Wednesday 31 January 2018

Freight ferry Glauc

Inverse correlation day today - the more Kittiwakes behind the IOM ferry, the less the passengers are enjoying the journey.  Unfortunately the Ben my Chree fare did not include any white-winged gulls but a juv Glaucous Gull, presumably the same as two days ago, was observed distantly behind the 1450 freight ferry in the harbour mouth, before disappearing out of the area again as many boat-followers do.

A Knot leg flag read today:
Ringed   Brenna, Porsanger NORWAY  70 30N 25 43E      26/5/13
Seen:  Near Naze, Heysham    31/1/18

No other interim sightings which is a shame.  Thanks to Richard and Jim for a quick sort out 
Kittiwake - 5 in as seen from Knowlys road, 4 in as the ferry came into port and presumably the same single adult followed both the IOM ferry and the freight ferry into port
Shag - juv on wooden jetty with a massive 135 Cormorant at HT
Glaucous Gull - see above
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Two on OE saltmarsh on the dropping but not at HT - presumably up at Potts Corner at HT
Chough - e.g. mid pm on second field
Stonechat - female NE corner OE saltmarsh
Jack Snipe - three OE saltmarsh HT
Med Gull - Czech ad north wall, ad Knowlys horse field HT
Pintail - female Middleton no swimming pond
Pochard - 2 drakes Middleton no swimming pond 

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Back to earth with a bump - a typically birdless high spring tide and calmish weather

No sign of any white-wingers.  The Iceland Gull report on Red Nab late yesterday afternoon was very unexpected, given the observer effort looking for a bird which seemingly soared up and disappeared after all the gulls were spooked in the harbour late morning.............and it wasn't there this morning.  No ferry repeat with the Glaucous in calmer weather

Still plenty left by normal standards for here!
Chough - seen early am in half moon bay fields
Shag - Juv on wooden jetty 1030 at least
Stonechat - female OE saltmarsh corner
Jack Snipe - OE saltmarsh
Snipe - 23 OE saltmarsh
Kittiwake - 2CY briefly in harbour
Knot - four with flags and colour rings by heliport but none fully read - please have a go mid afternoon tomorrow if you are around
NNEW Brents
Med Gull - two ads seen

Monday 29 January 2018

Iceland and Glaucous on the same day

We have got our act together a bit earlier than usual and, as can be seen in the sidebar, the 2017 report is available at £3.  This is basically a cost-covering exercise of a limited production, printed by a commercial printer (Pagefast).  There will be no reprint as it is cost-prohibitive to do a small print run so we advise you purchase early.    

Today seems rather good, but try telling that to the mid afternoon observers as all the harbour area offerings went awol.

Iceland Gull - 3rd W Red Nab early on, waterfall area late morning, disappeared, back on Red Nab 1600hrs at least

Glaucous Gull - Juvenile following the IOM ferry into the harbour mouth 1215ish then apparently flying out again (as per observer near the lighthouse) as many ferry followers do.  Looked a darker bird than the previous record seen in exactly the same light/circumstances from the back of the harbour.  It was reported on the pager again at 1250hrs when one of the freight ferries was coming in but it certainly was not in viewing range from the back of the harbour at that time.
Shag - Juv around the harbour mouth/inner end wooden jetty on and off, more on in the morning and off in the afternoon
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - two off the horse paddock on skeer afternoon at least
Chough - seen in the first two fields north of |Half Moon Bay cafe on the two occasions it was known to be looked for - pre-lunch and mid afternoon - initially located by scoping from the north harbour wall
Med Gull - adult on shore off horse paddocks again
Stonechat - female NE corner OE saltmarsh
Water Rail - 2+ Middleton
Gadwall - 5 model boat pond

NB  The Black-throated Diver is taking the micky.  It is obviously a higher life form than Fylde and Heysham Obs year listers and is toying with us.   Today it decided not to leave Blea Tarn Reservoir until it was almost dark at 1715hrs and took a line which would, in normal daylight, have sent it overhead easily visible from eg Knowlys Road!  The departure from Blea Tarn was about 1.5hours later than yesterday (see thread LDBWS site)

Sunday 28 January 2018

Iceland Gull added to the impressive January list

A 3rd W Iceland Gull was located independently at about 1100hrs from either side of the harbour by Craig Bell on the north side and Malcolm & Tom on the other side.  This remained in the area until at least 1530 when it was on the mudflats next to Red Nab.  Thanks to Craig, Jean, Nick and Malcolm for pics and video

Pics from Craig Bell
Life at the harbour waterfall, including the Iceland Gull (Jean)

Thanks to Nick (top) and Malcolm for these pics at the waterfall

Shag - 2CY around harbour mouth on and off  latterly on the wooden jetty
Chough - seen in the sheep field about 1245hrs as scoped from the Near Naze
Green Sandpiper - again on the eastern fringe of the area by the new transformer on pools alongside bypass just beyond the recycling centre roundabout
NNEW on Brents - no known visit by locals

Saturday 27 January 2018

Black-throat no show

The commuting Black-throated Diver decided that heading for Glasson (from Blea Tarn) was a better option this evening and we obviously failed to add it to the "seen from flypast list"

Big contrasts with the weather at the moment
Flesh-fly landing on the car in yesterdays sun at Middleton (Pete)
soft focus Shag by the harbour in driving rain this morning (Malcolm)
...................but a decent sunset this evening (Malcolm)

Todays birds
Shag - juv in the harbour mouth briefly in the rain at 0940
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - the two off horse paddocks on skeer late afternoon (flew in from north)
Chough - on Heysham Barrows at lunchtime
Med Gull - ad on shore by horse paddocks with the small gang of BHG (seemingly very regular here) 

Friday 26 January 2018

"Seen from" possibilities!

Today was the last of the "isn't it a lovely day" greetings for about a week or so and we finished off the winter bird survey for SD45.  After yesterdays comment, what a surprise that TWO male Pochard were present today!  Malcolm also located a very mobile Chiffchaff on Middleton along with at least two Goldcrest but still no Cetti's.

Chough - seen at least twice
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - on the shore off the childrens play area, viewable from Knowlys road vantage point
Chiffchaff - one Middleton NR
Pochard - TWO drakes model boat pond
Med Gull - one ad harbour mouth
Red-throated Diver - one in second channel offshore
Eider - 520 - pretty accurate
GCGrebe - 2 

Chris Batty watched the Black-throated Diver leave Blea Tarn reservoir for FIVE MINUTES on the following trajectory at 1639hrs. It did not waver from the straight line flight during this period and, assuming it does not change direction when reaching the sea, suggests it is pitching in somewhere around the old Sandylands sewer outfall south of the Stone Jetty. There is a fairly wide channel here, even at low spring tide. Various vantage points suggest themselves for monitoring this flight eg watching the halfway stage from the raised south end of the golden ball tidal road and more coastally: end of Royds Avenue or even scoping north from Knowlys Road which would give good evening light as well as a 'seen from'!

Thursday 25 January 2018

Good coverage, missing birds but the Pochard back!

A sign of current status was a decision not to stay at home today but 'twitch' the Pochard in case it was the last ever day this species would grace the Heysham Obs list!

Glaucous Gull - no sign in extensive coastal and rooftop search and regular waterfall checks
Shag - no report
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - the two on the shore off the northern end of the horse paddocks - scan from Knowlys Road
Chough - seen at the half moon bay fields and, first report for a bit, from the horse paddock
Med Gull - ads on the shore from the horse paddock, fishers roof and possibly the same behind departing ferry = presumably Czech bird
Stonechat - no sign of OE saltmarsh bird, no reports of half moon bay bird
Eider - 420 off the north harbour wall
Pochard - drake model boat pond

Tufted Duck - 2 model boat pond
Gadwall - 3 model boat pond

Wednesday 24 January 2018

The sum of the bit-parts

Today was a bit like one of those seawatching reports which look absolutely "mouth-watering" until you see the small print................. (0530-2000hrs = one decent bird every 2.5 hours).  For example, the only birds of note I saw today were: about 40 seconds of juvenile Shag (along with Rosie and Mario), a distant Little Gull and 1st W Kittiwake on the outfalls, yet the 'full house' was available for visiting birders, but extremely elusive with only the Brent Geese playing ball to any extent.  Pics from Malcolm unless otherwise stated - thanks for these

Glaucous Gull - juv under the waterfall c1000hrs as per these pics but not there one hour beforehand and not seen since.  Where is its bolthole or rooftop?

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - the two were on the shore north of Heysham Head off the horse paddocks, then shifted to Red Nab at High Tide (1500hrs).  This is a Pale-brindled Beauty copied by accident but the first moth of this year at Heysham NR office!
  photo P Marsh

Shag - juvenile flew into the harbour mouth from along the north wall about 1150hrs, remained for about 30 seconds then flew 'round the corner' towards the inner end of the outfalls.  Not seriously looked for since but a nice addition to the year list 
Little Gull - adult flew out about 1220 hrs
Kittiwake - Juv on outfalls late afternoon
Stonechat - half moon bay female seen again, NNEW on Ocean Edge bird
Chough - only definitely seen about 1130hrs in field north of cafe

Chough plus a bit of Choughish scenery (thanks Jeff)

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Glaucous Gull mystery

Four of us put quite a bit of time into searching for this bird today around the harbour, as also did the police patrol birder!  Yet it was seen there and earlier on Red Nab by visiting birders.  I suspect it must have been sitting on the Fishers quay behind an object, rendering it about the only place not visible from the south harbour end

Chough - in the half moon bay fields lunchtime and in the sheep(less now?) fields mid afternoon
Stonechat - female NE corner of OE saltmarsh
Merlin - female seen near half moon bay cafe
Med Gull - adult behind the dredger may have been the Czech bird also seen along the north wall

Third successive day of no Brent Goose sightings despite coverage of the usual sites

Monday 22 January 2018

Glaucous finds the waterfall, Chiffchaff on the HN reserve

A very successful disappearing act for a day and a half and it was back today underneath the waterfall in the SW corner of the harbour - a proven attraction for white wingers if they find it

Thanks Malcolm
Chiffchaff - one in bushes by HNr car park
Woodcock - one MNR again
Goldcrest - ringed bird MNR
Chough - half moon bay fields
Med Gull - ad following IOM ferry into port
Eider - 489 offshore - careful count
Great-crested Grebe - 2
Rock Pipit - south roundhead


Chough - half moon bay fields
Stonechat - NE corner OE saltmarsh

Saturday 20 January 2018

Glaucous surprise

Sometimes the rubbish you talk comes back to haunt, although you don't mind when it is a top notch patch year tick.  I said to Peter Sharples and his wife that there was no point in checking Fisher's Roof (now a walk 'cos of road closure) as "there wont be any new big gulls because its calm".  So they go and just beat the WeBs counters to it on Red Nab with a fine huge pale juvenile Glaucous Gull.  Unfortunately, didn't risk getting the car stuck on the sodden grass to use window clamp phone-scope and balancing it on the fence produced farcical results before the bird was flushed by an off-lead dog.  Thanks to Bill Aspin for managing to sort out a video grab of sorts where "at least you can see the bill"!

Coastal stuff
Glaucous Gull - Juv on Red Nab from at least 1305 to about 1320 then flew north along the seawall and was not seen again despite an extensive search up to Morecambe West End Groyne as per the WeBs
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Two on OE saltmarsh at least 1300hrs
OE saltmarsh plus the Brents from OE 'top tier' looking back north

Chough - seen at least twice in the morning along half moon bay edge

** Green Sandpiper - one right on the eastern edge of the area near the new transformer on the bypass (thanks Garry)

Friday 19 January 2018

Very unexpected Fulmar

A few decent bits and bobs including a Fulmar heading out pretty quickly at c1115 which didn't appear to have an all-white head and certainly not a paler tail, but views were brief and at a poor angle.  Certainly not an obvious dark morph e.g. the underwing coverts were pale and it stays as "a Fulmar".  Next best were two Little Gulls seemingly related to the incoming ferry

Earthworm sequence in field next to half moon bay cafe (thanks Janet)

Sea on and off 1050-1245
Fulmar - one out c1115
Little Gull - ad and 1st W slowly out - picked up soon after ferry arrived
Kittiwake - moribund looking 1st W in harbour entrance, just one ad behind ferry
Med Gull - ad behind ferry - flew back out straight away (not Czech bird)

Brent Goose - two pale-bellied Red Nab on incoming tide
Med Gull - ad Knowlys road field HT roost
Ringed Plover - 44 Knowlys road HT roost
Goldcrest - two by HNR office

Thursday 18 January 2018

Woodcock joins the year list

Middleton NR
Mute 8 (4 pairs)
Moorhen 3
Tufted 4 (3 male)
Gadwall 16 (11 male)
Teal at least 50
Mallard 8
Ware Rail 1 (two heard)
Common Snipe 1
No Cettis - two observers checking in calmish conditions

Woodcock 1. This was in strip along golf club, but there is some wood management going on in wood behind Tradebe, so I suspect it originally came from there.
Goldcrest 1.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - two at HT exactly as yesterday (see pic)
Stonechat - female in corner as yesterday

Heysham half moon bay
Chough(ish) - seen from moving car at same time as two Carrion Crows were flushed off Half Moon Bay fields c1320hrs when in hurry - flight silhouette looked fine!

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Skylark added to the year list!

Ocean Edge incoming tide
2 x Pale Bellied Brent on salt marsh by 11:00. But were not on Red Nab earlier. Suspect it was too rough.
There was also a drake Eider with them today.
Stonechat still easily located in NE corner where all the last storm's jetsam is now decaying.
Skylark 1 behind OE foreshore bund .

I have attached a location shot, taken from slipway area. It shows were the Brent typically are, but also shows the corner where the Stonechat frequents. Directly behind them where the wooden fence ends.

Thanks Malcolm

Chough - on Half Moon Bay fields mid-pm and seen earlier along the headland
Stonechat - female along half moon bay beach

Med Gull - Czech ad north wall

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Guillemot joins the year list

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 2 Red Nab 0915 then later in the tide on OE saltmarsh before heading towards Potts corner in rough seas
Snipe - 23 OE saltmarsh
Jack Snipe - 2 OE saltmarsh
Stonechat - female still NE corner OE saltmarsh
Linnet/Twite - distant singleton in flight
Chough - showing well today in fields and right next to Half Moon Bay Cafe:

Thanks Janet 

Guillemot - one out c1145
Kittiwake - 11 adult behind IOM lunchtime ferry
Med Gull - adult Knowlys road fields

Monday 15 January 2018

Brent logistics

The two wintering Pale-bellied Brent Geese (note also a third bird south towards Potts Corner on at least two dates) have been difficult to locate.  Malcolm has worked out a pattern:

It is clear that the lowest high tide resulting in a sighting on south side was 8.4m.
The northern side is less well reported, but 3 of the 5 records were for tides less than 8.0m. The "anomaly" being the record on skeer just to north of HH on 31/12 on 9.05m tide. However I suspect this would have been quite a while before high water, as this skeer is covered early.

In summary: it appears that the north side is favoured, until tides are sufficiently high to force the birds to the south, for the duration of high water at least.

Todays sightings
Brent Goose - two PB on OE saltmarsh at HT
Stonechat - female still around OE saltmarsh
No sign of yesterday's singleton Twite on OE

Sunday 14 January 2018

Elusive chat reappears

Thanks to Janet for today's pics

The female Stonechat to the south of the harbour reappeared today along OE:
The HMB female Stonechat was also seen today

Chough - three reports this afternoon - sheep field and area

Brent Goose - two in flight from south wall - heading N but presumably THE two returning to the north side of harbour?  We'll see

Twite - one OE saltmarsh

Lots of Knot and Oystercatcher on the heliport seawall

Saturday 13 January 2018

Brent hide out

Two areas covered today by Malcolm: north side of Heysham Head and Middleton NR.  Presumably the Chough was somewhere on the south side of Heysham Head but no reports on pager etc

Heysham Head north side just on early dropping tide
This is where the two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were today:

Middleton NR
Another overcrowding of Mute Swan in the offing with pairs covering all ponds
16 Gadwall
12 Mallard
c10 Teal
No Cettis but windy

200 Pinkfoot over to south

Friday 12 January 2018

A fine specimen

And the award for Chough picture of the day goes to Dave Bickerton:

Thursday 11 January 2018

Usual suspects still around

NOTE - north wall closed until further notice - no easy checks of Fishers roof - need to do it from Heysham Head at long range or by the lighthouse on south harbour wall (some classic white wing weather next week).........not sure at the moment whether you can still walk down.  Obviously seriously affecting angling if you cant and I've phoned Gerry's

THURSDAY 11th January
Chough not easy to connect with but still frequenting places around Heysham Head - the horse paddock in the morning and the cliffs below the Head later on.

Female Stonechat rooting about in the tide wrack near the slipway in Half Moon Bay along with a few pals - Rock Pipit and 3-4 Meadow Pipits

5 Snipe flushed from Near Naze

In the low tide channel:
Eider - 400 (290 males,110 females ie 72% male)
Great-crested Grebe - 2

67 Wigeon at the end of Heysham 1 outfall at low tide (62% males)
2 Little Egrets

Middleton Nature Reserve
Model Boat Pond partly frozen but 15 Gadwall on it (10 males/66%) and a Grey Heron.


WEDNESDAY 10th January
Stonechat - female eating loads of ?Ruby Tiger larvae along 1/2 moon bay beach
Chough - by cafe early pm (per pager)

Forgot about the star:

Pochard - drake model boat pond per Justine

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Dogged Chough

The Chough was chased by mutts today as it tried to feed along the shore at Half Moon Bay fields - short visits were recorded there at 1000 and 1320hrs.  Hopefully this helps visitors and of course it can also be 'on the other side' in Knowlys road horse paddocks, but by all accounts not very often recently

Snipe - 53 plus on rocks below heliport seawall
RT Diver - still in harbour
Stonechat - female along half MB shore

Thanks for the info Malcolm (pm Chough sighting from page service - please do keep posting it)

Monday 8 January 2018

Eider crash

Just enough time spent on site by me for three different tory party chairmen today, but Malcolm paid two visits and obtained some nice close Red-throated Diver shots.  A few other birders around and the Chough played ball today

Offshore low tide
Whooper Swan - one adult in second channel
Great-crested Grebe - 3
Red-throated Diver - one second channel
Eider - 620 - the big flock missing unless it was north of Heysham Head?

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 2 Red Nab late pm at least
Red-throated Diver ad winter in harbour

Thanks Malcolm

Chough - on HMB fields on and off until at least early afternoon
Stonechat - present along shore
Meadow Pipit - at least one along shore
Bar-tailed Godwit - bird with leg flag along tideline off NH wall - should have two characters on flag if anyone reads it.  Please let us know.  Ta 

Sunday 7 January 2018

Chough back on the cliff top

Chough seen on the cliff top and sides below the chapel 1030-1200ish - thanks to David Morris (RSPB staff) for this great pic

The Pale-bellied Brents were not reported today as far as I know but here is a great pic from Janice Sutton yesterday.  Thanks Janice

Malcolm covered the harbour and south side briefly

Stonechat - no sign
Rock Pipit - 2 HMB shore
Red-throated Diver - in harbour

Saturday 6 January 2018

Bits and repetitive bobs

The Chough has a habit of being awkward when it is dry and lots of birders are around so please don't "sit on it" if you come across it - it was apparently on the horse paddock area mid pm before Jeff had it presumably coming in to roost along the low cliff edge late afternoon

Any visiting anglers reading this.  Please note that the right hand sidebar asks birders to respect the fact you want to use the seawall for your hobby.  In return, please don't be pig ignorant and self-righteous like the anglers from elsewhere who blocked access along the seawall today - yes we know you 'got there first' but that is not the point.  All the transit van had to do was bring his mirror in to allow access, but the other vehicle required completely moving

Middleton NR
Mute 4 - no sign of juvenile. One pair on model boat pond and, bizarrely, one pair on "new" small ponds on western scrape.
Gadwall 12
Mallard 2
Tufted 1 (Tim Butler)
Teal c50
Moorhen 4
Water Rail 1
Heron 1
Common Snipe 1

Stock Dove 1 - flew from Golf club area across reserve in direction of Middleton (new for year)

Med Gull - adult on sea near Red Nab
Grey Heron - one roosting on wooden jetty
Pale-bellied Brent Geese - Red Nab on the incoming tide
Chough - see above - otherwise searched for in vain by quite a few
Stonechat - female near cafe
Red-throated Diver - one touring the harbour again - opportunity for an artistic shot!!
Cormorant - 87
Wigeon - c302