Saturday 13 November 2021

Siberian (type) Chiffchaff, best of a cosmopolitan set of sightings

Light NW breeze. Sunshine all day and very warm, for mid November.

Shaun did a thorough check of all the main observatory areas.

Heysham Nature Reserve 09:00-12:00

Water Rail single squealing in the marsh

Sparrowhawk both male and female seen hunting

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dipping Pond

Blackbird c60 mostly on the eastern side of the reserve

Redwing c25 ditto

Song Thrush 5

Jay 2

Siberian 'type' Chiffchaff {greyish/brown with slight wing bar} showing well in NE corner trees, with a collybita Chiffchaff. 

Another Chiffchaff with 8 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Coal Tits and 2 Goldcrest along the marsh footpath nearby.

And another collybitta Chiffchaff with a single Goldcrest at the Dipping Pond.

Brambling dropped down and landed by the Dipping Pond.

Three grey squirrels and a fox seen

Heysham Head 12:00-13:00 (viewed from benches on footpath from Knowsley Road).

Red-throated Diver single drifting in

Great Crested Grebe 24

Shag juv feeding close to Congor Rock + 18 Cormorant

Little Egret 28

Brent Geese 6 'pale-bellied'

Wigeon pair

Eider 223

Common Scoter single juv near Congor Rock plus a tight group of 14 drifting in much further out

Red-breasted Merganser 14

Heysham Harbour Outfalls 13:30-14:15

Cormorant 31

Wigeon 164

Little Egret 5 in channels off Red Nab

Middleton Nature Reserve 14:30-16:00

Little Grebe single on 'Boating Lake'

Gadwall 28 on 'No Swimming Pond' and a pair on 'Boating Lake'

Grey Heron 2 on 'No Swimming Pond'

Water Rail 2 squealing in Central Marsh

Green Woodpecker heading NW across the reserve. Then yaffling near to the Golf Course afterwards

Cetti's Warbler 2 singing

Long-tailed Tit group of 9

Blackbird c50

Redwing c85 (some groups of 10-15 departing west/northwest late afternoon)

Fieldfare just 2

Song Thrush 6

Mistle Thrush 2

Brambling male near ringing site gate

I also took advantage of the pleasant day and had a good walk around, but didn't see anything not already covered by Shaun.  So just a few images to share with you. First, some of the inshore Eider.

The juvenile Common Scoter and a Cormorant, passing like ships in the night.

None of the 6 Pale-bellied Brent were ringed, which is a shame, they were feeding out of the water in great light, any rings would have been easy to read. This is just 3 of them feeding on the sea lettuce.

The patches of sea lettuce are increasing, despite it now being cropped. It only seems to flourish in the ground water run offs, presumably related to the minerals in the fresh water. This is a typical patch further up the shore from today's feeding birds.

This sea lettuce is what the visiting Brent are feeding on

Peter and Rosemary also had a look around:

Heysham Nature Reserve 

Brimstone butterfly near car park (Janet also had a Small Tortoiseshell nearby)

Middleton Nature Reserve 

A walk around the main pond resulted in

Common Buzzard 2

Grey Heron 1

Black-Headed gulls on the pond very noisy, presumably in reaction to the Buzzards.

2 adult mute Swans and their 9 cygnets 

The Mute family 

Common Darter 1 (I was expecting more sightings of darters today, but at least one still hanging in there. One next Saturday will be later than previous records for the Observatory (MD))