Tuesday 30 April 2019

Far too calm and sunny

An underwhelming end to the month unless you are into 'Beautiful morning isn't it?' greetings from the punters on Ocean Edge and lots of the likes of Orange Tip butterflies!   Garwa and Grawa serenading from either side of the office was about as good as it got - Garwa are only passage migrants here.  Sea passage much reduced from yesterday and attempts to pick up Ian's north-east-bound-over-the-sea heading your way Hooded Crow ending in abject failure

The ringing totals for April represented a reasonable effort with out any 'big' mornings due to being late arriving on the 18th.  250 birds were ringed; almost all Willow Warbler (107), Chiffchaff (42), Lesser Redpoll (38) and Blackcap (25), next best the last six of the record spring Robin migration early in the month and six Lesser Whitethroat.  Unusual ringing activity for here comprised a Pied Flycatcher on 18th and a very early out of habitat Reed Warbler in the office nets on 19th.  

General miscellany from sea/coast/land
Arctic Tern - 31 in (two groups)
Gannet - ONE (!) in
Sandwich Tern - just 17, mainly buoy-bound
Guillemot - one in, one as usual in the harbour
Turnstone - incredibly low numbers for this time of year with just 30 on the wooden jetty
White Wagtail - 3 north
Lesser Redpoll - 2 north
Swallow - 28 - an improvement- north
Sand Martin - one north
Wheatear - 4 OE foreshore
Jackdaw - two high flying migrants
Garden Warbler - singing male by office and two other singing males on Heysham NR circuit - all presumed migrants
Grasshopper Warbler - singing male in tank farm also yesterday
Green Woodpecker - one call from reserve - two calls yesterday - not logged for the day - not present before so late into breeding season but surely an unpaired extralimital bird?

No migrants in the mist nets other than a Lesser Whitethroat and possibly a Goldfinch

The bad news for moth trappers and the like is that there seem to be a lot of queen social wasps around this year (up to 8 at any one time on my cotoneaster flowers) and the small number of boxes on Heysham NR had three nest starts on the roofs which is unprecedented - also 8 Great Tit, three Blue Tit and a few nest 'starts'

Grey Seal and very distant view of probable Harbour Porpoise fin

Monday 29 April 2019

Just passing through

Bird interest was all at sea today with Terns, Gannets and a skua passing through:
Arctic Tern - 86 heading into the Bay
Little Tern - 1 flew out past Heysham Harbour
Sandwich Tern - 31 blogging. Two mating on one of the buoys.
Gannet -71
Arctic Skua - 1
Great crested Grebe - 10
Red-breasted Merganser - 7

Vis was minimal:
Tree Pipit - 3
Redpoll sp - 3 heard
Swallow - 3
Whimbrel - heard in the morning and 2 seen in the evening.
Wheatear - 6

The Guillemot was still in the harbour.

A trickle of Willow Warblers moved inland in the hour and a half after dawn, with 4 adults returning to their breeding site at Middleton. Whitethroats are making an appearance now. A Grasshopper Warbler reeled in the tank farm and one was ringed at Middleton NR.

Sunday 28 April 2019

Cumbrian Bonxie tops a varied seawatch in flat calm conditions

Seawatching mainly undertaken by Pete Crooks this morning with me arriving in time for the skuas produced a nice little selection in pleasant conditions

Red-throated Diver - 8 in and 7, not necessarily the same, out
Great Skua - one flew in on the far side about 0835hrs (IOY)
Arctic Skua - light morph flew in including a brief landing at 0730hrs
Gannet - 1
Common Scoter - flock 20
Carrion Crow - one in-off
Sandwich tern - c15 blogging
Arctic Tern - rather odd!  Flock of 63 see quite close inshore but high, heading in from OE side, not seen NHW side (flew overhead?), then about 30 mins later a very distant flock of about the same size and presumed this species flew out on the far side (poor visibility inland for overland migration this am)
Guillemot - one on and one in harbour
Whimbrel - 2 OE side, one past NHW

No landbird migration during this seawatch other than the crow!

Harbour Porpoise - ad & juv close inshore (IOY)

A few odds and ends seen by Janet between Ocean Edge and the south harbour - thanks for these:

Saturday 27 April 2019

Seabirds during a North of west wind

A short and then slightly longer midday seawatch with Steve Dodgson was unexpectedly productive as Hannah had rewritten the west of north wind rules (also unusual reports of inland Arctic Terns during winds with not a scrap of east in them)

Arctic Skua - medium range dark morph then close light morph in (first LM of year).  Two very distant skuas were reported flying out mid afternoon
Kittiwake - flock of 6 (one 2cy) in
Common Scoter - flock of 3 in
Red-throated Diver - sp bird in at long range
Fulmar - one rapidly out
Guillemot - one harbour mouth (same as below? )
Gannet - ad out then u-turning

Wheatear - 4
Whinchat - Male
Great crested Grebe - three displaying pairs in low tide channel
Guillemot - one by waterfall

Friday 26 April 2019

Birds of Cumbria

It is quite unusual to have a seawatch in Morecambe Bay where a majority of the seabirds are unidentifiable. A rather belated arrival in relation to HT (and texts from Rossall) saw a 0640 start but it was really difficult for a lone observer.  Birds were at all heights, some in close, yet it was necessary to use a scope all the time.  The most unusual sighting was a first for me in Morecambe Bay.  Gannet usually fly in curse and swear when reaching the inner bay cul de sac and fly out again.  Today five birds circled and soared up like distant White Storks up to the height of Black Combe, then decided against cutting across Furness and rapidly dropped to continue progress out of the Bay as usual

Sandwich Tern - 91 out, probably many more as distant birds could not be separated from eg BH Gull
Arctic Tern - 6 flew in very high and 13 flew out
Gannet - 26
Razorbill/Guillemot - absolute minimum of 35, possibly well over 50 but the shapes were not safely identifiable even to auk spp
Kittiwake - flock of 9
Red-throated Diver - 3 in, 2 out (plus other shapes suggesting diver  spp)
Common Scoter - flock of 25 in then out
Whimbrel - flock of 16 in
Arctic Skua - dark and int/dark in together low along the Kent channel line at c0700; a suggestion that they had got up off the sea as not picked up on outer bay sweep just before sighting

An attempt to mix a couple of mist nets and seawatching from the reserve produced one Willow Warbler and several of the Gannets and auks by 0830!

Thursday 25 April 2019

Selective goodies

Today was certainly not about numeracy as regards new arrivals with just two new Lesser Whitethroat to show for a early morning ringing sessions, with not a hint of a migrant Willow Warbler!

Arctic Tern - flock of five in
Wood Warbler - one in rapid transit through Middleton NR early am
Marsh Harrier - one flew over Ocean Edge then headed NE, presumably that earlier seen at Sunderland Point
Whinchat - female on hawthorns Knowlys horse paddock
Arctic skua - dm in up Kent channel line
Sandwich tern - 2 in
Whimbrel - 4 in
Med Gull - 2CY briefly Heysham 2 outfall seaward end - a lot of gulls seemingly passing through there
Wheatear - 2

Hopefully more from a check in a few minutes

Wednesday 24 April 2019

More warblers

Heysham NR
Willow Warblers continued to trickle through along with a Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Common Whitethroats and a couple of female Blackcaps.

Tank farm
Garden Warbler - first of year for HNR

Middleton NR
Nine species of Warbler here and in good numbers:
Grasshopper Warbler 2
Reed Warbler 2
Sedge Warbler 4
Lesser Whitethroat 7
Common Whitethroat 15
Blackcap 20
Willow Warbler 25
Chiffchaff 7
Cetti’s warbler - 4 singing Male 

Guillemot still there.
Rock Pipit flitting about

Redpoll 5
Corvid sp 3
Whimbrel 6

Heysham Head
Nuthatch on northern side (not very common here)

Tuesday 23 April 2019

The wrong kind of music

Sometimes playing a tape hoping to ring Tree Pipit and Lesser Redpoll is counterproductive and this was one of those occasions.  The lower nets caught no birds on the first round despite willow warblers zipping past clearly avoiding the racket.  The equivalent round for the upper two nets saw eight phylloscs and a lesser throat.  It was the only real time period of any multiple action as opposed to the subsequent trickle

Migrants by office/non op land
Willow Warbler - 11 ringed, at least 20 passed through
Chiffchaff - at least one new arrival
Lesser whitethroat - 2-3 new arrivals
Whitethroat - ditto
Redstart - Male
Whinchat - almost certainly two with others on north wall and south end of tankfarm
Wheatear - just two seen
No hirundine passage in morning. 6 House martin north at 12:00

Vis mig
Lesser redpoll - at least four NE
Sparrowhawk - two NE
Meadow Pipit - 2 NE
Linnet - c5 NE

Sea dead again

Heysham skeer
Canada goose 2
Eider c20
Red-breasted Merganser 3

Cetti’s warbler still singing Heysham NR

Middleton Nature Reserve
Cetti's 3
Grasshopper warbler 2

Monday 22 April 2019

Dead Sea

The tern passage didn't happen today and the highlight was a male Yellow Wagtail on the horse paddock and another one over Heysham NR and a Tree Pipit in the mist net.   Ringing was fairly low key with just 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap, two Lesser Redpoll and singles of Whitethroat and Tree Pipit

5 Sandwich Tern were seen and A Swallow!

Guillemot in harbour

Wheatear - 2

Sunday 21 April 2019

First light and out

An eleven bird first round then half a dozen dribs and drabs and then that was it as regards landbird migration through the mist nets.  A quick round the houses produced a couple of interesting sightings but nothing to suggest any further effort other than checking the turning tide in about an hour

Lesser Redpoll - eight out of about 10 ringed first thing, one other heard later
Willow Warbler - 7 ringed
Blackcap - 2 ringed
Reed Warbler - singing male Hey NR reedbed new in
Lesser Whitethroat - at least one migrant
Whinchat - male heliport
Arctic Tern - flock of four in, fishing briefly, first thing - appeared to climb up
Sandwich Tern - just four at low tide \
Cetti's Warbler -male still singing Hey NR
Tree Pipit  one NE
Linnet - 4 NE
Meadow Pipit - 2 NE
Wheatear 4 north wall mound

Heysham skeer
Eider c80
Great Crested Grebe 8
Red- breasted merganser 4
Knot just 19
Dunlin minimum 196
Dunlin showing a nice range of plumage stages.

Where are the migrating hirundines!! - none seen last two mornings

Hopefully a worthy update to follow

Saturday 20 April 2019

Punching above the conditions?

Didn't look very promising this morning - you could just about see the other side of the Bay, full moon, clear above and inland and sun on two of the nets quite early on.  A text from Ian at Rossall prompted an early telescope view of the low tide channels and the Pom behaved, making steady progress up the Bay as opposed to spiralling up unseen along the Lune flight-line.   Then the Lesser Redpolls dropped in with each small catch being taken a short distance off site by the spare ringer to continue their north-easterly journey rather than sit around attracting others away from the nets.  A trickle of Blackcap and Willow Warbler augmented a decent ringing session for here

Pomarine Skua - one flew NE above the near channel at 0635hrs after being past Rossall 0612hrs
Arctic Skua - dark morph blogging in Kent channel 0730ish
Sandwich Tern - c30 early on soon dissipated
No other sea passage observed ie no Arctic Terns in c2hrs on and off checked

Vis mig
All about Lesser Redpoll with c35 probably more NE (16 ringed)
Meadow Pipit - 7 NE
No hirundine passage observed by 1045hrs

Lesser Whitethroat - at least 7 singing males around, some in transit
Grasshopper Warbler - one presumably on territory Middleton along the golf course edge
Blackcap - 5 ringed
Willow Warbler - 7 ringed
Chiffchaff - 1 ringed
Sedge Warbler - at least 2 singing males Middleton presumably on territory
Whitethroat - singing male by HNR office - arrived about 0900 (IOY)

Rock Pipit - pair in harbour nest building
Guillemot - still by waterfall area, despite dredger activity

Muslin, Powdered Quaker, Herald and Hebrew Character Middleton actinic. 
Large Red Damselfly- 2 Middleton Nature Reserve

Two queen wasps seen

Loads of Orange Tip males around - c20 seen

Muslin Moth

Friday 19 April 2019

Slightly clearer but the turning tide produces the goods

When the wind is in the east at this time of year and the visibility at least as far as the Kent channel, a seawatch on the turning tide often produces the goods, not the least by kickstarting skuas which have been sat on the sea.  Sea absolutely dead after 0845, possibly due to increased murk to south (per Ian)

Pomarine Skua - light morph in close inshore at 0825hrs flying higher than and ahead of two of the dm Arctics.
Arctic Skua - probably five dark morphs eventually in but not absolutely certain re duplication, so best to record as 3-5
Common Scoter - flock of 22 in
Arctic Tern - 106 in, biggest flocks 30 x 2 40 mins apart
Common Tern - one blogging, following three boats into port
Sandwich Tern - c15 blogging
Red-throated Diver - 2 in
Swallow - 15 in
Meadow Pipit - 5 in
Lesser Redpoll - 12 NE (ADA3086 caught)

Not very much cp to yesterday but
Reed Warbler - one ringed by office
Wheatear 7

Holly Blue butterfly seen YESTERDAY near HNR office


Thursday 18 April 2019

The perfect migratory landbird recipe providing the alarm works!

In the earlier years, 18th April was on more than one occasion THE favoured major spring migration morning, dominated by Willow Warblers.  Recent years have seen some not very helpful weather at this time, but this morning was pretty good with a lot of offshore murk.  However it needed an early start and the alarm failed; fortunately I managed to wake up at 0520 and realise what was happening, but there was still a 16 or so mile journey via picking up Jean before we could set nets/observe vis mig etc.   On arrival, it was apparent that significant numbers of Willow Warbler were racing through, giving bits of song and the odd hu-eet before heading north-east and inland.

Although the ringing totals were minus about 30 Willow warbler and almost certainly a Redstart, missed during the civil twilight to sunrise mist net round, a reasonable catch of just over 30 birds was made, before it went quiet with the sun blazing on two of the four nets [New birds:  22 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, one each of Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher].  This is the first year here since 1980 that more than 50 Chiffchaff have been ringed in spring and we have a bit to go yet.

Most unexpected was a heavy Meadow Pipit passage for this time of year - not known this before so late into April so have the easterlies pushed Scandinavian-bound birds over to this side or are we still filling territories in the Highlands of Scotland?  

Vis mig/big sit by the office, minus an hour or so seawatching/coastal coverage produced:
Ring Ouzel - female chased into gorse by a male Blackbird
Redstart - male early on
Pied Flycatcher - female ringed

Tree Pipit - 4 NE
Lesser Whitethroat - three migrants
Grasshopper Warbler - probably two different singing males with an hour between song periods and unlikely backtracking from the general north-easterly progress if it involved just the one bird
Blackcap - two singing males passed through - this species has been in rather low numbers so far this spring
Chiffchaff - at least 8 migrants, one with pollen

Willow Warbler - at least 75 passed through by the office and probably many others over the rest of the recording area
Osprey - a very high northbound bird was almost missed!
alba Wagtail - 4 NE
Meadow Pipit - 249 NE
Siskin - 2 NE
Redpoll - 5 NE
Swallow - 26 NE
Sand Martin - 2 NE
House Martin - 1
Linnet - 24 NE
Sparrowhawk - one probable migrant
(51 species in total)

Sea coverage - not a lot of time spent - quite murky
Arctic Skua - blogging dark morph
Sandwich tern - 13 out, none lingering today
Wheatear - 10

Rock pipit 2 near lighthouse, but also crossing to north wall roundhead.

Additions to Middleton Nature reserve
Coot 1 - "no swimming" pond
Grelag geese 2 Tim Butler pond

Wednesday 17 April 2019


Coverage was a bit patchy today with the impression that early stuff could easily have been missed on the sea

Redstart - Male ringed Heysham Nr
Whimbrel - one North wall
Sandwich Tern - 6
Swallow - 14
Arctic Tern - 2
11 new phylloscs ringed plus one Chiffchaff ringed elsewhere (KLA)
Meadow Pipit - 25 N
Linnet - 6 N
Little Gull - adult blogging early am

Middleton NR
Cetti’s warbler - 5 singing males
Raven - 1
Snipe - 1
Teal - 2

Harbour area - 18:30 - 19:30
Steady swallow passage, minimum total 50
Guillemot near waterfall
White wagtail, one, probably two.
Two "active" Rock pipit near lighthouse

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Grounded migrant morning

Nice bit of murk this morning produced a mainly Phyllosc-based arrival.  Exceptions were singing Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers at Middleton NR and two Lesser Whitethroat at Heysham, one of which was ringed

Willow Warbler - 50 plus
Chiffchaff - 15 plus
Sedge Warbler - 1 (IOY)
Grasshopper Warbler - 1 (IOY)

Lesser Whitethroat - 2 (IOY)
Blackcap - at least two new migrants
Swallow - 18 north
Meadow Pipit - 22 north
Tree Pipit - 1 north
Wheatear 9
Sandwich Tern - minimum 29 on buoys north and south of harbour and Red Nab

No sign of 2CY Med nor any sea passage

Monday 15 April 2019

Brief Avocet stopover

So nearly overlooked three early morning Avocet as they flew in with a small gang of Oystercatcher before feeding on the incoming tideline along Ocean Edge, then heading north

A Collared Dove flying in off was first spotted head on about a mile out in orange silhouetting light and was initially a head scratcher!

Two Arctic Tern (Ioy) prompted a 1.5hr seawatch with virtually nothing else

Sandwich Tern - one in then 45 appeared on red nab and shore after HT
Med Gull - 2cy outfalls late pm
Wheatear 14

Sunday 14 April 2019

Another trickle day

The 'star' of the show today was House Martin with the solitary vis mig 'landbird' seen during a 40 minute seawatch was one of these and a further 7 or so were seen at Middleton NR along with a couple of Swallow

Migratory sightings
House Martin - 8
Swallow - 4
Meadow Pipit - 6
Goldfinch - 4 high to NE
Red-throated Diver - three in summer plumage floating out on the tide
A couple of Willow Warbler and a single Chiffchaff in the nets at Heysham NR
No redpoll this am

Others at Middleton
Cetti's Warbler - four separate singing males this am on Middleton
Mute Swan - 3 pairs sitting
Gadwall - 4
Teal - 3 still lingering
Little Grebe - two NS pond, one TB pond


Saturday 13 April 2019

The wait continues

Northbound migration:
Lesser Redpoll 8
Meadow pipit 7
Wheatear 1

On sea
Common Scoter 4 - blogging
Red-throated diver 2, plus the bird feeding inshore
Sandwich tern 2
Shag, flying to north side 11:30

Guillemot still feeding in harbour
Rock pipit near wooden jetty

Thanks for swallow picture Janet.

Friday 12 April 2019

Clearer and fewer

Ringing this morning saw five Lesser Redpoll and five warblers (three CC, WW & BC) as the conditions were clearer than yesterday and the wind fractionally more east with very little south in it.  The current synopsis is on a nightly knife-edge between blocking and producing the goods, with things like cloud cover and offshore visibility as well as how much north in the easterly being key factors as well as what's going on down south, including over France

Low tide channel
Red-throated Diver - 1
Great-crested Grebe - just 8
2CY Med on outfalls with c280 Common Gull

Middleton Nature Reserve
Sand Martin 16 north, mid morning. Biggest group 6
Swallow 4 north
Warblers singing:
Cetti's 2
Blackcap 9
Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff
Little grebe - at least one on "no swimming" pond
Gadwall 4
Teal 2
Buzzard 1 - drifting south

Heliport seawall Knot have been a distraction with the latest spring tide sessions in the failure category due to bits of disturbance at bad times and arriving too late on a key day

Rose sent me the Ed Keeble method as applied to the heliport roost a couple of days ago and her estimate fits very well with the easier counts of birds spread over the feeding areas off Heysham Head.  Thanks for this.

50 knot counted and marked in red box, each with a dot.
10 boxes indicates 500 knot. 
I think there are about 80-100 of these boxes.  I made copies of the 10 boxes till they roughly filled the area. 
So conservatively 4000-5000.

Caveats: 1) knot appear larger on the left and bottom, and smaller on the right and top, so box size might be incorrect, 2) relies that all the knot can be observed in the red box e.g. none hidden.

Thursday 11 April 2019

Migration more interesting

North of Heysham Head - low water
Great Crested Grebe 16
Red-throated diver 1 - this bird is regularly feeding close in, between green marker and skeer. It has something orange attached, probably nylon line.
Shag 1 x 3cy
Knot 4,100
Nothing moving over sea in 40 minute watch.

Heysham Nature Reserve
Migration included:
Redstart 1 male north 07:50
Willow Warbler 15+
Chiffchaff 5+
Lesser Redpoll 3
Meadow pipit 7
Blackcap 2
Linnet 10

South shore mid afternoon
Guillemot 1. This bird has soiled belly feathers, but seems to be managing to feed sucessfully, usually near waterfall in harbour 

This picture was actually taken on Tuesday, but same bird still there today.

Rock pipit, just one feeding near lighthouse.
White wagtail. 1 male near lighthouse
Wheatear 1 - Ocean Edge foreshore
Redstart 1 male near pond before Red Nab 15:35

This is the afternoon Redstart

Wednesday 10 April 2019

(In)visible migration

Chilly start (2C) rising to 12C by early afternoon.
Still ENE wind theoretically causing migrants to drift, seemingly drifting too far east as the vismig count from 07:15 to 10:00 comprised:
Meadow Pipit 10
Swallow 4
Redpoll sp 1
Alba Wagtail 2
Linnet 3
Carrion Crow 3.
Kittiwake 14 into Bay

Or perhaps the crystal clear sky caused the birds to fly too high making them less visible to the watchers on the ground.

Night migrants even less visible with just one Willow Warbler caught.

More visible were 4 Little Egrets feeding near Outfall 1.

The Guillemot was invisible early morning due to dredging activity in the inner harbour but was visible again in the evening.

The Purple Sandpiper was invisible throughout despite repeated searches amongst 93 Turnstone.

A pair of Teal sunned themselves on the skeer at low tide.

Two hours before high tide the Shag flew from Heysham Head towards the wooden jetty.

A couple of white Wagtails dropped,in on the roundhead in the evening. Here’s one of them:

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Arctic Skua

Coverage this am was 30 mins north wall, 30 minutes Ocean Edge and one hour from Knowlys Rd upper & lower section.  All three sites included off-shore (and inshore) channel checking.  Cold ENE F4
Knowlys road lower VP - a great site for scanning the low tide channels the easy way (in combination with Knowlys upper for the 'Brent skeers area' and the north harbour wall for the outer sections) and also seeing into wave troughs during howling gales.  Wish we'd used it in previous years.  The green post 'marker' is on the mudflats behind the brown post on left hand side of pic 

Coastal sightings
Meadow Pipit - 71 NE, a large chunk of these in one gang of 36
Knot - c6500 on skeer off play area, twice as many as yesterday
Eider - 455 but some hiding behind skeers
Great-crested Grebe - 21 - many displaying pairs
Red-throated Diver - the same one as the other day off the heliport with orange object attached to the left wing - close inshore by green post
Shag - 3CY same area as RTD
Red-breasted Merganser - 7
Arctic Skua - dm adult in 0733 - quite leisurely up the Kent channel with no height gain observed - prob same bird as seen earlier off Rossall, having sat on the sea for a bit (IOY)
Little Gull - two adult together (and possibly another one far offshore as seen from OE) heading in along with trickle of Common and Black-headed Gulls
Sandwich Tern - just two together heading in
alba Wagtail - 5 NE
Linnet - 16 NE
Swallow - 1 NE
Sand Martin - 3 NE
No Brent again
Purple Sandpiper - one roosting with Turnstone on wooden jetty.

Moth trap
Nothing last night and just one moth found by Laura the previous night......but a good one:

Monday 8 April 2019

Short-eared Owl and early Whimbrel

Predictably quieter night migrant wise but another fairly hefty Meadow Pipit passage from first light and bits and bats over the sea whilst trying to connect with an ex-Rossall Puffin.

Vis mig 0600 - 10:30
Meadow pipit - 310
Skylark - late one North
Greylag - two doing a circuit
Swallow - 4
Sand Martin - 4
Chaffinch - 5
Linnet - 10
Redpoll - heard plus onalba Wagtail - 1
Goldfinch - 2

Wheatear - 6
Blackcap - at least two new ones
Willow Warbler - at least 5 new ones
Short-eared Owl - one on reserve ‘plateau’
Chiffchaff - at least two new ones

Little Gull - ad in partial summer in with a small flock of BH Gull
Sandwich Tern - 5 in
Shag - 3cy by green post off HH at low tide
No sign any Brents
Eider n/c
Great crested Grebe - 15
Red- breasted Merganser - 5
Whimbrel - 2 in
Knot - 2700 on skeer then roosting heliport seawall

Harbour this evening
Guillemot enjoying the evening sunshine!
Rock Pipit - 2 feeding below the lighthouse

Sunday 7 April 2019

More about grounded migrants today

Decent cloud cover, murky offshore and a lightish easterly produced the goods this morning, although it would have been so much better if some loops in the mist net were not undone.  Most ringers will have experienced the frustration of fiddling around with loops whilst the early morning potential dose of Lesser Redpoll buzz away overhead.   So much easier to catch them at a garden feeder whilst sat in an armchair.  It was still worth the ringing effort though with eg double-figures of new female Chiffchaff in the nets.  Three office nets and two below the old tower site.

Wheatear - minimum 25
Chiffchaff - 11 females ringed, at least 7 others
Willow Warbler - 4 males ringed and at least one other through early on
Blackcap - 3 ringed and at least one other migrant singing male
White Wagtail - one in horse paddock (IOY)
Goldcrest - 2

Vis mig
Lesser Redpoll - 5+3+2+2+1, all before about 0715 - two of the last three ringed, then one at 1300.
Meadow Pipit - only about 55 recorded
alba Wagtail - 8 NE
Sand Martin - 1 NE
Swallow - 2 NE
Whooper Swan - 4 NW
Siskin - 2+ NE
Linnet - 8 NE

Great-crested Grebe - 16 in low tide channel
Eider - 460
Red-breasted Mergsnser - 6 off head, 2 red nab
Little Egret - 11 on skeers
Brent geese - flock of 5 low past Half Moon Bay heading north 16:15. Only seen from behind, the rear birds were pale-bellied.
Shag - 3cy on usual routine below Heysham Head in channel on incoming tide (later seen from SJ)

1 Common Plume

Saturday 6 April 2019

Black Redstart highlights but yet another Spoonbill passes us by!

Unfortunately made a mess of a singing Black Redstart as regards record photography this morning, but it was a welcome visitor on the fences and picnic tables for about 12 or so minutes 0740 onwards before suddenly flying low and fast up the hill towards the Old Obs tower site and not seen again.  Reports also came in of a mid-morning Spoonbill arrival at Leighton Moss - we have never seen one in our airspace, the implication being they arrive from height and drop in situ
Also arrived a bit too late on a sunny and clear morning for mist-netting - these mornings are all about a small rush of birds during pre-sunrise and not a lot thereafter - we were lucky with the Black Redstart.  This was reflected on quite a few off-passage phylloscs and a couple of new-in Blackcaps on Middleton
Very good passage of Meadow Pipit on two defined lines either side of the power station
Vis mig and associated (impression that the gulls were on the move)
Common Gull - increase to absolute minimum of 287, mainly 2CY
Black-headed Gull - 35
Med Gull - two 2CY behaving like a pair of teenagers 
Meadow Pipit - absolute minimum of 375 NE and another 56 grounded OE football pitch
Tree pipit - one prob two NE (IOY and quite early)
Sand Martin - 7 NE
Jay - very unexpected noisy flock of 7!!!
Swallow - 4 NE
alba Wagtail - 16 NE
Linnet - 9 NE
Goldfinch - 23 NE
No seabirds as such with tight flock of white birds in the murk quite possibly just BHG
Guillemot in harbour in the evening.
Black Redstart - singing 2CY male as above
Rock pipit - 2 on south wall
Wheatear 2
Blackcap - 2

Willow Warbler - 3
WW/CC - c15
Chiffchaff - further increase of singing birds
Sparrowhawk - 2 high migrants NE (local male out of the pylon copse)
Blackbird - a long-winged male being chased by a local male (not a RO!)
Knot - 6,000 about to come into the heliport sub-roost area when targeted by Peregrine and flew south as a spectacular swirling mass
Cetti's Warbler - 3 singing males Middleton, probably just one wide-ranging singing male north end Hey NR
Mute Swan - 3 pairs sitting Middleton
Teal - 4
Little Grebe - 1
Common Snipe 1

Middleton butterflies (lots for a morning session)
Speckled wood 1
Small Tortoiseshell 2
Peacock 3
Comma 2
Brimstone 2 male 2 female
Orange Tip (IOY) 2 male (early)

Friday 5 April 2019

More cold easterlies

Weather today: ENE F4 but gusting F7, 3-11C, very murky to the north and west until 10am, clearer and sunny to E. 

Vis 08:00-11:00
Meadow Pipit - 156 (Largest flock 17. Only 3 meadow pipits after 10am)
alba wagtail - 5
Linnet - 1
Wheatear -12 (birds definitely arriving and then moving on so have counted all Wheatears as vis).

Middleton NR
Willow Warbler in same place as yesterday.
Song Thrush - 4 together feeding on the ground.

Red Nab
Just one Wigeon.
One Little Egret.
Then the usual suspects of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Knot - 7000

Thursday 4 April 2019

Quite a bit of migration

Unfortunately no ringers were available today, but coverage managed to produced a fair smattering of observations

Shag - 3CY by Near Naze on incoming tide
Meadow Pipit - absolute minimum of 270 NE, including over 220 in the monitored hour
Siskin - 2 NE
Goldfinch - 11NE
alba Wagtail - 22 NE
Sandwich tern - 1 N
Red-throated Diver - 7+2 N
Kittiwake - c20 N (one distant gang)
Willow Warbler - 1OY singing Middleton NR
Chiffchaff - definite influx, many not calling
Cetti's Warbler - three singing Middleton NR
Stock Dove - pair Middleton
Barn Owl - one hunting Middleton
Wheatear - 6
No sign of any Brents during the morning

Thanks Janet


Wednesday 3 April 2019

Sanderling surprise

Sanderling - about 36 with the Knot on the heliport - really unexpected.  Presumably a chunk of the Knot had come across from Fluke Hall to Knott End and dragged them along
Knot - 2150
Pale-bellied Brent - 13 but no colour ringed birds but one appeared metal ringed
Shag - 3cy wooden jetty
Wheatear - 5
Green Woodpecker - hey ne
No obvious vis mig but Chiffchaff everywhere

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Shag resurfaces

There were 15 then later 17 Pale bellied Brent Geese today including the ringed birds

Flock of 50 Kittiwake in

3cy Shag wooden jetty

Thanks Gareth and Lesley

Please note the sidebar comment re unknown birders likely to be approached by police

Monday 1 April 2019

Canadian ringed Brents back

Todays migration seemed to be virtually all vis mig, highlighted by six Swallows feeding on the Middleton "no swimming" pond before moving on and a sample of 160 Meadow Pipit over the sea/along the coast 1015-1115 new time accompanied by 19 alba Wagtails and (over Ocean Edge), two northbound Twite

Not sure about Middleton, but Hey NR mist-netted grounded migrants limited to two Robin

Middleton NR
Stock Dove - one possibly two birds
Gadwall - 8
Teal - still two
Little Grebe - 1
Mute Swan - failure on main pond - egg found in grass, probably picked up by dog and dropped, like retrieving a ball - nest easily accessible

Coastal area
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 19, including both Canadian birds and probably a new orange ringed bird but we are not sure
Red-throated Diver - 3+2 in but that was all as regards sea-passage in the hour
Meadow Pipit - c160 with others probably missed 1015-1115
Sand Martin - one north
Linnet - c10 north
alba Wagtail - 19 as above
Twite - two together quite low to north