The running sore of Potts corner

Heysham obsDepressingly predictably the pony and trap ran the whole length of the tideline flushing all the waders along about a mile with only the grey plover and a handful of Dunlin returning. The birds try and persist through this because the area is so rich in food but numerous attempts to engage those who can influence access and behaviour have proved to be a complete waste of effortA few odds and ends were ringed by the office notably sedge warbler and grey wagtail12 med gulls (4 x juv) were seen on red nab, ocean edge saltmarsh or on the outfalls...

Osprey stops us jay walking for a ruff

The Safari was hoping to put the moth trap on last night but multiple weather forecasts suggested there would be showers through the first half of the night so we decided not to bring it out and set it up. A seemingly bad move as when we got up this morning the yard was bone dry, not a drop of rain had fallen overnight. Ahh well...with no moths to work through that gave us time to head out to the nature reserve. We pulled up by the gate to the wetland just as ST and her lovely new(ish) dog Max were leaving so we had to have a chat and a tickle of Max's ears. After chatting about doggies, holidays and the ridiculous planning application of yet more caravans this time actually ON the nature reserve we parted company, Max and S to their breakfasts us to the reserve. We'd not gone far when we looked for yesterday's probably-long-gone-by-no...

Return From The Arctic….Knot and Dunlin

I always look forward to the return to the Lancashire coastline of the waders returning from the breeding season in the Arctic regions of the far North.After a brief breeding season when they will have enjoyed twenty four hours of daylight and abundant insect life they return to their winter quarters in Southern latitudes to avoid the rapid onset of Winter.Many of these returning waders use the rich feeding grounds of the Ribble Estuary to replenish their body fat after the long journey South.The beginning of August is a good time to visit the coastline as many of the waders are still showing signs of their colourful breeding plumage and the knot in particular look fine showing traces of the red breeding plumage.I made a couple of visits to one of my favourite locations to catch up with the returning waders.On both visits to the high tide r...

Green but not green enough

The Safari was out early on the nature reserve this morning. We were hoping the overnight thunderstorm might have dropped some good stuff in.Thankfully the horrendous rain had stopped and the paths were actually quite dry. We've been getting reports over the last 10 days or so of numbers of shrews from our mate LR. He's seen lots of them lying dead on several of the paths but seemingly uninjured. Today we hadn't got far through the gate from the car when we spotted one, probably caught out in the rain last night and got chilled. With their super-fast metabolic rate it doesn't take long for them to snuff ti if they can't find sufficient food very quickly.The short bald tail tells us it's a Common ShrewThe wetland and rough fields were devoid of birdlife, our chances of picking up a Whinchat for our year-list challenge with Monika are looking...

Blue tits have Excellent Productivity

After an excellent breeding season in our nest boxes with good sized broods and very few dead youngsters we expected good numbers of tits this summer in our mist netting sites. Our predictions proved true and although I have not got full details from all Group members as yet, all report good numbers of young birds, especially Blue Tits during August. For the catch of 240 that I have the data for, the percentage of adult Blue Tits in the catch is very low at just 5% suggesting excellent productivity. This compares with 2015 when after a poor breeding season the adult percentage was 37 % suggesting very low productivity.Great Tit suggest a similar pattern although we ring smaller numbers (74) but Adult percentage is 16% compared to 31% last year.Willow Warblers continue to pass through in good numbers, although as would be expected in sma...

Wader fest and stop-start ringing

Heysham ObsA decent look at the tideline on the lowish high tide was a good move.  Perhaps predictably here juvenile Curlew Sandpipers could be initially 'identified' because they were loosely associating with the Redshank, not with the Dunlin 'mass'!Ocean Edge tidelineGrey Plover - c205Bar-tailed Godwit - a disappointing 35 (but they do not like being disturbed)Knot - 220Dunlin - 270Curlew Sandpiper - 3 juvRedshank - 77Greenshank - one adult on the edge of the saltmarsh creekSeagullsMostly displaced out of range therefore only 6 Meds could be foundRingingA very short session at Middleton included yet another Garden Warbler.  The HNR office ringing surprisingly included two Sedge Warbler along with ones and twos of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap - plus the usual feeder fare, mainly unringed Green and Goldfinches...

Garden Warblers

Middleton Nature Reserve42 birds caught this morning:4 Garden Warblers  - the highest day total to date4 Whitethroat2 Lesser Whitethroat1 Sedge Warbler3 Willow Warbler4 Blackcaps5 Chiffchaff1 Cetti's Warbler (adult. No longer headline news) 1 Reed Bunting1 Wren1 Robin2 Blue Tits3 Great Tits3 Bullfinch1 Chaffinch2 Dunnock3 Goldfinch.and a Grey WagtailVis4 Grey Wagtail1 Tree Pipit6 Meadow Pipits25 Swallows...
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Blog Post: Spectacular waders

Visitor operations manager Kevin Kelly tells us all about the wonderful world of waders... With autumn in full swing from a birds perspective, one particular family of our feathered friends are in the midst of their mind-boggling migration. If you haven’t guessed it, the clues in the title. Wading birds is a broad title encompassing a whole range of specific families that make up this large avian category. As the name suggests, wading birds wade, in varying depths of water. Some preferring exposed mud, whilst others prefer deeper water in order to feed successfully. They have a fantastic array of different bill types in order to feed, ranging from small stubby bills that prod and stab into the mud, to long pointed bills which allow for much deeper feeding. The end of August through September is the peak time for numbers of waders to arr...

The ‘outfalls from Ocean Edge foreshore’ routine

Heysham ObsLimited to long-range scans with my leg injury and that didn't make things very easy with an intermediate-toned-mantle on large gull sat on the rocks at the seaward end of Heysham One.  Presumably that photographed by Janice (thanks for sharing) a day or so ago sat on the wooden jetty at high tide.   Would like a decent view!Outfalls/Red NabMed Gull - at least 14 including 4 2CYLittle Gull - moulting adultLarge Gull - possibly the bird photographed by Janice the other day - putative ad Yellow-legged Gull ...

The ‘outfalls from Ocean Edge foreshore’ routine

Heysham ObsLimited to long-range scans with my leg injury and that didn't make things very easy with an intermediate-toned-mantle on large gull sat on the rocks at the seaward end of Heysham One.  Presumably that photographed by Janice (thanks for sharing) a day or so ago sat on the wooden jetty at high tide.   Would like a decent view!Outfalls/Red NabMed Gull - at least 14 including 4 2CYLittle Gull - moulting adultLarge Gull - possibly the bird photographed by Janice the other day - putative ad Yellow-legged Gull ...