Friday 25 December 2020

Christmas Day goose

It was freezing again last night resulting in the ponds being 75% ice covered. Lightish wind during the day but starting to freshen from the west by evening, and set to continue increasing overnight.

Just time for a quick stroll around the skeer with a check of Middleton on the way home.

Heysham skeer low water 14:45
Pale-bellied Brent goose - at first I thought there were just 25 in the corner of the skeer. These comprised a group of 5 with the Canadian ringed birds, plus another group of 20 initially on the water, but later came ashore to feed. But still separate from the other 5.
These are the 25 birds, showing the location looking from the skeer

As I was walking off the skeer, all 25 were still there, then I inadvertently spooked another 6 that were on one of the inshore pools. Fortunately, they quickly joined the others and continued feeding.
So the new high for this winter has almost doubled from yesterday's 16 to 31.
Not sure about tomorrow, the tide height is good, but they are not as keen to come over in rough weather. 

Eider c80
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Great Crested Grebe 2
Little Egret 4

Yesterday I mentioned a clip of an Oystercatcher opening a mussel. They normally fly away to open them, I always assumed it was a messy job and they risked being robbed. But, this bird decided to open a small mussel were it was found. It seemed remarkably easy and only produced a small morsel. 
Presumably larger mussels require more effort, but provide more reward.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute 2+1 adult and 3+1 juvenile on and around the main pond
Gadwall 24
Teal 3
Tufted 4
Mallard 6
c30 Black Headed gulls were resting on the main pond ice. No rings
7 of the BHG, there looks a lot more when every bird looks like two!