Friday 29 November 2019


Little else showing today.
Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall  33 on main pond with
Tufted Duck 1 female.
 Most of Gadwall on above frame, Tufted top right. Detail below

No Swimming pond
Shoveler 1 male
Teal 1 female
Coot 1

Still plenty of grounded Redwind (c10 around the two main ponds)

No sign of Little gull or BRS on south wall

Possibly more later.

Thursday 28 November 2019


Rock Pipit - 3 on south wall, two together plus a singleton.
No sign of Little gull or Black Redstart.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 27
Mallard 4
Shoveler 1 male
Little grebe 1
Coot 1

Hopefully more later

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Black Redstart

Ocean Edge to harbour mouth
Black Redstart
10:20: It came from west side of No.2 outflow. It flew under the superstructure before landing 20m on the east side. It was c50m out from wall when I noticed it, but I'm quite happy it could have come from further west along the wall.  It then went into the power station grounds (ref MD).
Sorry about the fake news of it flying over the fence as per my message on WhatsApp (see pic below) - attention to detail matters!

Rock Pipit - two sightings RN and Foreshore, but possibly same bird.
Meadow Pipit - 1 on perimeter fence near RN
Jack Snipe - 1
Common Snipe - 5
Reed Bunting - 4 together

Middleton NR quick check
Gadwall - 33 on main pond, 2 "no swimming"
Pochard - 1 male "no swimming"
Mallard - 4 main pond
Coot - 1 "no swimming"

Twite - 2 moved leisurely (not migration mode) along Heliport, last seen heading south down north wall.

Monday and Tuesday

Monday - no coverage

Tuesday - nothing of note today

Sunday 24 November 2019

Siberian Chiffchaff and Pochard surprises

*Late news: a Siberian Chiffchaff of the requisite buff tones and plaintive phew call was by the HNR office late afternoon, loosely associated with a Long-tailed Tit flock.  It seemed to end up in the fire pond compound but had stopped calling

A ringing day today by the office and for the second time running including a feisty Jay as well as evidence that many continental Blackbirds are hanging in on the abundant hawthorn berry supply

A drake Pochard was a surprise on Middleton NR - presumably the Lune estuary singleton?

Just a brief check of two main ponds
Gadwall 33 on main pond 2 on "no swimming"
Mallard 5
Coot 1 on "no swimming" pond
Pochard 1 male on "no swimming" pond.

Quite a few flying around under the low cloud/mist
Fieldfare 3
Redwing c25, including these having a rest

Little Gull still

The adult Little Gull was reported today but the only other sightings were of a 'lot of flies'!  Shame the moth trap is kaput

Friday 22 November 2019

Couple or so decent sightings

The Ad Little Gull remains on Heysham two outfall and thereabouts

Merlin - male along south harbour wall

Tree Sparrow - one possibly two on Knowlys road horse paddock hedges with loads of House Sp, Chaff etc

Great-crested Grebe - 17 in channels

Eider - just two males seen in channels

Red-throated Diver - one quite distant on dropping tide

Thursday 21 November 2019


The very amenable Little Gull, has aparently been christened Gulliver (oh dear). Showing on outflows and sea wall again today.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall - showing a preference to main pond till disturbance becomes intrusive, when they retreat to "no swimming" pond. Maximum today 28.
Shoveler - 2 males including the half eclipsed bird. So definitely at least three males using pond.
Teal - at least 2 male

Redwing 31 moving south, probably after being grounded, still c20 feeding on hawthorn.
Blackbird c20 additional birds feeding with Redwing
Fieldfare 5 blogging

No sign of Great White Egret in morning or evening.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

GWE changes direction

Middleton Nature Reserve,
Great White Egret - Two weeks ago, a regular movement over to ESE, usually from the direction of the golf club was identified in the late afternoon (15:30 to 15:50). As far as I know (MD), this hasn't been checked since the 6th November, so I checked today.
Sure enough the bird came over right on time (15:34), but today it came from ESE and was last seen low over the centre of golf club.....

Shoveller - 2 males on "no swimming" pond, these are in full breeding plumage and unlikely to include the half eclipsed bird seen on Friday. So it seems there are at least 3 males and 2 females regularly using this pond.
Gadwall 34
Mallard 2
Water Rail 1

Redwing - still plenty grounded

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Decent variety

Low tide channels out fron Heysham Head
Scaup 1 drake
Great Crested Grebe 19
Red-breasted Merganser 6
Eider 23

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just the two main pond checked.
Gadwall 25
Teal 1
Green Sandpiper 1

The wall roosting Little gull obliged again today on the south wall.

Thanks for picture Kevin

Sunday and Monday

2+ Bottle-nosed Dolphin photographed off north wall - pics taken (Jim Clift)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall 38 - new high count
Great White Egret - 2 high to ESE
Woodcock 1
Cetti's warbler 1 (singing on western marsh)
Raven 2 blogging

Still lots of thrushes feeding on hawthorn. Minimum numbers:
Blackbird 30
Fieldfare 3
Redwing 20

South shore
Rock Pipit 1 Red Nab
Little gull - adult roosting on sea wall near No.2 outflow at high water


Little gull - 1 adult preening on wooden jetty before feeding briefly on No.1 outflow.
Rock pipit - 3 together near lighthouse, then moved along south wall towards Red Nab.
Meadow pipit 2 - near lighthouse

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 35
Shoveler 1 male

Friday 15 November 2019


Little Gull - Ad Heysham two

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall - 35
Shoveler - 4 (2 pair)
Teal - I male
Little grebe 1
Redwing c13 grounded


An amazing addition to the SD35Z moth list today in the form of a Red Sword Grass sunning itself on the (sheltered from NE wind) seawall by Heysham outfalls.  Thanks Kevin

Little Gull - Ad Heysham two
Gadwall - 37
Shoveler - 2
Teal - 1

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Purple Sandpiper still around

A small flock of Turnstone was flushed by the tide as it reached the "beach" between Red Nab and the boundary of Ocean Edge 10:00. As these flew in the direction of the saltmarsh the flock was seen to include the Purple sandpiper. A later check of the saltmarsh area found no Turnstone, so presumably the birds had moved towards Potts Corner.

A late afternoon check of skeer failed to find a Scaup, and diving birds were scarse and well spread.
Eider 3
Great Crested Grebe - at least 8
Red-Breasted Merganser 1

Tuesday - not much, but interesting

South shore - am
Little gull - adult feeding on No.2 outflow 09:00 and 10:15.
Purple Sandpiper 1 flying between  Red Nab and salt marsh on its own 09:30

Middleton Nature Reserve
Gadwall 25
Little grebe 1

Scaup 1 drake floated into recording area on ebbing tide in afternoon (seen floating out from Morecambe Stone Jetty)

Monday 11 November 2019

The sea starts to provide

Strong and increasing, largely westerly, winds stired up the sea.
Two hours sea watch till 12:00 ferry arrived resulted in:
Kittiwake 20 + 7 in
Razorbill 2 out
Razorbill/Guillemot 4 out
Mediterranean gull - 2 adult followed in the (Kittiwakeless) ferry. These were then joined by a third adult from the inner harbour, possibly the Czech ringed bird.

An afternoon check located:
Common Scotor 1 female out from Heysham Head
Great Crested Grebe 6
Eider 8

Little gull - the current regular bird, with distinctive habits, has now been confirmed as a different one to the one which completed its autumn moult here (comparison of images of head patterns).
Today's sightings are typical for these spring tides.
09:50 feeding on No.2 outflow
10:00 - 11:00 (either side of high water) roosting on sea wall between Red Nab and No.1 outflow.
11:10 feeding on No.2 outflow

Jack Snipe 2 sightings of birds being flushed by tide covering salt marsh - possibly same bird (both landed back on marsh which wasn't completely covered). Tomorrow should be better.

Sunday 10 November 2019

Another Snow Bunting

Vis mig 0755-0855 by office
Chaffinch - 78 S
Brambling - 6 S
Greenfinch - 11 S
Grey Wagtail - prob blogging
Redwing - 16 S
Blackbird - 19 S plus another 15 or so in bushes
Woodpigeon - 88 S (one flock)
Raven - two - also seen later on pylons
Starling - 80+60 S
Little Gull - ad outfalls at lunchtime
Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Snow Bunting - one flew south calling about 1000hrs but lost in the low sun, no evidence of it on the shoreline as far as end of Ocean Edge
Common snipe 15
Reed bunting 2
Greenfinch 12
Rock pipit 1
Kingfisher 1 Red Nab

Middleton Nature Reserve - late afternoon
Just the main ponds checked
Gadwall 34
Shoveller 3 (2 male)
Mallard 6
Little grebe and Coot not seen, but could easily have been missed.

Crimson Rosella - the source of the mysterious calls heard a couple of evenings this week was finally found.

The parrot was feeding on these Alder cones just across from lower car park.

Saturday 9 November 2019

The (or a) Little gull lingers on

Little gull 1 adult on No.2 outflow. It was seen at 10:15, 11:20 and 13:40 at least.
Thanks to Kevin for picture.

Rock pipit, two together on Ocean Edge salt marsh.

No sign of Purple Sandpiper today.

Kingfisher - one found by this morning's junior "Watch" group behind the dipping pond Heysham Nature Reserve- an excellent record!


Purple Sandpiper - briefly, alone on No.2 outflow rails on ebbing tide (PM)

Middleton Nature Reserve
Great White Egret - 10:10 flew into golf club from south.

I like this picture with shadow of legs looking like something out of a Hammer Horror movie (MD)

Gadwall 25
Coot 1
Little grebe 1wp
Redwing c30
Fieldfare 2

Thursday 7 November 2019

Record Gadwall numbers?

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon
There were 34 Gadwall on the "no swimming" pond. I believe this is the highest ever count of adult birds for the reserve (MD).
Shoveler 2 male

Some of the Gadwall with the two Shoveler.

Whooper swan - 3 flew very low across the reserve west to east - honking all the way.

This was the only one above the tree line as they left reserve to east.

Pinkfoot three skiens together to south. 60, 44 & 71

Jack snipe 1 flitting around the salt marsh in morning.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Quantity not quality

Nothing scarce or rare could be eked out during the early morning coverage

Goldcrest - 1
Blackcap - one ringed Middleton
Blackbird - 140-150
Song Thrush - 16
Redwing - see vis
Mistle Thrush - one flew inland at dawn
Woodcock - 2
Stonechat - female recycling centre road

Redwing - 140-150, mainly NE
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - 44
Woodpigeon - 130
Meadow Pipit - 1
Bullfinch - 3
Greenfinch - 7
Long-tailed Tit - 14 south (some via mist net - unringed)
Redpoll - 1

Starling - 4500

Great White Egret - 1 again heading east over Middleton Nature Reserve. 15:50. More to the north than last two days, it flew over the Tim Butler pond. Best viewed from field just north of top car park, where both north and south reserve boundaries are visible.

October ringing totals - a good effort time-wise but no huge catches (eg no sizeable Goldcrest falls):  Greenfinch (90), Goldcrest (60), Goldfinch (41), Chiffchaff (39), Chaffinch (38), Long-tailed Tit (30), Wren (26), Redwing (25), Reed Bunting (23), Blue Tit (21).  Unusual: Yellow-browed Warbler (3), Treecreeper (2), Cetti's Warbler (3) and Garden Warbler (2).   Just 11 Blackcap were ringed but this is still amazingly the species with the highest ringing total of the year with no previous year evidence that Goldfinch and Greenfinch will overtake it. The current ringing sites are not good for catching numbers of continental Blackbird, hence missing from the list

Tuesday 5 November 2019

The autumn keeps giving scarcities but we need the big one!

Inshore/seawatch coverage
Eider - just two males and a very distant flock of 7 - the mussels have been washed off the main skeer after rising themselves up during a series of silt deposits, then washed away by a flood tide/freshwater flood
Snow Bunting - what seemed to be a male flew SSE low over the sea at right angles to the strong NE wind and seemed to be heading inshore around the Lune Estuary area, possibly Potts corner area on the same line.  Surprisingly obvious against the sea!
Geese, presumed Brent - untidy gaggle of ten-ish flew low and landed near Rampside in crystal clear visibility!
Med Gull - still one 1CY around
(No sign of the Shag gang or Little Gull)

Great White Egret(s)
One north past wooden jetty 11:00.
More interestingly, one, once again, over Middleton Nature Reserve late afternoon 15:45. This is 15 minutes later than yesterday, but suggests a routine. Today's bird came more from the north than yesterday's, but still ended up flying SE over main pond. Worth checking around this time tomorrow, and hopefully onwards (MD)

Monday 4 November 2019


This was the predicted fare in these early November easterlies and a nice male.

Blackbird - 104 comprising birds on the tank farm, those flying inland from dawn and those grounded to the north of the office.  There were no grounded thrushes on Middleton mid-am
Firecrest - 1 caught below the old Obs Tower site
Goldcrest - 1 new bird
Song Thrush - 4
Redwing - 27
Woodcock - 1
Meadow Pipit - always a few grounded around the coast in early November - rather odd:  Photo from Kevin:

Mistle Thrush - 2+7 north
Woodpigeon - 159 S (flock 140)
Pink-footed Goose - 66 S
Redwing - 13 high flyers
Chaffinch - 27
Brambling - 1
Bullfinch - 3
Goldfinch - 5
Carrion Crow - 3

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon
No sign of Goldeneye or Pochard,
Gadwall 23
Tufted 1 male
Teal 2 (m&f)
Shoveler only the male seen
Little grebe 2 (1 partial sp on Tim Butler plus juv/wp bird on "no swimming" pond.)

Redwing c60 grounded

Great White Egret 1 flew east from golfclub direction leaving the Reserve over the main pond (MD)

Bits and bobs from Sunday

Little Egret - colour ringed bird Red Nab - our first
Shag - ad and 1CY in the inner harbour
Ad Little Gull
Med - 2 x 1CY - not seen recently

More later

Saturday 2 November 2019

Early morning rounds quite productive but where are the cuddy ducks?

Middleton main pond
Goldeneye - male but flew off
Pochard - male and female (IOA)

Low tide channels from Knowlys
Great-crested Grebe - 24 in second channel
Red-breasted Merganser - 4 in second channel
Shag - 4 - three feeding close together and synchronously amongst the more individually feeding Cormorants off the Head. These all looked to be 1cy.
Later, one adult flew into the inner harbour.

Mute Swan - Pair and three young on the sea
Red-throated Diver - one out distantly
Meadow Pipit - 5 horse paddock
Rock Pipit - one heard calling from beach area by horse paddock

Little Gull - ad
Purple Sandpiper reported by an unknown couple as being on the skeer by the harbour

Agonopterix heracliana on office door

Middleton Nature Reserve - rest of stuff
Mute 5 adult 7 juvenile
Gadwall 23
Shoveler 3
Mallard 2
Moorhen c10
Little grebe 1
Woodcock 1
Common snipe 1
Jack snipe 1
Water rail 1

Cetti's warbler 2
Meadow pipit 3
Reed bunting 2

Lots feeding on hawthorn in NW corner before drifting off south.
Minimum numbers:
Redwing 30
Fieldfare 17
Blackbird 12
Song Thrush 2

Friday 1 November 2019

Robin resumes acquaintance

Not a lot happening today.
Robin caught on Heysham Nature Reserve - first ringed as a juvenile in 2012.

Shelduck are feeding in large numbers between Red Nab and Pott's corner, c 200

The Wigeon flock gathered at No.1 outflow as tide started flooding. A count produces a, frustratingly, round number of 150.