Friday 30 April 2021

First Whinchat arrives

A sunny morning after a cold overcast start. It clouded over by lunchtime after that there was a mixture of sunny spells and showers.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing report from Alan:
When I arrived at about 05.40 it was 3 degrees and cloudy, the sky cleared after an hour or so and it became quite warm in the sun. The NNE breeze increased to near 10 mh by 09.30. The combination of sun on the nets plus wind wafting the nets makes them very visible to birds so by 10.30 it was time to pack up.

Sedge Warbler  6 plus 2 retraps -  one ringed here in June 2020, the other ringed here in August 2019 and re trapped June 2020.
Blackcap  2 females
Willow Warbler  1 only
Lesser Whitethroat  1 retrap - ringed here in June 2019.
Chaffinch  1
Great Tit  1 retrap
Long tailed Tit  1 retrap

At least 12 Swallows flew through northwards in ones and twos.

I had a pleasant walk around mid morning (MD)
Warblers (numbers are minimum numbers of singing males heard)
Common Whitethroat 10
Lesser Whitethroat 6 
Willow Warbler 10
Chiffchaff 4
Cetti's warbler 1 (just the "no swimming" pond bird)
Sedge warbler 3
Blackcap 4
Grasshopper warbler 1 (just one brief reel from the NE corner of western marsh)
No Reed warbler heard, but the marshes were not checked as Alan was ringing.

This is a nice clip, shame about the siren! Male Chaffinch listening to a Chiffchaff singing, he then produces his song, then seems surprised to be answered by a Blackcap.

There seems to be a lot of Pheasants on the reserve this year,
but they normally see you before you see them!

There was a Little Grebe feeding a chick on the Tim Butler pond.

Seawatch report from Pete:
Arctic Skua 1 in Kent channel about 0725
No terns!!!
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Great Crested grebe 5 ( one trying to muscle in on displaying pair)
Swallow 11 north
Whinchat 1 male by Ocean Edge Cafe

A quick evening check of the shore below Heysham Head only managed to locate one pair of Rock Pipits on territory.
Whimbrel 2
The Sea Thrift on the cliffs is always nice to see.

Finally, what a difference a year makes. Last year there was a breeding pair of Mute Swan on both the "no swimming" and main pods. The Mallard with chicks was constantly driven from one pond to the other (she did very well fledging all nine!). This year there are nine none breeding Mute on the main pond (there was a failed breeding attempt) and they are happy to share their lunch with the Mallard chicks.

One last reminder of the open events organised by the LDBWS for this weekend
LDBWS Heysham 'open weekend' this Sat & Sun 
The second LDBWS field meeting of 2021 is a two-parter! Seawatching and landbird migrant sessions at Heysham Head this Saturday May 1st (7 'til 11AM) AND Sunday May 2nd (also 7 'til 11).

The first half of May sees the peak of Arctic Tern and Arctic Skua passage, as they fly into the inner bay on their Spring migration. Meet Shaun Coyle, Dan Haywood and other seasoned society seawatchers in the carpark of St. Peter’s Churchyard Heysham (suggested parking- Knowlys Rd or the pay-and-display in the village) at 7AM for a two-hour+ session over the dropping tide.

If you're not an early riser we'll be birding in the area till 11 AM but note that for terns etc., early morning is usually best.

As well as looking for terns, skuas and auks on the move we may also see offshore swallow and swift passage and search for songbirds making landfall on the headland. Telescopes can be useful but are by no means essential– binoculars are fine.

We would also like to offer short guided walks around nearby Middleton NR at this double-morning event, where the focus would be singing scrub and wetland warbler species. Please let us you know if this appeals and we can make arrangements.

Contact to express your interest in the event (stating which day you would like to join us) so we can gauge numbers and plan– note we’ll be moving around using the ‘rule of six’ but there will be plenty of space on the head!''

Please note that this open weekend event replaces the May 8th event-- when weather is predicted to be foul. Looking good for this weekend though!