Saturday 19 December 2020

Oystercatchers with attitude

The wind continues from the south, quite pleasant in the morning sunshine, but showers began by lunchtime.

Heysham skeer - low water 08:50 (MD)
Eider only 17 seen
Shelduck 3 - not regular here
Pink-Footed goose 105 west 08:40
Great Crested grebe 2
Knot c2000
Peregrine 2 - at least one, probably both juveniles. They quickly flushed all the Knot away, without catching any. So one juvenile tried its hand with the Oystercatchers.
I'm sorry about the quality of this video, but it's good enough to tell the story of what happened.:
The experienced Oystercatchers stay on the skeer/water. A Peregrine won't risk hitting something on the ground as it would risk injury to itself, whether this is learned or instinctive for the Oystercatchers, I don't know.
It eventually managed to persuade a few to take flight by coming in more slowly, then set after them, resulting in two having an early bath, but none caught.

The full sequence was almost a minute and a half, it then landed for a rest. The Oystercatchers seemed to realise that the risk was over, and ignored it.
The Peregrine is arrowed
Even when it took off, the Oystercatcher were comfortable, some even landed close to it, when it landed again.

Middleton Nature Reserve - mid afternoon (between showers)
Mute 3 adult (one skulking away on Tim Butler pond) 3+1 juvenile 
Coot 6
Moorhen 16 (8 on the field to the east of Tim Butler)
Gadwall 32
Shoveller 4 (3m 1f)
Mallard 2
Tufted 1 male
Teal 7 on Tim Butler pond 
Little Grebe 2
Water Rail 3 squealing
Goosander 1 redhead west. They are normally a rare visitor to the recording area, but this year there have been six sightings and a total of 12 birds.
Not a great shot, but just good enough to confirm species.