Some Migration At Last

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
First of all I need to apologise for a lack of recent updates. This isn't for the want of trying, but mainly it's because most of my birding in October so far has been work related (start of wintering bird surveys), and it's been uninteresting or site confidential, so it's great to be able to report some migration at last! Generally the month has been dire here on the Lancashire coast, whilst north, south and east of us have been having good birds!This morning I headed to the Point at first light with 6 oktas cloud cover and a force 3 south-southeasterly wind. The first entry in to my notebook was sadly a dead Harbour Porpoise washed up on the beach. By the chunks of flesh missing from it's neck, I would guess that it had been hit by a boat's propeller.The skies cleared to probably 3 oktas soon after and by 0945 had become 8 oktas. The clea...

September’s Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of September. To date we have ringed 1952 birds of 50 species and we are 640 down on this time last year. Two new species for the year were ringed in September and these were Grey Wagtail and Pied Wagtail.The top 5 ringed for the month and the top 10 'movers and shakers' for the year are as follows:Top 5 Ringed in September1. Meadow Pipit - 1022. Goldcrest - 523. Goldfinch - 494. Blue Tit - 315. Linnet - 23Top 10 'Movers and Shakers' for the Year1. Linnet - 227 (same position)2. Goldfinch - 202 (same position)3. Swallow - 145 (same position)4. Blue Tit - 134 (same position)5. Meadow Pipit - 121 (straight in)6. Lesser Redpoll - 112 (straight in)7. Reed Warbler - 92 (down from 5th)8.  Pied Flycatcher - 79 (down from 6th)9. Goldcrest - 78 (straigh...

When the Northwest Wind Blows………

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
..........it's hard to find any shelter at the Point and the sea watching isn't so good either! It was a northwesterly when I joined Ian at the Point yesterday morning. The only shelter we could find was alongside the western elevation of the tower, and that wasn't brilliant. There was a near complete cloud cover and squally showers periodically raced in to the bay.I only saw the male Stonechat as I walked towards the front. He was trying to forage in an open area but was continually getting battered by the wind. I'm guessing he's left over from a fall of migrants a few days ago, as was probably the Wheatear that I had on the beach as well.As I hinted at earlier, and as I have said many times before, a northwesterly isn't any good on this stretch of coast for sea watching, although this morning there was one or two highlights, including the...

When the West Wind Blows

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was blowing a hooley this morning and as such I headed to the tower for a sea watch. I suppose in the back of my mind I was perhaps expecting a Leach's or two, but thinking about it the 'blow' picked up too quickly and blew its self out just as quick. The depression was a rapid affair that had speedily crossed the Atlantic, and it looked better for an American vagrant than a wreck of seabirds. The former has already proved correct with an American Cliff Swallow on Scilly this morning!It's not very often that you write wind WSW force 8 - 9 in your notebook, but that's what it was this morning and with full cloud. Squally showers kept dancing across the bay, some making landfall and causing a brief replacing of lens caps on Scopes until they passed, and others just skated across the angry sea. The view from the tower this morningAs I ...

Dark to Light

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
At this time of year it isn't a chore to get up to be out by first light. My alarm went off at 6:15 a.m. and by just after 6:30 I was ready to go out and it was still dark. So I picked up my latest copy of Scottish Birds and sat down to read for a bit waiting for it to come light. The next time I looked out it was virtually light and it had gone from dark to light by what seemed like a flick of a switch!I headed to the Point to have a look at the sea on the incoming tide and record any vis. It was murky out in the Bay to the north and this had the effect of more or less curtailing any vis. Ian was already in position in front of the tower, and I joined him to shelter from the keen south-southeasterly wind.As I mentioned before the vis was nearly non-existent and all we had was 45 Meadow Pipits and an Alba Wag! The sea was nearly as quiet wi...
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Chiffies and Crests

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I had a couple of hours to spare this morning, well perhaps not to spare, more rather hard won, and I decided to see if there were any migrants around at the Obs. At first light I had full cloud cover with a strong southeasterly wind.The wind was a bit of a problem actually as it was moving the vegetation around to some considerable degree, making searching for passerines difficult at two of my favoured spots. Because of this it was difficult to tell whether it was quiet, or whether it was the viewing conditions making birds seem thin on the ground.My first port of call was the cemetery, and the Sycamores along the west side so favoured by Yellow-browed Warblers resembled windmills rather than trees in the strong wind. The south side was more sheltered and this is where five Goldcrests and three Chiffchaffs were hanging out. An immature mal...
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Primaries Flash ‘Silver’ in Sunlight

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I birded the farm fields at the Obs this morning and sadly because of looming end of September deadlines with work I didn't have time to operate any mist nets. Although with the beauty of hindsight I wouldn't have caught much! The day dawned with a hazy single okta of cloud cover and a 10 mph southeasterly wind that would have troubled the nets if I had put any up!The vis was very slow to start this morning, and even when it peaked it was little more than a trickle, and then it was all over by 9:00 am. My meagre totals were twelve Alba Wags, four Reed Buntings, three Grey Wagtails, a Chaffinch, 21 Meadow Pipits, eight Swallows, a Linnet, four Carrion Crows and 50 Pink-footed Geese.Grounded migrants were equally as thin on the ground, although five Stonechats was nice, but just a single Goldcrest was best of the rest. A Fox brightened things...

Pintails and Pinkies

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was chilly yesterday morning at the Point with a 15 mph northeasterly wind, nearly full cloud cover and occasional showers. Ian and I took shelter on the western side of one of the buildings overlooking the dunes.The first bird I recorded before I got to the buildings was a Kittiwake that flew along the tide line as I walked along on top of the dunes, and this was the only Kitti of the morning. A Grey Wag over calling was the first of four, and due to the weather conditions (blocking cloud to the north) the vis only consisted of two Skylarks and five Meadow Pipits!I purposefully left out the arrival of Pink-footed Geese from the above vis totals as they were the main feature of the morning, besides some limited action on the sea. Pinkies were continually moving south and southwest all morning in generally quite small skeins. Some were ve...
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August’s Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of August. At 1523 birds ringed we are 690 down on this time last year. Let's hope for a good autumn to catch up!Four new species for the year so far were ringed in August and these were Kingfisher, Redstart, Grasshopper Warbler and Garden Warbler.Below you will find the top 5 ringed during August and the top 10 'movers and shakers' for the year.Top 5 Ringed in August1. Linnet - 1452. Swallow - 943. Goldfinch - 634. Reed Warbler - 425. Goldcrest - 21Top 10 Movers and Shakers for the Year1. Linnet - 209 (up from 6th)2. Goldfinch - 153 (same position)3. Swallow - 145 (up from 7th)4. Blue Tit - 103 (down from 1st)5. Reed Warbler - 90 (up from 8th)6. Pied Flycatcher - 79 (down from 3rd)7. Sand Martin - 67 (down from 5th)8. Great Tit - ...

Crests Not Leach’s

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
The 'Hairy Birder' is stuck indoors at the moment up to his eye-balls in Countryside Stewardship Mid-tier applications that have an end of September deadline to be submitted to Natural England by, so today's brief blog entry is about grounded Goldcrests from yesterday, before all the Leach's and Sabs Gulls of the past couple of days! Goldcrest on a sunnier day than todayAnd to add 'insult to injury' I'm stuck indoors all week! However, my master plan is to have the decks cleared by the end of next week and take the remainder of September and all of October off to bird...bring it on!The forecast Saturday night was for a brief ridge of high pressure to nudge in to the west and then for rain showers in the early hours after midnight. Unfortunately, it was forecast for the wind to pick up rapidly during the morning with a rain front rollin...
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