Monday 31 October 2022

Pallids to the left, Pallids to the right......doodly-squat in the middle!

SE light winds all day. Largely overcast, but at least it stayed dry.

Today's title refers to Pallid Swifts being seen both north and south of Heysham this afternoon. Pilling (3 sightings) and Heversham (1 posible) - information from Pete, who advises that the "once in a lifetime show is likely to be over", but there is an outside chance of one on the lee side of Heysham Head tomorrow, e.g. viewing from main carpark in Heysham Village.

Meanwhile, there was nothing of note seen/reported in the recording area, so far.
Heysham skear - low water 09:30 (MD)
Just a very quick check, the mix pretty much as yesterday including the Shag resting on a mussel bank.

2nd calendar year Shag 
No Eider or Knot seen.

South shore - high water 15:15 (MD)
Shelduck 41 out from saltmarsh 
Shelduck out from the saltmarsh 

Lapwing 25
Wigeon 28 feeding on the saltmarsh edge plus 31 at Red Nab 
Mallard 1 male feeding on the saltmarsh Samphire seeds - Mallard seldom merit a clip, but it was nice to see this one feeding naturally (still it only gets 14 seconds of fame though!)
Linnet 120, but very flighty. There was a Kestrel feeding over the far corner, but doubt it was that. There are so many, they must be attracting other raptors. These are some of them being very reluctant to land.

Curlew flying past the foreshore 
Rock Pipit 2 around saltmarsh, but none on Red Nab.
There were 12+ Pied Wagtail feeding on Red Nab, more than normal for this time of day, the Rock Pipits don't take kindly to them.
No sign of any Mediterranean gulls.

Sunday 30 October 2022

Nothing new, except more Gadwall

A mainly southerly wind, veering to SW later in the day. Some sunshine and some heavy showers.

First, another sighting of a colour ringed Grey Wagtail. Spotted at Great Crosby on trail cam.
Perusal of 8000 pics showed bird first present there on 11/10/22. 
Thanks to Peter Olson for this
See sidebar for scheme details.

Heysham Skear low water 08:40 (MD)
Great Crested Grebe 3
Red-breasted Merganser 11
Eider 2 
Shag 1 2nd calendar year. It had been resting on a honeycomb worm reef for some while, but the tide was rising, and it was time to start fishing.
Waders: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank and Turnstone plus Ringed Plover 15, Knot - just 1
Skylark 2 together east

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I just checked the main ponds in passing
Mute, Mallard, Moorhen and Little grebe unchanged.
Gadwall 24 on "no swimming" pond
Two female and a male Gadwall
Teal 2 over to east
Janet took this shot of a young Cormorant
First calendar year Cormorant 

South Shore (MD)
It rained heavily from late morning till just after lunch, so I had a quick look to see if anything was grounded. There wasn't!
Just Black-Headed gulls on the outflows plus one Common Gull
2nd winter Common Gull

Mediterranean gull 1 resting on Ocean Edge grass. Unfortunately, the rain was just stopping and newly emerging walkers quickly spooked it.
Wigeon 4 on Red Nab, 45 on saltmarsh 
Common Snipe 9 flushed from saltmarsh by rising tide.
Rock Pipit just 1 on Red Nab
There were no passerines on or around the saltmarsh 

Imperial Road (MD)
Just a quick check on my way home was equally bereft of birds. Just 1 Buzzard, being seen off by the Carrion Crows.
Common Buzzard and Carrion Crow

Saturday 29 October 2022

A few records through the rain! Plus a new Lancashire "latest seen"

A fresh southerly wind. Rain pretty steady till mid afternoon when it eased to showers.

First, I missed Nick Godden's nice account, on LDBWS website, of the swift caught yesterday evening. So here it is:

Dog walk path to Red Nab 17:00-18:15

Chiffchaff 2
Goldcrest 4
Pied wagtail 164 came into a pre-roost gathering on Red Nab before flying towards the ferry terminal to roost

Swift sp – one appeared over the dog path about 18.05 circling quite slowly over us at treetop height a couple of times. But within about 30 seconds a sparrowhawk came through and caught it (very easily) almost overhead. It flew with it east towards Moneyclose Lane but we didn’t see it again. Obviously given the poor light we couldn’t see any useful ID features.

See also Pete's comments on yesterday's post.

The Common Whitethroat seen by Janet yesterday is the latest ever recorded in Lancashire by a couple of days. Any further sightings of this bird, especially with any pictures would be great.

South shore (MD)

I had a lunchtime walk in the rain on the rising tide.

Eider 2 out from Harbour. Didn't try and get a shot today, I already had this shot from Mark Jones from earlier in the week.

One of the 2+ Eider regularly around the harbour mouth
Wigeon 2 on Red Nab plus 32 on the saltmarsh. They were feeding on Samphire seeds.

Kingfisher 1 on Red Nab. Unusually, or perhaps unusual that I spotted it today, it was feeding off the far SW rocks directly into the incoming tide. 

Rock Pipit 5 (2 each saltmarsh and Red Nab plus 1 along the sea wall)

Greenfinch 2 on Red Nab

Linnet 125  - also feeding on the Samphire seeds on the saltmarsh. The rain had eased so I took this short clip of them passing over.

Heysham Head

The rain had stopped, temporarily, so I had a quick look in the late afternoon (MD)

Rock Pipits 3 in association below the high cliffs. These two were constantly close.

Great White Egret 2 together flying south 16:15. Unfortunately, it was raining again at this point, so yet again just a grainy shot

Great White Egret

Nothing else of note.

Friday 28 October 2022

More Whooper, a very late Whitethroat and a Pallid Swift alert!

A light SSE wind shifted to SW mid morning. Showers during the morning, but largely sunny in the afternoon.

First the Pallid Swift alert (Pete)

As regards Pallid Swift, proof requires scrutiny of good video unless point blank views in decent light which should be backed up by pics.  The HeySham bird was almost certainly searching for a roost site when seen to be taken by a Sparrowhawk by Caroline and Nick.  Earlier in the day walney had a southbound fly-through and at 1700hrs Leighton had one which by all accounts sadly eluded all the cameras.  As far as we are aware, all the identified birds in this influx have been Pallid but less than half have been seen/filmed well enough to be sure 

South shore
Whooper Swan 6 (1 juvenile) originally on the shore out from the saltmarsh before the flooding tide moved them on (record and pictures from Mark Jones)

Whooper Swans

Rock Pipits 2 on Red Nab - these two seem to be in constant conflict. They were flying around when Janet took these shots

I checked as the tide was almost full (MD)
Wigeon 47 out from the saltmarsh 
Linnet c60 plus Goldfinch c20 around saltmarsh edges
Reed Bunting 1

Kevin Eaves spotted this Greylag Goose in the harbour 
Greylag Goose 

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Wildfowl unchanged except there was an additional Little Grebe on the "no swimming" pond. It wasn't welcomed!

Little grebe 

Thrushes feeding on hawthorn berries
Blackbird 6
Redwing 4 

Janet managed a glimpse of this bird in the southern section of the reserve. She thought Common Whitethroat, but it should be much too late for them. But after very careful scrutiny by Pete and others, it turned out that's what it was....
Common Whitethroat - a really late record.

Janet did well getting these shots, not much, but just
enough to confirm Common Whitethroat 

It was warm, particularly in the afternoon. I saw Common Darters (all male) everywhere I went
Saltmarsh 1
Nature Park 1
Middleton 4
Imperial Road 3
One of today's Common Darters

The only butterfly seen was a Red Admiral on Imperial Road

Thursday 27 October 2022

Another day of poor timing!

 A light south wind all day. Plenty of sunshine, but also heavy showers.

Pink-Footed goose 5 skeins flew towards fields beyond Meldon Rd before 08:00 (Janet)
Middleton Nature Reserve (Janet)
Just a few sightings while exercising dogs:
Jay 1
Pheasant 1
Roe deer 2 small individuals

South shore high water 13:00 (MD)
I couldn't get out till just after high water today, the saltmarsh was already covered, but I did expect the odd Jack Snipe to still be around the edge, but none.
Common Snipe 2
Linnet 55
Wigeon 41
Mallard 1
Rock Pipit 2
Whooper Swan 1 flew low to SE just after I had reached my car and put my camera away!

Common Darter 2 in Nature Park

Imperial Rd (MD)
Great White Egret 1 - technically this is a "seen from" the recording area, as it was in the field just east of Imperial Rd which is the eastern boundary of the recording area. It was amongst a heard of cows. Unfortunately, at that point the farmer turned up to round the cows up and flushed it before I could get a good shot. This was about the best I managed as it flew off towards the Lune.
Great White Egret

This clip is awful of the Egret as it flew further and further away, but does give a good impression of the clamour that modern cattle herding results in. The farmer turned up in a beeping jeep (not an expletive, the jeep was constantly beeping its horn), plus a barking dog. I have to say it proved very effective, but I'm not sure Rowdy Yates would have approved! (Sorry to post readers who are under 70, to whom that reference will mean absolutely nothing......but that's what Google is for).

Stonechat 1 female/immature flew across the road (from outside to inside the recording area). Unfortunately I couldn't relocate 

Buzzard 2 calling to each other from the trees. This is one of them, I could hear a couple of returning calls from the second bird, but they weren't captured by my camera.

It was the Magpie's turn to harass them today
Common Darter 4 males

Heysham skear (MD)
I just had a quick look on the ebbing tide before it became too dark
Great Crested Grebe 2
Red-breasted Merganser 9. The males have already started their courtship displays, there were three following one female.
Eider 6 (3male)
Little Egret 16
Knot one flock of 130

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Very little (by recent standards) today

A fresh SSE wind shifted to SSW at lunchtime, some sunshine but heavy showers.

South shore
I went down to watch the tide cover the saltmarsh (MD)
Mediterranean gull 1 adult on Red Nab
Wigeon 25 on Red Nab, later 60 out from saltmarsh 
Linnet 100+ on saltmarsh 
Some of the saltmarsh Linnet

Common Snipe 27 flushed when tide first reached the saltmarsh 
Common Snipe 

Jack Snipe 1  - flushed by a family having a walk around the saltmarsh edge
By this time the tide had just started to cover the saltmarsh, but unlike yesterday's good timing, today the timing was rubbish. I'd set off in bright sunshine with no waterproofs, an ominous black cloud first blocked out the sun then brought down the rain. I left much too early to complete a full Jack Snipe survey.

Another venture in the afternoon was also thwarted by the rain. I didn't get past the Nature Park. Fortunately Kevin had just been along the wall and confirmed nothing of note on the outflows.
There was a mixed tit (mainly Long-Tailed) flock feeding near the small anemometer. This also contained at least 2 Goldcrest and 1 Chiffchaff (Kevin had heard one singing earlier).
This LTT was feeding in the leaf litter, or at least trying to feed, it certainly was watching something.

Red Admiral 1

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Just a check of the two main ponds
Mute Swan pair plus 7 cygnets 
Mallard 6 on main pond (4 male) plus 3 (2 male) flying around
Gadwall 5 (3 male) on "no swimming" pond
Moorhen 5 (1 immature)
Immature Moorhen 

Adult Moorhen 

Little grebe 2 (1 on each pond)
Little Grebe
Grey Heron 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Vagrant Emperor.......another one!

The light wind shifted from the south to south east and freshened slightly after lunch. High cloud with plenty of sunshine, although there was very heavy overnight rain.

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:

John and I set nets at Heysham this morning, the first time for us at that site for a while. Little movement overhead was evident to us apart from a distant group of Pink footed Geese heard but not seen and 12 Carrion Crows that gathered on a transmission tower near the office before moving off southwards.

Ringing totals were:

Wren 1

Dunnock 2 + 1 retrap

Robin 2

Blackcap 1

Chiffchaff 3

Goldcrest 18

Coal Tit 2

Great Tit 1

Chaffinch 1

Greenfinch 7

Goldfinch 2

Imperial Rd 11:15

I just had a quick look in passing and for once my timing was impeccable (MD). I'd just pulled up, opened my window and heard

Whooper Swans 8. They were flying low along a flight line from the fields at Heysham Moss and SW towards Middleton Nature Reserve. At least 3 juvenile.

Whooper Swans 

A few minutes later a Buzzard turned up and landed in a tree, initially mobbed by a pair of Kestrels, but eventually seen off by a pair of crows:

South shore 
I had a walk along the sea wall at lunchtime (MD). It was high water, probably the worst time on these spring tides, but I was on dog walking duty, so little choice of time.
Rock Pipits 2 on Red Nab - Janet took this nice shot 
Rock Pipit

Great Black-Backed gulls 12 resting on the wooden jetty 
Great Black-Backed gulls with Cormorants on wooden jetty

Wren 3 flitting around the scrub near the lighthouse. I normally get a brief glimpse of one here, but these were very open. Presumably one or two newcomers being challenged by the local(s)
Well fed looking Wren

Eider 5 female/immature in
Wigeon just 1 on saltmarsh 
No passerines around saltmarsh, presumably I'd missed a raptor visit
Jack Snipe 1

Kevin Eaves picked a more sensible time to check the wall, towards low water when the tide only reaches the wall towards the wooden jetty. And was justly rewarded with what will almost certainly be the best record of the year......
Vagrant Emperor 1 female in the scrub near the lighthouse 
Female Vagrant Emperor
This is Kevin's second record here in two years, the last one 9th November 2020. This isn't a lucky coincidence, we have established that there is a major insect flight path into this area when there is an east wind and warm sun, especially when the tide is out. Kevin checks whenever practical, and considering the time of year, he had hoped (although never expected) for a sighting today. 

Although the star, it wasn't the only insect around today. Janet spotted this Common Darter on Middleton Nature Reserve 
Male Common Darter

Also a Red Admiral on Moneyclose Lane

Monday - Stonechat influx

 Sorry about the delay in this posting, my internet at home is down and could be for a few days, so I'm having to post this from my daughter's (MD).

South shore (MD)

A walk in the morning on the rising tide. Overcast but dry with a south wind.


Linnet c100

Greenfinch + Goldfinch mixed flock c40

Reed Bunting 1

Reed Bunting 

Mediterranean gulls 2 adult on Red Nab plus 1 out from the harbour 

Adult Mediterranean gull 

Wigeon 86 - the males are coming out of eclipse 


Rock Pipit 2

Meadow Pipit 5 east (1, 2 & 2)

Kingfisher 1 showing well again on Red Nab

Stonechat 2 males, one elusive around saltmarsh plus this one feeding near the lighthouse 

Just a hint of a white rump

Mistle Thrush 3 grounded at the lighthouse 

Mid afternoon there was a heavy downpour, when it had stopped I had another quick look around and located 3 additional Stonechat - so total for the day 5

There was a male and female/immature in the copse just behind Red Nab, before moving inland

Female/immature Stonechat

Another female/immature was along Imperial Road. By this time the sun was out, making seeing difficult, but images enigmatic 

Imperial Rd Stonechat 

Middleton Nature Reserve (Janet)

Cetti's warbler 1 singing

Common Snipe 1

Pheasant 1

Not sure when I'll be able to post Tuesday's records

Sunday 23 October 2022

A thorough check, results in a good variety

A lightish east wind, overnight rain resumed about 09:30 and continued for much of the day

Report from Nick Godden (via LDBWS webpage  - see link on sidebar)

23/10 Heysham NR 8.15-10.00
Water rail 1
Snipe 1 s
Redwing 53 se
Blackbird 17
Song thrush 2
Robin 24
Skylark 1 s
Meadow pipit 9 s
Chiffchaff 2
Goldcrest 9
Goldfinch 24 s
Redpoll 1 s
Chaffinch 14 s
Brambling 1 s
Tree sparrow 1+ s
Greenfinch 4

Middleton NR East 22/10 4-6pm
Blackcap 1 m
Chiffchaff 2
Goldcrest 13
Pied wagtail c. 45 flying west to roost
Peregrine 2
Sparrowhawk 1
Mediterranean gull 1 ad flew west with Black-headed gulls

Apart from Nick's stuff......not a lot
South shore (MD)
We are moving back to spring tides now and the beach out from the saltmarsh is soon covered. The birds are aware of this and few bother resting there as they will be moved on again.
Shelduck were the exception 132 feeding on the channel out from the foreshore till moved on by tide.
Wigeon just 3 at the saltmarsh and only 56 at Red Nab (they were leaving Red Nab to saltmarsh as I was leaving)
No Mediterranean gulls seen this morning
Rock Pipit 3
Linnet c100 
Common Snipe 4 flushed by the tide from the pockets of saltmarsh grass just south of the saltmarsh 
Song Thrush 1 grounded - it had just started raining
Off passage Song Thrush

Stonechat 1 male again flitting around the western edge of the saltmarsh. By this time the rain was heavy so I didn't attempt a picture 
Kingfisher 1 - Red Nab was almost covered and the kingfisher shot past to the east as I walked along the foreshore. No picture today, but this shot from yesterday (at least it's a bit of colour)
Yesterday's Kingfisher 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick check of the two main ponds on my way home (MD)
Mute pair plus 6 mature cygnets on main pond when I arrived, but 7 when I returned 
Mallard 8 (3 female)
Gadwall 4 (2 on both ponds)
Teal 11 on "no swimming" pond
Teal, the males still in eclipse 

Lapwing 4 east
Sparrowhawk 1 juvenile 

Janet's dogs sniffed out this frog. It looks large, like a female full of spawn, but obviously not at this time of year. It has just puffed itself out to scare off the worked.

This is from yesterday, I'd had a quick look on the skear, but there was nothing new around. This clip is a Red-breasted Merganser snorkelling. They do this when the prey is shallow, often crabs, but not this time, it was catching about every second "dive". The speed at which its prey was eaten means that it was small, I expect it was catching shrimps, which are a decent size this time of year.

Saturday 22 October 2022

A change of habit, is the only thing that's new.

A fresh SSW wind early on eased a bit during the day, high cloud with plenty of Sunny spells and just a couple of light showers.

First, these are Mark Jones' pictures of yesterday's Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl

10:30 yesterday morning, an hour after high water
I was c400m to the right of this shot, trying to read a ringed Med! (MD)
Also from yesterday morning, Jean's summary of the vis from Heysham Nature Reserve:
Grey Wagtail 8 
Chaffinch 28
Pink-footed Goose 200 N
Redwing 34
Starling 10
Corvids 35
Jackdaw 25 E
Skylark 2
Sparrowhawk 1
Bullfinch 1
Blackbird 1

Back to today
South shore
Pete managed a check:
Red Nab
120 Wigeon
3 ad Mediterranean gulls flew in from South. Plus a 2cy on outflows 
Plus 5 Bar-Tailed Godwit roosting 

I started off on the shore out from the saltmarsh on the rising tide (MD). I was trying to relocate the yellow ringed Mediterranean gull from yesterday, it's definitely a new bird for the recording area. The tide wasn't much higher than yesterday, but the beach is so flat here the tide almost covered the shore. I eventually located 2 adult and a 2nd calendar year.  
This clip shows the 2cy plus an adult bathing (the water would have been quite fresh, as this is the groundwater run off backing up against the tide). It was teasing me, showing that it was ringed.
The light was very bright and at this range, through a viewfinder I couldn't tell if it was a white or yellow ring. But as the tide ebbed I managed to read it, not the yellow ringed bird of yesterday, but an old friend, already seen this year, the Dutch LCG, ringed in 2010.
Not a waste of effort though, as Pete pointed out, it does show a change in habit.
The latest sighting of this bird here has previously been late July to early August 
The bulk of the waders were at the edge of the recording area just out from the faux castle:
Dunlin 1,500
Knot, just 11 many more further south
Grey Plover 70
Bar-Tailed Godwit 57

A walk back around the saltmarsh to Red Nab, now just after high water located:
Wigeon originally 50 birds out from the saltmarsh but more arriving from east resulted in 130, plus 20 still on Red Nab.
Mallard 1 drake with the Wigeon
Linnet c60 on saltmarsh, being harried by....
Sparrowhawk 1
Lapwing 71 
Stonechat 1 male, still elusive near the slipway 
Male Stonechat - it was a mute point as to who was watching whom!

Kingfisher 1 showing well on Red Nab
There were still at least two adult Mediterranean gulls on Red Nab. This one took a dislike to one of the Black Headed gulls. It must have been in its place.
so minimum number today 4 adult plus 1 2cy.