Thursday 22 April 2021

A good day - something for everyone to enjoy!

Very light east wind early on again switching to west by mid morning. Sunny for most of the day.
There was plenty of stuff moving over the sea, plus all 8 regular warblers are now around to be seen/heard.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:
Another frosty start, was this the last one ??
Very quiet ringing session with only nine new birds ringed.
Lesser Redpoll  2
Willow Warbler  3
Blackcap  2
Robin  1
Grasshopper Warbler   1 (first of the year)

Plenty of Willow Warblers singing around the reserve plus at least two Sedge Warblers. No Whitethroats heard this morning.
A single swallow fed over the reserve and then moved on.
Two sparrowhawks circled high towards the northwest.
6 Carrion Crows that came from the direction of Ocean Edge and flew northeast were possibly part of the flock that Pete saw grounded in that area.

Jean and Pete had a fruitful morning seawatch then quick check of the reserves. Report from Jean:

We watched the sea from 0715-0915. I was on Heysham Head, Pete at Ocean Edge

Sandwich Tern 246

Arctic Tern 31

Manx Shearwater 11

Gannet 1

Fulmar 1

Auk sp 5

Razorbill 1

Guillemot 2 floating out

Common Scoter 11 (7 and 4)

Red-throated Diver 2 out

Whimbrel 8 on Red Nab plus 2 others flying past


Linnet 33

Lesser Redpoll heard 6 times

Meadow Pipit 2

Tree Pipit 1 (Ocean Edge)

Carrion Crow 28 on the shore and 5 flew inland.

Heysham NR

Grasshopper Warbler reeling 

Lesser Whitethroat singing (first of the year)

Middleton NR

Reed Warbler 1 (first of the year)

Ocean Edge 

Rock Pipit displaying

Heysham Head foreshore - mid morning (MD)

I just went down to see how the Rock pipits were doing, most of the sea passage stuff was beyond my range, but I did see several of the Sandwich tern.

Whimbrel 10 (these almost certainly additional birds to Pete and Jeans)


Rock Pipits - there were at least two solitary birds "standing guard" between Half Moon Bay and the high cliffs.

This is the "I'm on guard" pose. This is the high cliffs bird.
The implication being there are two nesting territories along this stretch.
With, possibly, a female on the nest.

There were a pair just below the northern point of the Head. The male was very agitated and noisy (including displaying) at my approach, meanwhile the other bird was looking for food, hopefully for some nestling chicks, in what would be a third territory.

This one, is stalking a Whimbrel, I initially thought it was the male "seeing it off", and it may well be, but it is also taking advantage to eat the invertebrates disturbed by the Whimbrel.

It could be busy this year, if all three territories result in chicks!

Heysham skear - low water 15:00

Eider not counted but at least 50

Red-breasted Merganser 3

Wigeon 2 (male and female, presumably off passage)

Whimbrel 4

Dark-bellied Brent goose 1

This immature bird was feeding on, the now plentiful, weed on the north side of the skear

Sandwich Tern 10 - popular slabs appears to be a recurrent theme at the moment, most were resting on this one. Sometimes you see a male bring the female a fish, I got the impression that this returning bird is being told to go and do just that!

There are reports of further tern movement this evening, involving over 100 birds. But it isn't clear yet what species. This post will be updated when more details become available.