This bird has been a pain and the viewing conditions on the first two days even more so. We just cannot find its feeding area to get decent views - it just appears on the roof miles away. Today in calm weather the identification 'clearly' pointed towards a 3CY Iceland Gull - the first thought after a couple of seconds after it was initially located two days ago! However, I don't understand why brief views on the south side of the roof yesterday showed a coffee coloured mantle and wing coverts contrasting with white flight feathers! Here is the best pic by a long way (and it was) taken so far by Janet
"Better" views consisting a slightly less shaky scope and sleeping rear end views, where the bird looked broader than nearby Herring and LBBG gulls, in retrospect led to an error and a mistaken change of identification. Large 3CY Iceland can be tricky at long range and poor viewing conditions.
The other key sighting was a single Sanderling at the bottom of the OE saltmarsh slipway - not the first time a singleton has been located here in winter
Inspired by Bill Aspin's latest Fishmoor video, decided to head off in the awful weather for a big seagull trawl of Heysham
Almost the first bird seen on the long range scope views (especially through rather a lot of rain) was a 2CY Iceland Gull. It was not very settled however in the wet and windy conditions and repositioned itself several times before flipping over to the other side of the roof. This is awkward to see but you can get very good views if you get the geometry right. Jean managed this from the catwalk near the harbour waterfall before it slumped down showing only upperparts and head. This was enough to confirm a not atypical late winter 'washed out' 2CY with a dark iris
Awful phonescope record shots into the wind and rain; one here:
The model boat pond held 8 Gadwall (4 pairs) and 5 Tufted Duck
Did the rounds this morning which included checking for wind blown seagulls as its main theme and this failed spectacularly with nothing found and not a single bird on the outfalls despite on one reactor off on each for the outage. Even the pochard had given it a miss
Middleton Nature Reserve (late am)
Two Canada Geese this morning again on model boat pond and again flew off (without any obvious disturbance) in SE direction. Only one male Pochard today, presumably the long staying bird from 2016.
A quick spin round the area in a vain search for white-winged gulls on the incoming tide couldn't even produce a diving duck on the model boat pond - lots of bread and swimming dogs and its got to produce a decent seagull this spring if they carry on the good(?) work with the bread
Scandinavian Herring Gull on fishers roof
A great big 4th winter seagull seemed to fit this form on size, mantle tone, primary mirrors - very long range record shot showing it dwarfing argenteus Herring and indeed appearing bigger than a nearby Great black-backed Gull
Czech ringed adult Med Gull patrolling North Harbour Wall
60+ Snipe below Heliport with Oystercatchers
Middleton Nature Reserve
Usual 7 Gadwall plus single male Pochard and three Tufted on model boat pond.
Just checked Ocean Edge & Red Nab at high tide. 48 common snipe 3 Jack snipe 27 Ringed plover 3 Reed bunting (single male plus male & female together) Only other small birds were 6 house sparrow. 215 Wigeon nearby
The Czech ringed med gull was in residence but a big surprise was the presence of 97 snipe in the area below the heliport which hopped on to the sea wall with some flying into the now tussocky grass on the heliport (per Mike ). Flock of 9 Tufted Duck on model boat pond along with the usual drake Pochard and 7 Gadwall
The bittern was seen for a second time in a difficult to access dangerous area of Middleton Nr again today. Please don't wander off track trying to locate it as you run the risk of disappearing down a hole with no mobile reception. It flew off in the direction of heysham golf course and implicitly is flighty and wary. Thanks.
It was very nice on arrival this morning to be welcomed by a Song Thrush in full song. Also the regularly reported "white" Blackbird was showing well near the entrance. The yellow bill and a few black feathers, clearly identifying it as a male.
A large unidentified raptor was flying around. Larger than a peregrine with broader wings and obvious fingers. There was no sign of a falconer, and no jesses, so presumably this is an escapee rather than a bird being worked.
To cap a busy visit, three additional adult and one immature mute swan, had disrupted the normal status quo, resulting in several territorial battles.
The usual Cetti's warbler gave a burst of song at Middleton today but little else from an afternoon trawl with just 7 gadwall on the model boat pond and a female reed bunting (with 18 linnet and one goldfinch) on the north wall and absolutely nothing on the flat calm sea. Just north of the area an ad med gull was off sunny slopes and therefore would have been a 'seen from'!
Southshore at high water
The 2cy Shag (see Monday's post) was the only bird roosting on the isolated middle section of what remains of the wooden extension, at the end of the south harbour wall. In comparison, there were 104 cormorant roosting on the end section, less than 20 metres away!
232 widgeon flew from Red Nab towards Lune estuary in 7 groups
OceanEdge salt marsh
38 Common snipe
1 Reed bunting
The male Pochard was back on model boat pond and Cetti'swarbler obliged with a couple of bursts of song from western scrape (just to west of fence pond). Also three greenfinch were the first I've seen here this winter.
Mute swan 4 adult + 4 immature
Pochard (male) 1
Tufted (male) 2
Little egret 1 Cetti's warbler 1