Tuesday 30 July 2019

Med record

Med Gull - 57 on the first two scans of the high tide roost on the sands off Ocean Edge
Joined by two juvs after five minutes.  An additional five older age birds on Red Nab.  Harbour area not checked
Little Gull - ad summer with the above

Early morning ringing sessions with a close watch of the rain alarm saw a trickle rather than a fall but MP3s could not be used at Middleton due to CES

Tree sparrow - flock of three Bt office early on

More tomorrow from Malcolm and Janet

Monday 29 July 2019

Insects on the move again

From Andrew Cornell - Thanks
Red- Veined Darters - 3 on dog walk pond
Hummingbird Hawk Moth - 1 near weather station eastern end of nature park.
Painted Lady - 70+  around this area.

Red-veined Darter - 4 male western side of main pond at Middleton
Painted Lady - 38 between waterfall and roundhead.
                         140 Heysham NR transect (per SR)
Rock Pipit 1 - near lighthouse

Sunday bits

Mediterranean gulls - 4 on beach out from Ocean Edge salt marsh. At least 5 on Red Nab

Rock Pipit - 1 Red Nab

Sandwich Tern - at leat one (heard only) out from Sat marsh

Saturday Meds

Mediterranean gulls - 21 on beach between wooden jetty and No.1 outflow, 4 hr ebb

Saturday 27 July 2019

Friday - RVDs

Middleton Nature Reserve
Main pond
A check at 11:30 found at least 3 male Red-Veined Darter. A later check at 13:30 located 5.
This despite less than ideal conditions, it was warm enough, but quite a strong westery breeze. All the sighting were on the western side of pond, including the peninsula.
This is a significant increase on the single insect seen on two days earlier in the week, when conditions were more favourable. The implication is that a number of insects from yesterday's migration, found their way to the reserve (see yesterday's post).

Cetti's warbler - a previously ringed adult female was the best of the morning ringing session.

Southern movement
Swallow 18 - one flock
Swift 1
Lesser Redpoll 1 - very unseasonable

Thursday 25 July 2019

A glimpse into an insect migration corridor.

Went to wooden jetty area 3.5 hours after high water to see if any ringed Mediterranean gulls were in reading range. There was only one unringed adult.
However, I noticed a gentle flow of butterflies coming in off the sea between the wooden jetty and lighthouse (MD)
08:45 - 10 butterflies per 5 minutes. 8 of these Small White, the others a mixture of Painted Lady, Meadow Brown and Peacock.
09:30 - rate had increased to 8 butterflies per 2 minutes. They were too erratic to say 4 a minute. Ratio of species similar.
The last time I'd witnessed such a movement of butterflies here was 27/06/19. On that occasion the dominant migrants were Painted Lady, but they were accompanied by dragonflies, including Red-Veined Darter.
On that occasion the breeze was due East this morning it was similar at ENE. 
There was no sign of dragonflies this morning, but it was early, so I decided to check again after lunch. On way off I counted 65 Small White between lighthouse and waterfall.

I returned at 13:00, unfortunately, the breeze had swung around completely to SW. The flow of butterflies had stopped, but there were still lots of insect around, including Red-Veined Darters:

There were at least three females and another, almost certainly, female seen flying away. I retraced my steps and only relocated one. After that they had all moved inland. I don't know when the breeze shifted from the east, but I had just got there in time to see the last of the arrivals move on.

This distant shot shows typical location near rocks between Power Station boundary and harbour wall.

There were still good numbers and variety of butterflies around for such a sparsely vegitated area:
Small White c30
Peacock 5
Small Tortoiseshell 4
Meadow Brown c20
Painted Lady 2
Small Copper 1
Common Blue 1

Personal thoughts on this "corridor" - After 3.5 hours ebb, and for the next 9 hours, this small section of sea wall will be the only landfall on the west facing coast from Fleetwood docks to the north of the bay.
By "landfall" I mean a point were an insect can go directly from flying over water to flying over land. Presumably, this must have some advantage to flying over mud flats.
Worth checking next time we have an easterly breeze and tide is not near high water.

Rock Pipit - female by herself on wall over nest sites.

Mediterranean gulls - by 13:30 there were 5 adults on beach near jetty. Plus these 12 on rocks on western end of beach. Juvenile (top right) has yellow darvic ring.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Some bits of interest

Middleton Nature Reserve - late morning
This hybrid duck on "no swimming" pond, will certainly have some interesting DNA.

Red-Veined Darter - 1 male over main pond (in flight picture for a change)

South shore early evening.
Mediterranean gull - minimum 11 adult 1 juvenile.
Wheatear - 1 female type. Ocean Edge foreshore
Sandwich tern - 4 blogging briefly out from Red Nab. At least 2 were juvenile.
Rock pipit - 1 near lighthouse.

Finally, this Grey seal (male I think (MD)), was fast asleep about 30m out from sea wall, and had been for a while. It was completely dry. It eventually opened one eye, looked at me, then went back to sleep. It was that sort of evening!

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Where did they go?

Just when you think you understand some wildlife behaviour, nature seem to take great delight in proving you wrong (MD).
There were 32 Mediterranean gulls between No.1 outflow and wooden jetty yesterday. Today, at the same stage of tide (11:45) there were just 3. Then they got fed up and left. Checked again in evening, still only 3 (2 adult plus a 2cy). 1 juvenile on No.2 outflow.

Rock pipits - 1 Red Nab. 2 near lighthouse

Decent ringing session at Middleton this with just over 60 birds all but five or so new unringed.  Included two Grasshopper Warbler (with another singing) and good numbers of Whitethroat and Blackcap.  Below par with Willow Warbler and no sight or sound of any Cetti’s or lesser Whitethroat

There is still at least one male Red-Veined Darter on main pond at Middleton Nature Reserve.

Monday 22 July 2019

Meds continue to increase

There were 32 Mediterranean gulls between wooden jetty and No.1 outflow at 11:15. This only included 2 juveniles. There were 11 juveniles at high tide roost. So, absolute minimum total is 41.

Little gull - adult summer plumage. 1 feeding at the seaward end of No.1 outflow.

Rock pipit - adult with juv near lighthouse

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon
No sign of Red-veined darters today.
Little grebe - adult feeding two chicks (no swimming pond)
Gadwall - 30 including chicks
Stock dove 1

Sunday 21 July 2019

It’s back?

It took a few years to twig that there appeared to be a single adult Little Gull returning each late July to early October to moult.  This is because in the earlier years there were a few more birds involved but, take the odd 2cy, it has been on its own the last few years

Outfalls area
Little gull - ad summer
Med gull - 9 juvs and 20 others - about 13 feeding on sandmason worms
Common Gull - 2 Juv

Grey seal - 2
Harbour Porpoise - one

Saturday 20 July 2019

Med coverage and a bit of seawatching after shower

Manx Shearwater - a lengthy stream of 22 in 15 mins after which skies cleared

Med gull - at least 13 individuals seen

Friday 19 July 2019

Meds again

The Ben My Chree struggled in the mist today, weighed down by kipper-infused blocks of ice

In the foreground out of pic on Red Nab were at least 21 Meds.  They are losing their hoods now and getting a bit tricky asleep and half-hidden amongst all the BHG

6 x juv
3 x 3CY
2 x 2CY
10 x Ad


Influx of 8 juvs
darvics: yellow juv and 3CY, white red and green adults - none readable!

Little Gull
2CY seen in moult but its incredible elusive if its here all the time!

Arctic tern - ad

Red-veined Darter - one still on spit
Southern hawker - 2
Green Sandpiper - TB pond
Little Grebe - ad & juv no swimming pond
Gadwall - 11 ad,21 juvs of all sizes no swimming pond


No sign of Southern Migrant Hawker

Pod of dolphin spp off the end of the outfalls (per IFCA)

Med Gulls
4 x juv
2 x CY
2 x 3CY
16 Ad or not so obvious 3CY

Wheater - 1 female type on rocks below wooden jetty

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Rapid blue eyes

Middleton NR
A good description of what seemed to have been a male Southern Migrant Hawker on Middleton NR this afternoon.  Unfortunately very mobile and not attached to any water body and only a distant blurred record shot was possible

Red-veined Darter - as yesterday still one male at least
Green Sandpiper - Tim Butler pond

Common Sandpiper - main pond
Little Grebe - adult feeding juv today.

Due to transport logistics, a late start but still a decent ringing session of stuff moving about in the cloudy conditions, notably Blackcap and Whitethroat.  The session ended with a Magpie!

Red Nab
Still juv Med Gull but most of the others already displaced by tide

Wooden jetty area - 3.5hr before high tide am
Mediterranean gulls - 9 including one, almost read, white darvic ringed bird.
Rock pipit - female with, one each, first and second brood young.

Monday 15 July 2019

Clouded Yellow

An is it/is not worth checking Red Nab on the incoming tide in bright heat-hazy sunshine paid off.

A male Clouded Yellow was over the florally rich north end of Ocean Edge grass but wouldn't land for a pic.  It then flew behind the car and presumably south along the foreshore edge bank
A juv Med was amongst 11 others (9 ad, two 2CY) on Red Nab

A good candidate for the website 'record shot my xxxx' (juv Med)

Sunday 14 July 2019

Definition of "elusive"

The long staying 3cy Shag was seen regularly this year till early April. If it remained in the area after that, its status is regarded as "elusive".
I've checked the records, the only reports since 13th April have been 26th May and today. That is quite elusive. (MD)
Shag - adult or near adult - one feeding in inner harbour, near wall below sandworks, 13:45.

N.B. This bird was quite distant, you may need to open pictures "in a new tab" to have a chance of making out any features.

Rock pipit - one adult seen with food today near LMS building. It wasn't clear if this was to feed fledged chicks, or just possibly a different family with chicks in nest. Further observations will confirm.

Mediterranean gulls - 3.5 hr after high water
Harbour mouth - 2 adults on water
Beach between jetty and No.1 outflow
1 x 2cy
1 x 3cy
6 x adult

These, very interesting, records are from Shaun Coyle:
Family of 5 Rock Pipits at lighthouse, Harbour (2 young still being fed) + a pair at Red Nab afterwards.
Med gull - 9 adult + 1 x 2cy, roosting. One hour before high tide

Saturday 13 July 2019

Warmer than expected

Middleton Nature Reserve - late morning.
It was barely 18C before the sun came out, but enough to warm the blood of this pair of Red-veined darters.

There were another two male RVD around main pond edges.
No information yet regarding sightings from warmer afternoon.

Other dragonflies:
Common darter (mature males now providing an alternative red bodied dragonfly)
Black tailed skimmer
Brown hawker

Little grebe - juv on "no swimming" pond

Ocean Edge salt marsh creek

Wooden jetty area - evening.
There were 17 Mediterranean gulls between No.1 outflow and wooden jetty, 4 hours before high water. Surprisingly, none with darvic rings.
1cy          1
2cy          4
Adult      12

The female Rock pipit is still feeding at least one juv.

Friday 12 July 2019

Elusive Meds

There are plenty of Mediterranean gulls around at the moment, but location of high tide roosts can be tricky on these neap tides.
There were nine on beach between wooden jetty and No.1 outflow, four hours before high water this evening. Unfortunately, the sand mason worms are not being caught on the dry beach yet, so gulls are following the tide in. This makes for difficult observations in evenings when sun is low.

There were also two out from the harbour mouth.
Best estimate of todays birds
2cy     2
3cy     3
Adult  6

No sign of Rock pipits this afternoon.

Thursday 11 July 2019


Middleton Nature Reserve
Red-veined darter - 3 males on eastern and southern banks of main pond (15:00)
Little grebe 1 juv still on "no swimming" pond.

Plus these excellent pictures of Swift and Ringlet by Janet


Again only records from Heysham skeer early afternoon
Great-crested grebe 2 - there appears to have been a constant presence here all summer.
Eider 10


Only records from Heysham skeer in morning
Whimbrel 1
Red-breasted merganser 1 male


Only sporadic coverage this week. The Red-veined darters are still around the main (model boat) pond at Middleton, but temperature needs to be 18C plus for a realistic chance (MD).

Red-veined darter - minimum 4 male (per Maurice Wilby)

No swimming pond (just west of main pond).
Gadwall 11 plus 1 female with 7 young chicks.
Little grrebe - juv fending for itself but unable to dive for long. There has been no previous evidence of breeding here this year.

Harbour area - evening
Mediterranean gull - 1 x 3cy in harbour mouth
Rock pipits - adult(s) feeding at least one newly fledged juv
Redshank - flock of 21 resting near No.1 outflow

And, just for a bit of variety, a leaf-cutter bee (Patchwork? MD). On Middleton NR.

Monday 8 July 2019


arctic tern adult by outfalls

Med gull - fewer c16

Rv Darter - at least two brief scan

Saturday 6 July 2019

The Mediterranean season

Another sunny day with hardly a cloud in the sky and a sparkling sea was reminiscent of the Mediterranean provided you didn’t look inland! And the Mediterranean Gulls lounging in small groups on Red Nab were perhaps fooled into thinking they were already in France? Well, probably not and the chilly northwesterly breeze was more likely to make them think about continuing south soon.
Today there were at least 19 Med Gulls including 4 x 2 CY and 3 x 3 CYs and the first juv of the season.

Thanks for the photos, Malcolm.

The Rock Pipits are still feeding young in the nest. 

Plenty of young birds on the Reserve, though very few young Greenfinches so far. Young Goldfinches are the most vocal and are going around in gangs. There are spotty Robins and not quite as spotty Dunnocks, yellow-cheeked Great and Blue Tits as you might expect and today several young Chaffinches made an appearance. 


Friday 5 July 2019

Meds and Reds

Skeer and low tide channels (MD)
Red-breasted Merganser - a most unusual midsummer flock of 10 female/imms
Common Tern - adult fishing

Outfalls/Red Nab
Med Gull - careful check c3hrs before high tide = 12 2CY, 2 3CY and 18 adults - no ringed birds legs visible (PJM, JR)
Common Gull - c30

Middleton boat pond
Red-veined Darter - 6 males in marginal afternoon weather (18C but windy)

Thursday 4 July 2019

Mainly Meds

Mediterranean gulls - rising tide on and around Red Nab
Adult 19
3cy 3
2cy 8
They are not yet focused on sand mason worms near wooden jetty at low tide, but spreading out along shore. This picture is from near No.1 outflow 3.5hr after high water.

Little gull - 1 x 2cy
Whimbrel 1
Rock pipit - adults feedind young in nest, near lighthouse. 1 juv from first brood, still hanging around.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

GCG conundrum

Minimum 8 male Red-veined darter and a probable female around main pond at Middleton this lunchtime. Still 7 males over water mid pm.

Just 15 Mediterranean gulls confirmed today, but timing not great.

Great- crested grebe. 8 drifted through skeer channel on flood tide this evening. Don't know if they are are waiting to go, or have come back, or have nowhere to go (MD)

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Meds increase

Med gull - minimum of 24 (16ad, 3 3cy, 5 2cy

Little gull 2cy very briefly then south

Whimbrel - 1st returning bird  


Med Gull - 19
Manx - 11 out
Gannet - 1 put
Great-crested grebe 2 off skeer


two sandwich Tern and half A dozen Meds seen

Rock Pipits feeding young in harbour wall nest