Monday, 29 February 2016

Lunchtime head count

The following are the result of quick check of Middleton ponds just after lunch. No sign of cetti's.
 2 male gadwall
 2 male pochard
 7 tufted
 2 mallard
 8 teal
 1 little grebe

2 little egret feeding in Half Moon bay rock pools.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Detailed coverage of Heysham NR wetland

Heysham Obs

Heysham NR, mainly wetland area
No Cetti's in residence

Water Rail - 2
Mallard -prospecting pair
Bullfinch - 2 pairs and extra female
Goldcrest - 1
Coal Tit - 1

Just a handful of new birds on the feeder - one Chaffinch, one Goldfinch and two Greenfinch

Cetti's in song

Middleton Nature Reserve
6 adult + 2 2CY mute
5 coot
7 moorhen
1 male gadwall
2 male pochard
5 mallard
7 tufted
14 teal
1 little grebe (fence pond - heard only)
Minimum 2 water rail (western scrape - heard only)

Cetti's warbler no sign mid morning but singing quite regularly at 11:40. In scrub on road side of Fence pond

Red Nab
Wigeon - 136

Office HNR
Pink-footed Goose - 85 N
A few finches on the move with 8 new Greenfinch and 5 new Goldfinch ringed

Friday, 26 February 2016

Odds and ends of minor surprises

Heysham Obs

Magpie - two in-off to wooden jetty (didn't see them until about 300m to NW over the sea) then inland after some hopping about

Little Grebe - one fence pond Middleton getting chased around by a solitary Coot

Water Rail - 2 squealing western marsh reedbed Middleton

Gadwall - male model boat pond (but no sign of the male Pochard - grrr)

Negative on Med Gull - no sign of Czech-ringed bird in thorough check at high tide with an e.g. full quota of Black-headed Gull on Fisher's roof roost.  Fractionally earlier than usual to depart - last seen North Harbour Wall on Wednesday.

Coot - 2 model boat pond, one fence pond

Little Egret - 3 Red Nab

Wigeon - 136 Red Nab

Skylark - 3 NNE over office 1040hrs

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Backlog - sorry

Heysham Obs
Really sorry for no updates recently.  Thanks to Malcolm for most of this and Janet for the pic and Janet Greenwood for the Barn Owl report

MONDAY 22nd additions
Ocean edge saltmarsh
11 common snipe, 1 skylark. 33 linnet

Red nab
Slight increase in Wigeon to 138

Only birds in inner harbour were 5 roosting 2cy kittiwake.

The big news today was the presence of a male Pochard on the model boat pond (but not here on Thursday!).  Also c5000 Starling roosting on end of wooden jetty

Also on Middleton NR
8 mute swan, including 2 x 2cy, 4 coot, 11 moorhen, 3 mallard, 7 tufted, 26 teal Malcolm

2 Dotted Border

Barn Owl - one flying around Middleton NR early evening

Ocean Edge high tide
2 Jack snipe
12 common snipe
9 ringed plover
2 reed bunting
7 linnet

Nothing in harbour except grey seal. Malcolm

Two more Dotted Border

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Peacock basks in the wall-to-wall sunshine

Heysham Obs
Some nice pics from Janet taken in the harbour area:  Thanks for these

Kittiwake - at least three 2CY in harbour

3 x Dotted Border in the trap

Peacock basking on the hilltop meadow on Middleton

Grey Seal harbour - see above

Only 16 birds caught : 5 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 3 Chaffinch, 2 Robins, 1 Wren and 1 Blue Tit.
Of interest, one of the Chaffinch was ringed at Heysham in 2011, but not caught again in subsequent years.

Monday 22nd

Heysham Obs
Couple of things from today, neither requiring binoculars

a) Dotted Border (melanistic) in the moth trap

b) The Goldcrest bearing a ring from elsewhere caught at Middleton on a good migration morning on 1st November 2015 was ringed at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire on 11th October, as part if a large 'fall' of trans-North Sea birds, therefore a leisurely WNW movement - unusual direction for this species but similar to e.g. Redwing and Chaffinch from Scandinavia

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Windy fare

Heysham Obs
The punters were probably relieved the IOM ferry was on a Liverpool day today, giving a modicum of Welsh/Wirral shelter from the SW gale, but it could have been a good day for 'followers'.  So we had to see what was in situ as a short seawatch was pretty unproductive, albeit with poor visibility

Harbour/outfalls area
Guillemot - x 2 at high tide
Great-crested Grebe - x 3 in entrance area
Little Gull - three adults in boating channel off outfalls mid-am
Kittiwake - x 3 2CY in harbour
Herring Gull - mildly leucistic/bleached 2CY with dirty coffee primaries and a virtually clear tail
No sign of any 2CY Shag

Moth trap
A Dotted Border and the first Hebrew Character of the year

Looks like the adult Mute Swans have left the two young on model boat pond and commenced prospecting
Jackdaw - 2

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Wet webs

Heysham Obs
The one bit of the harbour not checked for the webs held the two star birds of the day - 2x 2cy shag.  Thanks Malcolm

Had to be done a day early this month.   Quite a few pluses: being able to do it by car, courtesy of various barrier cards and prom permits, an adult Little Gull was a minor surprise on Ocean Edge saltmarsh roost and there were 4K Knot on the dog-free heliport roost and another 2k at the Sunny Slopes Groyne.   The fields just north of Heysham Head are developing into a major roost due to a very effective barrier (plus a few horses) keeping promenade-exercised dogs off.  For example, 41 Ringed Plover there today.  This is how to do it, there are plenty of places for dog walkers to go - point out these alternatives and install a barrier and/or effective notices, including directions to the alternative(s), where you don't want them to go (deep and wide ditches are good!).     As usual, and used to be the case along the roadside at the heliport, the birds are habituating to people always the same distance away from them along the prom, the other side of a barrier

Ocean Edge
Little Gull - adult

Knot - 4200
Ringed Plover - 6

Red Nab
Wigeon - 110

Med Gull - adult
Kittiwake - 2 x 2CY
Shag - 2 x 2CY

Friday, 19 February 2016

18th-19th Feb

Heysham Obs
Not a lot happened yesterday which didn't happen today!  A bit low-key all over this area at the moment but some really good pics from Janet to brighten up the doldrums

Todays sightings
North wall
Linnet - 13
Goldfinch - 19
Twite - one unringed

IOM ferry
Med Gull - large adult, not Czech bird

1 x 2CY Kittiwake still

Red Nab
Wigeon - c110
Little Egret - 2

Middleton NR
Tufted Duck - 11
Gadwall - 1
No recent sign of any Cetti's warbler

Thanks Janet

2 x Dotted Border last night - one melanistic

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

More Gadwall

Heysham Obs
Nothing to say other than twitched the male Gadwall on the Middleton model boat pond today, so the Patchwork challenge goes up by one. 

One of the gulls looked a candidate for a 2CY Yellow-legged (e.g. white-headed, appropriate tertial pattern) but it promptly flew off after obtaining one awful mobile phone-scope shot which I'll examine tomorrow

Monday, 15 February 2016


Heysham Obs
The bad news: still no Pochard in the best month for this declining species, the good news is that a Gadwall has returned

Middleton NR
1 male Gadwall
2 pair + 2 imm mute
2 coot
5 moorhen
12 mallard
14 tufted
Minimum 30 teal

Glimpse of probable Chiffchaff



Sunday 14th

Raven have been a bit tricky recently but one flew over the office today

7 Common Gull seaward end Heysham One and 7 Pied Wagtail together Ocean Edge foreshore two signs of spring!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Mainly feeder fare

Heysham Obs

North wall
Linnet - 25 mixed with Goldfinch plus 9 others
Med Gull - ad
Kittiwake - now 4 2CY by waterfall
Guillemot - no sign

Outfalls/Red Nab
Wigeon - 117
Little Egret - 4
Bar-tailed Godwit - two in HT roost
No sign of any Little Gulls
Linnet - 16
Lapwing - 81

Greenfinch - 20+ on feeder
probable Chiffchaff gave one call from south side of obs tower pond

Dotted Border x 1

Friday, 12 February 2016

Vis mig bits and pieces

Heysham obs
A ringing session this am included a bit of vis mig

Vis mig 1100-1400
Skylark - 2 south
Tree sparrow - 2 SE
Siskin - 2 south
Pink footed goose - flock of c160 SE

Ringing included a few greenfinch and a Robin ringed as a youngster in 2011. The Robin has been caught nearly each year but only in late January (2012), February (2013) or March (2012 and 2013).

Bits of ringing

Heysham obs

Ringing at the feeder net saw another sprinkling of unringed greenfinch (8) and a few odds and ends of eg unringed goldfinch

Dotted border in trap

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Sunny day fare on a 10m tide

Heysham Obs
South shore walk (thanks Malcolm)

Ocean Edge
3 little egret
6 reed bunting
5 common snipe
1 sky lark
14 ringed plover

Red Nab
116 wigeon

No.1 outflow
1 adult little gull

3 x 1st winter kittiwakes

No sign of territorial ringed plover today, but I did see it on Monday. As predicted the colder weather caused the return of the blackcap this morning.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Ringed Plover back on territory

Heysham Obs
A presumed male Ringed Plover was back on the rough ground near the wooden jetty where they nested successfully last year.  

IOM ferry lunchtime
Kittiwake - 9 adult
Mute Swan - imm S

Kittiwake - 3 2CY waterfall
Guillemot - one waterfall
Cormorant - 61 wooden jetty

North wall
Kittiwake - ad & 2CY
Linnet - 17
Goldfinch - 13
Med Gull -  adult (also later behind IOM ferry)

Little Gull - 3CY

Monday, 8 February 2016

Chiffchaff doing the rounds

Heysham Obs
Good coverage by Malcolm today included a small tit flock accompanied by a collybita-type Chiffchaff near the entrance to Ocean Edge.  A good record, especially in this weather which produced more of the usual Kittiwake and Little Gull

Harbour area
Kittiwake - 3 x 2CY still by waterfall
Guillemot - 1
Little Gull - I adult

Little Gull - adult and 2CY

IOM ferry
Kittiwake - 15 x ad, 1 x 2CY
Little Gull - 1 x ad

Ocean Edge
Skylark - 1 saltmarsh
Snipe - 4 saltmarsh
Chiffchaff - 1 as described above

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Little gulls

Heysham obs
An unfortunate incident today resulting in a broken leg as an on lead dog became entangled around a crutch leading to a nasty fall.  Thanks to other dog walkers for a prompt response and the power station police, security and ambulance service for rapid attendance - hope the person recovers as soon as possible.  

Minimal amount of birding comprised at least 7 adult little gull plus the third winter still on the outfalls.

6th February fish fest

Heysham Obs

3CY Little Gull on sea by outfalls

Moth:  Dotted Border in trap

Observations from Malcolm:
The tide was ebbing past the wooden jetty and the dredger was operating in the harbour mouth. This resulted in a surge of small fish in the gap between the wooden jetty and the roundhead. At one point there were 24 cormorant feeding in an area 30m x 10m. They were catching rockling and small whiting. The large gulls got in on the action too, swooping on every cormorant when it surfaced.The main activity only lasted about 5 minutes, then the cormorant started flying off. I don't know if the fish had gone or the birds were full, probably a bit of both.  There would not be a sufficient number of fish in the harbour mouth to just have been displaced by the dredger, a concentration like that would attract cormorants without the dredger. The fish (judging by were the cormorants were feeding) were about 30m down tide of dredger. This is an ideal location for dislodged titbits to be separated from the denser silt, and also provide shelter for the fish (particularly for the rockling) in the jetty rocks and wrack. The ebbing tide would normally provide a small fish procession past the harbour

Friday, 5 February 2016

Decent little trawl round

Heysham Obs
A very short trawl round, including the IOM ferry

Red Nab and area
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - 4, then headed towards wooden jetty
Little Gull - 3CY stage 2 outfall

Kittiwake - 2 x 2CY (at least)
Guillemot - 1
Med Gull - adult

Kittiwake - adult peeled off and flew out quite early
Little Gull - adult followed ferry into harbour mouth

The Brents reappear

Heysham Obs

Harbour PS Intake Corner 3pm.
1 Guillemot
3 Kittiwake (all 2CY)

Red Nab
4 Brent Geese flying toward Wooden Jetty.
1 Little Egret

Between Outfall 1 and Wooden Jetty
c.50 Wigeon

North wall
Med Gull x 1

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

A rude awakening

Heysham Obs
Some floor replacement in the office porch unearthed an indignant hibernating Peacock butterfly

The only other report of any note (as opposed to a single Red Nab Little Egret - how times change) was a large winter plumaged adult Med Gull on the seaward end of Heysham 2 outfall - undoubtedly one of the two seen yesterday there.

However, there were at least 7 Greenfinch on the office feeder.................more than a lot of other places and on-going from record numbers, yes record numbers, ringed in January (c55)!!  

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Ferry on form

Heysham Obs
Nice stiff westerly and clear conditions are usually good for ferry followers and this was the case today

Little Gull - at least 12 behind ferry (one 2CY), some remaining on seaward end of outfalls, 3 out earlier
Kittiwake - at least 25 behind ferry, flock of 11 adults soon flew out rest milled about (4 x 2CY)
Med Gull - 2 x adult behind ferry, then seaward end Heysham outfalls
Eider - c70 offshore
Great crested Grebe in harbour
No sign Guillemot

Monday, 1 February 2016

White winged gull eludes identification

Heysham Obs
Probably Iceland 2CY heading down shipping lane 10ish this am - couldn't clinch it on rear end views and therefore a small Glaucous not ruled out

North Harbour Wall
Linnet x 27
Goldfinch x 14
Twite x 1
Med Gull x 1

Guillemot x 1

Little Gull - ad

Tufted Duck - 11 model boat pond
Cetti's Warbler - 1 in willows for short time south end of western marsh reedbed (also seen or heard 20/21/28 Jan (Richard Miller, Steve Ryder)