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Heysham hide.

Posted by Malcolm 
Heysham hide.
June 20, 2005 10:01AM
Made a trip to the area from the Midlands over the weekend. Good day at Leighton Moss on Saturday although the bitterns refused to show themselves for me. Sunday went to Heysham starting at the cliffs at St Patrick's chapel and walking along to the power station nature reserve, where I had intended visiting the hide that I had heard was there (without expecting to actually see anything given I was there at low tide).

However, I couldn't find the hide so wondering where I went wrong. I went along the long path from the main reserve area to the smaller area, then down to the shore past the power station fence. Went left and found myself outside a caravan park, but no sign of a hide anywhere.
Jon Carter
Re: Heysham hide.
June 20, 2005 11:38AM
There is a hide on the sea wall, overlooking the power station outfalls, between the caravan park and the harbour. Had you in fact turned right upon reaching the shore you would have come to it.
Hope this didn't ruin your experience of birding in our area!!
Re: Heysham hide.
June 20, 2005 09:22PM
..........and low tide (or early incoming tide - see below) is exactly when you should be visiting this area along with Morecambe Stone Jetty, Sunderland Point and many other sites in this area.

I had a "running battle" with the RSPB over promotion of "good high (spring) tides" for viewing "Morecambe Bay" for several years when I was recorder/local Checklist compiler for this area. Even their intertidal "flagship" (Teal Bay/Hest Bank) is better on late afternoon neap tides.

In summary (winter period viewing):

1) High spring tide sites (watch the tide in):

Pilling Lane Ends
Middleton (via Potts Corner) - the spectacular Knot site
Jenny Brown's Point incoming tide 'vigil'
Aldcliffe (Jon would say 'all the time'!)
Cocker Estuary/Bank End area

2) Low tide, then on a slowly rising (late afternoon neap tide)

Most other sites

3) Strictly not at high tide
Heysham Power Station outfalls, unless a howling gale

This site is best between 4 & 2 hours before high tide as the gulls/terns etc depending on the season collect on the outfalls and move inshore for closer viewing. They disperse away from the area from about one hour before high spring tides!

Many local observers prefer an afternoon neap tide as it allows you to observe birds in situ = feeding area in various inshore low tide channels at your leisure during the day instead of being swept away by the incoming tide.

In this respect, it is virtually impossible to reach 100 species in a day with a high midday spring tide in the middle of winter e.g. New Year's Day - the ideal scenario is a late afternoon low high tide (20 years of NYD listing in the area!).

As you can deduct, the higher high tides tend to be around midday, the lower high tides early morning/late afternoon

Th revised "Where to watch birds in LC & C" will pay more attention to specific tide heights for specific sites than previously - it must be all rather bewildering for visiting birders.
Re: Heysham hide.
June 21, 2005 12:06PM
Ah thanks, silly me. Had I had more time I might have tried going the other way as well, but I had a train to catch. Another time perhaps.

Had a nice weekend though. Drake Eider off Morecambe stone jetty on Friday evening, great views of Marsh Harriers at Leighton Moss and an Avocet from the Allen hide would be the highlights for a landlocked Midlander like me.
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