Friday, 11 December 2020

A shrimp bonus

Very light SE breeze. Light rain eased by the afternoon and the sun, very nearly, came out, before it started raining again.

Heysham Skeer - 1hr before low water.
No sign of any Brent geese, even though everything, and more, of what was available yesterday, was available today. It looks like the deciding factor must be that, on the lower neap tides their favoured feeding areas on the west side of the bay are not exposed, and they have to rough it over here. The next set of similar tides are the three days before Christmas. 
Eider 66 relatively close in but more could be heard further out.
Great Crested grebe 5
Little Egret 5
Knot c300

The skeer was particularly noisy today, the source of the increased excitement were lots of tiny shrimps leaving it very late to vacate their feeding areas. This only happens when the sea is calm enough not to have waves pushing onto the shore, but still enough colour in the water to give the shrimps some cover. Overcast, wet and a gentle SE wind fits the bill nicely.
There were gulls crowded into every drain outlet. And these Oystercatcher and Redshank were shrimping along the skeer edge. The Redshank try and grab the shrimps, whereas the Oystercatchers wait/sweep with an open bill till they touch a shrimp.

This video gives a better sense of the excitement around 
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a shot of one being caught. Unlike Oysters (and mussels), shrimps do actually need to be caught. But judging by the level of excitement and activity I'm sure the waders and gulls were feeding well today. 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute 2 adult 3+1 juvenile 
Coot 7
Moorhen 6
Little Grebe 1
Gadwall 16 
Mallard 2
Teal 3 all male
Shoveller 3 male plus 1 female
The Shoveller boys