Saturday 31 August 2019

Not quite on the sea

a windy day was not quite good enough to produce much

Sandwich Tern - flock of four out
Little Gull - ad outfalls
Med gull - at least 10
Rock Pipit - at least two around

Great-crested Grebe - 10 around skeer at low water

Vine’s Rustic in Kevin's trap which is just in the eastern boundary of the recording area. Just one previous in the mid 1990s

Friday 30 August 2019

Quick pre high tide check

Whimbrel - fairly late one red nab
Med Gull - 27
Little Gull - ad
Surprisingly no Sandwich Tern

Kingfisher photo near red nab 24/8 (Esther Harrison - thanks for this)

Thursday 29 August 2019

A bit of a mixture

South side - am
Little gull  - 1 adult on outflows
Mediterranean gulls - 3 x 1cy on outflows
Rock pipit - 2 Red Nab
Wheatear - 6 on Ocean Edge foreshore

North side - pm
Rock pipit - 4. 1 near cafe, 2 under high cliffs (one looking particularly bedraggled- see pic below) and one on Heysham Head. That's 6 seen today, without the 2 near lighthouse which wasn't checked.

Wheatear 3
Grey Wagtail 1
Common Sandpiper  - 1 on near Naze
Common snipe 3 - in front of heliport wall
Mediterranean gull 1. This adult blogging in front of north wall. Couldnt tell if it had metal ring.

Moth trap produced an Old Lady


Not much coverage today.
Heysham skeer - evening
Great-crested grebe 2
Eider 2
Knot c200 at least one with a ring, but out of reading range.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Curlew Sandpiper and a new Cricket

Lots of waders on sand out from Ocean Edge salt marsh at high water this morning, most in a mixture of summer plumage and winter plumage, and all stages in between. This will be the last neap tide not to cover the mud for a while.

Knot 1015
Bar-tailed Godwit 87
Grey plover 198
Dunlin 70
Curlew Sandpiper - one adult moulting
Sanderling  1

Sandwich tern - 3 adult
Little Egret 9
Rock pipit - 1 on salt marsh
Skylark 1 on Ocean Edge foreshore, later 1, possibly same bird, overhead south.

Linda Renshaw located a Speckled Bush Cricket on Heysham Nature Reserve. First for here.

Also at HNR
Goldcrest 2 - first of autumn
Grey wagtail  5 colour ringed.

Monday 26 August 2019

Bank holiday tourists

South shore - 15:00 - 17:00
Wheatear - minimum 16
Rock Pipits 4 - 2 near lighthouse, 2 on Red Nab
Whinchat - 2 Red Nab
one of the Whinchat with a Wheatear

This bird was only seen briefly on PS razor wire near wooden jetty. Side in view was in shade, but is either a female or a juvenile Redstart (MD)

Skylark 1. This bird was resting on westen end of Ocean Edge foreshore

Mediterranean gulls 2 near wooden jetty.

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid morning
Cooler than last couple of days this morning, before sun broke through.
Mute - 1 pair with 5 young on main pond. 2 adult together on Tim Butler.
Coot - 1 on "no swimming" pond, plus 1 new arrival on main pond
Moorhen 6
Gadwall 10
Tufted 1 male
Little grebe 5 (2 x sp)

Bit cool for dragonflies, but still:
Emperor 1
Common darter 6
Migrant Hawker 3

Hopefully more later.

Sunday - insect action day

Middleton Nature Reserve - lunchtime
Tufted duck 1 male - on "no swimming" pond. First record this "autumn" but the liklihood is that it has been around a while and overlooked.

The hot sunny weather meant there was a lot of insect activity.
Gatekeeper c10
Meadow Brown 2 (today's walk excluded most of the meadowlands)
Painted Lady c30 (half of them worn, half fresh)
Red Admiral 1
Peacock 1
Small White 3
Small Heath 3
Small Tortoiseshell 6
Common Blue c20
Wall Brown - a bright orange and black butterfly flew low straight and fast, till out of sight. It appeared to be a Wall, but couldn't be relocated and confirmed.
No Speckled Wood seen, despite checking likely habitats (too hot?)
Brimstone 1

Common Darter c30
Emperor 5
Brown Hawker 6
Migrant Hawker 2 + 3 other unidentified small hawkers
Broad-bodied Chaser - there was a freshly dead male on water surface of the new scrapes, plus this aging male on the seasonal pools to west of Tim Butler pond.

Saturday - insects in day

The warm weather and east breeze again brought insects in over sea wall between the wooden jetty and lighthouse, at low water. Although nothing exotic today.
Between 12:15 and 13:00, the following buterflies were seen coming in over the wall:
Painted Lady 14
Small Tortoiseshell 10
Small White 2
Red Admiral 1
No dragonflies seen today, but there were lots of smaller insects. Many of these stop for a rest as soon as they reach the top of the sea wall. This returning Wheatear was happily picking them off.

Until it was chased off, by what is presumed to be one of the breeding Rock Pipit.

Two more Rock Pipit watch on from the lighthouse.

Mediterranean gulls - 20 (including 3 juveniles) on beach beside wooden jetty 12:30

Swallow 9 south

Middleton Nature Reserve - evening
Water Rail 2 calling

Friday - anting day

Middleton Nature Reserve - early evening
Little grebe 5 (2 x sp, 2 x wp/j, plus at least one chick). All on "no swimming" pond.
Migrant Hawker 2

Gulls and swallows feeding on flying ants

Some of the swallows taking a rest from anting.

Thursday 22 August 2019

Skua freighted in.

Arctic Skua - 1 juvenile followed 17:00 freight ferry in, then continued on into bay.

Kittiwake - 2 adult plus 1 x 1cy around harbour mouth

Mediterranean gulls - 3 juvenile on outflows c2 hour after high water


Mediterranean gulls - just 15 on beach near wooden jetty. 11:30


Only limited coverage for next three days.

Mediterranean gulls - 36 on beach near wooden jetty 11:00. 1 juvenile on No.2 outflow

Monday 19 August 2019

Record Med numbers over last two days

Mediterranean gulls
Sunday at least 73 seen on Red Nab roost and feeding area near jetty.
Today at least 76 in same locations.
These are some of yesterday's, there were 62 Meds, plus other gulls, feeding on beach 4 hours before high water.

Little gull - adult seen both days around outflows.

Rock pipit 1 on Red Nab and 1 near lighthouse Sunday

Nothing seen moving off shore.

Migrant Hawker - 5 on Middleton Nature Reserve

Saturday 17 August 2019

Cumbrian Bonxie

Seawatching from Knowlys road on the early incoming tide was beset by continuous sunlight and great detail on vehicles on Barrow coast road, so a complete blank might have been in order.  However:

Great Skua - one distantly in, then lost after switching to following the scoter flock
Common Scoter - 6 out (flock)
Sandwich Tern - ad out

Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - 26 plus feeding between Heysham one and the wooden jetty including white LCG.  Later 56 on Red Nab, the most seen here in one scope view, albeit from half way along Ocean Edge
18 2CY, 8 juv, rest Ad/3CY
Little Gull - adult outfalls

Rock Pipit - looks like worn adult - by the lighthouse - usually one or two still around the breeding site area

Friday 16 August 2019

Three minutes of birding

Quick check of the outfalls from Ocean Edge saw

Little Gull - ad now winter Heysham two

Thursday 15 August 2019

Limited observers = Little

Little gull 1 - adult feeding on seawall end of No.2 outflow, just before high

Mediterranean gulls - high water roost not checked. 2 adult and 3 juvenile along sea wall and outflows. Later 5 adult near wooden jetty.

Tuesday - Grey Partridge - return or one off?

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon (MD)
Grey Partridge - one accidently flushed near the SE corner of golf club. First record for a number of years from here, where it used to be seen regularly. There have also been at least two pheasant broods this year, perhaps (hopefully) the restriction of access to the central and western marshes is encouraging ground nesting species again.

Little grebe - 5 on "no swimming" pond. 2 adult, 2 chicks and 1 juvenile.

Wheatear 1 - Ocean Edge foreshore
Little gull 1 - north past harbour mouth
Rock Pipit 1 - near Lighthouse

Mediterranean gulls - 54 on high tide roost (PM), but only 5 turned up to feed on beach near jetty when it became exposed. Presumably more arrived later.

Monday 12 August 2019

Hungry Meds show well

High water roost on mudflats tideline south of Ocean Edge (PM)
Grey Plover 124 summer plumage
Mediterranean gulls - 41 - including 14 juvenile plus 8 x 2cy and adult green ringed German bird ASRE.

Low water feeding area between wooden jetty and No.1 outflow (MD)
Rock pipit 1
Mediterranean gulls - 56 - including 9 juvenile plus 3 x 2cy
There is certainly a lot of overlap, but the overwhelming liklihood is that today's birds would have totalled more than previous high count for the area.
The timing of today's (and tomorrow's) neap tides means that this feeding area is only exposed once in daylight. The gulls were hungry and a few were waiting on the rocks below jetty for mud to be exposed.

They landed on beach as soon as the mud was exposed, and numbers grew quickly. Unfortunately, the sand mason worms are currently keeping their heads down when not in water, so the birds are following the tide out and feeding in the shallows.

The mud will start to be exposed at 14:30 tomorrow, if anyone wants to check for rings and help with count.

Heysham Nature Reserve
Grasshopper warbler - 1 juvenile ringed along with 10+ Willow warbler

Middleton Nature Reserve
Red-veined Darters - 3 males easily located, despite cool temperature (16C). West bank of main pond and peninsular
Little Grebe 1 adult with two small chicks.
Gadwall 7
Coot 1

Sunday 11 August 2019

Little Gull gets its new feathers battered

The returning adult Little Gull looked a bit battered around its re-growing primaries when photographed by Malcolm today

Little else of note seen other than at least six juv Meds and a few waders on the shore south of Ocean Edge just after high tide:

Bar-tailed Godwit - 24
Grey Plover - 10
Dunlin - 90
Sanderling - 1

Saturday storm

The most significant statistic from Saturdays two hour watch on the incoming tide from the back of the harbour was a steady stream totalling 672 Curlew heading south close inshore, cutting over the inner end of the wooden jetty.  Obviously we get big counts from Red Nab during summer/early autumn, but a lot of these counts represent a 'roll-over' with birds leaving to roost further south as others are arriving, implicitly underestimating the total.  Any consultants involved in bird surveys in this area on a 'winter wader survey remit', especially if turbine-related, are missing a major potential impact on a currently well-publicised key species - an inshore blade-height flightline, peaking late June to late August and largely consisting of moulting 2CY or + birds

Seawatching and outfall watching late afternoon
Visibility was often awful during this two hours and the only remotely clear period enabled a gang of Manx to be seen, otherwise limited to close inshore stuff

Common Tern - at least four juveniles with two out further offshore and one getting blown backwards and forwards in the harbour-mouth and another blown into the harbour itself.  Possibly more than two inshore
Arctic Tern - at least one close inshore, appearing late in the watch, then joining the Common Tern on occasions blogging off the harbour mouth
Black Tern - juv in shipping channel during a brief clearer interlude earlier in the day, then it or another flying 'out' just beyond the end of the wooden jetty late afternoon
Little Gull - 2CY out, adult on outfalls
Sandwich Tern - adult out
Manx Shearwater - 3 in
Med Gull - up to 20, mainly on Red Nab and including 8 juvs
Rock Pipit - juv by seawatching point at back of harbour for a short time

Grey Seal - one harbour mouth
Brown Rat - one run over by the car on the way to the sea-watch - a bringer of more rain and poor visibility than luck!

Friday 9 August 2019

Med day

At least 18 different birds at low tide including returning German adults ASRE and ANLT and also 8 juvs

Sandwich Tern - one surprisingly on Red Nab at low tide

Rock pipit south harbour lighthouse
Wheatear 1 female type near lighthouse

Sallow NFY in moth trap

Thursday 8 August 2019

A bit of ringing in the only suitable weather

The forecast suggested the CES would be problematic on a later date, so had to go for it in the dreaded north-westerlies this morning.  Sometimes this can work after a windy spell and two new Reed Warblers out of habitat have been caught by Heysham NR office so far and a new juvenile Cetti's Warbler on the Middleton CES

Wednesday 7th

No reports - outfalls/red nab not checked - any sightings from visitors please?

Canary Shouldered Thorn in moth trap indicating how autumnal its getting!

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Sandwich terns

Not quite strong enough at the wrong state of tide to prompt any proper seawatching so just an outfalls and red nab scan from a soggy Ocean Edge foreshore

Sandwich Tern - 4
Little gull - ad
Med - at least 32 with at least 5 juvs

Monday 5 August 2019

Back to the westerlies

Lot more birds on the outfalls now the distraction of flying ants has ceased

Med gull - 41 in a quick sweep, mostly SW end Red Nab
Little Gull - ad the outermost bird on Heyshsm two
Arctic Tern - ad Red Nab

Coal tit in song Moneyclose Lane

Sunday 4 August 2019

Early morning ringing

Rather unexpected to find Chiffchaff the highest ringing total of the warblers so early in the autumn.  10 were ringed, followed by 9 Whitethroat and low single figures of other species

Cetti’s Warbler - a recently fledged juvenile in the central marsh at Middleton was the most interesting individual capture

Tree sparrow - one plus at least two south over Heyshsm and at least two with a gang of House Sparrow on heyshsm heliport site

Dark Spinach in moth trap at Middleton

Saturday 3 August 2019

Yellow Wagtail

Middleton NR early session
Nothing better early on than a single Garden Warbler and an early (or secretively breeding) Water Rail - also present, but not logged on 26/7.  Surely single secretive breeding pair at this irregular known site, albeit with no evidence of success. 

Yellow Wagtail - one south at 1133hrs
Swallow - at least 80 south/feeding for a short time (25 ringed)
Sand Martin - 1 south
House Martin - 2 south
Not a great deal of obvious landbird migration for an easterly with a bit of cloud cover but still a respectable trickle of warblers ringed, a majority (11) being Whitethroat, as usual in early August

Red veined Darter.  At least five males and a female abs almost certainly another pair in cop but the latter not seen quite well enough to eliminate Common Darter (thanks Janice)

Harbour lighthouse area (SD35Z) MD
ESE breeze again brought insects in off at low water.
Only Painted Lady and Small White were seen coming in, at a rate around one a minute. But there was an increase of Common blue on the scrub to 5, plus a Peacock and, first here this year, Gatekeeper.
Silver Y - 4
Unfortunately the tide was rising before the time likely for dragonflies to arrive. But one flew overhead at 11:20 (tide was already up to outflows), almost certainly a darter with red abdomen.

Wheatear - 1 female type
Grey Seal - 1 male

Friday 2 August 2019


Middleton Nature Reserve
Red-veined Darter - 4 male on main pond. This one has either come a long way, or been here a long while, or both!

Gadwall c20 adult, or almost adult size birds on "no swimming" pond


Red- Veined Darter - still one on dog walk pond (this is the small pond on the walk between Red Nab and the Reserve).

Wednesday - provisional

Red-veined Darter - another 'new' site
Three males on the bare eastern edge of the 'dog walk pond' (one previous here - years ago)

Humming-bird Hawk-moth - one on nature park buddliea

Mediterranean gulls - good numbers on Red Nab early in rising tide, including two ringed birds read by Pete Crooks.  Later in the tide, about 40 scattered around along the still exposed mud south of Ocean Edge but no compact gull roost due to dog
Little Gull - ad summer
Sandwich Tern - 2
Whimbrel - at least 4

Common Sandpiper 1 - Ocean Edge foreshore

Other returning waders on Red Nab and salt marsh
Ringed Plover 5
Dunlin 1
Lapwing 9
Whimbrel 1
Redshank c200

Picture below showing some of yesterday's Painted Lady "topping up" after coming in off sea near lighthouse. There were c20 on this knapweed. I can find 16 in this frame.