Monday 28 January 2019


Heysham skeer
A male Goldeneye was feeding, just north of Heysham skeer at low water. At least 150 Eider, but only one GC Grebe seen.

Middleton Nature Reserve
The pair of Shoveler are still on the "no swimming pond" (that's the pond just to the west of the main pond). c20 Gadwall and similar number of Teal alternate between these two ponds.

No sign of the pale-bellied Brent near children's play area today, checked at high and low water. This area is very busy with dog walkers.

Sunday 27 January 2019

Massive Snipe gathering

27 January 

351 Snipe this afternoon on the rocks below the heliport.
Three Brents still off play area per RBA

26 January 2019

3 Pale-bellied Brents off the children's play area again.

Mediterranean Gull loafing off the children's play area as well (PC). It or another seen later in the day in the harbour. (JR)

Large number (at least 2000) of Pink-footed Geese in the fields bordering Oxcliffe Road but couldn't stop to count them.

Massive count of 300 Snipe count on the rocks below the heliport. Plus 4 Jack Snipe (MD).

Friday 25 January 2019

Meds more cooperative

The two regular ad Med gulls have been hard to find this winter

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - three off the play area at low tide, later on red nab on the incoming tide
Med gull - ad by the play area and presumably the Czech bird off then in the harbour
Jack Snipe - one OE saltmarsh

Thursday 24 January 2019

Dark Common gull

A rather dark toned Common gull was on Red Nab, perhaps from further east than usual.

The three pale-bellied Brent flew from west to shore near children's play area 08:20. They were still there 09:30.

10 Great crested grebe to south of skeer at low water.

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Little different

Middleton Nr
Shoveler x 2
Gadwall x 28
Tufted Duck x 3
Teal x 28
No Coot

Low tide channel and area
Great crested grebe x 6
Pale bellied Brent x 3

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Green woodpecker

In tank farm by hey Nr office early pm

Monday 21 January 2019

More foggy snipe

46 Common Snipe ocean edge this am

Pale bellied Brent Goose - three flew from OE saltmarsh towards Potts corner

Green woodpecker heard from office yesterday in direction of traffic lights

Sunday 20 January 2019

Unremarkable webs

Decent counts of routine species today but the oddities like med gulls and shag as well as the Brents were awol.

21 Snipe were forced off ocean edge saltmarsh but the tide is not high enough until tomorrow for Jack Snipe

No finch gangs by the office with feeding a bit hit and miss this week and only an unringed Robin of minor interest during a short ringing session

Friday 18 January 2019

New WhatsApp

A new WhatsApp group has been set up covering the Lancaster and District BWS recording area which covers North Lancs down to Fluke Hall, south Cumbria up to the northern edge of SDs 48, 58 and 68 and that bit of North Yorkshire which comes into SD66 and 67 around Ingleton and the Benthams.  It doesn't cost anything and it doesn't mean you have to sell your soul to Facebook or the twitterati to be on it.  Just have an iPhone type thing, don't have the common retiree habit of keeping it switched off all the time to save the battery and be prepared to share your scarcity info like others share to you (+/-private land/sensitivity/breeding birds etc) 

All this above waffle is to cover up the fact no-one saw anything today with a cursory fruitless check of the harbour waterfall as good as it got

Thursday 17 January 2019

Goosander in the bag

A tricky Heysham year list species fell today when a drake  Goosander headed north close inshore

No scoter seen in careful search

Three Brent geese still present north of play area after tide dropped

As you were at Middleton with the Shoveler pair still in residence, 11 Mute Swan and six Meadow Pipit

Polish ringed BHG still by waterfall


the three Brent geese near the play area

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Brents again

The three pale bellied Brent geese were on the inner shore as per yesterday’s post

Shag - 3cy harbour mouth
Grey Seal - one harbour mouth

These last two were seen whilst watching a birdless Ben into port

Monday 14 January 2019

Low tide Brent located

Last winter the routine of the Brent geese, feeding at Heysham, was to feed on the north side, typically out from the children's play area just north of Knowlys Rd, until displaced by the higher tides. When they would move to Red Nab/Ocean Edge at high water.
This year they have only been seen at high water at Red Nab and Ocean Edge. The reason they have not been seen on the north side became clear today. They are feeding so close to the sea wall as to make them impossible to see from the normal vantage point on Knowlys Rd.

The first image below shows today's location of 3 pale-bellied Brent geese. This is just north of the play area. The birds are easily visible from the promenade, but surprising well camouflaged in this terrain.
This second picture shows the birds more clearly. Both pictures were taken at low water.

The Brent were still on the same rocks just before high water, finally being flushed off at 3:30 by a couple of dogs. They only flew as far as the skeer just out from Heysham village.
A Mediterranean gull (not the Czech ringed bird) was also on the shore at this time. The pictures below were taken from the NW outside corner of the children's play area.

This first one shows the Brent feeding, and the Med gull on far left. N.B. Pete has identified the Brent as being two adult birds with a juvenile.
This is the best (albeit grainy) picture of Med gull.

And finally the Brent moving on (MD)

The low tide channel revealed 240 Eider, but no Scoters today

Two Siskin caught by the office, one ringed elsewhere


Adult Mediterranean gull on Red Nab

Rock Pipit - one near gate 38. Half Moon bay bird not showing

2 Reed Bunting Ocean Edge salt marsh


Middleton Mature Reserve
The mute seem to have sorted themselves out into 3 pairs (main, Tim Butler & no swimming ponds). Plus the 4 immature on main pond.
Moorhen 8
Coot 1
Gadwall 21
Mallard 5
Tufted 3 (2m)
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Teal 5
Common snipe 3

Meadow pipit 2

Red Nab - high water
3 pale-belied Brent geese 

Friday 11 January 2019

Routine low tide channel

Reasonable visibility for a low tide seaduck etc count this am

Great crested Grebe - 7
Common Scoter - just one female
Eider - 240
Cormorant - 63
Rb merganser - 2

Later in the tide, the three PB Brent Geese materialised on Red Nab

Thursday 10 January 2019

Brent’s again

The three Brent geese were on red nab on the incoming tide

Ringing recovery
Grey Wagtail
Ringed - Middleton Nr 31.8.18 as Juv
Seen: Penwortham, Preston on 23/12/18 34kSSE

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Brent - repeat performance

There was no sign of any Brent geese on the north shore as tide was coming in. This was the favoured side last winter.
However, there were already at least three pale-bellied Brent geese on Red Nab just as the tide reached the rocks (11:20). Three were seen flying off at 12:40 and these, or three other, were on Ocean Edge salt marsh at 12:50. These three were on exactly the same patch as yesterday.
Tomorrows tide is lower, but should still be high enough, particularly as it has not yet been established at what time in the tide, and from which direction, they arrive at Red Nab.
High water on the salt marsh, particularly these mid height tides, is a busy place.

A grey seal managed to catch a fish between outflows. It looked like a bass, a few over winter around the outflows. By the time it managed to eat it, several gulls were grabbing whatever scraps were available. While the seal tried its best to grab them.

Rock pipit 1 - near wooden jetty
Meadow pipit 1 - Red Nab
Skylark 1 - Salt marsh


Tuesday 8 January 2019

Brent return?

Three pale-bellied Brent today, following the same routine as last winter's birds.
On Red Nab an hour before high tide (9.2m). They fed on the plentiful gut weed until finally displaced 15 minutes before high water. Then flew to Ocean Edge salt marsh and continued feeding on the sparser gut weed there.
If they are last years birds, then a repeat performance tomorrow could be expected, although the slightly lower tide (9.1m) might exclude the salt marsh.

Both the above images are from Red Nab, the green gut weed can be seen on the rocks, but the Brent prefer to eat it when it is floating underwater.
The image below is on the salt marsh. The gut weed here grows on the mud between the sea grass. (MD)

Monday 7 January 2019

Jack Snipe

A Jack Snipe flew off Ocean Edge saltmarsh edge and landed in the wet bit in the grass on the west edge of Ocean Edge

Med Gull adult outfalls/Red Nab - not Czech bird

6th Jan

The Czech Med is still there today - 17th calendar year now - thanks Jim

Saturday 5 January 2019

Saturday 5 Jan

Rock Pipits (one at Half Moon Bay, one at the harbour). Great photos from Craig. 

Red-throated Diver - one far offshore
Shag - 3CY wooden jetty
Common Scoter - female off north side of head late pm
Wigeon - 190

Friday 4 January 2019


Adult Mediterranean gull on sea, out from Harbour, just before high tide.

Ocean Edge salt marsh - high water
Jack snipe 1
Linnet 15
Meadow pipit1
Lapwing 75

c6,000 Knot on shore just to south of salt marsh

Seaduck late afternoon
Eider - 185
Common Scoter - 3 f/Juv
Goldeneye - female north of the head - flew further north
Red- breasted Mergsnser - 2 redhead
Great crested Grebe - only two seen

Middleton NR
A very quick circuit of the reserve this afternoon with access limited by unsuitable footwear for the very high water levels.
Duck numbers and species much as in recent days.

Model Boat Pond:
Mute swan - 2 ad plus 4 imm.
Gadwall - 4
Tufted Duck - 2 (m+f)

No Swimming Pond:
Gadwall - 11
Shoveler - 2
Teal - 1  (!)
Mute Swan - 2
Coot - 1

Western Marsh:
Teal - 4
Snipe - only 1 seen flying

Fence Pond was birdless.

Thursday 3 January 2019

Interim report

Not much seen today that I (MD) am aware of.
The Rock pipit on Half Mon Bay shore was showing well though. It can normally be found above tide line between slipway near café and the high steps to the north. The picture below was actually taken early this week.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

January survey material

Had a trawl around part of SD46 for the LDBWS January survey. Just very common species but of note were:
Snipe - 11 on the heliport
Linnet - 4 on the heliport
A lot of House Sparrows detected in 1.5hrs - 64.

Middle Nature Reserve:
Mute 12 including 4 immature
Coot 1
Moorhen 5
Gadwall 23
Teal 9
Shoveler 2
Water rail 3
Woodcock 1
Common snipe 18 
Meadow pipit 2

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Good viewing conditions

Happy new year

Med gull - ad off end of wooden jetty mid pm
Shag -3 Cy in harbour at least late afternoon
Common Scoter - one close inshore to North of head, two in Main channel with Eider
Linnet - one North wall
Shoveler - pair middleton Nr
Water rail - at least one middleton Nr
Cetti’s warbler - at least one singing Middleton Nr

Third calendar year Shag brings in the New Year!