Thursday, 2 October 2014

Dead nice day

Heysham Obs
The last of the clear calm mornings for a bit - it was a bit too clear and calm this morning with stratospheric vis mig and not a lot of grounded stuff (albeit seemingly starting from a blank cheque after yesterday).  A very noisy boat made life very difficult during the first hour of daylight.

Vis mig by HNR office 0700-1000 (thanks to Brian for a lot of this)
Carrion Crow - 1 south - surprising absence of black corvid passage this am
alba Wagtail - 11
Meadow Pipit - 39
Grey Wagtail - 4
Skylark - 1
Song Thrush - at least 10, possibly 15
Chaffinch - 99(!)
Bullfinch - 2
Jay - 2+2+1 south
Coal Tit - flock of 6, then at least one other heard calling
Reed Bunting - 2

Grounded by office
Goldcrest - 3
Chiffchaff - 2
Tree Sparrow - 1
Wren - one unringed bird caught

Middleton NR
Goldcrest - 2
Chiffchaff - 3
Reed Bunting - 5 ringed

Blastobasis lacticolella in trap.  Brown Hawker Middleton NR along with single Migrant Hawker and at least two Common Darter

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Migration seems to take a day off

Heysham Obs
A bit of a lie-in seemed to justify itself as a short vis mig session degenerated into counting a wasp flight-line in the absence of anything numerically avian.   Whether this is going to set the tone for October, time will tell - certainly a repeat of the September ringing effort will surely not be possible.

This is not a site where ringing is an extensive effort -usually a single or two-person activity in a relatively small geographical area whilst e.g. also trying to keep an accurate handle on the vis mig.  Therefore individual species ringing totals are rarely high with an annual effort usually about 2,000.

To put September into context, over 1,500 were ringed with the Chiffchaff ringing total of 105 in excess of any annual grand total during the period of the Obs (since 1980).  The annual ringing total so far for Chiffchaff is 207 and, as implied, no previous annual total has exceeded 100!   Other very high totals for September included 113 Robin (out of a total of 199 so far) and this represented a steady trickle through the mist netting areas, not a result of a single big fall.   Blackcap numbers were also very high, especially in the early part of the month, with Middleton, not usually prime Blackcap habitat, producing the majority of the 102 ringed during the month (out of a total of 207 for the year so far, equalling Chiffchaff, and far in excess of any previous annual total).   The ringing effort also produced a total of 132 Grey Wagtail (out of a grand total of 157 - the rest at the end of August), as with Robin, this was a steady trickle in morning after morning of suitable migration/ringing weather and personnel availability, rather than any major individual day total.

The star of the show was Cetti's Warbler which saw three individuals, including (surprisingly at this central location and previous history) the only bird during the month bearing a ring from elsewhere (D765... anyone?)

Vis mig 0830-0900 by office
Chaffinch - 13
Meadow Pipit - 1
alba Wagtail - 3
Greenfinch - 4
Green Woodpecker calling
Wasp - 81 SW

Yet another unusual 2nd brood in the form of Small Fan-footed Wave.  Large Wainscot the best of the rest plus two Silver Y and a very late Square Spot Rustic.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Another Cettis!

Heysham Obs
One caught at Middleton NR mid-morning.  Another recent invadee also reached new heights as regards feeding birds with 9 Little Egret around Red Nab and Ocean Edge saltmarsh this am. 

Ocean Edge/Red Nab area lengthy observation
Greenshank - juv early morning in OE saltmarsh creek
Sanderling - one with the large Dunlin flock
Med Gull - minimum of 2 x ad, 2 x 2CY and 1 x 1CY
Little Gull - presumably the usual adult only seen the once in the morning
Rock Pipit - 2 grounded
Wheatear - 4 early morning, then chased off by Robins
Little Egret - at least 9!

Vis mig over OE (intermittently recorded) - all passerines 'in-off' - nothing vis mig-wise other than geese after 0900
Pink-footed Goose - 36+52+68+71+130
Grey wagtail - 4
alba Wagtail - 17
Meadow Pipit - 60

A Yellow-tail adds to the growing number of unusual second brood individuals this year

Monday, 29 September 2014

Drying up in the sun

Heysham Obs
A quieter morning although the vis was quite varied with a nice early morning sighting.  The early morning seemed devoid of night migrants at both Heysham and Middleton although a trickle of Chiffchaff and Blackcap materialised later.  The vis was the opposite - very little once the sun appeared just after 0830

Vis Mig dawn to 1030 S/SE unless stated
Barnacle Goose - 28 NE at about 0720
Pink-footed Goose - H+130+120 (+80 later)
Meadow Pipit - 181
Grey Wagtail - 8 (4 ringed)
alba Wagtail - 55 (one ringed!)
Reed Bunting - 14 (7 ringed)
Chaffinch - 6
Song Thrush - at least 6 first thing
Siskin - first (2) of the autumn
Swallow - at least one ex-roost, then 17
Grey Heron - one high to NE
Common Buzzard - heard in distance
Skylark - 2
Jackdaw - flock of 16
Carrion Crow - 4 with above
Bullfinch - flock of 3

Grounded/miscellany Middleton NR
Green Woodpecker - heard calling from golf course direction - (also seen flying into Tank Farm area from Reserve hut).
Water Rail - 2
Chiffchaff - about 5 from mid-morning
Blackcap - 2 mid morning
Goldcrest - only seemed to be one

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The species most likely to bear a ring from elsewhere...

Heysham Obs
On a morning when not a lot seemed to go 'right' e.g. Song Thrush in the net above the Grey Wagtail tape as three were about to descend, a major surprise was a Cetti's Warbler bearing a ring in the Middleton NR nets.  Then we found out that this was a high likelihood on a wandering Cetti's Warbler.  Where it was from would be interesting to find out (D765xxx sequence), although we'll obviously do all the IPMR stuff at our end. 

I contacted Seamus at Rossall to see if it was one of his and by coincidence he had just caught a ringed example of the species deemed least likely to already bear a ring from elsewhere - Meadow Pipit!

Please be careful to note whether the metal ring is above or below the red on any Grey Wagtail you might be fortunate enough to locate.  The colour sequence on the right leg has been used for BTO metal over red and red over BTO metal on all but a handful of unused sequences.  Therefore if you do not note the left leg sequence, the right leg could apply to one of two birds, including different years.  Having said that, please do send in part-readings as they can obviously be traced to site.  Thanks

Vis mig dawn (late: 0710ish) to 1100
Meadow Pipit - 325
Grey Wagtail - 15 (4 ringed)
Swallow - 46
Chaffinch - 58
Mistle Thrush - high flock of 3 SW
Linnet - 26
Song Thrush - at least 10 migrants, 4 of these 'vis only' in Redwing mode!
Carrion Crow - 4 S
Snipe - 2 S
Pink-footed Goose - 220 (4 skeins)
Greenfinch - 1 SW
Skylark - 3
Reed Bunting - c20 dropping, then heading off S/SE (7 ringed)

Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - at least 3
Chiffchaff - at least 6
Cetti's Warbler - one
Robin - 5 new lightweight birds
Goldcrest - 3-4


Saturday, 27 September 2014

First calmish morning after a windy spell

Heysham Obs
Well worth a visit this morning even though the conditions were by no means perfect.  Half-decent variety on vis mig, with a noticeable increase in Chaffinch.   6 out of 7 Grey Wagtail perceived passing though were colour-ringed, the best capture ratio of the autumn and undoubtedly helped by the sun now rising further to the south and not invading the mist net ride at any stage.  One to go for 150 ringed during the autumn - an excellent total, especially when compared to the paucity during the dreadful 2012 with flooded rivers and awful breeding success (just over 20 with similar effort)

Vis mig by HNR office 0700-0930 - all heading SW-SE
Chaffinch - 182
Meadow Pipit - 48
Woodpigeon - flock of 6
Jay - 1+1+2+2
alba Wagtail - 47
Grey Wagtail - 7
Linnet - 3
Collared Dove - flock of 4 (no residents here)
Rock Pipit - 1
Bullfinch - 3+1+1+2 - all pretty high to S
Goldfinch - just 4
Grey Heron - one
Reed Bunting - 2
Dunnock - flock of 3
Magpie - 4 headed high to south
Greenfinch - just one flock of 8 - pretty scarce here recently
Common Buzzard - one circled to south over golf course
Pink-footed Goose - one flock heard
Long-tailed Tit - flock of 15 heading south were rather high-flying and hyperactive - a precursor of more to come?

Grounded - office area only
Ring Ouzel - one, almost certainly imm female, calling and then seen in flight heading into the tank farm at 0845hrs.  Unexpected, given the general lack of grounded stuff
Blackcap - one with LTT flock
Chiffchaff - just 2
Goldcrest - 2
Song Thrush - one which head high inland

Lunar Underwing and Mouse Moth were notable. Also single Silver Y and Pinion-streaked Snout

Friday, 26 September 2014


Heysham Obs
No car, no birding!

The moth trap held loads of crane fly, very late Treble Bar and Square Spot Rustic and pristine Turnip Moth and Shuttle-shaped Dart.  More routine here at this time of year were Black Rustic, Pink-barred Sallow, Silver Y, Green-brindled Crescent, Rosy Rustic and Common Marbled Carpet