Monday 30 September 2019

Yellow browed Warbler heads a varied morning

Middleton NR: After a single call of what appeared to be this species from the direction of the sycamores along the SE golf course edge, one was caught in a small tit flock in the nearest net about an hour later

Of equal interest was a late Lesser Whitethroat showing brownish tones on the head.

Actually six species of warbler ringed this morning at Midd with a new Cetti’s and late Willow Warbler accompanying the usual Blackcap and Chiffchaff

Another Willow Warbler was ringed at Heysham NR.  No big numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff today with 8 each ringed and Goldcrest were conspicuous by their near-absence (4 ringed)

Ringing totals for September top seven were:  Blackcap (112), Chiffchaff (81), Grey Wagtail (75), Blue Tit (66), Meadow Pipit (50), Robin (47), Goldcrest (43)

Vis mig today - no 100% concentration on this!
Grey Wagtail - c9
Meadow Pipit - 140
Shoveler - 2 east
Wigeon - 3 east
Snipe - 2 east
Carrion Crow - 7 south
Jackdaw - singleton high to north
Siskin - 1
Skylark - 7
alba Wagtail - c20
Pink-footed Goose - 365 south
Swallow - 3
Chaffinch - 2  

Sunday 29 September 2019

Sunday - so far

Wheatear 3 - Ocean Edge foreshore
Meadow pipit 2 - south

Saturday 28 September 2019

Little gull and Guillemot

Rock pipit 1
Meadow pipit 2
Ad Little Gull Heysham No.1 Outfall this am briefly, just after Red Nab was covered by tide.

Juv Guillemot on the flow tide this pm. Driven ashore to the SE corner of skeer by the surging spring tide. Contender for photograph of the year! (MD)

Friday - still not much, but a bit better

Strong west wind and driving rain wasn't helpful, but there was some movement (MD)
Rock Pipit - 1 moving east along the sea wall between outflows and Red Nab.
Green Sandpiper - again east, but over the sea, just out from sea wall.
Wheatear 1 - Ocean Edge foreshore
Meadow Pipits 4 - battling south
Common Snipe 2 - saltmarsh
Mute Swan 2 adult sheltering on water over saltmarsh

Thursday - not much

First of the Wigeon returned. 5 today on Red Nab
Little Egret 6

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Chiffchaff day

Limited coverage today to mist netting and vis at Heyshsm and Middleton

More tomorrow but the day included:

Whitethroat - late bird Heysham NR
Chiffchaff - 22 ringed, mainly Heysham
Blackcap - about 12 ringed
Grey Wagtail - just two over and one ringed
Reed Bunting - 7 migrants ringed at Middleton

Middleton Nature Reserve -early afternoon
House Martin 1
Gadwall 16
Tufted 1
Little grebe 3 (1sp)
Plus this shoveler like duck, with dubious pedigree (MD)

Still plenty of dragonflies when the sun cam out. Brown and Migrant Hawkers plus Common Darters.

24th Sept

Very little happening. Shelduck numbers are starting to grow, 56 on Red Nab.

23rd sept

will sort tomorrow

Sunday 22 September 2019

Pale-bellied Brent

This was nearly missed as it flew off Red Nab and headed south close inshore - is already ‘scanned’ red nab but for white larids!

15 Meds red Nab/nearby mud

Saturday 21 September 2019

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier - Juv south Middleton NR 0650hrs

A steady east breeze and 20C+, should equal insect migration off the sea, so the lighthouse area was checked twice today.
10:30 - 11:30 (low water)
A bit erratic at first, then became a steady influx of butterflies.
Red Admiral 36
Small White 25
Painted Lady 8
Small Tortoiseshell 3
Silver Y 2
 At 13:15 there were still plenty coming in, but they soon eased off as tide progressed further along sea wall. A walk down to No2 outflow, confirmed there were butterflies coming in all along the sea wall.
This count is only those that came in over lighthouse/wooden jetty wall till 14:00.
Red Admiral 12
Small White 26
Painted Lady 9
Small Tortoiseshell 8
Peacock 1
Silver Y 1
Most moved straight through, but a few whites and Painted Lady stopped for a top up. As did the Silver Y, which may just be resident.
Just one dragonfly, in the afternoon session. Male Migrant Hawker.

Friday 20 September 2019

Humming bird Hawk Moth and Great White Egret

This morning saw a short dawn mist netting session at Middleton NR which followed the pattern of migratory over achievement during moonlit clarity.  18 new birds in two nets this am including four more Grey Wagtail (78 colour ringed so far this autumn) and about the 200th Blackcap of the year, way above the norm for this species with at least a month to go

Great white Egret - one west over golf club 1430

Humming bird Hawk-Moth - one half moon bay on sedum

Grey Wagtail - 4
Meadow Pipit - 12
Reed Bunting - 6
Pink-footed Goose - 60 N
alba wagtail - 6
Snipe - 1
Stonechat - 1 male

Lighthouse sloping wall -evening
Several birds taking advantage of the small insects coming in off sea and resting on sea wall.
Wheatear 1
White wagtail 5
Rock Pipit 3

Middleton Nature Reserve - early afternoon.
Lots of dragonflies including: Emperor, Brown hawker, Migrant hawker and Common darter.
This female Migrant Hawker seen ovipositoring 

Thursday 19 September 2019

Are the sand-mason worms harvested?

Mediterranean Gulls - only a maximum two birds have been seen over the last three days.
Personal thought on this (MD) - the peak counts of birds feeding on the sand-mason worms on beach near wooden jetty (57 and 60+) were both within 3 days of the last two full moons. This suggests that the sand-mason worm activity that makes them easy picking, is linked to the lunar calendar. This is presumably part of their breeding cycle.
There was not a single gull on the feeding beach today, not even the Black-headed gulls who have been present before the Meds arrived. This suggests that all worm "activity" has stopped, meaning the last full moon (the Harvest moon) was the last feeding opportunity. This implies that the beach is now empty of gulls, not because the Meds have gone, but that the Meds have gone because the beach is empty (of available worms).
This theory will be checked next year, but might be interesting as the Harvest moon is not till 1/10/20!

Middleton Nature Reserve - early evening
Kingfisher - one flying around "no swimming" pond then main pond.
Gadwall 22
Mallard 9
Teal 1
Tufted 1
Little grebe 2 (1 sp)
Pinkfooted goose 33 south

Still good numbers of dragonflies around. This weekend might be the last good viewing opportunity.


Not a lot going on.
Weather: ESE F1, 8/8 cloud (alto cumulus)
Vis mig (all generally S unless stated):
Jackdaw - 9 high
Pink-footed Goose - 422
Grey Wagtail - 8>S, 1 >N
Chaffinch - 12
Reed Bunting - 1
alba wagtail - 18
Meadow Pipit - 23
Goldfinch - 20

Tuesday 17 September 2019

More pinks

Location: South Harbour Wall
Time: 0830-1030
Weather: Clear, sunny, NNW F3
Comment: Far less this morning, though a late start for vis

Pink-footed Goose - 412 SW
Meadow Pipit - 28
Grey Wagtail - 1 (plus 2 ringed at Heysham)

More to come

Monday 16 September 2019

Great White Egret

Pink-footed goose - major movement took place over the UK this morning. At Heysham two flight lines watched today.
c1000 + seen flying south on eastern side by Middleton Nature Reserve ringers.
c800 seen from skeer on western side, all flying south. Small skeins to start with, but increasing during morning (07:00 - 09:00)
Meadow Pipit - 75 (no doubt many more much higher up out of view in the blue sky conditions)
Skylark - 7
Reed Bunting - 3
Common Buzzard - 1
Chaffinch - 2
Grey Wagtail - 19 (11 caught and ringed)
Tree Sparrow - 6 (4 caught and ringed)
Swallow - 2
Great White Egret - 1 (see below)
Linnet - 1
Goldfinch - 5
Lesser Whitethroat - 1

Heysham/Middleton Nature Reserve
Not a bad morning for ringing but it rapidly died off after 1000, as it usually does on clear mornings, but not so recently.  Ringing totals included an unusual 5 Tree Sparrow, 11 Grey Wagtail, 14 Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaff, 7 (migrant) Robin, 6 Goldcrest,  2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Reed Bunting  and single Sedge Warbler and Treecreeper, the latter the third of the week.  There seems to be a bottomless pit of new Blackcaps with getting on for 200 so far.

Great White Egret
One seen leaving the reserve to the south 12:45

Still lots of dragonfly activity, but today restricted to: Emperor, Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker and Common Darter
Mute 4 adult plus 6 (5+1) 1cy
Gadwall 13
Tufted 1
Mallard 6
Little grebe 3
Coot 1
Moorhen 10

Cormorant- now regularly seen on the main pond, today one was seen catching one of the, plentiful, goldfish-rudd/roach hybrids.

Sunday - Curlew Sandpipers

Curlew Sandpipers - 3 juvenile together on wet inshore mud just south of the eastern end of the salt marsh.

Knot - an unexpected roost of 4500 on Heliport wall

Mediterranean gulls
Feeding area near jetty just before last of birds were flushed by tide
Adult 11 - including German ringed bird ANLT
No.2 outflow
Juvenile 2

Bar-Tailed Godwit
It is unusual to see any on the beach between the outflows. I don't know why, this individual caught three lugworm, as the incoming tide softened the mud. (MD)

Saturday 14 September 2019

Full moon surprisingly provides!

This was a real bonus - a good hour of daylight before the forecasted niggling wind put paid to eg Grey Wagtail ringing. New night migrants and tit accompanees just kept coming and included two Treecreeper in a catch of over 60 new birds.  These included seven Grey Wagtail in the net on the first round and three late Lesser Whitethroat and singles of Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Willow warbler.  A Lesser Redpoll was early for here

Pink-footed Goose - 55 S
Goldfinch - 60 S
Chaffinch 10 - S

Teal heard in the western scrape


an early morning ringing.and vis mig session was surprisingly good for a clear northwesterly

Pink footed goose - H plus 20 plus 26
Grey Wagtail - c13 (8 Ringed)
Meadow Pipit - c30
Jackdaw - flock 41 high south
Swallow - 6!
Chaffinch - 1
Reed Bunting - 4

Ringing to be added

Mediterranean gulls - Red Nab high water roost (thanks to Pete Woodruff)
Adult   28 - including a green ringed bird, not ANLT
2/3cy     6
1cy        6 - including a new yellow ringed German bird AZ.TZ

Thursday 12 September 2019

Rain forming overhead!

The rain alarm was not much use today with a decision to ride out an early short flurry because of a ‘long gap’ being a bad move and wet furled nets were eventually brought in to dry at a site where you just cannot risk leaving them overnight, especially with the ‘nobody tells me where I cant pick my blackberries’ brigade! So a forecasted three hour ore rain session ended up as one and a half rounds.
This was highlighted by two Goldcrest, a Robin and  Blackcap.

Vis for what it’s worth comprised a Linnet, a Reed Bunting, 5 Chaffinch, 4 Meadow Pipit

The coast was equally unremarkable with nothing like yesterday’s Med numbers and low figures of Wheatear and the now ubiquitous petrosus Rock Pipits from the breeding pairs

A Rusty Dot Pearl graced the moth trap

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Meds start feasting

Mediterranean gulls - varrious high water roosts are used on these neap tides, but those roosting on Red Nab today included a green ringed juvenile.
A check of the feeding area between wooden jetty and No.1 outflow at 19:00, found it full of gulls, at least 60 were Mediterranean. Including a yellow ringed juvenile, unfortunately just out of reading range. Meds have been feeding here on sand mason worms all summer, but the pickings have been slim, and mainly in the wetter sections. Today all the gulls were easily catching worms, even the inexperienced juveniles. The worms habits must have changed, presumably briefly showing out of their tube as part of their breeding cycle (MD).

Shag 1 adult or near adult (PM)
Little gull 1 adult

Wheatear 3
Rock pipit 3

Guillemot 1 x1cy just out from Ocean Edge foreshore on rising tide.

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Decent morning until the UU concrete crusher!

The slippery mudbath left by UU was negotiated pre-dawn in order to open the palisade gate into the Middleton NR bird ringing area.  It was not a moment too soon as there was quite a rush of pre-sunrise Robins and Blackcaps followed at 0638 by the first of nine Grey Wagtail to be colour ringed.  Most birds were caught between 0630 and 0750 in the tranquil part of the morning!

Vis mig
Meadow Pipit - just c34
Grey Wagtail - c16 (9 Ringed)
Alba Wagtail - 3
Chaffinch - 5
Rook - star birds of am with 4 south
Mute Swan - imm south
Swallow - just 3 south
Reed Bunting - 3 south then grounded (2 ringed)

Ringing included 10 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Robin, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler
Wheatear - 7 along shore

Monday 9 September 2019

Shag showing well

A Shag was preening on the wooden jetty this evening. It didn't move from this location in the 30 minutes I was in the area (17:30 - 18:00)
This spot on the jetty has been used by the long staying Shag, but it may just be the demarcation line from the 50+ cormorant on the end section.
The picture below shows the location, the Shag is the bird (black blob) on the extreem left of jetty. This is on the middle section, of what is left, of jetty.

Unfortunately, the distance and the light being behind the bird made it impossible, for me at least (MD), to accurately age, but no sign of crest.

Mediterranean gulls - 11 adult feeding near jetty in evening. 1 juvenile on outflows in morning.

Rock pipits - 3 on Red Nab this morning, 2 by lighthouse this evening. This one showing its feathers nicely.

Sunday 8 September 2019

The day after everything got going

Just about worth the early start with a decent catch of Grey Wagtail after yesterday’s problems.  Other stuff very sparse, especially warblers, but unsurprising after a clear cold night.

Vis mig
Tree pipit - 1
Grey Wagtail - 11 (8 Ringed)
alba wagtail - 3
Meadow Pipit - just 15
Swallow -5 N, 2 S
Chaffinch - 6
Reed Bunting - 1

Common Buzzard - Middleton

Ringing included 4 Goldcrest, 4 Robin, lesser whitethroat, Reed Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 lightweight Dunnock

Saturday 7 September 2019

A complete opposite to yesterday as the main observers of the last two days glued to the sea yesterday but never even saw it today as effort focused on an early am vis/ringing session.  This was very autumnal until a late flurry in the nets of Whitethroat species.  Bird of the day from a visiting observer and insect of the day from Malcolm

Vis mig 0600-1000
Meadow Pipit - 73
Grey Wagtail - 15-17
Reed Bunting - 4
Swallow - just 2
Tree pipit - 1
Cartoon Crow - flock of 11

Osprey - one flushing everything inshore as it headed south over Knowlys Road at 1040hrs (thanks for reporting this)
Great crested Grebe - 7

Ringing at Middleton included: 9 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Reed Warbler, 3 Robin, 2 lightweight Dunnock, 3 Reed Bunting
No extra grounded migrants seen in field

Black Darter - probably two males

Migrant Hawker - 11 plus
Brown Hawker/Emperor/Southern Hawker - at least one each
Common Darter - loads
Good nos damselflies but none with red eyes!

Friday 6 September 2019

Busy day for odds and ends

A handful of inner bay Leachs Petrels moved out at various times during the dropping tide (missed the lot!).  The outfalls attracted a few waifs and the incoming Ben my Chree was pretty good considering a freight ferry dragged some of the fare back out before it was in range

Arctic Tern - juv seaward end of outfalls mid am, then adult  in with the Ben at 1220
Common Tern - at least three adults on outfalls/following ferries
Leach’s Petrel - one 0830, one 1030 and two possibly three others logged heading our way from
Stone Jetty
Sandwich Tern - adult out

Little gull - ad and a second ad/3cy with the usual bird just after a morning squall
Spotted Redshank - moulting ad out
Shag - ad or near adult by north side harbour mouth-  Returning bird??

Med Gull - Czech ringed bird seen also six juvs, red nab not checked
Manx Shearwater - one out distantly
Kittiwake - 7 ad, 2 1cy behind Ben

Thursday 5 September 2019


A low tide check if the outfalls early am included a Bonxie which tried to catch a bh Gull sat on the sea. It missed and went to sit on a sandbank further out

Little gull - ad
Med Gull - c20 including 6 juvs and white and green ringed birds
Wheatear - 7
Great crested Grebe - 7 in low tide channel

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Shame it wasn’t the second day of near gale

Seawatching was hard work today with an average of about one Leach’s per hour over the tide and not a lot else other than a small collection of inshore waifs

Leachs Petrel - two singles and two together 1200-1545 with none later despite two supposedly heading our way past the Stone Jetty (photographed)
Manx Shearwater - one on sea briefly and likely to have been the tired bird also seen on sea off Jenny BP
Kittiwake - just two ad and one 1cy on outfalls
Common Tern - two ragged adults outfalls
Arctic Tern - Juv harbourmouth briefly perhaps also ad outfalls
Shag - 1cy early in tide sequence
Little gull - usual ad
Med gull - c15
Knot - 2220 south
Ruff - one south with high flying Curlew flock (bird of the day here!)
Wheatear - 4

Tuesday 3 September 2019


leachs petrel - one distantly slowly out 1500

Little Gull - ad red nab
Kittiwake - ad associated with iom
Little Gull - ad red nab
Med Gull - 22 Red Nab and outfalls (6 Juv)


Shag - new in 1cy harbour mouth midday
Little Gull - ad red nab

Pinkfoot goose - 5 south
Canada goose - 3 south


Med gulls - 9 adult plus 3 juv on beach near wooden jetty. A further 6 adult plus 1 juv from north side when flushed, from wherever they were feeding, by tide.