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)


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Clear night and full moon produces the goods!

Middleton NR is on a roll at the moment with lots of ringing and vis-migging producing new birds each day - one retrap out of 54 birds caught today.   These included a sprinkling of late warblers including:  2x Reed, 2x lesser whitethroat, 1x Whitethroat and garden warbler and low single figures of blackcap, chiffchaff and goldcrest.   Three grey wagtail and 20 meadow pipit comprised the vis mig which was ringed.

Grey Wagtail 3 (as above)
Meadow Pipit 64
alba wagtail 2
Reed Bunting 3
Grey Heron 3 (2 + 1 heading east)

Wheatear - 2 on the heliport, 1 at Ocean Edge

At least one med gull around the outfalls

Friday, 16 September 2016

Minimal rounds

Wind direction - NW

Outfalls area
Little gull - one ad
Med gull - 2 ad,2 2cy

Middleton vis mig 0900-0940ish
Meadow pipit - 56 se
Swallow - 11 se
Carrion crow -3 se
Alba wagtail - 7 se
Grey wagtail - 1 se and one seemingly off-passage bird sewage works

Middleton general
Tufted Duck - 10
Water Rail - at least 2 squealing western marsh reedbed
Cetti's Warbler - one burst of song in response to water rail as yesterday!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Even vis-ier

Bird of the day: Meadow Pipit
When you get a steady stream of Meadow Pipits throughout the morning, it's hard to believe that Meadow Pipits have declined in this country by 25% in the last 30 years and that globally it's "near threatened". There are still an estimated 1.9 million pairs nesting in the British Isles but at its current rate of decline that will soon get whittled down. With such a numerous bird you would think that we know all there is to know about them but of course researchers have concentrated on less numerous and faster declining species and the BTO Migration Atlas states that there are "some major gaps in our knowledge of their winter ecology".

Once again we decamped to Middleton Nature Reserve as work on hut demolition was starting at Heysham Nature Reserve. Pleasant weather - calm, warm and overcast. Wind direction - E

Vis (0620-1120):
Swallow - only 1 over (and only 30 in the roost)
Meadow Pipit - 390 (including 30 ringed)
Grey Wagtail - 18
alba wagtail - 5
Goldfinch - 5
Skylark - 1 (first of the autumn on vis)
Reed bunting - 2

Ringing: New birds -
Meadow Pipit 30
Chiffchaff 12
Blackcap 9
Willow Warbler 7
Robin 5
Blue Tit 5
Grey Wagtail 4
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Goldcrest 2
Reed Bunting 1
Goldfinch 1
Great Tit 1
Whitethroat 1

Retraps - just a Wren and a Blue Tit.

Report by JR

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Keeping vis-y

Heysham Nature Reserve office is due to be demolished but a temporary "welfare cabin" has been provided until the new office is built. It fits nicely into a corner of the car park as you can see.

The weather was too nice to explore the inner workings of the welfare cabin so we spent the morning (06:10 - 11:10) monitoring overhead "vis" at Middleton Nature Reserve and ringing a few birds.

Wind direction - NE
Meadow Pipit 104 S or SE
Swallow 60 ex-roost which flew SW then S plus 36 S
Grey Wagtail 13 at least (7 ringed) SE
alba wagtail 1 SE
Reed Bunting 1 SE
Goldfinch 1 SE
Carrion Crow 4 SE
Sparrow hawk flock of three south

New birds (in order of appearance) - Grey Wagtail (7), Meadow Pipit (8), Willow Warbler (1), Goldcrest (2), Chiffchaff (3), Goldfinch (2), Blackcap (3), Long-tailed Tit (2), Dunnock (1), Great Tit (1), Blue Tit (1), Lesser Whitethroat (2), Blackbird (1)
Retraps: Robin 2, Long-tailed tit 4.

One of us sneaked off to Red Nab and saw 3 x 1CY Mediterranean Gulls and an adult Med Gull with a ring (but too distant to read the ring).

Wheatear - 5

Besides birds, moths are on the move. Here is a photo of Ronaldo's favourite moth, the Silver Y which was nectaring on the soon to be removed buddleia outside the old hut:

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Two species we thought we had seen the last of this year

.......but otherwise a bit 'trickly' with the vis mig still in fits and starts, even meadow pipit and swallow.

Grasshopper warbler - juv ringed
Warblers caught comprised low single figures of blackcap and chiffchaff plus a single garden warbler and a couple of goldcrest.    A couple of new reed bunting are hopefully the start of a decent passage for a species producing a decent recovery/control ratio.  Four grey wagtail were colour ringed.  Vis revealed unremarkable numbers of swallow, goldfinch, chaff inch, Alba wagtail and meadow pipit and maybe 2-3 extra grey wagtail.

Ocean edge and red nab high tide
Just a bit too high and 'non red nab' waders were distant dots down the tideline
Med gull - just adult (metal ring right leg below knee), 2cy and two 1cy
Common sandpiper - very late for here especially two together - on red nab
Turnstone - 105 (mostly wooden jetty)

The buddleias days are numbered by the office but they are going out with a bang with 10 small tortoiseshell, 2 painted lady, one red admiral and 2 small white

Monday, 12 September 2016

End of the road and a few decent birds

Couldn't make up this morning. A last check of the moth trap before building demolition saw........a broken bulb - happens about once a year!   No moths.

Ocean edge/red nab just after the neap high tide was rather good
Pintail: two f/imms with shelduck are the first coastal birds I have seen on the deck - usually flying past in small flocks in gales.
Little stint -two juvs with about 30 scattered Dunlin
Med gull -- at least 8 but many gills scattered out of range along the tideline to south
Rock Pipit - first of autumn
Black-tailed Godwit - 3 OE spartina area

Vis mig
Grey wagtail - 7 south
Chaffinch -5 south
Meadow pipit - 2 south
Alba wagtail - 3 south

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Long-tailed tits lead the way in marginal ringing weather

Middleton NR dawn to 1000hrs
Again very little vis mig with one or two grey wagtail and single figures of meadow pipit and swallow

Ringing included: Long-tailed tit (8), chiffchaff (3) and singles of Grey Wagtail, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Sedge warbler and just the one Blackcap

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Barred warbler leads the way

Typical of several Barred Warbler occurrences on the west coast. Apart from an early small flurry of Blackcap, there was very little evidence of grounded migrants.  Completely unexpected as nothing much doing with this species to the north of here, unlike the last Heysham record which followed Shetland 'crawling with them' in 1997. A long gap, even for the west coast, but our heavily vegetated recording area doesn't give a lot of chance to locate unless in a mist net and. as implied, they often don't turn up during obvious fall conditions.  Indeed, the pager messages suggest that this might be the only one in the country today!!

Pics later as no computers or internet in hey nature reserve ex-office which contains not a lot more than one plate, one fork, one tin of tuna and a kettle plus coffee

Ringing included:  Barred Warbler (1), Garden Warbler (1), Blackcap (9), Chiffchaff (3), Willow Warbler (2) and Grey Wagtail (3)

Middleton wetlands:  9 Tufted Duck, Gadwall and three Teal

Vis mig over Middleton
Not a lot today with only half a dozen Meadow Pipit and about double that number of Swallow plus a single House Martin, plus 5 Grey Wagtail (three of them ringed)

Cabbage moth a bit of a mega in the trap!

Thursday sightings

7-8 meds and the ad little gull outfalls Thursday . 16 meds seaward end Heysham one on friday

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Another vis mig throwaway and unexpectedly large Goldcrest arrival

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately a bird calling three times with the 'front end Yellow Wag and the back end Richard's Pipit' (per Jean) did not land and all that could be done, after listening to recordings, was to inform patchworkers in some proper habitat along the direction of flight that a Citrine Wagtail seemed to be heading their way

Middleton NR
Vis mig interrupted by mist net rounds
Putative Citrine Wagtail - one SE 1000hrs
Grey Wagtail - 10 SE (6 ringed) - a more normal capture ratio, revealing that you need the loud continuous tape, not an MP3 with a gap, and the net set as low as possible - all birds in the bottom shelf)
Meadow Pipit - at least 25 SE
Swallow - at least 25 SE

Goldcrest - at least 5 around the office at HNR on a brief visit and 'many more' in addition to those ringed at Middleton - a very sudden large influx for this time of year - more akin to an October fall of continental birds
Otherwise see ringing with phylloscs in very short supply this morning

Ringing at Middleton
Newly ringed birds out of a total of 50 odd included Grey Wagtail (6), Blackcap (7), Chiffchaff (2), Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest (5)

The final moth night at Heysham toilet trap will be Sunday night with the trap being dismantled (ie the bulb removed and egg packing removed) by 0800hrs Monday.   Who wants to check it last as I can't make Monday morning?   Last night saw the first overdue Pinion-streaked Snout of the year 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Low key day

Middleton NR

A somewhat peaceful and leisurely morning at Middleton today. Peaceful if you don't include noise from the tannoy at the power station and various bangings and clangings at the wastewater treatment works.

Only 16 Swallows came out of the roost at 0605hrs

Meadow Pipit 31
Grey Wagtail 2
Pied Wagtail 1
Goldfinch 4. Later a flock of 40 headed WSW.
Swallow 4

Ringing - all new birds and all this year's unless stated :
Chiffchaff 4
Blackcap 4
Lesser Whitethroat 2 (included 1 adult)
Whitethroat 1
Reed Warbler 1
Sedge Warbler 1
Grey Wagtail 1. This was colour ringed.
Meadow Pipit 10
Robin 1 plus a retrap
Great Tit 2 plus a retrap
Blue Tit 4
Long-tailed Tit 1
Dunnock 3

Outfalls/red nab 11ish
Med gull: 7 x 2CY (clustered on the outer edge of red nab as usual), 3x juv, 1x ad
Little gull  - adult winter seaward end Heysham one

Monday, 5 September 2016

Hopefully the start of a good week for landbird movement

Heysham Obs
Its that time of year and drizzle until dawn and an east of south wind was worthy of coverage even if it did carry on for half an hour too long, delaying the mist netting, which probably let a few Blackcaps through.   The wind allowed three mist nets (couldnt have said that at previously exposed Middleton until the last three years or so)  and there was obviously something going on to the west allowing vis mig to get going, although the murky conditions meant only a handful of Grey Wagtail compared to Fairhaven

Vis mig Middleton
Grey Wagtail - 10 SE (2 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 12 SE
Swallow - 34 S
Reed Bunting - 1 SE
Teal - 1 high to east
House Martin - 10 S
alba Wagtail - 13 SE

Newly-ringed birds included:  Blackcap (7), Chiffchaff (4), Grey Wagtail (2) and singles of Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler

Outfalls/Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Med Gull - at least 14 (3 juvs, 2 ad, 9 2CY)
far too many Black-headed Gulls to sift through - about 2,100
Greenshank - juvenile in OE saltmarsh channel

Ringing totals for August
 - pretty good considering the dearth of Swallows and Greenfinches:

Sparrowhawk (1), Long-eared Owl (1), Sand Martin (1), Swallow (82),  Tree Pipit (9), Grey Wagtail (3), Pied Wagtail (1),  Wren (19), Dunnock (8), Robin (23), Blackbird (9), Song Thrush (2), Cetti's Warbler (1), Grasshopper Warbler (3), Sedge Warbler (26), Reed Warbler (15), Lesser Whitethroat (35), Whitethroat (107), Garden Warbler (23), Blackcap (44), Chiffchaff (28), Willow Warbler (129), Long-tailed Tit (8), Blue Tit (26), Great Tit (14), Chaffinch (5), Greenfinch (34), Goldfinch (41), Linnet (1), Lesser Redpoll (1), Bullfinch (11), Reed Bunting (7)




Sunday, 4 September 2016


Heysham obs
All day in the office doing birdy admin, moth trap and checking a mist net. The final time this is going to happen or have we another week before demolition. Hope they don't cut the leccy off way before anything else happening

Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
Teal are back with five on Tim butler pond
Mute - 2 pair one with 4 young, Tufted 2,  Mallard 7, Moorhen 3, Coot 4, Little grebe 1.  14 meadow pipit (grounded) Trickle of swallow south - 1,4,7,1&1

Sun was surprisingly warm, so lots of insect activity including 3 brown hawker, 1 migrant hawker confirmed + 4 presumed. 10 common darter including pair ovapositing.

5x 2cy, 3x juv med gull
Ad winter little gull

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Black rustic today's first of the year

Heysham outfalls
Covered at two stages - an earyish check when a fair wadge of stuff was feeding on the seaward end of the outfalls and a later check as the tide rolled it and neutralised that source of food. Typically two key birds had moved on by the second check

Outfalls and area (thanks Ian for later check)
Black tern - one distantly, probably a juv, moved from outer hey one to outer hey two. Then lost
Little gull - winter ad hey two then later inshore, what was probably a 2cy moulted into 2nd winter plumage was distantly on hey one at the same time
Med gull - between us located 4x 2cy, 3x juv and 2 x ad

Friday, 2 September 2016

Nothing new today

Latter stages of the incoming tide saw 4x juv and 1x 2cy med gulls but nothing else of note but nit all the redshank had arrived at the roost (cf yesterday's juv spot red). No moths of note in the final days of the trap

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Two decent birds, nowt else!

Heysham Obs

Osprey flew south over the Power Station then Middleton reserve at 0853hrs (thanks Bryan)

Spotted Redshank - juvenile with the high tide Redshank roost (264) along the rocky foreshore just south of OE saltmarsh

Just a couple of Meds at high tide

A good week for odds and ends of waders here

Wednesday Green Sandpipers

Heysham Obs
Just a few Meds seen today by visiting birders on the outfalls/Red Nab

John and Sandra flushed two Green Sandpiper from Ocean Edge saltmarsh creek in the evening

Old Lady and Frosted Orange in the office trap