Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sea Swallows

The only thing to do was to go to Rossall Point this morning as there was a morning tide, the wind was 15-20 mph northeasterly and it is more or less the peak time for Spring seabird passage. I got to the Coastguard's Tower at 0550 and was soon joined by Ian and then later in the morning a few other birders arrived as well.

Straight away Arctic Terns (Sea Swallows) were on the move and some of them were flying over the beach as the tide ran in. In total I had 991 fly into the bay, which was excellent, but Heysham had an incredible 2,683! In addition to the Terns we also had four Arctic Skuas, 3 dark morphs and 1 pale morph, which was expected given the number of Terns. 

Other birds on the sea included 12 Gannets, 22 Eiders, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Wigeon, a 'stonking' summer plumaged male Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-throated Divers, 71 Common Scoters, Fulmar and 3 Sandwich Terns. 

We were seawatching from on top of the 'fixed dune' embankment to get a better angle on birds moving into the bay and it was therefore difficult, nay impossible, to count roosting waders on the beach. However, we did have 10 Whimbrel and one each of full summer plumaged Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit. Their brick red underparts looked awesome!

Vis was virtually non-existent except for hirundines and we had 102 Swallows, House Martin and 2 Sand Martins. We also had Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, 7 Linnets, 4 Goldfinch, Chaffinch and 2 Lesser Redpoll. The only grounded migrants were 2 Wheatears. The weather forecast is similar for tomorrow. so it will be some more seawatching for me.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Is That It?

Is there anything else left to come through other than Swifts? These are the questions Ian and I were posing to ourselves this morning. We knew it would be quiet, but as it would perhaps be the last opportunity to operate mist nets for a while based on the wind forecast for the next few days we decided to go to Rossall this morning. We arrived at 0500 and I was back home by 0800!

Whilst putting the nets up we were greeted by a singing Lesser Whitethroat that soon made it's way into a net. In addition to the 'Lesser' we ringed a male House Sparrow and two Great Tits, and that was it!

 House Sparrow

Lesser Whitethroat

Vis consisted only of 9 Swallows, Tree Pipit, 3 Meadow Pipits and a Lesser Redpoll! This might well have been the last ringing session for the Spring at the obs as from next weekend onwards we need to be checking nest boxes and having a few ringing sessins at the Nature Park for Acros. However, if weather conditions do look likely for a coastal fall of migrants over the next couple of weeks we will be there!

As usual we had 2 singing Grasshopper Warblers, 3 singing Whitethroats, Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler. A Sparrowhawk caused a commotion amongst the Swallows as it flew through and that's about all there was to report!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Steady Swallow Passage

With hindsight we could have done some ringing at the 'obs' this morning, but the forecast last night was marginal. Also, what we would have caught I'm not sure. I was at Rossall Point this morning by 0550 and I had virtually full cloud cover and it was calm. Mind you by about 0630 the wind had picked up to a 5-10 mph easterly and that might have put paid to any ringing had we been out.

I think the best way to describe this morning's birding at the point was 'steady'. It was steady on the sea and the vis was steady too!

There were a number of waders attempting to roost on the beach as the tide ran in and thankfully there were few dog walkers this morning to disturb them. I had 564 Dunlin, 44 Ringed Plovers, 41 Sanderling, 23 Turnstones, 9 Oystercatchers and singles of Curlew and Redshank. below are a few shots of the roosting waders.


Ringed Plover


Dunlin & Ringed Plover

As I said previously the sea was 'steady' with 28 Common Scoters, 13 Eider, 47 Sandwich Terns on a feeding circuit, 11 Gannets mainly heading out of the bay, 2 Teal into the bay, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers and 8 Red-throated Divers all heading 'high' to the east. I also picked up 3 Canada Geese a long way out in the bay heading south and they steadily made progress and then made landfall right at the point! I also had a single Atlantic Grey Seal.

The 'vis' was steady and the main feature of the morning was the easterly passage of Swallows; 145 went mainly east with odd singletons heading straight north across Morecambe Bay. Other bits and pieces on vis included 2 Alba Wags, 14 Linnets, 3 Tree Pipits and a Lesser Redpoll. There were no grounded migrants this morning, not even a Wheatear, so I think if we had been out ringing it would have been grim!

It's going to be clear tonight with light northeasterly winds so we will probably make it to the 'obs' as it looks like tomorrow will be the last day that we'll get mist nets up for a while as the wind is going to pick up considerably over the next few days.  

Monday, 25 April 2011

Chance For A Lie In......

......and I didn't take it! No ringing planned for this morning, just birding, so I could have stayed in bed a little longer, but no not me, up and out of bed and on my way to Rossall Point by 0530! It was okay for the first hour, the weather that is, not the birding. The birding never really got going but the weather closed in by 0700 to a real 'pea souper'!

Even before the fog rolled in it was difficult to see any distance into the bay and over the little distance I could see I had 47 Eiders, 34 Common Scoters, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 14 Sandwich Terns and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers. I had a group of 15 Eiders close inshore made up of adult males, immature males and females, and the males were displaying to the females. That call is something else!


Dunlin moved west as the tide started to drop and I had a total of 394 with 14 Ringed Plovers. Vis was slow and all I had were 34 Meadow Pipits, 2 Alba Wags, 4 Swallows, 2 White Wagtails and a Yellow Wagtail. I then headed over to the cemetery, I don't know why as I knew it would be quiet, and it was indeed quiet. A Sparrowhawk through and a Lesser Redpoll over is all that I had.

I then picked up Gail and headed to Rossall School. Four Whitethroats were singing and Grasshopper Warblers had increased to three. Two Sedge Warblers sang from the reedbed in the dunes and we only had one Wheatear along the coastal strip. There was still very little going over other than 2 Lesser Redpolls, Tree Pipit and a handful of Swallows.

We then headed to the Nature Park, not for a second look at the Short-toed Lark, but to check whether we could get into the reedbed on the far side for a ringing session later this week and we could. Walking back to the car we spotted Ian and Peter with his Dad Roger so we joined them for a chat and had a second helping of the Lark.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Postcript - Short-toed Lark

Perhaps I was a little hasty with my blog title earlier of "nothing" as a phone call from Ian at tea time certainly changed all that. I answered the phone and Ian said "can you get out" and I asked him why and he said "I've got a Short-toed Lark at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park"! F*CKIN' HELL or words to that effect was my response and I headed up there straight away.

I then spent the next couple of hours watching this cracking first for Lancs as it fed on the track of the aero-modellers enclosure at the Nature Park. A big thank you to Ian for finding such as cracking bird on one of our local patches. You're a star mate!

Below are a few record shots.

Clear Skies, Northerlies and Nothing

The title sums it up; it was a very quiet morning this morning at Rossall. Ian and I were there at 0515 putting the nets up as usual, but for 6 new birds it was a lot of effort. The 6 were 2 Dunnocks, Goldfinch, Whitethroat and 2 Blackbirds.


There was virtually no vis and what there was included Alba Wag, Whimbrel, Lesser Redpoll, 15 Swallows, Meadow Pipit, 18 Goldfinch and 3 House Martin. There were no grounded migrants as such except for a Lesser Whithethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler in the copse. Two Grasshopper Warblers 'reeled' and 4 Whitethroats held territory.


The weather synopsis is similar for the next few days so any decent birds are going to be difficult to come by.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Here comes another theory...... to why we only ringed 5 birds this morning! The forecast was for a band of heavy showers to move through over night and as you know I was saying yesterday that it was just what the "migration doctor ordered"! It did rain but unfortunately it started before dusk fell and rained on and off all through the night until 4.00 a.m. This probably had a blocking affect on any migration and subsequently led to our poor catch.

Nevertheless Ian and I were at Rossall for 0515 and it was flat calm and overcast; perfect conditions for mist netting. Within an hour the wind had picked up to a stiff northwesterly, before dropping again after about an hour or so. The five birds we ringed were 3 Whitethroats, Tree Pipit and a Goldfinch.


Vis was similarly poor except for a Corn Bunting heading north. It amazes me that every year we get a few of these predominantly resident birds on the move. Where it was from and where it was going, who knows. The other bits and pieces we had were 4 Tree Pipits, 4 Meadow Pipits, 17 Swallows, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 16 Woodpigeons (south), 6 Lesser redpolls, Alba Wag, Sand Martin, 3 Goldfinch and 2 House Martins.

 Tree Pipit

There were no particular grounded birds because the 2 Grasshopper Warblers and 6 Whitethroats are probably all territory holding birds. I had a look at the Nature Park afterwards and it was quiet with just the expected Whitethroats and Reed and Sedge Warblers present. The cemetery was equally quiet and I didn't record a single grounded migrant.


As I write the wind is fairly strong, but the forecast is for it to drop so we'll be at the 'obs' again tomorrow morning trying our best!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Plan C

Plan A; ringing at Rossall
Plan B; ringing at Rossall and if it is quiet move to the Nature Park
Plan C; if it is too windy at Rossall try the nature Park

These were the options we considered after watching the forecast last night. There was a good chance it would be both quiet at the 'obs' and too windy. When we arrived at 0515 straight away we knew it would be far too windy so we headed to the Nature Park.

Ian promised me roosting White Stork at the Nature Park and he delivered! Yesterday evening he had been birding on the Wyre estuary and had found a 1st summer White Stork. Towards dusk it flew towards the old recycling centre and perched up on some gantry to roost. The picture below shows the bird roosting on the gantry as we drove onto the nature Park in the half light. By the way all the pictures of the Stork are what I would call record, record shots as I only had my 'point and shoot' camera with me! Shortly after we got out of our cars the Stork flew off heading southeast.

White Stork on its overnight roost

We just put two 40' nets up in the reeds below the car park and waited. The ringing session ended up being fairly short as we only ringed 5 birds as follows: Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Buntings and a Wren. We recaptured a Sedge Warbler that had been ringed here in July 2010.

 Grasshopper Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler; under-tail coverts

The Stork would make a further two appearances during the morning and each time its presence was alerted to us by the alarm calling Gulls. The first time it reappeared it was back on 'its' gantry and the second time it landed on a lamp post towards the docks. See pictures below. Each time it landed it would do some loud bill-clappering which carried surprisingly far. When it left after it's second reappearance it headed off towards the saltmarshes on the estuary.

 Back on it's gantry perch

On a lamp post

In 'our' section of reedbed there seemed to be about 3 singing Sedge Warblers and 2 singing Reed Warblers. Chiffchaff and Whitethroat sang from some scrub and it or another Grasshopper Warbler was 'reeling' away all morning with a second bird reeling to the south.

We had a few birds over including 9 Meadow Pipits, 5 Lesser Redpolls and 6 Whimbrel. Out on the pools were a pair of Coot with 5 large young!

After we packed up I called in at the cemetery but it was quiet here other than 4 Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff and a Garden Warbler singing in full view.

The forecast looks good for some mist netting in the morning and there is the chance of some over night rain. Just what the migration Doctor ordered!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Only Mad Dogs and 'Birders' Go Out in the Mid-day Sun!

I don't keep any lists of any kind, but if I kept an 'office' list I would have recorded a new species today for the office in the form of a Cuckoo! As I have mentioned previously if I am not doing any field work and I am based in the office I like to work with the window open so I can hear what's going on in the woodland. The Cuckoo was distant and was probably calling from the other side of the wood.

I finished work today for eleven days so I am looking forward to getting out every morning birding and ringing. On my way home I called at my farmland site on Rawcliffe Moss to drop some seed off and I had a walk round in the hope that I could photograph some butterflies. I did photograph some butterflies but they were awful. The pictures that is, not the butterflies!

The first bird I had was a Lesser Whitethroat 'rattling' away from the hedge near the barn, a location that I record them every year. Walking round I had a good number of Willow Warblers with 12 recorded, including 8 singing in the plantation. At the feeding station there were 31 Tree Sparrows and as I headed up the '97' hedge I had my first Whitethroat of the afternoon. In the end I recorded 6 altogether.

 Lesser Whitethroat

On the 'big' field was a female Wheatear and perched up on a fence post I had a pale morph Buzzard. Nine Stock Doves fed in the recently 'tilled' top field and 2-3 Skylarks were on the wing singing. As I walked towards the plantation I had a female Sparrowhawk drift by and as I got to the southern end of the plantation I had my first Garden Warbler for the spring singing from some thick cover. The other new arrival was a singing Sedge Warbler.

As I walked along the western edge of the plantation I heard a Corn Bunting call and looked up and was surprised to see a flock of 26 flying fairly high and heading south. Three Roe Deers and 2 Brown Hares later and it was time for me to head back to the car. We'll be out ringing tomorrow at the 'obs', but I am not sure how well we'll do, but you never know unless you try!

Brown Hare

Monday, 18 April 2011

Back To The Day Job

No birding or ringing for me today, it was back to work. Mind you work was surveying some riparian woodlands so it wasn't all bad. I didn't see anything particularly exciting but it was pleasant walking along in the company of singing Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers.

 The Office Today!

On my way home I called in at Rawcliffe Moss to drop some bird seed off. As it was a nice afternoon I decided to have a walk round. As I headed down the track a Yellowhammer was singing from the hedge along the lane and down at the feeding station I had 21 Tree Sparrows. Walking up the '97' hedge it was very quiet other than a Buzzard going over and three singing Corn Buntings.

A male Sparrowhawk flew over the top fields and I headed towards the plantation. It was fairly quiet in the plantation except for 5 singing Willow Warblers, 9 Goldfinch and a noisy Jay. Heading back towards the track I had a Blackcap singing from the L Wood, a White Wagtail went over and a few Swallows were hanging around Curlew Farm. Not 'hard core' birding but very pleasant nonetheless!

A poor Swallow picture

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Too Settled?

I didn't think there was any point in trying to speculate why there wasn't much vis this morning and as a consequence why we couldn't 'MP3 lure' birds down to ring. All I will say is that it is probably too settled at the moment and birds are going straight through to their breeding grounds.

Ian and I were at Rossall for 5.30 a.m. and the nets were up and open by 6.00 a.m. Seven birds trapped on the first round bode well for a good morning's ringing, but only a further 3 new birds processed and an 8.30 a.m. finish because of a lack of birds, didn't reflect that first round optimism! Birds ringed were Blackbird, 5 Lesser Redpolls, 3 Linnets and a male Blackcap. We also recaptured a Chiffchaff from Friday (15th), that of course could have been present before this date, and may well be breeding on site. There is just about enough habitat on the southeastern edge of the site to support one pair of Chiffies.

 Lesser Redpoll


The visible migration was very slow this morning and we recorded 38 Lesser Redpolls, 13 Meadow Pipits, 5 Swallows, 5 Woodpigeons, 3 Tree Pipits, 14 Linnets and a Siskin all moving from south to north. The only grounded migrant was the Blackcap that we ringed.


A look at the Heysham Bird Observatory blog showed a similar pattern to us and Phil and Will  ringing at another 'group' site further inland on Rawcliffe Moss had a very similar morning. Looking at the Atlantic charts for the next few days show it to be settled, perhaps too settled!

 Mayflower (I must have been getting desperate!)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

No Two Days The Same

Ian and I were back at Rossall this morning at 5.30 a.m. to do some more ringing and migration monitoring. We had 7 oktas cloud cover at first with a light southeasterly breeze that changed later to a northwesterly direction. Cloud cover slowly built from the northwest and we had a few spots of rain mid-morning that turned off the 'vis' tap that was running at a trickle anyway. Even though we ring just a few hundred metres behind the sea wall we can't actually see over the wall, which would be useful to see how clear or murky it is in Morecambe Bay.

There were no hordes of Mipits this morning but a few other species were in slightly larger numbers than yesterday on vis and this included (all south to north) 6 Tree Pipits, 18 Lesser Redpolls, 42 Meadow Pipits, 13 Linnets, 5 Alba Wags, 5 Swallows, 4 White Wagtails, 7 Sand Martins, 3 Sparrowhawks and a Siskin.


Lesser Redpoll

There was little grounded but did include 2 male Wheatears, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and female Blackcap. We processed 15 new birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):

Goldfinch - 1
Blackcap - 1 female
Linnet - 6
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Chaffinch - 1
Blue Tit - 1
Greenfinch - 1
Blackbird - 2 (where do these new Blackbirds keep coming from?)
Willow Warbler - (1)


I found out from Kevin Scott from the Manx Ringing Group that the Linnet we controlled yesterday was ringed on the Isle of Man at the Point of Ayr in September 2010! From memory I think this is our first bird from the Isle of Man! Have a look at Kevin's excellent Manx Bird Ringing for information on various ringing projects on the Isle of Man.

It looks as though it will be clear tonight with light winds generally from the north with the chance of some mist forming at dawn. We'll give it another go at the 'obs' and see what's what.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Late Mipit Surge

The forecast was okay this morning, okay in as much as it was calm enough to get nets up at Rossall, but it didn't look brilliant for dropping too many migrants in. Then again this is Spring; a hurried urgent season compared to the lazy slowness of Autumn.

Ian and I met at 5.30 a.m. and put four nets up and engaged the MP3 players with various songs and calls. The ringing was comparatively slow and we ringed 11 birds and recaptured (brackets) 3 as follows:

Chiffchaff - 1
Willow Warbler - 2
Wren - 1 (2)
Tree Pipit - 2
Meadow Pipit - 3
Linnet - 1
Blackbird - 1
Blue Tit - (1)

 Blue Tit


Linnet - female

Linnet - male


We also controlled a Linnet; L623149 anyone? The Tree Pipits were the first ringing records for the 'obs' and had been 'pulled' down by an MP3 lure.

 Tree Pipit

Even though it was overcast the cloud cover was actually quite high and the visible migration was interesting. As hinted at in the title we had a good number of Meadow Pipits head north and in total we had 583, which is a really good count so late in the Spring for Mipits. Other birds on 'vis' included 9 Goldfinch, 4 Alba Wags, 8 Tree Pipits, 10 Swallows, 3 Chaffinch, 42 Linnets, 2 Lesser Redpolls, Siskin, Sand Martin and 5 Woodpigeons.

Grounded birds were restricted to 4 Wheatears, Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warblers. After the 'obs' I had a look in the Cemetery and it was obvious that a few Willow Warblers had arrived overnight as I had 13 feeding in trees along the western edge; the closest edge to the coast incidentally. Other than that there was nothing else grounded.

 Willow Warbler

The forecast is looking similar for tomorrow and as ever I'll be out to see what's about!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

More Lessers

Craig, Ian and I were back at Rossall this morning for a 0545 start. The weather was similar in that we still had a southeasterly, but there was a little more cloud cover. However, the day followed the same pattern as yesterday by becoming too windy by mid-morning to operate mist nets.

The diurnal passage was lighter this morning and on vis we had 20 Goldfinch, 130 Lesser Redpolls, 13 Woodpigeons, 83 Meadow Pipits, 3 Tree Pipits, Alba Wag, 3 Linnets, Swallow, 2 Collared Doves and a Siskin. There were very few grounded migrants other than Goldcrest, Blackcap, 4 Wheatears and a single Tree Sparrow.

We managed to ring 37 Lesser Redpolls (that's 102 over two days), Goldcrest and 3 Blackbirds. The only recapture we had was a Robin. We also controlled another Lesser Redpoll; L743076 anybody?

 Lesser Redpoll


Ian sent me some good comparison shots of the Mealy from yesterday alongside a Lesser and I have included two below. Also thanks to Wendy for the sausage butties this morning; superb!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Cabaret and Flammea

It was a better morning at Rossall this morning; mind you it couldn't have been much worse than yesterday! No hiccups at first light put Ian and I in a better frame of mind and when Redpolls were moving at first light we had a hunch we might be in for a good morning. The wind had swung round to the southeast away from the blocking northwesterly of yesterday and we had clear skies.

As I said before from the word go birds were on the move and we had some fairly impressive totals particularly for Lesser Redpoll. Our 'vis' totals included 217 Lesser Redpolls, Brambling, 15 Goldfinch, 2 Tree Pipits, 8 Meadow Pipits, Alba Wag, 7 Linnets, Siskin, 2 Swallows, Sand Martin and 2 Sparrowhawks.

As you will probably have guessed from the title of my blog Redpolls were a feature of the morning and we managed to ring 65 Lesser Redpolls and a stonking 2CY Common (Mealy) Redpoll.

Bags full of Lesser Redpolls!

Lesser Redpoll

Common (Mealy) Redpoll

On the ringing front the Redpolls had a supporting cast of Dunnock, Goldfinch, 2 Chiffchaffs, Wheatear (Greenland) and Blackbird. We also controlled 3 Lesser Redpolls and their ring numbers were T667199, L291656 and R066772. Does anyone know anything about them?


Given the clear conditions we were surprised to have a few grounded migramts in the form of a third Chiffchaff, male Redstart, Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Warbler and Goldcrest. So all in all it was a cracking morning and thanks to Wendy for the bacon butties!

The forecast for tomorrow is similar, but I doubt we will have a repeat performance of the Redpolls, but we'll be there just in case!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Plagued By The Wind and Other Minor Niggles

Ian and I arrived at Rossall at 0545 to find there was a new lock on the gate! However, a quick call to the caretaker and we were issued with a new key and on our way. Phew! Then we had to negotiate the track which had been churned up by a large tractor that had been on some of the fields muck spreading a few days ago when we had all that rain; I just about made it down. Then there was the wind. Not the handful of mph forecasted last night but a good 10 mph+ northwesterly! We only managed to get three nets up and these were a touch blowy. Consequently we only ringed one bird, a single Meadow Pipit!

 Meadow Pipit

There was some visible migration but with the clear skies it was very high. Most birds were heading from south to north except for a couple of Swallows that headed south. We had 72 Meadow Pipits, 8 Sand Martins, 3 Lesser Redpolls, 21 Goldfinch, 7 Linnets, 5 Swallows, 6 Woodpiegeons, 1 Alba Wag, Lapwing (south), male Sparrowhawk and 3 Siskins.

As expected with clear skies overnight there were no grounded migrants at all. At the moment it looks as though the wind is going to swing round to the east and there is a chance of some fog. The wind is going to be light (famous last words), so we should be okay getting some mist nets up but I'm not happy about that fog. There's still time for it to change!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Recent Days

I haven't done any 'pure' birding over recent days because of work but then I shouldn't moan because often my work does involve birding particularly when I am carrying out surveys. My office also is good to bird from as it overlooks some woodland and the three feeders on the windows distract me all day with the 'comings and goings' of the avian visitors. I like to work with my window open so I can listen to the woodland and the main characters in the sonisphere outside my office window this week have been the Rooks. There is a Rookery in the aforementioned woodland and I could spend all day listening to them and watching their antics.

I also overlook a Woodpigeons nest and I am looking forward to seeing how that develops over the coming days and weeks. Chiffchaff and Blackcap have been singing regularly all week along with Goldcrest and Coal Tit. On one morning they were joined by Willow Warbler and a supporting Jay.


Last Wednesday I was surveying some farmland to the east of Garstang and I had good numbers of Chiffies and Blackcaps in the woodland with 9 and 5 respectively. There was also a good population of Song Thrushes with 5 singing males plus 4 Willows Warblers and several singing Coal Tits and Goldcrests.


It was a classic raptor migration day being warm and no doubt with plenty of thermals judging by the 5 Buzzards I had riding them. I kept my eyes skywards as best as I could whilst also trying to look at vegetation and archaeological features on the ground in the hope that an Osprey might fly over, but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

My house is only about half a mile from the coast and whilst having my breakfast this morning I could hear and then see a Goldcrest feeding in my garden. Nothing to get excited about you might think, but if I get a Goldcrest in the garden then it means that there will be a few migramts about. A quick phone call to Ian later in the day confirmed my hunch as he had good numbers of Blackcaps, Chiffies and Willow Warblers at various coastal locations around Fleetwood. It was obvious what had brought the Goldcrest in as a weak front had moved south overnight and at first light there was some light drizzle, perfect for dropping a few migrants in.

A quick check of the blogs of some of the west coast migramt hotspots confirmed my thought. This is what the Bardsey Observatory blog had to say about today:

The wind dropped during the night and some low cloud also moved in. The best bird of the day came in the form of a Marsh Harrier that was seen at the north end in the afternoon. Many migrants were all over the island in the morning, with a few first for the years also present: a Common Redstart at Ty Pellaf, two Yellow Wagtails at either ends of the island, a Grasshopper Warbler at nant and a Sedge Warbler in the wetlands were the most notable sightings of the day. Good numbers of other common migrants also moved through: 232 Sand Martins, 100 Swallows, three Tree Pipits, ten Wheatears, forty four Blackcaps, fourteen Chiffchaffs and 415 Willow Warblers were the totals. The male Hawfinch was again at Ty Pellaf, whilst a Greenfinch, fifteen Goldfinches, forty two Linnets and a Reed Bunting flew overhead. 

I called at Rawcliffe NMoss recently on my way home to drop some bird off. I had  Swallow fly past as I headed down the track and at the feeding station were 26 Tree Sparrows. In the recently ploughed 'Big Field' were 9 Wheatears and 5 Stock Doves.

The forecast is looking good for the next few days and hopefuly I will be at the 'obs' for three mornings running starting with tomorrow. I'll keep you posted as to how I get on.