Monday, 28 December 2020

Brent continue to increase

Light NE breeze eased to almost nothing during the day. Light overnight frost left thin ice on the shallow pools and puddles, but the ponds remained ice free. Sun for most of the day.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Full circuit.
Mute 3 adult 3+1 juvenile 
Coot 6
Moorhen 13
Gadwall 26
Mallard 4
Teal 4
Shoveler 5
Tufted 1
Little Grebe 2
Water Rail 3 squealing 
This is a nice comparison shot of a mature male Shoveler in full breeding plumage.
Plus another male at an intermediate stage.
Pink-Footed goose 15 + 53 north 08:40. 58 south 10:10
Grey Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Cormorant 4 (this is the most at any one time, they feed on the main and "no swimming" ponds and there is a constant turn over)
Raven 1
Stock Dove 1
Goldcrest 1

Heysham Skeer mid afternoon (4hr ebb)
Pale-bellied Brent goose 34 - 1 could see there were quite a few in the skeer corner from Knowlys Rd, when I set off 13:30. At 13:45 a flock of 5 flew in low from the south. 13:50 4 more came in high from the east, presumably cut overland from somewhere on the river. By 14:00 there were 34 birds feeding, but they were early, and presumably hungry, so they took to up ending to reach the still quite deep weed.
When I was leaving the skeer, they were feeding in the same location, but now on the mud. There were still at least 34.

Eider, much easier to count today on the calm sea - 107 
Great Crested Grebe 4
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Knot c2000
When I got on the skeer, the water hadn't uncovered the Knot's favoured feeding area, so they were milling around. When they are relaxed, they can ignore you. Twice during this clip, I was completely surrounded by them. This is what it's like inside a Knot flock.
And these were relaxed birds, the tempo is greatly increased whenever the flock is spooked.