Wednesday 31 October 2018

Slavonian Grebe

A Slavonian Grebe was located this morning quite close inshore working its way south diving repeatedly. It was lost behind trees from the Knowlys VP and couldn’t be relocated in the swirling incoming tide
Common Scoter - flock of two m and two f
Great crested Grebe - at least four
Starling - bizarre sighting. One flying erratically over the sea landed for about 30 secs looking quite buoyant before carrying on flying into the Bay (cant think of anything else sensible it could be as it was all dark)

Top ten Ringing totals for the month were saved by the finches caught using Chaffinch MP3 which also attracted migrant Greenfinch.  Other Greenfinch along with Goldfinch and most of the Blue/Great tits were on the feeder.  Migrant Coal Tit were attracted to the Yellow-browed Warbler MP3.

Greenfinch (139), Chaffinch (90), Blue Tit (56), Goldfinch (48), Chiffchaff (44), Long-tailed Tit (44), Goldcrest (40), Coal Tit (38), Redwing (28) and Great Tit (27)

Only remotely unusual Ringing activity: Treecreeper (3), Yellow-browed Warbler (1), Tree Sparrow (1) and Cetti’s Warbler (3 - one Heysham NR, the other two the first new Birds for ages at Middleton where they breed)

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Weak weather front blocks not drops

This rather unimpressive month trickled along today with yet another minor first light fall, again mainly Blackbird heading north into the wind and mainly avoiding the mist nets.

Chiffchaff - the resident Male Still by office
Blackbird - about 75 seen (50N and 25 grounded)
Redwing - 10 (6N, 4 grounded)
Raven - 1
Chaffinch - c25 north
Coal tit - three together
alba wagtail = 2 north
Bullfinch - 2 north
Goldcrest - 2 grounded
Treecreeper - the recently (22nd) ringed bird and a new one
Starling - 2000 ex roost headed SE
Teal - 2 on the newly cleared area by the boardwalk
Grey Wagtail -1 also on the newly cleared area late morning

Didn’t manage to count the Eider but:
Common Scoter - the same two female close inshore and two Male much further out
Great crested Grebe - 8

Rock Pipit
At least one below Heysham Head - pic posted tomorrow

Monday 29 October 2018

A few surprises

Another chilly day (0C at 0700hrs) but with less wind and hopes that the easterly component in the ENE wind would bring a few migrants. Few was the operative word. After an intial explosion of birds at dawn there then followed the smallest of trickles.

Heysham NR
Vis 07:00-12:00 with the vast majority before 08:00hrs Birds in order of appearance and all north unless stated:
Redwing 3 heard in the dark then 37 departed
Woodcock 1
Blackbird 16N, 2 S
Chaffinch 49
Brambling 5
Snipe 1
Long-tailed Tit 20
Starling 700
Carrion Crow 3
Coal Tit 4
Meadow Pipit 4 S
Jackdaw 4
alba wagtail 1
Skylark 3 over the reserve but 74 seen between Red Nab and Potts Corner

In the low tide channels
Eider 954
Goldeneye 1 female/immature
Wigeon 2
Gadwall 3
Common Scoter 2 females
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Great-crested Grebe 6

Over the sea
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 3 flew down the middle of the Bay then headed towards Rampside
Swan sp., probably Whooper, - 1

In the sea
Grey Seal

Sunday 28 October 2018

Blackbird bonanza but virtually everything going the 'wrong way'!

Large numbers of birds for the first two hours or so this morning, both overhead and (in the case of Blackbird), low-level 'vis'.   The main thing was that virtually everything was heading north straight over the top of our mist nets from the tank farm over the reserve.  Therefore the actual ringing part of today was unremarkable.

Vis mig HNR office with some also Middleton NR
Chaffinch - 77
Brambling - 2
Meadow Pipit - 2
Blackbird - 270 plus 16 grounded later
Redwing - 19
Woodpigeon - 265
Jackdaw - 153
Rook - 11
Whooper Swan - 3
Greenfinch - 14
Starling - 589
Bullfinch - 1
Tree Sparrow - 1
Skylark - 5
Siskin - 4
Pink-footed Goose - c500
Coal Tit - heard quite high but not seen plus 3 unringed birds caught
Linnet - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 4

Middleton NR late am
Woodcock - 1
Jack Snipe - 2
Common Snipe - 1
Mute Swan - 9
Teal - 8

Anyone time to count the Redshank?  Thanks Jim

Migrant Hawker & 2 Common Darter Middleton NR

Saturday 27 October 2018

Last daylight low spring tide for a bit

Too windy from a horrible direction for any Ringing so the plan was to check the low tide channels off Heysham Head.  It wasn’t easy with a lot of orange sky silhouettes and a significant “heat”haze.

Eider - absolute minimum of 710 and probably at least another hundred.   No chance of discerning anything in the main mass in the second channel
Common Scoter - two females close inshore
Great crested Grebe - at least one
Med gull - presumed Czech adult North wall

Chaffinch - 10 south, the only perceived vis

Green Woodpecker present by hnr office last Thursday

Friday - not quite nothing

Northwesterlies continue. Hopefully turning more northerly tomorrow.

Jackdaw 36 south
Common buzzard 1 south

Still a few dragonflies in afternoon sun on Middleton:
Common darter 4 (all males)
Migrant hawker 1

Wildfowl status similar to previous, but Shoveler not showing today.

Thursday 25 October 2018

North westerlies continue

Whooper Swan - 8 south
Shoveler - 1cy Male still Middleton
Cetti’s warbler - possibly up to three singing males middleton
Wigeon - 144 red nab

Landbird migration
No perceptible vis hnr but a late start
13 unringed Greenfinch, 2 unringed Goldcrest, unringed Coal Tit and a few other odds and ends in the nets but no Chaffinch passage today


to be added

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Don’t give up yet!

The weather today was a heap of rubbish which failed to deliver any seabirds, vis or grounded.  The Ben was checked and failed to deliver Kittiwakes but:

Med Gull - ad and 2cy behind incoming ferry

A red line Quaker was in the Moth trap

Monday 22 October 2018

Monday 22 October

Complete contrast in the weather this morning - clear, with a light NNW wind.

Vis -07:30-10:30
Redwing - 5 calls heard while it was still dark plus 2 seen
Chaffinch - 74
Brambling - 8
Woodpigeon - 13
Carrion Crow - 10
alba wagtail - 3
Meadow Pipit - 1
Bullfinch - 3 dropped in from height, four similarly later
Pink-footed Goose - 9 + 51 north, 115 south
Jackdaw - 9 south plus heard but not seen
Grey Wagtail - 2
Coal Tit - 1 in addition to 2 ringed
Skylark - 11 but probably more (mainly from Ocean Edge)

Treecreeper - another unringed dispersing bird
Chiffchaff - two calling at dawn, one has been here for several days
Goldcrest - three unringed birds and no obvious sign of any others

Red Nab
Wigeon - 140
Little egret - 10

Heliport seawall
Snipe - 15
Male Merlin 16:45

Middleton NR
Another new Cetti's Warbler ringed.
Redwing - c20
Reed Bunting - 4 migrants ringed

Sunday 21 Oct 2018

A misty, murky but mild morning.

Heysham Harbour 
Rock Pipit - 1

Middleton NR
Mute Swan - 8
Mallard - 1
Teal - 2
Gadwall - 24
Pink-footed Goose - 150 north

Saturday 20 October 2018

Moth highlight Heysham NR and an unringed Cetti's warbler at Middleton

Today's efforts did not look promising with a forecast which was suitable for mist-netting, but the uniform unbroken cloud for the first few hours certainly put the lid on significant vis and the wind direction suggested a paucity of grounded migrants.  The highlight came very early on - a twilight check of what was on the outside of the moth trap window:
Scarce Bordered Straw

Red Nab/Ocean edge shore
Bar-tailed Godwit - 950
Grey Plover - 320
Med Gull - one (small) adult
Teal - female/juv Red Nab
Wigeon - huge increase to 144
Shelduck - 420 (142 Red Nab)

Cettis Warbler - a new unringed bird - probably a new dispersing arrival but cannot rule out a local bird which somehow avoided the nets

Office area grounded
Very quiet - not a single Goldcrest heard, just the 'resident' male Chiffchaff and another singleton ringed along with a single Blackcap.  About 10 Blackbird and 6 Song Thrush completes the perceived grounded migrant total within audible/visual range of the office

Vis mig
Swan spp - two high to north
Mute Swan - 5 north then u-turned over Middleton
Chaffinch - 15
Brambling - 1
Little Egret - 2 S
Starling - just 6+20
Greenfinch - at least 1!
Alba wagtail - 2
Goldfinch - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 850 N at 0910

Friday 19 October 2018

Starling and Chaffinch vis

Every morning has been different this week and this morning looked very duff at dawn with cloud spilling in from the west.  However, it soon became apparent that small flocks of Starlings were bombing SW - a route which is not ex-local-roost.  Indeed they were crossing over local ex-roost birds heading east from the harbour.

Vis mig
Starling - 1374 SW in about 26 flocks
Chaffinch - 153 (including flock of 36)
Meadow Pipit - 17
Jackdaw - 161
Grey Wagtail - 2
Redwing - 51
Linnet - 3
alba Wagtail - 14
Siskin - 4
Greenfinch - 10
Skylark - 14
Goldfinch - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 316 plus 35 S
Whooper Swan - 13 south

Chiffchaff - the resident male by the office still
Goldcrest - 3 ringed
Blackcap - one ringed
Robin - unringed bird
Wheatear - 1

No sign Chough Heysham Head

Thursday 18 October 2018

Its back or another has turned up!

Chough Heysham Head 1130ish per Malcolm - Throbshaw Point area, then flew south. We suspect it may be a passage bird, on a day when there have been lots of corvid movement, as its behaviour was atypical of last winter's resident which Malcolm daw virtually daily.  We'll see.

Crystal clear conditions didn't promise very much other than a bit of vis, but a single Yellow-browed Warbler and, perhaps more unusually as obviously not a 'one-off', a flock of three Chiffchaff were caught.  Earlier a Long or Short-eared Owl was chased by three Carrion Crow in semi-darkness east towards the entrance gate.  The owl probably tried to land as it became light in the middle of the tank farm crow roost!  What I could see of it and the fact it obviously disturbed a thorn-bush and caused roost Carrion Crows to pursue it before they would normally have "got up" does suggest a Long-eared looking for a suitable daytime roost just before dawn.  Indeed the Carrion Crows seemed to fly back to bed and didn't start generally making their presence felt again for another 25 mins!

Vis 0730 - 1230
Chaffinch 185
Brambling 3
Jackdaw 175
Carrion Crow 23
Woodpigeon 65
Stock Dove 2
Collared Dove 1
Pink-footed Goose 53
Mistle Thrush 14
Redwing 13
Skylark - 4
Lesser Redpoll 3
alba wagtail 14
Linnet 3
Meadow Pipit - 10

Wheatear 1
Rock pipit at least 1

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Brambling at last

Ringing included a pleasant flock of Long tailed tit   and three Chiffchaff and a Blackcap is some more migrant Greenfinch.

An adult Common Tern was a bit of a surprise on the outfalls

Vis 0730-123
Flock of 10 Brambling plus at least one other
58 Carrion Crow
14 Jackdaw
95 Chaffinch
13 Greenfinch
2 alba wagtail
8 Song Thrush
6 Skylark
2 Meadow Pipit
4 Redwing
1 Siskin
1 redpoll sp
100 Pink-footed Geese north at 07:50
14 Starling NW later in the morning so not ex roost

A possible Yellow-browed calling distantly x 2 in the tank farm direction from the office was not confirmed due to a horrendous amount of background noise this am

Tuesday 16 October 2018

What a grey day

Thick cloud and mizzle put the dampners on the vis but there were a few odds and ends of migrants.

Heysham NR

Vis 0730-1200
Mistle Thrush - 1 SE
Reed bunting - 1 S
Chaffinch - 12
alba wagtail - 8
Meadow Pipit - 1

Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - 3
Blackbird - 6
Song Thrush - 3
Chiffchaff - 1

Middleton NR
Redwing - 5
Goldcrest - 3

Monday 15 October 2018

Not quite what was expected

What seemed to be a corridor from the eastern side of Britain (at least) along the northern edge of the cloud was 'fudged' by some heavy cloud north-east of us.   It was also rather clear under the high cloud on site.  Plan B was to monitor the mainly North to South Chaffinch passage and also quite a bit of cross-bay vis, including another 'should have run a Grey Wagtail tape'.   There were a handful of grounded migrants but they didn't include the expected Goldcrest arrival with numbers way down on yesterday and the morning certainly didn't have a 'yellow-brow' feel about it

Grounded Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - 3 new birds ringed plus one ringed Midd
Blackcap - 2 new birds ringed plus one ringed Midd
Song Thrush - three then inland
Blackbird - c15, then inland
Goldcrest - 1!
NO Redwing

Vis mig HNR
Great -spotted Woodpecker - one high SE
Chaffinch - 78
Skylark - 9 plus two (H)
Meadow Pipit - 45
alba Wagtail - 41
Carrion Crow - 18
Rook - two together south
Jackdaw - 31
Fieldfare - bit of a surprise in the context - 6 SW calling (IOA)
Siskin - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 2+ heard
Grey Wagtail - 2
Goldfinch - at least 27 migrants
Linnet - flock of 7 SE
Greenfinch - at least 25 migrants
Merlin - one presumed male high to SE, including chasing Meadow Pipit
Tree sparrow - one (ringed)
Coal tit - c5

No sign of YBW in yesterday's area

Middleton - Pink-footed Goose - c500 flew north after dawn very high and far to the east.
                  Swallow - 3 south
                  Sparrowhawk - 1 high flew south

Mostly migrant finches today with Greenfinch and Chaffinch conspicuous.   Four Chiffchaff and three Blackcap a bit unexpected as there seemed to be little grounded.  Just five Goldcrest ringed.  A Tree Sparrow was a new addition to the ringed species list for the year where it is very erratic and unpredictable.  Just one Redwing ringed at Middleton.

Shoveler - Drake middleton no swimming pond

Large Wainscot in Middleton actinic, November Moth agg in office trap

Sunday Yellow-browed

Sorry for the late update here

Good jobs the forecasts were not believed today and we headed for a dawn start to find us sandwiched between two blobs of rain on the alarm app but in the end not s single drop landed on the obs!   The wind also decreased much earlier than we thought and this led to ideal ringing conditions.  The downside of this is that local birds also don't notice the nets and we ended up with the highest proportion of retraps of the autumn, notably "all' the Dunnocks in the vicinity!

Yellow-browed Warbler - this was found by Malcolm in the trees and scrub on the west side by the entrance to Ocean Edge. and was there for at least an hour before cars arrived emptying multiple dogs and we left it to any visiting birders.  No further reports on the information network.  One of four today in our area (Sunderland, Fluke Hall, JBPoint being the other three)

Grounded HNR
Redwing - 10
Blackbird - 15
Chiffchaff -4 (& 3 more ringed at Middleton in the afternoon)
Goldcrest - 15-20 plus a similar number down the landscape strip to Red Nab
Robin - at least one migrant ringed

Vis mig HNR
Chaffinch - 30
Meadow Pipit - 2
alba Wagtail - 6
Grey Wagtail - 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Coal Tit - 11

Saturday 13th October

Wet - to be added!

Friday 12 October 2018

Redshank all in one basket

An early WEBS saw 1,500 Redshank on the heliport seawall yet none on any other of the Webs sites along the prom to the north

Other things included two adult and one 1cy med gull around the harbour mouth but the Shag could not be located

Wheatear - two oe foreshore
Rock pipit - at least two
10 Twite were reported on the heliport grassland - an early date for here

Thursday 11 October 2018

Bits and bobs of migrants

Early start in quite breezy conditions saw a few Redwing departing inland at dawn but very little actual vis mig.  We called a halt on the Grey Wagtail ringing season after the 50th was ringed yesterday and of course one of the first birds over this morning was yet another late passage Grey Wagtail!

Two Goldcrest ringed so far - they are really thin on the ground this autumn along with Chiffchaff, Blackcap and migrant Robin...…… a dispersing Treecreeper!

Vis 07:15 - 10:00
Redwing - 35
Linnet - 1
Grey Wagtail - 1
alba wagtail - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
Skylark - 4
Chaffinch - 4
Mistle Thrush - 1

Goldcrest - 4 at least (2 ringed)
Chiffchaff - 3 (2 ringed)
Blackcap - 1 (ringed)
Coal Tit - 2 (1 ringed)

Heysham skeer channels early am
Pinkfooted Goose - c200
Diver sp - one in
Common Scoter - Drake
Two lots of redwing overhead in dark

10th Oct

Vis 07:00-12:30 Heysham and Middleton NRs combined
Grey Wagtail - 2
Jackdaw - 196 (3 flocks)
Carrion Crow - 6 W, 29 E
Pink-footed Goose - 800+
Song Thrush - 8
Blackbird 10
Redwing - about 20 seen between Hey and Middleton combined with 5 ringed at Middelton
Siskin - 2
Crossbill - 2 SE 0750
Reed Bunting - 1
Skylark - 3 only but hard to heard vis HNR
Meadow Pipit - 2
Common Buzzard - 1 definite southbound migrant, possibly in off
Chaffinch - 16 pus others ringed
alba wagtail - 5

Chiffchaff - 1
Blackcap - 3
Coal Tit - 3

Green Woodpecker still around

Red Admiral - 1
Other insects to be added later

Wednesday 10 October 2018

9th Oct

Rock Pipit - one Red Nab, the other half moon bay in quick search
Med Gull - 1st W lingering

Sunday 7 October 2018

Bit of a clearout but some decent one offs

Fewer birds than yesterday. The warblers seem to have cleared out with the clear weather overnight

Heysham NR
Woodcock - one flushed from the net rides behind the hut
Green Woodpecker - 1 almost caught in mist net!  Last seen in tank farm
Cetti’s Warbler - first record of year for hey Nr with a migrant caught by the office

Vis 0715-1215 (generally south unless stated)
Chaffinch 17
alba wagtail 9
Meadow Pipit 2
Pink-footed Goose 62 south, 96 north, 140 south
Goldfinch 6
Skylark 4
Blue Tit 2
Grey Heron - 2 high north
Linnet 1
Swallow 1

Carrion Crow 8 SE
Jackdaw 58 SE
Pink-footed Goose 100 S (far over Morecambe Bay) +50 S to the east of the reserve
Meadow Pipit c8 SE
Cettis Warbler - 3 singing in central and western marsh areas, another around no swimming pond area
Reed Bunting - 5 ringed

Med gull - green ringed ad red nab not ANLT and prob not ASRE therefore new and unread - first letter A with four code letters do presumed German.  Metal only ringed adult red nab.   Adult on sea half moon bay
Common gull - two 1cy outfalls
Short-eared Owl - presumably flushed OE saltmarsh and drifted towards Middleton

Red kite prob over east of area or visible from eg Middleton but no one there ! ( seen heading nw from Glasson).  Thanks for the text Ian

Saturday 6 October 2018

Much better!

The cold front moved away to the south at dawn leaving increasingly higher cloud and quite a few birds were moving overhead as well as reasonable numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff.  Indeed by some considerable distance the best Chiffchaff morning of what has been a poor autumn.
The Blackcaps were all but one showing signs of being off passage with 20g plus weight and fat scores of up to 4.

Middleton NR
Vis mig 0700-1200
Siskin 1
Lesser Redpoll 1
Pink-footed goose 15
Grey Wagtail 4
Tree Sparrow 4
Meadow Pipit 210
Jackdaw 9
Linnet 10
Mistle Thrush 1
alba wagtail 31
Goldfinch 8
Skylark 2
Sparrowhawk 1

Ringing - about 70 new birds including 16 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap and quite a few Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Long tailed Tit.   Two each of Reed Bunting and Grey Wagtail were caught

Large Wheatear OE foreshore and the Wigeon flock up to 8.

Friday 5 October 2018

Low key

The first Stonechat of the autumn comprised a 1cy Male on Middleton late afternoon.   Also three separate Long tailed tit flocks

Cetti’s warbler were noisy especially in central marsh (at least two singing)

Nothing new on the wildfowl etc front with two Water Rail the best

However a possible ring necked parakeet was heard flying over but not seen

Rock pipit - four half moon bay shore

Thursday 4 October 2018

Routine observatory coverage

The degree of shelter from westerly sector winds has enabled quite a bit of ringing to be undertaken this year by the office which would have been very difficult in previous years.  Perhaps/probably we were too quick to give up/assume nothing much moved in marginal weather.  The rain also held off and any issues monitored on the rain alarm/visual observation across the Bay

Red Nab and harbour area
Med Gull - 2 x ad, 1 x 1CY, 2 x 2CY
Shelduck - 220
Auk spp - one out, probably Guillemot
Kittiwake - ad behind IOM ferry but peeled off very early by old sewage pipe and flew out

Office area
New birds ringed included single Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Robin and about a dozen finch species
Just one Goldcrest seen

No perceptible vis mig in quite low cloud

Eudonia angustea and Pink-barred Sallow

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Great White Egret doubleton

Not sure what is going on with these things but they were miles up in the sky heading south and almost passed off as migrating large gulls when first seen head on.  No obvious landing place as per pager reports

HNR office
Great White Egret - 2 south c1030
Meadow Pipit - only 2 early am
Coal Tit, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest - single unringed birds caught
No obvious finch vis
Common Buzzard - the first grounded bird I can remember on there - later seen soaring off:

Cetti's Warbler - active with minimum of three probably four singing/calling birds (new arrival?)
Gadwall - 31
Meadow Pipit - low double figures over in clearer weather

Heysham Head
Rock Pipit - 6 feeding along the shore on the low cliff section at the south end and one under the bigger cliffs
Little Egret - gang of five on shore in rocks - unusual here

Single Green brindled Crescent and Red-line Quaker

Lots of dozy dying wasps flopping about around the office area today


Nothing sent to me

The moth trap held Green Brindled Crescent and Red-line Quaker

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Monday 1st October

Heysham NR
07:15 - 12:00
Too clear to monitor the vis properly as most birds flew high at the nature reserve and by all accounts Meadow Pipits were grounding at Ocean Edge but no systematic coverage took place at that location.

Chaffinch - 33
Grey Wagtail - 7
Reed Bunting - 5
alba wagtail - 11
Bullfinch - 4
Pink-footed Goose - 246 north again
Linnet - 1
Siskin - 3
Dunnock - 5

Middleton Nature reserve
Mute 5
Mallard 4
Gadwall 10
Teal 10
Water Rail 1

Cetti's singing from fence pond

Buzzard 5. Together drifting over to south

Limited coverage

Just adult and 1CY Meds around the harbour entrance

Sand Mason worms