Thursday 28 February 2019

The trickle continues

The weather today was slightly more typical. But still far from cold.
Stonechat 2cy female quickly through Ocean Edge foreshore in morning.

Three Goldcrest and two unringed Robin on Heysham Nature Reserve, suggest movement.

West of recycling centre road
Buzzard 1
Wood pigeon 79
Raven 1

Wednesday 27 February 2019


Another ridiculously warn sunny February day, eventually led to a brief sighting of a dragonfly, flying low over the pebbles on Half Moon Bay beach at 15:15. The description is compatible with a female Vagrant Emperor (albeit a small one), but unfortunately not conclusive. The insect was only seen for a few seconds before heading off, still low, to north. Efforts to relocate failed and tomorrow's weather does not look promising.

Pale-bellied Brent - 3 + 2 out from children's play area on north side at 10:00. By 15:00, the 3 had moved to the rocks on Half Moon Bay, but the 2 remained on north side.

Rock pipit 1 below high cliffs Heysham Head

Snipe over a 100 flew from rocks in front of old heliport as the tide covered the rocks. All flew onto the heliport grass. Most of the rocks were still uncovered then so it is presumed there were many more.

The flatness of the incoming tide and the slow rising (low neap tide), meant the waders were reluctant to leave the rocks!

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Vis trickle

 Nothing new in the low tide channel this am with 224 Eider counted and little else.  Couldn’t see any Brents on the north side but they are easy to miss on skeers!

Female Stonechat southern end of non-op land - late (!) migrant

Single migrant Siskin and Skylark over HNR whilst Meadow Pipit reached the heady height of three

Green Woodpecker around HNR

Just the usual ex hibernating butterflies seen and bees included a queen Tree Bee

Monday 25 February 2019

Spring has sprung, or so it appears....

A bit murky this am and one or two things might have been missed

Eider - 234
Great-crested Grebe - 5
Red-breasted Merganser - 6
Red-throated Diver - one very distant

Couple of Middleton pics from Janet, the Brimstone and blossom a bit surreal for this time of year and the Pheasant showing the Leighton Moss photographers that we can match anything they can do :-).

Heysham Nature Reserve
Two Brimstone by hut.
One Comma by car park approx. 13.00
One Peacock

Thanks Janet

Also on Middleton Nature Reserve
Tufter 3
Gadwall 10
Teal 2
No sign of Shoveler or Pochard
Little grebe 2
Water Rail 3
Moorhen displaying on main pond

Cetti's warbler 2 singing
Meadow pipit 8

Small Tortoiseshell 4

Comma 1 (particularly bedraggled individual)

Road to Recycling centre
No sign of Raven or Stonechat today, but Buzzard seems to be making itself at home.

Sunday 24 February 2019


It seems like Heysham pylons are prime realestate. Four Raven, a Pergrine and several Carrion crow were competing for ownership today. A Buzzard also looked like it fancied staying. We'll see who wins - there are enough pylons for all!

Low water channels.
Pale- bellied Brent geese. Five together for the first time this year on north side, although seemingly just an association of the two regular small groups of two adult plus the two adult and a juvenile.

Eider 227
Great Crested Grebe 8
Red Breasted Merganser 6
Wigeon 2

2 Brimstone by Heysham Nature Reserve office
Also 2 Small Tortoiseshell there.

Saturday 23 February 2019

Great White Egret crosses border

A Great White Egret was in the field to the west of the recycling centre (09:15), which represents the eastern boundary of the recording area, before heading off SE towards river Lune estuary.

Great White Egret flying out over eastern border of the recording area.

Also from this road to recycling centre (2nd roundabout from western end of Heysham bypass) in three visits today:
Stonechat - two, probably three
Raven - two. On territory?
Buzzard  one.
Meadow pipit 3

Middleton Nature Reserve
Canada goose 1 - on main pond. Not common here

Tufted 5
Gadwall 10
Shoveler 3 (female plus one adult and a 2cy male)
Little grebe 1
Mallard 4
Teal 5
Water Rail 2
No Pochard or Coot seen today

Cetti's warbler 2 singing
Meadow pipit 3

Friday 22 February 2019

Chiffchaff, and others, return

Very warm today, particularly out of the wind.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Two bird species seen here for the first time this year
Chiffchaff - one feeding in trees at Tim Butler pond
Little grebe - one feeding and trilling on "no swimming" pond
Coot - one on Tim Butler pond, first since the, almost, over wintering bird abandonded the "no swimming" pond mid January
Gadwall 12
Tufted 4
Pochard 2
Shoveler 2
Water Rail 1
Common snipe 21

Cetti's warbler singing central marsh
Meadow pipit 4 blogging
A "likely Water pipit" was accidently flushed, hopefully it will be relocated and confirmed tomorrow.


Pale-bellied Brent - what appears to be the original three (2 adult with a juvenile) on Red Nab late morning. Not seen on north side earlier.

Rock pipit on Ocean Edge salt marsh

No sign of any Stonechat today

Not much close in to skeer channels at low water, early am.
Great Crested Grebe 6
Red Breasted Merganser 2
Eider c150

Mid pm
Pink-footed Goose 80 south (NB north Cumbria and Spurn today hundreds were heading north)

Heysham NR
Raven 1 North

Tank Farm
Green Woodpecker

Three species seen in recording area today
Peacock - on dogwalk
Small tortoiseshell- Heysham Reserve office and in village
Male Brimstone - Royds Avenue

Thursday 21 February 2019

Brent confusion

It wasn't clear what was happening with  pale- bellied Brent today. Just two birds seen on north side and later at Red Nab. However there were 5 later at Pott's Corner, possibly the three regular birds with the two seen earlier.

Stonechat - one in morning by road to recycling centre, one in afternoon on Middleton Nature reserve.

Rock pipit one on Ocean Edge salt marsh again, this bird is only seen when spring tides are high enough to cover the marsh.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Still one male Pochard and pair of Shoveler, but only 10 Gadwall and 1 Teal seen today.
Two Roe deer managed to flush 18 common snipe from western marsh.
Meadow pipit 4

Wigeon 159 - Red Nab

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Jack snipe

Snipe - c240 heliport
Jack snipe - 3-4 heliport. Ocean Edge salt marsh - 1 flushed by tide, one fly over, possibly from heliport.
Stonechat - female east end of heliport for short time
Pale bellied Brent - 3 red nab Incoming tide
Rock pipit - OE salt marsh
Meadow pipit. 5 on power station fence, south wall

Norwegian ringed Knot but couldn’t read code on yellow above tarsus left leg ring

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Brents and Stonechats

After a duff and birdless Monday today saw:

Pale bellied Brent Goose - NINE at the high tidal end game at Middleton this am
Stonechat - 5 different birds passing through along recycling centre road and at least 3 Middleton NR today after none yesterday
Thanks Janet

Sunday 17 February 2019

Eastern fringe time

Great White Egret - one in field by A589/A683 roundabout early morning only
Green Sandpiper - one in wetland just north east of recycling centre roundabout flew SW into the recording area
Stonechat - after just one in the morning, at least 5 and perhaps as many as 7 Stonechat along the recycling centre road west side late afternoon (two males)
Three of today's Stonechat
Middleton Nature Reserve
Pochard 1
Gadwall 20
Shoveler 2
Tufted 5
Jack snipe 1
Water Rail 1
Cetti's singing - central marsh

Saturday 16 February 2019

Snipe flush

The only reports today were:

Ocean edge
Snipe - 40
Jack snipe - 2
Flushed by dog walker heading over saltmarsh

Green woodpecker heard on golf course from Hey NR office

Friday 15 February 2019

Nice sunny day!

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - the three were out on the edge of the first inshore skeer to the north of Heysham Head with Eider at low tide
Knot - c1300 off heysham head
Pochard - down to one male Middleton
Gadwall - 23
Mute Swan - 3 pairs only
Shoveler - pair
Teal - 8 (& 1+ HNR marsh)
Water Rail - 1-2
Jay - group of four heading north
Green Woodpecker - Heysham office area early am
Eider - typically lower neap tide number - 255 seen from Knowlys road
Siskin - 2+ heard alder wood Heysham NR

Thursday 14 February 2019


Two Rock Pipit below Heysham Head and an increase in Meadow Pipit on Middleton NR

Wednesday 13 February 2019


Green Woodpecker - heard calling to east from hey Nr office
Barn Owl - one Middleton
No coastal coverage


Middleton NR
Tufted Duck - 5
Pochard - two males
Shoveler - pair
Cetti’s warbler - singing by No swimming pond

Monday 11 February 2019

Low tide channel morning

...............….Plus a bit of ringing by the office which included un-ringed female Bullfinch and Robin

A very sunny spring like day included the inevitable heat-haze but maybe not as bad as it might had been therefore the low tide count was pretty comprehensive and devoid of much variety

Eider - 462 - 75% ad male
Great-crested Grebe - 10
Red-breasted Merganser - 6

The usual Brent Geese were reported at Half-moon bay, then at Red Nab later
Skylark - at least two over skeer to SE

Recent ringing recovery courtesy of the recent ice allowing the legs of resting gulls to be seen
Black-headed Gull
Ringed:  AdF.  13/4/13. Musoya Strand, Buskerud,NORWAY 59 45N 10 08E
Seen:  5/7/15 Linnestranda, Lier, Buskerud, NORWAY 8km SE 59 44N 10 16E
Seen:  18-25/5/16  Linnestranda
Seen: 3/2/19 Middleton NR.   974km SW

Sunday 10 February 2019

Pochard after the winds

Two male Pochard on Middleton this morning, presumably the Glasson birds.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Main pond:
Mute 2 adult plus 1 juv
Moorhen 1
Mallard 2

No swimming pond:
Mute 2
Moorhen 1
Pochard 2 males
Tufted 3 (2m)
Shoveler 2 (m&f)
Gadwall 11
Teal 12

Tim Butler 
Mute 2
Moorhen 4
Gadwall 2
Teal c20
Mallard 2

Fence pond
Mallard 2

Woodcock 2
Goldcrest 2
Green woodpecker 1
Water Rail 1
Meadow pipit 1

3 Pale- bellied Brent at Red Nab 13:15

Rock Pipit - Near Naze

Seven Knot rings read from old Heliport wall, details to follow.

The two Pochard with a preening Gagwall

Saturday 9 February 2019

Seawatch and knotwatch-

A force 7 WSW means seawatching:

Fulmar 1 out at 11:25. Once common in a seawatch, Fulmar is now scarce.
Kittiwake 15 out, 20 floating in, 5 others flew in:between 11:00 and 12:00
Eider 10 out.
Pintail - two flocks out 7 at 12:21 and 22 at 12:23 - see photo
Spot the Bar-tailed Godwits in the photo

Then it was on to the heliport for knotwatch. There were very few Knot on the top of the heliport and all of them were roosting one leg for ages. Eventually one of them put their other leg down to reveal an orange flag over green. Awaiting details of where it was ringed.

The pale-bellied Brents flew onto Red Nab before high tide.

Friday 8 February 2019

Flag-free Knot

At least 400 x 2 legs were seen clearly today on the heliport but no leg flags.  Second prize was a couple of Scottish colour-ringed Oystercatcher - full details soon

Tomorrows westerly should have enough wave action clearing most of the seawall of birds and a high enough (mid-afternoon) tide to send more Knot within viewing range on the seawall top or heliport hard standing.

Guillemot - one out
Meadow Pipit - 2
Jack Snipe - 3 Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Ringing details of one of the Oystercatchers seen today

Ring No.FH77064/White AU;Age,1(pullus);Date,21/06/2016; Location,Whitehillocks Farm,
Rottal Estate, Glen Clova, Angus;Grid Ref,NO3667.

This is the first reported sighting since being ringed.

Thursday 7 February 2019

Sanderling and Kittiwake on the year list

Kittiwake - flock of 11 flew into the Bay just as the IOM ferry turned into port, presumably having followed it
Sanderling - one running around with Knot on the top of the heliport seawall - unusual here in winter.  Worst pic of the year so far?

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Pale brindled Beauty

One was on the wall of the Heysham Nr office

The three pale bellied Brent’s seen in transit on half moon bay beach on the incoming tide

Meadow pipit - three heliport

Hardly any knot today

Tuesday 5 February 2019

More focus on the heliport area

More Knot ring/flag reading today - now up to about 30 read since Saturday, mostly by Richard.  Details tomorrow
Snipe (per Malcolm)
I checked the rocks in front of the heliport, just as the tide was reaching it (09:00). I was trying to establish what they were feeding on, rather than count birds, but I estimated between 200 - 250 common and 1 Jack. This was similar to the last time I counted tide flushing them off (120 before water reached rocks plus 231 actually flushed by tide).
The terrain here is a mix of small to medium sized rocks, most with serrated wrack attached.  There are shallow pools with a thin scrim of mud on bottom and a few small patches of open mud (which again would only be a thin covering over stones). The only sign of the snipe had been here were footprints in the pools, nothing on the open mud. Absolutely no sign of any feeding activity, no digging and wrack was where the tide had left it. I did look under wrack, there was nothing suitable for a snipe. I now believe I misunderstood what was happening, instead of feeding here, it looks like this is their roost. All the birds flew over sea wall to heliport grass, but I don't know if they all settled here, or some continued to other feeding grounds.
Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Didn't see the three pale-bellied Brent till I was walking off, by that time most of the outer rocks were covered by tide. Three were in the middle of the outer rocks directly out from the slipway. This makes sense, this section of Half Moon Bay is rarely disturbed by dog walkers. I'll have a look tomorrow to see if they are there again and if there is gut weed in that area. They flew off due west, but seemed to be veering south as they went out of sight, possibly heading to RN (which is where they were).
Med Gull
Czech bird north wall over tide
Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Checked salt mash just before high water. 25 common snipe (almost certainly more earlier) and 1 Jack snipe.
2 Reed bunting
1 Rock pipit - not seen one here since autumn passage.
Meadow Pipit - 3 heliport grass

Sunday 3 February 2019

More knot reading

An amazing 16 more leg flags were read by Richard this morning and a Norwegian ringed Black headed Gull was on the ice at Middleton

Med gull - ad briefly harbour mouth
Jack Snipe - one Ocean Edge saltmarsh

Saturday 2 February 2019

Knot - a lot!

Malcolm’s photo of just a few of the Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits today:
Amongst the 3500 Knot at the heliport there were quite a few with coloured leg flags. Richard managed to read 10 of them, 3 were ringed in Iceland, 2 had Dutch rings and 5 had been ringed at Formby in September 2017.  A further 5000+ were on the south side (pic)
They certainly travel eg one had been ringed in SW Iceland in May 2017, the following March it was at Formby, in April it was at Southport then in May it was back in SW Iceland (on passage to Greenland), it was then seen today wintering on the old heliport at Heysham.

786787/31A Ad 20/05/2017 Skogarnes, ICELAND SW  64 46N  22 36W
Seen 21/03/2018 Marshside Marsh, Southport
Seen 27/04/2018 Southport
Seen 13/05/2018 Hitarnes, ICELAND SW  64 42N  22 21W
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
791996/84N Ad 24/05/2017 Skogarnes, ICELAND SW  64 46N  22 36W
Seen 17/5-20/5/18 Skogarnes, ICELAND SW  64 46N  22 36W
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
787402/VEP Ad 20/05/2014 Dyrafjordur, ICELAND NW  65 51N 23 20W
Seen 25/05/2018 Dynjandisvogur, ICELAND NW  65 44N 23 12W 
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport

SR77047/OY Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 28/9-12/10/17 Caldy Wildfowl, Merseyside
Seen 25/4-1/5/18 Leighton Moss
Seen 13/5-15/5/18 Lambastadir, Myrarsysla, ICELAND SW 64 28 N 22 05W
Seen 27/7-3/8/18 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 06/08/2018 Crosby, Merseyside
Seen 24/9-23/10/18 Caldy Wildfowl, Merseyside
Seen 25/10/2018 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 27/10-28/10/18 Caldy Wildfowl, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76792/P2 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 06/10/2017 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 20/12/17 & 14/2/18 Thurstaston, Merseyside
Seen 31/7-3/8/18 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 11/08/2018 Seaforth, Merseyside
Seen 04/09/2018 Crosby, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76987/52 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 27/02/2018 West Kirkby, Merseyside
Seen 03/03/2018 Thurstaston, Merseyside
Seen 05/03/2018 West Kirkby, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76732/K1 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 11/08/2018 Seaforth, Merseyside
Seen 08/10/2018 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport
SR76799/L2 Ad 22/09/2017 Altcar, Merseyside
Seen 06/10/2017 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 20/12/17 & 14/2/18 Thurstaston, Merseyside
Seen 31/7-3/8/18 Formby Point, Merseyside
Seen 02/02/2019 Heysham old heliport

On the subject of ringing, a Robin caught at Heysham today was first ringed in 2012 so pretty old by Robin standards which is usually 2 years. The oldest recorded Robin is 8 years 4 months and 30 days (BTO birdfacts).

The Czech Mediterranean Gull was on the railings on the north harbour wall.

The Cormorants were fishing near the Outfalls when one of them caught an enormous Bass which it managed to eat before any of its mates snatched it away:

Cor, what a whopper!

Friday 1 February 2019

Frisky foxes

Friday, 1st Feb 2019

Bit chilly today ranging from minus 4C to plus 3C, chilly ESE F4, weak sun shining through a veil of high cloud.

South Shore
A couple of foxes got a bit frisky out on the mud. The Gulls in the photograph below politely looked away and the Shelduck continued to feed, pretended nothing was happening
Meadow Pipit on Red Nab
Rock Pipit near jetty/inner harbour

North shore
Still a bit low-key at low tide with no sign of the Brents on the skeer. In the low-tide channel:
Great-crested Grebe - 6
Red-breasted Merganser - 3
Eider - 50 close in but no count of the ones further out

Middleton NR
No colour-ringed gulls on the ice today.
Barn Owl hunting alongside the model boat pond late afternoon.

31 Jan 2019
Nothing unusual about so here are some pics of the drab Gadwall and gaudy Shoveler on Middleton NR:

30 Jan 2019
Overnight snow and minus 3C. Daytime high plus 3C. SSE F2
Pink-footed Geese heard flying over the reserve but little else of note.

29 Jan 2019
Nothing to report