Saturday 29 June 2019

Female Red Veined Darter ovipositing and Med Gulls find the sandworms

Between 9 and 11 males over the pond this morning with one in cop with an ovipositing female

Med Gull - five feeding on sand mason worms this pm

Sandwich Tern - one resting on the sands in am

Curlew - at least 210 red nab probably others out of sight

Friday 28 June 2019

Strong easterly impeded insect searches

Med gull - 10 in neap high tide roost south of OE slipway (5ad, 4 2cy, one 3cy).  C/f  rings, legs only seen on one ad and the 3cy - both unringed

Red veined Darter - min 6 model boat pond but strong winds keeping them close to the edge where harder to count
Emperor - Male along Heysham south harbour wall - first for SD35Z
Black tailed Skimmer - hey Nr where rare
Broad bodied Chaser - latish female ovipositing briefly on model boat pond

Painted Lady - main concentration still along south harbour wall with c100 in morning.  Ringlet hey NR

Thursday 27 June 2019

Hot!.....then really hot!

Model boat pond
Red-veined Darter - absolute minimum three probably another two
Banded Demoiselle - SE corner of pond briefly.  Malcolm's pics - thanks!

The following pictures from Janice cover all the dragonflies, that you could expect to see around the main pond at the moment.

South wall roundhead 16:30 - 17:30 (MD)
By this time the warm easterly breeze had strengthened.
Insects were flying in off the sea from the west at a rate of one every 5 seconds between lighthouse and wooden jetty. Mainly painted lady. A ten minute check between waterfall and lighthous resulted in 118 Painted lady plus3 Red Admiral all moving steadily inland.
By 17:30 they were still coming in but the rate had reduced slightly to one every 10 seconds.

But it wasn't just butterflies, there was also a steady influx of dragonflies.
Red-veined darter - absolute minimum of 10 (this assumes that the only one that left the area
was the one male seen to - unlikely). There were at least 4 adult male, possibly a teneral male and 6 female.

Large dragonfly - one came in overhead, no features or colour discerned (not blue or red). Based on context of sightings and definite sightings from Freshfield earlier today. This is likely to have been a Vagrant Emperor.

Rock pipit - this bird dropped down to area of original nest site with this bill full of what looks like Painted lady bodies.


Three Red-veined Darter Middleton

Drake Common Scoter still off Heysham Head

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Insects dominate interest

At least three male Red-veined darter on main pond (Middleton Nature Reserve), almost certainly more, three was the most seen at one time.

Banded demoiselle - one briefly in SE corner of main pond

Ringlet - one on Middletoon

Painted lady, still  lots still moving north

Common Scoter - drake between green marker and skeer

Rock pipit - adult and juv near lighthouse. Two adult and juv yesterday. Looks like one of the young from pair nesting on inner harbour wall near lighthouse survived afterall!

No Mediterranean gulls seen at low tide feeding areas, high tide roosts not checked.

They’re back!

Monday posting

Three Male Red veined Darter Middleton boat pond this late afternoon

Photos by Malcolm

Lots of birds on the move by the office this afternoon with 30 new birds ringed

Med Gull - 2 x 2cy and one ad in the neap high tide roost off Ocean Edge

Lots of northbound Painted Lady

Sunday 23 June 2019

Skeer coverage

Interesting angle for Malcolm's record shot of the drake Common Scoter this am (not from a boat!)

Great crested Grebe - at least 8
Eider - minimum of 23
Herring Gull - c2400

Evening high tide off Ocean Edge
Med Gull - 3 ad - one large two small
Little Gull - 2cy
Black headed Gull - 320
Common Gull - 10

Saturday 22 June 2019

Unusual numbers of Great crested Grebe

Low tide channels
Eider - 34
Great crested Grebe - 13
Common Scoter - Drake

High tide Red Nab area
Med gull - 2cy
Black headed Gull - 96
Common Gull - 7

Middleton dragonflies
Emperor - four males
Four spotted chaser - 8
Black tailed skimmer - 3
Common Darter - four immature

Coot in NE corner main pond
Sand Martin there briefly along with single figures House Martin and Swift

Friday 21 June 2019

Common Scoter irony

A bit odd spending eight days mainly in Arctic Norway and not seeing Common Scoter yet there were two unseasonal ones in the second low tide channel this am!  Thanks to Malcolm for keeping this site going far more conscientiously than me!

Common Scoter - pair low tide channels
Eider - 2
Great-crested Grebe - 1

Stock Dove - two Middleton

Painted Lady - one office buddliea (the orange one) and one Middleton 

 No Meds seen at low tide 

Thursday 20 June 2019

Didn't see that coming!

This morning I checked out the most likely nesting areas in the vicinity of the displaying Rock pipit seen on saltmarsh on  June 14th. Not a sign.
I then walked along south wall to check for Mediterranean gulls, again nothing.
To my knowledge, there hasn't been a Rock pipit seen in harbour/outflows area since June 10th, despite almost daily visits. I had been at No1 outflow a few minutes, when two Rock pipits appeared, one begging for, and receiving food. I had just put my camera away and just managed to get it out in time for a hurried shot. Think it was the far bird begging. After that they flew into Power Station land near the reed bed, presumably where they had come from.

I suspect that the two "spare" birds, seen occasionally when the known breeding pair were feeding young, must have nested later, probably within the PS grounds. I really don't think any of the well watched pair's young survived. (MD)

Middleton Nature Reserve - afternoon
Gadwall 2 females with 7 & 6 young chicks.

Stock dove 2

No sign of any Darters today
Painted lady 3

Pete and Jean not back till late today. Hopefully back to normal tomorrow.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Limited observation today

Only had one quick check of harbour and outflows on ebbing tide. Still no Mediterranean gull feeding in last years favoured beach near wooden jetty.

Painted lady - 3 feeding on brambles on inner harbour wall.

Hopefully someone will have more to add. I think "normal service" resumes tomorrow, when Pete and Jean return.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

The sweltering "warmth" of summer!

Teperature reached 16 degrees at 14:00. Hardly hot, but enough to stimulate some insect activity.
Middleton Nature Reserve early afternoon.
First records this year, to my knowledge:
probable Common darter 2 (very early for common and can't completely rule out Red-veined darter yet for this teneral, the other was distant)

Emperor 1

Two Painted lady towards Tim Butler (per SR)
Janet reported several from Heysham Moss, just east of the recording area boundary.

Two introduced species seem to be flourishing:
1. Signal crayfish - this pile of debris on the main pond are the remnants of this species eaten by otter. Spraints surround the area. N.B. The Otter are natural.

2. Fish in main pond. It is not clear how fish were introduced, possibly naturally. There were c400 7cm long fish taking small insect from surface. They appear to be Rudd, but could be more exotic.

Two pair of mute remain each with 5 young.
Mallard with single chick represents the only young duck so far this year

Ocean Edge salt marsh
Lapwing 1. A bit unseasonable.

Heysham Office Moth Trap
Still meagre numbers with last night's catch of:
Heart and Dart - 9
Mottled Rustic - 2
Riband Wave - 1
Marbled Minor agg. - 1

Heysham skeer - evening low water
Eider 8
Red-breasted merganser 1 (m)
Great-crested grebe 12 - here are some of them

Grey seal - this female (I think), seemed to want to share her supper with me. I must look like an impressice male in my chest waders (I took it as a compliment!). She caught two of these flounders. These shots are not zoomed in, at times she was within 5m of me, I could hear every breath and every bone crushed.

Finally, just a reminder of just how butiful the skeer is on a summer's evening

Monday 17 June 2019

GCG still here!

Heysham skeer - evening low water
Still 5 Great-crested grebe
No Eider seen
Little egret 6
Only waders were Oystercatcher

Grey seal - very close in

Heysham Nature Reserve
Painted lady 6+ (per SR)

Sunday 16 June 2019

No surprises today

It is still cool when sun not shining. Checked all along south shore and harbour wall, not a butterfly to be seen today, let alone a Painted lady.

Gull numbers on outflows and Red Nab significantly increased, but no sign of Mediterranean gulls.

Middleton Nature Reserve - yesterday evening
Grasshopper warbler 1 reeling
Stock dove 2 seen together twice.

Heysham Reserve
A few butterflies around the reserve, mostly Common Blue and Speckled Wood.

Burnet Companion - one behind office building

Little Egret - one with Grey Heron on main marsh

Roe Deer - one splashing about to right hand side of jetty boardwalk, possibly browsing on young trees growing in the flooded area there.

Saturday 15 June 2019

Cool June surprise

I cannot remember such a protracted period of cool weather in June. All the more surprising then to see this Painted lady, on Ocean Edge salt marsh.
The picture above was taken at 10:00. After lunch, there was a short down pour. I had a quick check of harbour area after that (14:30) and located another six Painted lady on a 20m stretch between the lighthouse and waterfall. Clearly there has been a significant and/or concentrated movement.

Common tern feeding on No.2 outflow. 1 hour before high water.

Friday 14 June 2019

Rock pipit perseverance

(MD - Pete's still away)
The lingering, presumed female, Rock pipit, at the failed nest site near harbour lighthouse, has not been seen for four days.  (sex based on distictive supercilium of nest building bird)
Today a male Rock pipit was seen displaying (parachuting) several times over Ocean Edge salt marsh.
The potential downside to this possible new breeding location is the lack of an obvious nesting area, that wouldn't be vunerable to predation. I'll keep an eye on developments.

In contrast the the north shore Rock pipits have at least one, probably two, fledged young.
Three feeding events were seen, and at one point there appeared to be be four birds around, but only clear views of two at a time, so couldn't confirm two juvenile.

This first picture shows two birds. The rest show detail of the upper bird.

Red Nab - mid morning
Over 50 Black-headed today, mainly 2cy, no sign of any Mediterranean gulls.
One of these Eider seems to have some sort of leg tag, but couldn't get any clearer shots than these.

Thursday 13 June 2019

Drip feeding

Little to report.
Heysham skeer - low water mid afternoon
Great-crested grebe - still 5
Eider 29
The only waders were Oystercatchers

South shore - early evening
Black-headed gull numbers are growing quickly c30 today (many 2cy)
Curlew roost on Red Nab getting underway. 23 flew in today. There were 415 by 10/07 last year, so some way to go!

Tuesday 11 June 2019


Pete and Jean are away till later next week, so records will be depleted.
Only thing of "note" today was a 1cy Black-headed gull - quite early for here.

Hopefully we'll be getting Mediterranean gulls soon.

No sign of Guillemot in hharbour, for fourth visit. Looks like it's moved on. (MD)

Sunday 9 June 2019


Middleton Nature Reserve.
Only two pair of Mute remain both now with 5 young
Stock dove 1

Included Burnet companion

Only Broad-bodied chaser and Black-tailed skimmer seen.

Heysham Nature Reserve
Thanks for these pictures Janet
Large skipper
Small Heath (very scarce here last year)
Burnet Companion