Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Interrupted webs count - see elsewhere!

Heysham Obs
Poor coverage with no early morning observations or ringing possible on a promising morning and the already belated WeBS count rudely interrupted/ceased by a phone call from Dan prowling along the Lune cycletrack & tideline!

Moneyclose Lane
At least 5 Goldcrest & 2 Willow Warbler [mid-morning]

Outfalls & Ocean Edge
96 Common Gull - the start of the usual spring build-up
Wheatear - 6 [mid-morning]

c10 Meadow Pipit north in 20 minutes or so [mid morning, reading the paper with the window open waiting for the tide to come in a little more, so hardly scientific vis].

North Harbour Wall
6 Red-throated Diver floating in in 20 minutes
4 Great-crested Grebe similarly
No obvious grounded migrants other than 1 Wheatear on heliport. No small finches seen around the feeder.

Wooden jetty
Purple Sandpiper - one with 116 Turnstone

One of THE best passerine finds in this area (usually these are at Heysham!) - a male White-spotted Bluethroat found by Dan Haywood feeding amongst the abundant tidal debris at the northern end of the cycle track 'deep cutting' about half way between Aldcliffe Lane and Stodday sewage works just north of the pylon crossing. This followed a night of lightish winds right through to at least the middle of France and also produced one at Dungeness. Nothing else new, including the Ross's Goose again at Pilling

Unfortunately the work logistics for the regular observers means we are in a little bit of trouble this spring covering Heysham Obs, especially trying to cover mid April to mid May for visible migration/seabird passage.

The other problem is that the wildlife trust people [volunteers and paid staff] on the reserve are either not birders or dont have time to spend on casual bird recording, therefore we have a problem trying to 'fulfil' the expectations placed upon us by British Energy Estates when they entered us, as usual, for the 2008 BTO Business Challenge. This basically means we need as high a species list as possible for the Power Station land ownership during 2008. This CAN be achieved for some species by viewing from the north harbour wall as the 'ownership' includes species which enter the sea area off the end of the wooden jetty/by Heysham one outfall.

The 2007 annual report [for availability, see RHS of page] contains a map outlining the BE properties and they also include a useful finger of land around the southern perimeter of the golf course adjacent to the Middleton IE site.

There are two ways you can help:
1) PLEASE make sure records are passed on from casual visits - we rarely seem to receive any feedback from birders known to be specifically 'targeting' Purple Sandpiper, Twite etc etc. . I am sure some of you must see other species during your albeit rather short visits? For example, yesterdays Osprey was heard about purely by chance via a third party. Records can be posted through the reserve letterbox, posted on this or LDBWS website, emailed to the contacts (RHS of page) or even left in the 'Leighton Moss' sightings book which is for ALL local records from people passing through the reception area, not just those on the RSPB properties. Thanks in anticipation.

2) Would you be interested in helping with the more systematic recording e.g. early morning seawatching from the north harbour wall or just walking around the reserve? The latter option is really useful for picking up species which can be tricky e.g. passage Whinchat or a 'one morning only' singing passage Grasshopper Warbler.

It would be a great pity if this 'baseline' site suffers from poor coverage as the data provides excellent annual comparison [have a look at the Arctic Tern species account in the 2007 report or, for a broader picture, in the recently published Lancashire Avifauna].

Thanks in anticipation