Tuesday, 22 December 2020

A more clinical approach

A light east breeze with some warm sunshine made it quite pleasant.

Heysham Skeer - low water 11:30 (MD)
Eider c60
Great Crested Grebe 2
Knot c2000
Pale-belled Brent goose 14. 
The Brent hadn't arrived when I went down, so I took the opportunity to check out what they are feeding on.
"Sea lettuce" in the corner of the skeer.
I think this is sea lettuce, I'd be happy to be corrected if anyone knows differently. Either way, it looks more appetising than the gut weed available out from the children's play area.

Gut weed on shore out from the play area.

The Brent arrived about 10:30. I also parked briefly on Knowlys Road at 15:20 and could see all 14 on the water just out from the children's play area. I would expect them to be around for most of the day again tomorrow.

Today's title refers to a more clinical and effective Peregrine attack. 
The Knot were feeding on the skeer when a low flying Peregrine flushed them. The Peregrine shot up and I lost it, but knew where it would be heading next. The Knot knew too, you can see wave after wave ripple through the flock as each bird tried to be in the middle. Twelve seconds into this video clip the Peregrine comes in from the top, just left of centre. In real time it looked like it had missed, but I knew it had got one, as there were no further attacks and the Knot quickly settled back to feeding - they knew it was over, for now at least.

This still from the video shows the point just before the kill. The arrow is pointing to the fated bird, which presumably had either weaker instincts or muscles than the others. You can also see the Peregrine's tail and wings spread to brake its speed to match the Knot 
This is typical of Peregrine strikes on Knot here. Suggesting that it is either an experienced adult or the juvenile are learning quickly.