Tuesday, 31 December 2019

From elusive to predictable

Shag - the short days seem to be forcing it into a predictable pattern, at least during spring tides. Its preferred feeding location seems to be the low water channels on Heysham skeer, but these are seldom exposed during daylight at this time of year. They were this morning, and by 08:30 it was resting on a small island west of the largest rock in SE of skeer, presumably digesting breakfast (MD)
Not much of a picture, but shows location.

The tide may just be low enough again in the morning. If so, the Shag should be feeding or resting between about 08:30 and 09:00. If the tide is not low enough it will probably feed near Heysham Head and/or the north wall around high water.

Carrion crow, there were 34 waiting for the tide to ebb far enough to reach the skeer islands to feed. They then fed in ones and twos, on the exposed sections of honeycomb worms beds, before leaving, again in ones and twos in all directions east. The new honeycomb worm beds must be providing some new opportunity to feed. Two to four birds feeding here is typical.

Great -Crested Grebe - at least 8

Monday, 30 December 2019

29th & 30th - spring has sprung

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute 7 adult 7 juv
Coot 1
Moorhen c12
Gadwall 22
Teal 6
Tufted 2
Wigeon 1
Mallard 5
Woodcock 1
Redwing 14
Goldcrest 2

Small Tortoiseshell 1 near HNR office

Rock pipit 4 on south harbour wall roundhead

Saturday, 28 December 2019

27th and 28th

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall 31
Wigeon 1
Tufted 1 male
Shoveler 2 male
Teal 15
Mallard 8
Coot 1
Water Rail 2

Great White Egret - Two sightings (10:55 and 11:15) same flight line from Red Nab direction to ESE.

Redwing - just one seen

Rock pipit - at one point (c10:00) there were 5 on sloping sea wall near No.2 outflow. Two feeding groups of 3 and 2.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Ferry and Shag routine

Ben my Chree
2 x adult Med Gulls, one prob Czech bird, the other flew in then out

Shag - off the Head at high tide, entered harbour at 1200hrs and fished alongside inner north wall

Rock Pipit - 2 north wall end

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Christmas Day treat

Heysham Head rocks - high water (MD)
10:38. It landed on water, just out from the rocks on the south end (Throbshaw Point). It came from the north, but it could have just come from north end of the Head. It started feeding immediately.

10:50. It flew off south last seen on water out from the heliport. I didn't see it catch anything, presumably why it left. But, it is worth chevking on similar height tide tomorrow - high water tomorrow 11:08.

24th DEcember
Ad Med and 5 ad Kitt behind ben/dredger in harbour mouth

Monday, 23 December 2019

Kittiwakes ferried in

20-22 Kittiwake behind IOM ferry approaching Heysham Port but yet again no Meds.
The Czech ringed veteran has been seemingly absent for the last month

Skeer and low tide channels - scoped from Knowlys road
Shag 1 - fairly close to the largest rock on skeer.
GCG 10 scattered around

No change in duck numbers, but Coot seems to have gone, but Little grebe still around

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Shag obliged.... weather didn't!

Shag 1 feeding in first channel area (see yesterday's post) at 14:00, after which the heavens opened and visibility not good enough. Tomorrow's tide is a suitable height, but weather not promising. After that, diminishing low water heright will force it elsewhere, possibly to main chnnel (MD).

Great-Crested grebe 4
Red-Brested Merganser 2
Eider 2

Fieldfare flock of 20 on Imperial Road

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Shag located feeding

Heysham skeer - low water
Shag - The cormorant were all resting on sandbars. Only one bird was feeding in the first channel area, saw it dive a couple of times and it's leaping dive Indicated shag. When tide stopped ebbing, it stopped feeding and rested on water, still in first channel area. Most views were just its head bobbing over waves, but I eventually managed a couple of record shots. (MD)
(The original pictures are slightly sharper than when posted, and are diagnostic)

Feeding here on last of ebb on these mid range tides must be on pin whiting, if so, these will be here at same time for similar height tides. This suggests that there may be a repeat performance tomorrow, 14:000 onwards. The first channel is about 250m west of the largest triangular rock on the skeer (conger rock). This will be on the skeer's SW water edge approaching low water tomorrow.

Great- Crested grebe 6
No RBM or Eider

Middleton Nature Reservep
No ducks on the main pond, but 40 on the "no swimming" pond:
Gadwall 27
Tufted 2 (male)
Shoveler 1 (male)
Teal 10

West side of road to re-cycling centre - this is the eastern boundary of the recording area.
Great White Egret 1 - in field in the afternoon.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Little change

Ocean Edge salt marsh 
Rock pipit 1
Song thrush 2 together - new arrivals
Reed Bunting 2

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute 9 adult plue 7 juv - 4 new adult
Coot 1
Moorhen 14
Gadwall 34
Tufted 4 (3 male)
Wigeon 1 female
Teal 4
Little grebe 1

Redwing - numbers dwindling, but still plenty feeding

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Unremarkable low tide channel

Low tide channel from Knowlys & out on skeer!
Wigeon 3
Great-crest - 6
RBM - 3
Eider - 4

Redwing have been hanging about far more than usual with the proliferation of berries:
Thanks Janet

Middleton Nature Reserve - two main ponds
Gadwall 32
Tufted 2 male
Shoveler 1 male
Wigeon 1 female
Coot 1
Moorhen 12
Little grebe 1

Tuesday, 17 December 2019


10:45 - Bird landing, unfortunately out of sight, on rocks in front of north wall roundhead was, almost certainty, an adult or near adult Shag (MD)
Wigeon 175
Rock Pipit 1

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just the two main ponds checked:
Gadwall 30
Tufted 2 (male on "no swimming" female on main pond)
Wigeon 1
Teal 6
Coot 1

Redwing - several flitting around

Monday, 16 December 2019

Sunday webs

Nothing of specific interest on coastal  WeBs but 10.3k Knot on the heliport were spectacular

Belated ringing totals for November saw (new ringed) 64 Greenfinch, 40 Goldfinch, 24 Blackbird and a few bits and bobs including a Firecrest

Middleton Webs
Mute Swan 12, Moorhen 14, Coot 1, Gadwall 35, Wigeon 1, Shoveler 2, Mallard 6, Teal 8, Water Rail 2+, Snipe 7 (& 2 Pheasant, c20 each of Blackbird and Redwing)

Rock Pipit 3 - lighthouse area, one visiting 2019 2nd brood nest hole
Meadow Pipit 1 - near waterfall

Large numbers of Pinkfeet over Heysham after dark

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Shag - repeat performance

Shag - Ad or near ad  in harbour mouth again 1345 before moving into harbour.
Little Gull and Guillemot flying S offshore

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall 27
Wigeon 1
Teal 3
Tufted 1 (m)
Shoveler (m&f)
Coot 1

Still plenty of Redwing feeding

Friday, 13 December 2019


Ocean Edge saltmarsh - high water
The 9.3m tide just covered the saltmarsh, revealing  just a few snipe (MD).
Jack Snipe 1
Common Snipe 7

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just the briefest check of the two main ponds revealed a male Tufted has joined the 25 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler .

Blackcap 1 female in a garden NE section of recording area.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Another one to add to "elusive" status - Black Redstart

It's nice when a plan comes up with a good sighting.........Shame that the plan was locate the Purple Sandpiper, and came up with a:
Black Redstart 1 f/imm - 10:05 - about an hour before high water. Red Nab was mostly covered. (MD).
It flew low along sloping sea wall from the direction of No.2 outflow. It initially landed on rocks below the wall where the freshwater culvert drains on to Red Nab, and disappeared from view. As I got within 50m it flew from here towards the exposed natural red rocks, I lost sight of it over the eastern edge of Red Nab. I hoped that it had landed, but I didn't see it again. After an extensive check of likely habitats nearby, I concluded that it must have doubled back towards the Power Station grounds. Just popped out for a drink?
This sighting suggests that the bird seen on 27/11 is lingering, and hopefully will be for some while.

Salt marsh - tide not much higher than yesterday, with reduced wind.
Common Snipe 6 (reduced waves tends to move birds in rather than flush them up)
Reed Bunting 2
Linnet c30

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

One elusive plus one habitual

Ocean Edge - am
Tide flushed 18 Common snipe off the salt marsh, but not quite high enough today to flush any Jack snipe. Tomorrow might be high enough, Friday's tide will be. Jack snipe are more likely here when the tides are rising, as now, they tend to stay away after being flushed a few times.
Rock pipit 1
Purple Sandpiper 1. As far as I know (MD) this is the first sighting since 12th and 13th November. Elusive? Yes, but possibly predictable. Today's bird was seen flying east from the direction of the small beach between Red Nab and Ocen Edge foreshore at 10:50, just after high water. The previous  two sightings were from same location on similar height tides. Worth checking this beach about an hour before and up to high water on spring tides.

Middleton Nature Reserve- pm
Gadwall 31
Wigeon 1
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Teal 10
Mallard 6
Coot 1

Redwing - up to 32 seen flying around at one time, plus many more feeding on hawthorn all around the Reserve.

Great White Egret 1. This is the habitual bird. So I decided to hang around to see if it was still commuting in the "evening" (MD). It finally turned up at 15:45, by then quite dark. It flew from the direction of golf course to ESE.

Tuesday - Shag

Shag 1 - adult or near adult briefly in harbour mouth before flying in to the inner harbour, out of sight line.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Pretty much as yesterday, but the Wigeon was back on main pond with 5 Gadwall (31 in total)

Hopefully more later

Monday, 9 December 2019


Nice day, but nothing of interest on south shore this morning.

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Grey wagtail - second sighting of same colour ringed bird. At least three different ringed birds are around the Heysham area this winter. More lingering birds than normally located from the ringing program.
Gadwall 28 - no sign of the wigeon, but all the Gadwall were all on the "no swimming" pond, I have only seen the Wigeon on the main pond
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Coot 1
Little grebe 1 - offering slightly better views on "no swimming" pond.

Redwing- at least 40 feeding on the Reserve.

Mediterranean Gull - 1 adult behind IOM ferry

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Wigeon conundrum, settled........

The only bird of note seen on the sea was a juvenile Kittiwake behind the IOM ferry.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just checked the three ponds on east side of MNR:
Main pond
Mute 3 adult 7 juv
Gadwall 6
Mallard 4
"Wigeon" 1 - this is the bird previously thought to be a hybrid, partly down to its unusual behaviour. But the decision now is: just a female wigeon with odd habits. See pic below (MD)
Moorhen 6

No Swimming pond
Mute 2 adult
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Gadwall 21
Teal 2
Coot 1
Moorhen 6

Tim Butler pond
Mute 1 adult
Mallard 4
Gadwall 2
Moorhen 2

Redwing 17 grounded

The odd, at least by behaviour, female Wigeon.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Friday - Long-Tailed Duck

Long-Tailed Duck - 1 juvenile very elusive in far channel out from Heysham Head. Almost certainly the same bird as unidentified duck seen in same channel on Tuesday.

Rock Pipit 1 on inner harbour wall

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 30
Shoveler 1 male

Common Snipe 51 flying from rocks below heliport on to heliport grass.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall 32
Pink-Footed goose c2,300 flying south over between 15:20 to 15:25

Some of the Pink-Footed going over

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

The low water channels provide main interest

Low water channel out from Heysham Head 
Scaup 1 female
Eider 27
Red-Throated Diver 1
Red-Breasted Merganser 4

Middleton Nature Reserve 
All the ponds were virtually ice free this morning, but the number and variety of ducks was reduced.
Gadwall 30 - no sign of possible hybrid bird.
Mallard 2
Teal 3
Water Rail 2
Little grebe 1
This individual lingering much later than in recent years.

Still at least 20 Redwing plus 10 Blackbird feeding on hawthorn

Sunday, 1 December 2019

A bit better variety

Low tide channels viewed from Knowlys Road
Great Crested Grebe 19
Goosander 1 (redhead)
Eider 3
Goldeneye 1 drake
Wigeon 8

Harbour mouth
Mediterranean gulls 2 adult - 1 flew in high behind ferry and was joined by a second bird (Czech ringed?) in the harbour.
Red-throated diver 1 - distant

Rock Pipit 1 near waterfall
Nothing of note along south wall or outflows

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 34
Possible gadwall/wigeon hybrid - better views today now reveal that this is possibly what yesterday's "wigeon" was.

Shoveler 1 male
Mallard 7
Teal 14

Redwing at least 40 grounded, pretty much everywhere on the reserve, but the two main concentrations are near Tim Butler pond and the corner with golf club and Tradebe.

Saturday - Wigeon guest appearance

Middleton Nature Reserve 
There are routinely up to 200 Wigeon around Red Nab/south shore, but this morning, 1 female had joined the Gadwall on the main pond. Unusual (unpresidented? MD).

Gadwall 31
Teal 9
Little Grebe 1
Mallard 5
Water Rail 1

Redwing c10
Fieldfare c30

No sign of Little gull or BRS on south wall

Friday, 29 November 2019


Little else showing today.
Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall  33 on main pond with
Tufted Duck 1 female.
 Most of Gadwall on above frame, Tufted top right. Detail below

No Swimming pond
Shoveler 1 male
Teal 1 female
Coot 1

Still plenty of grounded Redwind (c10 around the two main ponds)

No sign of Little gull or BRS on south wall

Possibly more later.

Thursday, 28 November 2019


Rock Pipit - 3 on south wall, two together plus a singleton.
No sign of Little gull or Black Redstart.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 27
Mallard 4
Shoveler 1 male
Little grebe 1
Coot 1

Hopefully more later

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Black Redstart

Ocean Edge to harbour mouth
Black Redstart
10:20: It came from west side of No.2 outflow. It flew under the superstructure before landing 20m on the east side. It was c50m out from wall when I noticed it, but I'm quite happy it could have come from further west along the wall.  It then went into the power station grounds (ref MD).
Sorry about the fake news of it flying over the fence as per my message on WhatsApp (see pic below) - attention to detail matters!

Rock Pipit - two sightings RN and Foreshore, but possibly same bird.
Meadow Pipit - 1 on perimeter fence near RN
Jack Snipe - 1
Common Snipe - 5
Reed Bunting - 4 together

Middleton NR quick check
Gadwall - 33 on main pond, 2 "no swimming"
Pochard - 1 male "no swimming"
Mallard - 4 main pond
Coot - 1 "no swimming"

Twite - 2 moved leisurely (not migration mode) along Heliport, last seen heading south down north wall.

Monday and Tuesday

Monday - no coverage

Tuesday - nothing of note today

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Siberian Chiffchaff and Pochard surprises

*Late news: a Siberian Chiffchaff of the requisite buff tones and plaintive phew call was by the HNR office late afternoon, loosely associated with a Long-tailed Tit flock.  It seemed to end up in the fire pond compound but had stopped calling

A ringing day today by the office and for the second time running including a feisty Jay as well as evidence that many continental Blackbirds are hanging in on the abundant hawthorn berry supply

A drake Pochard was a surprise on Middleton NR - presumably the Lune estuary singleton?

Just a brief check of two main ponds
Gadwall 33 on main pond 2 on "no swimming"
Mallard 5
Coot 1 on "no swimming" pond
Pochard 1 male on "no swimming" pond.

Quite a few flying around under the low cloud/mist
Fieldfare 3
Redwing c25, including these having a rest

Little Gull still

The adult Little Gull was reported today but the only other sightings were of a 'lot of flies'!  Shame the moth trap is kaput

Friday, 22 November 2019

Couple or so decent sightings

The Ad Little Gull remains on Heysham two outfall and thereabouts

Merlin - male along south harbour wall

Tree Sparrow - one possibly two on Knowlys road horse paddock hedges with loads of House Sp, Chaff etc

Great-crested Grebe - 17 in channels

Eider - just two males seen in channels

Red-throated Diver - one quite distant on dropping tide

Thursday, 21 November 2019


The very amenable Little Gull, has aparently been christened Gulliver (oh dear). Showing on outflows and sea wall again today.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall - showing a preference to main pond till disturbance becomes intrusive, when they retreat to "no swimming" pond. Maximum today 28.
Shoveler - 2 males including the half eclipsed bird. So definitely at least three males using pond.
Teal - at least 2 male

Redwing 31 moving south, probably after being grounded, still c20 feeding on hawthorn.
Blackbird c20 additional birds feeding with Redwing
Fieldfare 5 blogging

No sign of Great White Egret in morning or evening.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

GWE changes direction

Middleton Nature Reserve,
Great White Egret - Two weeks ago, a regular movement over to ESE, usually from the direction of the golf club was identified in the late afternoon (15:30 to 15:50). As far as I know (MD), this hasn't been checked since the 6th November, so I checked today.
Sure enough the bird came over right on time (15:34), but today it came from ESE and was last seen low over the centre of golf club.....

Shoveller - 2 males on "no swimming" pond, these are in full breeding plumage and unlikely to include the half eclipsed bird seen on Friday. So it seems there are at least 3 males and 2 females regularly using this pond.
Gadwall 34
Mallard 2
Water Rail 1

Redwing - still plenty grounded

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Decent variety

Low tide channels out fron Heysham Head
Scaup 1 drake
Great Crested Grebe 19
Red-breasted Merganser 6
Eider 23

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just the two main pond checked.
Gadwall 25
Teal 1
Green Sandpiper 1

The wall roosting Little gull obliged again today on the south wall.

Thanks for picture Kevin

Sunday and Monday

2+ Bottle-nosed Dolphin photographed off north wall - pics taken (Jim Clift)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall 38 - new high count
Great White Egret - 2 high to ESE
Woodcock 1
Cetti's warbler 1 (singing on western marsh)
Raven 2 blogging

Still lots of thrushes feeding on hawthorn. Minimum numbers:
Blackbird 30
Fieldfare 3
Redwing 20

South shore
Rock Pipit 1 Red Nab
Little gull - adult roosting on sea wall near No.2 outflow at high water


Little gull - 1 adult preening on wooden jetty before feeding briefly on No.1 outflow.
Rock pipit - 3 together near lighthouse, then moved along south wall towards Red Nab.
Meadow pipit 2 - near lighthouse

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 35
Shoveler 1 male

Friday, 15 November 2019


Little Gull - Ad Heysham two

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall - 35
Shoveler - 4 (2 pair)
Teal - I male
Little grebe 1
Redwing c13 grounded


An amazing addition to the SD35Z moth list today in the form of a Red Sword Grass sunning itself on the (sheltered from NE wind) seawall by Heysham outfalls.  Thanks Kevin

Little Gull - Ad Heysham two
Gadwall - 37
Shoveler - 2
Teal - 1

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Purple Sandpiper still around

A small flock of Turnstone was flushed by the tide as it reached the "beach" between Red Nab and the boundary of Ocean Edge 10:00. As these flew in the direction of the saltmarsh the flock was seen to include the Purple sandpiper. A later check of the saltmarsh area found no Turnstone, so presumably the birds had moved towards Potts Corner.

A late afternoon check of skeer failed to find a Scaup, and diving birds were scarse and well spread.
Eider 3
Great Crested Grebe - at least 8
Red-Breasted Merganser 1

Tuesday - not much, but interesting

South shore - am
Little gull - adult feeding on No.2 outflow 09:00 and 10:15.
Purple Sandpiper 1 flying between  Red Nab and salt marsh on its own 09:30

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 25
Little grebe 1

Scaup 1 drake floated into recording area on ebbing tide in afternoon (seen floating out from Morecambe Stone Jetty)

Monday, 11 November 2019

The sea starts to provide

Strong and increasing, largely westerly, winds stired up the sea.
Two hours sea watch till 12:00 ferry arrived resulted in:
Kittiwake 20 + 7 in
Razorbill 2 out
Razorbill/Guillemot 4 out
Mediterranean gull - 2 adult followed in the (Kittiwakeless) ferry. These were then joined by a third adult from the inner harbour, possibly the Czech ringed bird.

An afternoon check located:
Common Scotor 1 female out from Heysham Head
Great Crested Grebe 6
Eider 8

Little gull - the current regular bird, with distinctive habits, has now been confirmed as a different one to the one which completed its autumn moult here (comparison of images of head patterns).
Today's sightings are typical for these spring tides.
09:50 feeding on No.2 outflow
10:00 - 11:00 (either side of high water) roosting on sea wall between Red Nab and No.1 outflow.
11:10 feeding on No.2 outflow

Jack Snipe 2 sightings of birds being flushed by tide covering salt marsh - possibly same bird (both landed back on marsh which wasn't completely covered). Tomorrow should be better.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Another Snow Bunting

Vis mig 0755-0855 by office
Chaffinch - 78 S
Brambling - 6 S
Greenfinch - 11 S
Grey Wagtail - prob blogging
Redwing - 16 S
Blackbird - 19 S plus another 15 or so in bushes
Woodpigeon - 88 S (one flock)
Raven - two - also seen later on pylons
Starling - 80+60 S
Little Gull - ad outfalls at lunchtime
Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Snow Bunting - one flew south calling about 1000hrs but lost in the low sun, no evidence of it on the shoreline as far as end of Ocean Edge
Common snipe 15
Reed bunting 2
Greenfinch 12
Rock pipit 1
Kingfisher 1 Red Nab

Middleton Nature Reserve - late afternoon
Just the main ponds checked
Gadwall 34
Shoveller 3 (2 male)
Mallard 6
Little grebe and Coot not seen, but could easily have been missed.

Crimson Rosella - the source of the mysterious calls heard a couple of evenings this week was finally found.

The parrot was feeding on these Alder cones just across from lower car park.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

The (or a) Little gull lingers on

Little gull 1 adult on No.2 outflow. It was seen at 10:15, 11:20 and 13:40 at least.
Thanks to Kevin for picture.

Rock pipit, two together on Ocean Edge salt marsh.

No sign of Purple Sandpiper today.

Kingfisher - one found by this morning's junior "Watch" group behind the dipping pond Heysham Nature Reserve- an excellent record!


Purple Sandpiper - briefly, alone on No.2 outflow rails on ebbing tide (PM)

Middleton Nature Reserve
Great White Egret - 10:10 flew into golf club from south.

I like this picture with shadow of legs looking like something out of a Hammer Horror movie (MD)

Gadwall 25
Coot 1
Little grebe 1wp
Redwing c30
Fieldfare 2

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Record Gadwall numbers?

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon
There were 34 Gadwall on the "no swimming" pond. I believe this is the highest ever count of adult birds for the reserve (MD).
Shoveler 2 male

Some of the Gadwall with the two Shoveler.

Whooper swan - 3 flew very low across the reserve west to east - honking all the way.

This was the only one above the tree line as they left reserve to east.

Pinkfoot three skiens together to south. 60, 44 & 71

Jack snipe 1 flitting around the salt marsh in morning.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Quantity not quality

Nothing scarce or rare could be eked out during the early morning coverage

Goldcrest - 1
Blackcap - one ringed Middleton
Blackbird - 140-150
Song Thrush - 16
Redwing - see vis
Mistle Thrush - one flew inland at dawn
Woodcock - 2
Stonechat - female recycling centre road

Redwing - 140-150, mainly NE
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - 44
Woodpigeon - 130
Meadow Pipit - 1
Bullfinch - 3
Greenfinch - 7
Long-tailed Tit - 14 south (some via mist net - unringed)
Redpoll - 1

Starling - 4500

Great White Egret - 1 again heading east over Middleton Nature Reserve. 15:50. More to the north than last two days, it flew over the Tim Butler pond. Best viewed from field just north of top car park, where both north and south reserve boundaries are visible.

October ringing totals - a good effort time-wise but no huge catches (eg no sizeable Goldcrest falls):  Greenfinch (90), Goldcrest (60), Goldfinch (41), Chiffchaff (39), Chaffinch (38), Long-tailed Tit (30), Wren (26), Redwing (25), Reed Bunting (23), Blue Tit (21).  Unusual: Yellow-browed Warbler (3), Treecreeper (2), Cetti's Warbler (3) and Garden Warbler (2).   Just 11 Blackcap were ringed but this is still amazingly the species with the highest ringing total of the year with no previous year evidence that Goldfinch and Greenfinch will overtake it. The current ringing sites are not good for catching numbers of continental Blackbird, hence missing from the list

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

The autumn keeps giving scarcities but we need the big one!

Inshore/seawatch coverage
Eider - just two males and a very distant flock of 7 - the mussels have been washed off the main skeer after rising themselves up during a series of silt deposits, then washed away by a flood tide/freshwater flood
Snow Bunting - what seemed to be a male flew SSE low over the sea at right angles to the strong NE wind and seemed to be heading inshore around the Lune Estuary area, possibly Potts corner area on the same line.  Surprisingly obvious against the sea!
Geese, presumed Brent - untidy gaggle of ten-ish flew low and landed near Rampside in crystal clear visibility!
Med Gull - still one 1CY around
(No sign of the Shag gang or Little Gull)

Great White Egret(s)
One north past wooden jetty 11:00.
More interestingly, one, once again, over Middleton Nature Reserve late afternoon 15:45. This is 15 minutes later than yesterday, but suggests a routine. Today's bird came more from the north than yesterday's, but still ended up flying SE over main pond. Worth checking around this time tomorrow, and hopefully onwards (MD)

Monday, 4 November 2019


This was the predicted fare in these early November easterlies and a nice male.

Blackbird - 104 comprising birds on the tank farm, those flying inland from dawn and those grounded to the north of the office.  There were no grounded thrushes on Middleton mid-am
Firecrest - 1 caught below the old Obs Tower site
Goldcrest - 1 new bird
Song Thrush - 4
Redwing - 27
Woodcock - 1
Meadow Pipit - always a few grounded around the coast in early November - rather odd:  Photo from Kevin:

Mistle Thrush - 2+7 north
Woodpigeon - 159 S (flock 140)
Pink-footed Goose - 66 S
Redwing - 13 high flyers
Chaffinch - 27
Brambling - 1
Bullfinch - 3
Goldfinch - 5
Carrion Crow - 3

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon
No sign of Goldeneye or Pochard,
Gadwall 23
Tufted 1 male
Teal 2 (m&f)
Shoveler only the male seen
Little grebe 2 (1 partial sp on Tim Butler plus juv/wp bird on "no swimming" pond.)

Redwing c60 grounded

Great White Egret 1 flew east from golfclub direction leaving the Reserve over the main pond (MD)

Bits and bobs from Sunday

Little Egret - colour ringed bird Red Nab - our first
Shag - ad and 1CY in the inner harbour
Ad Little Gull
Med - 2 x 1CY - not seen recently

More later

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Early morning rounds quite productive but where are the cuddy ducks?

Middleton main pond
Goldeneye - male but flew off
Pochard - male and female (IOA)

Low tide channels from Knowlys
Great-crested Grebe - 24 in second channel
Red-breasted Merganser - 4 in second channel
Shag - 4 - three feeding close together and synchronously amongst the more individually feeding Cormorants off the Head. These all looked to be 1cy.
Later, one adult flew into the inner harbour.

Mute Swan - Pair and three young on the sea
Red-throated Diver - one out distantly
Meadow Pipit - 5 horse paddock
Rock Pipit - one heard calling from beach area by horse paddock

Little Gull - ad
Purple Sandpiper reported by an unknown couple as being on the skeer by the harbour

Agonopterix heracliana on office door

Middleton Nature Reserve - rest of stuff
Mute 5 adult 7 juvenile
Gadwall 23
Shoveler 3
Mallard 2
Moorhen c10
Little grebe 1
Woodcock 1
Common snipe 1
Jack snipe 1
Water rail 1

Cetti's warbler 2
Meadow pipit 3
Reed bunting 2

Lots feeding on hawthorn in NW corner before drifting off south.
Minimum numbers:
Redwing 30
Fieldfare 17
Blackbird 12
Song Thrush 2

Friday, 1 November 2019

Robin resumes acquaintance

Not a lot happening today.
Robin caught on Heysham Nature Reserve - first ringed as a juvenile in 2012.

Shelduck are feeding in large numbers between Red Nab and Pott's corner, c 200

The Wigeon flock gathered at No.1 outflow as tide started flooding. A count produces a, frustratingly, round number of 150.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Woodcock new for autumn

Office area from dawn
Woodcock - one in flight by the office
Brambling - one
Grey Wagtail - 1
Blackbird - c20 inland
Redwing - c10
Siskin - 2
Chaffinch - 20
Fieldfare - 2
Song Thrush - 4+
Lesser Redpoll - one ringed

Med Gull - at least one around including this following the ferry in (not the Czech bird)

Little gull 1 adult No.2 outflow and sitting on seawall
Either this is not the same bird as the returning moulting adult or something, maybe health, is stopping it behave as normal

Rock pipit 1 on Ocean Edge foreshore
Skylark - one OE saltmarsh
BH Gull - TMIC harbour
Eider - 20 lt channel
Great crest Grebe - 3 lt channel

Wednesday - Bit of variety

The most interesting theme this morning was a significant if rather localised movement of Blackbirds inland from the 'tank farm' first thing with 131 in total, including a loose gang of 77, plus a new Cetti's at Middleton.

Little gull -  adult started feeding on No.2 outflow just after tide covered Red Nab. Earlier 1 adult preening on Red Nab plus 1 adult or possibly 2CY flew in to bay.
Purple Sandpiper - landed on base of sea wall near No.2 outflow, with 6 Turnstone, just as tide reached the wall.
Rock pipit 1 near lighthouse.
Grey Wagtail - colour ringed bird Red Nab from 14/9/19 L/M  metal/O

Vis mig
Chaffinch - 107
Reed Bunting - 2
Greenfinch - 4
Goldfinch - 80
Linnet - 3
Skylark - 1
Redwing - 239
Blackbird - see above
Fieldfare - 212
Song Thrush - 5
Starling - 52
Pink-foot - 35 N
Whooper Swan - 12 east
Woodpigeon - 11
Carrion Crow - 36
Jackdaw - 30

On sea
Great -c Grebe - 4
RBM - 2
Wigeon - 110 Red Nab

Blackcap - one ringed HNR office
Cetti's Warbler - new one ringed Middeton NR
Chiffchaff - heard calling HNR


Tuesday, 29 October 2019

28 & 29 October

Tuesday 29 October

Heysham Head and Heysham NR
Visible migration 07:30-09:30
Weather: NE F3, clear, 0-10C, 1029mB
Finch passage mainly heading along the coast into the wind.
Chaffinch 152 (largest flock = 44)
Brambling 4
Redpoll sp 5
Greenfinch 4
Goldfinch 7
Siskin 2
Skylark 8
Linnet 2
alba wagtail 1 (south)
Fieldfare 15
Mistle Thrush 1
Blackbird 4
Starling 10 (south)
Meadow Pipit 7 (south) c20 grounded Near Head
Whooper Swan 10 (4 +6 south- see photo below)
Woodpigeon 40 (south)
Carrion Crow 6
Rook 2
Jackdaw 30
(NB Swallow at 12:50)
These Whoopers flew directly over my head and in the time it took to scrabble for my phone they had almost disappeared from view.

In the low tide channel:
Goldeneye 3 (1M, 2F) which flew SW as the tide turned
Red-throated Diver - 1 flew into the Bay
Great-crested Grebe - 2 feeding in the channel

Wooden Jetty
Purple Sandpiper 1

Turnstone 100
Cormorant 97

Little Gull

Ocean Edge saltmarsh 
Skylark 4 (north)
Pinkfoot 37 (north)
Male Stonechat 1

Monday 28 October 

Weather: NE F2, clear, sunny, very cold (0-8C)

Heysham NR
Visible migration 
Most birds heading northwards into the wind
Chaffinch 85
Brambling 2
Greenfinch 19
Siskin 1
Redpoll sp 1
Bullfinch 1
Woodpigeon 48
Fieldfare 33
Redwing 16
Jackdaw 19
Carrion Crow 14
Corvid sp 55
Song Thrush 1
Blackbird 10
Skylark 4
Meadow Pipit 1
Tree Sparrow 2

Redwing 7
Fieldfare 1
Blackcap 1
Goldcrest 4
Siskin 1
Blackbird 15

Middleton NR

The overnight frost must have been the last straw for the Coot as there was no sign of it.
Still one Little Grebe and 4 Common Darters.
Mute Swan 3 adult, 7 juv  (the additional juv is much browner than the 5 +1 resident juvs)
Moorhen 11
Mallard 3
Tufted Duck 1 male
Shoveler 3 (see photo above)
Gadwall 6

Plenty of feeding thrushes around, mainly Blackbird, but at least 8 Redwing and 2 Fieldfare.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Reasonable selection minus the Purp

No early morning start in the fresh north-westerly this am.  Coverage was centred around looking for the Purple Sand to no avail.....but it could have slipped the net if feeding below the jetty or along the north wall.  The Leighton CafĂ© rarities committee were divided on the identity of a diver photographed off the Stone Jetty yesterday which proved to be a rather 'heavy billed' juvenile Red-throat.  Probably the same bird close inshore off Heysham this am (pics MD):

Juv GBBG - a plumage rarely published outside books on seagulls
Little gull - adult No.2 outflow
Jack snipe  - 1 saltmarsh
Stonechat - 1 female type, briefly at saltmarsh, male by Red Nab
Meadow pipit - 3 near lighthouse, 6 saltmarsh
Rock pipit - 1 saltmarsh, one harbour
Linnet c30
Red Throated Diver. 1 juv close inshore last seen by Heysham 2 outfall feeding quite happily
Kittiwake - 4 ads behind Ben
Guillemot - one out medium range
Med Gull - 1-2 Ads behind Ben

A decent number of Knot on the Heliport for over a month now - good murmuration views today as the north westerly high tide restricted the area in which to roost.

As I was coming off skeer yesterday evening, just before it got dark, 5 geese flew low to west. They could easily have come from children's play area. Similarly today as I was walking along foreshore when 4 or 5 geese were flying from saltmarsh towards Potts. In both case they were too distant to identify, but previous habits suggest Brent (MD).