Saturday, 30 December 2017

Low key

Kingfisher red nab
Med gull ad harbour mouth

No reported sign of the chough and the Brent geese were not on the disturbed skeer area off the children’s play area

Friday, 29 December 2017

Chough returns to its old habits

A quick one-two or two-one with the Brents and Chough along Knowlys road this lunchtime, but it really felt "white wing" with a strong westerly and showers and snow on the hills.  Weather reminded of Ullapool in winter in the early 80s when there were proper communists and proper factory ships and Odessians trying to buy my Lada Riva with some obscure currency.  40 'white winged' gulls was not unusual.  Not so here: every nook and cranny, offshore sandbank and skeer, Eider 'attenders' and rooftop was checked with just the Czech Med to show for it

Brent Goose - two pale-bellied visible from Knowlys road on the skeer off the childrens play area
Chough - on the sheepfield at 1145 and then along the fence by the footpath in the SW corner of the horse paddocks at least 1200-1215 but not at 1415.
Med Gull - Czech adult along the north wall
Stonechat - female along cliff edge half moon bay
Eider - about 830 but sea rough
Great-crested Grebe - 2 offshore

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Brents relocated

Chough - no sign today despite extensive searching therefore the only two sightings in the last four days were on Christmas morning and late yesterday afternoon when it was below the tall cliffs being mobbed by two Carrion Crow.  If anyone did see it today, please make contact.  Thanks

Brent Goose - the two Pale-bellied on the shore off the children's play area visible from eg Knowlys road

Med Gull - Czech adult north wall and another adult at seaward end Heysham 2 outfall

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Elusive Chough

Seen 3pm below the high cliffs (thanks John) but not earlier by people scouring the place

Med Gull - ad following IOM ferry
Eider - 810 offshore - scattered with four main concentrations
Great-crested Grebe - 2 offshore and one harbour mouth
Stonechat - female below low cliffs
Snipe - one flushed from Heysham barrows!
Jackdaw - at least 8 horse paddocks

Anyone year listing on NYD!!  The one time it might be worth hugging a hide or better still car potatoing eg afternoon seawatch?  Heysham (thanks XC):

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Whooper in harbour!

Bit of a novelty, especially this time of year - usually a spring and autumn passage migrant.  No obvious sign of the Chough today in the southern section at least.  One of the adult male Eider which was almost certainly off here earlier was seen floating in the choppy water past the Stone Jetty and was flashing an orangy bill as it bobbed up and down whilst floating in but there was no evidence of any 'sails'.  Watch this space when it goes calm.

Whooper Swan - adult in the harbour mouth
 Stonechat - female still half moon bay
Meadow Pipit - one half moon bay
Thanks to Janet for the second and third, no prizes for guessing who took the first

Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas Day aerobatics

The Chough was doing figure of eights and generally enjoying itself along its territory along Heysham Head this am

Female Stonechat also there

Thanks Malcolm for the info

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Shag reappears?

Either one very elusive 1cy shag around this last month or a scattered series of day trips from the 'pool' around walney

Chough - seen 0840 and 1230 above half moon bay
Shag - flew south close inshore past near naze at 1230

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Brents reappear

Another dull misty day

Med Gull - Czech-ringed adult on the NHW
Brent Goose - Presumably the missing two flew past Caroline and Nick at 1/2 Moon Bay and I located them on Red Nab - one definitely pale-bellied, the other a 'shampoo view'
No reports of Chough despite Malcolm doing a dawn undercliff walk to try and locate the roosting site

Friday, 22 December 2017

Frantic Fog

A few bits were seen as it cleared, including the Chough location below the tall cliffs

Snipe - possibly as many as 56 on the rocks between Near Naze and the café
Chough - located below the tall cliffs (see 16/12 posting) during the mid afternoon and it certainly did not visit the other more open sites prior to that
Stonechat - mobile female along the barrows/headland
The first (and last?) Magpie of the year was ringed by the office!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Yaffling consolation

Wet and warm and misty again today and the Brent Geese seem to have been spirited away and the Chough presumably/hopefully having a day off from the spotlight 

Middleton NR
Green Woodpecker - calling
Cetti's Warbler - western marsh bird singing
Water Rail - 3+

North wall
Czech Med Gull - ring seen and confirmed

Heliport roost
Snipe - 15
Ringed Plover - a creditable 42
Turnstone - similar to the other day - 69
Little Egret - 2
Redshank - 390
Oystercatcher - 5500
Dunlin - 18

Red Nab and area
Redwing - lost bird on rocks below wooden jetty - misty confusion rather than a cold weather movement!
Wigeon - at least 250

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Great White Egret adds to the mix

Birding not easy today especially when cloudy weather with fog changed to sunny weather with even denser fog around lunchtime!

Great White Egret - one flew low to the west over Middleton NR at 1053 hours but could not be relocated on the coast
Chough - on pager for midday in the fields above half moon bay and reported by dog walker mid afternoon below the cliffs
Stonechat - female below cliffs at half moon bay
Jack Snipe - one flushed whilst checking mist net rides Middleton western marsh
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - two alternating between Red Nab and Ocean Edge saltmarsh channel
Med Gull - Czech adult around anglers north harbour wall

NHWall feeding area - just 4 goldfinch and 2 linnet.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Chough and Brents still

Half Moon Bay
Chough - in the fields then at its hidey hole below the low cliffs
Stonechat - female

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
Pale-bellied Brent - two
No Stonechat
Snipe - 14

Monday, 18 December 2017

Decent mid-winter fare in the morning

Coverage from Malcolm - thanks
Just did two short circuits, first round Half Moon Bay:
Chough calling from Sheep field direction, but didn't see it. 10:10 (see in am by dog walker in same area)
1 Stonechat (female)
3 Red Breasted Merganser (2 males)
31 Pinkfoot (north)
Then Ocean Edge and Red Nab
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - oddly just two today
39 Common Snipe
1 Jack Snipe
1 Stonechat (female type - but darker than HMB bird) pic attached
c20 Linnet

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Car potato Chough and Brent surprise

A wet Sunday am and a short bit of mobile hide birding

Chough - in the field just to the north of half moon bay café at least 0945-0956
Turnstone - 67 heliport seawall
Med Gull - Czech adult around the nhw anglers

Ocean Edge and area (Malcolm)
Brent Goose - probably pale-bellied - 3 flew south from OE towards Potts Corner mid-am (per Malcolm)
Common Snipe - 23 OE saltmarsh
Jack Snipe - at least one OE saltmarsh (rather low high tide)
Skylark - one OE saltmarsh

Saturday, 16 December 2017

More Chough circuitary

Info from Malcolm this am               
I was out for two hours this morning and located the Chough three times.

Chough time line:
9:55 on Heysham Head cliff tops
10:00 - 10:15 feeding on under cliff of high cliffs at Heysham Head (more on this below)
10:25 "cavorting" over rooftops on Worborrow Road (seen from barrows wood)
No sign on horse paddocks
11:05 On fence on south end of Heysham Head sheep field
11:06 Flew into sheep field
11.49 Still in sheep field as scoped from south end of heliport seawall!
No further known observations

Other sightings
Under high steps Half Moon Bay
Rock Pipit 1 - not there at 9:15 but showing well by 11:00
Meadow Pipit -at least 1
Stonechat 1 (female)
PS this is a nice new years day collection of a tricky trio as well as the Chough!

61 Pinkfoot to SE (11:15)

Bit more information about feeding location on high undercliffs:
I thought these high under cliffs would be a good location. There are lots of feeding spots similar to the one at Half Moon Bay, but much more secluded. To this end, I went down to the shore to check from below. I had just got there when the Chough briefly flew over the cliff top then back to the Head. I waited a while but it didn't return. So I climbed out. The Chough was just on the grass above the cliffs. As soon as I got there, it flew to the under cliff. The implication is that it didn't fly there earlier, because I was at the base of the cliffs. This is not in line with my experience at HMB where it came into feed whilst I was much closer than I was today, but perhaps it was just more expectant of people at HMB. 
By the time I got to the point where I could see under cliffs again, I couldn't find chough. I went down to the shore again, but still couldn't locate (there are lots of nooks and crannies here than can only be viewed from certain angles. Presuming that I had missed it moving on, I climbed up to the Head again. It then flew out from under cliffs and headed over the Barrows. It would have been feeding for 15 minutes then, and presuming a similar success rate to HMB it would have a belly full of food to digest.
My advise to birders would be to check these cliffs out from the lower ground to the north of them. The image attached is a view from this point. The good news is that it is very vocal when flying in and out. If they do decide to watch from the shore, they should be aware of tide times. At current heights, there is not a danger of drowning, but easy access and egress can be cut off

Friday, 15 December 2017

Camera shy Chough

Plenty of people about today but no Chough seen today until it appeared along the horse paddock fence at about 1530hrs (thanks June)

Stonechat - the mobile female wandering up and down the low cliffs at half moon bay
Meadow Pipit - 2 in same place
Med Gull - unfamiliar ad with yellow-tipped bill by half moon bay café
Knot - 1200 heliport seawall

Otherwise not a lot - didn't cover the afternoon low tide

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Rapidly downhill

The coverage started well with a nice bowl of Jade's soup in HMB café accompanied by views of the Chough in the field just to the north.  Subsequently:

Seawatch - zilch apart from a/the 1CY Shag alongside the north wall.  Too rough to check seaduck

IOM ferry - followed in by common big seagulls

Outfalls - zilch

Middleton model boat pond - zilch

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Chough hidy hole

The reason why birders this last couple of days have not been able to find the Chough by concentrating on the horse paddocks and the headland.  It has been feeding below the under'cliff' just to the south of the tall steps leading down to Half Moon Bay and accessible from the Half Moon Bay café end.  Thanks Malcolm for sorting this out (pics taken today).   Obviously please don't 'park the bus' on its feeding area if its not there when you arrive

Stonechat - one female same general area

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Chough swops sides again

On Half Moon Bay foreshore and then up in the sheep field above H M Bay this am

Med Gull
Adult north wall (Czech bird)

Nothing obvious offshore with Eiders


Eider - lots!
RB Merganser - 5
Great crested Grebe - 3

North wall
Med Gull - TWO adults patrolling

Heysham Head
Stonechat - 2
Chough - only seen around paddocks at 1130 otherwise several people couldn't find it

Teal - 35
Water Rail - 2
Common Snipe - 2
Cettis singing western marsh
Goldcrest - 1

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Eider hit a new high but not a lot with them today

Along the footpath fence at SW corner of horse paddock at least just before 10am

North wall
Nothing doing on sandworks circuit (16 Linnet)
Eider - 1710
Common Scoter - 1 poss 2 female
Great-crested Grebe - 2

Outfalls area
Grey Seal - 1

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Nice selection on a quick trawl round

Nowt seen yesterday, with the reason being the tide was half way in and the Chough wasn't in easy to watch locations

Along the fence in the horse paddock about 1000hrs

North wall offshore
Eider - 1675
Scaup - ad m, 1CYm, 2 f
Goldeneye - 2f
Red-breasted Merganser - 6
Great-crested Grebe - 3
distant unidentified black things x 5 were probably Common Scoter

Red Nab
Med Gull - large bird - not the Czech ad

Office feeders
Brambling - at least one

Grey Seal - one offshore
Weasel - one shot across the nice smooth surface on Moneyclose Lane

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Chough back with the horses

Horse paddock knowlys road
Chough - about 1130 at least

Fishers Roof
Med Gull - one ad, prob Czech bird

Middleton NR
Jack Snipe - 1
Tufted duck - 1 male
Single Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler (central marsh)
Gate 38 area
Woodcock - one flushed from scrub by south quay!  First record for SD35Z
Song Thrush - as above

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Coastal or near coastal
Chough - seen by dogwalker at horse paddock c0900, then flew towards church.  Seen distantly along the cliffs on south side of head about 0930
Shag - 1CY quite mobile (assuming just one!) around harbour mouth/wooden jetty/north wall

Middleton NR (thanks Malcolm)
Mute 2 pairs, 1 single adult & 1 1cy
Moorhen 9
Gadwall 1
Teal 18
Mallard 12
Water Rail 2
Common Snipe 2
Jack Snipe 1
Pheasant 2
Pinkfoot 112 east

Cetti's Warbler - two bursts of song from western scrape. A few contact calls from east of Fence pond
Quite a few were disturbed retrieving the hibernacula set up in the Forest School as these had been 'moved' by an unknown miscreant, including the only one identified, this Agonopterix arenella

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A bit of culture on Heysham Head

Some nice diverse entertainment on Heysham Head today:  Thanks to Malcolm and Pete Cook for todays sightings.

This is not a foretaste of the post-Brexit return to the Stone Age, but some land art known as 'rock balancing'.  Looks pretty impressive with the singletons looking like they have been photo-shopped - but they managed to stay put even in a brisk wind

Next up was a juvenile Shag close inshore along the rocks

Next up a female Stonechat:

Finally the Chough was out of the stronger wind today spending more time around the horse paddocks on the north side, at least when it was reported during the mid-late morning.  NNEW this afternoon.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Chough changes sides

The Chough spent most of the day along the cliffs at Half-Moon Bay, including what seemed to be the whole of the afternoon

The Morecambe Bay Partnership Natural Ambassadors team was out in force today although some non-forecasted rain was a bit of a pain.  They have done exceptionally well raising awareness of eg the nearby heliport seawall wader roost, especially at the Half Moon Bay café area, a thriving hub of dog walker and visitor activity.  I didn't have time to ask what the counts were today but it certainly included the highest recent Knot gathering and what seemed to be a decent Redshank roost but fewer Oystercatcher than yesterday's five-figure mass (probably due to lack of anglers on Sunny Slopes groyne roost)

Chough - mainly along the cliffs at Half-Moon Bay
Med Gull - ad fisher's roof
Knot - 2000 at heliport seawall roost
Rock Pipit - by turbine on seawall   

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Green Woodpecker

The first sighting of Green Woodpecker for some time at lunchtime as it flew over the office from the tank farm towards the main reserve.  The Chough was very elusive for people searching in the usual horse fields area today with a sighting in the morning and a sighting at 1300hrs and other sightings later along the coast.  This does suggest that it is spending time on the Barrows to the south of the churchyard and accessible following the path past the churchyard and through the two arches.  Likely to be mobile over quite a large area.  Ian had it feeding along the cliff edge on this side of the Head yesterday afternoon
Thanks Jim Clift

Red-throated Diver - two together offshore towards Walney just after HT
Med Gull - Czech adult north wall railings
Chough - report from horse fields in am then another sighting there at 1300hrs and along the shore during afternoon. See above
Green Woodpecker - flew over reserve office at 1200hrs
Jack Snipe - two on tide OE saltmarsh (and 7 Snipe)
Oystercatcher - 11000 on the heliport sea wall

Heysham Head/seen from pm (thanks Gav)
Pink-footed Goose - c.100 south over Morecambe. 17 over the bay from south Cumbria towards Heysham.
Common Scoter - 1 with the Eiders.
Pintail - 1 drake south over the bay
Red-throated Diver - 2  (almost certainly additional to above which were higher in the tide cycle towards Walney)
Little Egret - 4
Great Crested Grebe - 2
Bar-tailed Godwit - 14
Peregrine - 1
Goldcrest - 2 (churchyard)
Rock Pipit - 1

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Chough mobility and rising tides

Chough was quite mobile and elusive today ranging from the north-eastern end of the horse fields to Heysham Barrows and not spending much time along its favoured fence line
Offshore/North wall
Czech-ringed Med Gull on railings
Red-throated Diver - two offshore together early stages of dropping tide
Eider - well scattered due to anglers boats
Rock Pipit - on seawall by turbine
Watched tide up over OE
2 Jack Snipe
29 Common Snipe (I'm planning to watch Half Moon Bay rocks being covered on Monday)
3 Skylark (flew over low from south, presumably displaced somewhere towards Potts Corner. Appeared to land on grass behind foreshore)
1 Grey Plover
Salt marsh only partially covered. Tomorrow's tide will cover completely, but tonight's tide will too, so perhaps there will be little left in morning.
Lots of birds on Red Nab, but of the common variety
307 Wigeon
14 Shelduck
5 Red Breasted Merganser
3 Little Egret (unusually, all roosting on same rock)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Chough roams around heysham head

a lot of chough photographers today and some excellent pics around the internet, especially perhaps a good day for flight shots as the bird roamed between the horse fields and brief visits to the barrows

Red throated diver - one distant towards the turbines and one closer at main eider flock range
Red breasted merganser - pair

23 Linnet on feeding area.