Friday, 27 November 2020

Lots of water line activity

A  very gentle easterly breeze. Overcast all day, but no rain.

These intermediate tides between neap and spring can be interesting. They are not high enough to flush the birds from the upper beach, particularly in areas of reduced human activity. And they don't go out far enough to expose all the low water feeding grounds, so the birds are more concentrated.

South shore - high water 09:30 - 8.3m
Mediterranean gull 1 on Red Nab (thanks to Phil and Neil for this one)
Rock Pipit 1

The tide didn't quite cover all the mud out from the saltmarsh and I was the only person around.
This the typical concentration of birds

The following were all feeding within 30m from the above shot:
Shelduck 35
Redshank c100
Dunlin c50
Knot c80
Common Snipe 1
Reed Bunting 2 on the edge of the saltmarsh 
Reed Bunting 

Heysham skeer - low water 16:15
Checked 14:00 -15:00
No sign of the Brent geese today.
In fact, nothing unusual, but feeding was frantic. There is only a short feeding window on the skeer on these short days and lowish tides.
Great Crested Grebe 6
Red-Breasted Merganser 2
Knot c500
Redshank c300
Turnstone 10
Curlew 50+
Plus the ubiquitous Oystercatcher 
Little Egret 6
Pink-Footed goose 184 south 14:50
Eider 71
The Eider are already practicing their courtship displays/calls. I've attached two short video clips.

This first one gives you an idea of the general level of activity on the skeer. Above the general commotion you can just hear the Eider's Frankie Howard impersonations.

This one is further out, but you should still be able to hear the Eider calls - watch out for the Great Crested Grebe

Much as I enjoy sharing the skeer with so many birds, I am very aware that the feeling is not mutual. What to me sounds "frantic", is in fact a desperate race to feed up before a long winter's night. Although I move slowly and keep my distance it is inevitable that I disturb some birds. Just something to bare in mind if you go out there for a walk (MD).