11th Oct – nothing of note

13/10/2019 0 By wildfeed

2019 Year list

The recording area covers everything in or seen from Tetrads SD45E, SD46A, SD35Z and SD36V.

143 by 1st May. Inauspicious start with nothing on a par with the 2017 leftovers into 2018 and the first winter period was really pretty awful. Spring passage so far has been well-recorded with a few tricky species in the bag like Pochard, Shoveler, Little Tern, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Purple Sandpiper, Nuthatch, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Wood Warbler and (these days), Twite. Notable absentees: Fieldfare (!), Scaup, Golden Plover, Little ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit (I think!), Common Sandpiper, Treecreeper and any white-winged gulls


Star bird of the spring migration was the female Subalpine Warbler, but the likes of Black-throated Diver, Puffin, Firecrest, multiple Black Redstart and Hooded Crow pretty decent for here. The autumn highlight was obviously the Barolo Shearwater, if accepted, followed by a jam-ins on passing Waxwing and Hen Harrier and was otherwise a bit below par with just a handful of Leach’s Petrel, a single date Purple Sandpiper, vis mig Yellowhammer and a couple of Yellow-brows of interest

178 species seen in total in 2018, excluding the Barolo Shearwater which is with BBRC and the near-miss fully identifying the Long-eared Owl in semi-darkness. Notable absentees were: Marsh Harrier, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Snow Bunting and Sabine’s Gull.

171 species in 2017 with some unexpected omissions: Purple Sandpiper, Yellow Wagtail, Nuthatch (on HH), Snow Bunting, Crossbill and Black Redstart

Access details

Newcomers to this area: Please visit the map at the base of this page and print it off, along with the following access instructions. It is very easy to take wrong turnings here, especially when accessing the coastal areas, and alerting the various security staff around the harbour/power stations

Anyone birdwatching and photographing in the harbour area is likely to attract the attention of the harbour police (and you will be on a security camera at all times). You will be expected to provide details on request and any refusal could jeopardise future access.

North Harbour Wall
Please note that pedestrian access to the harbour mouth, beyond the ‘red gate’ is NOT possible. However you can ‘scope for any sea passage here, similarly check the low tide channels for wildfowl and gulls and also ‘scope the gulls on Fisher’s roof across the harbour. On ‘busy’ days at high tide, please avoid parking alongside the seawall as this restricts the room available to anglers. Thanks.

South harbour area/Power Station outfalls

The old “Gate 38 (39 on the map)” to the west quay of the harbour is now locked and therefore the ‘harbour waterfall’ can only be viewed from the end of the north harbour wall. You need to use the traditional walk from the tall mast/nature park/seawall.
Park by the tall mast about 120 metres before the entrance to Ocean Edge and take the path to the shore via the Nature Park. Alternatively park in Heysham Nature reserve and access via the Landscape Strip/dog-walk track, then through the Nature Park

Please do not enter Ocean Edge caravan park without calling in at reception. If anything turns up along the shore at the southern end of Ocean Edge properties, you can access this along the shoreline from Red Nab, not by walking through the caravan site. Thanks

Middleton NR

Take the Middleton/Overton road from the roundabout at the end of the by pass for about 1.5km, then turn right and park by the ‘model boat pond’ at SD418591. We recommend that all access here is limited to the concrete roads and formal footpaths as there are serious hazards e.g. a narrow 3 metre-deep hole was recently located, covered by a thin layer of grass, during reserve management work. The perils of brownfield sites!

Contacts for Heysham Nature Reserve & Bird Observatory

REUBEN NEVILLE: Any enquiries relating to Heysham Nature Reserve or Heysham Moss e.g. help with working parties or organising a visit. You can also phone/text 07979652138, the Nature reserve office landline 01524 855030 or e-mail rneville@lancswt.org.uk during normal working hours.

STEVE RYDER: Please contact Steve on Middleton NR issues or if Reuben is not available on 07717366817 or 01524 855030

EMMA GARSTON: Please contact Emma re-any events being organised by the Wildlife Trust, including those in partnership with other organisations. egarston@lancswt.org.uk or 01524 855030

ALAN DRAPER: Please contact Alan if you are interested in observing, helping with or indeed wish to become a ringer. Observers/helpers are very welcome; there is absolutely no ‘obligation’ to train to be a ringer – we appreciate many people are not able to commit themselves to this time-consuming process. Please phone/text 07929899834 or e-mail alanxhill@btinternet.com

PETE MARSH: Please e-mail or text Pete with any interesting sightings from the Heysham area (or post them to the LDBWS site). Also please contact Pete with any general enquiries concerning the observatory. Text/phone = 07532433043 or e-mail PMrsh123@aol.com

JEAN ROBERTS: ……. is the BTO WeBS coordinator for Morecambe Bay South. It would be useful to ‘cc’ Jean if you are contacting Pete Marsh re-the observatory/any sightings. Text/phone = 07815979856 or e-mail jeanrbrts6@aol.com

Please note that two of the team (Pete Marsh and Jean Roberts) are full time ornithological consultants. Contact details above.

A colour-ringing programme has been commenced to try and elicit some information on destination, passage routes and origin of the large number of Grey Wagtail passing through north Lancashire in autumn.Up to 162 per autumn have been ringed since 2008 with relatively low numbers in 2011/12, probably a combination of prolonged hard winter weather and (2012) very wet breeding season and flooding.

Passage birds have been seen at Seaforth Nature Reserve (64km south) on three occasions, the 2013 bird lingering for a short time, Derbyshire, several in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Skokholm. Presumed wintering birds have been seen in Wiltshire, Connah’s Quay (Flint), Worsley (Greater Manchester), Warton Bank (Ribble), nr Bamber Bridge (Lancs) and two in Staffordshire. On at least five occasions ringed birds have remained in the Heysham area for the winter and in autumn/winter 2013/14, a surprising 3 individuals remained on the nearby Lune Estuary during at least the first part of the winter. An additional bird was seen at a roost in Lancaster in January 2014 and autumn 2014 saw a sighting at Sunderland over a month after ringing 3.7km to the north. Breeding season registrations so far – from Sedgwick, Levens, Killington and Torver (Cumbria), Carnwath and Melrose (Borders).

The 2016 and some of the 2017 birds are marked with PINK over BTO metal or metal over PINK on the left leg but we have just started on the next left leg sequence which is ORANGE over BTO metal or BTO metal over ORANGE. Some earlier ones with red (likely) and white or pale blue (less likely) over metal on the left leg may still be alive. Various combinations of two colours on the right leg render each bird individually identifiable providing the left leg combination (e.g. whether the red is above or under the metal) is also seen. However, please do send in any part-reads of a single leg as your information is still very valuable and a right leg observation may still be individually identifiable

Twite update

Twite suddenly stopped commuting from the Lune Estuary to Ocean Edge saltmarsh and the north wall for unknown reasons. Similarly the elusive Keer population became self-contained with no evidence of mixing and matching with birds further south. Therefore Twite ceased to visit Heysham before construction works to strengthen the seawall prevented access.There is one elderly Heysham-ringed Twite lingering with the Askam in Furness wintering flock but that is probably just about it as regards surviving birds

Therefore if you see a Twite in Lancs with colour-rings it will not be ‘just another Heysham bird’ but something far more interesting, perhaps related to the declining Pennine population. So please persevere if you encounter any ringed birds. Thanks