Wednesday 19 June 2024

June weather finally arrives

A warm sunny day with a light variable breeze.

Red Nab - high water 10:15 (Malcolm)
The only gulls were a few Herring and Lesser Black-backed.
Curlew 95
Grey Seal 1 distant 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
These shots by Janet.

Coot running over the water surface 

It isn't clear what this one has in its bill. It isn't fishing line, but it doesn't look natural 

The Tufted Duck pair were seen on both main ponds

Ringlet

I checked at lunchtime (Malcolm). It was nice and quiet. This short clip of the western bank of the main pond shows the Heron, a Cormorant and the Mute family resting, while the Mallard milled around.

On the "no swimming" pond, there were two adult Little grebe feeding two and one chick respectively. This is the group of three, the two chicks are of different sizes, the larger one was also seen diving for food. It isn't clear if the larger one is favoured or just better at getting food from the adult.

The third chick was also diving for itself

Warblers heard singing:
Cetti's warbler 5 at least
Grasshopper warbler 2 - on on each marsh, heard from the central road
Reed warbler just 1 on main pond
Several each: Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser and Common Whitethroat.

Very few dragon flies away from the main pond but 5 species seen
Emperor
Broad-bodied chaser
Four-spotted chaser
Black-Tailed skimmer
Common Darter

Even fewer butterflies, just 3 seen, 1 each
Ringlet
Common Blue
Red Admiral 
Worn Red Admiral 


Latticed Heath moth

Heysham Nature Reserve (Janet)
Roebuck in a Mexican standoff 

This small shoal of Rudd were in the dipping pond


Tuesday 18 June 2024

First summer Kittiwake best of the day

Another dry day, sunny in the afternoon. Wind from NW

Middleton Nature Reserve 
A selection of insect shots by Janet
Six-spot burnet - first of the year

Relatively fresh Burnet Companion 

Worn Burnet Companion 

Drinker Moth caterpillar 

Common Blue

Small Heath

Meadow Brown

Common Bluetails

Hoverflies (sp)

South sea wall (Malcolm)
Just after 9:30 high water
Little Egret 2
Curlew 88
Some of the Curlew out from Red Nab

Plenty more Curlew on Red Nab

Kittiwake 1 first summer - think there was only one, but initially it was on Red Nab, then feeding on No.1 outflow then resting on wooden jetty.
Kittiwake resting on Red Nab

This is it feeding on No.1 outflow

Resting on the wooden jetty

Another quick look in the evening saw it feeding on No.2 outflow. 
Kevin saw the Kittiwake yesterday, so it looks like it may hang around. If it does it could be anywhere 

One of six first summer Common Gulls

Still only a handful of Black-Headed gulls, no juveniles seen today. 

Rock Pipit 2 - one along the sea wall and one in attendance around the lighthouse nesting area. A chatter of calls could have been young as an unseen adult arrived with food, or just squabbling adults out of sight.

Peregrine Falcon 2  (a large and a smaller bird) in the evening making a lot of noise flying around the Power Station grounds.

Some more insects from the Nature Park - Kevin Eaves
Newly emerged Ringlet - first of the year

Meadow Plant Bug.



Monday 17 June 2024

Just the one Osprey spotted today

A light NW wind, it managed to stay dry after a heavy morning shower.

South wall (Malcolm)
I was quite late setting off due to the heavy shower. Probably the same reason that the Osprey was later today too. 
It arrived from the north side at 10:45

It made the mistake of flying over the gull filled wooden jetty, before flying across to rest on the seaward end of No.2 outflow. Same post as yesterday.

The gulls continued to bombard it, and after a short while it flew off towards the Lune estuary 
Little Egret 4

Middleton Nature Reserve 
These are Janet's shots of the three cygnets yesterday.



I checked this evening (Malcolm) the family were still on the main pond and the nest on the "no swimming" pond empty.
Mallard 15
No sign of the Gadwall again.
Tufted duck - interestingly, only the male was seen on the "no swimming" pond.
Coot and Moorhen as recent.

Common Buzzard 1 drifted over to the south.
Common Buzzard

The sun was shining at this point, but it was getting late and only two dragonfly species seen.
Black-Tailed Skimmer

Common Darter



Sunday 16 June 2024

What could be better than one Osprey........

A dry day with sunshine in the afternoon. A west wind

South shore
Pete checked from Ocean Edge this morning:
Mediterranean gull 1 distant adult on tideline
Osprey 2 fishing on seaward end of No.1 outfall. One moved off to the north and the other settled on the post at the end of No.2 outfall.

I was along the sea wall (Malcolm). The Osprey on the post was eating a fish, when it wasn't being harassed by the gulls.

It was quite distant, but possibly the hint of a blue ring
The Osprey was feeding all the while I walked along the sea wall, but on return from checking the inner harbour it had moved on, direction unknown.

Little Egret 6
Little Egret

Curlew 40, in small groups, flew to the north side
No sign of any Rock Pipits today

Middleton Nature Reserve (Janet)
Contrary to expectations, the/a female Mute Swan was on the main pond with 3 cygnets.
Grasshopper warbler 1
Not a very diagnostic shot

But the song is unmistakable (the bird  is not visible in this clip)

First Meadow Brown of the year



Saturday 15 June 2024

It felt a bit more like summer........despite the awful weather!

A mainly dry morning till a very heavy thunderstorm at lunchtime. The rain eased but continued till mid afternoon. A light variable breeze.

Heysham skear - low water 13:30 (Malcolm)
I reasoned that if anything had been passing over, the thunderstorm would have grounded them, so I set off just before low water, not far to go, the tide barely uncovers the middle skear on these neap tides. It was still raining but the lightening had stopped. Just as I reached the western edge there was a flock of ducks on the sea, unfortunately just 18 female Eider. Still, having made the effort I was determined to get a clip. The rain was heavy, not raining as heavily as earlier, but the individual drops were large and heavy.

It was easier walking back with the wind to my back and the rain easing further.
Little Egret 6
Curlew 5
Oystercatcher 300
Nothing else on the sea.

South shore (Malcolm)
A quite pleasant walk along the sea wall as the rain stopped in the afternoon.
Shelduck 1
Little Egret 2
Mediterranean gull 1 adult 

Originally resting on No.2 outflow rail

It then flew down to rest on the shore

Black-Headed gulls have been notable by their absence so far this summer, but today there were 10 including the first juvenile. Shrimps have also been notable by their absence until recently, but these Black-Headed gulls, including the juvenile seemed to be catching plenty.

The Herring gulls nesting on one of the harbour platforms have at least 3 chicks

Curlew 42 - there were already 15 resting on the mud out from Red Nab and they were joined by 27 more flying from the north side.
Curlew

Peregrine Falcon 1
Rock Pipit - no activity near the lighthouse, this lone bird at No.1 outflow was collecting food, but only for itself .

Linnet 4 - 2 each at the lighthouse and on foreshore 
Grey Seal 1 female resting between the outflows.



Friday 14 June 2024

Chicks are getting bigger quickly

The threatened morning thunderstorms never materialised and it was dry all day, with warm sunshine after lunch. A light SW wind.

Heysham Head (Janet)
Canada geese 19 north this lunchtime 

Canada geese

Middleton Nature Reserve (Malcolm)
A pleasant afternoon walk in the warm sunshine 
Mute Swan 2 the female is still sitting on the nest, the male was back on the main pond.
Mallard 12
Tufted Duck 2
The female's "tuft" is at least discernible now
Gadwall not seen, but presumably around somewhere 
Coot 7 adults with at least 6 chicks. These two chicks on the main pond are just transitioning from the orange faced early stage.

Moorhen just 2 adults seen.
Little Grebe 3 adults (1 on main pond) and 2 chicks seen.
This clip begins with a chick then follows a larger chick with an adult. It wasn't clear if the larger chick was from a different brood or just a more favoured/adventurous one. They pass adult and chick Coots, then watch the end of the clip closely. As the adult gets low in the water look in front of it, there is a pair of damselflies ovipositoring. The grebe dips below the surface and grabs them from below.

Little grebe feeding chick a damselfly (or two)

Meanwhile, the smaller chick remained close to the margins catching its own small flies. Possibly why it was smaller.

Warblers seen/heard: Cetti's, Willow, Reed, Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat 
Reed Bunting 1 male
Sparrowhawk 1
Sparrowhawk 

Swallow 4
Swift 1

The only butterfly seen was a Small White

Dragonflies:
Broad- bodied Chaser several
Male Broad-bodied Chaser

This female was ovipositoring 

Four-spotted Chaser several

Four-spotted Chaser

Black-Tailed Skimmer 1 male

I thought this very worn Silver Y was doing really well for itself drinking nectar. Then it fell off!
It must have been good stuff!

Thursday 13 June 2024

Canada Goose moult migration continues

A slightly warmer south wind freshened throughout the day. Dry till mid afternoon then showers.

Half-Moon Bay (Malcolm)
I escorted a school outing from the Cafe to the high cliffs at Heysham Head along the shoreline. The pile of wrack below the cafe was still providing easy pickings of Kelp fly maggots, but today it was mainly "feed yourself". These are male and female/immature House Sparrows.
Also seen feeding here
Rock Pipits 2 
Pied Wagtail 1 juvenile 
Juvenile Pied Wagtail 


Rock Pipit there were at least 5 along the foreshore below Heysham Head, possibly including the 2 feeding near the Cafe. This one looks fluffy, but they are difficult to age.

Canada Goose 73. First a flock of 59 flew north at 09:40.

At 10:30 this flock of 14 came in on the sea. They are not drifting in with the tide, the tide is going out. They are swimming in against the tide.
For information regarding these geese likely destinations see post 09/06/24

Heysham skear - low water 11:40 (Malcolm)
Just a vey brief check.
A flock of 14 Canada geese flew north from the skear as I was walking out, almost certainly the same 14 seen earlier on the sea.
Eider 3
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Great Crested Grebe 1
No egrets today, but I was there before the tide started making.
Oystercatcher 500
Curlew 6 were the only waders.
Curlew flying over the lush green centre of the middle skear (gutweed)

Herring Gulls 450 mainly immature, feeding on the seed mussels towards the western edge of the middle skear, although there are now seed mussels forming closer in, but not where the gutweed has a foothold. Interestingly, a few Lesser Black-Backed were feeding with them today. There is no reason why this source of food is not as beneficial to them as it is to the Herring gulls, but swallowing a small mussel whole won't be much different to swallowing a small pebble. Presumably tasteless, and requiring a leap of faith that they will sustain you. There are two Lesser Black-Backed with this feeding group.

Middleton Nature Reserve (Janet)
Grass Vaneer - Thanks to Jean for the Identification 

No Burnet seen on the wing here yet, but their cocoons are showing 

Pheasant, with just about enough feathers to fly away