Wednesday 31 August 2022

Top raptor double

It forecast sun for today, and the sun "promised" to shine all day, but it never really happened. A steady NE fresh breeze.

Report from Pete:
Mediterranean gulls 4 juv, 1 ad seaward end hey one (3-4 Juv common gull as well). Later another adult and 2cy on Red Nab, but numbers way down
Hobby chased by peregrine headed high to south (Red nab) - Peregrine returned to power station roof.  

From Heysham Head:
9-10 Great Crested Grebe
1 x  2cy shag
(plus unidentified diving duck in poor silhouetted light which disappeared - not an Eider) 
At least 46 swallow heading north into wind along coast in combined 30 mins observation.

Janet checked Red Nab to Heysham Nature Reserve 
A general view of Red Nab on the rising tide

Territorial Rock Pipit patrolling its slimy realm (see yesterday's post)

Whitethroat on the Nature Park newt pond

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Common Darter 

Meadow Browns (female and male)

This dead tree was obviously an ideal sun trap for the Red Admirals

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Jean

We caught 22 birds this morning:

Swallow 2

Grey Wagtail 1

Blackcap 3

Sedge Warbler 3

Reed Warbler 2

Whitethroat 1

Chiffchaff 3

Willow Warbler 1

Goldfinch 1

Robin 1

Wren 2

Blue Tit 1

Great Tit 1


Grey Wagtail 6 (but only caught 1 🙁)

Marsh Harrier 1 juvenile south 06:50

Swallow 15

Goldfinch 41 (largest flock = 25)

Chaffinch 2

Greenfinch 1

Grey Heron 3 flew over which is unusual

On the reserve:

Cetti’s Warbler 1 callled a few times on the east side

I had a stroll around in the afternoon (MD)
Coot now up to three
The male Shoveler was still on the "no swimming" pond.
Gadwall 2 - 1 male plus 1 female/immature 
Female/immature Gadwall

Other wildfowl as recent

Dragonflies - not many today
Emperor 2
Migrant Hawker 1
Common Darter plentiful 

Butterflies, again not many
Speckled wood
Meadow Brown
Small White Red Admiral 4 close together
Comma 1

Red Admiral, much less conspicuous with its wings closed
Roe Deer 1 
We had a Mexican stand off though the trees
Roe Deer

Before it got bored and tootled off

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Shoveler returns(?)

A light NE breeze. Some hazy sunshine but largely overcast

Pete advises that Clouded Yellows are being seen both south and north of the recording area. Both Janet and myself were out and about today, but didn't see any. Tomorrow's looking promising though.

Janet checked Red Nab to Heysham Nature reserve.
Red Nab:
Two of the Three Wheatear 

This Robin seems to have set up territory on the eastern edge of Red Nab

One of four Rock Pipit - more on this later


Treble-bar moth
Nature Park:
Small White

Meadow Brown

Male Common Darter
Heysham Nature Reserve:
Female Migrant Hawker 

Immature Common Darter 

Common Blue, so worn you can almost see through its wings


North shore (MD)
Mute Swan three out from the green marker post

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Wildfowl as recent except:
Coot numbers doubled - now two
Shoveler 1 eclipse male on "no swimming" pond. Time will tell if it is passing through or back for the winter!
Male Shoveler in eclipse 

Meadow Brown
Small White
Speckled Wood
Small Tortoiseshell 
Common Blue (with see through wings like Janet's)

Emperor only 2
Brown Hawker 2
Migrant Hawker 7 (including 2 pairs in cop)
Migrant Hawker male
Common Darter - lots of males, but the only female seen was this old one
Old female Common Darter

Red Nab (MD)
I had a look on the rising tide, earlier than Janet. 
Mediterranean gull 1 adult - the only bird I could locate among the Black-Headed gulls was the green ringed German bird.
Mediterranean gull with green darvic ring amongst the BHG.
This bird was ringed as a nesting in 2012

The overnight tide was the highest of this set of spring tides, but the light off shore wind meant that it didn't top up the pool at the start of the sea wall. So, barring storms it will now not be topped up with sea water till 10th or 11th September. So almost two more weeks, goodness knows what life will emerge from it, especially if occasional rain prevents it from drying out completely.
Drying pool at the very beginning of the sea wall
The territorial Rock Pipit is certainly expecting, and almost certainly currently experiencing, a bounty. It is defending this pool vigorously, allowing the other three Rock Pipits freedom of the rest of Red Nab. Always worth a check if you are passing.

Monday 29 August 2022

Not much, but juvenile Buzzard showing well

Mainly NE to ENE fresh breeze. Some hazy sun in the morning, but becoming increasingly overcast.

Heysham skear - low water 07:30 (MD)
I started at 08:15. The few minutes that I was on the promenade saw
Swallow 16 (9,5,2) north, none were seen while on the shore, but on my return to the promenade another 6 flew north - it felt like early summer again!
That was probably the highlight of the trip, the skear was quiet compared to last evening.
Heron 2
Little Egret 9
Great Crested Grebe 2
Eider 7
Waders: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone and Ringed Plover 2
Ringed Plover

South shore (MD)
It was early evening when I walked along the wall, even so there were still.
Wheatear 7 along foreshore 
Starlings 100+ feeding on saltmarsh brambles
Goldfinch 4 feeding on saltmarsh teasels 
Rock Pipit 2
Eider 2 out from harbour mouth
Mediterranean gulls 5 adult on the beach next to wooden jetty

Treble-bar moth near the sea wall

Imperial way (again it is quiet after 17:30)
I just had a quick check on my way home
Swallow 6
House Martin 6
Kestrel 1 male

Buzzard 1 juvenile 
Juvenile Buzzard 
It wasn't winning any popularity contests, in this clip it has changed its perch and all the local passerines were shouting at it (you can hear the cars passing along the bypass too).

It had a fly around and the hirundines were not impressed
Juvenile Buzzard surrounded by House Martins and Swallows

Sunday 28 August 2022

Early Scaup

Very light variable breeze mainly NE. Sunshine in the morning then becoming hazy by lunch and for the rest of the day

First, a correction. The large egret on the south shore, that I identified as a Great White Egret, turned out to be an unusually large Little Egret. All records have been amended. My apologies if it caused any confusion, at least it shows the value of photography, they can prove, or in this case, disprove identity. It was around again today bullying the other little Egrets and does look to be half as big again as the others. Care required! (Malcolm)

Just my records so far today (MD)
South shore just after low water in the morning 
Rock Pipit 3
Wheatear 9 quickly moving through 5 along the foreshore and 4 near the lighthouse 
Wheatear having a short rest in the inner harbour

Mediterranean gull 5 resting on the rocks on the seaward side of the beach near the wooden jetty. One had a white and another a yellow ring, but much too distant to read, and they left when the tide reached them.

Peregrine Falcon 1 juvenile 

Imperial Way
Just a brief check at 17:00
Stock Dove 1 
Mistle Thrush 1
Swallow 80+
House Martin 6+
The hirundines were milling around the south of the road where the gates to the recycling centre are.
Just a few of the House Martin and Swallow

Heysham skear low water 19:30
Little Egret 4
Grey Heron 2
Grey Heron, ruffling its feathers on Conger rock

Eider 12 including one adult male, but mainly juvenile 
Great Crested grebe 9
Shag 1 - this is a bit different, it had been feeding, now it is drying its wings whilst still swimming 



They were feeding and joined by an Eider

Then time for a wash and brush up

Saturday 27 August 2022

An interesting walk along the wall

A gentle NW wind. Sunshine pretty much all day 

Just stuff from my morning stroll along the south sea wall, so far (MD)

Linnet 10 along foreshore and Red Nab
Goldfinch 4 near lighthouse 
Common Whitethroat 1 Red Nab
Robin 2 Red Nab and foreshore plus 1 near lighthouse 
Wheatear 1 Red Nab
Grey Wagtail 1 Red Nab
Rock Pipit 5

Inshore Red Nab was busy, it probably warranted more time watching, but I was just passing en route to the wooden jetty. There were 3 + 1 Rock pipits squabbling, the territorial bird was also seeing off the Grey Wagtail. Even so it found time for a bit of feeding. This looks like another Rat- Tailed maggot (see post 12 August), looks even less appetising when it's dragged out of the remaining slime! This pool has a couple more days before it is refilled by the increasing height tides.

Meanwhile the Robin was seeing off this Whitethroat 
The Wheatear watched on for a while then continued its journey 

My haste was so as not to miss the beach near the wooden jetty being covered by the incoming tide. I timed it just right, unfortunately the Meds flew off as the tide reached them, not driven towards the wall as they are when the honeycomb worms are being caught on the open mud.
Mediterranean gulls 
Adult (possibly some 3rd calendar year) 15
2nd calendar year 1
1st calendar year 1 (feeding on No.2 outflow)
This is the 2nd calendar year bird (not obvious in this shot) chasing an adult off its patch

Adult Med leaving the beach long before it was covered

There were two white darvic ringed birds amongst them. Fortunately one was relatively close in and could be seen to be the Dutch ringed bird. The other, further out and with mud on its ring left before it could be read.
Adult Med ringed as nestling in Holland 2010
Mallard 1 female flew out along the shipping lane
Grey Heron 1 on Red Nab
Grey Heron
Little Egret 4  - 2 on Red Nab 1 near No.1 outflow plus 1 flew south past lighthouse 
Little Egret 

Stop press.....
Update from Pete
3 Wheatear heliport along with 3 rock pipit.  680 redshank,102 turnstone 
Possibly more to come

Friday 26 August 2022

Purple Sandpiper

A light wind from the east in the morning, switching to west in the afternoon. Mainly overcast  till lunchtime then increasing sunshine.

Purple Sandpiper 1 on old Heliport wall (Pete)

South shore 
Report from Pete:
Mediterranean gull 9 on Red Nab
Shag 1 on wooden jetty

I checked the foreshore and beach out from saltmarsh (MD)
Robin 3 on Red Nab and foreshore, disgruntled "clicks" in the Nature Part suggesting more around.
Robin - as handsome a bird as any we see!

Grey Wagtail 1 on Red Nab
Rock Pipit 2 (including one by the rocky outcrop south of the saltmarsh)
Wheatear 1
Linnet 17 around saltmarsh 
Little Egret 4
Lapwing 4

There was the same cluster of Oystercatcher on the beach out from the saltmarsh, but we're moving back to spring tides and it comes in quickly. The other waders were just reaching the southern end of the recording area.
Dunlin c250
Knot c30
Grey Plover 10
Curlew 70
No godwits seen

I was just about to leave the beach when a small flock of waders appeared from nowhere and landed briefly by the Oystercatcher.
Bar-Tailed Godwit 36
Dunlin 32
Knot 11
Grey Plover 3
Bar-Tailed Godwits and Knot dropping out of the sky
The Knot and Dunlin quickly moved off south, but the bigger waders waited till flushed by the tide
Some of the Bar-Tailed Godwit and Grey Plover - looking like a bad school photo!

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Jean:

This morning we caught 26 birds:

Grey Wagtail 2 of 3 that went through

Willow Warbler 8

Chiffchaff 1 (a retrap from the 19th and in heavy moult)

Blackcap 3

Whitethroat 3

Lesser Whitethroat 3 (2 were retraps)

Robin 2

Goldfinch 3

Great Tit 1

4 Swallows north and a high Sparrowhawk south

I had a stroll around in the afternoon (MD)
Mute Swan pair with 7 well grown cygnets 
Coot 1
Moorhen 6 including 1 well grown young 
Mallard 1 female with 2 well grown young, plus 12, possibly including some mature young
Little grebe a pair on the Tim Butler pond have at least one young - looks like it is being encouraged to feed for itself 
Common Sandpiper 1 on main pond 
Grey Heron 1
Cormorant 1 immature - it was sunning itself and didn't immediately noticed that I was right behind it!

Buzzard 1 drifting high to south (mewing constantly)
Swallow 13 (2, 7, 1, 1, 2) SW
House Martin 2 SW

There is still no sign of the Otters feeding on the Signal Crayfish 

Emperor c10
Common Darter c10
Brown Hawker 1
Migrant Hawker 2

Meadow Brown
Speckled Wood 
Red Admiral 7 - all looking fresh and all in the same area near the golf course.

This juvenile Sparrowhawk had tried and failed to catch the birds on my feeders at home. It gave me a dirty look!
Juvenile Sparrowhawk 

Just out of recording area - Heysham Moss Nature Reserve 
Janet took this shot of a ringed Grasshopper Warbler - a male was reeling here in the spring