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Post Info TOPIC: Heysham


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RE: Heysham


An extremely quiet morning at Heysham today, with a very cold storm shower soaking me for 30 minutes too no.gif. The weather was overcast with a couple of sunny spells in between, but with a NW wind of some force at times I expected more to come in with the incoming tide, but nothing did!? All observations made between 0730hrs and 1400hrs:

Gannet 2
Shelduck 3
Eider 5
Oystercatcher 50+
Ringed Plover 2
Swallow 5
Swift 1
House Martin 2
Meadow Pipit 1
Linnet 8+

Probably not back for a week or so, but hoping it will pick up again at some point!


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Out in rather cooler weather at Heysham this morning for 6 hours of surveys over the high tide. In comparison to recent weeks I had a relatively good day, with several new site ticks (Fulmar and Sanderling). As you may have noticed Heysham has not had a particularly productive spring in terms of any species this spring, so I'm hoping a late flurry may occur this week and maybe next!?!?. The weather was overcast with a couple of 5 minute spells of light rain, very light winds from the East and a high tide around 10:00. All observations made between 0730hrs and 1400hrs:

Gannet 2
Fulmar 1 biggrin.gif
Shelduck 3
Common Scoter 12
Eider 1
Oystercatcher 30+
Sanderling 1 smile.gif (spring plumage like the one in last months mystery bird competition !!)
Ringed Plover 5 (now 4 resident birds, 1 pair with chicks)
Wheatear (nominate race)
Swallow 20+
Swift 1
House Martin 2
Meadow Pipit 2
Linnet 8+

Looking forward to getting back on Thursday, I think a bit of rain is forecast, so hoping somthing might drop out of the sky for me!? pray.gif


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Belated report from survey work on Wednesday this week. A fair day, with light winds and a midday high tide. All observations made between 1000hrs and 1600hrs:

Gannet 2
Shelduck 7
Common Scoter 1 (male)
Eider 15
Red-breasted Merganser 1 (male)
Oystercatcher 150
Dunlin (2 north)
Whimbrel 2
Curlew 6
Ringed Plover 4 (2 resident birds that had 3 chicks biggrin.gif)
Great Black-backed Gull (pair nesting with Herring and Lesser Black-backs smile.gif)
Pomarine Skua 1 (light morph in with turning tide midday) biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif (I even noticed that this record made it into BirdsGuides weekly review smile.gif)
Arctic Tern 2
Sandwich Tern 2
Razorbill/Guilletmot 2
Swallow 20+
Swift 2
Meadow Pipit 2
Linnet 4

Great to see the Ringed Plover chicks, as I'd given up on them attempting to breed in the area this year with no luck finding them and so many dog walkers/anglers - just goes to show what they can take and how they can find areas not as disturbed! smile.gif

-- Edited by Sean Sweeney on Saturday 22nd of May 2010 05:36:17 PM

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Very cold start this morning, but warmed slightly as wind moved to a southerly, bringing sunshine bu midday, but air still cool than normal for May. As with other days oflight winds at Heysham and no showers little if any movements on the sea, but birds of note seen below from 0730hrs to 1400hrs:

Red-throated Diver 1
Shelduck 4
Eider 3
Kestrel 1
Oystercatcher 70+
Dunlin (10 in briefly, then straight out)
Whimbrel 3
Ringed Plover 3 (1 resident, 2 in and out with Dunlin)
Kittiwake 35 (in with tide)
Swallow 10+
Swift 5
Meadow Pipit 2
Linnet 14+

After surveys today I went up into the hills of Lancs (purposely withholding location) with Pete Marsh from the Heysham Observatory. Never been up there before, what a lovely area. I was helping a little to check on a few nest boxes, counting eggs and checking what species were sitting in which boxes etc. Some really nice views of Pied Flycatchers biggrin.gif on eggs, Blue Tits in boxes staring up whilst sitting tight and others, but sadly a local Tawny Owl nest was too close to the floor and had been predated the night before, probably by a fox, with only downy feathers left of the young birds, shame! no.gif So many Curlews up there too. Didn't have a lot of time up there today, but with Wood Warbler, Redstart, Whinchat and others breeding I'm looking forward to my next visit smile.gif.


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With rain on and off and only a light breeze it was a cold and quiet day at Heysham from 0730hrs to 1400hrs. Following birds seen of note:

Gannet 1
Great Crested Grebe 1
Shelduck 6
Eider 4 + 7
Oystercatcher 50+
Turstone 22
Dunlin 1 (schinzii race)
Whimbrel 5
Ringed Plover 1
Swallow 1
Swift 20+
Meadow Pipit 3
Linnet 6

The migrants were calling all day long though from various bushes and trees nearby, with Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff on and off.

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Again, it was another pretty quiet day at Heysham despite a mid strength Westerly and South Westerly wind throughout. Cloudy all day, but rain held off, as did most of the birds:

Gannet 3 smile.gif
Red-throated Diver 1
Great Crested Grebe 7
Shelduck 4
Eider 7
Common Scoter 2
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Oystercatcher 350+
Turstone 200 (Still no sign of Purple Sandpiper, possibly migrated now?)
Curlew 1
Bar-tailed Godwit 2 (both in stunning summer plumage biggrin.gif)
Whimbrel 5+
Ringed Plover 1
Sandwich tern 2
Swallow 2
Meadow Pipit 1
Wheatear 1
Linnet 6

2 Arctic Skuas were observed mid morning by another observer, with a few more gannets too, but I was doing surveys at a different spotno.gif. Hopefully will pick up again on my visit next week!?

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Fairly quiet day up at Heysham today, with cloudy start but sun shining later and a southerly wind throughout, which didn't seem to aid birds in. Highlights are below, mostly from Half Moon Bay, as not much from a vis mig watch midday from the western Point of the North harbour Wall:

Pink-footed Goose 9
Shelduck 1
Eider 6
Common Scoter 17
Red-breasted Merganser 3
Oystercatcher 500+
Turstone 170 (no sign of Purple Sandpiper with them today)
Curlew 1
Whimbrel 45+
Ringed Plover 1
Redshank 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Sandwich tern 4
Swallow 40+
Sand Martin 1
Meadow Pipit 4
Wheatear 3
Linnet 10+
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff 1
Whitethroat 2
Willow Warbler 1

A quick visit to Middleton reserve with Pete Marsh looking at his trapping area for tomorrow and caught up with lots of Reed Buntings, Sedge Warblers and a few Groppers!?

Not the most active bird wise, but back there tomorrow for an intertidal survey and bit more vis mig early doors, so hopefully a little more on the sea!?!? biggrin.gif



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What a difference a month makes heh. My last day surveying in Heysham was 19th March, today was 24th March and what a difference. No jacket needed for a start, but the assemblage of birds has contracted sharply from that of a month ago, with migrants aplenty and many of the wintering birds now reduced to small flocks or non-existant at all Surveys today split between the beach of Half Moon Bay and the Point/Sand Mound of the North Harbour Wall:

Half Moon Bay beach 9:45-12:45 and 14:15-17:15hrs

Shelduck 2
Eider 45+
Common Scoter 40+
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Whimbrel 2 (north)wink.gif
Oystercatcher 500+
Turnstone 20+
Common Sandpiper (north)
Arctic Tern 100+ (out in bay from south, feeding for time then to NW)
Sandwich Tern 2
Swallow 99 (north)
House Martin 3 (north)
White Wagtail 8(north)
Meadow Pipit 20+ (north)
Tree Pipit 1 (north)
Linnet 2
Twite 3 (NE)

The Point, North Harbour Wall 13:00-14:00hrs

Shelduck 1
Eider 2
Common Scoter 40+ (same flock as above) biggrin.gif
Whimbrel 6 (on flats south of Outflow)
Oystercatcher 45+
Turnstone 300 (highest count for there)
Common Sandpiper 1
Arctic Skua smile.gif (dark morph - on water 0.5km to NW, flew off NE towards Kent estuary/Jenny Brown's Point)
Arctic Tern 80 (on sandbank, then flew off to NW)
Sandwich Tern 6
Little Tern 3 biggrin.gif (from NE, flew towards Point, then off to NW)
Swallow 24 (north)
White Wagtail 3 (north)
Meadow Pipit 6+ (north)

A very sunny day with little wind from Northerly in morning and the a Southerly from midday. Also Blackcap and Chiffchaff heard from beach, but not much landing in beach and fields as lots of people and dogs today, it was a lovely saturday afterall, still back there for two more days this week, so hopefully less disturbance and a southerly wind and a bit of cloud might bring me something to watch in close quarters on the beach area!?

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Fairly quiet day at Heysham today, with a mid to strong S/SW wind most of day keeping it pretty cold despite the sunshine.

Quick look from the Point at 7am brought:

Eider 4
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Twite 18
Meadow Pipit 2

6 hour survey from the beach brought:

Eider 6
RB Merganser 6
Knot 1
Dunlin 6
Redshank 110
Oystercatcher 1500
Curlew 40+
Ringed Plover 15
Bar-tailed Godwit 80
Turnstone 2

Skylark 2 north
Linnet 4 + 3 north
Meadow Pipit 14 + 5 + 8 north

A different pair of Med Gulls has been present at the point over the last week taking the place of the wintering birds that departed over a week ago (known because the wintering birds had rings).

Some Kittiwakes and Gannets have been seen offshore over the last few days, but none close enough for me to observe today. Awaiting the tern/skua mass soon!?!


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Had a cracking day in a long awaited warm day at Heysham, is that the end of the bitter cold winds and frosts for another winter up there!? I completed a 7 hour tidal survey there yesterday, which brought a mixed bag of results, but definite signs of migration having started.

Red-throated Diver 7 smile.gif (all to the N and NW of the North Wall viewed early and mid morning)
Shelduck 8
Shovller (a single male on the sea 10m from the North Wall, very strange record)
Eider 93 + 4
Red-breasted Merganser 4

Knot 10
Dunlin 12
Redshank 46
Oystercatcher 350+
Curlew 40+
Ringed Plover 2
Black-tailed Godwit 7 (some with lovely orange necks and heads)
Bar-tailed Godwit 1
Turnstone 30+ (mainly on jettys)
Purple Sandpiper 2 (on jettys) biggrin.gif

No signs of the Med Gulls for the last week, as I think they may have departed to their summering grounds, which could be anywhere considering the two wintering birds were ringed in Czech Republic and Poland respectively!?

Skylark 1 (south to north over Point)
Linnet 1
Twite 45 (mainly locally colour ringed birds, but some non-ringed birds, showing movement through Heysham)

With the dissappearance of the Med Gulls, Lapwings and some Knot and movements of Twite and Skylark some migration is occuring. Shelduck and Ringed Plover are now establishing teritories on the beach and surrounding areas, while Black-tailed Godwits are pretty scarce off the North Wall, so definite migration there. I expect there to be Terns and hirundines flying past in a couple of weeks, bring it on biggrin.gif.

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Another late report, but was over at Heysham on Friday. High tide pretty good, with a 9.2m bringing in plenty of Oystercatcher, with a few others here and there.

Great Crested Grebe 5
Pink-footed Goose 16 and 18 (S to N)
Shelduck 3
Eider 50+
Red-breasted Merganser 3

Knot 800+
Dunlin 12
Redshank 34
Oystercatcher 1500
Curlew 36
Ringed Plover 2
Lapwing 2

Meadow Pipit 1
Siskin 4 (overhead)
Linnet 4

A Red-throated Diver or two have recently been in the channels during Low Tide, but not seen by me today. Now two Purple Sandpiper on the old wooden jetty of the North Wall and still a flock of a Twite 20+ on the mound too. Although the Oystercatcher numbers are still high, there are signs of birds moving from the coast, with Redshank down by over half the usual winter numbers, Lapwing down from 30-40 to only 2, Shelduck taking residence on the rocky beach area and Ringed Plover now constantly on the beach!!

Can't wait for the terns to start returning (forgive pun, not intensional) and skuas chasing them hopefully smile.gifbiggrin.gif.


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Belated report from a survey I completed on tuesday this week, Feb 23rd. Another fairly quiet day, with high tide only reaching 7.3m late in the day at almost 6pm, so few birds came in to roost at all. From the low tide mark in the morning I saw the following:

Cormarant 12
Great Crested Grebe (6 far out to North in channel)
Eider 5 off harbour wall, a further 60+ in Bay
RB Merganser 6 (equalling the max count for me this winter)
Shelduck 2 in bay, 4 flying NE to SW
Lapwing 12
Knot 4 and 60 on beach, 700 flying N midday, 800 SW to NE before high tide
Curlew 18 feeding on beach a high count, with 20+ flying N and S over day
Oystercatcher 300+ on beach, with none in for high tide!! no.gif
Turnstone 12
Bar-tailed Godwit 30 N and 20 NE smile.gif
Redshank 45+
Song Thrush 1
Mistle Thursh 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Linnet 4

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I did a 6 hour inter-tidal survey at Heysham along the North Harbour Wall on Friday, with the following being what I saw:

Cormarant 28
Great Crested Grebe (10 far out in 2nd channel)
Eider 70+
RB Merganser 6 (max count for me this winter)
Shelduck 2
Wigeon 60 (Outflow)
Knot 2500 (south of Outflow), 6 on harbour wall)
Curlew 20
Oystercatcher 200+
Turnstone 40
Purple Sandpiper 1 (showing well under the jetty with Turnstones)
Redshank 20
Med Gull 2 (both getting black heads through now and looking lovely)
Twite 14, but hard to locate now.
Song Thrush 1


High Tide Roost at the Helipad

Oystercatcher 600
Dunlin 6
Knot 1
Ringed Plover 2
Curlew 2
Lapwing 6

Ocean Edge (south of nuclear plants)

Shelduck 14
Wigeon 4
Oystercatcher 60
Jack Snipe 3


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Pretty cold start up there this morning at 8am. A small flock of Pink-feet flitting between fields near Overton on route started the day well. High tides not as great as the last few weeks, so minimal numbers of Oystercatcher on the helipad roost, just approx 400. They were joined the usual cast including:

Curlew 3 (up to 30 flying north south though)
Knot 140
Dunlin 5
Turnstone 8
Redshank 38
Ringed Plover 2
Lapwing 14
Bar-tailed Godwit 1

A pari of Eider, a very white headed Cormarant and a female RB Merganser were in the bay. A Meadow Pipit and several Linnet flew overhead, but not much else other than a single adult Med Gull on the beach.

Another adult Med Gull flew over my car while driving through Morecombe later on whilst driving up to Leighton Moss.


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Realised I hadn't got round to placing my last two visits to Heysham on the thread, so here you are:

Tuesday 19th January

Completed a 6 hour inter-tidal survey from from locations along the north harbour wall, counting all species throughout the period. All in all a fairly quiet day to be fair:

Several Turnstone, 1 Med Gull and 22 Twite at the harbour point and mound, with 2 Wigeon and a RB Merganser towards the outflows.

22 Knot on rocks near the point, 400+ more flying north to south, while 1000+ PF Geese flew N. Several more Turnstone, 50+ Oystercatcher, a Curlew and an Eider near the Groyne.

Several 100+ Oystercatcher feeding on the muscle beds exposed during low tide, with 40 Redshank, 10 Turnstone, 6 Curlew and a few Knot resting. Up to 4 adult Eider plus the usual first winter male knocking about in the water to the North, with several GC Grebes. A new Med Gull with a darker head was frequenting the harbour wall, with a couple of Tufted Duck feeding near to the shore, a mega for Heysham! biggrin.gif One bird was an adult male, while the other a first winter male.

High Tide on the helipad was pretty unspectacular today with just 1300 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 6 Turnstone, 1 Snipe, 8 Lapwing and 82 Redshank. But, I suppose it was only 8.9m high tide.

Thursday 28th January
Was completing several 3 hour vantage point surveys from the beach area watching west along the north harbour wall.

Another fairly quiet day, with an 8.4m high tide bring in the following to the helipad roost:
76 Redshank
37 Lapwing
1000+ Oystercatcher
1 Curlew
4 Knot
9 Turnstone

Away from the high tide 3 different groups of between 2-300 Knot flew around the bay, a Med Gull flew around as ever, 40 PF Geese flew NW, while 40+ Twite were at the mound, a couple of Common Scoter were in the bay with GC Grebe, RB Mergansers, Eider and a Goldeneye. biggrin.gif


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Rob Thorpe wrote:

Sean Sweeney wrote:


Meadow Pipit (3, 1 with a tail missing - must be from the local Spar or Merlins)




Spar sell Meadow Pipits? wink.gif




Presumably as "slight seconds" biggrin.gif

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Sean Sweeney wrote:


Meadow Pipit (3, 1 with a tail missing - must be from the local Spar or Merlins)




Spar sell Meadow Pipits? wink.gif

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Managed to get to Heysham this morning despite the snow and general chaos on the roads no.gif. A very snowy start to the day on site, with the low tide just before 9am. 12 Curlew feeding on the beach, with 90 Oystercatcher resting on the sand not moving in the snow. Small numbers of Eider, GC Grebe and RB Merganser were on the water, while a lone Wigeon drifted by several hours in. Only one flock of 100 PF Geese flew N to S mid morning, with two flocks of Knot (30 south, 25 in to roost on the harbour wall).

Lots of Fieldfare (30 + 24), Skylark (2 + 5), Twite (4 + 5, plus 20 at the point), Linnet (1), Meadow Pipit (3, 1 with a tail missing - must be from the local Spar or Merlins), Reed Bunting (3) all moving round lots between the fields and beach areas.

Several Snipe were raised by dog walkers, 3 Ringed Plover close in on the snow covered beach, 30 Turnstone huddled together with 130 Redshank before high tide (14:30), while 18 Lapwing moved between beach, fields and the helipad. Oystercatcher reached approx 2000 birds today during high tide, with only 25 Knot in amoungst them, this despite a height of 9.5m for the tide.

The afternoon did bring in some sunshine, which brought a lovely view over to the Lake District with all the snow over there. A quick stroll to the point after my surveys led to me locating the usual Med Gulls, near the fishermen, 20 Twite on the mound at the point and unusually for here a Dunnock and a few Fieldfare biggrin.gif.

Almost forgot, finally saw a Purple Sandpiper, a lone agent on the jetty off the north harbour point, cracking little bird and about time I caught up with one. smile.gif.

-- Edited by Sean Sweeney on Tuesday 5th of January 2010 10:23:30 PM

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Last visit of the year for me up at Heysham today, but still have 8 months of survey work up there in 2010 smile.gif

A very cold start, got colder and colder until my toes nearly dropped off again, really need to sort myself out some proper apri-ski style warm boots disbelief.gif Arrived early, about half hour before high tide (HT 8:50), with around 3,000 Knot and 350 Oystercatcher, several Curlew, 8 Turnstone, 37 Lapwing, 2 Dunlin, 40 Redshank and a couple of Ringed Plover. Dunlin rose to 19, a very high number for this side of the harbour. An adult Med Gull rested with Black-headeds, with the odd Common, Lesser Black-back and a few distant Great Black-backs.

20 Golden Plover flew out from the sea over my head going SE, while a Peregrine flew S to N during the tide turn. After several hours 4 Whooper Swans flew in from the NW (over the sea) and went in a SE direction - 3 juvs and 1 adult, very graceful as ever. After hopping on the spot for about 10 minutes looking like a right weirdo I gradually got feeling back in toes biggrin.gif

22 Pink-footed Geese flew in again from the NW going towards the SE and a RB Merganer fised in the bay. No sign of any sea ducks today, very strange. I had several Meadow Pipits, a few Pied Wagtails and 4 flyover Twite, but not much else in the way of small birds.

After completing 6.5 hours survey work today I drove back towards lancaster along the Overton Road, near to the Golden Ball Inn, where I observed a jack Merlin chasing Meadow Pipits in front of the car, before landing 20m from my car on a tuft of grass, excellent biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

A scan about the marsh areas there, after seeing the Merlin fly off 3 minutes later, revealed 4-500 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Barnacles, 4 Snow Geese (the same birds that were around Leighton Moss several months back), and some Greylag and Canadas. Had a Little Egret fly out of a dyke, which was a nice surprise before a large female Sparrowhawk chased the same group of Meadow Pipits by the car, poor little things!?no.gif

I hope 2010 can bring as many good birds as the last 4 months on and around Heysham. My highlights from the area during survey days being Leaches Petrel, Little Egret, Snow Goose, Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Merlin, Peregrine, Great Skua, Med Gull, Little Gull, Greenland Wheatear, Black Redstart and Twite, smile.gif.

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Fairly quiet day on site yesterday while completing an inter-tidal survey along Heysham Harbour North Wall area. A sllety start made it pretty fresh, but after 8:30 it turned into a sunny day with clear skies and a cracking view over to the Lakes with their whilte mountains biggrin.gif.

Over low tide the bay had several Eider, 2 GC Grebes, a pair of RB Mergansers and the odd Cormarant knocking about. A first year Grey Plover was on the point briefly, stunning bird with a few golden flecks still on its back biggrin.gif. They are rare at Heysham in general, so loveley to get close if only brief views for a few minutes. Small flocks of 100-400 Knot flew back and forth, sometimes landing near the point, while unusually only a few Curlew feeding on the sands and no sign of any Barwits blankstare.gif

The harbour had the usual pair of Med Gulls, which came with 10 metres on the harbour wall later on, a standard practice for them. I even managed a photo of them both next to each other on the railings, a photographers dream for this bird here! Beautiful birds in adult plumage with pure white wings and a little blackening on the head, with lovely thick and bright red red bills and feetsmile.gif.

A small flock of Twite (25-30) are still present and very approachable on the mound near the point, while a pair of Reed Bunting and a lone Meadow Pipit are still knocking round the helipad area. 6 Pink-footed Geese flew low over the south of the nuclear plant, while other birds did not seem to move about much yesterday. The large flock of Knot at the Helipad roost from earlier in the week (circa 40,000) was nowhere to be seen, with only 600 briefly stopping, and only about 40 for the high tide along with 30 Redshank, 20 Turnstone, 8 Lapwing and 900 Oystercatcher.

No sign of the Black Redstart on the beach despite scanning throughout the day, but with all the snow about it could be hiding anywhere around the harbour, port buildings or other areas locally. The Purple Sandpiper that was seen earlier in the week on the jetty didn't come in for the high tide either, but hopefully pick it uup at some point over the next month or so.

Popped up to the Leighton Moss shop to pick up the Cumbria Atlas for bagain price of 20 and saw a few Marsh Tits around the feeders for a bonus bird, cracking day as ever, especially a work daywink.gif. Happy Christmas to you all. Sean relax.gif
.

-- Edited by Sean Sweeney on Thursday 24th of December 2009 01:17:54 PM

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Had a lovely day despite my right hand/thumb being in a plaster cast and my fingers nearly falling off as gloves don't fit on! no.gif

I watched over 400 PF Geese in 4 flocks early on, a lone whooper straight from the sea and over my head and the usual cast of RB Merganser, GG Grebe's and Eider hanging about in the bay. High tide roost pretty low, with only 500 Oystercatchers, 40 Redshank, 12 Turnstone, 4 Curlew, with a few barwits joining them on low tide. A wonderful spiraling flock of 700 Knot drifted up and down the coast throughout the day, though not as impressive as the multi-thousand strong flocks you can see here on occasion! Not to be missed out, always nice to see a passing peregrine, plus one of the resident Med Gulls. biggrin.gif

Finally, but certainly not least, a cracking first winter male/female Black Redstart smile.gif flitting up and down the beach keeping me company for my last hour on site today. All wrapped up and home now, but loving my survey visits to Heysham. Always something new, plus thanks to my girl for driving me about today as i can't currently with my hand out of action!
handshake.gif


-- Edited by Sean Sweeney on Monday 14th of December 2009 07:37:13 AM

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Thank you both. I shall certainly be going up there soon.

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If you're planning a trip to Heysham Julie it's worthwhile driving a few miles south to the very wonderful Sunderland Point, a beautiful and much underwatched place. The website below is several years old but gives you a general idea.

http://www.birdtours.co.uk/sunderland/

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Hi Julia,

I only used to occasionally visit Heysham, but since doing some survey work up there since September have come to admire the abundance and diversity of the birds that can turn up there. Heysham now have their own Birding Website, more of a blog site with sightings, but still a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with it. The website is:

http://heyshamobservatory.blogspot.com/

Although I am no expert on Heysham the area is basically split into 3 zones of:

The North Harbour Wall - This can be accessed by car to near the point, where seawatching can be good looking out West or North. Passage from here in the right conditions is excellent, where Skuas, Petrels and large numbers of Terns can be seen during Spring/Autumn. Even if you spend a few hours strolling up the harbour wall to the point searching between the waders something normally turns up of interest. Turnstone, Oystercatcher and Knot can be found feeding and roosting, with the odd Purple Sandpiper on the wooden jettys. Eider, RB Mergansers and other diving ducks and auks can be found. Seed is placed down to encourage Twite to stay the winter and currently there are up approx 80 birds, with the odd linnet in between. Lots of other passerines can drop in to the mounds of sand/grass on the point here, with Rock Pipits, large numbers of Meadown Pipit and fly over Lesser Redpoll and Siskin of late. It is worth scanning the harbour for auks with Common Guillemot presetn this time of year and sometimes Black Guillemot during the summer months.

The South Harbour Wall/Outflows - The warm water coming out from the Nuclear Plant outflows is a favourite place for passing rare or scarce gulls, particularly Med and Little Gulls, of which you can regularly pick out from the others. This is one of the best places in the North West to pick up Sabines Gull too, with the chance of other white wingers here and there.

The Nature Reserve and pools/woodland/shrubland - This has an amazing list of birds, although at first glance it may not seem like an obvious place for lots of good birds to be hiding. However, they ring lots of birds here, so the nets catch lots of birds that would probably go unnoticed by a passer by, as with most observatories.

Other than that the high tide roost at the old helipad can produce large numbers of Oystercatcher (over 3500) during very high tides, accompanied by redshank, knot, curlew, lapwing and other passers by - notably Bar-tailed Godwits, Whimbrel, Curlew Sandpiper, Grey Plover can be found within the flock! smile.gif

If you are passing up to Leighton Moss or visiting Morcombe Bay in general it is well worth popping by Heysham, as with many coastal locations you never know what might be blown in that day!?!biggrin.gif

For a more detailed guide/breakdown of the site you might want to read the recently revised 'Where to Watch Birds in the North West' too.

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I haven't been to Heysham before .....anyone tell me where to go to see things please?
Thanks.


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Another day of surveys (inter-tidal ones today) up in Heysham proved fruitful today.

Started off with a little rain, but nothing a good coat couldn't keep out wink.gif . The low tide was pretty quiet, with Turnstone (12), Oystercatcher (200+), Redshank (100+), Curlew (40+ mostly flying over), a single Bar-tailed Godwit and a lonely Knot!

At the point around the mounds were a single Rock Pipit, 82 Twite (Pete Marsh the local Ringer counted them, not me), 15 Linnet and a Meadow Pipit. Lovely birds Twite and very approachable here too, especially when they are eating seed.

2 RB Mergansers, 8-10 Eider (including a 1st winter male), 1 Great Crested Grebe and lots of Cormarants on the water, while a couple of adult Mediterranean Gulls brighted up the day with the sunshire arriving at the same time.

Just before I went to count the high tide roost at the helipad (which now contained approx 1200 Oystercatchers, 120 Redshank, 12 Turnstone, 12 Lapwing, 2 Curlew) I noticed a small dark bird over the water by the harbour wall. There fighting against the wind was a lone Leach's Petrel about 20m from the wall. It fought through the wind coming to within 10m, running on the water as they do for show. I watched it for about 8-10 minutes as it battled westwards in line with the north harbour wall, glacefully tip-toeing over the water as it went. Cracking birds and one I've not had for a few years, so just goes to show what can turn up when you are out there in all conditions biggrin.gifsmile.gif

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Continuing my surveys up there, it was a freezing start to the morning at first light, but no fog and eventually it was quite warm - by midday.

3 Whooper Swans flew north, 550 Knot roosted at the point with an additional 4-500 flying North to South. Over 1,000 PF Geese flew north, in 4 seperate groups all South to North.

The usual stand of waders occupied the sands on low tide, including 24 Curlew, 100+ Oystercatcher, 50+ Redshank, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Turnstone and 6 Lapwing. No sign of the usual Med Gulls today, but I suppose it was cold so I imagine they were keeping warm nearer to the outflows from the nuclear plant on the opposite side of the Port.

Linnet and Twite overhead, 20+ Meadow Pipits and several Pied Wagtail. Surprise of the day was a Merlin coming in off the sea about 8:30 and right over my head, before flying in a SE direction! biggrin.gif

Several RB Mergansers offshore, over 50 Eider in the bay to the north, with 2 GC Grebes. A late Red Admiral butterfly in offthe sea too.

From what I thought was not an eventful 6 hours turned out alright! smile.gif

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I am currently completing surveys on and around Heysham Port and Beach area, so get to watch out to sea lots. I was familiar with the outflows from past visits, but am now becoming familiar with the point and the birds that inhabit the bay, fly north and south between each tidal sequence and the roost at the helipad. Of the resident birds several Med Gulls spice up interest and both Little Gull and Kittwake have passed through on my visits. Eider feed and rest in fluctuating numbers from 5-6 to over 70, while meadow pipits and Twite have recently been passing though in good numbers too. This is all under the gaze of the local peregrines that rest on the nuclear plants and a constant stream of Oystercatchers that tirelessly fly around the coast.

During September and October my highlights have included:

Shag (3), RB Merganser (1), GC Grebe (3), PF Geese (1000+), Peregrine, Oystercatcher (3500+), Ringed Plover (6), Golden Plover (500+), Grey Plover (1), Lapwing (30+), Dunlin (4-500+), Curlew Sandpiper (1), Knot (3000+), Redshank (200+), Curlew (120+), Bar-tailed Godwit (6+), Snipe (2), Great Skua (1), Med Gull (3), Little Gull (1), Kittwake (1), Arctic Tern (3), Guillemot (3), Kingfisher (1), Skylark (30+), Meadow Pipit (200+), Rock Pipit (2), Swallow (3), Greenland Wheatear (1), Wheatear (3), Redwing (20+), Fieldfare (25+), Raven (3), Linnet (30+), Twite (22+), Lesser Redpoll (4), Siskin (2).

Obviously there are plenty of other birds to be found in the reserve to the south, but unfortunetely for me I don't have enough daylight currently to explore this area, as it is not within my survey areas. I look forward to the light rteturning in Spring to take in that patch too.


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