Thursday 31 May 2018

Photography day

A few bits
Reed Warbler - three caught in the same net at Middleton NR could easily have included a late migrant or two
Sandwich Tern - between four and eight at various times off Heysham skeer this evening
Canada Goose - flock of 7 by Heysham skeer this evening

Insects etc at Middleton (thanks Janet)  I think the moth is Cochlymorpha straminea

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Unpredictable mix!

Janet went to do some photography on the south harbour wall and came up with these. This Rock Pipit is clearly not a littoralis and is of the nominate form, perhaps a northern kleinschmidti, but in the absence of any suggestive measurements it could equally originate from more sedentary populations further south. Any opinions anyone, please?  It has been hanging around extremely elusively since the winter period.  Nearby were two Pink-feet, again not end of May candidates but perhaps injured

Thanks Janet

Coastal sightings today
Rock Pipit - south harbour mouth
Pink-footed Goose - two on sea by outfalls
Arctic Tern - short seawatch on turning tide saw 2+4 in
Sandwich Tern - 31 in/fishing on early turning tide
Gannet - subad floated in, flew out, then floated in again (injured?)
Great-crested Grebe - still 5 in summer plumage in inshore low tide channel
Sanderling - 3 OE tideline - slightly separate from flock below
Dunlin - 42 OE tideline
Ringed Plover - 18 OE tideline
Shag - 2CY wooden jetty
House Martin - one north
White butterflies - about 15 in-off/north!

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Arctic Tern farewell performance? Stirrings on the outfalls

Sea early incoming tide
Arctic tern - flocks of 9+30 in, then five in the evening in the low tide channel
Sandwich Tern - c6
Swallow - 3
House Martin - 3
Mute Swan - 3 in
Shag - 2CY wooden jetty

At least 50 mixed Common/Black-headed Gulls from just a handful for the last few weeks

Middleton NR
Greylag - 2
Cetti's Warbler - 2 singing males
a few off-passage hirundines and swifts
Treble Bar moth (thanks|Janet):

Monday 28 May 2018

Slightly better than expected on the sea

Sea 0700-0830 then 0915-1000
Gannet - 4 in close inshore and high (3 subads)
Kittiwake - flock of 5 close adults in
Common Scoter - distant flock of 5 in
Sanderling - flock of 29 in - definitely all this species
Arctic Tern - 72 in (last flock 0917) but I almost certainly missed 2-3 flocks whilst absent (per Ian at Rossall) - biggest flock 22
Black Tern - two working their way slowly in with mixed gang of Sandwich and Arctic terns as the tide turned c0744hrs.
Sandwich Tern - and still they keep coming - 16 in in dribs and drabs

Thank Janet
House Martin - 4 in
Shag - 2CY wooden jetty

Sunday 27 May 2018

The day we missed out, narrowly

Too much effort early am in retrospect as we forgot the rule about seawatching - cover over the high tide even if it goes dead beforehand.  A very experienced seawatcher saw an Arctic Skua, followed by a flock of three Pomarine Skuas flying towards the Kent channel mouth between 1050 and 1102, the latter went overland.  Obviously went past us when no observers were present!

Sea early am to about 0945
Fulmar - one out
Arctic Tern - 34 in
Kittiwake - 1+1+3 in
Gannet - 19 in (and presumably some of these out)
Swallow - 29 in
Swift - 3 in
House Martin - 11 in
Shag - 2CY around, including sitting on wooden jetty
Whimbrel - 6
Ringed Plover - 4 in
Mixed Ringed Plover/Dunlin - migrating flock heard but not seen

Two pipits reported from wooden jetty area - this needs further investigation -  and proof of breeding for a single isolated pair of Meadow Pipit on Middleton NR
Tufted Duck - pair Tim Butler pond
Cetti's - singing central marsh
Reed Warbler - a record five singing males Heysham NR

Creepy crawlies
Small Heath - 17 Middleton NR - all south end
Emperor - male Heysham NR - IOY, 2 male and one female Middleton
Broad-bodied Chaser - minimum of 30 on new scrapes

Saturday 26 May 2018

Excellent seawatching again - what a bonus so late in the spring

A decent sea-watch this morning with a heap of Gannets unexpected in an east-north-easterly!  It wasn't easy as there were a lot of layers of birds to try and look at , including fly-behind Swifts and hirundines and Arctic Terns at all heights.  Unfortunately not all observers saw the best birds and some of us missed them all!  Odd there were no Black Tern, but we may not have stayed long enough c/f 'in-off' birds at the EM Pool.

Arctic Tern - 301 in, including one flock spiralling up over the harbour and another casually recorded flying up the Lune gaining height whilst scanning Ocean Edge for waders (nothing to suggest any Common Tern were involved in this movement, with even the distant birds unequivocally Arctic (none were too distant to identify) )
Gannet - exactly 99 in (plus some of the same presumably out)
Gannet and Arctic Tern flocks passing  

Red-throated Diver - 1
Puffin - one in then presumably same out 15 minutes later then a probable later at long-range in
Guillemot - 7
Razorbill/Guillemot - 15
Kittiwake - two single ads in
Pomarine Skua - LM ad low and purposefully in at 0918 alongside the last Arctic Tern flock
Sandwich Tern - just 3 in and 5 blogging in outer Bay
Swift - at least 59
Swallow - at least 53
House Martin - at least 26
Ringed Plover - 20 in two flocks
Turnstone - flock of 5 in
Shag - 2CY messing around and sat on wooden jetty

Nice timing Dan!

Friday 25 May 2018

Black and white

Late migrants continue to fly through:
North Harbour Wall 07:00 - 09:00. Weather - NNE F5, overcast, 13C

Black-ish things:
Manx Shearwater 1
Black Tern 1
Common Scoter 1
Swift 6
Swallow 73

White-ish things:
Sandwich Tern 19
Arctic Tern 46
Kittiwake 1 adult close in

Black and white things:
Gannet 2

Shag - 2CY on wooden jetty
Osprey - one flew SE to NW across the Bay from approximately  PL Ends to Ulverston and was seen distantly from Plover Scar and (after alert) Heysham North wall (1025ish) (AD)
small Calidrids - c75 distantly along Middleton tideline

A look at the low tide channels from Heysham Head after the rain at 16:00hrs revealed:
Swift 9
Swallow 3
Sandwich Tern 2
Great-crested Grebe 2

Grey Seal - 1


Thursday 24 May 2018

More terns and bits and bobs

Bill Martin and myself covered the north wall this morning and similar fare to yesterday minus the oddities

North wall 0650-0920
Arctic Tern - 134 in (largest flock 21), a majority 0820-0910
Sandwich Tern - c120 in, latterly a few bloggers - many fishing en route as they flew in but none seen to come out!
Arctic Skua - dark morph chasing tern in the mouth of the bay
Gannet - 3/4cy in then out
Kittiwake - flock of 15 in (all but one 2CY)
Guillemot - 1
small waders - three flocks totalling 30
Common Scoter - just one distant flock of c20
Swallow - 11 in
Shag - 2CY on wooden jetty

Greylag - 7 circled Middleton NR

At least three Black-tailed Skimmer Middleton

** I know there is a backlog for pics.  I wont be able to do anything about it tomorrow, I'm afraid, so if you can add your own pics or send them with relevant date they need posting to

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Great earlyish morning by the seaside

Wow this is such a late spring as north-easterlies produced what could be expected at the end of April/early May!   I gave up checking through the significant number of 2CY seagulls a week or so ago; Jean didn't this morning and out popped an Iceland Gull!   A singleton Black Tern joined the year list as it  motored into the Bay along the Kent channel line and a real bonus for the year list was a late passage Little Ringed Plover which flew in from the south, ran around for a bit on the 'mound' before heading off high to the north 

Sea 0740-0930 x 2 observers
Arctic Tern - 205 'in' (largest flock 29)
Sandwich Tern - at least 49 in
Arctic Skua - perhaps the same light morph seen twice chasing terns at long range
Black Tern - singleton in on its own at 0817hrs
Red-throated Diver - summer plumaged individual out
Iceland Gull - 2CY blogging for 20 minutes or so before flying north into the bay
Common Scoter - 4 in, c25 out
Little Ringed Plover - see above
Swallow - 6 in
Lots of Black-headed Gulls also moving in and several white dots miles out which could have been BHGs or terns

Tuesday 22 May 2018

The dreaded 'meagre fare' should read 'didnt get up early enough'

Very quick post - pics will be added tomorrow Janet & Malcolm for last two days

More serious heat haze trouble with a large brownish object seemingly diving into the outer Leven estuary but to be honest it could even have been a bouncy castle.  Ospreys are known to be in the area!

Common or Arctic Tern - 4 feeding in riffle, then in; almost certainly Arctic but a long way off
Sandwich T|ern - 2 ditto
Cetti's Warbler - two singing males central marsh
Little Grebe - welcome breeding pair on no swimming pond

Monday 21 May 2018

Nowtfalls and avocet surprise

Hopefully the power station outages will reach a stage soon when they are back in full flow.  There was not a single bird on them for at least 15 mins today!

Avocet - three together flew south quite close inshore and purposeful at about 0844hrs.   No reports of them from the Fylde I’m aware of.  Very odd
Arctic tern - a very late gang of 15 appeared from nowhere to briefly feed in a riffle with bhgs before heading in and climbing about 0855
Sandwich tern - 3
Whimbrel - 1

Grey seal - 1

Sunday 20 May 2018

No incoming tide coverage today

Malcolm and I covered the same area this morning with similar results - unfortunately due to having to deal with a problem, didn't then go and get a handle on the wetland warblers, notably the western marsh which has not seen a ringing session or an early doors listening session for some time now.  Hopefully its still calm tomorrow morning

The forecast coming up at the back end of this week really lends itself to some coverage of sheltered coastal trees and bushes and fingers crossed for something like a rosefinch or rb shrike reaching this side......... or perhaps something on the sea like a belated Black tern at last!

Coverage over the two or three days though will be limited due to commitments elsewhere for the most regular prowlers!

Sea - short low tide check only
Eider - 82
Great-crested Grebe - 4
Sandwich Tern - two fishing in distant channel
Swallow - 4 north

Insects on Middleton - thanks Janet

Saturday 19 May 2018

Alternative viewing to royal wedding

In contrast to the madness that was Royal Wedding fever on the TV, Heysham was relatively quiet and peaceful, a bit too peaceful really on the sea.

From the Roundhead/lighthouse on the south wall 0900-0930 and 1050-1350. Clear, sunny, hazy in distance, F1 WNW
Eider - at least 68 at low tide
Great-crested Grebe - 8
Sandwich Tern - 28 in the low tide channel, 2 in, then 19 on the sea further out
Mute Swan - 7 flew across the Bay then landed on the sea at 1105h
Common Scoter - 5 in at 1130 then 200 much further away floating in at 1205
Guillemot - 2 floating in at 1315h
Kittiwake - 1 floating in at 125h
Swallow - a grand total of 5
Shag - 2CY on the wooden jetty 1055-1350
Rock Pipit - suddenly appeared from inside the power station fence on the south wall and flew to the roundhead
Grey Seal by Heysham 1 outfall.
Alfie balloon floated in  - this is the second one seen.

Ocean Edge salt marsh beach
12 Dunlin and 11 Ringed Plover at high tide.

Friday 18 May 2018

Itsy bitsy end of season feel

The forecasted easterlies have deteriorated into 'middle of high pressure variables' with any decent easterly airflow shunted to the back of next week when observer availability is going to be a factor.  Fair weather birder stuff!

Sea for probably far too long to 1330 (thanks Dan for the last bit)
Arctic Tern - 3 in early on
Arctic Skua - light morph motoring up the Kent channel as the tide started to flow mid-am
Common Scoter 355 in, (incl 340 in together landing in one distant raft, which soon fragmented).
Guillemot 13 floating in, 2 seen to fly out. Mostly non-breeding plumaged birds in contrast to most recent sightings.
Sandwich Tern 2 adults blogging
Whimbrel 3+1 out
Bar-tailed Godwit 1 out
Little Egret 2 cross-bay in-off.
Pink-footed Goose 2 floating in
Swallow 11 N, 1 in-off
Great-crested Grebe - at least 11 off Heysham Head with two displaying birds carrying 'weed' - a Heysham novelty!

Harbour Porpoise - 2
Grey Seal - 1
Otter - spraint using bits of crayfish on the rocks of model boat pond

Heysham Head
Spotted Flycatcher - one in garden just north of church

Middleton NR
see above
Cetti's Warbler - certainly two and almost certainly three singing males
Grasshopper Warbler - one singing along golf course edge
Little Grebe - pair on no swimming pond

Dragonflies Middleton
Broad bodied Chaser - 7
4-spotted Chaser - 5

Thursday 17 May 2018

Spotted Flys and bits on the sea

Sea on and off 0815 to 1135
Arctic Skua - At 1125, two dark morphs this am appeared to come high from the south-east before landing on the sea and floating in with the tide. I've seen plenty of skuas circling up and heading north east overland but not seemingly arriving from overland, although this is quite often seen with arctic (and when you get them) black tern flocks
Arctic Tern - flock of 4 in as soon as the tide started coming in
Sandwich Tern - one fishing distantly at low tide, then just two seen - flying purposefully into the bay together so presumably late migrants.  So presumably the hordes are now finally on 'nearer to the nest duty' in SW Cumbria?
Common Scoter - just c40+5 in
Guillemot - 8 floating in quite close
Kittiwake - single adult in
Razorbill - one as above
Whimbrel - 1 in
Swallow - 16 in
House Martin - 1 in
Red-breasted Merganser - two close inshore and pair further out
Great-crested Grebe - 17 counted at low tide - Malcolm (who knows the skeers and tides better than anyone in this area) went to investigate:

 Little Egret - 1

Spotted Flycatcher - one on pond fence by HNR office during a loo break prompting a quick Heysham Head check and there was at least one mobile bird in the line of trees between the church and the chapel

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Bits and bobs of local quality in fresh north-easterly

One of those seawatches where a commitment made you leave a good hour before you really wanted to and unsurprisingly a Pomarine Skua was probably available, if it didn't climb in the fresh north-easterly, about 1130 (per Rossall data)

Sea from Knowlys road 0845-0930, outfalls from Ocean Edge 0950-1000, north wall 1005-1040
Little tern - one fishing and showing well for five mins before drifting out of sight 0903-0908hrs
Little Gull - two ad summer (or 3cy) together heading into bay 0906hrs. Thought they were black tern for a split second as the light was such all I noticed was the jet black underwings!
Arctic Skua - dark morph on then in 0914hrs
Sandwich tern - 16 in +/- fishing en route
Common scoter - min of 420, a fair proportion continuing into the bay
Guillemot - 10 floating in at yellow buoy range, mostly just before I left
Raz/guill - c10 distant as above
Gannet - 5 - all 1035-1040
Manx Shearwater - 1 - 1035
Arctic Tern - two on outfall railings
Better than mine! (thanks Malcolm)
1275 big seagulls on skeers, mostly 2CY or 3CY Herring
Shag - long staying 2CY shag close inshore off the Head, then flew towards wooden jetty
Eider - 85
Great crested Grebe - still 7 (3 pairs)

Grey Seal - 1

Burnet Companion IOY on Heysham Nature reserve (per Steve)

Tuesday 15 May 2018

The float-in and the fly-by

The early morning mist was a bit on the thick side so visibility was compromised but not so badly that seawatching couldn't be carried out. The sea was like a mill pond so anything floating in at yellow buoy range was easy to see.

North Harbour Wall 0730-1030  Weather: SE F1. 8-13C
Sandwich Terns - c30 were milling about along the low tide channel and sitting on the buoys throughout the watch.
Arctic Tern - 14 in one flock headed into the Bay
Eider - 75 in the low tide channel
Great-crested Grebe - 5 (2 displaying pairs and a singleton)
Guillemot - 15 floated in at 09:30 in small groups
Black Guillemot - 1 in summer plumage with one of the Guillemot groups and was seen on and off (i.e. on top of then under the water) from 10:00 to 10:15. At 10:15 the sea mist cleared and the Guillemots cleared off north westwards.
Shag - 2CY on the wooden jetty as usual
Swallow - 4 north
A mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover flew overhead.

Meanwhile back at Heysham Nature Reserve:
Farmyard goose  - 1 white individual morphed from a lowly hybrid goose into a migrant goose and flew NE at 08:50
Hobby - 1 flew SE-NW at 09:02

Middleton Nature Reserve

The two mute on the main pond have abandoned their nest, which is now empty. There was no sign of human trampling close by so this was probably the nest predated by the fox.
The good news is that the Broad bodied Chasers are emerging. One near the largest new scrape was still pumping up its forewings (see first pic). Three others were flying in the sheltered strip to east of golf club.

Other stuff:
4-spotted Chaser 11
Lots of Bluetails and Azure (see pics)
Surprisingly, just one Large red today
"No swimming" and Central marsh Cetti's singing.
One Buzzard high over gun club

Monday 14 May 2018

Sandwich day

The main theme of today was Sandwich Terns and not much else:

North Harbour Wall/Knowlys Road vantage point 06:15 - 08:30 
Weather: NE F1, 3C on arrival, 4/8 cloud

Sandwich Tern - 191 into the Bay and very few out
Arctic Tern - 12
Kittiwake - 12 (8+4 floating in, 2 flying out)
Gannet - 3 adults out, 1 adult floating in
Swan sp - 3
Common Scoter - 5
Whimbrel - 1+
Great-crested Grebe - 3 (2+1)
Swallow - 3
Tree Pipit - 1 (highlight of the day! Landed briefly on the mound)

14 Turnstone on the wooden jetty

Grey Seal - 1


Sunday 13 May 2018

More seabirds

North Harbour Wall 0600-0830  Weather: NW F1 8C 5/8 cloud.  High Tide 10:36 8.91m

Steady trickle of seabirds early morning with very few after 07:30. Gannets were hard to count as they were milling about, going in then out then having a sit down. More or less the same number went out as in so the total below is probably about right. Most birds, apart from Sandwich Terns were distant and a telescope was essential.

Common Scoter - on arrival, a huge flock of about 600 were seen way out on the horizon heading out of the Bay with 6 other relatively closer ones also going out later on.
Gannet - 49
Arctic Skua - a dark morph flew out along one of the channels at 06:01
Manx Shearwater - 14 (i.e. 14 came in and 14 went out)
Sandwich Tern - 18 (18 came in, 14 went out)
Arctic Tern - 68 (5 flocks max 31)
Kittiwake - 3 in (with the Arctic Terns)
Great-crested Grebe - 2 in
Auk sp - 1 out
Red-throated Diver - 2 (i.e. 2 in , 1 out)
Whimbrel - 1 heard, not seen.
Swan sp - 3 north
Swallow - 4 in

The first 4-spotted chaser of the year on Middleton - perhaps surprising before Broad-bodied?


Saturday 12 May 2018

Cumbrian seabird mirage and Little Tern for the year list

Low single figure temperatures and bright sunny weather often leads to a heat haze on the sea and that was the case this morning.  Loads of birds remained unidentified including an identikit of the 'Five Fastnet Flappers' of historical Cape Clear fame.  They could have been anything from swans to geese to Egyptian vultures etc etc..  Most of the unidentified birds were probably Common Scoter, although judging by Rossall reports from Ian, others could have been Manx Shearwater.

Sea 0600-0830
Manx Shearwater - 3
Common Scoter - 362 identified but at least double that as 'probables'
Sandwich Tern - 151 out leaving three still on buoy
Little Tern - two together out with a bit of fishing en route 0615
Common Tern - 1 in close inshore
Arctic Tern - 38+15 in
Goosander - two males in
Kittiwake - flock of 7 in
Gannet - two singleton ads out
Guillemot - one on sea floating in
Arctic Skua - light morph at 0620 and dark morph at 0645 both floating in then rising up off sea to chase sandwich terns
Whimbrel - 1+8 in
Red-throated Diver - 1 out
Mute Swan - 2CY out at long range then landed on sea
Raz/Guille - one out
Swallow - just 14 in
Common Sandpiper on the Near Naze

Grey Seal - 2
Harbour Porpoise - 1

Friday 11 May 2018

Two decent sightings

Early morning sea-watching was left to Nick at the Stone Jetty and, not for the first time, the single skua record in a south-easterly was a couple of Poms.  Then Jean had a very close encounter with an in-off adult Hobby which whizzed past very close at 'eye level' on Heysham Head - a really decent bird here which is barely annual

Remember the continental-looking Robin already bearing a British ring?  Not far wrong with the Fair Isle guess!  Note what is presumably a very held-up migration (from southern Europe?) this year in the poor weather

S808539        Ad          11/03/17          Kildary, Cromarty Firth (Highland)
Recaptured                   01/05/18          Heysham  420km  S  416 days

Sea stone jetty/north wall/knowlys on and off to 1020
Pomarine Skua - two light morph in 0635
Common Scoter - c60 early on then one out
Arctic Tern - 3
Sandwich Tern - c10
Gannet - two adults u-turning
Manx Shearwater - 1+6 as above

Hobby - Ad in-off 1015
Swallow - 22 N
Whimbrel - two OE saltmarsh
Wheatear - 4
Greylag - pair Middleton

Thursday 10 May 2018

Interesting seawatch

It is not often you can roll up on a morning sea-watch ten minutes or so before high tide and see 99% of the birds of interest, especially on a slow-moving neap tide.  The first 55 minutes 0650-0745 were very slow.  Most of the action was after the second Arctic Skua at 0748hrs and the most numerous species were strangely compartmented with almost all the incoming Gannets between 0745 and 0842 and all the incoming Manx Shearwaters in a relatively concentrated fashion between 0840 and 0915, including a flock of 42.  The sea-watch was not without its problems as a lone observer with running eyes for the first hour or so, leading me to leave the 'scope-only' Knowlys site to mix and match with binoculars at the suboptimal location of the 'new' north wall barrier. 

Sea 0650-0930
Arctic Skua - 7 - DM unless stated - singles in at 0711, 0748, 0802, 0815 (LM), 0831 (Darkish M), 0842, 0918 (LM)
Light morph Arctic or Pomarine Skua - probably the latter in very distantly and rapidly at 0846 looking 'heavy and long-tailed' but not seen clearly enough in the slight heat-haze
Manx Shearwater - 119 in and then many coming out which were treated as already counted
Gannet - 83 in, all but one full adult, with several coming out later in the watch treated as already counted
Arctic Tern - flock of 3 in
Kittiwake - flock of 3 in (1 x 2CY)
Sandwich Tern - mostly flying purpose fully in = 32 with some out/blogging later in the seawatch with one being briefly chased by the last Arctic Skua  
Common Scoter - 3 in (one male)
Fulmar - one in
Guillemot - 2+ 2 in on incoming tide therefore not duplicates

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Seemingly useless southerly

Assuming there was not a 'one off' around like Ian's singing Firecrest at Fleetwood, today was quickly dispensed with in favour of a day behind a computer

Tomorrow am should produce a few seabirds and hopefully Friday's forecasted south-easterly will be a proper one and produce a few terns and maybe a spot fly, not a localised thing

Whimbrel - 3 Ocean Edge
Common Scoter - 9 out
Swallow - 2 in
Sandwich tern - about 6 blogging

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Pomarine Skua puzzle

A light morph adult pomarine Skua flew distantly out of the bay heading across towards piel island at 0907hrs.  Why did it not go overland in what were very clear conditions looking out of the bay?  Then realised the lune  valley and wray area was inundated with a band of slow moving low cloud on the outbound journey and a look inland revealed quite murky conditions and cloud-topped hills - not great for overland migration.  Nb bird wholly in Cumbria during observation
Common scoter - 5 out
Sandwich tern - c10 back and forth
Red throated diver - 2cy on
Shag - 2cy inshore having flown from wooden jetty direction

Not a lot else happened today but probably missed some Arctic Skuas earlier in am

Monday 7 May 2018

A few more terns

North Harbour Wall 0615-0915 with additional sightings from Heysham Head in the same time frame
Arctic Tern 37 (2/7/8/4/14/2) - before 0800hrs
Sandwich Tern 57
Common Scoter 50+ (largest group 20)
Red-throated Diver 4 (2 in, 2 winter plumaged on)
Mute Swan 4 across Bay
Guillemot 1 - the winter plumaged bird at the harbour mouth
Shag - the 2CY summering on the wooden jetty
Gannet - 1
Turnstone - 20 on rocks below harbour wall
Wheatear - 1
Swallow  - 14
Redpoll - 1
Pink-footed Goose - 15+ distantly on sea

Ocean edge
Two sanderling, 74 Dunlin, 26 ringed plover

Two grey seal close to each other offshore near the sewage pipe plus some of the same presumably as regards Sandwich and Arctic terns

Sunday 6 May 2018

Mainly seabirds

Clear as a bell this am and landbirds were at a premium but the sea was covered pretty well (Pete Crooks, Jean Roberts and Nick Godden at SJ).  The saga of the ancient A ring on a Sedge Warbler is being resolved.  The string was donated to the group recently by an ex-ringer and used on a Sedge Warbler at Leighton Moss on 18/4/18 (hence bright new ring when we caught it) and it has now been caught three times at Middleton central marsh so presumably on territory there (male wing length) and a case of a minor overshoot to Leighton Moss on migration!

Pomarine Skua - lm ad flew low into the Bay about 0648 (Rossall at 0619, Stone Jetty at 0653)
Arctic Skua - lm ad in distantly at 0600
Arctic Tern - 45 in (7+14+15+2+7)
Common Scoter - 22 in and a few blogging at long range
Gannet - 1 distant
Guillemot - one off harbour mouth
Shag - 2CY roosting on wooden jetty
Pink-footed Goose - 24 NW
Red-throated Diver - 1 in
Sandwich Tern - 51 in, then later birds blogging (c70 in total)

Grey Seal and Harbour Porpoise

Lesser Redpoll - 2+ north
Pair of Little Grebe settling Middleton:

Saturday 5 May 2018

So and so with three species of goose the 'highlight'

A bit of unbalanced coverage this morning with no coastal coverage and everyone ringing site-based at Middleton and Heysham.  There was certainly an element of wondering what I was doing there at 0530 watching three Greylag fly around in circles, but in the end about 20 migrants were ringed at the two sites.  Todays efforts took Lesser Whitethroat total to the heady heights of 14 new plus a returning adult - well above average for this time of the year and five new Common Whitethroat were welcome for what, in contrast, has been a slow spring!   Fortunately Nick was able to cover the nearby Stone Jetty and confirm that there has (still) not been a major Arctic Tern movement past here this spring

Grasshopper Warbler - only appears to be one on territory at Middleton and, as such, its a pretty quiet one.  One new in on the tank farm next to Heysham NR office (perhaps yesterday as this area was not covered)
Greylag - 3+1 over Middleton
Canada Goose - 2 over Middleton
Swallow - c30 (101 over the sea off the SJ)
Sand Martin - 2
Redpoll - 9+ over Heysham, none further inland over Middleton
Sandwich Tern - 33 off SJ
Pink-footed Goose - 1890 N (550, 62, 940, 340, 1) as seen from SJ but also past here.  Check these late flocks for the Snow Goose still on the Ribble
Great-crested Grebe - an incredible 22 on the dropping tide off the SJ.  These have been a feature for some time now but not this number.  Where are they heading as all the local ones are prancing about with weed if not sitting?

South shore late pm (Malcolm)
Whimbrel - 3
Sandwich tern - 1+ inshore
Starling and Pied Wagtail - small roosts

Friday 4 May 2018

Heaps of bird racing through in the murk

Anyone puzzled by the earlier request for information on "brand new" British "A" ring A304xxx on a Sedge Warbler this am?  An ancient ringing stock was donated to the group and this ring was seemingly used at Leighton Moss last year.  It was bright and shiny like a ring put on yesterday, not one that had been to Africa and back!

Wood Warbler - singing male at the south end of Heysham Head early on
Redstart - female Middleton NR mid-am
Whinchat - 2 Red Nab
Wheatear - not as many as expected - min of 19
Garden Warbler - 5 singing males and one ringed at Middleton - a very good count for spring and many areas were not covered - this species rarely breeds here
Willow Warbler - 'many' slipping through
Swallow - c475 north, unusually in chunks - notably a gang of c200 over the sea - suggesting gangs taking off together having been grounded by the murk?  None after the sky cleared
House Martin - min 5
Sand Martin - 1
Swift - 1
Whitethroat - at least 7 new singing males
Arctic Tern - flock of 5 in
Whimbrel - 77 in (42+7+21+7)
Sandwich Tern - 2
Tree Pipit - 2 north
Cetti's Warbler - the original resident male was retrapped (first ringed 2015)

CES ringing Middleton
This was impressive with Sedge Warblers ringed elsewhere comprising 2 French, one Belgian and an ancient ring put on at Leighton Moss after a donation of a ring stock.  Other un-ringed arrivals included about 10 Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, half a dozen Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Blackcap.  This was in four nets in Middleton central marsh

Thursday 3 May 2018


Today was useless................but we maybe should have waited for the band of rain to combine with the tide in late afternoon

Arctic Tern - flock of 19 fishing then 'in' first thing
Goosander - three males 'in' quite high
Sandwich Tern - 2 blogging, 2 out
Red-throated Diver - one in sp out
Great-crested Grebe - still 5 in sp 'on'
Red-breasted Merganser - 2 pairs 'on'
Swallow - 3 N
Redpoll - 1 N
Siskin - 1 N

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Gannets and white vans

Cutting edge birding today as I discovered that the best way to tell very, very distant adult Gannets flying out of the bay from white vehicles on the Barrow coast road was that the former wheel up and down and the latter go in a straight line.  Impossible to see anything other than the white section of the wings!

Gannet - 8 adults as above
Wheatear - 4
Cetti's Warbler - two singing males Middleton
Grasshopper Warbler - probably two singing males Middleton western marsh
Whitethroat - singing male Middleton at last!
Thanks for the pics from Middleton today, Janet

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Odd day!

A very short ringing session produced one bird - a Robin which "looked northern/eastern" with reduced orange/red and a very grey cast...............and it bore a British ring S808xxx.  Having built it up, we'll probably find it's an aberrant nestling from down the road, but we'll wait and see.  However we also received news of a Reed Bunting ringed at Middleton during that 'easterly' October 2016 which was caught on Fair Isle a few days ago!  Presumably on its way back to Scandinavia.

Todays birds
Wheatear - 2
Whimbrel - 5
Guillemot - 1
Sandwich Tern - 6
Great-crested Grebe - 7
Common Scoter - 3 out
Eider - 124
Tree Pipit - 1 north
Robin - see above

Grey Seal - 1