Sunday, 31 May 2020

Hot day and decent records

The breeze continued from the east, the constant sunshine made it a very warm day.

Stone Jetty 5:45-7:30 (Nick G)
Osprey 1 distantly
Common tern 1 out
Common scoter 29 in
Goosander 2 males North
Gannet 1 in
Guillemot 2 in
Canada goose 19 N
 23 Canada goose flew out over Red Nab 11:00

Middleton Nature Reserve
A very comprehensive survey by Dan (H)
Singing male warblers (where exceeding my previous count last week);
Whitethroat 10
Willow Warbler 9
Reed Warbler 5
Lesser Whitethroat  1 only as per last visit.
Cetti's Warbler-- pair feeding 2+ recently fledged young. Some song as they were doing it too!
Picture by Dan

Blackcap-- fledged young noted.

Common Blue 25
Small Heath 13
Small Tortoiseshell 2
Speckled Wood 4
Large Skipper 1
Red Admiral 1
Gatekeeper 1
Both the above the first reported this year

Cinnabar moth 2

Four-spotted Chaser 45+
Broad-bodied Chaser 23 incl 3 females (one ovipositing)
Picture by Dan

Black-tailed Skimmer 20+
Picture by Kevin

Emperor 5-6 males
Picture by Kevin

Damsels: Large Red, Azure, Common Blue, Blue-tailed all present but few flying in stiff easterly breeze.

Bee Orchid just starting to bloom.
Picture by Kevin

Lighthouse area
Rock pipits, only two adult seen, one occasionally standing guard over the nesting hole. But neither birds seen carrying food. One did fly to north roundhead twice, so just possible they have a juvenile over there. We'll see.
This Lesser Black-backed gull had caught a crab and was "opening" it by throwing it at the concrete floor.

And finally - it was a hot day to spend sitting exposed on a nest. This Herring gull was panting!

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Saturday (I think!)

It's a real effort to know what day it is at the moment! Steady warm breeze from the east and wall to wall sunshine again.

Early am 
All the migration known about today was early morning with 61 Arctic Tern heading in past Rossall at 0610 unlikely to be the same as the 55 heading out off the Stone Jetty at or before 0630.  Two Poms heading in at Rossall at 0610 were already high in the sky and probably didnt go over/past us.  A reminder that we have a bit of early morning tide now

Stone Jetty 6:20-8:30 by Nick
Common scoter 3 in
Arctic tern 3 and 36 out early on, later 16 in passing just a few metres from the end of the Jetty.
Sandwich tern 3
Cormorant 4 included one that caught a medium sized eel
Canada goose 229 N in 9 flocks
Whimbrel 2
Sanderling 17
Oystercatcher 350

Canada Geese - two reports, one of three lots over Heysham yesterday. These will be in addition to 229 seen by Nick

Middleton Nature Reserve early morning
Mute 22 plus resident pair on main pond. Pair plus 4 chicks on the "no swimming" pond.
Greylag goose 2 on main pond
Coot 3
Moorhen 4
Gadwall 2 male
Mallard 4
All nine resident males heard singing including Cetti's and Grasshopper

Emperor dragonfly seen in afternoon. First report this year - ref Janet

Lighthouse area
This was briefly checked three times for migrating insects in the east wind. Just Common Blue and Small White butterflies plus Cinnabar and Mother Shipton moths identified. But Kevin did manage a glimpse of a dragonfly flying into Power Station grounds.

Rock pipits - early afternoon (MD)
No food seen taken to nest, but one adult was seen above nest with a particularly large crane fly. I suspect it was going to use it to lure one of the young out. Unfortunately three walkers invaded its space, so it ate the crane fly and flew off.
On return early evening, there was just one adult feeding itself near lighthouse plus the third adult near waterfall. I suspect the young had flown. I'll check the whole area in the morning, and hopefully locate any juveniles that made it.

Friday, 29 May 2020

White Stork (probably) - plus stuff to look out for

Light breeze varying SSE to E and wall to wall sunshine.

White Stork - an almost certain white stork, presumably the bird seen recently near Cockerham, flew high to the east over Middleton NR at 1600hrs. Seen by Janet, the slight uncertainty comes from the difficulty of observation from her car. But the description would require an even more exotic species if it was not a stork.

Comments on the forthcoming three days from Pete (M)
This next three days are forecasted to be some of the best overshooting weather there has been at Heysham right at the time eastern warblers with loud scratchy songs, Subalpine warblers (as per Dan's two years ago), red backed strikes and flyovers such as today's 1130-40ish Honey Buzzard which almost certainly went over our air space (seen heading NNE not N at Rossall).  Also record numbers of Nightjar in Lancs since the local population collapsed in the 60s - Heysham Moss at dusk?

While we are talking of Heysham Moss, there is a breeding colony of Large Heath there. Janet took this picture of the first record this year.
Heysham Moss is just to the east of the recording area, and is an isolated example of the correct habitat which surely extended into the recording area if old maps are to be believed plus the peaty soil in the NNE corner of HNR
Heysham Head cliffs - additional report on yesterday's activity from John (D)
The Rock pipits at Heysham Head yesterday were feeding a fledgling. There was a lot of activity with two and maybe three adults flying up and down the shore and some parachuting but as far as we could see only one juvenile. Will keep a lookout for a second brood.
Picture also from John

Lighthouse area
Rock Pipits - pair still feeding young in nest. Plus additional adult
Greylag goose a flock of 5 that had earlier been circling Heysham Village headed towards Potts corner.
Linnet- the resident pair now feeding fledged young.

By mid morning, there was a touch of east in the wind and the tide was out. These circumstances usually leasd to a passage of insects in off the sea. At 10:30 there were just two Small White, actually flying out, but by 11:00 the breeze was more to east To the wind and there were more insects all flying east. Small White 2, Common Blue 5, Peacock 2, Cinnabar 1.
A second visit after lunch was disappointing, the wind had shifted more to south. No new insects were arriving, but a few were still drifting east, taking advantage of the few bramble flowers on the way. Small White 3, common Blue 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Peacock 1, Cinnabar 1.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

More coverage today

Light vaiable breeze and sunshine for most of the day.

Middleton Nature Reserve
A comprehensive survey of the flying fauna by Dan (H) - much appreciated

Selected passerines (all nine warblers) singing males;
Whitethroat 8, Willow Warbler 6, Chiffchaff 5, Sedge Warbler 4, Blackcap 2, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1,  Reed Warbler 2
Plus Cetti's Warbler 1--contact calls only.
Greenfinch 3 Linnet 5 Reed Bunting 6 Meadow Pipit 2. (Bullfinch 2 pairs)

And a bonus - Little Ringed Plover over (from OCean Edge to waterworks) - think this is the only record so far this year.

Black-tailed Skimmer 3 (m, f, teneral)
Four-Spot Chaser 20
Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed, Azure present.
Cockchafer on wing!
Common Blue 13 (males), Red Admiral 2, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Small White 8, Large White 2, Green-veined White 2.
Plus a Large Skipper photographed by Kevin

Teneral Black-tailed Skimmer picture from Dan too

Rock Pipits
Lighthouse area pair still feeding young in nest, also a third adult in area
This excellent picture from Craig (B) is actually from yesterday, the young must be getting quite large to be being fed such large Sea Slater

The pair on north side below Heysham Head cliffs have at least one fledged young.
This adult was feeding...

This juvenile

Two nice moths from Kevin's trap SD46A
Bordered Sallow - only a few annually on our coast

Alder Moth

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Wednesday - so far

Light breeze and sunshine.

Hopefully more records later

Rock pipits - lighthouse pair still feeding young in nest - it is a difficult first flight from the nest hole in the vertical wall directly over the sea. Only one bird made it from first brood last year. Hopefully, they will be as well fledged as possible this year.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute Swan - 23 on the main pond, plus the female on the nest. Pair with 4 young on "no swimming" pond.
Coot 3
Moorhen - strangely none seen
Warblers 7 of the known breeding birds singing,  the missing two were Grasshopper and Cetti's.
Actual grasshoppers are now chirruping.

Broad-bodied Chaser - mature male patroling 5 of the 6 new small scrapes on west side of western marsh in the afternoon. Plus one seen on main pond in morning.
Four-spotted Chaser minimum 4
Black-tailed Skimmer 1 (first record this year)
Picture by Janet. Teneral - probably female (MD)

This Common Bluetail Damselfly, also photographed by Janet, is quite interesting. The pink thorax indicates that it is an immature female of the C-Type. I've no idea how common this type is here, but I've not noticed one before (MD).

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

The good stuff just out of range....or missed!

A murky start but the sun came out late morning, then shone for the rest of the day.  Breeze light mainly from the west.

The title refers to a White Stork to the south of the recording area at Cockerham, we were hoping for a fly ove, but it didn't happen today - perhaps tomorrow.
What apparently did fly over, likely very high, was a Spoonbill c10:50. Unfortunately not reported from anyone in the recording area.

Heysham Nature Reserve - JP
Mother Shipton  abundant in three seperate areas
Burnet Companion

Large skipper
This male the first record of the year

The only other records so far are:
Great Crested Grebe 8
Little Egret 7
Above from skeer at low water

Rock pipits
The lighthouse pair are still feeding young in the nest

Monday, 25 May 2020

Back to checking the residents

Light SW to SSW breeze. Warm in the almost constant sunshine.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Some of the warblers seeemed to have stopped singing, including the Sedge Warblers! The only ones heard were: Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti's Warbler and Blackcap.
The Mute pair on the "no swimming" pond ended up with just the 4 chicks

Burnet Companion on Hysham Nature Reserve.
The above pictures from Kevin

Lighthouse area
No sign of either of the Redstarts, but one or both may still be within the Power Station grounds.
Rock pipits - female taking food to nest, male standing guard, a third bird was chased away twice.
If you sit on the wall near the lighthouse the male stands guard within 2m of you.
I doubt he's as charmed by the experience as me! (MD - I didn't stay long)

Moths - Mother Shipton 4
Butterflies - Common Blue, 2 male and 1 female.

Both males very worn for so early in season, either wind battered of they have travelled some way to get here, or both. (MD)

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Perseverance wrings out the last of the decent storm driven birds

Winds still strong from west early on, but easing quickly. Staggered seawath till 12:00 (PM, SC) managed to locate.
Arctic Tern - 5-7 out in loose gang with some backtracking
Little Tern - one out
Sandwich Tern - two out
Gannet - one out
Manx Shearwater - 2 out
Med gull - 2 x 2cy early on by wooden Jetty

Rock pipits - the two adult near lighthouse are feeding young on nest much more frequently now.

Whimbrel 1 on skeer at low water

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Easing off slightly

The strong winds moved a bit more to the west and eased slihtly during the day. Early seawatching from jetty by Shaun. Other sea records from various locations at Heysham (PM, JP & MD)

Artic Skua LM out.
RTDiver 2 in
Manx shearwater 12 in.
Gannet 5 out.
Guillemot 5 out.
Common Scoter 4 in.

Other morning records:
Fulmer 1
Gannet 18 distant and 3 very close
Sanderling 5 out
Grey Plover flock of 14 out
Mediterranean gull 2 x 2nd calendar year. One with a dusky head is new to area.
This bird was seen by three observers in different (south side) locations today.

Arctic tern one initially on No.2 outflow, later switched to No.1.

These excellent pictures by Janet are incredibly difficult in the teeth of a gale!

Afternoon/evening records
Sandwich tern - 15:15 - 16:15 a steady drift of birds out 1,2,1,2,4,1 & 1
The last one hung around the inner harbour 

Terns 5 around outflows late evening in fading light, probably Arctic.

Other stuff
Rock pipits 1 at lighthouse plus 1 on saltmarsh
Wheatear 1 male in morning on salt marsh plus 1 female in Fishers yard in afternoon

Friday, 22 May 2020

The gale starts to provide and amazing Redstart double

Very strong SSW - SW winds all day. Very difficult conditions to watch in, but some interesting stuff around.  Most of the seawatching took place from the Stone Jetty with overall coverage from 0830 to 1400 (NG, TW, SC, PM, BC)

Arctic Skua two light morph
Manx Shearwater 4
Guillemot 5
Sandwich Tern 3
Little Tern 3, plus 1, plus 2
Gannet 28 in, c. 70 out distantly
Great crested grebe 9
Grey plover 25 flew south in 2 flocks
Fulmar close in,flying out at 09.40hrs

Med gull - 2z2cy with c180 2cy Common Gull Ocean Edge/Red Nab 

Lighthouse area (MD)
Nothing of note seen on sea.
A visit early afternoon provided two tantalising glimpses of a Redstart hopping into the Power Station grounds. The western boundary onto scrub near lighthouse.
The difficult conditions were such that it wasn't possible to confirm if it was a Common or Black (it was barely possible to stand).
So another visit early evening with the sole intention of identifying this bird, resulted in:

Common Redstart - 1 male briefly below fence on western boundary of Power Station (record shot)

Then a surprise, a second bird:
Black Redstart 1 female type - almost invisible amongst the rocks on the outside of the Power Station boundary  between the waterfall and lighhouse.
I'm not sure if the image resolution of the blog will allow you to see this bird - it is there. If you can't see it, open image "in another tab"

Wheatear 1
Rock Pipits 2 - one guarding nest the other taking food to young in nest. All three visits.

Another excellent record from Kevin's moth trap SD46A - a Broad-barred White
Just about annual in north Lancs!

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The calm before the storm......hopefully

Very little variable wind today, but it's expected to change in the morning with strong SW winds forecast. Meanwhile, there wasn't much happening today.

Rock Pipits still feeding young near lighthouse

Swift 2 north over Heysham Head

The following pictures from Kevin
Large Red Damselfy from Heysham Nature Reserve

Azure Damselfy and mature male Broad-bodied Chaser from small pond on the way to Red Nab

Heysham skeer low water 18:15
Great Crested Grebe 9
Little Egret 8
Eider 28
Apart from the Oystercatchers, there was literally only a hadful of other waders (five). So I decided to photograph them all. (MD)
Knot 1

Ringed plover 2

I felt like I'd interrupted something!

Sanderling 2 in summer plumage
They are both on this picture

There doesn't look like much nutrition in this tit bit

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Cygnet arrival is highlight!

Very little wind, particularly early on plus sun all day meant  the temperature soared. Lots of people out taking advantage of relaxed restrictions. But little else happening.
Two good  moth records from Kevin's trap thoug - Two pink Elephants!
Elephant Hawk moth

Small Elephant Hawk moth

Rock Pipits  - the lighthouse pair still taking food to nest hole.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Mute Swan - 24 on main pond including nesting pair. The new influx seem determined to stay despite dogs swimming and model motorboat.
The pair on the "no swimming" pond have at least four chicks hatched with at least one egg remaining.
Thanks for picture Janet

Warblers - 8 of the 9 known breeding species seen and/or heard. This includef 3 Cetti's Warblers. The "missing" species was the Grasshopper Warbler.

Dragonflies- Broad- bodied chaser 2, Four-spotted chaser 3

Butterflies - Brimstone, Small White, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Small Heath.

Weasel 1

Orchids are starting to flower. I think these are Early Marsh, but I'm happy to be corrected (MD)

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Some welcome recovery news

A couple of decent recoveries here - a late autumn passage Blackcap caught in Holland on spring passage - prob Scandinavian bird and a Greenfinch found dead at Sedbergh in the breeding season.   Several Greenfinch ringed on autumn passage in October have been subsequently found in NE England 

VE8996 1stW 05/10/19 Middleton NR
Retrapped 06/04/20 Parnassiaweg (Noord-Holland) Netherlands 527 kmESE 184 days

NY22596 1stWf 18/10/17 Heysham
Dead 12/05/20 Sedbergh 42 km NE 937 days

South shore high water 10:14
Rock Pipits 2 around nest site near lighthouse regular visits to nest with sizeable beakfulls.

Wheatear 1 plump bird, presumed to be Greenland bound

Curlew c50 on Red Nab.

Heysham skeer low water 17:10
Probably the most interest was what wasn't here. No Great Crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, whimbrel or Knot.
In fact the only waders other than the omnipresent Oystercatchers were 2 Ringed Plovers and 6 Curlew.
Eider 47
Little Egret 7

Middleton Nature Reserve early evening.
Just a quick look at the two main ponds to check how the Mute were doing
There are now 24 Mute on the main pond including the original nesting resident pair, still sitting. At least 10 of the new birds are 2nd calendar year.
In contrast, the only birds seen on the "no swimming"  pond were the resident pair of Mute, including the very aggressive male. Plus a single Little grebe.
Thanks for picture Janet - this one was on the main pond

Without going any further than the track between the two ponds, the following warblers were heard. Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler (2), Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Blackcap.
Swift 2 over to north

Monday, 18 May 2020

Still some decent stuff on the sea

A bit slower today, but still a few decent birds around. There shouldn't be much overlap in these records as most of these were around the high tide mark at 0930
Sea 0800-1000 Heysham harbour: (PM & JR)
Arctic skua 1 probable dark morph very distant, possibly one of SJ birds; light morph in at c0930
Red- throated diver 3
Gannet 5
Manx Shearwater 1
Razorbill 1
Guillemot, 5
Kittiwakes 37 in two flocks
Fulmar 1
Common Scoter 1

Stone jetty looking south  06:00 - 08:45 (Nick and Shaun)
Pomarine skua 5 flew out of the Bay (4 at 6:38, 1 about 7:15) 
Arctic skua 3 or 4 flew out 
Fulmar 2 out 
Auk sp 3 in 
Sandwich tern 1 
Whimbrel 2

Lighthouse area 07:00 - 08:00 (MD)
Mediterranean gull 1 -  2nd calendar year out
Fulmar 1 out - likely one of the two seen from jetty.

This bird must have flown low along the north harbour wall. It suddeny appeared low in harbour mouth.
Gained a little height

Then cut across the south harbour wall roundhead - all over in 5 seconds!

Rock pipit 1 seen taking food to nest hole in harbour wall near lighthouse