Saturday, 17 August 2019

Cumbrian Bonxie

Seawatching from Knowlys road on the early incoming tide was beset by continuous sunlight and great detail on vehicles on Barrow coast road, so a complete blank might have been in order.  However:

Great Skua - one distantly in, then lost after switching to following the scoter flock
Common Scoter - 6 out (flock)
Sandwich Tern - ad out

Red Nab/outfalls
Med Gull - 26 plus feeding between Heysham one and the wooden jetty including white LCG.  Later 56 on Red Nab, the most seen here in one scope view, albeit from half way along Ocean Edge
18 2CY, 8 juv, rest Ad/3CY
Little Gull - adult outfalls

Rock Pipit - looks like worn adult - by the lighthouse - usually one or two still around the breeding site area

Friday, 16 August 2019

Three minutes of birding

Quick check of the outfalls from Ocean Edge saw

Little Gull - ad now winter Heysham two

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Limited observers = Little

Little gull 1 - adult feeding on seawall end of No.2 outflow, just before high

Mediterranean gulls - high water roost not checked. 2 adult and 3 juvenile along sea wall and outflows. Later 5 adult near wooden jetty.

Tuesday - Grey Partridge - return or one off?

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon (MD)
Grey Partridge - one accidently flushed near the SE corner of golf club. First record for a number of years from here, where it used to be seen regularly. There have also been at least two pheasant broods this year, perhaps (hopefully) the restriction of access to the central and western marshes is encouraging ground nesting species again.

Little grebe - 5 on "no swimming" pond. 2 adult, 2 chicks and 1 juvenile.

Wheatear 1 - Ocean Edge foreshore
Little gull 1 - north past harbour mouth
Rock Pipit 1 - near Lighthouse

Mediterranean gulls - 54 on high tide roost (PM), but only 5 turned up to feed on beach near jetty when it became exposed. Presumably more arrived later.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Hungry Meds show well

High water roost on mudflats tideline south of Ocean Edge (PM)
Grey Plover 124 summer plumage
Mediterranean gulls - 41 - including 14 juvenile plus 8 x 2cy and adult green ringed German bird ASRE.

Low water feeding area between wooden jetty and No.1 outflow (MD)
Rock pipit 1
Mediterranean gulls - 56 - including 9 juvenile plus 3 x 2cy
There is certainly a lot of overlap, but the overwhelming liklihood is that today's birds would have totalled more than previous high count for the area.
The timing of today's (and tomorrow's) neap tides means that this feeding area is only exposed once in daylight. The gulls were hungry and a few were waiting on the rocks below jetty for mud to be exposed.

They landed on beach as soon as the mud was exposed, and numbers grew quickly. Unfortunately, the sand mason worms are currently keeping their heads down when not in water, so the birds are following the tide out and feeding in the shallows.

The mud will start to be exposed at 14:30 tomorrow, if anyone wants to check for rings and help with count.

Heysham Nature Reserve
Grasshopper warbler - 1 juvenile ringed along with 10+ Willow warbler

Middleton Nature Reserve
Red-veined Darters - 3 males easily located, despite cool temperature (16C). West bank of main pond and peninsular
Little Grebe 1 adult with two small chicks.
Gadwall 7
Coot 1

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Little Gull gets its new feathers battered

The returning adult Little Gull looked a bit battered around its re-growing primaries when photographed by Malcolm today

Little else of note seen other than at least six juv Meds and a few waders on the shore south of Ocean Edge just after high tide:

Bar-tailed Godwit - 24
Grey Plover - 10
Dunlin - 90
Sanderling - 1

Saturday storm

The most significant statistic from Saturdays two hour watch on the incoming tide from the back of the harbour was a steady stream totalling 672 Curlew heading south close inshore, cutting over the inner end of the wooden jetty.  Obviously we get big counts from Red Nab during summer/early autumn, but a lot of these counts represent a 'roll-over' with birds leaving to roost further south as others are arriving, implicitly underestimating the total.  Any consultants involved in bird surveys in this area on a 'winter wader survey remit', especially if turbine-related, are missing a major potential impact on a currently well-publicised key species - an inshore blade-height flightline, peaking late June to late August and largely consisting of moulting 2CY or + birds

Seawatching and outfall watching late afternoon
Visibility was often awful during this two hours and the only remotely clear period enabled a gang of Manx to be seen, otherwise limited to close inshore stuff

Common Tern - at least four juveniles with two out further offshore and one getting blown backwards and forwards in the harbour-mouth and another blown into the harbour itself.  Possibly more than two inshore
Arctic Tern - at least one close inshore, appearing late in the watch, then joining the Common Tern on occasions blogging off the harbour mouth
Black Tern - juv in shipping channel during a brief clearer interlude earlier in the day, then it or another flying 'out' just beyond the end of the wooden jetty late afternoon
Little Gull - 2CY out, adult on outfalls
Sandwich Tern - adult out
Manx Shearwater - 3 in
Med Gull - up to 20, mainly on Red Nab and including 8 juvs
Rock Pipit - juv by seawatching point at back of harbour for a short time

Grey Seal - one harbour mouth
Brown Rat - one run over by the car on the way to the sea-watch - a bringer of more rain and poor visibility than luck!