Saturday 1 May 2021

71 species total

A very cold start (see John's report) but the sun quickly warmed things up. It became more overcast by lunchtime with just sunny spells after that.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing report by John:
Very cold frosty start this morning, with my car thermometer showing just below freezing, when I arrived at 5.45am
Few birds about and the sun was on the nets early, making ringing conditions difficult.
Nets taken down by 10am and only eight birds caught
New were two blackcaps, two lesser whitethroats and a willow warbler. 
Re-trapped birds were a wren, sedge warbler and another lesser whitethroat.

LDBWS open event day 1
Report by Jean:

A combined effort from 20 of us led to 71 species being seen/heard in the Heysham and Middleton area today.

SEA highlights:
Sandwich Tern 6 – mainly blogging
Arctic Tern – 23 low over the water then rising high in the sky to go overland
Guillemot – 1 floating in with the tide at lunchtime seen from HMB cafe  by PJM
Gannet -1 distantly, to south from Ocean Edge by PJM
Common Scoter – 10 seen distantly from Ocean Edge looking south by PJM
Whimbrel – at least one
Whooper Swan – 6 late ones heading north.
Eider – not counted but plentiful around the skear
Red-breasted Merganser – 3 pairs
Great-crested Grebe – 2 pairs

LAND highlights:
Rock Pipit on the cliffs
A surprise Grasshopper Warbler moved through, heard but not seen
Whitethroats galore on Middleton NR
Lesser Whitethroats not quite as galore on MNR
Reed Warbler – 2 at MNR
Sedge Warbler – several at MNR
Cetti’s Warbler – heard by a few
Willow Warblers,Chiffchaff and Blackcaps singing.
Just Garden Warbler missing from the Middleton warbler-fest.
A vivid red male Bullfinch was a joy to behold even if its song was a bit pathetic!

SKY highlights aka “vis”:
Pink-footed Goose – 35
Tree Pipit – at least 2 heard by those with exceptional hearing
Lesser Redpoll – at least 5
Siskin – at least 2
Swallow – 53 (if we count the 40 seen by PJM from Ocean Edge)
House Martin – at least 2
Sand Martin  c20

Meadow Pipit – 2
Others may have different highlights......

These are  some of Dan's highlights:

Off-passage Grasshopper reeling Heysham Head where also two Tree Pipits over N, a steady northward passage of Swallows (c30 per hour) with c20 Sand Martins and at least one House Martin.

Circa six pairs of Linnet Heysham Head, also four male Greenfinches displaying.

Common Whitethroats in good numbers; five males on Heysham Head and at least 17 singing / displaying Middleton NR where up to five Gadwalls were giving aerial displays. Circa seven each singing Lesser Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers. Five singing Willow Warblers and two to three singing Reed Warblers but just one Cetti’s heard.

Let’s see if tomorrow’s watchers manage to do better……You know the target to beat!
Some of today's party on Heysham Head
Everyone welcome tomorrow - see yesterday's post for details.

Janet had a quick look on Middleton earlier and had one species perhaps not seen later:
Common snipe 1
Sedge warbler singing

The Mallard chicks ar becoming a star attraction on the main pond
At least 10 of the original 11 today

Heysham Skear - low water 09:40
Red-breasted Merganser by low water there were 10. Eight of them on the north side of the skear.
Whimbrel 3
Little Egret 7

The seed mussels are starting to form, the next few weeks will be significant in how the skear will develop this year. This area will be interesting, it is the northern end of the middle skear just before the first channel. Last year the honeycomb worm colonised this area, smothering the mussels,. But over winter some of the dead mussels have become exposed again, and it is on these that the seed mussels are anchoring 
The darker patches are the newly forming seed mussels

I removed one of the dead mussels, a bit like pulling a tooth out!
You can see the seed mussels attached to what was the exposed section.
I firmly replaced this one.

This is a close up of the surface, most of the seed mussels are on the old mussels.
Seed mussels grow quickly and if conditions support them they could regain this patch.
I'll keep you posted (MD)