Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Still a few bits of interest about

The wind quickly eased to almost nothing, mainly overcast with just a few light showers.

Harbour and outfalls:  0500-0730. (SC)
Little Gull  1 adult
Mediterranean Gull 1 adult
Kittiwake 6 adult + 1 2nd cy.
Sandwich Tern 4
Common Tern 2.
Gannet 2.
Fulmar 1.

South wall and Harbour (MD)
late morning:
Kittiwake - Still 3 adult and 1 2nd calendar year

2cy bird

Rock pipits
1 adult with 2 juveniles on Red Nab - these are not the lighthouse nesting birds.
1 adult each Ocean Edge foreshore and lighthouse area.
One of the juvenile Rock pipits

Early evening
Kittiwake still 1 adult
Mediterranean gull - some roosting with BHGs on Red Nab others in small groups on the mud.
Minimum numbers. Adult 6, 3cy 4, 2cy 2. Earlier, Kevin saw two adult feeding on beach next to wooden jetty - this is good news as this area has previously been their favoured feeding area.
3cy + 2cy on left another 2cy right

Rock pipits - adult with 2 juveniles still on Red Nab. The lone bird near lighthouse was seen taking food to the nest. Presumably feeding the female.
Rock pipit taking food to nest hole in the wall.

Kevin located this Yellow-tail moth caterpillar on his daily circuit
 Not particularly uncommon, but probably a first for this square SD35Z

Monday, 29 June 2020

The storm, reluctantly, delivers a Petrel.

Strong SW wind easing slightly during the day. Heavy showers in the morning, but afternoon onwards largely dry.

Pete(M) managed three hours sea watching early to mid morning from Heysham:
Common Tern 3 No.2 outflow, these were present, at least till mid afternoon.
Fulmar 3 - fairly quickly, then just one other sea bird in the next 2.5hrs
Storm Petrel 1 - moving slowly in before being lost from view.

Stone Jetty  0630-0930 (SC)
Gannet 5,
Fulmar 9 (Nine is more than twice the total records for this species last year!)7
Manx Shearwater 4
Common Tern 5
Arctic Tern 1
All above moving out -  Nothing from 0930-1030.

Lighthouse and outflows mid afternoon (KE and MD)
Kittiwake 2 single adult out
Common Tern 2, probably 3 singles out, plus the three on No2 outflow
Sandwich Tern at least 1 on No.2 outflow
Picture by Kevin, very dificult in today's conditions.

It's still forecast windy tomorrow, but not storm force. Hopefully there will be waifs and strays about

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Terns and a turn

As forecast the SW wind blew hard all day, often accompanied with driving rain.

6:15-11:30 everything heading south past the Stone Jetty (NG)
Eider 33 (78 here on 20/6)
Great crested grebe 1
Sandwich tern 1
Arctic tern 3
Common tern 2
Little tern 1
Little gull 1 ad
Gannet 15
Fulmar 3
Manx shearwater 2
Oystercatcher 291
Knot 24
Curlew 9

At least 10 Terns Heysham outfalls, but conditions horrendous - at least two Arctic and three Common and one Little - rest not sure.  The Little and two Arctic were furthest out but the whole lot gave me the impression they didn’t want to be there as opposed to feeding.
LIttle gull 1 x2cy (PM)

Later, some of the Common did come nearer the wall to feed (MD).

Another excellent moth from Kevin's trap yesterday - Marbled White Spot.
It's the first record for Heysham, and is a moth that's been expanding its range northwards and westwards in recent years. It's now starting to appear in North Lancashire/South Cumbria. Usually a moorland species, so may have originated from Heysham Moss.

The "turn" in the heading refers to the Seatruck. It almost reached the harbour, but both the wind and the incoming tide were driving it. It must have been moving too quickly, so the captain turned it round and they sailed back out to deeper water.

It was a lot wilder than these pictures suggest, the waves do not really develop until the tide is moving in the oposite direction to the wind. The Seatruck must have waited until the tide was ebbing, it was safely berthed in the harbour when I returned at 19:00,

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Complete change in the weather

Strong SW wind built up during the day. Heavy showers, but some sunshine. The wind is set to strengthen overnight and continue throughout tomorrow and Tuesday.

So far no reports of any seabirds

Middleton Nature Reserve - main pond early afternoon
Just a quick circuit between showers.
Darters - four seen in flight. It wasn't possible to confirm the species of any of them. But one flew to the middle of pond when flushed by a Reed Bunting. Too distant to follow or see colour.
Little Grebe 1 adult

Cetti's Warbler 1 - singing vigorously from a new area. The developing bushes between the SW corner of the main pond and the hedgerow before the footpath. Not heard one singing here before, possibly the "no swimming" bird extending its territory, or perhaps a new bird. Any records of further singing or calls from this area would be appreciated.

Hopefully more later.

Friday, 26 June 2020

First juvenile Med gull arrives

It started of overcast and sticky, rain later in the morning didn't freshen things up much. A fresh westerly in the afternoon plus sunny spells.
As expected in these conditions, there was no in off insect movement near the lighthouse today.

Pete (M) timed his brief visit well:
Middleton Nature Reserve - main pond
Red-Veined Darter - 1 male east centre over the pond when I got there but it moved towards the eastern shore and was chased out of sight into the SE corner.  It was not seen again in the next 30 minutes.
Banded Demoiselle 1 male headed along edge to same corner
By the end of the 30 minutes, even the Common Blue damselfly activity had decreased.

Red Nab
Mediterranean gull -   Just 7 - one was a juvenile , first this year, one adult,  two 3cy and 3 2cy.  Other adults may have anticipated a higher tide and gone straight to the Lune

This splendid moth was in Kevin's overnight trap.
Old Lady

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Warmth and east breeze brings in the RVD

Very warm with east breeze all day and constant sunshine.

Middleton Nature Reserve (SR)
Ringlet 10+ seen along the grassy paths. Again, the most abundant butterfly

It was established last year that in these conditions insects fly in off the sea focused on the west facing wall next to the lighthouse. This is especially the case when the tide is out when this wall is the only direct sea to land site for many miles. 

It proved to be so today (MD). The best records being:
Red-Veined Darter 5 males

All records below from strip between waterfall and lighthouse. 
Morning - tide out
Lots of butterflies quickly moving east. Only counted on the first traverse from waterfall to lighthouse. 10:15 - 10:25.
Small White 31
Large White 3
Red Admiral 7
Small Tortoiseshell  8
Meadow Brown  8
Gatekeeper 2
When I got to Lighthouse, butterflies were coming in off at the rate of 5 per minute. Pretty much in line with the above ratio, although later they were joined by Painted Lady, but no more than 5.

I didn't see a dragonfly till 10:45, only a glimpse but it looked to be a Four-spotted Chaser.
In the next 5 minutes two Darters came in but didn't settle just kept flying east. One was red, this only have been a Red-Veined Darter, as male common not red yet. The other was yellowish, and unidentifiable.
By 11:00 the first male Red-Veined Darter started resting before continuing, no chance of duplication, when they took off again they flew inland. Saw three in total.

The last one at 11:33, when I left for lunch.

Afternoon - tide in
Returned at 1:00 - still lots coming through
Only counted for first 10 minutes, same strip as this morning
Red Admiral 38
Meadow Brown 2
Small Tortoiseshell 5
Painted Lady 3
Small White 8
Red-Veined Darter 1 male

 Black- Tailed Skimmer 1 male

At the lighthouse, only Red Admiral were coming in at the rate of 3 per minute
No further dragonflies seen.

Evening - tide out
Still lots of butterflies around but no longer moving through, they were either feeding or looking for a mate, "gangs" of Small Tortoiseshell up to 7.
18:45 10 minute count of same strip
Red Admiral 27
Small Tortoiseshell 17
Small White 6
Large White 1
Painted Lady 1
Meadow Brown 1
Nothing was coming in off and no sign of dragonflies.

Other stuff.
Rock Pipit 1
Grey Seal 1 - dozing by outflow. This was a relief as a dead seal was found earlier in the week, but seemingly not this regular.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Warmth brings out the insects

Light breezes from south then west and sunshine all day, made it very warm.

Mediterranean Gulls - Red Nab was almost covered by the time Pete and Jean got there, but still 4 adult and 2 x 2nd calendar year

Middleton Nature Reserve
Overnight moth trap (JM)
Clouded Border        x7
Drinker                      x3
Mottled Beauty         x2
Double Dart              x14
Bramble Shoot          x3
Map-winged Swift    x3
Common Swift          x1
Common Emerald     x1
Blood-vein                 x1
Barred Straw              x2
Ingrailed Clay            x4
Marbled Minor agg   x1
Obscure Wainscot      x2
Smoky Wainscot        x2
Common Wave          x1
Yellow Shell               x1
Chilo Phragmitella     x1
Eudonia Lacustrata     x1
 Obscure Wainscot

Only the second record of Blood Vein for the Hey/midd LWT 

Late morning (JP and MD)
Ringlet - An agregate of 7 were seen, very unlikely to be any overlap. This made them the most abundant butterfly species this morning. But they were very active and raely resting. Another check in the afternoon failed to find any, presumably too hot.
Other butterflies: Large White, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small and Large Skipper.

No sign of Red-Veined Darter today but several Common darter.

Black-Tailed Skimmer

Broad-Bodied Chaser
4-spotted Chaser


This young Common Whitethroat was patiently waiting to be fed.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Meds and first RVD

It started off with a brisk southerly, overcast and a few showers, but by mid afternoon the breeze had shifted to the west and the sun came out.

South shore high water 13:30 - tide height 8.9m (MD)
I was a bit late getting to Red Nab (12:30), a number of gulls had already left and more were leaving all the time. Even so, I managed 12 Mediterranean gull
Adult 6
3rd calendar year 2
2nd calendar year 4 (possibly as many as 8)

 3cy on left, adult middle, 2cy on right - this bird has a ring.

2 of the 2cy Meds leaving with BHG
This adult was feeding between the outflows, possibly additional to the six seen on RN

Heysham Nature Reserve mid afternoon (JP)
Plenty of insects including
 Ringlet - a total of 3 located - first of the year and, I think highest number ever seen here.

 Silver Y

Six-spot Burnet

Very good pictures, particularly as Janet only had her phone camera!

Middleton Nature Reserve 18:15 (MD)
Just a short, but successful check of the main pond for Red-Veined Darter.

Just this one located. Possibly female or a teneral male. The weak flight suggested teneral. The next two days look promising. It was feared that the combination of fish, crayfish and corvid predation may have been too much for this species. But this one, at least, appears to have thwarted them - hopefully more to come.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Just a few bits and pieces

Overcast and cool for late June, but the rain largely held off.

No records so far from anyone checking the south shore gulls

Middleton Nature Reserve - late am (MD)
The wildfowl pretty much the same, Still 5 + 3 Cygnets with parents and 10 Mallard (large) chicks with mum. Still no sign of any Gadwall.
Little grebe 2 adult plus two young on "no swimming" pond.
Coot and Moorhen with chicks

The following heard - Grasshopper (1 reeling on western marsh - first time heard for some while), Sedge, Willow, Chiffchaff, Lesser and Common Whitethroat.
Not heard - Reed, Blackcap and Cetti's (bizarrely first time I've not heard one since they started singing in early spring)

Stock dove 2
House Martin 7 feeding out of the wind over the "no swimming" pond

Thanks for picture Justine.
A St. John’s wort feeding micro Lathronympha strigana on Middleton NR today - ref Pete(M)

These Cinnabar caterpillars on ragwort near heliport - ref Janet

A check of the beach were the doe deer tracks were on Saturday, revealed a pristine beach. No tracks of any sort, including human and canine.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

More Meds

Quite a strong south wind. A few showers, but mainly dry, and little sunshine.

South shore sea wall  - mid to late morning.
Pete Crooks conducted a thorough check.
A total of 10 Mediterranean Gull (4 adults, 3rd CY, 3 2nd CY) on the incoming tide, with large numbers of Herring and LBb Gulls attracted to both outfalls. One of the 2nd CY Med Gulls had a metal ring on its right 'ankle', but no colour-ringed birds.

These pictures from Kevin of some of the insects from his circuit yesterday.

 Six-spot Burnet 

Meadow Brown

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Better day

Today's title refers to weather and sightings, although neither were overly exciting (MD)
Light westerly breezes, overcast in the morning but sunny for much of the afternoon and evening.

Red Nab 10:00
Rock pipit 1
Black-Headed gull c320 including the first juvenile seen this year
Common tern at least 1 probably 2
Mediterranean gull 3 adult plus 1 3rd calendar year - there were still two at high water 11:30.

Common Tern top left, plus at least two Med gulls, although they are not being cooperative.

This is a better shot of one of the adults

And the 3cy

Heysham skeer low water 18:20
Grey Heron 1
Little Egret 8
Great-Crested Grebe 3 in summer plumage.

Shelduck 4 south
Greylag goose 6 north

Shore to SE of Ocean Edge saltmarsh
I seem to be saying this a lot this year, I think some of it is due to reduced human activity since lockdown started. Either way....... This is something I've never seen before. Roe Deer tracks on the
beach (mud).

There are at least two deer involved, these small ones accompanying larger ones, must be a fawn with  a doe.

These are much larger. Plus the two hoofs are splayed and the two additional marks behind them are made by the dew claws. This is the mark left when a Roe Deer jumps.

It's not possible to sex a Roe Deer by the size of its footprints, but something was going on here. The tracks went for hundreds of metres and most were jumping, and in both directions.
One possibility is that a Doe and her fawn were leaving the Middleton area, and a Buck turned her back. She'll not be ready to mate yet, so he'll be keeping an eye on her till she is.
All the footprints were erased by the tide. I might have another look tomorrow, but I suspect if the above theory is correct, there won't be a repeat performance.

Friday, 19 June 2020

It didn't feel much like summer!

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year. Today, it just felt like it!
It wasn't actually too bad in the morning, light NNE breeze and overcast, but the threat of rain held off, till after lunch. Then the rain became heavy and the wind shifted to a strong SW.

Only records so far are from my morning walk on the south shore at high water 11:00 (MD)
Rock Pipit 1 on saltmarsh
Lapwing 1
Linnet 12
Black-headed gull 240 on mud out from the saltmarsh plus c30 on Red Nab
Common gull 10 x 2nd calendar year on mud with BHGs
Mediterranean gull one 3rd calendar year with BHG on mud.

Quite a few butterflies around, at least some of them coming in off the sea into the light breeze.
Small Tortoiseshell 6
Small White 1
Small Skipper 3
Meadow Brown 1
Mother Shipton moth several on saltmarsh.

The water was same height as when I saw all the fingerling bass last week. Today just a few slightly larger fish, probably mullet, feeding.

This Carrion crow seemed very pleased with this gull egg,

But wasn't for sharing