Saturday, 29 March 2014

Nature Notes for the week up to April 3rd 2014

This is a sketch showing how the Mipits were flying side on! (Click over sketch to enlarge)

Thursday 3rd April 2014
(Forecast: Wind East 10-22mph, 6c temp, 100% Cloud, 12900m Visability, 1002mb pressure).

Just 13 Meadow Pipits on the Move through Hutton Roof but some unusual behaviour by a passing Eurasian Wheatear.

Yes another poor day with only the small amount of Meadow Pipits on passage and these were three singles and one party of 10. Also had Golden Plover calling overhead (somewhere!).

Never before have I ever witnessed a Wheatear arrival when I was actually there! usually the birds have come in during the previous evening.

So whilst I am stood there a Wheatear flew passed in a weaving side to side flight and just for the second or two looked in flight and from the rear more like a House Martin, but I guess the white rump and dark silhouette came into play at that point.  It then landed right at the uppermost top branch of a tree some 30ft high, I got closer until I was able to get a clear identification with my binoculars.  As I steadily approached further it took off yet again but to another tree further back which was some 50ft high and again perched right on the uppermost branch.  Getting closer the bird took off with a side on flight (similar to what you get with the Mipits when compensating with the wind), it sort of went up to approx 200ft and headed North East, but after some 200 yards or so further on it "plummeted to the ground from such great height".  Checked out over Ploverlands, which looked the area it came down, but couldn't find it anywhere.
Dog Violets in Dalton Crags
this morning (Click over to enlarge)

Also forgot to mention yesterday that although I wasnt getting any Mipits at Hutton Roof, I did notice on my home from Lancaster that there did seem to be a "corridor" line with a couple of parties of Mipits crossing over to the North/North East just before Slyne (Lancaster side).  In fact it was just where Costains the builders have started marking out.  This corridor will definately be worth checking out in the near future.

Also only 22 Meadow Pipits at Aldcliffe, and also a Lesser Whitethroat. (information from Jon Carter - Birding Aldcliffe)

Yet another Osprey reported over Lancaster and then to the North at 1445hrs today (information: Lancaster Birdwatching)

Two Greenland Wheatear over Fylde today. (Information kindly supplied by Phil Slade)

73 Meadow Pipits over Heysham 0715-0815hrs (information kindly supplied by the Heysham Observatory)

74 Meadow Pipits NE over Fleetwood (information Fleetwood Observatory)

Grasshopper Warbler, Greenland Wheatear, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs on Bardsey.

On Bardsey they had another Greenland Wheatear (a male wing length 11mm, weight 29.5 grams, Tarsus Length 28.6mm.  They also had a Grasshopper Warbler, 150 Blackcaps, 204 Willow Warblers, 45 Chiffchaffs and 60 Wheatear (Oenanthe) (information from the Bardsey Observatory)

Wednesday 2nd April 2014
(Forecast: Wind East 12-22mph, 6c temp, 88% Cloud, 15900m Visability, 1007mb pressure).

Nil Meadow Pipits, One Lesser Whitethroat and one Tree Pipit in Dalton Crags. 

0700hrs to 0830hrs.  Not a single Meadow Pipit on passage, obviously they just don't want to know. However did have a very early Lesser Whitethroat singing happily away, just from within its regular little patch in Dalton (deforested).  Also had a early Tree Pipit, which I had thought about 4 days ago I heard one but at that time was not sure, but after listening and watching for some time it was confirmed. 

488 Meadow Pipits over Aldcliffe yesterday (220 NE in lst hour, 201 NE in 2nd hour and 67 NE in 3rd hour. (Thanks to Dan Haywood for his great mipit records)

162 Meadow Pipits going NE over Heysham (0830-0930) (Thanks to Heysham Observatory)

267 Meadow Pipits N/NNE over Fleetwood (information Fleetwood Observatory)

177 Meadow Pipits going over Marshside (Thanks to Trektellen)

145 Meadow Pipits which included 50 Icelantics and first  2 Greenland Wheatear, 29 Willow Warblers, 48 Chiffchaffs on Bardsey (information from Bardsey Bird Observatory)

Tuesday 1st April 2014
(Forecast 0700 to 1000hrs - Wind SSW to W 2-5mph, 8-9c temp, 90% cloud, Vis 5200m to 11400m, 1010mb pressure)

0700hrs Been up to Plain Quarry, Dalton, absolutely thick fog, almost pea soup conditions, so nothing moving through and will try later.
1000hrs Been across to Warton and nothing going through there, still large pockets of low cloud about. 

"Archie" the Chiffchaff has arrived back on Orchard Close. Also the Chiffchaff from near to Rawley Copse has returned and singing away.

Went up Dalton Crags at 1400hrs, not one moving bird, but at least 80+ grounded Meadow Pipits.  Obviously brought down with the bad visibility.

One Osprey reported from Leighton Moss at 1710hrs (report from Lancaster and District Birding

51 Meadow Pipits NE and 1 Osprey NNE mid morning over Fleetwood (reports from Fleetwood Bird Observatory.

Monday 31st March 2014
(Forecast 0700 and 1000hrs = Wind: East 9-13mph 5-9c temp, 57% cloud, Vis 160-19000, 1014-1013mb pressure)

109  Meadow Pipits going over Hutton Roof in 3 hours and 3 more Chiffchaffs have arrived.  Today was poor compared to yesterday.  The conditions at first seemed almost identical to yesterday but today the visibility was obviously poor and this was holding birds up. However a trickling did come through to the North with the best party at 28.

Also had 2 alba's (paired), 1 Curlew NW, 6 Greenfinch, 1 Chaffinch, A Skylark mimicking the local Redpoll.

Also had three more Chiffchaffs arrived making 5 in the area eg: Craig, Craggy and another at Plain Quarry and Pear has also arrived in Dalton. Later checking out "Thornleigh" in Burton I noticed that "Leigh" has also arrived back with another bird calling as well. 

400 Meadow Pipits in 2 hours at Heysham (0815-1015hrs) (information from Heysham Observatory). 

161 Meadow Pipits NE over Aldcliffe in 3 hours 59 in first hour, 47 in second hour and 59 in third hour. (Information from Birding Aldcliffe)

1500 Meadow Pipits and a Osprey heading North over Walney Bird Observatory 1025hrs

Sunday 30th March 2014

(Forecast) between 0700 and 1100hrs = Wind: East at 10mph to 15mph at gust, 5c temp, 40% Cloud reducing to 28%, Visability at 19900m, 1014mb pressure).

368 Meadow Pipits and 2 Swallows over Hutton Roof and Chiffchaff at Plain Quarry Dalton. It was excellent over Hutton Roof this morning with a steady flow of Mipits going through, in fact the flow was actually getting stronger when I left at 1030hrs.

I started off at 0700hrs and this is how they came through: 0700 to 0800hrs = 57, 0800 to 0900hrs 88 birds, 0900 to 1000hrs 120 birds 1000 to 1030hrs 103 birds. Two separate Swallows North plus odd Redpoll and Linnet. Also pleased to report that "Craig" the Chiffchaff has returned to Plain Quarry, Dalton and was in full song, first thing.

Weakened wind but changed to East creating "side flying shindigs" from most birds (not all). Also definately more biased today to a South South East below the Trig Point corridor as though they were coming from over Capernwray or Caton perhaps. 

1812 Meadow Pipits and 1 Swallow over Heysham (900 per hour between 0830hrs and 1000hrs) (information via Heysham Bird Observatory)

1000 Meadow Pipits over Carnforth (information via Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society) Coming across the Bay in a diagonal movement from the West and then heading North to the left of Warton Crag. 

200 Meadow Pipits per hour going NE over Aldcliffe (information via Lancaster and District)

Steady flow of Mipits past the Morecambe and Allen Hides (information via Lancaster and District)

667 Meadow Pipits going North over Rossall School (information kindly given by Seumus Eaves)

560 Meadow Pipits plus another Osprey heading NE over Marshside, Southport along with 7 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, Albas and Goldcrest and 1 Corn Bunting

1495 Meadow Pipits recorded over Walney Bird Observatory

233 Meadow Pipits and 68 Chiffchaffs and 54 Willow Warblers recorded today at Bardsey Observatory. 

A fall of 60 Wheatears at Darwen (Mavis Smith)

Saturday 29th March 2014

Willow Warbler seen today on Aldcliffe
Early Willow Warbler seen at Aldcliffe (Report from Lancaster and District Birdwatching)

181 Meadow Pipits over Hutton Roof
A far better morning over Hutton Roof (counting from near Trig Point (0830hrs to 1000hrs Saturday 29th March 2014. Birds came through in singles, pairs and small parties, but the best parties were: 16,15,11,7,7. they struggled flying side on and into the 17mph strong E to SE relentless winds, although they coped OK in their side on wind and side on posture. Also had one alba wagtail again going North.

840 Meadow Pipits over Heysham
Over at Heysham they have had 840 Mipits piling through (0715 to 0930) (information via Jean Roberts - Heysham Observatory).

717 Meadow Pipits over Rossall School
I had 717 Mipits over Rossall School, Fleetwood by 1000. A good percentage of them were out at sea or coming in-off. They were still moving strong over my house in Cleveleys at 1300, so I suspect it will be a good day total for Fleetwood when we get the figures together as Ian will have been counting for the whole period on and off. (information kindly given by Seumus Eaves) 

590 Meadow Pipits over Walney Bird Observatory

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Nature Notes up to Friday March 28th 2014.

Photo: Newbiggin Crags, Farleton  (February)

467 Meadow Pipits North over Heysham (Report from Heysham Observatory - Friday 28th March 2014)

Meadow Pipit - at least 467 north 0800-1000 with at least 10 minutes not covered at all and 30 minutes only 'casually'.

20 Wheatear at Fluke Hall (Report from Lancaster Birdwatching - Friday 28th March 2014))

Fluke Hall count of at least 20 (seem to be about equal between M and F) just over the sea wall from the parking area.

886 Meadow Pipits, 20 Wheatear, a Ring Ouzel and another Osprey at Fleetwood Golf Course (Records given to me today by Seamus Eaves at Fleetwood - Friday 28th March 2014) Osprey seen late morning

Grounded male Ring Ouzel and over 20 Wheatears there this morning.

Short Eared Owls passing through Heysham (Report from Heysham Bird Observatory) - Thurs 27th March 2014)

There were two separate reports of Short Eared Owl passing through the Heysham area yesterday morning.

Another Osprey passing through the area (Report from Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society Thurs 27th March 2014)

It was reported that yet another Osprey passed through our area, flying North over Lancaster City Centre at 1745 today (Thurs 27th March 2014), moving at approximately 30mph directly into a 15mph headwind. 

Sand Martins and the arrival of House Martins (Report from Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society Thurs 27th March 2014))

35-45 Sand Martins feeding over the River Wenning at Wenning Foot around mid-day. They had mostly moved on by 2 p.m. leaving only a couple but were joined by 4/5 House Martins.

Swifts In The Community 

Only six weeks to go before the Swifts are back screaming away down our Main Street.
Peter Moreton (Co-ordinator) from over at Arnside has sent around a letter to all of the "Swifts In The Community" participants.  It is hoped that as many as possible will support the project again this year and try and help the Swifts in a positive way. Peter is holding a meeting at the Leighton Moss Bird Reserve on Monday evening April 14th 2014 starting at 1930hrs.  
If you are interested in helping with this project and think you would love to find out more information, you may wish to email Peter direct at:-

Conversations and Emails (with Len, Seumus, Paul, Pete, Jean et al)

It is said that on clear days the Mipits will arrive into Rossall and then go directly W/NW across the sea of Morecambe Bay towards Walney (Barrow). Some days they have even been known to miss out Rossall and have been seen far out to sea, and would appear that they are coming from Formby or Liverpool directions and possibly North Wales. So when this happens these birds will miss out stations at Heysham or Hutton Roof.  On dismal unclear mornings the Mipits take on a different route from Rossall by going NE hugging the coastline towards Heysham, and continue past Heysham in a NE direction which could possibly mean that some of these birds come through Hutton Roof.  

They are getting Mipits over Fleetwood 
(reported by Seumus Eaves)- 

Well we might not be getting the Mipits at the moment but on Tuesday last March 25th 2014 between 0530hrs and 0830hrs Ian had 1115 of them over Fleetwood.

Additional up to: Thursday 27th March 2013 - None yesterday and only 3 Mipits over one hour today.  Yesterday had 1 Peacock butterfly in Lancelot and still only one Chiffchaff calling in Lancelot with only sluggish part calls at the moment.

Enjoyed a great night last night (Tues the 25th) at Fylde Bird Club, thanks....

After getting about 50 Mipits per hour last week, I have to say that the passage went downhill ever since and can only put this down to the strong winds we've had.  Even yesterday (Tues the 25th) I could count the Mipit passage over an hour on two hands and you would have thought the conditions were just right with little wind and just the slightest of occasional drizzly rain. Yet even so, anything has to be far better than the horrible cold windy weather we had at this time last year. 

Had my first Chiffchaff (Lance from Lancelot Clark Storth) last Saturday the 22nd and also another was present near Cinderbarrow on the following day.

A Redwing was present in Dalton Crags (Mon the 24th) and yesterday there were a party of several Mistle Thrush feeding up. 

Lots of reports of Chiffchaff and Wheatear, and a report of a Osprey passing through.

Also expecting Whoopers coming through (Herd's of Whiteness) any day now, its just about the right time for them.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Nature Notes up to Monday March 17th 2014 (St. Patricks Day)

Dalton Crags - lower section 
All last week the Meadow Pipits were crossing over Dalton and Hutton Roof heading North.  One day I had a blogging party of some 30 birds hanging about in the deforested upper Dalton Crags area.

Yesterday Monday March 17th 2014 (St. Patricks Day) was the best passage so far, it was good dry weather with winds at 8-10mph on a South Westerley.  I had up to 50 Mipits over one hour crossing over the deforested part of Dalton Crags, with also some crossing over at the point of Hutton Roof Common.  Although singles and pairs were coming through, the majority of the passage were 3s and 4s, which instead of coming through tight as they do usually, they were actually quite straggly with slight gaps between them. The majority of the passing birds kept to a reasonable "corridor width" of some 50 yards in the main.

On Sunday last whilst checking out the Farleton side, I managed to get quite close to a singing male Yellowhammer which was in a startling yellow upper plumage, it was certainly on territory and calling with very regular "chink" contact calls which was receiving good response from another close by bird.  The area has had "hammers" present since at least mid January, in fact I am convinced now that most of the Hutton Roof breeding stock have probably overwintered here or near abouts.

Skylarks calling from most sites with good intensity numbers throughout the usual breeding areas.  Still odd pairs passing overhead and soon to be seen to be being escorted through their territories by the birds already on territory.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Nature Notes up to March 10th 2014.

"Daphne Mezereone in full bloom"

Most days last week there have been Skylarks going through mainly to the North, but odd pairs going South or South East. 

Last Saturday March 8th 2014 

I suprised a "Jack Snipe" just above the BAP seat in Lancelot Clark Storth. It flew off startled with a direct in front flight and slight zig zags from side to side before going back to ground about 100 yards further on. 

Also had a pair of noisy Marsh Tits in Pickles Wood.

Today - Monday March 10th 2014 - Hutton Roof Trig Point

The first proper days Meadow Pipit movement to the North with 9 birds (2,2,3,1,1) over a one hour period.  Perhaps a little slow yet but certainly the move has begun.

Green Woodpeckers are presently very noisy with their "yaffling calls".  Must have had at least half a dozen birds calling today on Hutton Roof.  The birds I did actually see where all immature birds with no crimson showing. 

No Skylarks on passage today, but lots of activity with the local birds on territory. 

Will be checking out the Daphne Mazereone on Wednesday next which I am told have now come out into full flower.

Lots of Lesser Celandine now opened up fully.