Saturday, 31 October 2020

Strong winds, not really providing.....yet.

Strong wind all day, starting from south then moved SW. heavy showers throughout the day, but less frequent by the afternoon.

 Two orange flagged Knot were read on heliport wall - details awaited.

Whooper Swan - 13, including 2 juvenile were heading south before the heavy rain forced them to land on the sea out from Knowlys Rd (thanks to Mr Sharples for this record). 4 adult south 14:40.

Saltmarsh - high water 11:00.
Today's 9.08 metre high tide would not normally cover the saltmarsh, but with the southerly wind driving it in and the low atmospheric pressure, it did.
Common Snipe 2 (almost certainly more flushed earlier)
Jack Snipe 2
Linnet c40
Wigeon c50
Mallard 2

The only bird found to be sheltering in the harbour, was this Redwing!
The eye stripe breaks up the head shape quite effectively 

Middleton Nature Reserve "no swimming" pond
Gadwall 22
Shoveller 4
Little Grebe 2
Goldeneye 1 female
Two brief checks today,
This morning it was feeding

By 16:00 it was just preening and swimming around with the Gadwall

Friday, 30 October 2020

It finally stopped!

The wind was much lighter today, as was the early rain. The rain finally petered out by mid morning, after that the sunny spells became longer and the afternoon was quite pleasant.

Heliport area (PM.MD) 
As the tide covered the rocks in front of the Heliport just 39 Common Snipe flew to the heliport grass, and 20 of those came from further north. Much fewer than early in the week, presumably a reflection of the amount of waterlogged ground there currently is in the area.

This is a slightly different view view of the Oystercatchers roosting on the heliport wall. It was still raining and quite dark at this time, as can be seen by the light above them.
Later Pete somehow managed to identify a ringed bird amongst those roosting on the near naze.
JE right leg (white ring with black letters)
 red over white left leg

Identified as a bird ringed in May this year in Iceland

There was also a Dutch ringed Knot, that managed to evade complete identification.

Rock Pipit 3 below slipway near the cafe.

Red Nab
Not much, these three Red-breasted Merganser were feeding in the shallow central pool as the tide came in.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute 3 adult 3 + 1 Cygnet
Moorhen 10
Coot 6
Teal 4
Gadwall 3
Shoveller 4
Little Grebe 2
Water Rail 3
Cetti's warbler 2 singing
Chiffchaff 1 calling
Grey Wagtail 2 unringed birds grounded before setting off SE

Thursday, 29 October 2020

It rained!

The overnight wind had eased slightly and shifted to SSE, but it quickly shifted back to SW and freshened. Rain all day varying from torrential to extra torrential!

I think there was only me daft enough to venture out (MD)

Middleton Nature Reserve - no swimming pond
Very little in the morning, just:
Gadwall 2
Shoveller 3
More impressive mid afternoon:
Gadwall 12
Shoveller 3
Teal 4
Little grebe 3

South shore
Kingfisher on Red Nab towards high water
Red- breasted Merganser 2 - as above
Skylark 1 on saltmarsh 
Rock Pipit 1 near lighthouse 
Mediterranean gull 1 adult sheltering in the lee of No.2 outflow with the Black-Headed gulls.

It had rained all day, and throughout my afternoon walk along the south wall and back, but when I got back to the saltmarsh (16:10) it eased, then stopped. Within a few minutes everything on the saltmarsh lifted, including:
Lapwing c80
Common Snipe 10+
I eventually located the cause an "owl", by this time heading towards Potts Corner. It was likely to have been a Short-eared Owl, but unconfirmed. Presumably it had been resting close by waiting for a gap in the rain.

It wasn't a day for photography, my camera was stashed well away from the rain. But I did take this shot of the gulls roosting behind No.2 outflow, the same shelter allowing me some protection.
The Mediterranean gull is amongst these, and I think the resolution should just be good enough for it to be discernible.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

A better variety

The Southwesterlies continue to increase. Some very heavy showers, some of hail, but some sunny periods as well.

Check of the sea, from Pete
Kittiwake 14 out - record from yesterday morning

This morning:
Guillemot 2
Razorbill 1
Razorbill/Guillemot 5
Kittiwake 1 juvenile blogging plus distant outbound flock of at least 5

South Shore - high water 09:30 
Rock Pipit 1 on Ocean Edge foreshore 
Wigeon 115 on Red Nab
Mediterranean gull 1 on Red Nab.
Mediterranean gull (top) with BHGs and Wigeon

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Little grebe - at least 3 on "no swimming" pond, still a few skirmishes, but not as frantic as yesterday.
Gadwall 7
Shoveller 5
Teal 4
male Teal seen through the bushes

Goldeneye 1 female - first record this year since a male on the skeer on 2nd January (it seems like another lifetime!)
Initially on the main pond

Then moved to the "no swimming" pond
Female Goldeneye with three of the Shoveller

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Grebe wars

Strengthening SW winds, showers early on developing to almost constant rain.

Only my stuff so far, possibly more to come (MD)

Ocean Edge area - high water 08:45
The 7.9 metre tide is not high enough to cover the mud, but it does bring the waders closer in. Nothing exciting today but still plenty around the saltmarsh:
Shelduck c30
Wigeon 3
Little Egret surprisingly only 1
Lapwing 77
Knot 63
Grey Plover 1
Redshank c20
Oystercatcher c100
Curlew 6
Common Snipe 1
Rock Pipit 3 (2 on the rocky promontory on east side plus 1 on foreshore)
Linnet 48 - a big increase on recent checks

Middleton Nature Reserve "no swimming" pond
I just had a quick look before the rain became constant.
Gadwall 10
Shoveller 6 - I think this is the highest count from here. 2 female type birds plus 4 males in varying stages of eclipse/first winter plumage.
This male was very "distinctive"

Little Grebe - at least 5 birds, probably more, including at least 2 in partial summer plumage. Pete advises that the influx is probably birds displaced by flood water in the river Lune/Conder.
Unfortunately, the refugees were not welcome! 
Everywhere I looked one bird seemed to be chasing another.
Most were direct charges 

But these two appear to be setting off for a honourable duel
Including seconds!

Monday, 26 October 2020

Green marker post returns

Strong winds from WSW to west. Very heavy showers with some sunshine.

You know it's been a quiet day when the headline refers to a metal post! Still it's good to have the green marker back, out from Heysham Head.
It's fixed on the same old surface water drain,
so all old bearings will still be valid.

From Stone Jetty
Kittiwake 1 adult out
Eider 68

Common snipe - at least 80 in front of heliport wall
Common Snipe

Common Snipe with a few Lapwing 

Rock Pipit 2 - one below high cliffs at Heysham Head and one around the central slipway Half Moon Bay.
This is the slipway Rock Pipit

This, large, female Sparrowhawk had just caught a collar dove
A male was also hunting

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Kittiwake surprise

It started off much like yesterday with heavy showers, but the gaps between them increased with more sunshine. By afternoon it was mainly sunshine. The wind was quite fresh initially south then SW.

Rock Pipit two on the saltmarsh 

Pete and Jean checked the low water channels, not a lot around on these neap tides but an unexpected flock of 7 adult Kittiwake "flew out for a blog".
Eider 17
Great Crested grebe 5

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon (MD)
It was good to have the sun on my back, makes a change from driving rain!
Mute status unchanged, the solitary cygnet is being fed by visitors.
Gadwall 27
Shoveller 3
At least one of these birds is different to yesterday. Then 1 male + 2 female type. Today 2 male + 1 female type.

Little Grebe 2 on "no swimming" pond
This one in winter plumage (possibly first winter)

This one, with Shoveller, Gadwall and Coot,
 in fading summer plumage.

This is the sp Little Grebe taking flight.
Not easy with such a dumpy frame!
Water Rail 1 calling
Chiffchaff 1 calling
Thrushes - not a lot, probably no more than 20 off passage. Only Blackbird and Redwing seen.
Redwing feeding on the relatively sparse hawthorn berries this year

Saturday, 24 October 2020

A compete washout - well, almost

Winds from the south to SW. Heavy rain in the morning, giving way to alternating heavy and not so heavy rain in the afternoon!

Nothing of note on the south shore in the morning. Just before I squelched back to my car, I came across a very large feeding mixed tit flock below the small anemometer, but by that time my optics were useless with condensation. At least one warbler (Chiffchaff) seen plus at least one Goldcrest heard. Shame conditions weren't better.

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon
Mute 4 adult 3 + 1 cygnet 
Mute Swan and a Cormorant 
Coot 5
Moorhen 8
Gadwall 10
Shoveller 3
Little Grebe 2 (winter plumage bird on "no swimming" pond. Partial summer plumage bird on Tim Butler pond)
Common Snipe 5

No warblers seen or heard
This Dunnock summed up the day!

Friday, 23 October 2020

Reasonable sea watch

Wind started from the south then swung round to SW to WSW, showers eased by the afternoon with some sunny periods.

Pete managed an hour on the north wall in the early afternoon:
Whooper Swan - 30 + 16 +14. The third lot of Whoopers flew up bay crossing to Stone Jetty area, previous two in off over harbour/Ocean Edge.
Razorbill 2
Mediterranean Gull 1 adult

Rock Pipits 2 on south shore

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon 
Gadwall 23
Shoveller 3 - additional bird female type
Little Grebe - no sign on the "no swimming" pond, but one on Tim Butler pond.
Water Rail 1
Additional Gadwall flying in 

Cetti's warbler - western marsh male singing
A walk along the boundary of golf course found almost nothing, then on the return walk there was at least:
Blackcap - two distant warblers appeared to be this species.
Chiffchaff 3 - one singing, another calling and a third silent but seen.
This Chiffchaff is ringed.
Pete advises that these warblers were likely to be birds that were lagging behind a tit feeding flock.

Thrushes - there were about 30 feeding around the reserve, most near the inaccessible area in the NW corner between Tradebe and the golf course. Mainly Blackbird and Redwing but at least one each Fieldfare and Song Thrush.
The Blackbirds were eating Blackthorn berries (sloes). Quite a beak full!

Insects - it was quite warm when the sun was out, but still no butterflies seen.
Migrant Hawker 4
Common Darter 3

Finally, there was no sign of the solitary cygnet. Then I found it in a tiny pool on the main pond peninsula. The other swans seemed to tolerate it there.
It looks pathetic, and there is little natural food here,
but if it remains it will be fed by the individuals who regularly feed all the mute.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

More Whoopers

Quite fresh SW to W winds, sunny spells and showers all day.

A quick check around Ocean Edge shore found nothing! No wheatears, pipits or Linnet. 
Brambling 3 briefly near pond behind Red Nab.

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon 
There were plenty of ducks on the "no swimming" pond.
Gadwall 21
Mallard 2
Shoveller 2
When the second Shoveller joined the male, there was a series of mutual bobs and nods, that suggested they were a reunited pair.
Then it looked like he got a good scalding for going off without her! (MD)

The single cygnet has been chased off the main pond and is now trying to feed on the no swimming pond. But the aggressive male won't tolerate it.
The youngster is looking underweight 

Water Rail 1 calling
Common Snipe 1
Pheasant 3
No sign of Cetti's warbler today, but one Chiffchaff calling
Whooper Swan c15 flew low over the golf course and continued SE 15:05
Buzzard 1 low to south, probably local.

No butterflies seen
Migrant Hawker 1 male
Common Darter 3 (2 male). All three had damaged and/or frayed wings.
Male Common Darter

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Undisturbed saltmarsh at high water = birds

Wind from SW, rain for most of the morning some sunny spells by the afternoon.

The last of the current spring tides today, 9.20 metres is just enough to cover the saltmarsh in these relatively calm conditions. Normally, by the end of a set of high tides, the Snipe have got fed up of being flushed twice a day, and so numbers dwindle. Not so today, possibly because there seemed to have been little human and canine disturbance.

Saltmarsh - high water 15:10
Common Snipe 15
Jack Snipe 2
Wigeon c 80 feeding in the saltmarsh margins.

Reed Bunting 3 - at least two moved quickly on
Linnet 13
Meadow Pipit 1 grounded
Rock Pipit - none
Wheatear 2. One was a particularly plump rufous bird
Surely one of  the Greenland Race (MD)

Whooper Swan 9. 14:50 they came low above the foreshore before cutting over to Potts Corner and continued south

There was a mixed tit, mainly Long-tailed Tit, feeding group in the copse behind Red Nab. Including:
Goldcrest at least 2
Goldcrest feeding in crevices in a fence post

Blackcap 1 female - not sure if it was actually with the feeding flock or just in the same tree.
Blackcap bottom left. This bird is ringed.

Kevin took this shot of a beleaguered looking Pinkfoot. Hopefully just taking a rest in the harbour.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Insects, holding on - just!

Another wet start, then mainly dry till mid afternoon. Warm SE wind.

Just my stuff so far (MD). Possibly more to come

South shore - low water mid morning
Skylark 1 on saltmarsh
Wheatear 1 
Rock Pipits at least 5 - I couldn't decide whether these were passage or the recently elusive local birds. I did suspect passage as I only saw them on the way out, no sign of any on the return leg. But their distribution (1 + 3 + 1) was typical of the birds previously resident.
White Wagtail 1 on Red Nab.
It was chased away several times by one of the Rock Pipits.

Eventually, an uneasy truce 

but just enough time to find a snack

Pink-Footed Goose 75 SE 11:15

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon 
Mute - the "missing" cygnet is now back on the main pond. Not being chased off by the female and the three cygnets, but certainly being encouraged to maintain social distancing!
Two adult on the no swimming pond and another on Tim Butler.
Gadwall 4
Teal 2
Shoveller 1
Little Grebe 2

Cetti's warbler 1 singing
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 south
Pink-Footed Goose 73 S 14:05

Even without the sun it was warm. I'd seen a couple of Migrant Hawkers. Then the sun came out, only for a few minutes, but suddenly there were three Migrant Hawkers and two Common darter feeding around me. Then the sun went in and the rain started!
This female Common Darter
managed to catch a beetle in the sunny break.

This Red Admiral was the only butterfly seen.
It's admirable that it could fly at all!