Sunday, 31 January 2016

Finches, Med and Guillemot

Heysham Obs
North Harbour Wall
Linnet c25
Goldfinch c15
Twite 1
Med Gull (Czech ringed)

Guillemot 1

Friday, 29 January 2016


Heysham Obs
Single 2CY Razorbill close inshore off the NHW at lunchtime and the reappearance of Guillemot in the harbour (from the undergrounds reservoir?) were the highlights this morning along with two distant adult Little Gull

North wall and area incoming tide
Razorbill - see above
Little Gull -two adult together far offshore low tide -lifted off water and re-landed
Guillemot - see above
Kittiwake - 2CY out, ad in, ad behind ferry but peeled off early and headed out
Red-breasted Merganser - male harbour mouth
Finches - 13 Goldfinch, 10 Linnet, 8-10 unspec others
Med Gull - adult Knowsley road field

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Small Twite influx

Heysham Obs
Plenty of food down by lunchtime and a good number of finches on the seed but unfortunately disturbed just as I was starting to scope them.  Certainly more 'jumpy' now there are not many of the more tolerant Goldfinch with them

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adults (one behind ferry, then back out)
Kittiwake - adult behind ferry (at least - arrived early and missed the harbour entry bit)
Linnet - 16 on seed
Goldfinch - 5 on seed
Twite - 3 on seed (2 x Heysham ringed, one unringed) (see below)
Linnet/Twite - additional c8 along the embankment with Twite as well as Linnet call coming from the flock

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

More jack snipe tide

Heysham obs
A few bits and pieces

Jack snipe - one flushed by the tide from ocean edge salt marsh (plus one snipe)
Skylark - one flushed from salt marsh
Med gull - at least one adult
Great crested grebe - two in harbour. One in summer plumage

One chestnut  in the trap - not common here (dark chestnut more regular ) and the first of the year

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Car-potato weather

Heysham Obs
Trawled around with the minimum  of effort and the reward was exactly what was deserved

Med Gull - ad Fisher's roof
Tufted Duck - 6 on model boat pond

Monday, 25 January 2016

Dark-bellied Brents

Heysham Obs
Quite a bit of coverage today, mainly relating to watching what the tide flushed out of the saltmarsh

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Snipe - 7
Jack Snipe - 1
Reed Bunting - 3
No pipits - still 'need' Rock Pipit for year in recording area

Other coastal sightings
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - flock of four, first seen at 1020 from NHW flying round the wooden jetty, then around Red Nab, then flying towards Potts Corner before returning to Red Nab and joining the Wigeon flock
Med Gull - presumably the Czech bird on Fisher's roof - starting to come into summer plumage if it was that bird
Wigeon - 120

Heysham village
Male Blackcap still present

Sunday 24th

Heysham Obs

Unremarkable WeBS day and not a lot else apart from ground-breaking Jackdaw record!

Jack Snipe - one possibly two Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Med Gull - adult Fishers roof
Jackdaw - 7 in field off Knowsley Road on northern edge of recording area - MEGA!!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Firecrest confirmation

Heysham Obs
Firecrest is a regional description species in Highland, therefore it was important to check up on a report of the Firecrest we ringed in mid-September last year being found in a car radiator grille in Elgin, Moray (400k north) on 7th January.  Here is the bird just prior to release at Heysham on 14th September 2015


Thanks to Philip for reporting this and sending a rather sad pic of the freshly dead bird, confirming the identity and implicitly correct ring number - not always easy to discern with AA rings.  The location was more tricky.  The 'fresh' nature of the bird and the impression Philip had of a small bird flying across the front of the vehicle on the outskirts of Elgin, which did not appear to come out at the other side, does suggest that the bird had not been in the radiator grille for very long.  However, there remains the, given the condition, unlikely possibility that the bird was impacted somewhere between Wick and Elgin, the journey undertaken that day.

Not quite unprecedented - here is a 'similar' record from Norfolk:
964150 First-year Male 13-10-1975    North-west Norfolk coast: 53°0'N 0°36'E (Norfolk)
Freshly dead 11-02-1976    Ires Geo, Wick: 58°22'N 3°6'W (Highland)   642km   NNW  

and here is a notable recovery from an Irish Sea site at a similar latitude to us - maybe a more predictable direction:

BEH893First-year Male 22-09-2007    Calf of Man: c. 54°3'N 4°49'W
Caught by ringer 01-11-2008    Queen Mary Reservoir: 51°25'N 0°28'W (Surrey)   413km   SE  

All that happened today was that I arrived at HNR later than expected, missed the short ringing weather window and had to take the net down virtually as soon as it was set.  The only surprise was the capture of yet another un-ringed Robin.  Then ploughing through the 2015 report species accounts.  No reports from anyone else, but Malcolm did say that his male Blackcap would be on his fat-balls in the village unless he informed otherwise!

Friday, 22 January 2016

The view from the top

The view from Knowlys Road at high tide:
The grey blob in the middle is the Oystercatcher roost which would normally be on the heliport but due to so much disturbance by off-lead dogs and their owners, has had to relocate to a safer roost spot. These fields are fenced off, sometimes grazed by horses and nicely undisturbed by anything else. As you can see, by walking on the promenade path it is possible to get quite close to the birds without disturbing them. Or, if it is raining or very windy, by parking on Knowlys Road you can enjoy a view across all the fields from the comfort of your car........ I did earlier today. From here I could see:
660 Oystercatcher
12 House Sparrows (in the central hedge)
8 Magpies
1 Mistle Thrush (a red-listed species)
20 Black-headed gulls
9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 Woodpigeon
3 Linnet (also red-listed)
 1 Pied Wagtail
2 Goldfinch
20 Starling
Next stop was the Near Naze. Six species of bird in this picture:
In all there were 70 Redshank, 14 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 1 Curlew, 350 Oystercatcher, 50 Dunlin, 12 Lapwing and 3 Herring Gulls crammed on the rocks. 
At Red Nab there were 41 Wigeon, 500 Oystercatcher, 2 Shelduck, 1 Red-breasted Merganser plus small numbers of gulls.
But bird of the day was at the North Harbour Wall feeding station where a lone Twite joined 10 Linnet, 8 Goldfinch and 3 Feral Pigeons.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Brambling and Brent surprises

Heysham Obs

Red nab area
Two Brent geese, then took flight heading for lune estuary (thanks Malcolm). Race uncertain

HNR office area
Big influx of finches with c40 on the seed including a female Brambling.  Too windy for any ringing.

South Harbour
Med Gull - ad behind ferry
No sign of any Guillemot
Great-crested Grebe - one harbour mouth

Wednesday 20th
Four unringed Greenfinch caught but hardly any finches around in the cold still weather yet again - odd (see tomorrow!)

Watch this space on a Firecrest ringed last September being found in a car grille at Elgin on 7/1/16!!!
Presumably this was the Firecrest ringed last September, but where did it meet its end? - investigations under way. Update: identity correct, initial location either Elgin or further north!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A nice quiet day

Heysham Obs
Nothing particularly wintry about today at Heysham and this was reflected in numerous birds, such as Great Tits, in full song

Middleton NR
The male Mute Swan on the Tim Butler pond had a completely illegible metal ring with no characters at all showing!  Whether this is the age of the bird or something about the water quality in said pond (the word chemical is often mentioned when referring to Middleton history) is a matter of speculation

Chiffchaff - one collybita, calling regularly, with LTT flock near TBP
Bullfinch - 2
Teal - 21
Mute Swan - 6 ad and two 2CY
Tufted Duck - 4 (MBP only checked of usual haunts)
Moorhen - 13 TBP area!!
Mallard - 6

Med Gull - adult behind ferry

Office area
A low-key ringing session - the feeders are probably getting 'diluted' now as cold weather plus imminent 'garden birdwatch' means more dangling things from more gardens with more choice for basically the same number of birds.  Just 11 new birds (6 Greenfinch, 3 Chaffinch, one Goldfinch and (surprisingly) one Robin)

Dotted Border in the trap 

Monday, 18 January 2016

Mixed finches

Heysham NH Wall

Mid morning visit to the feeding area saw the following:

Mixed flock of Linnet/Goldfinches difficult to count owing to much coming and going.  Around 50 birds approximately 50% of each species.

Starling - 11
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 1


Sunday 17th January

Heysham Obs

North wall and intertidal
Bar-tailed Godwit - 159
Med Gull - ad

Heysham village
Blackcap - male still present in garden

Ringing severely curtailed by wind this morning

John Mason/Malcolm Downham

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Greenfinch Influx

Heysham Obs
Ringing by office
Unprecedented (for January) influx of unringed Greenfinch (40+ so far)
New birds ringed today 17 Greenfinch,4 Goldfinch, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Chaffinch and 1 Blue Tit.
Nets taken down just before snow arrived.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Another Chiffchaff

Heysham Obs

Thursday 14th
North Harbour Wall
Czech ringed adult Med Gull
18 Goldfinch and 1 Linnet on feeding area.

Friday 15th (thanks to Janet and Malcolm for coverage)
Middleton NR
Chiffchaff - a bright 'green and yellow' bird in the NE corner of the Tim Butler pond this morning
Cetti's Warbler - no sight nor sound in good conditions and extensive search
Snipe - 3

Red Nab
Little Egret - 2

Heysham village
Blackcap - male still present

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Wednesday 13th

Heysham Obs
Male Blackcap on a fat ball in a Heysham garden

Chiffchaff in the tank farm next to the pond mid morning

Greenfinch - quite a few un-ringed birds about - 11/12 caught were un-ringed and were plenty of others around as the weather worsened and the net was taken down

No coastal coverage today

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A few kittiwakes

Heysham obs
A short seawatch saw 5 plus 1 kittiwakes heading into the bay and that was about it for the day

Monday, 11 January 2016

Good coverage nothing showstopping

Heysham Obs
Ringing by office
22 new birds, including 14 Greenfinch, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Robin, one Coal Tit

Middleton NR
8 mute (3 pairs and 2 juv), 2 coot, 6 moorhen, 8 mallard, 7 tufted, 37 teal, 5 water rail, 28 linnet, 6 bullfinch, 1 raven (high to north) and a gang of 7 continental Blackbird

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
8 2CY mute,  2 mallard,  4 common snipe, 1 jack snipe, 70 bar tailed godwit (over to SE), 3 reed bunting, 7 linnet, 7 greenfinch

Red Nab
19 Wigeon

1 grey squirrel OE

Thanks to Malcolm and John

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Somewhere over the rainbow

The view from the harbour
I think any rare birds were somewhere over this rainbow as only common ones appeared in view during a 1.5hr seawatch today:
Kittiwake - 4+6+14 seen heading into the Bay
Great-crested Grebe - 2 in the harbour and one flying past
Knot - 1340 flew past heading out of the Bay
Oystercatcher - 200 flew past heading out of the Bay
Other than that it was just the usual gulls and 3 Starlings.

Ocean Edge
Red-breasted Merganser - 1 male
Oystercatcher - 600 on the grass, most sheltering behind the low bund

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Med gull

The Czech ringed med gull was keeping the anglers company along the north wall and a brown house moth was in the moth trap

Friday, 8 January 2016

Nothing much happening

Heysham Obs

Ad Kittiwake behind IOM ferry

Pink-footed Goose - 33 S lunchtime
Great-crested Grebe - 5 in harbour/just offshore
No sign Guillemot
Nothing behind the ferry

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Cetti's materialises!

Heysham obs
These non singing Cetti's are elusive . One was located after a 15 minute vigil seeing what was around from the end of the wetland boardwalk Heysham nr.

Also seen:
Treecreeper - 1
Goldcrest - 2
Water rail - 1
Moorhen -3
No chiffchaff located

Dark chestnut kicked off the trap for the year

Nuthatch mega (Tuesday posting)

Heysham Obs
These are really rare west of the Lune/south of Morecambe and indeed also rare in the whole of Morecambe itself.

Ocean Edge/Middleton
Nuthatch - was on western boundary of MNR where it adjoins the caravan site. I suspect there are lots of feeders in this area, so it may stick around? Indeed it may have been around a while as I seldom walk here - it was the loud calling that attracted me, easily audible from top road of caravan park (per Malcolm).
Cetti's Warbler - one between fence pond and fence in brambles but very elusive
Mute Swan - 2 pair + 2 juv
Coot - 1 (no swimming pond)
plus :3 moorhen 8 mallard 8 tufted 46 teal 5 water rail 5 meadow pipit 4 bullfinch
Linnet - just 7 Ocean Edge

Heysham NR
Skylark - 1 ESE 1000ish

YESTERDAY:  Little Grebe on pond in retirement home area

Monday, 4 January 2016

Czech Med and Finches

North Harbour Wall

Brief visits over the last three days, to top up seed at the feeding station produced the Czech ringed Med Gull on each occasion. Also up to 45 Finches, just Goldfinch and Linnet, today comprising 23 Linnet and 11 Goldfinch

The only record to add to this lot is an adult kittiwake behind a delayed afternoon ferry on 1st January

Friday, 1 January 2016

Twite bonus

Heysham obs

The two coastal 10k squares were given their nominal coverage for the 10k square survey. In both cases WeBS data to be added for routine species when the count is carried out

Linnet - 22
Twite - once with Heysham site ring
Goldfinch -  8
Wren - 2
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 2
Pied wagtail - 1
Med gull - 1ad

Guillemot - one
Red-breasted merganser - 1
Great crested grebe - 3
Robin - 2
Wren - 1 (next to wooden jetty!)
Dunnock - 1
Magpie - 1
Carrion crow -  2

Other stuff: cormorant, wigeon, turnstone, curlew, oystercatcher,bar-tailed godwit, grey plover, redshank, knot, Dunlin, great black backed gull, lesser bb gull, herring gull, black headed gull, common gull, feral pigeon,