Thursday, 31 March 2016

Decent early morning coverage, routine reward

Heysham Obs
Spring has sprung with the first annoying fly of the year in the office

A Swallow flying north over Middleton early morning was the only new species for the year but bits and bobs were going over for most of the morning, with quite a significant northbound Carrion Crow movement early morning worthy of mention

Wheatear - 6
Chiffchaff - at least 5 new birds
Goldcrest - 10ish around the office area

Chiffchaff showing pollen-stained feathers above the bill - typical of some of the newly arrived migrants at this time of year

Vis mig office area/north wall to midday (north or north-east unless stated)
Redpoll - 1
Meadow Pipit - 205 including a sample of 60 north in 30 minutes from north wall
alba Wagtail - 26
Grey Wagtail - 1
Goldfinch - at least 14 vis mig
Reed Bunting - 1
Linnet - 6
Jackdaw - 1 high to SW
Carrion Crow - 17 purposefully high to NE (6,2,1,3,2,3)
Swallow - one north over Middleton early am (per Justine)
Sand Martin - 2

A few Common Gull on the move with 25 north in 30 minutes
Eider - 214
Great-crested Grebe -1

Cetti's Warbler - singing male usual area
Tufted Duck - 5 mbp
Gadwall - male mbp

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Wet morning, sunny aftenoon

The following records are from a quick walk around Middleton Nature Reserve mid afternoon (MD)
Three separate sightings of single buzzard. Probably same individual doing the rounds.
6 mute
8 tufted
3 mallard
1 male gadwall
1 common snipe
1 Cetti's warbler (just one burst of song)
2 chiffchaff
c20 meadow pipit grounded

Barn Owl over Central Marsh this evening (ref Justine)

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A bit more action in the limited time available

Heysham Obs

Seawatch etc. 0830-0900 north wall
Red-throated Diver - 2 in
Ducks - an 'ill-disciplined' flock of 10 dark things heading north-west miles out looked like Common Scoter
Rock Pipit - one on seawall - looked like littoralis but only seen very briefly
Twite - the only finches seen were four on the fence by the sandworks - all un-ringed - disappeared whilst sea-watching.  No food left at feeding station
Eider - 160 and counting - 35 in four flocks flew in during the half hour spent seawatching and joined the usual flock off the skeers
alba Wagtail - 5 north
Meadow Pipit - at least 11 north

Ocean Edge (low tide)
Nothing notable

Middleton Nature reserve
9 tufted
1 male gadwall
1 little grebe
1 water rail
1 Cetti's warbler (singing 11:45 fence pond road side)
1 chiffchaff (fence pond)
1 kestrel over to NE

Monday, 28 March 2016

More quick checks

Heysham Obs
Migration appeared to be at a standstill today but we didn't exactly give it much chance outside

Model boat pond
Tufted Duck - 9
Gadwall - male
Mallard - 6
Coot - 4
Mute Swan - 2
Teal - pair

Middleton Western marsh
Cetti's Warbler - sang once then observer left!

Offshore low tide
Eider - 180
Great-crested Grebe - 2

Ocean Edge
No migrants
Little Egret - 2

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Sand Martin battles north

Heysham Obs

Just a single Wheatear Ocean Edge

Sand Martin north whilst watching the Eider flock

Eider - increase again to about 280

Meadow Pipit - not even a perceptible trickle

Saturday Wheatear plural

Heysham Obs
At least 4, probably 5 Wheatear landfalling and moving inland on Ocean Edge

11 Linnet north wall

Meadow Pipit - trickle - about 20 seen with the 20 minute sample count producing 4 of these!

Friday, 25 March 2016


Two chiffchaff in willows at Tim Butler pond, one singing.
Cetti's warbler singing almost continually at 10:10 but totally silent at 10:40 - In scrub edge of Western scrape between reeds and recently cleared dyke. (MD)

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
25 wigeon
4 little egret
2 small tortoiseshell

Middleton Nature Reserve
8 mute
7 coot
4 moorhen
3 tufted
2 mallard
1 cetti's warbler
2 chiffchaff
1 pheasant
1 small tortoiseshell

Heysham Nature Resarve (ref Jean)
1 chiffchaff singing

Thursday, 24 March 2016

At last!

Heysham Obs
Pretty thorough coverage up to now of Wheateary habitat drawing a blank until a single male this morning

Ocean Edge
Wheatear - male near slipway

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Still very slow

Heysham obs
Enhanced security all around the port and power station perimeter. Please carry photo  id with you if you are eg around the outfalls - means you can be processed more quickly. Thanks

Pretty non existent passage today with just a few meadow pipit recorded.  The Cetti's was singing early morning at Middleton. The moth trap had its best night so far this year

Heysham NR
No proper counting of Meadow Pipit passage but did include a flock of 11 and a grand total not exceeding 50

North wall
Eider - 160
Red-breasted merganser - 5
Great-crested Grebe - 3
Red-throated Diver - 1  

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler - 1 singing male
Tufted Duck - 3
Water Rail - at least 4

Double striped pug new for the year along with shoulder stripe and what looks like a dark featureless version of acleris hastiana. Middleton actinic drew a blank

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Reduced numbers of usual suspects, nothing new

Heysham Obs

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Wigeon - 29
Little Egret - 2
Ringed Plover - 4
Peregrine - 2

North Harbour Wall
Brief visit to replenish nyger seed.
Goldfinch - 5
Linnet - 3 (two ringed)

Middleton NR
Model Boat Pond
Mallard - 5,  all male
Tufted Duck - 8
Mute Swan - 2, being fed a large quantity of very unhealthy looking sliced white bread.

21 March - Common sand slips in

21 March
Ocean Edge 
Common Sandpiper on the slipway but sloped off later
Wigeon - still 13 around

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler singing
Sparrowhawk 1 N
Water Rail - 2 squealing
Tufted Duck - 5
Mallard - 5
Teal - 4

North Harbour Wall
NB For safety reasons the end of the North Wall (aka the Roundhead) is now blocked off and no access down via the Twite feeding area either.
Linnet - 6 at the feeder
Carrion Crow - pair nest building

Sunday, 20 March 2016

More buzzard

7 buzzard taking advantage of thermals on eastern side of Middleton Nature reserve this morning.
Single bird at 10:15
Six together at 10:45

Cetti's warbler singing (MD)

Heysham Nature Reserve
Very quiet - only 3 birds caught in 3 hours - Blackbird, Chaffinch and Robin. The Robin had first been ringed at the Nature Reserve in 2011. Little visible migration and virtually nothing once the sky cleared at 9am
Meadow Pipit - 29
Alba wagtail - 6
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Jackdaw - 1
Carrion Crow - 16

Ocean edge area
Whooper swan - 6 NW
Little egret - 5
Wigeon - 87

Included a chestnut - scarce here but the second this year

Saturday, 19 March 2016


Heysham obs

Unringed twite and nine linnet north wall

C25 meadow pipit north over hn reserve

Singing Cetti's Middleton

Friday 18th

Heysham obs

Three more buzzard heading NE

Singing Cetti's warbler

5 great crested grebe and 81 eider offshore

Lesser redpoll ringed hey nr but only two meadow pipit reported

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Soaring migration

The above heading refers to the type of, not extent of today’s migration – sorry (MD).

Two raven followed by five buzzard (together) rose on thermals high above Middleton Nature reserve. They then soared off north and northeast respectively. Five buzzard together is probably the highest single sighting for spring migration at this site.

Cetti’s warbler was heard calling (4 times in 20 minutes).

Ocean Edge
3 little egret
96 shelduck

Middleton Nature Reserve
6 mute
10 coot
5 moorhen
11 tufted
4 mallard
25 teal
1 water rail
1 Cetti's warbler
6 meadow pipit - grounded
5 buzzard
2 raven
1 lapwing

Heysham Nature Reserve
Pink-footed Goose - 60 N
Meadow Pipit - 22 N
Alba wagtail - 2 N
Lesser Redpoll - 1N

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Clear sunny windy and useless

Heysham Obs
The vis mig amounted to one Meadow Pipit and the only star of the day was the singing male Cetti's Warbler in the usual spot on Middleton

Sightings Middleton/Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Tufted Duck - 8
Gadwall - 2 males
Cetti's Warbler - singing male
Little Egret - 5
Wigeon - 98

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Comma and Cumbrian Brents

Heysham Obs
For non-sidebar readers:   The 2015 Heysham Bird Observatory report has been out a week or so now and can either be purchased at Leighton Moss or from Heysham NR office.  At Leighton Moss, you will need to ask at the counter and will be brought from the depths of the storeroom

Offshore low tide

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - flock of three on distant skeer edge just NW of Heysham Head
Red-breasted Merganser - mobile flock of 13 and three more sedate pairs
Eider - 300ish but more spread out than yesterday
Great-crested Grebe - 2
Pied Wagtail - 36 N in 25 mins
Meadow Pipit - just 4 N in 25 minutes

Heysham Nature Reserve
Meadow Pipit 14 N in 2 hours
Pied Wagtail - 1 N
Siskin - 2
Raven - 2 headed south

Comma NE corner Heysham NR today

Monday, 14 March 2016

Clear and cloudless

Heysham Obs

One of today's Meadow Pipits.
Note the dark "thorns" on the median coverts - this indicates it is a young bird born last year (5 in ringing parlance, 2CY in other parlance)

Unlike yesterday's cloud cover and low-flying Meadow Pipits, this was is a "stratosphere" day with any vis mig presumably out of visual and audible range for the most part.

Highlights so far:
Cetti's Warbler singing and calling from the usual place at Middleton - presumably it hadn't gone! (per Malcolm)

Vis 0800-1200
Siskin - 5
Meadow Pipit - 27
Pied Wagtail - 1

North Harbour Wall
Eider - 327 in the low tide channels
Great-crested Grebe - 3
Red-breasted Merganser - 12 (in pairs)

Middleton Nature Reserve
Mute 3 pairs
5 tufted
2 mallard
0 teal, pochard or gadwall
1 little grebe
1 cetti's warbler
3 reed bunting
58 pink-foot NE

Ocean Edge
2 little egret
2 stonechat (Female)

What looks like Mompha jurassicella was in the (proper!) toilet!

Meadow Pipit pulse Sunday 13th March

Heysham Obs
The first day of any 'real' vis mig with intermittent coverage during the morning suggesting Meadow Pipit were in the region of 60 per hour N/NE, with a significant proportion of these over the sea

Vis mig intermittent 0800 onwards
Meadow Pipit - 186
alba Wagtail - 37
Skylark - 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Goldfinch - 4+

Ringing included 5 x Meadow Pipit, 3 x Goldfinch, an unringed Robin

Saturday 12th March

Not a lot happening today other than in the moth trap which held a couple of new for the year Common Quaker and a Mompha, thought probably to be a well-marked subbistrigella

A bit of vis produced a Grey and two alba Wagtail north but no Meadow Pipit

North Harbour Wall
Goldfinch - 9
Eider - 9
Red-breasted Merganser - 2 pairs floated into the Bay

Today was final record of over wintering male blackcap in Heysham garden. Gave 5 minutes of song in late afternoon, then was seen or heard no more. MD 17/3/16

Friday, 11 March 2016

Nice day, shame about the birds

Very nice day to be out and about, but only minimal bird activity (MD)

A walk around Heysham Nature Reserve revealed the following:
2 mallard
2 jay
1 sparrow hawk
1 greater spotted woodpecker
4 bullfinch
48 pink foot north 10:00

Nothing in harbour or outflows.
Minimum 100 Wigeon Red Nab

Ocean Edge 11:00
3 little egret
1 meadow pipit - practicing parachuting

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Coot Influx

A full check of Middleton Nature reserve this morning showed an addition of, at least, 6 coot over the last few days. Also, two little grebe now on the "no swimming" pond, the third bird is on the fence pond. On the down side we appear to have lost the pochard. And there was only one male gadwall today.
8 mute including 2 immature
2 greylag
12 coot
9 moorhen
13 tufted
2 mallard
11 teal
1 gadwall
3 little grebe
1 water rail
2 meadow pipit - grounded

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Same stuff - more detail

The absence of freezing rain today allowed a better observation of Ocean Edge, as it was being covered by tide. But the result was similar to yesterday.
7 common snipe
1 jack snipe
2 reed bunting
c40 linnet
148 wigeon

3 north bound Meadow Pipit casually recorded

Model boat pond and no swimming pond
Little Grebe - 1 on no swimming pond
Tufted Duck - 7 male, 5 female
Coot - 3 model boat pond
Mallard - male and female
Moorhen - 1
Gadwall - 1 male
Mute Swan - 2 ads
Pied Wagtail - 1

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

High Tide

This was the first tide for a few weeks high enough to completely cover Ocean Edge salt mash. Flushed:
3 common snipe
1 jack snipe

Also on Red Nab
1 rock pipit (petrosus)

Male blackcap still visiting feeder in Heysham garden

Monday, 7 March 2016

Subtle migration

Heysham Obs
We haven't really got our act together yet with the vis mig, but the mist net put up for a short time by the office produced 6 new birds out of 6 caught - indicating something was happening to the odd Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and more routine Goldfinch and Greenfinch.

Middleton NR
It does seem that as soon as the Cetti's Warbler got its act together with its song, having been calling intermittently all winter, it then promptly cleared off to its breeding grounds

Pochard - just the one male today
Water Rail - 1+

Office area
New adult Blue Tit and new Long-tailed Tit in the mist net were the "highlights", along with a single Hebrew Character in the moth trap.  Best of the rest were a single new Goldfinch and three new Greenfinch

North wall
Goldfinch - 5
Linnet - 8

Wooden Jetty
Cormorant - 54
Herring Gull - 7
Great Black-backed Gull - 4

Near Naze
Knot - 1850
Oystercatcher - 120
Curlew - 6
Redshank - 2
Black-headed Gull - 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1

Hebrew Character

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Rock Pipit surprise

Heysham Obs
Two new year ticks for the area, Rock Pipit (in unusual location) and Stock Dove

Middleton NR (Malcolm)
Rock pipit - one was showing well Middleton NR, probably littoralis coming into s.p.
Stock dove - 2 
7 adult + 2 Imm Mute Swan,  2 male pochard, 2 gadwall, 12 tufted duck,  3 mallard, 13 teal, 1 little grebe, 1 snipe

North wall
Eider - 64
Linnet/Goldfinch/?Twite - 35-40 briefly

Saturday 5th

Heysham Obs
An attempt to see what was offshore at low tide produced a surprise but little else

Offshore north wall
Kittiwake - tightly bunched flock of 18-20 on water - all adults
Eider - only 42 in or around Heysham skeers and between there and wooden jetty
Carrion Crow - one on a sandbank in Cumbria!

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Two girls, no birds

Completely dead - outage??
(2 reactors in service on both stations, must be just no birds! ajd)

Friday, 4 March 2016

Moths in the snow

Heysham obs
Two dotted border were a surprise in the moth trap. Only had time to check the model boat pond

Middleton model boat pond
Pochard - 2 males
Tufted duck - 5
Coot - 2
Mallard - 2
Mute swan - 2 ad and 2 2cy

North Harbour Wall
Mixed flock of 20 Goldfinch and Linnet seen briefly on feeding area.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Bits of migration

Heysham Obs
This was the first morning which looked like it might produce a bit of land-bird migration, but unfortunately arrived rather late.  There were two unringed Goldcrest (together) around the office for a short time, two northbound Meadow Pipit and a flock of about 70 Pink-footed Geese, all after an c0945hrs start!

Also a few unringed finches in the net (7 Goldfinch, 5 Greenfinch), along with an unringed adult female Blue Tit

No coverage of coastal areas I am aware of

Parsnip Moth was better than nothing (just!)

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Tuesday 1 March and Wednesday 2 March

Tuesday 1 March
North Harbour Wall feeder
Linnet - 13
Goldfinch - 5
Robin - 1

Ocean Edge grass
Pied Wagtail - 7
Mistle Thrush - 2
Linnet - 2
Oystercatcher - 10
Starling - 2

Middleton NR - model boat pond
Coot - 2
Herring Gull - 5 adults, 2 x 3W, 1 x 2w, 4 x 1W
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 5 ads, 1 x 2W
Mute Swan - 1

Middleton NR - no swimming pond
Mute Swan - 2 head bobbing at each other
Tufted Duck - 1 male
Coot -1

Wednesday 2 Mar
A full troll of Middleton Nature Reserve revealed a few extra teal and tufted otherwise little change.
2 adult + 2 immature mute swan
5 coot
8 moorhen
18 tufted
1 male gadwall
2 male pochard
34 teal
0 mallard!
1 little grebe
1 goldcrest

35 linnet - Ocean Edge
128 wigeon - south wall1 great crested grebe - harbour mouth