Thursday, 5 May 2016

Bits and bobs

Heysham Obs
The only concerted evidence of migration this morning was a typically 'two-way' small wader passage during the hour's seawatch.  A probable Reeve flew 'in' as per languid flight and what I could see of it but views not good enough for this 'rarity' as not picked up early enough in the flight sequence

The hibernating butterflies have had a rough time this spring and are looking rather tatty as they have some decent weather at last.  Thanks Janet - taken today:

Sea 0705-0805 early stages incoming tide
Arctic Tern - flock of 13 in
Sandwich Tern - 2 out
Common Scoter - c25 u-turning in distance
Dunlin - 400 out, 200 in (possibly small numbers of eg RP with them)
Sanderling - 5 in (flock)
Ringed Plover - c60 in (2 flocks)
small distant waders - c300 both ways
Swallow - 1 in!
Black-headed Gull - flock of 28 2CY out
Eider - about 25 out in dribs and drabs
Whimbrel - 2 in

Middleton NR
8 Sedge Warbler and two new Grasshopper Warbler ringed but little evidence of any migration eg no hirundines
Garden Warbler - one ringed Middleton NR (IOY)

Grey Seal bull off north wall

Some excellent creepy crawly pics from Janet yesterday on Heysham Nature reserve

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Not much happening

Heysham Obs
Surprisingly little this morning compared to e.g.  nearby Cockersands (lots of Wheatear etc) and the west side of the Kent Estuary (good Swallow passage line), despite reasonable coverage

Sea -  x one hour before the tide
No Sandwich Tern in these conditions at this stage of the tide most unexpected
Gannet - 4
Whimbrel - 5
No Wheatear or hirundines 

Heysham NR
No obvious migratory movement perceived, but territorial signing Whitethroat by the office increased by four and three Willow Warblers without tapes in the CES nets hints at some movement but it was too windy to run any migrant nets.  Yesterdays tank farm Grasshopper Warbler was not heard.  The first CES visit of the season was completed this morning.  A reasonable catch, for this site without tape lures below the Obs Tower site:
Retraps - 10 locally ringed birds, hopefully breeding here.
New birds -  three Willow Warblers,  and one each of  Lesser Whitethroat, Dunnock, Blackbird and Robin

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Decent seawatch considering no showers

Heysham Obs
One "Leicester City moment" following on from the tern scenario last autumn (see 2015 report) - ONE tern was seen this morning - a Little Tern!  The other surprise was the lack of birders - are there really no available midweek birders playing the 'appropriate birding for the weather' card around here (several who do were at work)?   I only saw 6 Gannet and no Kittiwake going in, so presumably missed a shedload of stuff pre-0700 (skuas are on a one-way ticket, unlike u-turning Gannets in these conditions, so no second chance of seeing any you miss going in) - no doubt the bad news will filter in from more dedicated Fleetwood watchers in due course

Sea 0700 (too late!)-0800 and 0830-0911
Bonxie (Great Skua) - one in 0710 - stayed low throughout
Arctic Skua - lm and dm in 0720, then climbed heading towards Humphrey head
Skua spp - very dark presumed dm arctic in at very long range 0745
Gannet - 62 (largest flock 15) out
Kittiwake - 32+7+3+70+28 out
Little Tern - one out 0850
Dunlin - c700 out
Knot - 45 out
Whimbrel - 16 in (one flock)
Red-throated Diver - 2 out
Common Scoter - flock of about 45 blogging distantly
probable Guillemot - one in at long range

Office area
Grasshopper warbler singing in tank farm
Whinchat - male by classroom early pm

Monday, 2 May 2016

Early am

Heysham Obs
DM Arctic Skua north and climbing ahead of the weather front at 0718.  Wind switching to more favourable SW at c0930 - pity tide not later

A short spell of clearer weather produced two Arctic Skua in (dm and dark intermediate) circling low and flying in at 0854 (probably flushed off the sea by a rig supply boat).  Weather closed in again from 0915.

Gannet - 1
Red-throated Diver - one out (full summer plumage)

Middleton Nature Reserve 13:00 - 14:45
4 Tufted
I Gadwall (male)
Little grebe 2 (at least) adult + 2 chicks.
2 Cetti's warbler singing
4 Grasshopper warbler reeling
2 house martin (north)
45 swallow (north).

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Not really

Heysham Obs
The cloud and murk was a little too early today and it ended up a working day with just a short amount of coverage early doors

Cumulative total of stuff of note
Arctic Skua - dark morph in then landed on sea
Common Scoter - 4 in
Red-throated Diver - 1+1+2 in
Wheatear - 3
Little Egret - 3
Lesser Redpoll - 1 N
House Martin - 2 N

Grey Seal - large male jumping out of the water trying to grab mobbing seagulls.  Beware anyone swimming in the Heysham area!

Quick visit saw the usual 2 pairs of lingering Tufted Duck and one of the Cetti's Warblers singing, but none of the expected hirundines over the water bodies in this sort of weather

The 'big four' all put in an appearance:  Clouded Drab, Common Quaker, Powdered Quaker and Hebrew Character

April ringing
Take away the 40 tape-lured Lesser Redpoll (& 3 already ringed) and the worst April ever - a combination of unavailability/rain risk on the best mornings and a dreadful final week for migration.  Particularly poor were Robin (1), Willow Warbler (16), Chiffchaff (12) and, in the context of where are all the Scandinavian birds from last autumn, Goldcrest (11).    A few highlights, notably two Cetti's Warbler plus a retrap male from last autumn and a Great Tit bearing a ring from elsewhere which does not appear to be from any of our immediate neighbours

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Is tonight going to produce the goods?

Heysham Obs
Perhaps worth an early start tomorrow with 3 hours or so of south-easterlyish winds prior to a weather front and a southerly clear corridor overnight.  Timing is always critical in these conditions but we'll see and should have vis migger/seawatchers/grounded migrant searchers on the prowl.  Unfortunately Monday morning has gone a bit pear-shaped for here compared to the prognosis a few days ago with the early hours wind too far to the south - we'll see if anything materialises.  Today saw an away-day for most observers, but Janet and Malcolm gave some welcome coverage at Middleton.

Middleton NR
Cetti's Warbler - singing by the western end of the fence pond
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 singing males
Lesser Whitethroat - three singing males
Mute Swan - a record four breeding pairs coming up if the rogue dogs and foxes allow
No Reed Warbler reported as yet
Swallow - 9 south in 30 minutes

Heysham NR
Presumed migrant (non-singing) Grasshopper Warbler photographed on Heysham NR (SD46A bit) late afternoon

Friday, 29 April 2016

Back end of the morning tide

Heysham obs

Sea 0700 -0745 north wall/ocean edge
Gannet - 3 out
Fulmar - 1 out
Whimbrel - 2 in
Plus a rock bottom 'observation' of a probable Manx when optics covered in rain!

Little grebe plus two young
Cetti's singing by gate w end fence pond
Tufted duck - 4 model boat pond

Amazingly a single Hebrew character