Monday 14 November 2022

Black Redstarts

Very light and variable breeze till mid morning, then it increased slightly and remained a southerly for the rest of the day. Very low cloud till late morning when the sun broke through for a while. Dry.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:

It was ideal weather this morning but only two nets set to sample what might be about. Twenty one birds caught eventually including five Chiffchaffs and another unringed Cetti's Warbler.

Meadow Pipit 1

Wren 1 retrap

Redwing 2

Cetti's Warbler 1 + 2 retraps

Chiffchaff 5

Goldcrest 3 + 3 retraps

Great Tit 1

Reed Bunting 2

At about 07.30 the Pink-footed Geese put on a noisy and spectacular show with a few thousand filling the sky above the reserve and over as far as the shore, flying low northwards to their feeding grounds. (Just before 17:00 they made the return trip flying low, first over Janet's house then over mine (MD))

I was also entertained by a Stoat towards the end of concrete road which darted about bothering a pair of Pied Wagtails that had landed there - they did not seem sufficiently alarmed to fly away until the confrontation had carried on for at least ten minutes. 

A number of Meadow Pipits that responded to my mp3 player (7-10) could have been late migrants but might also have been local birds.

I had a quick look round after lunch (MD)

Mute, Mallard and Moorhen unchanged 

Gadwall 26

Tufted Duck 2 males

Shoveler 1 female

Cetti's warbler singing from central marsh

Chiffchaff 2 heard calling 

Meadow Pipits 4 (3+1) drifting through to south

Pete and Jean did the Webs count today.

These highlights from Pete:

Black Redstart 1 Female/imm near naze area at south end Heysham heliport. It was catching insects along with c5 pied and one Grey Wagtail plus one Rock Pipit and Meadow Pipit - a lot of chasing and spooking each other. 

It was mobile and elusive and may have gone along seawall towards harbour mouth.

At 15:00 Jean counted 22 Pied Wagtail feeding.

I checked a little later (MD). Couldn't find the Black Redstart, but there were probably more Pied Wagtail, plus 3 Meadow and 1 Rock Pipit.

Not a great shot, but a good comparison of Meadow Pipit (above) and Rock Pipit
On Heliport wall

A second Black Redstart was very mobile between the slipway and Red Nab on Ocean Edge foreshore, located by Alan Physick. 

This full report from Jean:

This is what was on the heliport seawall and grass at high tide (WeBS count):
Oystercatcher 4400
Redshank 71
Turnstone 69
Lapwing 10
Snipe 20
Curlew 6
Pied Wagtail 5
Grey Wagtail 1
Rock Pipit 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Herring Gull 3
Black-headed Gull 3

Wooden Jetty
Cormorant 74
Shag 1
Herring Gull 10

Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Redshank 14
Oystercatcher 6
Black-headed Gull 44
Lesser Black-back 3
Great Black-back 1

Ocean Edge grass
Oystercatcher 3
Pied Wagtail 22
BLACK REDSTART 1 (this was seen on the rocks below the grass by Alan Physick)

Red Nab
Wigeon 169
Oystercatcher 1810
Curlew 14
Redshank 40
Bar-tailed Godwit 1
Little Egret 1
Grey Heron 1
Great Crested Grebe 1
Cormorant 2
Herring Gull 18
Black-headed Gull 16
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Lesser Black-back 1

South shore (MD)

I checked in the morning, no sign of the Black Redstart then

Lapwing 90 out from saltmarsh 

Shelduck 58 most in the freshwater pool out from Red Nab

Wigeon 165 in channel along No.2 outflow

Greenfinch 7 at Red Nab

Rock Pipit 1 Red Nab

Meadow Pipit 3 landed briefly near the lighthouse before heading off to the north side (possibly the ones seen feeding later)

Meadow Pipit silhouetted on the sea wall

Just as I got back to Red Nab, the sun finally broke through the low clouds. As I reached the gate to track to the Nature Park a "dragonfly" was flying north over the copse just behind Red Nab. Too distant to make out any colours, but its size and shape would normally be enough to identify it as a Migrant Hawker, but I couldn't be certain.

Goldcrest 1 near small anemometer 

Goldfinch 70+ in one flock milling around over the non operational land just north of the Nature Park.

Goldfinch flock - if you open this shot you can identify most of the birds.