Tuesday 31 October 2023

Terns (and Whimbrel) still around.

Heavy overnight rain and another shower at lunchtime. Overcast all day. A light east breeze.

First an update from yesterday
Wheatear 1 late bird moved rapidly through the old heliport at midday- Mark Breaks.

South shore
I went out in the morning just as the heavy overnight rain was easing (MD)
Back to "normal" with Rock Pipits,  just 4 seen (foreshore 1, Red Nab 1 and 2 together on the sea wall)
This is one of the sea wall birds.

Meadow Pipits 10 grounded on Ocean Edge grass. This is one with a Pied Wagtail, they are finding plenty to eat as the invertebrates have climbed up the grass blades to avoid the waterlogged ground.
Reed Bunting 2 on saltmarsh 

Shelduck 1
Wigeon 53
Whimbrel 1 calling from Red Nab

Both the juvenile Common Tern and juvenile Arctic Tern were feeding on No.2 outflow, but as yesterday, the Arctic not always present.
Later in the afternoon Janet was exercising a dog along the sea wall. No specialist camera today, just a mobile phone camera. 
This is Janet's shot of the juvenile Arctic Tern.
It shows that excellent record shots can be taken with just a phone camera.

This is also Janet's. It shows the extent of the Oystercatcher movement, presumably something or someone had flushed them from the Heliport roost.

Monday 30 October 2023

It rained down rocks!

A prolonged and heavy shower late morning eased just after lunch. A few later lighter showers. A light east breeze.

First these shots from Howard yesterday at the old heliport:

I made another visit today hoping to get lucky with the Knot, alas there were fewer birds c1500 which stayed in the middle of the outer wall with only one quick fly round due to a corvid dropping over the wall and spooking them.

There was a male Kestrel flying low over the field which flushed 11 Snipe, and c40 Greenfinch,

that is a greenfinch with the Kestrel

A more recognisable shot of a Greenfinch

7 meadow pipit feeding around the naze and onto the lorry park

at the cafe end someone had put some seed down on the path for the birds
(House Sparrows)

.........and Rat with offspring.

One of three Pied Wagtail, this one with a metal ring was just beyond reading range.

South shore

I couldn't get out till lunchtime today (MD). At this point it was pouring down and had been for over an hour. It was high water so I started at the saltmarsh 

Common Snipe 8

Jack Snipe 1

Linnet 55

Reed Bunting 2

Wigeon 37

Rock Pipit - there was just 1 on the saltmarsh, but another 9 along the foreshore (2 looked to be the residents at the slipway end chasing off 3 others, while a Robin was desperately trying to see off 3 more further along, plus a single bird at the Red Nab end). Other single birds on Red Nab, Sea wall and lighthouse in the regular residents areas. So a total today of 14!

Ringed Plover 8 

Greenfinch 2

On Red Nab

As I reached the outflows the rain was easing. 

Common Tern 1 juvenile and Arctic Tern 1 juvenile were flying high and patrolling the sea wall between the outflows.

The Common Tern was constantly calling, you can just about hear it in this clip. Watch in slow motion and you can see its bill opening as it calls.

On the way back the tide had ebbed further and both terns were feeding around No.2 outflow. This is the (silent) Arctic.

Juvenile Arctic Tern

Juvenile Common Tern

When Pete had a quick look from Ocean Edge at 15:00 there was just the Common Tern feeding, but the Arctic may well have been resting on the wall (see yesterday's post)

Cormorant 54 on the wooden jetty

Great Crested Grebe 1 feeding by the water intakes in the harbour again.

This, justifiably, sad looking Great Black-Backed gull was also in the harbour.
Unfortunately its flying days are over.
Grey Seal 1 between the outflows

In the Nature Park

Goldcrest 2 

Chiffchaff 1 calling near the white barrier at the entrance. There is nothing to see in this clip, I'm not pointing my camera at a wooden post so much, as pointing the camera microphone towards the calls. Mostly Chiffchaff calls.

Sunday 29 October 2023

What could be better than one late Tern..........

A dry day after an early shower. The light east wind continues.

South shore
A morning check on the rising tide (MD)
Common Tern 1 juvenile on No.1 outflow, today joined by......
Arctic Tern 1 juvenile 
This clip starts and ends on the Arctic Tern, with the Common in between.

Juvenile Arctic Tern

Later David Kaye took this excellent shot of it on the sea wall.
Both terns were still feeding on the outflows this evening (evening......It was only 16:00!)

Red-Throated Diver 1 initially fishing by No.2 outflow

It must have found enough to eat as a little later it was drifting out preening.
Later still, David saw it, or another, flying towards Ocean Edge

Pink-Footed goose 17 low to the south
Wigeon 100+
Rock Pipit 4
Meadow Pipit 2

On saltmarsh 
Reed Bunting 2 
Linnet 85 
Common Snipe 7 
Whimbrel 1 late bird flew out from the saltmarsh calling.

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Report from Pete Crooks

A 1 hour 30 minute walk around produced:
1 male Blackcap
1 Chiffchaff
2 Redwing
12+ Long-tailed Tit
1 Jay
2 Bullfinch
28 Goldfinch

Saturday 28 October 2023

Common Tern was a nice addition

A light SE breeze. Pretty much dry all day, just a few spots of rain.

South Shore
Common Tern 1 juvenile on No.1 outflow - Kevin Eaves
Juvenile Common Tern

I watched the tide cover the saltmarsh, it doesn't take long on these spring tides (MD)
Wigeon c150 left Red Nab of which 86 went to feed on the saltmarsh. At this time of year, they take over from the finches, eating the seeds as the tide covers the marsh plants.

Goldfinch 12
Greenfinch 15
Linnet 102 were in one flying flock, almost certainly more. When the tide is in the Linnet feed on the tideline. These are just a few of them.

Meadow Pipit 3 also feeding along the tideline, but after invertebrates not seeds.

Meadow Pipit displaying its long hind claw

Rock Pipit 1, also after invertebrates 

Reed Bunting 2
Common Snipe 14, no Jack Snipe lifted today.

Turnstone are well know for, well......turning stones, looking for invertebrates. Here are three doing just that.

Starlings are noted for mimicry, typically sounds. But they are not adverse to copying a successful feeding technique too, and they are very quick learners!

Friday 27 October 2023

A Swift interest

Sunny till early afternoon then overcast with a few light showers. A light but freshening east to SE breeze.

Heysham Nature Reserve
Report from Jean:

It was fairly quiet at Heysham NR this morning. We had 6 nets up but didn’t catch much. The highlight was a Tree Sparrow. Goldcrests could be heard but stayed feeding in the bushes, the one I managed to catch was a retrap from not long ago so it suggests Goldcrests weren’t actually on the move. The same went for Chiffchaffs, just 2 or 3 caught. Of the Redwings that poured into the east of the country yesterday, very few made it to Heysham. One was caught as it left its roost along with a grey looking continental Blackbird. Pete got excited as an obvious continental Coal Tit descended from the sky but it evaded the nets and only a few British Coal Tits were caught.

Visible migration was also low key:


Jackdaw 51 south in 3 flocks

Carrion Crow 6 north

Chaffinch 17 south

Brambling 1, possibly 2

Bullfinch 3 south

Finch sp 10 south 

Redwing 7 plus 5 landed

Blackbird 16 south

Starling 13 

Woodpigeon 7

Pink-footed Goose 208 north, 26 south

Pied Wagtail 2

Siskin 1

Redpoll 2 SE

Coal Tit 7 south plus the Continental one

Collared Dove 1 south

At 09:50 a SWIFT flew northwest (could it have been the Pallid Swift seen over Mull at 2pm??!! - we can dream!)

Starling roost

520 flew from the power station roost


Peregrine called from one of the pylons

Two Sparrowhawks flew up from one of the copses

Middleman Nature Reserve
Common Darter 3 - Janet saw one in the morning and I managed 2 males in the afternoon 
I was busy till mid afternoon (MD). The sun was still shining when I left home, but the first shower started just as I reached the main pond!
Wildfowl similar to recent, still 8 cygnets with the Mute Swan pair.
Just before I reached the "no swimming" pond something must have spooked the ducks as 9 Gadwall and 2 Teal flew off.
All that remained on the "no swimming pond were 2 Coot (12 in total), 2 Moorhen (6 in total) and a single Mallard (13 in total).
A single Mallard was the only remaining duck on the "no swimming" pond.
It was clearly going to be one of those days!

Grey Heron on the main pond
Pink-Footed goose - 2 skeins south, but on both occasions there were trees obscuring view so only heard.
Redwing 3 elusive around the reserve
Thrush sp - probably Redwing - 22 south but quite distant to the east
Blackbirds were the only other thrushes seen c12 feeding on Hawthorn berries
Cetti's warbler 3 singing Males - "no swimming" and Tim Butler ponds plus central marsh.
Roe deer 1 - unfortunately it saw me before I saw it! So only a fleeting glimpse.

The sun came out again just as I got back to the main pond. I'd noted the eight cygnets lined up along the north side, when they decided to fly to the south side. No apparent reason, just flying practice, this clip is rubbish as I was largely obscured but it does convey the impact of eight large birds landing on the water close by.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Ring Ousel........top bill

The morning showers eased by lunchtime, but it remained overcast. A light east wind.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
First John's ringing report from yesterday morning:

A ringing session at Middleton yesterday had a catch of just 18 birds, half of them being Goldcrest. The total catch was:

Goldcrest              9

Redwing               3

Blackbird              1

Wren                     1

Great Tit               1

Blackcap              1

Lesser Redpoll     1

Blue Tit                1


Cetti's warbler 3 - Janet heard one singing by Tim Butler pond this morning. I paid a brief evening visit (MD). There was one singing at the "no swimming" pond, plus this silent one showed briefly on the opposite bank (not a great clip, but you rarely get to glimpse them).

The evening wildfowl was as recent except just 3 male Teal in breeding plumage plus a female or immature male.

Male Teal coming in to land

Male Teal in breeding plumage

Female or immature male Teal

Jackdaw 23 looking like they were preparing too roost.

Heysham Head - Dan Haywood
Ring Ouzel 1 - lower slopes Heysham Head 0750 but flew SE towards paddock containing sheep and not relocated.
Full report from Dan:

Heysham Head (off-passage night migrants in italics);

Goldcrest 13
Blackbird 9
Song Thrush 9
Chiffchaff 1
Brambling 1
Redwing 1
Ring Ouzel 1

Wren 25
Greenfinch 14
Dunnock 11
Long-tailed Tit 11
Goldfinch 6
Rock Pipit 5
Coal Tit 3

Rising Tide waders in ‘Pre-Roost’;

Knot 260
Redshank 150
Turnstone 24
Curlew 18

Half Moon Bay - Kevin Singleton 

Grey Plover 2

Robin 3 close together by the old tree stump

South shore - high water 10:10 (MD)

Shelduck 9 north

Wigeon 156 around Red Nab before some flying to Potts and others to the saltmarsh.

This is Red Nab 1hr before high water. In stark contrast to yesterday's bright colours everything was
shades of grey. Most of the Wigeon have already moved on. The waders are mainly Oystercatcher
with Curlew, Redshank and Turnstone.

These are some of the remaining Wigeon feeding on the gutweed growing on Red Nab rocks. It is still quite lush and keeps growing through the warmer spells of winter. Even so it is like a billiard table cloth by the end of winter.

One of three Robin along the foreshore, at least one additional bird

Lapwing 9 

Common Snipe 21

Linnet 58

Rock Pipit 1

Meadow Pipit 2

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Whooping waifs

A very light east wind till late morning, then it switched to the west. A sunny morning after a brief shower. Overcast, but still warm in the afternoon.

South shore (MD)
A morning check from high water.
The saltmarsh was busy with passerines:
Linnet 100+
Goldfinch 20
Greenfinch 15
Reed Bunting 2
Meadow Pipit 4
Rock Pipit 1 (5 in total over the walk)
Most of the Linnet were feeding on the east side of the saltmarsh where the Samphire is densest. But a few were feeding on the more isolated plants on the west side.

The sun was low and bright, making for some vivid colours

Meadow Pipits

Reed Bunting 

Whooper Swan 4 immature flying west across the bay. It is unusual to see young birds without adults, they must have become separated from the flock they were with. Not very clear shots of the birds, but despite a ships horn and barking dogs, you can still make out their constant honking until they were quite distant.

Immature Whooper Swan

Wigeon 82 returned to Red Nab after being flushed by visitors 
No sign of the Red-Throated diver this morning.

Heysham skear - low water 14:00 (MD)
Eider 42 including flocks of 16 and 5 flying low to the south

Great Crested Grebe 5
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Little Egret 11 - they were back to feeding in the sea, but the water is still too clear for shrimps, they were probably finding small flatfish.
Oystercatcher 600
Knot 400 - one still partially in summer plumage 


Dunlin 1
Curlew 35
Redshank 100
Turnstone 60

This Great Black-Backed gull has found a flounder and is being watched closely by a Carrion Crow.

Within a minute there were seven Carrion Crows.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

A thorough check, but no Yellow Brow..........yet

Apart from a mid morning break it pretty much rained all day. A light east breeze.

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Shaun did a couple of circuits of the reserve and surrounding hedgerows, but didn't locate any grounded Yellow-browed Warblers. Although he did manage 4 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap:
3 Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrest in a fast moving tit flock in NE corner.
Another Chiffchaff and female Blackcap at start of footpath to Red Nab 
12 Redwing and 2 Fieldfare dropped in

South shore (MD)
Not a lot of time again today, I just managed a quick look from the saltmarsh to No.2 outflow on the ebbing tide mid morning.
Shelduck just 2 on the mud today
Wigeon 50+ amongst the rocks on Red Nab
Little Egret 4
Grey Heron 1
Lapwing 58 out from the saltmarsh 
Linnet c100 - 84 in one aerial flock while many more were feeding on the saltmarsh 
Reed Bunting 2
Rock Pipit 3
Meadow Pipit 3 grounded on the beach between Red Nab and foreshore (see location shot 22/10).
Meadow Pipit

This one was feeding just below where a Robin normally stands, defending its territory, even so it seemed to be able to find plenty to eat, quite easily. The Robin was trying to see off the other two pipits.

This Dunnock on the foreshore was more wary of another territorial Robin, than it was of me.

Red-Throated Diver 1 - clearly mid moult was drifting out with the tide. Pete advises that it looks to be the same bird he saw here on Friday. It almost certainly is and it should remain in the general locality a while longer.
It was constantly preening its wing feathers.

This clip clearly shows the stage of the wing moult and pans out to show the location, just out fromNo.2 outflow.

Red-Throated Diver