Saturday, 29 February 2020

Little gulls in a sorry state

Little gull - There were three feeding on No.2 outflow at high water.
A first winter waife

This adult with damaged primaries

And this adult with some form of growth on right wing

All this watched by a grey seal

Which in turn was being followed by the large gulls

Still no sign of the Brent geese on north or south side.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Bit and bob

 Just in the singular for time being. I'm (MD) only aware of two records, hopefully more later.

There was no sign of any Brent geese on the skeer in the morning or later on Red Nab.

Little gull 1 1st winter on No.2 outflow 12:45

Jack snipe 1 flushed off saltmarsh by tide 13:15

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Brent "family" return

 Thursday provisional, hopefully more later

Pale-bellied Brent goose - 09:15 the two Canadian ringed birds were feeding in the SE corner of sheer, again accompanied by 4 juvenile birds. They are certainly behaving like a family group (MD).

Another two were feeding further along the skeer edge.
There is no growing weed here, the birds seemed to be eating the broken weed on the incoming tide line.

All 8 got together in the corner when the areas they had been feeding on were covered by the tide.

Presumably after that they moved to the children's play area then on to Red Nab to feed. But no reports from these areas as yet.

15:30 8 (presumably same birds) flew back to north side past the south wall roundhead on the ebb tide

Little gull 1st winter bird still feeding on No.2 outflow
Kittiwake 1st winter also on No.2 outflow

Just a glimpse of the number of birds feeding on the flood tide on the beach south of skeer.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Mixed bag

Provisional update, hopefully more later.
The winds eased and the sun shone, occasionally.

No sign of Brent geese on the north or south shore.

Little gull 1 1st winter on No.2 outflow at least from 10:30 to 12:00.

The above pictures fron Kevin Eaves

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Stonechat 1
Rock pipit 1

Middleton Nature Reserve
Mute 4 adult 5 juvenile
Coot 4 (2 x 2 together)
Gadwall 4 (2 paiir)
Tufted 2 (1 pair)
Mallard 4
Teal 7
Little grebe 2 feeding together.

The male Tufted looked particularly fine in the sunlight

Tuesday, 25 February 2020


No reports of any seabirds so far. Hopefully more later.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh 
Stonechat 1
Linnet 6
Reed Bunting 2
Common snipe 3
Jack snipe 1

Monday, 24 February 2020

Minimal coverage

Little gull - a brief check at noon found 1 adult plus 1 2cy by outflows.

Kittiwake 1 adult followed the IoM ferry in. Then flew back in to the bay.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Still hangers on

Little gull - 1 adult plus 1 2nd winter still on No.2 outflow

Kittiwake at least one along the south wall

Thanks for the pictures Kevin.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh high water.
Rock pipit 2
Stonechat 1
Reed Bunting 2
Linnet 3
Common snipe 1
Jack Snipe 1

Heysham skeer late afternoon.
No sign of the Brent
Eider c20
Just a sample of skeer birds. Eider, Knot, Turnstone and Oystercatcher (MD)

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Great Skua

Strong southerlies throughout the day provided a number of sightings, topped by:
Great Skua - 10:50. one was seen flying south close to shore near the children's play area then on past Heysham Head (ref GM)

Little gull. 1 adult plus 1 2nd winter on No.2 outflow. 1 1st winter briefly along Ocean Edge foreshore

Kittiwake. 3 adult on outflows plus 36 behind the IoM ferry.

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Rock pipit 1
Reed bunting 2
Stonechat 1

Friday, 21 February 2020

More wind and rain but at least a ferry connection

Early morning seawatching from the Stone Jetty saw 10 Little Gull out in 2 hours, obviously heading past here
Sea 1155-1235
Little Gull - 3 x ad out, then flight-line not visible 1215 on
Kittiwake - 11 ads behind IOM ferry
Little Gull - 1 x 2CY behind ferry
OE Saltmarsh
Stonechat - 1 male
Rock pipit - 1
Common snipe - 13
Middleton NR
Just looked at the two main ponds.
Mute - pair on each plus the 5 juv. The pair on the "no swimming" pond are favouring last years nest site and seemed to have purged the pond of dabbling ducks.
Gadwall just 2 remain (m&f)
Tufted 3 (2m)
Coot just 1 on main pond
Moorhen 9

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Canadians spearhead Brent return

Thursday provisional - hopefully more later.

Pale-bellied Brent goose - 14:15 (two hours before low water) there were 6 on the water on the South side of Heysham skeer. These came ashore and revealed themselves to be two adults plus four juveniles.

The adults were the pair of Canadian ringed birds.

There is no suitable food here, the birds just preened. Most of the gut weed has gone from this area (storm damage), but there are some pockets of broken weed. Hopefully that will be enough for now (MD).

Eider 7

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Dennis didn't provide

Wednesday provisional

Still no sign of the Brent Geese on north or south shore.
Kittiwake - 1 adult on No.2 outflow just after high water.

Storm Dennis didn't supply many bird sightings (some almost certainly missed). But did produce large racks of spume!

Hopefully more later

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

More Little Gulls

Two ads off harbour mouth late am but no ferry check today 

Rock pipit pair showing interest in nest hole

Monday: Little gulls

4 ads behind the IOM ferry

Sunday, 16 February 2020

A Little trickle

Provisional update. There might be more than a trickle when other records come in (MD).
The strong southerlies continue, and will for most of the coming week.

There has been no reports of any Brent geese since thE rough weather started last week.

Little gulls - 1 adult on No.2 outflow 15:10. 1 adult with a 1st winter originally in harbour then out 15:30.

Hopefully more later.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The lull, after the storm

Just a few bits so far today.
Low water channels Heysham skeer
Great Crested Grebe 2
Red-Breasted Merganser 10
Eider 8

Little gull 1 adult behind IoM ferry

Stonechat 1 1st W male Ocean Edge salt marsh

Rock pipits 2 around Red Nab

Shag, probably 2cy, on wooden jetty at high water (ref GP and LP)

Hopefully more later

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Everything moving back

The gale force westerlies over the last few days eased to "strong winds" this morning and continued to subside throughout the day.
Little gulls
A 1st winter waif was hanging around with the BHG near the wooden jetty at low water.

Reports from the stone jetty indicate that there were between 25 to 30 flying out over the tide.
Three hung around the outflows for a while.
These excellent pictures from Kevin Eaves.

Kittiwake 1 resting on water out from the salt marsh at high water.

The Linnets and Reed buntings also returned to Ocean Edge salt marsh.
Rock pipits 1 near lighthouse plus 3 feeding on the new storm generated flotsam in the corner of salt marsh.
This one, at least, appears to be feeding on a seed, but probably a small pupae.

Stonechat 1 on salt marsh

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Tuesady - Little gulls close in

The Little gulls had been driven inshore today. By 10:30 they were making their way out past the south wall lighthouse along the wall towards Ocean Edge.
An absolute minimum of 8 including 1 x 1st winter and 1 x 2nd winter.
They were trying to feed just under the wall. This picture shows position and the conditions, there are two Litle gulls  in this frame, centre just out from the wall.

Later 4 birds, including the 1st winter, were resting on the grass area on Ocean Edge, until the sea spray became too intensive and drove them off.
This picture is not "soft focus" the blurriness is the result of looking through a horizontal salt water shower!

Rock pipits. 1 near waterfall and 1 on saltmarsh.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Westerly and woolly

The wind was further round to the west today but seawatching was limited to three multiple records in about 1.5hrs late am

Little gull - loose aggregation of 6 ads gradually being blown in
Kittiwake - flock of c11 wheeling in v quickly
Pintail - flock of 17-18 out

No inshore gulls of interest eg no Med at Knowlys road field despite big roost in field

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick check of main ponds
Coot 4
Gadwall 10
Teal 2
Little grebe 2 (together and turning to sp)
Jack snipe 1
Stock dove 2
Raven 2

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Wind not delivering - yet

Just 5 ad kitt in 25 min seawatching 

Knot ringed on Sefton coast autumn 2017 - first sighting here

Rock pipit 2 Red Nab

Middleton Nature Reserve
Coot now 4
Gadwall 25
Tufted 2 male

Friday, 7 February 2020

More Knot on the Near Naze

A small proportion of the Knot went on to the Near Naze today on the incoming tide and a few colour combinations (7) were read, but it was hopeless once they decided to settle and roost with three birds being in full view for ages standing on the wrong one leg!   This one is a bit of a mystery but I'm sure the international team will have it sorted soon!

Brent Goose - two pale-bellied on Red Nab outer section at 1130hrs

Rock pipit 1 near Lighthouse

Buzzard 1 on fence in field west of recycling centre

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Merlin works wonders, and.......good news!

Rock Pipit with sea slater at harbour mouth - thanks Kevin

Merlin 1 male - spooking the knot this am leading to a chunk landing on Near Naze with one Dutch flags, one Formby Pt flag and two Icelandic flags read

Heysham skeer low water 16:00
Pale-bellied Brent goose - 65 originally feeding in the bay just east of conger rock (this bay is just to the left of C ref 3/2/20 post). They later moved to the drain fed pool on skeer (D).
Eider c20
And the good news......
Shag 1 resting on rock on south side, before flying off south.

Not much of a picture, but good to see the recent diesel spill didn't drive it away from the area (or worse). Presuming, of course, that it is the same long staying bird.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Brent scraping the bottom of gut weed barrel!

Sub title - Seafront Views
Pale and Dark-bellied Brent geese. (MD)
The Brent seem to have exhausted the gut weed easily available on these neap tides. i.e. Doesn't rise high enough to reach the weed near the sea walls or go out far enough to access the main supply in the corner of skeer.
A total of 83 Pale-bellied and 1 Dark-bellied were located today in two visits.
10:30 there were at least 20 feeding amongst the rocks between positions A and B (see post 3/2/20). These were quickly joined by two groups of 6 and 5 flying in from west.
They circle around before landing.

A second check at 15:00 (actually a fruitless check for the "missing" Shag) found 45pb trying to get into the corner of skeer (position C).
Unfortunately, the combination of landing a dinghy and a dog walker eventually proved too much.

They flew to the drain fed pool on skeer (position D). But they didnt feed in pool, instead they scraped for the meagre pickings around the pool. This gave me a chance to inspect 90 legs. Not one ring. They remained in this area after I left, and must have been getting enough food as they didn't return to corner even when they were left alone.

I then noticed that there were more geese in front of the children's play area (position A). But they were not feeding. Then, presumably after a reasonably undisturbed interval they scurried further inshore and started feeding.
The children's play area can be seen in the background.

All the birds seen were Pale-bellied, with the exception of this juvenile Dark-bellied

The inevitable dog walker eventually flushed them, revealing a total of 39

They flew to the corner (position C) where they were still feeding when I left, as were the birds on the skeer.

Pink-Footed goose c100 north 11:00

A circumnavigation of the Power Stations perimeter, in the vain hope of locating the elusive (gone?) Black Redstart, managed only a single Rock pipit.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Brent movement on neap tides

Pale-bellied Brent (MD) Low water 12:00. High water 17:50. Tide height 7.2m.
11:00 There were c50 feeding amongst the rocks (position B on picture below) and just 3 on shallow water in corner of skeer (position C).
A walk on to skeer revealed that none were feeding in the previously favoured pool (just above and left of D), so I inspected it. There was little in the way of food remaining, just a few patches of closely cropped gut weed. It looks as if this pool was favoured for it's remoteness and has been stripped of available weed.
11:30 now 44 birds feeding in shallow corner (C) and none remaining on rocks (B).
A further 14 were feeding in the drain fed pool (top right of D). This pool is regularly brackish when it has been raining, this seems to be favoured by gut weed.
So a total of 58 - these should be showing well in front of play area (A) from 15:00 onwards today.

This picture was taken from the high point on path from Knowlsy Rd to the Childrens play ares.

A quick check at 15:45. The tide had reached point A and the geese were strung out in small groups from B to A, I didn't try to count them but certainly c50. 
On these neap tides, high water alone is not enough to flush them from this general area. Similar movement patterns should be repeated for the next two days, and possibly Thursday. By weekend, we are back to spring tides which are high enough to flush them from here, and hopefully on to Red Nab.

Sunday, 2 February 2020


Whooper swan 8 flying SE
Eider c51

Pale-bellied Brent 53 out from children's play area (PW and KW). By 15:00 the tide had pushed them close to wall. Unfortunately, they were then flushed by a dog. They flew north and returned 5 minutes later allowing this shot showing the pale wing bars on the juveniles.

They settled on water and fed in shallows, till they were flushed by another dog and flew off towards the south side.

The only ringed birds seen were the Canadian pair.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute 11 adult + 5 juv
Gadwall 34
Wigeon 1
Teal 12
Mallard 4
Coot 2
Little grebe 1
Water Rail 2

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Wind a nuisance, but doesn't provide

Brent goose - at 08:45 there were 11 pale-bellied on pool in the centre of Heysham skeer. Then at 09:00 a flock of c40 Brent flew in from west and landed and started feeding in rocks near the corner of skeer. By 10:00  (low water) the 11 were feeding on shallow water in the SE corner of skeer and the c40 still feeding in rocks. So there should have been c50 to be seen out from the play area as the tide came in. Unfortunately, the only known check was too late as the wind was already crashing waves up the sea wall.
Better conditions tomorrow should provide good views early afternoon (providing the birds oblige).

Eider c10

Nothing more interesting than Common gulls followed in the IOM ferry