Very light SE breeze early on, freshening and shifting to west after lunch. Sunshine all day.
|Speckled Wood 3|
Very light SE breeze early on, freshening and shifting to west after lunch. Sunshine all day.
|Speckled Wood 3|
Almost breathless early on, what breeze there was stated from the southeast. Sunshine all day.
Another frosty start at Middleton with no wind and clear sky. A very light southerly breeze got up during the morning.
A nice selection of birds trapped and ringed:
Meadow Pipit 1
Willow Warbler 10
Lesser Redpoll 8
Little else seen and any migrants would have been very high and out of my (poor) hearing range.
A Roe Deer appeared on the centre road about ten metres away from my ringing position and shot into the western marsh when it saw me.
A check in the early evening also heard:
Cetti's warbler 2
Sedge warbler 2 - I couldn't quite get a clip of one singing, this is as close as I managed, just a glimpse of "a" warbler but at least the Sedge Warbler song is clear.
Pete checked the north shore:
Mediterranean gull - 1 second calendar year (with almost full black head) out from the north wall.
Great Crested grebe 9
Red-breasted Merganser 15 including a flock of 9
Whooper swan 19 lingering in the middle channel
Low water this morning was 08:30, Pete located the Whooper 08:00. I was on the skear later, but it's not possible to see the middle channel from the shore, but at 10:00 19 distant white necks began rising up through the heat haze. By 10:20 they were fully visible, albeit still quivering through the haze. By this time the tide was flooding quickly and taking them in towards the Stone Jetty. They were still on the water at 10:40 when I left. Not much of a video, but an indication of location.Eider, not counted but numbers looked similar to recent counts
Heysham Nature Reserve
Janet had a walk around late morning. Records included a Sparrowhawk and this Blackcap
|Male Blackcap looks to have caught a parasitic wasp.|
|You will need to open these images to see the insect details.|
An overcast morning with hardly any breeze, what little there was started from the east then swung round to west. Sunny spells from lunchtime onwards.
It was fairly quiet this morning at Middleton NR - like the weather.
Vis consisted of 9 Meadow Pipits, 9 Lesser Redpolls and 4 Woodpigeons (the latter heading high SSE for some reason).
Ringing from 0730-1130 comprised a few migrants and some residents:
Lesser Redpoll 6
Willow Warbler 2
Greenfinch 4 new birds and one retrap which had been ringed at Heysham NR as a juvenile on 8 Sept 2019
Cetti's Warbler - a retrap first ringed at Middleton NR as a juv on 1 July last year, and also caught in September.
|Female Roe deer, one of two seen|
|There were at least 4 male Pheasant calling - this is one of them|
|Three of the Gadwall, gadabouting.|
|The Canada geese seem determined to stay|
|The dark blue background is the StenaLine going out|
Very light but cool wind. Overcast till mid afternoon, then some sunshine.
Another unseasonal cold start at Middleton this morning.
Nets set on both east and west sides from 06.00.
Willow Warbler 7 + 2 retrap
Meadow Pipit 1 caught in a cage trap at 07.10, no other individuals seen.
Treecreeper 1 This is the first spring record for the Observatory
Song Thrush 1
Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 2
Wren 1 retrap
Nothing seen moving overhead except for two Swallows that briefly showed some interest in a song recording played briefly later in the morning.
Redstart 1 female near hawthorn line between the main pond and Tim Butler pond - reported by Alan Physick.
Cetti's warbler 2 singing, the "no swimming" pond and central marsh birds, also three brief, sightings.
Pete checked south and north shores:
Ring Ousel 1 briefly grounded on foreshore grass 07:55
Sandwich Tern 1
Low tide channel:
Red-breasted Merganser 13
Great-crested Grebe 9 - these two started displaying, before being interrupted
Massive large seagull influx on to skeers but not the honeycomb worm ones but those furthest out - 470 counted - they should increase from now
These followed the dredger in, they reminded me of gulls following a trawler as it was discarding unwanted fish. But a dredger, in calm conditions? Perhaps they were just appreciating the graceful lines of this grab hopper dredger.......(MD)
Another sunny day with light wind, initially from south, but quickly moved round to west.
|This male Blackcap is ringed|
|Not all the warblers were just passing through.|
This one (Chiffchaff I think (MD)) seemed very pleased with this feather
Another overnight frost. Cold breeze but sunshine for most of the day.
|Downpour towards Lancaster, as seen from the skear 18:00|
|Won't be long for this one to wait, by this time the sun was out again, but it was still cold,|
so I was on my way home for an OXO (other stock cubes are available. MD)
The temperature was around minus 3 degrees when I arrived at just before 06.30 with a clear sky. The catch was unsurprisingly small but interesting nonetheless.
Meadow Pipit - 1
Dunnock, Blackbird, Cettis Warbler - single retraps of each
Blackcap - 1 retrap of a bird ringed here in June 2020
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Willow Warbler - 2 retraps. Both of these were returning birds. One ringed here in July 2018 and retrapped in early summer 2019. The other ringed here in April 2019 and retrapped in June 2020.
Both these birds have made multiple return trips to Africa.
Little movement seen overhead, although birds may have been extremely high in the clear conditions.
Swallow - at least six flew low over the reserve heading northwards.
Meadow Pipit - 5
Carrion Crow - 4 +2 flying west were almost certainly migrants.
One Peacock Butterfly in the western marsh area.
|Female/first winter Wheatear|
A WSW light wind to start with, moving to WNW by evening. Sunny all day.
|These pictures from Kevin. This is the ringed male Rock Pipit|
|Rock Pipit and Wheatear sharing a perch|
|The butterflies are starting to fly again - Small Tortoiseshell|
|Today, it was a Herring gulls turn to strike a pose|
|You can see how segments have become separated, making it easier for the |
Turnstone to prise away the edges to reveal the worms.
|The c700 Oystercatchers are the pale smear in the mid ground. |
This picture still only shows 30% of the extent of the beds on the middle skeer
The wind had strengthened and moved round to WSW. It continued windy all day, but not as strong as forecast and the expected rain held off.
Red-Throated diver 40 (inc flock of 16)
Common Scoter 42
Kittiwake 100 exact 4 flocks
Linnet 28 at least near saltmarsh plus 2 near lighthouse
Wheatear 3 on foreshore south of Red Nab
Rock Pipit - minimum 5 (1 saltmarsh, 1 Red Nab, 3 between lighthouse and waterfall, including the ringed bird at the mid point, with another bird)
|This is the lighthouse territorial bird bracing itself on sea wall - no ring.|
|The Canada geese seem to be making themselves at home.|
Heysham skeer low water 17:00
Eider - scattered, no more than 40 seen.
Red-breasted Merganser 2 (pair)
Little Egret 2 again easily catching common gobies.
Turnstone c150. Less today than yesterday, one of the problems with an evening feeding opportunity, is that it depends on how many birds are still hungry.
|A few are starting to mount into summer plumage, this one also has a metal ring.|
I got down before low water, the Turnstone were all on the honeycomb bed on the southern edge of the skeer, a few were poking around, but most were just resting. By the time the tide was making, I was on the western edge of the exposed skeer. There were Oystercatcher and Redshank feeding on the honeycomb worm beds here, but feeding on whatever they were finding in the crevices, not on the worms themselves. On the north side there were very few waders and most of them just resting. But by the time I got back to the southern edge, everything was trying to feed on the worms! By that time I had already realised the main factor was that the beds on the southern edge are the most exposed and most damaged. The rough weather over the last few days, although mainly from the north, will have weakened them further.
This is the most encouraging clip, the Oystercatchers seemed to be catching lots.
The Redshank were trying, but I didn't see any catch a worm. But this young Lesser Black-Backed gull did
But, in these conditions, it seems the Turnstone are best suited to catching the worms. This one eats three in just over 10 seconds.
I'll be keeping an eye on these beds, but at the moment, you'd have to expect the waders to continue weakening them, and possibly eradicate them completely from here. Also, you would think that the Oystercatcher's strong bill would allow them to get to the worms in less damaged beds. That could be very significant as there is a large contingent of Oystercatchers throughout the year.
Let battle commence!
The cold NW winds eased a bit more. A clear start clouding over by lunch, but it remained dry.
|The dried mud on this Little Egret's feet make them look pink.|
More on Little Egrets later.
|Two Lesser Black-Backed gulls taking a break.|
The fresh NW cold wind continued, although not quite as biting as yesterday. Largely sunny in the morning, but snow then hail showers and sunshine in the afternoon.
|Success! So the bird Jean ringed is a mature male defending territory.|
This is almost exactly mid point between the lighthouse and the waterfall,
the other bird was directly over the waterfall, so possibly there are three
territories between the lighthouse and, what was, Fishers.
Canada Goose- 2
Mute Swan- 11 on the main pond and another single on the "no-swimming" pond.
Jay- 3 together
Willow Warbler- 2 singing
Blackcap- 2 singing
|Blue Tit by Janet - it's yellow face evidence of it feeding in the catkins.|
Red Throated Diver 3 in an hour - ref Pete
Rock Pipits 2 Heysham Head - ref Josh
Osprey 1 was reported heading south along Morecambe Promenade in the afternoon, it isn't clear yet whether it entered Heysham air space or not.
|This is my favourite "wild" flower - Snake's Head Fritillary |
When and how it became established here is not clear, but it
has been self sustaining on the reserve for many years.
The wind started almost due north then drifted towards NNW. A light snow shower first light, then mainly sunny all day. Even so the icy wind made it cold anywhere that wasn't sheltered.
|Rock Pipit sheltering just below the sea wall. This bird was not ringed (see yesterday's post)|
|Rock Pipit parachuting|
The breeze had shifted to the west and freshened slightly. Overcast, but dry all day.
Greylag goose 2N
Red-throated diver 1
Great crested grebe 4
Herring gull 120
Meadow pipit 114 N
Rock pipit 3 N
Pete checked the low water channels and obviously saw some of the same birds:
Great Crested grebe 6
Red-breasted Merganser 3
Just a trickle of movement north, later in the morning past the harbour:
Meadow Pipit 5
Alba wagtail 2
The highlight of the day (for me at least (MD)) was Jean managing to catch and ring one of the Harbour Rock Pipits. There were two displaying males plus two other birds between the lighthouse and the waterfall. Jean eventually caught a male.
|Unfortunately, the plumage difference between adult and immature birds|
in spring really requires comparison of the two - not really practical with one bird
This is the trap, which was made by Alan. In this clip there are three Rock Pipits checking it out.
The light, cool, north wind continues, but a pleasant day in the almost constant sunshine.
Common Crane 11:00 watched from Fluke Hall heading towards and into Heysham air space. Unfortunately just after both Pete and myself had left the area!
|Two of several 2nd calendar year Common gulls feeding on the outflows.|
|This is the harbour at low water this morning, not an especially low water.|
The dredger is just beyond the harbour mouth. You can see the open
channel for shipping but silt build ups to the left
A cool night followed by a clear morning with light NW breeze. The cool breeze freshened during the day, but it was quite warm in the sun.
Late report of a Willow Warbler singing in NE corner of Heysham Nature Reserve yesterday morning.
Only caught two Lesser Redpolls and one Willow Warbler but wasn't expecting anything with the very frosty and clear conditions. No Meadow Pipits seen at all to the MP3 player.
A few singing Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.
Cetti's Warblers - at least two singing, one each side.
A very pale bird seen against the sun towards the east of the reserve at around nine without optics was probably a Barn Owl.
Later Janet had a look around
|Long -Tailed Tit|
|Greylag goose on the main pond|
|One of the Mute nests, that's the blue ringed male .|
No Wigeon left, but still a couple of pairs of Shelduck
Rock Pipits - just one brief call from one on Red Nab. The harbour birds not seen or reported, so far.
Wheatear 1 male on foreshore in the evening
|Some of the Whooper swans|
Meadow Pipits no more than c20 heard flying north in just over an hour.
Alba Wagtail - just two heard flying north
|Beadlet anemone - they are normally red like this one, but shades vary and green ones |
are not uncommon. Also 3 periwinkles leaving tracks as they feed.