Monday, 24 August 2020

The one that got away - well sort of..

Light breezes starting NNW, then drifted more westerly during the day, before stopping altogether in the evening. Mainly sunny.

Middleton Nature Reserve
Early morning - report from Alan
A ringing session this morning was rather unpromising at first with conditions that were cool and clear with a NNW gusty breeze. However, a steady trickle of captures produced the following:
Blackcap 1
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Garden Warbler 1
Common Whitethroat 4
Willow Warbler 1
Bullfinch 2
Greenfinch 1
Blue Tit 1
Goldfinch 11 (these captures were all juveniles from a flock of at least 30 birds roaming around the western marsh area)

No Grey Wagtails have yet been caught for the colour ringing project, although at least one passed over this morning. The passage should get going and hopefully result in some captures in the next few days.
There was little other visible migration noted.

Mid afternoon (MD)
Mute Swan - the family from the "no swimming" pond have now claimed the territory at the car park feeding area on the main pond. Fortunately the resident pair with the additional adult and two cygnet are still together, but now confined to the SE corner.
This is the current demarcation. 
The three cygnet family can move anywhere. 
But the other birds are pushed back, if they move from the corner.

House Martin 5 over main pond for a while
Swallow at least 9, a mixture of feeding and moving through.
Dragonflies- 6 species seen
Emperor 4
Brown Hawker 3
Brown Hawker ovipositoring 
Migrant Hawker 4 (including 3 together)
Southern Hawker 1
mature male Southern Hawker 
Black-Tailed Skimmer 1 male
Common Darter - lots

Butterflies included:
Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small White and Speckled Wood.
An extremely "worn" Speckled Wood taking in the sun.

South Shore (MD)
Wheatear 9 (along Ocean Edge foreshore and Red Nab)
I reached the beach next to the wooden jetty at 10:45 I was expecting to see it full of feeding gulls and waders - instead it was deserted!
I was pondering this as I checked the inner harbour.
Robin 3 grounded
When I got back to the beach at 11:10 there were plenty of waders and c20 gulls. At least three were Mediterranean gulls.
Then every bird took flight south. I scanned the skies and located the reason:
Osprey 1. It was quite high and heading south. After confirming the species I was going to take a record shot, but my camera was set for reading Med rings and I couldn't focus on the ever decreasing dot that it had become - hence "the one that got away". But only the picture got away,  not the record.
At least it explained the deserted beach when I first got there. Something (else?) had flushed it clean.

A check again in the evening (19:30) as the beach became exposed again. There were 5 Mediterranean gulls on the water waiting. Then just as they could get onto the mud they were flushed by a particularly noisy family out for a walk - they had cow bells - why?
The wind had dropped and the sea was like a duck pond.
This Med tried its best duck impression.
The evening sun was shining on the south wall, attracting small insects. The wall was lined with pied wagtails. At least 60 between the two outflows and presumably a similar number between No.2 outflow and Red Nab. They reminded me of fans in a football stadium doing a Mexican wave. The birds were hopping into the air to catch the insects as they passed over them. An easy supper before going into the Power Station to roost.
Rock Pipits at least three feeding with the wagtails.