Friday 31 August 2018

At last the Blackcaps materialise

Just received the ringing totals list for the month from Alan and they make quite interesting reading with respect to relative abundances of migrants during the month.   It did seem that many of the locally-bred warblers deserted the rather dry 'wetlands' of Middleton nature reserve, at least in the ringing area.  The exceptions were Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat, and, today, Blackcap (16 out of the monthly total of 42 ringed today).  The main feature of the month - and I know this compared to plenty at some other coastal sites - was the comparative redundancy of AA rings.  Only 69 size AA rings were used all month with 43 of these on Willow Warbler - the vast majority early in the month with no late passage of this species.  Not a single Long-tailed Tit flock passed though the Heysham or Middleton mist net rides and Chiffchaffs were in very short supply but will hopefully kick off in September.  Another species which seemed to desert the wetlands was Reed Bunting with just two ringed, one a probable vis mig bird today.  Sedge Warblers were typically low in August but Reed Warblers were in good numbers for here with far more than usual trapped out of habitat at Heysham NR office nets.  No Swallow roost materialised in August this year at Middleton    

Top ten August ringing totals:  Goldfinch (110), Whitethroat (81), Greenfinch (69), Willow Warbler (43), Blackcap (42), Lesser Whitethroat (39), Blue Tit (30), Robin (23), Reed Warbler (22), Sedge Warbler (18)

Coastal records today limited to single figures of Med Gull and 25 Eider & 4 GC Grebe off Heysham Head.  Two Wheatear and at least two Rock Pipit below the cliffs at Heysham Head:

Vis mig was a bit intermittently recorded, especially Swallow and the clear conditions surely send birds very high:
Chaffinch 2
Meadow Pipit 13
Tree Pipit 2
alba Wagtail 8
Grey Wagtail 4
Carrion Crow 6
Swallow 34
Jay 2

Thursday 30 August 2018

The Vismig season kicks off

Middleton Nature Reserve

It was a chilly start, only 5C at 06:30 and with air pressure building hopes were high for some diurnal migrants. There wasn’t exactly a deluge of migrating birds but there were a few:
06:30 - 11:00
Grey Wagtail 11 (of which two were caught and colour-ringed)
Tree Pipit 2
Meadow Pipit 5
Swallow 68
Chaffinch 5
Raven 4
Coal Tit 1
Alba Wagtail 1
Reed Bunting 1

Also on the reserve -
Green Sandpiper
Flock of c14 Goldfinches

Ringing (new birds)
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 1
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Robin 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Blue Tit 3
Dunnock 1
Goldfinch 2
Grey Wagtail 2

An adult Whitethroat may have been ringed elsewhere or was very old as the number on the ring wasn’t familiar.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Mid week hiatus

Not much seen/reported today.

14 Mediterranean gulls on Red Nab, no juveniles. Just two by wooden jetty this morning, none on ebbing tide.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Quite a lot of insect activity in afternoon sun, particularly in sheltered areas, but not the variety of late.
Dragonflies: lots of Common darter, 2 Brown hawker, 2 (presumed Migrant) hawker.
Butterflies: mainly Speckled wood and small white. Also 2 Comma and 1 Red Admiral.

1 Green sandpiper - this is showing well on Tim Butler pond most visits, but viewing points are few. Best from high ground on western end looking along pond.
1 Common snipe
c20 Gadwall
1 Tufted

(Report MD)

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Razorbill a big surprise

Local patches often feature birds which the locals get excited about, but the big wide world thinks is no big deal, especially as in this case it was at least on the sea.  Razorbill in the harbour at this time of year is completely unprecedented - indeed, unlike the regular Guillemot, limited to just the occasional winter storm bird on its last legs

Inshore stuff
Little Gull - ad outfalls
Razorbill - in harbour - several different comments on age of this bird

 Med Gull - about 14 including a reappearance of German ASRE which we had thought had moved on

The less said about the triple ringing session, including the CES the better although it did include the autumn's first Grey Wagtail.   The office nets only caught one bird in addition to feeder fare - a Chiffchaff! 

Green Sandpiper - 1 Tim Butler pond

Ringing recoveries just received
Sedge Warbler
ADA2692           Juv            25/07/18              Middleton NR
Recaptured                        09/08/18              Squires Down (Dorset) 341 km S 15 days

NY22612            1st W F         26/10/17              Heysham NR
Killed by Sparrowhawk        07/08/18              Bolton (Gt. Manchester) 62 km SSE 285 days

Monday 27 August 2018

Nothing much reported so far on the sea but welcome Ravens

Kittiwake - c15 associated with IOM ferry at lunchtime - five in distantly ahead of ferry, 5 out again when reached red buoy and c5 following it into harbour (50% ad) - one juv lingering
Med Gull - 16 Red Nab and area, including two juvs (bit by jetty covered when checked RN).  Additional juv in harbour mouth later (the other two flew south)
Little Gull - ad
Raven - two Red Nab
1 Wheatear

The regular German ANLT
was next to the wooden jetty early am.  Thanks Malcolm

Sunday 26 August 2018

Nothing much pre-frontal

Little Gull
One of the individual birds with a unique status in this area, indeed possibly, with this species, in the whole of NW England, is this presumed returning adult which moults whilst it feeds in the region of Heysham Power Station outfalls late July to early/mid October whence it presumably 'goes pelagic'.  Thanks to Janice for this composition of it in active moult today:

The front was probably a bit too west to east rather than approaching from the south to produce a fall.  Indeed the perhaps surprising number of birds around yesterday seemed to have gone in the perfect departure conditions yesterday evening with fewer net arrivals this am.  A rather belated session at Middleton (should have been dawn onwards) was limited to two rounds before the rain alarm correctly advised it was time to take down

Middleton earlyish am
Ringing saw: 2 x Blackcap, 1 x Whitethroat & a 'retrap' ringed Heysham NR yesterday, 2 x Willow warbler and 1 x Lesser Whitethroat (annual total now 66 new birds - could be a record year)

Meadow Pipit - first 3 of autumn flew south
Cetti's warbler singing central marsh otherwise absolutely no sight nor sound of any wetland warblers
Pheasant - at least 2

Outfalls/Red Nab/harbour
15 un-ringed Meds by the wooden jetty in the usual area, 13 on Red Nab included a white-ringed LL darvic and a green-ringed RL darvic - both probably long-stayers and the latter certainly one of the German birds (Axxx).  Just one juv around
Little Gull - ad around per Janice
Eider - female with 5 large young in harbour

Saturday 25 August 2018

Early morning calm missed!

Belated mist netting produced three Robins, single Sedge and three Whitethroat out of 15 new birds but the wind showed itself soon after the nets were put up!

Middleton Nature reserve
Green sandpiper - Tim Butler pond
Common sandpiper - main pond
1 Tufted plus c15 Gadwall - "No swimming" pond

South wall near wooden jetty -evening
19 Mediterranean gulls
1 Rock pipit

A few pics from the last couple of days - first one is unique - advertising Stena line!  Thanks to Janet and Malcolm

Friday 24 August 2018

General airflow too North westerly

Arctic  Tern -Juv briefly
Kittiwake - Juv late pm 
Med gull - at least 7 red nab
Little gull - ad
Wheatear 1 Ocean Edge foreshore

Thursday 23 August 2018

Bonus ringing session

Decent catch by the office this morning courtesy of the Goldfinch plague, a few Greenfinch and yet another Reed Warbler which is having a record out of habitat year.   Robin, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler completed the migrant line-up

About 15 different Meds around including what appears to be the Czech-ringed bird and a frustratingly not quite close enough green ring which looks like a new one

Shag in harbour

The Rock Pipit pair around the harbour seem to have elusively produced one young

More tomorrow am including pics

Wednesday 22 August 2018

The second pair of rock pipits back on the agenda

These are so awkward to monitor compared to the straightforward scenario on Heysham Head.  Up to three have been seen and pics taken which seem to show a young bird

Med gull- About 40 around but only one Juv seen
Sandwich Tern - 7 red nab am tide
Dunlin - I think jean counted 650 on Red Nab
Little egret - 5
Shag - seen today
Rick pipit - probably three birds seen

Cochylis atricapitana and agriphila geniculea in office trap

TUESDAY sightings - a varied day!

Two raptors flew over very high mid-am about 30 mins after each other but seemingly very different agendas.  One was an Osprey, the other seemingly either a lost hacked or locally flown (investigation in progress) black form of Gyr Falcon, as bred by falconers (reminds me of the white Mandarin with some fancy self-indulgent avicultural name which was around my house until recently)
Other vis:
Swallow - c70
Sand Martin - 4
Swift - 1

Ringing at Middleton
This was quite interesting with a little flurry first thing, then quiet, then another flurry from mid-am.  Hardly any phylloscs left from yesterdays presumed arrival - they sometimes linger at Middleton and the highest warbler new bird total was 9 Lesser Whitethroat taking us well into the 60s for new-ringed birds.  What a shame the rest of this month does not look good for Middleton ringing or we could have been seeing record totals.  Still no Blue Tit flocks (just two out of 70 new birds)

Red nab just after tide
Sandwich tern - 22
Med Gull - at least 4
Ring-necked Parakeet - one in-off, then east

Wheatear 9 late afternoon. 3 on south wall roundhead, 6 Ocean Edge foreshore
Rock Pipit - at least one on south jetty - possibly a juv but cant be certain

Little Grebe - juv eating crayfish Middleton model boat pond

Monday 20 August 2018

Unforecasted local rain drops the birds

An early start was thwarted by rain and poor visibility and all effort was around the office, either 'paperwork' or monitoring the three nets nearby once the rain stopped at 1000

There were quite a few migrants around even as late as 1000, although an impression was that any decent numbers of Willow Warblers had already slipped inland during the rain, judging by species composition and numbers  at other Irish Sea sites

50 new birds were ringed between 1000 and mid afternoon, including three out of habitat Reed Warbler and a selection of the usual Sylvias (including Garden) and Phylloscs.  Two Starlings were also ringed - an unusual event here!

Along the coast just a single-figure handful of Med Gulls of note and a single Common Sandpiper but the visibility did not help

Unfortunately no other morning migrant coverage in the recording area

Sunday 19 August 2018

Stone Jetty seabirds fly into the area

Nick was on the Stone Jetty early on and had perhaps the same Bonxie as yesterday blogging before heading out, a Fulmar and a couple each of juv Common and Arctic Tern.  The bonus was an Osprey heading south into the wind over the sea as the front passed - obviously on the move and not a masochistic fishing trip from one of the nearby Cumbrian breeding pairs

Common and Arctic Tern juvs - at least one of each at various times
Shag - harbour
Med Gull - about 19

Middleton pm
Swallow roost - zero (thanks for checking Malcolm)
Coot - 2
Gadwall - 16

Saturday 18 August 2018

Nothing new

Shag - 2cy in harbour
Med gull - 19 ad or near ad by wooden jetty at low tide and at least four juvs around
Common tern - Juv on outfalls near high tide

Friday 17 August 2018

Bonxie and gull mystery

A distant small gull on the outer outfalls initially though to be Little was seen this morning, then re-identified as a 'small black-headed gull' but no sign of a candidate at lunchtime when I got there and no decent view of eg bill or underwings (now winter ad Little there same time).  

Little Gull - usual ad seaward end of outfalls, now in winter plumage and 2/3 of way through primary moult
Arctic Tern - juv out slowly lunchtime, two juvs on Red Nab in late afternoon then flew south (earlier on outfalls)

Taken through the spray and rain - thanks Malcolm
Common Tern - at least one juv remaining on the outfalls late afternoon
Sandwich tern - ad out quickly
Kittiwake - ad out quickly - all three of the birds in transit thought to be associated with IOM ferry arrival a few minutes beforehand, then ad on outfalls very briefly late afternoon
Med Gull - At least 12 adult, 2 2CY, 6 juv
Shag - summering 2CY on wooden jetty
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one in about 1530
Manx Shearwater - gang of three in in short period of decent visibility

Tufted Duck - moulting male Middleton
Flock of 30 unringed Long-tailed Tit Middleton

Thursday 16 August 2018

Arctic Tern

Thanks for the pics Janet

A Juv Arctic Tern appeared on the outfalls near HT

Meds - 4 juvs, 4 2cy, at least 4 ads

Little gull - ad early am

Great crested grebe - 3 in low tide channel

Eider - only 6 could be found at low tide

Grey Seal - 1

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Juv med influx

Photos will be added tomorrow Janet

At least 6 Juv Meds low tide mid am also at least two ad and two 2cy
Later at least three juvs around at HT

Ad little gull obliging for visiting birder at HT on Heysham Two

Shag - 2cy around then on woodenjetty

Whimbrel - one oe saltmarsh

Little egret - at least 6 mid am

Tuesday 14 August 2018

A few bits and bobs

Low tide channel am check produced four Great-crested Grebe but only 35 Eider

A ringing session by the office took the Lesser Whitethroat ringing total for the year to 52 - a large number by this time of the autumn for here.  Other warblers were singles of Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff

Janet had a productive photographic session with Med Gulls with German ANLT showing well and a nice juv.  Thanks for these Janet


Monday 13 August 2018

Webs and Ringing

 Nothing much to say about today in terms of highlights as the outfalls and red nab were not covered and the Shag eluded the Webs count

A garden warbler and three Lesser Whitethroat were amongst small numbers of warblers caught at Middleton

Calomorpha Paludella is still very scarce north of the Ribble and one was in an actinic set at Middleton

Sunday 12 August 2018

Another report writing day!

Quick check of outfalls early stages incoming tide saw about 20 Med gull but only two juvs

Little gull - adult seaward end Heysham one

Only 6 swallow in roost this pm

Med gull LCG re-read this evening (thsnks Richard)

Saturday 11 August 2018

Good number of warblers again

Ringing at Middleton saw over 50 new warblers as follows:  Whitethroat (18), Lesser Whitethroat (7), Blackcap (7), Willow Warbler (10), Cetti's Warbler (1), Sedge Warbler (5), Reed Warbler (3) plus two Jays in the net at the same time!  Once again, tit flocks notable by their absence

Elsewhere there were about 24 Med Gulls this evening but rain stopped play.  A Red darvic adult on Red Nab in am

Little Gull - ad this am
Sanderling - summer adult Red Nab with c700 Dunlin and many more of the latter down the tideline to the south
Rock Pipit - two Half Moon Bay beach

Friday 10 August 2018

A work day

Nothing of real novelty seen on the incoming tide this am with very few Meds left at 0915.  This evening there were 32 between Heysham one and the wooden jetty (12 2cy, 2 Juv, rest ad or 3cy)

Whimbrel - at least two
No sign putative 2cy yellow legged gull
Little egret - 7.
Fewer Dunlin red nab but c3k in total

Thursday 9 August 2018

24 Meds this evening ( two juvs)

What seems to be a 2cy yellow-legged gull this am

Dunlin - 1450 red nab
Whimbrel - 3
Redshank - 470 heliport

More tomorrow

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Dunlin fest but seagulls nosedive

sandwich tern - ad red nab
Dunlin -c3700 - 1600 of these on red nab
Med gull - just 9 including German ringed ad
Whimbrel - 3
Little gull - ad

At least two adult plus one immature Little grebe at MNR. No sign of Green sandpiper today.

Forgot to add single Bk t godwit for yesterday

Tuesday fare

momentous day with a north east bound Great White egret a new species for me at Heysham (c0805)

Next best a Tree Pipit

About 15 Meds a massive reduction

C1500 Dunlin Red Nab

Shag still about

Fewer birds on Ringing sessions with only Whitethroat in numbers (11 ringed)

Monday 6 August 2018

Two coots

Coot - now two on Middleton
Little grebe - youngster still being fed
Green sandpiper - usual place Tim butler pond

Sunday 5 August 2018

Anything but a Med

No-one mentioned Med Gulls today but there were plenty of other odds and ends

Ringing saw coverage of Middleton with 6 nets and Heysham office with 3 nets and about equal numbers of new birds at each site, with 114 new ones.  Highlights:

Cetti's Warbler - new juveniles were ringed in both the western and central marshes along with a different brood "1J" i.e. very recently out of the nest in the central marsh - nice CES captures in central marsh nets
Other warblers - 57 new ones ringed between the two sites:  Reed (5), Sedge (7), Lesser White (7), White (20), Garden  (1), Chiff (1), Willow (13) and Blackcap (3)
Tree Pipit - one ringed western marsh - the only one encountered
Great-spotted Woodpecker - juvenile ringed

Rock Pipit - at least two along half-moon bay shore
Shag - 2CY feeding in harbour 

Saturday 4 August 2018

Green sand reappears

Med numbers seem to be about half what they were - similarly Black-headed

About 21 Meds but very few adults today (12 2CY)

Green Sandpiper - Tim Butler pond

Whimbrel - Red Nab

Canada Goose - A group of 26 Canada Geese flew SW along the shoreline off Heysham Village Bay, followed shortly afterwards by c.30 south over Knowlys Road, Heysham, plus another 6 on the edge of the low tide channel of Royds Avenue this am (per Pete Crooks)

Friday 3 August 2018

Large white headed gulls

Reidentified as 2CY Lesser Black-backed Gull but a large one! Quite a striking 2CY white-headed large gull in the Red Nab roost seemed to tick the boxes for Yellow-legged Gull.  Several record shots taken - more will be added tomorrow.  Impressions of the striking tail pattern are hinted at in some of the shots but unfortunately it flew off south on its own soon after another birder was put on to it - definitely on the move as it didn't drop in with the secondary roost off Ocean Edge saltmarsh.  NB bill is all-dark - trick of the light in pic below

Little Gull - ad
Med Gull - much reduced numbers with only 11 located on incoming tide but at least 20 later on after the tide, including at least one, probably two unread 2CY
Grey Plover - 210 on mudflats S of Ocean Edge
Willow Warbler - two at the new migrant hotspot where PF was yesterday!

Thursday 2 August 2018

Migrant Pied Flycatcher

This was great but threw into sharp focus how time is passing us by without much coverage, ringing-wise, of the warbler passage due to a variety of reasons.   Rain tomorrow followed by some sunny north-westerly rubbish on Saturday, marginal on Sunday but a decent looking day on Monday, so hopefully the timing of the bits of rain next week will be favourable and coincide with availability

Thanks very much to Richard and Margaret & Mark for having a go at the Meds today.  Unfortunately the great wadge of juveniles did not seem to include the two darvic-ringed birds present the other day, with one of these missing being read by literally a micro-second! Such is the frustration of ring-reading which requires a heap of patience.   The two regular green-ringed German adults were read again today

Pied Flycatcher - one f/imm flycatching from the inner security fence near the reed bed by Heysham one power station outfall.  No pics as per protocol there
Med Gull - min of 59 incoming tide mid-pm - 17 juvs, 5 2CY, 8 3CY, rest adults.  By that time some of the Red Nab gathering will probably have moved off across the sandflats
Little Gull - ad now lost virtually all sp on head - unless a different bird - pretty quick!

Med Gull update
1A121586/Green ASRE
10.06.2016  Nestling  Rehbach Gravel Pit, Leipzig, Sachsen 51° 15' 54'' N 12° 17' 4'' E
15.07.2016 Rehbach Gravel Pit, Leipzig, Sachsen 51° 15' 54'' N 12° 17' 4'' E
25.12.2016 Azurara, Vila do Conde, Porto Portugal 41° 20' 25'' N 8° 44' 38'' W
08.03.2017 Mouth of river Piles, Gijon, Asturias Spain 43° 32' 30'' N 5° 38' 43'' W
10.03.2017 Playa El Rinconin, Gijon, Asturias Spain 43° 32' 54'' N 5° 38' 19'' W
10.03.2017 Playa El Rinconin, Gijon, Asturias Spain 43° 32' 54'' N 5° 38' 19'' W
12.03.2017 Playa El Rinconin, Gijon, Asturias Spain 43° 32' 54'' N 5° 38' 19'' W
23.03.2017 Playa de San Lorenzo, Gijon, Asturias Spain 43° 32' 32'' N 5° 39' 10'' W
25.05.2017 Rehbach Gravel Pit, Leipzig, Sachsen Germany 51° 15' 54'' N 12° 17' 4'' E
22.06.2017 Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, Essex England 51° 31' 32'' N 0° 46' 58'' E
12.09.2017 Heysham Power Station Outfalls, Lancashire, England 54° 1' 52'' N 2° 55' 27'' W
05.02.2018 Playa de San Lorenzo, Gijon, Asturias Spain 43° 32' 32'' N 5° 39' 10'' W
01.04.2018 Montmirail Landfill, colony, Sarthe France 48° 6' 35'' N 0° 45' 55'' E
31.07.2018 Heysham Power Station Outfalls, Lancashire, England 54° 1' 52'' N 2° 55' 27'' W
02.08.2018 Heysham Power Station Outfalls, Lancashire, England 54° 1' 52'' N 2° 55' 27'' W

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Juvenile Meds

A very quick check as the tide was turning saw most of the Med Gulls actively feeding and it was a good opportunity to count the number of Juvs.  There were at least nine but counting the older birds was very difficult and not undertaken

Other stuff
Shag - wooden jetty
Whimbrel - Red Nab
Little Gull - outfalls

Med Gull sighting
News through on LCG (not LCC as published earlier).  This probably moulted at Heysham during the intervening year but the birds are very hard to document as they have better food supplies than a loaf of bread!
LCG/3693897    pullus    24/06/2010  De Kreupel Island, Ijsselmeer, Noord-Holland, NL 52,48N 5,14E                 
                             19/08/2010  Knott, End-on-Sea,Lancashire, GB  53,35N 2,59W  Batty, Chris
                             20/08/2010  Cocker's Dyke, Pilling Lane, Lancashire, GB  53,35N 2,57W  Batty, Chris
                             20/02/2011  Malaga harbour, Malaga, SPAIN  36,43N 4,25W  Garcia, Rafa
                             11/08/2013  Heysham Harbour, Lancashire, GB  54,02N 2,55W  Prestwood, Mark
                             09/01/2015  Olhao salinas, Algarve, PORTUGAL  37,02N 7,48W  Waasdorp, Stef
                             19/01/2016  Santa Cruz, La Coruña, SPAIN  43,21N 8,2W  López Porto, Antonio
                             18/01/2017  Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W  Diaz Pallares, Ivan
                             29/12/2017  Playa de El Rinconin, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,38W  Fernandez Gonzalez, César
                             21/01/2018  Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W  Fernandez Gonzalez, César
                             30/01/2018  Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W  Fernandez Gonzalez, César
                             31/01/2018  Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W  Fernandez Gonzalez, César
                             02/02/2018  Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W  Diaz Pallares, Ivan
                             03/02/2018  Playa de El Rinconin, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,38W  Fernandez Gonzalez, César
                             08/02/2018  Playa de El Rinconin, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,38W  Fernandez Gonzalez, César
                             09/02/2018  Playa de El Rinconin, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,38W  Diaz Pallares, Ivan
                             31/07/2018  Heysham,outfalls Lancashire, GB  54,03N 2,54W