Sunday, 6 December 2020

Not a day to be sleepy

Another very pleasant day, still very light northerly breeze with a decent amount of sunshine.

Heysham skeer - low water 09:10 (MD)
Pink-Footed goose. 24 very high to the east 09:15.    61 low to south 09:55
Eider 70
Great Crested Grebe 6
Little Egret 6
Turnstone c80
Redshank 60
Both the above two mainly on the inner skeer

Knot - this is what today's title refers to - although in reality they have to be on high alert all day, every day!
Altogether there were c2000. I am very conscious that these short days and neap tides do not provide a long feeding window, so I keep my distance so as not to disturb. I was checking a smallish group for rings when suddenly they took flight. I knew it had to be a predator so I started videoing. A Peregrine hit the flock 2 seconds later. It comes in low from the left, but much too quickly to see in real time. This still is from the video. The Peregrine is circled.

The reaction of the Knot resulted some ending up in the sea, but they were quickly back in flight and the group splits in two where the Peregrine hit, before rejoining later. This is not a murmuration, this is a flight for life! 
You will see very little in real time, but if you click the toothed gear icon on the video, you can watch in slow motion. You still won't see much though - Peregrine are fast!

I suspect it must have been the juvenile Peregrine that I have seen a few times recently. I have seen Peregrine pick a Knot from a flock, apparently as easily as you would pick an apple from a supermarket shelf. But this one flew back towards the Power Stations with empty talons!

South Shore - high water
Pete managed to read a Knot ring on the mud out from Red Nab - from only 20 birds in total!
Grey wagtail 2 on Red Nab
Rock Pipit 2 on Red Nab plus 1 on rocky outcrop south of the saltmarsh.
Reed Bunting 1
Knot c300 out from the saltmarsh - unfortunately most standing in the water so no rings seen.
Dunlin c80
Ringed Plover 10
Grey Plover 2