Friday 30 November 2018

Standard seawatching fodder

Shag - the presumed long staying bird still around
Little gull - ad out
Kittiwake - 52 out including flocks of 6,11,31
Auk spp - one long range
Duck spp - one at long range and not a lot to go on but possibly of interest!
Common Scoter -usual flock of 7-8 with Eider
Eider - c400

Thursday 29 November 2018


Little gull - ad out during 40 min seawatching
Common Scoter - drake in
Shoveler - Male Still middleton
Gadwall - c23 middleton
Coot - 1
Teal - female with Wigeon Red Nab
R b merg- 3 red nab (2 drake)

No seaduck check

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Wet and Windies but too southerly

 Common Scoter - flock of eight and Singleton off Heysham Head
Red-breasted Merganser - three as above

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Bits and bobs before the rain

Guillemot in harbour new in
Med gull - ad harbour mouth area
Common Scoter - tight flock of 8-9 bouncing up and down in channel off Heysham Head
Great-crested Grebe - 14 close inshore North side of Heysham Head
Meadow pipit - at least one ocean edge

Monday 26 November 2018

Hen Harrier harried

A ring-tailed Hen Harrier, the first for many years, was harassed by corvids on Middleton
Thanks Malcolm

Subad Shag on wooden jetty with 124 Cormorant
NO Common Darter seen on Middleton on last possible afternoon, weather-wise
Middleton NR rest
Main pond
Mute 8
Gadwall 20
Mallard 4
Teal 1
Moorhen 2
No swimming pond
Mute 2
Coot 1
Moorhen 4
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Teal 2
Gadwall 6
Tim Butler pond
Moorhen 2
Teal 2
Water rail 1
New small ponds
Teal 2
Water rail 1
Meadow pipit 4 grounded
Green woodpecker 1
Common snipe 1
Woodcock 1

Saturday 24 November 2018

A lot of not a lot

There was a heaving great flock of what seemed to be mainly Knot off Potts corner to the south of OE - one for the murm fans and possibly as many as 15-17k, the biggest number for a few years

Jack Snipe - one OE saltmarsh
Great-crested Grebe - 8 off Heysham Head as tide dropping but too early for seaduck in numbers

Friday 23 November 2018

The day the earth stood still

If only this was late September or October - murky NE with bits of sunshine.  There was absolutely nowt happening today with three new finches the only "arrivals" caught in the feeder nets run from 0830-1330!  Reed Bunting by HNR office notable. Tides a bit awkward but no obvious sign of the Brent Geese

Green Woodpecker - around office most of am and would be a site ringing tick if.....
Chiffchaff - by the fire pond near office still
Common Scoter - 8 off Heysham Head
Skylark - one flushed by tide off OE saltmarsh but only one (Common) Snipe
Shoveler - just one male Middleton
Coot - one Middleton still

Thursday 22 November 2018

Are they back?

Pale-bellied Brent - three south past OE close inshore at 1020 - tidally-related feeding movt or just passage?
Snipe 56 OE Salt
Jack Snipe - one OE salt
Chiffchaff - collybita female ringed Heysham NR office
Wigeon - 223 Red Nab including male with maybe 15-20% American genes

Scoters again Wednesday

6 Common Scoter off Heysham Head
Two RB mergs Red Nab

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Very brief

At least four of the Common Scoter flock offshore

Monday 19 November 2018


This was a real bonus and once again a product of scanning for seaduck from Knowlys Road - this time from the main section.  A first winter calling on top of a hawthorn bush bordering the horse field at the inland end before following after three Starlings which flew over houses on the south side of the road.  No further sign but a big area with berries!
Common Scoter - flock now 6 female/imms
Green Woodpecker - 1 Middleton
Redwing - I grounded Middleton
Middleton NR
Not sure what's happened, but Gadwall now favouring main pond. Can't think it's the result of recent landscaping, and Mute on "no swimming" are not bothering the remaining ducks.  No dragonflies.
Main pond
9 Mute (including 3 x 1cy)
24 Gadwall
4 Mallard
2 Moorhen
No Swimming pond
2  Mute
2 Gadwall
2 Shoveler
1 Tufted
6 Teal
1 Coot
6 Moorhen
Tim Butler
1 Teal (almost certainly more in reeds)
2 Moorhen

Sunday 18 November 2018

Still just about in shirt sleeves

The change from warm southerlies to a mini beast from the east is slow and subtle with today perhaps being the final curtain for the lingering Common Darters on Middleton.  The or a Chiffchaff was also calling by the fire pond near the office but the only other notable was a male Stonechat on OE saltmarsh, as rare as Yellow B, Warbler this autumn.  Of interest was an experienced birder thinking they heard two Chough flight calls in the sky but in an area with limited viewing and nothing was found on Heysham Head.  Thanks to Malcolm for pics

Common Scoter - gang of 5 still offshore 

Stonechat - male OE saltmarsh

Chiffchaff - by fire pond

Middleton NR
Mute 10 - could only see 2 of the recently arrived 1cy.
Coot 1

Gadwall 24 (16 on main pond)
Shoveler 2
Tufted Duck 1
Teal 2
Mallard 4
Common Darter - male trying to keep warm on Middleton

Saturday 17 November 2018

A couple of continentals arrive

A couple of female Blackcaps unexpectedly appeared in the nets, probably wintering birds arriving from the continent.

Vis 0730-0900
Pink-footed Goose 192 SE
Chaffinch 8 south
Brambling 1 S
Redwing 3 S
Fieldfare 1 S
Siskin 1 S

Just after dawn c4600 Pink-footed Geese flew north from the Cockerham Marsh roost to feed somewhere.

Middleton NR
Mute Swan 11
Gadwall 19
Shoveler 2
Tufted Duck 1 (Male almost out of eclipse)
Teal 2

Moths: Large Wainscot, Brick and 2 Winter Moths

Spot the Common Darter:
 No? Well try on this closer up photo.
Still no?
Here it is:

Friday 16 November 2018

The last fling of autumn passage?

The sort of murky light south easterly we have been waiting for all autumn.  Unfortunately all three of the current Ringing team had last minute commitments.  Best was a scarcity we don’t really need this year - spring records- found whilst scanning for any swifts!

Chaffinch - c40 south
Brambling - flock of 6 south then landed 
Meadow pipit - 1se and four more grounded
Blackbird - c30 round hnr office 
Redwing - two hnr office
Black redstart - female/imm north side Heyshsm Head seaward end Salem Mews
Common Scoter - flock of five

Winter Moth - one hnr office 

Thursday 15 November 2018

Bits of late migration and another Common Darter

No proper vis coverage today but bits noted which suggested it might have been a good idea

Chaffinch - 24 S
Brambling - 1 S
Skylark - 12 S
Meadow Pipit - 3 S
No obvious thrush grounding in clear conditions but two unringed Goldcrest caught along with low single figures of unringed Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch

Middleton NR
Mute Swan - 11!
Shoveler - pair still
Woodcock - 1
Coot - 1

The seaduck check on the neap tide was poor with just 320 Eider and no Common Scoter

Common Darter nowhere near where the two 2 days ago were

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Not much coverage today

A quick seaduck check on the choppy sea saw:

Common Scoter - flock of five female/imm about half way out to the main Eider line and a drake on its own beyond the Eider line
Eider - c420

Blackbird - gang of 10 migrants by hnr office car park

Mute swan - flock of six juvs along coast
Rock pipit - at least one

Middleton NR
Gadwall - 11 model boat pond + 6 no swimming pool
Shoveler - 2 no swimming pool (m+f)
Raven - 1 calling from transmission tower
Snipe - 1 western marsh

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Late darters

Malcolm saw a Male and photographed a female Common Darter at Middleton today

Also at Middleton, the pair of Shoveler, 22 Gadwall, a Chiffchaff, single Coot

Five female Conmon Scoter off Heysham Head

Monday 12 November 2018

Seaduck day

Just a bit late this am and missed some of the Eiders which float rapidly in on the fast Kent channel

Lower Knowlys VP
Scaup - flock of 3 - male, female and what looked like juv - way beyond the outer Eider line
Scoter spp - drake on sea on its own - not convinced it wasn't Velvet but it didn't flap/fly - absolutely miles away - then floated behind the trees

Eider - 445 min
Common Scoter - 3 females together fairly close inshore
GCGrebe - 5

No swifts in lee of Head!


Sunday 11 November 2018

Sunday 11th November

Fairly quiet on the Heysham front today due to a band of rain moving through in the morning.

Blackbird - 15 munching through hawthorn berries in the Reserve
Cettti’s Warbler - singing Male in the scrub bordering the marsh
Water Rail - in the marsh again
Chiffchaff - 1 
Pink-footed Goose - 52 south at midday

On the sea:
Common Scoter - 5

Saturday 10 November 2018

Low-key highlights

Only a fleeting visit today. Luckily Wigan RSPB group had spent a bit more time in the area so thanks to them for the coastal sightings:

Common Scoter - at least 5
Snipe - 40 in the high tide roost at the heliport seawall today
Cetti’s Warbler singing in the scrub at the back of the car park for Half Moon Bay cafe and area.

Grounded migrants on Heysham Nature Reserve:
Blackbird - at least 12
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 1

Water Rail squealing in the marsh

Friday 9 November 2018


The vis was quite good for so late in the year:

Heysham NR
Vis 0700 - 1000. SE F5 gusting 7, 6/8 cloud, dry
Sparrowhawk - flock of 3 high flew south
Chaffinch - 80 SW including a flock of 35
Brambling - 2
Yellowhammer - 1
Redwing - 43 SW
Starling - 27 SW
Goldfinch - 12 S
Kestrel - 1 SE
Blackbird - 3 S
Meadow Pipit - 2 S

Other birds of note:
Raven - 1 on the pylons again
Teal - 1 male by the boardwalk
Goldcrest - 3
Water Rail - 1 calling in the marsh

Middleton NR
Shoveler - male and female
Gadwall - 20
Coot - 1
Redwing - 10
Meadow Pipit - 7

Thursday 8 November 2018

Scoter still in situ

Common Scoter - flock of 5 off Heysham Head on drop tide
Ringed plover - 36 heliport roost
Rock Pipit - two half moon bay beach, one by harbour
Lots of Blackbird Hey NR

Wednesday 7 November 2018

High tide roost spectacle

The operative word was "high" in the high tide roost - high numbers of Oystercatchers which stretched all along the heliport sea wall along with other waders.  Another "high"light was a young Merlin chasing the Starlings in the horse paddock.

Heliport sea wall
Oystercatcher - 9600
Redshank - 460
Turnstone - 38
Ringed Plover - 36
Snipe - 21

Ocean Edge
Jack Snipe - 2

Horse paddocks north of Heysham Head
Merlin 1CY

 The large Oystercatcher roost. 
Five birds had metal rings but too far away to read the numbers with binoculars.
 Little Egret looking rather elegant in flight
Wigeon at Ocean Edge 

Tuesday 6 November 2018

A quieter day

Most of the Blackbirds had gone from the reserve so it was a lot quieter today. Fewer finches were moving overhead and even fewer at the feeder.

Vis 0830-1000
Chaffinch - 20 SE
Greenfinch - 2 S
Little Egret - 1 W

On the reserve
Cetti's Warbler singing again between the pagoda and the alder copse in the scrub on the edge of the reedbed.

Monday 5 November 2018

More Blackbirds and some old friends

At least 100 Blackbirds from observations around the recording area with at least 60 on or passing through Heysham NR alone.
The "old friends" were a Robin first caught in August 2011 at Heysham, a Dunnock first caught in July 2013 at Heysham and a Cetti's Warbler at Middleton NR which was first caught in October 2015.

Offshore very murky but flock of five female Common Scoter located and Eiders in the mist at low tide at least 520

Shoveler still at Middleton

More later when sound recorder consulted!!!
Well, nothing of any note on the sound recorder - plenty of Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Blackbird noise and a few Chaffinches plus the odd Bullfinch.

Pink-footed Goose 2000N over Middleton NR in ten flocks plus flocks of 450N and 20E over Heysham bypass at 0730.
Fieldfare 1
Redwing 16 SE
Starling 47 S
Grey Wagtail 2 E
Chaffinch 21 SE
Bullfinch 1

The Green Woodpecker is still around.

A female Blackcap appeared in the nets later in the day.

A Raven sat for a while on one of the pylons.

Sunday 4 November 2018


Shag - subadult feeding off the Head
Common Scoter - flock of five off Head and two females off north wall
Great crested grebe - 6
Brambling - one south west over HNR

Red admiral on orange buddleia by office

Saturday 3 November 2018

More Common Scoter and thrushes

Low tide channels
Common Scoter - flock of five (2 Male) close inshore and another Male flew in and landed seaward side of the Eider line

Middleton NR
Blackbird - c40
Redwing - c30
Shoveler - 1cy Male still
Gadwall -18
Coot - Singleton
Mallard - just three
Moorhen - 9 plus

Pics published tomorrow

Friday 2 November 2018

End of season

There's a definite end of migration season feel now, with few birds over and few in the nets. But there is still a trickle:

Vis 0800-1000
Weather: NWF2, short rain showers at 0825 and 0900, 5-9C, 1022mB, 4/8 cloud
Chaffinch - 10N, 3 S
Coal Tit - 2
Starling - 207N
alba wagtail - 1N
Goldfinch - 1S
Greenfinch - 4S
Meadow Pipit - 3S
Corvid sp - 30E in one flock-
Pink-footed Goose - a flock heard
Carrion Crow - 2N
Skylark - 3S
Bullfinch - 2S

On the ground:
Blackbird - 15
Goldcrest - 2
Coal Tit - 1

Low tide channels
The only thing of note was a distant Red-throated Diver.  No sign of any Common Scoter

Feathered Thorn in the trap and Red Admiral on the yellow buddleia

No sign of any wasp flightlines today past the office

Grey Seal as yesterday

Thursday 1 November 2018

Just a wee bit late

The highlight was the first SINGING Cetti's Warbler for Heysham Nature Reserve (others have contact called or be seen on passage but this is the first one to sing)

Offshore at low tide - perfect conditions for viewing but no Slavonian Grebe
Eider - 510
Common Scoter - 2F together and 1M further out
Great Crested Grebe - 6

Vis 0800 - 0900
Blackbird - 60 moving inland through the bushes, all had gone by 11am
Song Thrush - 1
Mistle Thrush - 2 SE
Starling - 155 N
Redwing 3 N
Fieldfare 3 E
Chaffinch - 10N
Reed Bunting 1 S
alba wagtail - 1SE
Jackdaw - 1N

Raven - 1 "messing about"

Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Coal Tit - 1

Water Rail - 1

Two Silver Y and a Winter Moth graced the office lights

Grey seal off Heysham Head close inshore