Tuesday 5 February 2019

More focus on the heliport area

More Knot ring/flag reading today - now up to about 30 read since Saturday, mostly by Richard.  Details tomorrow
Snipe (per Malcolm)
I checked the rocks in front of the heliport, just as the tide was reaching it (09:00). I was trying to establish what they were feeding on, rather than count birds, but I estimated between 200 - 250 common and 1 Jack. This was similar to the last time I counted tide flushing them off (120 before water reached rocks plus 231 actually flushed by tide).
The terrain here is a mix of small to medium sized rocks, most with serrated wrack attached.  There are shallow pools with a thin scrim of mud on bottom and a few small patches of open mud (which again would only be a thin covering over stones). The only sign of the snipe had been here were footprints in the pools, nothing on the open mud. Absolutely no sign of any feeding activity, no digging and wrack was where the tide had left it. I did look under wrack, there was nothing suitable for a snipe. I now believe I misunderstood what was happening, instead of feeding here, it looks like this is their roost. All the birds flew over sea wall to heliport grass, but I don't know if they all settled here, or some continued to other feeding grounds.
Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Didn't see the three pale-bellied Brent till I was walking off, by that time most of the outer rocks were covered by tide. Three were in the middle of the outer rocks directly out from the slipway. This makes sense, this section of Half Moon Bay is rarely disturbed by dog walkers. I'll have a look tomorrow to see if they are there again and if there is gut weed in that area. They flew off due west, but seemed to be veering south as they went out of sight, possibly heading to RN (which is where they were).
Med Gull
Czech bird north wall over tide
Ocean Edge saltmarsh
Checked salt mash just before high water. 25 common snipe (almost certainly more earlier) and 1 Jack snipe.
2 Reed bunting
1 Rock pipit - not seen one here since autumn passage.
Meadow Pipit - 3 heliport grass