 linnet

At least 186 wigeon on outfalls - a very high count for here

Thanks malcolm

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


There is coverage but unfortunately people are having great difficulty posting sightings.   Please send to me and I'll do my best (working away most of time).   Thanks

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

North wall whistle stop

Czech ringed med gull
Red throated diver offshore

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Siberian chiffchaff

Two chiffchaff on Middleton - collybita near solrec and a tristis type along the southern golf course edge hedge

Monday, 21 November 2016

Roe Deer save the day

Three Roe Deer together on Middleton the only sighting of note today (thanks Malcolm)

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Long range lingerers

11 common scoter were in the Kent channel

The only other things worth noting were 10 eider, Czech med gull and about 18 small finches on the north wall

Middleton held 8 teal but nothing else of note with diving suck still absent

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Meagre coastal fare

Flock of eight distant common scoter off heysham head on Kent channel

Large tit flock on heysham head included single treecreeper and nuthatch

A heysham ringed twite was seen at the feeder with about 18 linnet and low single figures of goldfinch

A circuit of the north wall sandworks and mound saw just one 1CY rabbit!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Nothing new

Oystercatchers and Redshank in the roost on the seawall yesterday
Jack snipe Middleton nature reserve but a virtual absence of wildfowl with no diving duck - never known this happen in non freezing conditions

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Heliport roost

Decent number of birds on the heliport roost today-  initially all on the seawall then spilling on to the seawall and grassland east of the heliport surface

Oystercatcher - 9100
Redshank - 470
Turnstone - 22
Lapwing - 34
Ringed plover 34
Dunlin - 19
Lapwing -41
Knot - 1!

Nothing offshore

1500 oystercatcher in field north of heysham head also fox!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Sea bits

Intermittent seawatching in the morning saw:

Red-throated diver - 2
Kittiwake - 1cy out, flock 27 in, ad behind Ben
Pintail - flock of 6 out
Auk app - 5 plus 3 out
Razorbill - 2 out
Med gull - Czech ad and possibly another ad behind Ben

North Harbour Wall feeding area:
Linnet - 17,  at least 30% with rings
Goldfinch - 7

7200 oystercatcher heliport
420 redshank heliport early on at least

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

14th and 15th November

Nothing I am aware of from the 14th, certainly not from a very rapid circuit of the north wall

Kingfisher - one by dipping pond Heysham NR (thanks Janet)

About 18 finches - 50:50ish Goldfinch/Linnet - on north wall seed.  Still no lingering Twite despite a significant number much closer than last autumn/winter

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Decent coverage highlighted by Siberian Chiffchaff and Short-eared Owl

The main feature today was Blackbird as some murky conditions and very intermittent drizzle saw a decent late autumn fall. 

Blackbird - at various sites (Tank farm, Middleton, Heysham NR, Half moon bay café and area scrub, Ocean Edge fringe scrub = 150-180, including some flocks eg 15 by HNR car park.  Undoubtedly more if the anemometer area and golf course edge had been grilled
Redwing - 6
Song Thrush - 2
Goldcrest - at least 7 new birds at Heysham NR and three unringed birds with LTT flock near Half moon bay.  No evidence Middleton.
Long-tailed Tit - minimum three flocks of unringed birds, one intercepted in Heysham NR nets plus 15 by Half moon bay café and c15 by anemometer
Meadow Pipit - 13 Ocean Edge and 15 dodging dogs on the grassland inland of half moon bay (odd choice!)
Skylark - one Ocean Edge
Short-eared Owl - one tank farm in the wet bit in the middle - landed again at far end so left in peace
Siberian Chiffchaff - one nice non-contentious buff bird in the bracken area on the tank farm, calling regularly and see very well for about 15 seconds when seen to be ringed on the right leg with a shiny new BTO-type ring.  Definitely not ours!
Brambling - male tank farm north end
Chaffinch - c8 tank farm
Blackcap - female ringed HNR feeder nets

Vis mig
Skylark - 2 S at Ocean Edge

At last some effort possible in the feeder rides next to the office as the construction site does not now include any trenches across the access.  Combined new birds Middleton/Heysham: Blackbird (9),  Blue tit (4), Robin (1), Song thrush (1), Goldcrest (7), Goldfinch (3), Long tailed tit (9), Greenfinch (1), Wren (1), Chaffinch (1), Blackcap (1CY female).
Odds and ends, including WeBS highlights
Kingfisher - one Red Nab
Snipe - 12 OE foreshore and flock of 12 also Middleton NR plus two singletons
Med Gull - Czech adult
Pink footed goose - large flocks moving NE around 08.00 high over MNR totalling at least 5000. possibly disturbed by wildfowlers to the south?
Ringed Plover - 19 OE and 16 heliport
Turnstone - 38 wooden jetty
Wigeon - 113 Red Nab of which 91 remained over the tide

Heliport seawall WeBS count
Redshank (160), Ringed Plover (16), Turnstone (11), Dunlin (19), Oystercatcher (2250), Curlew (2), Lapwing (3).  All bar 5 Oystercatcher on the seawall or top of seawall with calm conditions and tide less than 10m. Mammals
Grey Seal - one

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The view from the top

Heavy overnight rain had left puddles and slippy leaves everywhere. Heysham Barrows was doubly treacherous as a result, having to avoid multiple dogs racing around and watching your step on the leaves in the wood and the wet grass on the slopes. Having successfully reached the "summit" the view from the top yielded the following:

Common Scoter - a raft of 27 in the distance

Closer in were:
Great-crested Grebe - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 4
Eider - 3 (around  Heysham skeer)
Little Egret - 3 (on Heysham skeer)
Oystercatcher - several thousand feeding on Heysham skeer.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Bits of late autumn migration

Red throated diver - two together offshore
Blackbird - 35-40 hnr circuit
Redwing - 5 hnr circuit
Chaffinch - 15 s
Skylark - 5 s
Meadow pipit - 17 grounded oe foreshore
Chiffchaff - collybita by dipping pond hnr
Med gull - ad outfalls
Goldcrest - 2 hnr circuit
Jack snipe -  Middleton Nr ( thanks Steve)

Wasp - at least 5 social wasps attending nest

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Kittiwakes and golden plovers headline

What was shaping into a watching paint drying circuit livened up a bit as the Isle of Man ferry appeared.   It seemed to have dragged in a tight flock of 26 kittiwake which continued into the bay. Almost immediately afterwards, a flock of nine golden plover gained height and seemed to go inland over the barrows.   Odd?  Perhaps spooked by a peregrine further south on the lune estuary

Inshore sightings
Kittiwake -see above
Golden plover - see above
Med gull - adult

North wall
5 linnet and 6 goldfinch (just one ringed) on seed and a bizarre encounter with two birders surveying the heliport for passerines!   More surveyors than birds!!  One meadow pipit at the south end.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

More grebes

North Harbour Wall
In the low tide channels were:
Red-throated Diver - 1
Great-crested Grebe - 10
Common Scoter - a raft of 23
Grey Seals - 2 near the yellow buoys

Visiting the feeding station were:
Linnet - 16
Goldfinch - 6

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Only one Waxwing and a new office

Heysham Obs
New office being installed lunchtimish

Hopefully significantly, at least one Twite was on the seed on the north harbour wall this afternoon

Waxwing - one sewage works entrance just dropping from treetops on to rowans when a van turned up and reversed and the warning noise spooked the bird and it headed off SW.  Probably just arrived (1030ish)

Chiffchaff - in line of screening planting running west from sewage works with a rather odd disyllabic call as you sometimes get from these late birds, but not Siberian.  Couldn't see it as spent the whole time on sewage works side of dense trees

Med Gull adult Heysham one

Starling - flock of c2000 north Middleton mid-am
Woodpigeon - flock of 14 Middleton

Redwing - at least 6 Heysham NR reserve entrance but no access to reserve for further checks

Monday, 7 November 2016

Grebes and divers

North Harbour Wall
As the tide turned to incoming the following were fishing in or floating in on the low tide channels:

Red-throated Diver and a distant diver further offshore
Great-crested Grebe 6
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Eider 51
Grey Seal 1

No Twite but about 40 Linnets at the feeding station

Ad and 2CY meds on seaward end Heysham one

Heysham Nature Reserve
Chiffchaff by pond above the old, now non-existent, office
Goldcrest 6 heard, so probably more
Coal Tit 1 heard

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Three meds and a boat

A freezing cold walk around the sandworks saw 27 linnet, 4 goldfinch and a rock pipit

Watching a freight ferry in saw three adult meds in tow. None of which flew out to meet it therefore unlikely to include the Czech ringed bird.  Extra meds following ferries are very inconsistent

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Low ebb Middleton

Just 6 teal, 3 tufted duck and 7 mallard on a trawl round windy Middleton

Friday, 4 November 2016

Wigeon increase

A check of the north and south harbour for snow bunting revealed virtually nothing of interest bar the wigeon being up to 140 and about 10 linnet on the north wall.

Worth checking for waxwings this weekend and next week with quite a few rowans in the recording area

Thursday, 3 November 2016

1st to 3rd november

Events elsewhere notably Walney suggested we should have carried on intensive coverage for the first two days of November.  As it was we just had bits and pieces:

3rd Nov
Linnet - up to 18 on north wall
Med gull - Czech adult present
Guillemot - one flew out

2nd Nov north wall
Pink footed Goose - 60 NW flying over to cumbria plus c80 also NW over Barrow around 08.30. c60 SE later in morning flying SE over bay.
Linnet - revised my count back down to 16. Suspect double counting earlier - they were flitting about a lot.
Goldfinch - 1
Robin - 2
Dunnock - 1
wren - 1
Starling - 17

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

31st October

The weather suggested a half-chance of finding something decent today, but it didn't happen with a couple of likely locations receiving no coverage

Thanks Janet - taken today

North wall sandworks and mound
Blackcap - male rock-dodging at the end
Linnet - 14
Rock Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Starling - 15
Robin, Pied Wagtail, Wren and Dunnock in low single figures

Middleton NR (info from the ringers, Malcolm and Janet)
Chiffchaff - 2 ringed
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Reed Bunting - 2 ringed
Goldcrest - 10 ringed
Mute Swan - 2 pairs, 1 single + 4 juv
Moorhen - 10 (8 on "no swimming pond")
Gadwall - 5 (2male) no swimming pond
Mallard - 4
Teal - 4
Tufted Duck - 3
Pink-footed Goose - 3 north
Bullfinch - 5
Long tailed tit  - big flock of 20+ unringed with blue tit and 2 goldcrest.
Starling - 200 roosting in Typha by CES net one - one caught and ringed (first of year!)

Ocean Edge
Common snipe - 5

Red Nab
Wigeon - 101
Little egret - 4
Jackdaw - 6 south
Goldfinch - 18 north
Pink-footed Goose - 87  north

Migrant Hawker - 1 Middleton
Common Darter - 5+ Middleton
Diamond-back Moth - late and worn specimen north harbour wall SD36V

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Bits and bobs of late migrants

Can't complain about Yellowhammer, Merlin, Brambling, Twite etc, but may have missed a southbound Lapland Bunting over our air space or flushed from eg Ocean Edge foreshore (see just to the south of the recording area).   The ringers were dealt a few scraps but this is the time we utilise the feeders for passage finches and but can't get at them due to the on-going construction site for the new office! 

This gives a rather finch-less aspect to the October ringing totals.  Totals for the month including 31st:

Goldcrest (137), Redwing (80), Reed Bunting (70), Long-tailed Tit (46), Chiffchaff (42), Blue Tit (38), Blackbird (36), Pied/White Wagtail (34), Meadow Pipit (33), Goldfinch (32), Blackcap (31), Robin (27), Wren (22), Chaffinch (18), Coal Tit (15), Dunnock (10), Yellow-browed Warbler (8), Song Thrush (4), Great Tit (4), Lesser Redpoll (3), Bullfinch (2), Great spotted Woodpecker (2) and singletons of Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Greenfinch (!), Mealy Redpoll, Siskin, Linnet and a late Willow Warbler. 

Amazingly we seem to have managed to go throughout September and October catching a decent number of birds, but no rings at all from elsewhere other than ring-reading the returning Czech Med Gull!

Vis mig from various places - strong Skylark passage just starting as I called it a day
Merlin - female south (also seen by the Sunderland people)
Brambling - 4 - all first thing
Chaffinch - 60
Skylark - 33
Rock Pipit - 1
Greenfinch - 3
Goldfinch - 2
Pink-footed Goose - c200 and 45
Meadow Pipit - 3
Redwing - 2
Reed Bunting - 1

Grounded (all the mound stuff flushed by Merlin before I had sorted through them - then very spooky with Twite moving over the harbour)
Meadow Pipit - 15 mound
Twite - at least one probably 4 mound
Linnet - 12-14 mound
Rock Pipit - 1 seawall
Goldcrest - at least 10 Heysham Head
Blackbird - not a single one at Heysham Head or the lower part of the reserve (didn't do NE corner) - astonishing departure c/p yesterday and esp the day before.  Maybe just 10 Heysham NR upper part and 5-6 Middleton
Chiffchaff - 1 Heysham Nr
Yellowhammer - one heard calling Heysham western marsh west end but couldn't see it then stopped and had presumably 'vissed off' (Pine Bunting not eliminated)
Reed Bunting - 2-3 Middleton

Combined totals Middleton and Heysham of new birds:  Chaffinch (2), Goldcrest (10), Blackbird (5), singles of Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinch and Chiffchaff

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Firecrest remains

Thanks Janet

A lengthy session on Heysham nature reserve included a significant amount of time waiting for the Firecrest to reappear around the obs tower pond. After calling it was located in a birch tree for about a minute then just one more call in the next 25 minites.   Presumably went back into yesterday's nearby area

There were quite a few goldcrest scattered through the reserve including a loose gang of 14 but the only other prominent migrant was blackbird, mostly in the eastern sector

Heysham NR (not including tank farm)
Blackbird - 30
Goldcrest - 35
Redwing - 5
Song thrush - 2
Firecrest - 1
Bullfinch - 2
Chaffinch - 15 s
Goldfinch -2 a
Meadow pipit -3 s

North wall feeder
Starling -10
Linnet - 6
Meadow pipit - 3

A handful of thrushes and goldcrest were caught along with two less expected meadow pipit

Heysham head rectory wood
Coal tit -3
Goldcrest - 2

Emmelina monodactyla on ivy Heysham rectory wall

Friday, 28 October 2016

Firecrest highlights retrieval behind abus

Ouch - overslept after forgetting to set alarm and on my own for the rest of the recording area whilst Malcolm covered Middleton.    A 1000 start saw a decision to cover two sites which I knew would not have been disturbed - hence 'abus'.

North wall sandworks and mound (SD36V)
Goldcrest - 9 in seabuckthorn and one in gorse
Meadow pipit - c30 including four in off
Rock pipit -two together on sea wall
Linnet - 5
Twite - flighty singleton with some of meadow pipit
Robin - 5
Wren - 3
Pied wagtail - 2
Coal tit - 1 - ?? New for SD36
Song thrush - 1
Dunnock - 1
Cormorant - 83 on wooden jetty and nearby
Greenfinch - one south
Goldfinch - 7 south
Starling - 4

Tank farm
Firecrest - pretty sure this was a male - caught glimpse of fiery red in centre of crown
Took some nailing in a mix of bracken and hawthorn and only called three times in 30 minutes
Goldcrest - c15 scattered about
Blackbird - at least 50 allowing for mobility, perhaps as many as 70
Song thrush - 2
Redwing - 6
Coal tit - 4 - the only tits seen
All the rest if the stuff was deemed resident eg all robins were singing

Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
Wood pigeon - flock of 44 east
Cetti's warbler - one singing Male
Redwing - 12

Speckled wood - very tatty one

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Sand works fare

Managed to get access into the sand works and mound area to search for finches in what was unfortunately just about the worst landbird migration conditions of the month.

Linnet (11), wren (2), meadow pipit (1), robin (1) and two rabbits and a brown rat

Elsewhere there was an adult media gull and single black-tailed godwit on the south side

I'll post your pics tomorrow Janet

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Czech mate returns

Feels as though I have grown up with this bird, or more accurately grown old.  2003 and still counting as it sat on the railings on the north harbour wall this morning

North wall
Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult on the railings

Middleton NR and Heysham NR
Ringing on both sites didn't produce a great deal as the forecasted mist was a no-show.  Vis mig was terrible yet, like yesterday, a decent bird was in Morecambe Bay's airspace but unlike yesterday, sadly missing us out (Richards Pipit)

Ringing at both sites struggled to reach 30 birds in total which included half a dozen Goldcrest, 4 Redwing, 2 Reed Bunting

Grounded stuff at Heysham NR
included one Chiffchaff, 25 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush and about 25 Goldcrest

Vis mig at Heysham NR
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - 5
Siskin - 1-3
Skylark - 3

Monday, 24 October 2016

Mealy Redpoll a welcome addition for the year

The sort of morning where you felt something had to be about but didn't expect a small vis mig passerine to highlight, given the lack of numbers in that department

Considered to be an adult female (wing length 74.5mm)

Heysham NR coverage 0900-1000
Blackbird 30-40
Goldcrest 20
Redwing - 6
Chiffchaff - 1

Vis mig intermittent coverage
Redwing - 13
Carrion Crow - 6
Jackdaw - 21 (& 3 more over Middleton)

Heysham Head coverage
0855-0955 vis mig
Bullfinch 2
Goldfinch 4
Chaffinch 19
Greenfinch 1
Linnet 3
Skylark 12

In the bushes
Goldcrest 4
Coal tit 2
Blackbird 7
Song Thrush 1

Middleton ringing
Included one Mealy and two Lesser Redpoll - all caught as singletons

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Slow going for an October easterly

Some blocking cloud over southern Scandinavia has seriously disrupted the supposed second wave from the east and even the east coast was relatively quiet.

Here it was scraps under the table with the potentially best bird calling but not playing ball on visuals in the awkward NE corner of Heysham Nr - a candidate for Siberian chiffchaff

Heysham Nr grounded
Chiffchaff - 1
Cetti's warbler - one calling early am
Goldcrest - 5
Blackbird - 20
Redwing - 4
Jay - 3

Middleton ringing session
Long tailed tit - 10, redwing 4 and singletons of reed bunting, chiffchaff, goldfinch and a few retraps

Vis mig
Brambling 1 E
Grey Wagtail 1 NE
Chaffinch 6 E
Skylark 14 NE
Pink-footed Goose 60 N offshore
Lesser Redpoll 1 E
Rock Pipit 1 SE
Meadow Pipit 13 E
Siskin 10 NE
Heysham Head
Grounded: Siskin 2, Meadow Pipit 5, Goldcrest 5
South Harbour wall area:Black-tailed Godwit 1 feeding by outfalls
Meadow Pipit 5
Wigeon 83
OE foreshore:
Meadow Pipit 3
Linnet 21
Snipe 2
Former Pontins:
Goldcrest 2
Meadow Pipit 2
Middleton NR South:
Grey Wagtail 1
Goldcrest 2

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Brambling bonanza (for Heysham anyway)

Overhead vis was low key but livened up with coastal finch passage:
Brambling - 10
Chaffinch - 114
Siskin - 5
Goldfinch - 17
Greenfinch - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Meadow Pipit - 15
Skylark - 2
alba wagtail - 3
Reed Bunting - 2
Redwing - 7
Blackbird - 6
Song Thrush - 4
Pink-footed Goose 53 (16,37)
Whooper Swan - 6
Mute Swan - 2
Woodpigeon - 32
Jackdaw - 147
Snipe - 1
Raven - 2

For the first day since 6th October NO Redwing were caught and ringed.

News was received of a presumed Great Grey Shrike seen yesterday at 10:15 at Heysham Head. So that's two Greats missed by yours truly but at least someone was around to witness them.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Quiet weather and quiet day

 Nice 'air shot'!
 .........a bit stubby-billed
probably now in winter residence

No weather to really drop anything much today - visibility better than forecast.  As so often happens in quiet calm weather perfect for mist netting there was quite a lot of tootling around by local tit flocks and retraps were the order of the day for the first time for at least a couple of months.

The highlight was an out of habitat capture of Cetti's warbler below the old obs tower at Heysham Nr, presumably a newly arrived migrant. Low single figures of Coal Tit and Reed Bunting were ringed at Middleton and a single Chiffchaff at Heysham NR

Middleton saw a complete lack of migrant warblers - just probably two singing male Cettis

Vis (MNR)
Bullfinch - 1
Blackbird - 12
Pink-footed Goose - 1165 heading north in 4 flocks probably disturbed from Lane Ends
Jackdaw - 65
Linnet - 2
Chaffinch - 9
Meadow Pipit - 3
alba wagtail - 1
Grey Wagtail - 3
Sparrowhawk - 1
Song Thrush - 2
Mistle Thrush - 8 grounded, 1 over
Swallow - 1

Thursday, 20 October 2016

More migration

Vismig over the Heysham area from 0730-1030:
Pink-footed geese - 1085
Barnacle Goose - 2
Redwing - 86
Fieldfare - 30
Song Thrush - 1
Whooper Swan - 2
Siskin - 60
Redpoll sp - 1
Chaffinch - 64
Meadow Pipit - 17
Linnet - 19
Skylark - 21
Jackdaw - 32
Rook - 1
Carrion Crow - 13
alba wagtail - 23
Grey Wagtail - 2
Reed Bunting - 3
Sparrowhawk - 1
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 1

Ringing at Middleton NR (new birds):
Goldcrests dominated the catch.
Redwing - 6
Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest - 13
Chaffinch - 2
Chiffchaff - 1
Wren - 3
Reed Bunting - 2

A Cetti's Warbler was singing. A Little Egret flew over and two Goosanders dropped in briefly.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

At last!

This produced some varied sightings highlighted by a long overdue confirmed first record for the obs - two Great White Egret flying north over the eastern end of Middleton Nature Reserve at about 1015hrs.  Seen by Janet and Malcolm just after Janet had put her camera in the car - cue rapid action and a creditable shot given the circumstances.  One previous report from an angler of a big heron with a yellow beak going back a few years

The as-seen-on-TV mutt known as Mukka flushed two Jack Snipe from the model boat pond:

Vis mig initially from Heysham Head them Middleton when it was realised that it was calm enough for a short spell of ringing
Great White Egret - 2 north 1015ish
Whooper Swan - 2 S
Pink-footed Goose - 8+1
Jackdaw - 9+5
Chaffinch - 47 (early am)
Brambling - 2 (early am)
alba Wagtail - 4
Goldfinch - 9
Meadow Pipit - 7
Redwing - 2
Grey Wagtail - 1 or blogger
Skylark - 5
Song Thrush - 2

Grounded Middleton NR
Goldcrest - 20+
Blackcap - 3

Chiffchaff - 1
Reed Bunting - 2

Ringing in just two rounds of two nets at Middleton (all new):  Reed Bunting (2), Robin (1), Chiffchaff (1), Blackcap (2), Goldcrest (12)

Cetti's Warbler - singing male usual place Middleton
Common Scoter - flock of 10 female/imms off Heysham Head

Tuesday 18th October northwesterly routine

A break from bush bashing in a brisk WNW wind which did not seem to hold any seabirds of note - notably a big fat zero behind the IOM ferry

Red Nab/outfalls incoming tide
Med Gull - 2CY and adult
Little Gull - adult briefly end of outfalls

Heysham Head café area
Chiffchaff - 1
Nuthatch - 1

Monday, 17 October 2016

Bit of a trawl

Heysham Obs
After being delayed as someone decided the rush hour ended at 0900 and imposed traffic control on Caton Road by the refurbishing Shell Garage to unload the contents of a huge lorry with a crane, finally made it after a pre-10m tide errand to Sunderland Point was delayed as Jean located a Yellow-browed Warbler calling in the first garden south of the toilet block!   Cue a bit of subsequent coverage of the recording area!

Heysham NR (including quarry and bushes below obs tower)
Chiffchaff - one
Goldcrest - low single figures

Ocean Edge
Rock Pipit - 1
Skylark - flock of 5 south

On quiet days waders sometimes use the seawall at high tide (thanks Janet):

North harbour wall
Linnet - 6 on seed

Heysham Head
Loads of common stuff in the sheltered trees near the churchyard including:
Chiffchaff - singing male and probably one other
Goldcrest - 5 ish
Nuthatch - 1

Dipped out on Ivy Bee next to the café at Heysham Head
3 Red Admiral Heysham Head and the following pics taken by Janet down the dog track end of Heysham NR:

Sunday 16th October

Heysham dipping pond area and webs

Yellow-browed Warbler - one appeared with very large LTT etc flock and headed north along the bushes by the dipping pond - assume same as two days ago
Long-tailed Tit - at least 16 with all seen unringed
Coal Tit - at least three
Chiffchaff - alder wood

Rock Pipit - 2 ocean edge, one north wall
Little Egret - 5 roosting on sunny slopes grpyne at high tide (ooa - seen from)

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Black Redstart

Heysham NR/non-op
Black Redstart - 1CY found in between Heysham Nature Park and Heysham Nature Reserve but in an area out of bounds to the public but visible around the old green 'Nissan hut' looking through the fence from the Nature park.  No phone-scoping here!
Ring Ouzel - one with a noticeable band and one without - arose separately from the same cover just to the east of the construction compound and flew into the tank farm - one via the mist nets if they had been set!
Blackbird - c15 on reserve
Redwing - 2 on reserve
Song Thrush - 3 on reserve
Chiffchaff - 2 on reserve
Goldcrest - pretty non-existent - 5 with tit flock
Brambling - at least one over early am (two birds together but only one call)
Chaffinch - 25 S
A huge flock of LTT-dominated tits but also including at least 4 Coal Tits seemed to hoover everything except two long-staying Chiffchaff up and head off down the dog track.  Not all additional birds seen properly
No sign/sound of yesterdays calling Cetti's Warbler

Gate 38 and wooden jetty
Meadow Pipit - 6 by wooden jetty
alba Wagtail - 15 by wooden jetty
Nothing in 'firecrest cover'
Shag - 1CY on wooden jetty - on lower tier and very nearly missed!

Heysham Head
Only did churchyard and area as r.s.p.
Pink-footed Goose - 45E
Goldcrest - 10
Treecreeper - one
Nuthatch - one - seemed to be more in gardens
Tawny Owl - one called x 3!

Middleton NR
Redwing 17 ex roost mainly
Fieldfare 5
Song Thrush 2
Snipe 1
Brambling 1

Ringing (rained off at 10am)
Redwing 6
Blackbird 1
Blackcap 2
Reed Bunting 3
Chiffchaff 2
Goldcrest 8
Long-tailed Tit 1 plus 2 retraps
Goldfinch 1
Blue Tit 1
Robin 1 retrap

Friday, 14 October 2016

Reduced coverage not without interest

Heysham NR grounded
Quite a bit of stuff by the dipping pond-reserve entrance
Yellow browed Warbler - calling about 100m down dog track,
Cetti's Warbler - calling behind dipping pond
Treecreeper - in the taller trees
Chiffchaff 2
Blackbird - 11
Song Thrush - 2

Ringing at Middleton saw mainly tits with a handful of odds and ends with them

Vis Heysham and Middleton - poor is an understatement given the conditions:
Redwing 17
Fieldfare 4
Alba Wagtail 6
Snipe 4
Chaffinch 16
Greylag goose 14S and 7 N (most unusual at this time of year)(
Woodpigeon 8
Blackbird 8
Raven 2
Skylark - 14

Then off to Easington for a nice relaxing twitch after the morning madhouse and before the after work hordes. Parked by the entrance and was watching the bird within seconds! (Siberian accentor not requiring a plane charter)

Thursday, 13 October 2016


Heysham Obs
Two observers and one ringer produced 2-3 new Yellow-browed Warblers and we were a bit disappointed!  There just wasn't the number of birds around today with the possible exception of Chiffchaff on the wastelands to the south of Ocean Edge.  The Yellow-browed Warbler caught at Middleton had a fat score of 4, indicating off passage but couldn't obviously be related to any we had found previously.  It is perhaps significant that NONE of the birds ringed this year (eight) have given any indication of their presence prior to capture and all the 'in the field' finds have been away from the nets, notably Middleton

Vis over MNR/Pontins :
Redwing 11 E
Skylark 7 E
Brambling 1 SE
Pink-footed Goose 244 N
Meadow Pipit 16 SE
Lesser Redpoll 3 E

Grounded MNR/Pontins :
Yellow-browed Warbler 1 (either moved c300m or two birds)
Siskin 2 then E
Blackcap 5
Chiffchaff 5
Goldcrest 5
Meadow Pipit 4
Blackbird 13

Heysham Head (too windy?) :
Tree Sparrow 1
Goldcrest 4
Meadow Pipit 1
Chaffinch 2 E

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 1CY
Wigeon - 114
Black-tailed Godwit - 2

Ringing Middleton
Yellow-browed Warbler (1), Coal Tit (4), Redwing (5), Goldcrest (4), Chiffchaff (2), Wren (1), Reed Bunting (1)

Vis mig Hey NR
alba Wagtail - 14 SE
Redpoll spp - 1 SE
Meadow Pipit - 16 SE
Brambling - 1 SE
Chaffinch - 14 S
Mistle Thrush - 1 S
Jackdaw - flock of 33 west then NE
Carrion Crow - 3 S

Grounded HNR
Song Thrush - 6
Blackbird - 2!
Goldcrest - 11
Chiffchaff - 1
Redwing - 1!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

More YBWs and three Crossbill

Heysham Obs
Ringing today was split between Middleton (having an 'off' day) and an attempt below the old Obs tower which was rather successful.  Question:  how many Yellow-browed Warblers would we have recorded if we had been able to use our office net site this autumn?  As it is, this attempt saw our first ever example of two in a mist net on the same day (John Mason) in an area which was well-searched and blanked yesterday by two observers

The third YBW bird allowed the comment "almost certainly the same as the previous day" for this first time during this influx.  Heard calling along the northern boundary of the reserve from the alder copse boardwalk, so necessary to check it wasn't someone messing with playback as this was a 'known site' from yesterday!  It wasn't.

Three fly-over Crossbill heading SW were the first of the year I am aware of.

Grounded and intermittent vis mig Heysham NR 0740-0900
Goldcrest - c20
Yellow-browed Warbler - 3 (one for second day and the other two ringed)
Chiffchaff - 3
Redwing - 16
Song Thrush - 5
Blackbird - just 10
Rook - 4 north
Jackdaw - 26 N
alba Wagtail - 11 S
Meadow Pipit - 14 S
Skylark - 2 S

Redwing - just 10 ringed first thing
Otherwise seemingly dead apart from
Jackdaw - c40 N/NE
Reed Bunting - 1E

Outfalls area
Wigeon - 126

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

No Yebwas at Middleton NR

Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler at Heysham today (yawn!) but none at Middleton where there was, however, a slight boost in Chiffchaff and Blackcap numbers.  Fewer thrushes though.

Keep an eye open for Ivy Bee amongst the hordes of social wasps and drone flies etc on ivy.  One was seen at Sunderland Point 3 days ago and there is a report from Heysham on the database but these are two of only ??three in the north west

Heysham Head :
Song Thrush 7
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 4
Mistle Thrush 1 then N
Meadow Pipit 4

Nuthatch 1
Coal Tit 2
Heysham Head visSkylark 5 N
Redwing 6 NE
Meadow Pipit 36 E
Lesser Redpoll 3 E
Rook 4 NE
Pink-footed Goose 49 N
Grey Wagtail 1 E
alba wag 5 E

The Legendary 'Tank Farm' (no general access)
Goldcrest 1
Chiffchaff 2
Blackcap 2
Redwing 5
Song Thrush 5
Bullfinch 1
Meadow Pipit 11 E
Grey Wagtail 2 NE

Grounded Heysham NR
Yellow-browed Warbler - noisy one in the willows near the alder copse, then moved to and 'went quiet' in the alder copse before calling again once.  A Yellow-browed or Pallas's seen very briefly near the dipping pond but we couldn't dig it out again and it may have been the small silent silhouette which shot across the road into the dog-walk screening.  Not a peep from it in an hour or so and only the  size/jizz, underparts (white with no obvious yellow anywhere) and a bit of a supercilium seen.
Coal Tit - 6+4 through rapidly south
Chiffchaff - 2-3
Blackcap - 2
Song Thrush - 6
Blackbird - 11 - all near dipping pond
Redwing - 1
Goldcrest - 20

Vis at Middleton 0630-1030
Meadow Pipit 11
Redwing 30
Pink-footed Goose - flock of 49
Jackdaw 43 ( and 70 more seen later at Overton)
Alba Wagtail 1
Goldfinch - a flock of 24

Ringing at Middleton
Redwing 2
Wren 3
Goldcrest 7
Reed Bunting 5
Pied Wagtail 2
Blackbird 2 new, 2 retraps
Blackcap 4
Blue Tit 2
Grey Wagtail 1
Long-tailed Tit 3
Dunnock 1
Chiffchaff 5
Goldfinch 9
Linnet 1

Monday, 10 October 2016

Three more Yellow-brows!

Yellow-browed Warblers
1) By the ex-observation tower pond Heysham NR - an area not checked yesterday along with another bird and two distant calls I would have liked a better view of.  No access possible.
2) Ringed Middleton (pic)
3) Found by Malcolm along the SE perimeter willows on the golf course; access from Middleton

Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - 2
Brambling - flock of three over first thing
Song Thrush - c12
Redwing - just two
Blackbird - 15
Goldcrest - 15
Blackcap - 1

Vis Middleton
GreyWagtail 3
Redwing 28
Brambling 1
Pink-footed Goose 31
Siskin 1
Jackdaw 9
Alba Wagtail 5
Song Thrush 2
Skylark 7
Meadow Pipit 47
Great spotted Woodpecker 1

New: Yellow-browed Warbler 1, Robin 1, Redwing 4, Grey Wagtail 2, Goldcrest 6, Blackcap 3, Blackbird 3, Water Rail 1, Reed Bunting 4, Chiffchaff 2, Coal Tit 1, Long-tailed Tit 1, Blue Tit 2

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler fest

This morning took Yellow-browed warbler to a new level with at least 5 and quite possibly 6 birds involved

1) Two with Long-tailed Tits below HNR classroom heading southish through the bushes
2) One with Chiffchaff in willows next to alder copse - almost certainly headed for the NE corner with Blue Tit or just went quiet as they can do - quite difficult to watch these bushes
3) One ringed Middleton NR
4) One calling a lot by the gun club, Middleton - just possibly the ringed bird but no ring noticed
5) One in the newly christened dog-infested 'chavvy scrub' inland from the half moon bay car park (found after a nice break at the excellent half moon bay café)
Bird 5) - photo Dan Haywood
Bird 3) Middleton NR

Heysham Head and scrub behind car park at half moon bay (Dan)
Blackcap 2-3
Yellow-browed Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 6
Redwing 10 then N

Coal Tit 2 gorse-hopping N
Long-tailed Tit 10 as above
Song Thrush 2

Swallow 2 E
Redwing 36 N
Mistle Thrush 5 N
Meadow Pipit 143 mostly E (but also N & NE)
Skylark 45 E
Lesser Redpoll 10 E
Siskin 8 + E
Goldfinch 5 SE
Greenfinch 4 E
Chaffinch 12 SE, E
Pink-footed Goose 14 N, 35 SE
alba wag 6 N, 4 SE
Heysham NR wetland area and surrounds
Yellow-browed Warbler - 2 together as above and a singleton (0800ish)
Chiffchaff - 4
Redwing - 400 inland - all in first 15 mins
Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - c15
Coal Tit - flock of 5 headed south
Brambling - one east first thing (IOA)
Blackbird - 10 - less than yesterday

Middleton NR vis 0930-1130
Meadow Pipit 36
Skylark 30
Siskin 5
Lesser Redpoll 1
Song Thrush 1
Chaffinch 1
Redwing 76
Fieldfare 9
alba wagtail 3
Grey Wagtail 1
Blue Tit 5
Linnet 1
Goldfinch 2

Sparrowhawk (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Wren (1), Robin (2), Redwing (13), Yellow-browed Warbler (1), Chiffchaff (2), Goldcrest (6), Chaffinch(2), Reed Bunting (10)


Saturday, 8 October 2016

An early snow bunting and a late willow warbler

A Snow Bunting flew se over Heysham head this morning and two Yellow-browed Warblers were found in fairly quick succession at lunchtime. On the warbler front, a late Willow Warbler was more unexpected than YBW.  Of more long term significance than these fly by day/nights was a singing Cettis warbler in a new area

Heysham NR
Chiffchaff 8, Yellow-browed Warbler  1 (in willows next to south side of entrance road - settled and present 1.5 hrs at least), Goldcrest  c20, Redwing 5, Song thrush 7, Blackbird 25, Siskin 2, Jay 3, Coal Tit 5

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler - singing male SW corner near caravan site boundary
Yellow-browed Warbler - one (unringed)  in bushes alongside caravan site SW corner
Song Thrush 2
Redwing 79
Reed Bunting 6
Snipe 3
Goldcrest 1
Meadow pipit 5
Chaffinch 1
Grey Wagtail 6
Mistle Thrush 2
Greylag 9
Linnet 6
and a Little Egret flew north.
Heysham Head
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff 4
Goldcrest c10
Grey Wagtail 1
Coal Tit 4 hopping south
Blackbird 8 continental-looking
Song Thrush 2
Vis mig
Middleton details with Jean
Heysham Head
Snow Bunting 1
Reed Bunting 1
Swallow 2
Chaffinch 3
Grey Wagtail 3
Pink-footed Goose 9
alba wag 17
Mistle Thrush 18
Skylark 27
Meadow Pipit 32

Middleton Ringing
Ringing was quite slow this morning with birds caught in small numbers throughout the five hour session.  There were 40 captures in total:
Redwing - 5
Blackbird - 1 (a large, probably continental, bird)
Song Thrush - 2
Reed Bunting - 9
Wren - 2
Goldcrest - 2 + 1 retrap (the only retrapped bird of the day after 8 consecutive days' ringing at this site)
Blackcap - 3
Great Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Grey Wagtail - 1 (the only one captured of a number of passage birds today)
Pied Wagtail - 4
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldfinch - 1
Siskin - 1
Willow Warbler - 1 (a very late individual whose identification was scrutinised carefully by three ringers


Friday, 7 October 2016

More easterlies and migration...and a bit of cloud

The key things today were cloud cover with drizzle just inland of us and this dropped a few more Yellow-browed Warblers with two in the recording area and one just outside to the south and a really big gang of alba Wagtails (at least two very obvious adult White) on Ocean Edge foreshore............but the juv Sabine's Gull was nowhere to be seen after a good innings

Ocean Edge foreshore grounded
alba Wagtail - 125
Meadow Pipit - 30
Skylark - 2
Linnet - 16
Med Gull - the only interest on a prolonged long range scan of the outfalls was a single 1CY

More grounded migrants
Yellow-browed Warbler - one seen and heard by the pond along the footpath to Red Nab (Brian Tollitt) and one caught and ringed at Middleton NR (thanks to Joanne for the pic who was then inspired to go and find her own just to the south of the recording area (see pic LDBWS sightings thread))!

Middleton vis mig
Redwing 30
Song Thrush 1
Snipe 2
Pied Wagtail 24
Siskin 33
Grey Wagtail 3
Meadow Pipit 13 (a lot more over Ocean Edge)

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Sabine's remains and another Middleton vis/ringing session

The juvenile Sabine's gull switched outfalls this morning as Heysham two's food source seemed to be temporarily suspended as per 'outage'.    Three rock pipit were along ocean edge foreshore but nothing else of interest eg no meds.

Middleton saw the following
Field fare - singleton IOA
Redwing - 44
Most of the trickle of vis consisted of pied wagtails (40) and a slight upsurge in meadow pipit (58), Song Thrush (2), Snipe (16), Lesser Redpoll (2), Chaffinch (1), Siskin (4), Skylark (1), Grey Wagtail (4), Reed Bunting (3).

Ringing included 5 Redwing, 8 Pied wagtail, 15 long-tailed tit, two chiffchaff, one blackcap and three reed bunting

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Sabine's stays and Ring Ouzel arrives.

The juv Sabine's Gull was feeding on Outfall 2 again and sometimes resting on the sand nearby. Here are a couple of superb photos by Mark Nightingale showing all the plumage details and comparison with Black-headed Gull:

Also on the Outfalls was an adult Little Gull and 2 x 1CY Mediterranean Gulls.
Two Rock Pipits and 6 Siskin passed through the Red Nab area.

It was a calm start this morning at Middleton Nature Reserve but by 10am the ESE wind was up to force 4 so ringing proceedings had to come to halt.

Pre-dawn a number of Blackbirds were chacking and shortly after dawn, 4 Redwing rose from their roost. A Cetti's Warbler gave a short burst of song and a Water Rail squealed. The 7 o'clock Grey Wagtail evaded the nets once again. A bit of excitement was afforded by the sudden arrival of a Ring Ouzel which disappeared just as quickly somewhere behind the small brick building on the north side of the reserve.

Visible migration was far more meagre than the last few days and consisted of the following:
alba wagtail 62 (largest flock = 17)
Reed Bunting 2
Swallow 3
Chaffinch 1
Goldfinch 7
Meadow Pipit 29
Song Thrush 2
Siskin 1
Skylark 4
Grey Wagtail 3
Snipe 1

Ringing consisted of:
Blackcap 2
Goldcrest 1
Blue Tit 1
Reed Bunting 3
Blackbird 1 (a fine young male continental Blackbird with long wings and a black bill)
Pied Wagtail 3
White Wagtail 1


Same again minus the geese!

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 1 x 2CY, 1 x Ad, 1 x 1CY
Sabine's Gull - juv until at least 1305 and there were birders watching it when I left, so any update?
Little Gull - ad

Thanks for the pics Jim

Middleton vis mig
Reed Bunting - 2
Meadow Pipit - 25 at least
Alba Wagtail - 39
Snipe - 1
Grey Wagtail - 9 (2 ringed)
Linnet - 2
Swallow - 2
Siskin 2 lots heard
House Martin - 1 over Heysham nr later

Yellow-browed Warbler - TWO calling at the same time Heysham NR dipping pond area early am then one called twice in 50 minutes along the nearby golf course screening planting c1320 and c1345
Chiffchaff - one ringed Middleton
Blackcap - one ringed Middleton

Ringing at Middleton:  Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (5), Goldcrest (2), Chiffchaff (1), Wren (1), Blackcap (1), Coal Tit (1), Robin (1) and 'some' Blue Tit!

Mink seen Middleton NR (per Dave)

Monday, 3 October 2016

Great day after a slow start

Usually migration weather is all about a dawn start on the west coast and take it from there.  A routine bit of coverage say for 2-3 hours from dawn today would have labelled the morning as 'duff' apart from the lingering Sabine's Gull.  Then the wind started to kick in a bit........  My personal day's birding included finding and seeing just two warblers - two Yellow-browed - and I even turned down the chance of seeing the Middleton bird in the hand.  How times have changed with this species! Thanks to Jean Roberts for the YBW pic and Mark Breaks for the Brents (there were seven!) and Sabines Gull pics

Sabine's Gull - still on outfalls until at least high tide
Yellow-browed Warbler - Three in the recording area and one just to the south.  Noisy one located by HNR entrance road mid-am which flew towards dipping pond mid-morning and left messing about in the willows on the north side. It or another was seen in the same area by Gav Thomas c1715hrs.  Then decided to work Heysham Head before the wind got up (needed a cup of coffee!) and after doing the churchyard area walked back towards the car and one started calling above about 1015ish.  Incredibly hyperactive and noisy and flew across the rectory garden before flying back across to the ivy covered wall, then back up into the canopy.  After a final call from the canopy at the back of the Rectory garden one more time, it was not seen again and must have moved on avoiding the Long-tailed Tit flock.  Then at 1130 one was caught and ringed at Middleton NR and released by the 'no swimming pond' next to the model boat pond.  One was located just to the south of the recording area along the Potts Corner road late afternoon (unringed) [and one further south still by Sunderland toilet block]
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - the flock of seven located by Gav Thomas two days ago at Plover Scar appeared on Red Nab and logically yesterdays distant skeer sighting was of the only two visible birds on a skeer with a 'far side slope'
Stonechat - male near Heysham NR office then on to tank farm
Nuthatch - one Heysham Head

Others of note
Rock Pipit - one along OE foreshore at HT
Kittiwake - juv harbour area
Little Gull - usual adult around outfalls
Wheatear - two on coast
Med Gull - 2 x 2CY, 1 x Ad and 1 x 1CY seen at various time but by no means cooperative today

Routine vis mig and ringing (over to you Jean!)
Pink-footed Goose - 140 over sea (three skeins)
Redwing 127
Meadow Pipit 13
Greylag 11
Grey Wagtail 9
Skylark 1
Linnet 8
Siskin 3
Carrion Crow 5
Jackdaw 17
Alba Wagtails 16

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Redwing arrive along with an unexpected calm weather Sabine's Gull!

The Sabine's Gull was presumably that seen by Stuart Sharp at the northern end of Morecambe a couple of days ago.  Thanks to Gavin for the pics:



The first Redwing of autumn 2016 arrived this morning.
Headline birds
A juv Sabine's Gull was found on Heysham Outfall 2 by Mike Robinson. It "showed well", down to less than 10m and was still feeding on small fish on the outfall at 17:05hrs. It could well be the bird seen recently off the Stone Jetty and Hest Bank.
A Yellow-browed Warbler was heard on and off in the small trees at the northern end of the Model Boat Pond until noon at least (Malcolm Downham)
Two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were on an offshore skear at low tide.
A Kingfisher flew past the outfalls (A.Cornall)
Middleton Nature Reserve
Ringing 0630-1130
Glorious blue skies (see photo above) usually mean a "clearout" of night migrants and certainly all the warblers of previous days had disappeared.
Redwing 1 (adult)
Blackbird 1
Reed Bunting 6
Meadow Pipit 12
Goldcrest 5 plus 1 retrap
Grey Wagtail 2
Robin 1 plus 1 retrap
Wren 1 plus 1 retrap
Great Tit 1
Chaffinch 2
Blue Tit 2
Redwing 29 - flying fairly low and going in various directions.
Pink-footed Geese 165
Meadow Pipit 234 - still piling through
Linnet 9
Skylark 2
Swallow 7
Grey Wagtail 5 (2 ringed)
Siskin 6
alba wagtail 1
Raven 1
Buzzard 4
Kestrel 1
Sparrowhawk 2
Lesser Redpoll 1
Corvids 4 (Jackdaw and Crows)
A Small White was near Red Nab - a late date for this species

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler arrives!

Weather: ENE F2, mainly overcast, 10C

Middleton Nature Reserve scored again, this time with a Yellow-browed Warbler.

In addition 62 other birds were ringed or processed:
Meadow Pipit 17
Goldcrest 7 new and 1 retrap
Long-tailed Tit 7 new and 1 retrap
Chiffchaff 6
Blackcap 5
Robin 4 new and 1 retrap
Reed Bunting 4
Great spotted Woodpecker 2
Blue Tit 2
Dunnock 2
Wren 1
Great Tit 1
Grey Wagtail 1

Sites checked today for birds of note or migrants:
Heysham Head - just 2 Chiffchaff. The Nuthatch was still there.
Heysham Nature Reserve - Cetti's Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrests, a Kingfisher, 1 Redwing heard
Ocean Edge - Whinchat (female or immature)
Red Nab/Outfalls - 4 Med Gulls, adult Little Gull

Visible migration was slow to get underway until 9am. The totals below are for all birds logged in the Heysham area, from Heysham Head, Heysham Nature Reserve, Ocean Edge foreshore and Middleton NR between 0630-1315hrs:
Meadow Pipit 1077
Pink-footed Goose 167 plus other flocks heard but not seen
Alba wagtail 98
Swallow 71
Linnet 39
Skylark 28
MistleThrush 22 (a flock of 21 and a singleton)
Chaffinch 6
Siskin 5 lots heard but not seen
Grey Wagtail 4
Raven 3
Jay 3
Reed Bunting 2
Lesser Redpoll 1
Teal 1

Friday, 30 September 2016

Pink foot day

Rather intermittent sea and land coverage this morning at Heysham included monitoring most of the pink feet going over.  Best birds were two light bellied Brent low over the sea heading out and across

Mainly ocean edge then Heysham head vis
Pink footed goose - 770 plus three flocks heard only
Light-bellied Brent goose - two flying west low over the sea
Gannet - adult 'grounded' by outfalls, then flew out
Haven't got small passerines figures (Jean)

Outfalls and red nab
Little gull - possibly two adults
Med gull - 4x 2cy, 2x  ad, one x 1cy

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A few scraps in a squall-free zone

Not a bad seawatch by recent September standards which shows just how dire they have been!

Sea 0830ish to 1230ish - definite sightings of note
Great Skua - distant bird in at 0900, medium range bird in at 1145
Arctic Skua - one seen by visiting birdwatcher 0930ish
Gannet - juv out
Kittiwake - 2-3 adults seen
Guillemot - one out close inshore
Golden Plover - two out

Inshore stuff
Little Gull - adult Heysham 2 outfall incoming tide
Med Gull - 3-4 x 2CY, 2 x ad, 1 x 1CY

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Wet fret

In other words visibility was pants.  Gave up and went home

Red Nab
One 2CY Med Gull, half a dozen Wigeon (20 yesterday) and a miserable looking Little Egret

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

More bird scaring antics from an individual associated with Potts Corner access

This character has been mentioned before and his clearance of a roost of over 4000 waders today involved some deliberate driving, accompanied by two greyhounds, straight at a splinter group of 250 which had the temerity to land again, .  Along with the pony and trap, an effective bird scarer but why?  What is the agenda of the people who control the access at Potts Corner and obviously know these people?  Soon after this picture was taken the vehicle turned round and it & dogs flushed the remaining waders which flew towards Pilling

Red Nab held 2 x 2CY and 1 x 1CY Med and the usual ad Little Gull

Monday sightings and Nuthatch surprise

First of all a nice sighting of one of our Grey Wagtails at Carsington Water, Derbyshire, at the end of August.  This was deemed to be passing through and, as such was a case of an adult (female) on the move (ringed autumn 2014)

Secondly all sorts of bits from today which are not in my own notebook, mainly on the small arrival of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff theme

The key sightings were probably two Nuthatch on Heysham Head along with a flushed Tawny Owl.  The latter was known to be there but certainly not Nuthatch, despite the habitat looking great.  One downer though is a plague of Grey Squirrel

The outfalls held the usual adult Little Gull, two Med Gulls and a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper

Sunday, 25 September 2016

It's done it again

What looked to a spell of unbroken strong south westerlies this week has descended into nothingness with faint possibilities of something leach's petrel wise  Thursday am.    Despite Friday now being back on as a slack weather mist netting day it doesn't currently look like Yellow-browed warbler is on the obvious agenda.   At least there are possibilities for odds and sods on the outfalls.

Red nab/outfalls dropping tide
Little gull - definitely two adults
Med gull - 2x2cy, 4xad, 1x1cy

Saturday, 24 September 2016


An approaching low tide check of the outfalls and red nab saw a decent number of med gulls, notably a gang roosting on the SW point of red nab

Outfalls/red nab
Med gull - 5 x 2cy, 3xad and 3-4 mobile 1cy
Wigeon - 6 (first four two days ago - thanks pete)
Little gull - ad

The NR office is being demolished this morning

Friday, 23 September 2016

Getting late for both whitethroats

A bits and pieces day with a three net ringing session at Middleton, some coverage on Heysham head and around HNR office.   A decent amount of vis for a couple of hours mid morning.

Vis mig approximates
Meadow pipit - 200 se
Alba wagtail - 40 se
Grey wagtail - 7 se
Siskin - 1
Swallow -45 (small number in roost)
Starling - 4 s
Skylark -2 se

Lesser whitethroat - 1 Heysham head
Whitethroat - one ringed Middleton
Blackcap - 3 scattered singletons located
Blue tit - largest flock of the Autumn ringed at Middleton!
Goldcrest - gang of c15 Heysham head but just one new bird caught at Middleton
Stonechat - report of male Heysham
Head two days ago

Red admiral south

Included grey wagtail (4), blackcap, whitethroat

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Quiet apart from the Med flock

A very low key session on Middleton as the wind swung into a very unhelpful WNW direction

Vis mig
Swallow - 2 (6 ex-roost)
Meadow Pipit - c20 SE
Grey Wagtail - 3
Siskin - heard

Cetti's Warbler singing regularly up to about 0745 along northern edge of western marsh reedbed

Ringing:  Grey Wagtail (1), Meadow Pipit (5), Chiffchaff (1), Robin (1), Great Tit (1)

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - 11 - 5 x 2CY, 5 x ad (one metal-ringed right leg), 1 x 1CY
White Wagtail - one adult male OE foreshore

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Middleton marathon continues

Wind direction - SE

Swallow "roost" - just 2
Starling from the power station roost - 90

Grey Wagtail - 7 (1 at 0705, 2 at 0845, 1 at 0940, 2 at 1000, 1 at 1015)
Meadow Pipit - 42
Snipe 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Jay 3

Ringing (new birds)
Robin - 1
Goldcrest - 5
Reed Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 4
Reed Bunting - 2
Blackcap - 3
Blue Tit - 2
Meadow Pipit - 3
Grey Wagtail - 1
Jay - 1
Retrapped birds:
Reed Bunting - 1
Blue Tit - 1
Dunnock - 1

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Pinkfeet make their presence felt as the warblers are reduced to a trickle

Wind direction - ENE to start then WNW at 1000hrs

Perfect ringing conditions this morning with flat calm and high cloud covering the sun.  The ringing was rather different than of late other than a decent haul of Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail.  The morning was almost 'phyllosc-less' until a belated Chiffchaff accompanied a small gang of Blue Tit. 

Swallow - only 1 and none had roosted
Grey Wagtail - 11 (2 at 0705, 1 at 0720, 1 at 0805, 2 at 0805, 2 a bit later, 2 at 0850, 1 at 1000)
Meadow Pipit - 101 plus 15 trapped
alba wagtail - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Siskin - 2
Carrion Crow - 8
Skylark - 1
Pink-footed Geese - 65
Haven't got the vis mig data to hand but included several flocks of Pinkfeet, a good Grey Wagtail passage, steady Meadow Pipit, a few Siskin and Carrion Crow but only one Swallow and Skylark

Ringing included the following migrants: Grey Wagtail (6), Meadow Pipit (15), a late Whitethroat, Blackcap (4), Goldcrest (5), Chiffchaff (1), Reed Bunting (2)

The Cetti's Warbler sang early morning

Monday, 19 September 2016

Reduced effort in clear northerly

Light northerly wind

Just three nets set at Middleton and they came up with three early morning migrant reed bunting, low single figures of chiffchaff and blackcap, one goldcrest, a couple of grey wagtail and a few meadow pipit.    The meadow pipit passage suddenly dried up about 0930 just as we thought it would 'get going'!

Two adult and one 2cy med were all the foreshore had to offer at low tide

Pink-footed goose - skeins of 20 and 60 south over Heysham skeer (thanks Malcolm)

Vis at Middleton NR
No geese heard or seen
Grey Wagtail 7 (1 at 0640 trapped, 2 at 0700 (1 trapped), 1 at 0720, 1 at 1050, 1 at 1130, 1 at 1145
Meadow Pipit 42 plus 11 trapped
alba wagtail 3
Snipe 3 (2 +1)

A Peregrine flew towards the power station.

Marginally possible for a ybw this side tomorrow?

Sunday, 18 September 2016

More Middleton mipits

Wind direction - SSE (Upper air W)

Today's statistics were quite impressive, given the classic 'duff' early morning duo of (stronger than forecast) southerly wind and heavy black clouds over SW Cumbria.   This usually grounds nothing and knocks our main source of vis - cross-Bay - on the head

Heysham NR/Ocean Edge
Pink-footed Goose - heard to the west from HNR car park (belated IOA)
Med Gull - adult and 1CY
Robin - at least 10 ticking birds around HNR office/car park, suggesting an arrival which I don't think was replicated in the Middleton mist nets
Goldcrest - 2-3 heard Heysham NR car park area (no warbler spp in the 20 mins spent there)

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler - the western marsh male in song early morning

Vis was much reduced:
Meadow Pipit - 48
Grey Wagtail - 3 (none caught)
Swallow - 1 (only 5 came out of the roost)
alba wagtail - 1

47 birds today - 40 new (39 -Ed?) and 7 retraps
Meadow Pipit 12 (2 adult birds today)
Chiffchaff 7
Blackcap 6
Goldcrest 4
Whitethroat 1
Willow Warbler 1
Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 1
Dunnock 1
Robin 1 retrap
Long-tailed Tit 11 (5 new, 6 retraps)