Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

Sanderling day

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Not too bad a seawatch this morning given the lack of any substantial wind or showers (as per promise a week ago!)

Sea 0715-0830
Arctic Skua - light morph flew in heading NE, then turned and circled up and headed "over Barrow" - not seen this migration strategy before (but regular with Kittiwake)
Red-throated Diver - 1 in distantly and a close 2CY out
Razorbill - I in very close (nearly 'under' the scope!)
Guillemot - 1 in
Razorbill/Guillemot - 6 in
Kittiwake - single adult out
Sandwich tern - just the one - in
Common Scoter - flock of c25 in
Gannet - 17 in and a few distant 'outs' presumed same
Sanderling - flock of 19 out

Outfalls/Red Nab
Sanderling - at least 40 amongst a mixed flock/tideline scattering of c350 small waders, mostly with 'pale bellies', therefore this or RP, mostly too distant to see in the heathaze.  Went round to Potts Corner but could not relocate them on the incoming tide
Black-headed Gull - 55 - an increase - mostly 2CY
Common Gull - 35 2CY
Med Gull - a 'masky' 2CY new in - quite a bright orange dark-tipped bill

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

End of spring season feel

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Having said that tomorrows seawatching might be a bit better in the SW winds. 

Sea for about 30 minutes
Sandwich tern - 3 blogging
Gannet - one out
Turnstone - 129 on wooden jetty

Nothing at all of note around the other side with only 15 Common and 5 Black-headed Gulls accompanying small numbers of big gulls

No waders other than Oystercatcher and 5 Curlew on Red Nab/along tideline

White-shouldered House Moth in trap

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)


Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Sea 0745-0845

Arctic Skua - one dm on then in
Sandwich Tern - loose flock of 6 flying out slowly
Kittiwake - flock of 13 across then seemingly out
Razorbill or Guillemot - one in
Manx Shearwater - 2 out distantly
Common Scoter - one out
Gannet - one out
In addition a big thing was being mobbed by seagulls in the heat haze in line with Roa Island - could have been anything from a heron to a harris hawk which leaves a lot of options

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

EDF breeding bird survey

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
A fairly comprehensive breeding bird survey of EDF property took place today - if anyone within the operational areas of the power station has anything to add, please email Pete (see sidebar for details).  Examples would be Mistle Thrush, Pied Wagtail and other things which like using buildings.

On the positive side were a singing male Goldcrest, singing male Garden Warbler (possibly a late migrant) and an Oystercatcher on a nest - none of these three have been proved to breed successfully before. On the downside, no Ringed Plover, no Grasshopper Warbler (Trimpell tanks were checked)no Reed Warbler (yet? - they can be late), seemingly no Great Spotted Woodpecker and similarly no Water Rail.  Willow Warbler were in above average numbers with most of the rest of the stuff 'as expected'

For the first time for a long time, the sea received no coverage!

Middleton news (thanks Malcolm)
Little grebe on Tim Butler, not sure if this is a different bird or a commuter from model boat pond (or visa versa).
No swimming pond Cetti's singing.
Grasshopper warbler very vocal to west of western marsh.
1 Gadwall

The moth trap held Poplar Hawk-moth, Rustic Shoulder Knot (both NFY) and a few Small Square Spot - poor reward for a good night.  Chrysoteuchia culmella was photographed by Janet

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

Overland skuas

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
Not a bad little seawatch considering expectations were not high

0745-0900 north wall
Arctic Skua - lm and dm flew NE high over Heysham Head 0805hrs having come from the general direction of Walney lighthouse, climbing and circling when they reached the yellow buoys
Gannet - flock of 6 (4 ads) in
Guillemot/Razorbill - 22 in
Guillemot - 14 in
Common Scoter - flock of 7 out
Kittiwake - 8 in very distantly

Survey boat out there from about 0815 - be nice if a birder was aboard and got on to the single presumed auk flying out which appeared to show big white upperwing patches - just too much heat haze to get enough definition on the bird

The moth trap actually produced some moths at last:  Two Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, 4 Small Square Spot and a Scalloped Hazel

Watch out for the possibility of Small Yellow Underwing moth if you are wandering about e.g. the hay-meadows by the office - just a possible glimpse this morning of something of that ilk

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

No early coastal coverage

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

Middleton (thanks Malcolm)
Little grebe on model boat pond, pretty sure they have nest in reeds in SE corner.
Newly fledged long tailed tits (still being fed).
Female Mute on no swimming pond constantly adjusting eggs, I suspect that hatching is imminent.
No Swimming pond Cetti's singing (twice) from western edge.

No reports of any migrants today and seemingly negative news on the Brent Geese

A Small Square Spot graced the moth trap (Silver Y yesterday)

First Common Blue reported this year (thanks Janet)

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

Source Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)

Better than expected

Posted on - In Heysham Bird Observatory (LWT)
A better than expected sea-watch from Heysham North Harbour Wall this morning (0630 - 0940 hrs) (Peter Crooks) with not a lot seen after then by the follow-up observers!

Arctic Skua - 1 dark morph flew in at 0810 and landed on the sea before continuing into the bay 5 minutes later.
Common Scoter - mid-distance groups of 4, 3 and 7 were completely overshadowed by flocks of c.250, c.70, and finally c.1000 swirling about on the horizon and landing on the sea at very long range.
Gannet - 81, including 32 in a single scan across the Bay
Kittiwake - 3, then flocks of c.60 and c.85 suddenly appearing at mid-range (descending from higher?), then forming tight 'kettles' and gaining height, but seeming not to fly further into the Bay.   Later 40 similarly
Guillemot - 1 in
Sanderling - groups of 4 and 7 flew out, then 9 flew in/across the Bay
Fulmar - 2
Red-throated Diver - 1
Sandwich Tern - 6
Light-bellied Brent Goose - 2 Red Nab/OE saltmarsh
Dark-bellied Brent Goose - one with above

Willow Warbler singing in bushes near parking area at end of NH Wall

Cetti's Warblers (thanks Malcolm)

WEBs "nightmare"
1,500 Dunlin decided that they would leave the incoming tideline and fly on to Red Nab where they unfortunately met a repeat performance from the "B and B":

They then tried to land but then veered off over the Bay and seemed to 'climb'.  Looking at the Lune counts they were quite low for the WeBS today - I had far more on the Sunderland mudflats this early am and presumably these were some of the same birds?  Problems with WeBs counts at migration time - these birds could just not be registered as anything as they had gone well before high tide

If any of the Ocean Edge people are reading this, please could you have a bit of a blitz on tides and quicksand -  a couple of girls and a dog from the site were actually jumping up and down miles out near the old sewage pipe and one of them had difficulty extracting one of her legs from the mud and they only just missed being cut off by the channel which runs alongside the seaward side of the saltmarsh .  This channel has deepened and become more "obvious" further out to at least the old sewage pipe over the last few months and is clearly a serious potential hazard, including quicksand.  Need to be off the shore two hours before high tide if you intend to cross this channel on your way back and not face a lengthy detour via eg the beach by the old Pontins site.  See how quickly the recent car has disappeared.