Thursday 30 September 2021

When is a tide, not a tide.........

The early wind was quite strong and from SSW, by the afternoon it had eased a bit and moved more to SW. No sun today, but plenty of showers to dodge.

Heysham "skear"
The answer to today's title is .......when it's a neap
Not what you would call a joke, but I always feel that these very low neap tides, just don't seem to make an effort! (MD).
Today and tomorrow's tides are the lowest neap tides of the year, and pretty much as low as they get. Low water barely exposed the inner skeer. It's very hard to portray with images just what little movement there is on these tides, so I'm going to resort to mathematics! But first this shot is low water today. I am stood in the sea looking back at the shore.
So, this is low water today 3.44 metres. High water was 6.61 metres. So the height difference between low and high water is 2.17 metres (7 foot 1 inch, if you are still pre 1971!). In other words, if I stood here on a decent sized tin bucket, my nose would still be above the water at high water (Please don't try it).

Little Egret 8
Waders, mainly very concentrated Oystercatcher at least 2,000. Also Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Knot.
There were two smallish flocks of Knot c100 in total. This group are mainly resting, but there is obviously plenty of food available. You can see one of these eating three small molluscs, probably young periwinkles, without needing to move.
No ringed birds seen today, but just this one flock checked in detail, and most of their legs were hidden.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a brief check of the two main ponds on my way home:
The only wildfowl on the main pond were two adult Moorhen. Everything else on the "no swimming" pond.
Mute Swan 2 adult plus 9 cygnets. I took a shot as it could be the last family group shot.
Mute Swan, last shot for the family album?

Coot 1. First one seen for a couple of weeks.
Moorhen 2 adult 5 immature (plus 2 on main pond)
Gadwall 18
Mallard 1 male, not the white bird.

This clip shows the Coot, an immature Moorhen and a female Gadwall feeding.

South shore early evening 
Red Nab
Rock Pipit 3 
Little Egret 6
Wigeon 2
Wigeon coming in to land 

Chiffchaff 2 in the Elder bush on the south inner harbour wall. This is the largest shrub along the harbour wall and regularly attracts off passage birds. This isn't a great clip, but it shows which bush to check out. Both Chiffchaff are visible briefly at the start of the clip. At the end of the clip one is being chased off by a Robin.

Pete and Jean also managed a check a bit later, and did a much better job of Red Nab than me.
Mediterranean gulls 12 including 2 x 1st winter
Eider 87 past Stone Jetty from Heysham direction 

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Dodging the showers!

Much cooler today. A fresh west wind and the day a mixture of sunny spells and very heavy showers, some starting as hail.

Heysham skear - low water 11:45
GreatCrested grebe - just one winter plumage bird seen
Red-breasted Merganser 6 female/immature in one group
Eider 2 male
Little Egret 14
Waders included: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover (30), Dunlin (2) and Knot (100+).
This was the first time this autumn that a flock of Knot was seen feeding on the skear. One of them was orange flagged, but this clip shows how difficult it is on the skear to see rings. Most of the Knots' legs are hidden from view. Check the Oystercatcher at the end of this clip. 1. It extracts a mussel from a shell wedged in a crevice. 2. Sadly, it's right foot and leg appear gangrenous.

I eventually managed to get a clear look at the flagged bird, only to find that the flag was damaged, making it impossible to read, at least with my optics.
Knot with orange flag, remained unread 

The Cormorants were heading back to their wooden jetty roost, before this
storm arrived. I followed suit and headed for home, narrowly avoiding a drenching!

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a very brief check of the two main ponds
Mute Swan the pair plus 9 cygnets were all on the "no swimming" pond
Moorhen 6
Mallard 3 male, including yesterday's white bird
Gadwall 12
Little grebe 1

Kevin had some nice bright moths in his overnight trap. Adds a bit of colour to an otherwise largely grey day,
Pink-barred Sallow.

Merveille du Jour

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Shag, or a shag, still around

Very heavy overnight rain and hail showers. The wind not as fresh as yesterday veered from SSE to SSW by afternoon. Overcast all day with rain showers increasing in frequency and length as the day progressed.

Heysham skear - low water 10:30
Great Crested Grebe 2
Red-breasted Merganser 9 (2, 3 and 4)
Goose sp (almost certainly Pink-Footed) 21 and 24 south
Eider 5 male
Little Egret 18
Waders included: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Dunlin (just 2) and Knot 60 (in one flock that seemed to move on)

Shag 1 feeding in same location as Sunday, to the NW of the skear. But today's tide did not expose as much of the skear so I was further away and the light rain made it more difficult. I couldn't even tell if it was a juvenile, but it likely was (MD).

Cormorant, rarely get a mention but they are always fishing around the skear, probably 10 today. 
These low neap tides do not even completely expose Conger [rock]. But it makes it a favoured resting point. Shag also rest on here occasionally.
Cormorants resting on Conger

This clip shows an adult Cormorant moving off after feeding, followed by a juvenile.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Janet spotted a "white duck" on the main pond, she was confident that it was a domestic duck, but I called in on the way home to have a look.

Predominately white male "mallard ". Presumably a recent ancestor was being
fed in a farmyard. Although this bird was "wild" and shied away from visitors.
So possibly a natural mutation? (MD)

Just the two main ponds checked:
Mute Swan 2 adult 9 cygnets 
Mallard 8 including the white bird
Gadwall 17
Teal 3

Presumably the appearance of the "mallard" was related to last night's very heavy showers, which probably also accounted for some additional corvids. There were 15+ in the corner near Tradebe, only seen from a distance but they all appeared to be Carrion Crow and the resident 5 or 6 birds in that area were not happy!

Monday 27 September 2021

Wet and windswept

A strong SW wind, prolonged showers in the morning became shorter, but heavier in the afternoon, with sunny spells in between.

Red Nab and Saltmarsh area - high water 15:40
Pete had a quick check at lunchtime:
Mediterranean gull 6
Kittiwake 2 adult

By high water there was no sign of any Mediterranean gulls on Red Nab, but the first Wigeon here this autumn.
The first of, hopefully, many Wigeon on Red Nab

Shelduck 1
Kestrel 1 hunting around saltmarsh 
Little Egret 6
Rock Pipit 1

We are back to the neap tides being too low to cover the mud out from the saltmarsh. There were lots of waders today, best estimate on those close to the saltmarsh:
Redshank c50
Knot 2,000+
Dunlin c1,000
Grey Plover c100
There were many more nearer Potts corner
This Grey Plover was the closest wader to the saltmarsh, it looked like it had
been blown there and was bracing itself against the wind.

Although the tide at 8m was not high enough to cover the mud, the strong SW wind blew a thin film of water up the beach. These two Grey Plover made light of the wind, standing on one leg, as this species is wont to do.
Grey Plover

It is strange how some birds are more comfortable in a wind than others. I suppose it is partly down to experience. This clip shows Knot, Grey Plover and Dunlin. Most are fine and it's not even obvious that they are standing in a strong wind. However, the Knot at the start of the clip struggled to brace itself. (MD)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick check of the two main ponds on the way home.
Mute 2 adult with 9 cygnet 
Moorhen 7
Mallard 6
Gadwall 7
Teal 4
Little grebe 1 in winter plumage 

I was going to entitle today's post "water off a duck's back". A heavy shower started while I was checking the "no swimming" pond. The good thing about being under a tree is that it takes a minute or so for the rain to filter through, the bad thing is that it then continues long after the shower finishes. It was time to leave! This clip shows two of the Gadwall and three Teal.

Sunday 26 September 2021

A good day for youngsters

 South breeze, with very low cloud and light rain showers in the morning gave way to brighter spells later in the afternoon.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Jean:


Low key due to low cloud

Grey Wagtail 10 (7 trapped and ringed)

alba wagtail 9 - still not many moving

Meadow Pipit 48

Linnet 16

Chaffinch 4

Goldfinch 61 (one and a flock of 60)

Swallow 14

House Martin 2

Skylark 1

Pink-footed Goose 80 north presumably to feeding areas and 143 south plus a flock heard but not seen

Jay 3 - there is an irruption (if that is the right word) of Jays all over the country due to the failure of the acorn crop. Birds are roaming around in search of acorns.


Reed Bunting 1

Cetti's Warbler 1 on the west

Water Rail 1 on the west

Goldcrest 2 heard

Robin 1 "ticking" - presumably a migrant


All new birds unless stated.

Grey Wagtail 7 colour ringed

Blackcap 4

Meadow Pipit 2

Wren 1

Goldfinch 1 

Long-tailed Tit 5 retraps, the oldest was one ringed in May 2019

Blue tit 10

Great Tit 1

Chiffchaff 1

Greenfinch 1

A flock of what appeared from a distance to be 10+ Goldfinch turned out to be the tit flock in the ringing totals!

Pete reported:
Stoat 1 adult with 2 half grown youngsters on the ringing road, also
Grey Squirrel 1 (unusual here)

Heysham skear - low water 09:30 (MD)
We are moving back to neap tides so not as much of the skear exposed today.

Pink-Footed goose - what a difference to yesterday! Today only 4 skeins seen, all visible at the same time 08:45. 30 and 57 flying north, presumably local movement, 38 and 15 south. Pete advises that there is now blocking weather at Iceland.

Great Crested Grebe 5
Eider 14
Red-breasted Merganser 13 - two groups of female/immature birds (7 and 6). I really like this clip, these are four of the group of six. It looks for all the world to be a fishing lesson. Watch the three on the left, presumably youngsters, very quickly after diving one is successful and seems to be extremely excited about it........

This is a still from the clip as the merganser first surfaces, you can make out the small
fish it has caught. It would be nice to think that the excitement stems from it being its
first catch. But realistically it has probably had its prize snatched away before, and it 
wasn't going to happen this time! (MD)

Little Egret 20, not in the same pool as yesterday, the tide is lower today so it wouldn't drain the area around the pool so quickly giving the shrimps time to leave before being stranded. Instead the egret focused on the draining water on the south side.

Grey Heron 2
Waders included: Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Curlew and Knot (just three individual birds)

Shag 1 juvenile - I wasn't sure about this in real time, but a distant bird's loping dive looked more like a shag than a cormorant. I managed this short clip, which later confirmed that it was indeed a juvenile Shag.

Juvenile Shag - just a blown up still from the above clip

Saturday 25 September 2021

Pinks piling through, and a bonus Scaup.

Very low cloud with light occasional drizzle. The breeze started SW but moved to SE by mid morning, then back to south by lunchtime. Some sunny periods later in the day.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:

It was mild and humid this morning with low misty cloud. Birds caught and ringed were:

Meadow Pipit 3

Grey Wagtail 1 (of 6 seen)

Reed Bunting 2

Great Tit 2

plus one each of Dunnock, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit.

Plus Pink-Footed geese covered below.

Recording area Pink-Footed Geese. Between Alan, Jean, Pete, Janet and myself (MD). We counted 12,200 up to 11:45 from various Heysham and Middleton locations. There is a possibility of a small overlap with Middleton, but if so almost certainly cancelled out by my woeful undercounting (every flock I photographed contained many more birds than I initially tallied, unfortunately I only photographed a few). 

Heysham skear - low water 09:00. 

Pink-Footed geese - from 08:15 to 09:30 there were many but mainly smallish skeins (typically 50 - 70 birds). These were flying low, little choice with the low cloud, and due south most along the middle of the bay.

But by 09:30 when the tide was rising quickly the skeins dramatically increased in size. Pete had already counted 1,100 on a mudflat out from the sunny slopes, these later flew over my head as they were flushed by the tide. By that time the breeze had shifted a bit to the east and the largest skeins crossed inland to the east well before Middleton. Presumably many more groups had been resting on the bay mudflats. I left the skear at 10:30, by that time it had returned to the odd medium sized skein.

For a while it was almost a continuous conveyor belt of movement, sorry about the loss of focus on this clip.

Great Crested Grebe 10
Red-Breasted Merganser 5 - in one small group of female/immature 
Eider 64
Waders included, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Dunlin (2) and Knot (8).
Meadow pipits c30 south in twos and threes

Little Egret 23 - there were 17 feeding in this small pool (shrimps) as I walked out.

There were still 14 in the same pool when I returned. It is obviously is a good catchment pool for shrimps on this height tide. This shot is on the return leg is just to show the location of the pool, clearly visible from the promenade.

Location of the current favourite shrimping pool for the Little Egret 
That is the road from Four Lane Ends top right

Scaup 1 - this was a bonus, and initially an error. The light was so poor everything was just shades of grey. I originally identified it as a Pochard (MD), but on checking with Pete, and looking at my photographs, realised that it wasn't.

In this clip it is quite distant, but when an Eider surfaces with a crab it dives down for a look.

This is a clearer view. The gull in the foreground at the start of the clip also had a crab, as did many other birds seen today. No idea why it was a bad day to be a crab!

Drake Scaup, plus an Eider

Friday 24 September 2021

Plenty of Pinks.

The fresh west breeze continues. The clouds were very low all day with fine rain till mid morning.

First a series of shots from Kevin Singleton's visit to Half Moon Bay yesterday. All these birds are readily visible from the cafe area, particularly when the tide is in. There is some very nice detail on some of these images when opened.

Redshank roosting on the old heliport wall

Curlew from three different angles

All records and images are always very welcome, but particularly so today, as so far all I have is my short lunchtime visit to Middleton Nature Reserve main ponds (MD)
Pink-Footed goose 330 in 7 medium sized skeins between 12:00 and 12:30. Several other, similar sized, skeins seen from home and local travel later in the afternoon.
Gadwall 36 (34 on "no swimming" pond plus 2 on Tim Butler pond)
Mallard 9
Teal 5
Little grebe 1

Thrushes sp 3 together south - unfortunately only seen in silhouette.
Swallow 1 south

Thursday 23 September 2021

Not a lot, so far

The fresher wind continued from SW. overcast all day, but it remained dry.

South shore
Pete and Jean managed a quick check.
Mediterranean gull 4 adult near the wooden jetty including the green German ringed bird. Later 4 adult, 2 x 2nd calendar year and 1 x 1st calendar year on Red Nab.

Kevin Singleton took this shot of a Rock Pipit near
Half Moon Bay cafe 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I just managed a quick check of the three eastern side ponds (MD)
Mute 2 adult plus 9 cygnets 
Mallard 9
Gadwall 25
Teal 11 
Little grebe 1
No sandpipers on the inviting looking shallows of Tim Butler Pond.
Some of the Gadwall were feeding

Female Teal, "quacking"...... told you it was a slow day!

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Green Sandpiper "showing"

A much fresher WSW to SW wind today, overcast in the morning but largely sunny in the afternoon.

South shore 
No Wheatears again
Rock Pipit 2 on same tide line as yesterday 
Kestrel 1 feeding around the foreshore 
Mediterranean gull at least 6 adult/3rd calendar year on Red Nab

The gulls are becoming more attracted to the waterfall in the harbour again. Dominated by the large gulls, the Black-Headed gulls have started hovering above them, but only room for one at a time, so they take turns. Presumably they quickly get tiered hovering like this, but it must be worthwhile. I expect that when they are successful, they get a good sized meal. (MD)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute Swan - pair plus 9 cygnets
No Coot
Moorhen 2 adult + 3 immature on"no swimming" 2 adult on Tim Butler pond.
Gadwall 29
Mallard 10
Teal 9 - all on Tim Butler pond
Little grebe 1
Green Sandpiper 1 on Tim Butler pond. Today's heading says "showing". The inverted commas reflect that although it was feeding in the increasingly shallow water in plain sight, it is no longer possible to get a decent sight line for this pond. I was precariously balanced on an old wooden beam to get this clip (MD).

Chiffchaff 2 singing 
Kestrel 1 feeding

Migrant Hawker 1
Common Darter 10+

Red Admiral 3
Comma 2
Small White 1
Speckled Wood 12+

Rosemary and Peter Silvester took these nice shots on Monday 
Migrant Hawker on Middleton Nature Reserve 

Female Common Darter Heysham Moss Nature Reserve 

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Dozy but content

A light west breeze mainly overcast with the occasional bright spell.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing and vis report from Alan:

Apart from five new Grey Wagtails and three Meadow Pipits the only other captures this morning were singles of Wren, Robin, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. A retrap Cetti's Warbler and a Robin were also caught.

Very little was seen in the sky - a single swallow and Meadow Pipits only just into double figures. Six Grey Wagtails escaped capture.

Heysham Head,
Report from Jean:

Generally pretty quiet today.

Seen from Heysham Head 0830-0900:

Meadow Pipit 10

Pink-footed Goose 120

Alba Wagtail 1

Grey Wagtail 1

A flock of 10 Linnet had gathered.

Great Crested Grebe 11 in the low tide channel

Eider 42 on the sea

Little Egret 6 on the skeer

South shore
This is what today's title refers to. Janet took this excellent sequence of a male Grey Seal dozing in the harbour mouth.

The Grey seal seemed quite happy in the harbour mouth and never moved 

far when the ferry passed by.

It took a look at me then went back to snoozing!!!!

You really should open Janet's shots to see the detail, you can get
 that close to this one that you can almost smell his breath
Not that you would want to!  (MD)

No Wheatears today
Meadow Pipit 3 south
Rock Pipit at least four around Red Nad area. This short clip shows four feeding on their favoured spot, the tide line between Red Nab and Ocean Edge foreshore.

Mediterranean gulls Pete had a quick check early in the tide, the long staying German ringed adult was on the mud.
Two adult plus three first calendar year were on Red Nab rocks at high water, making for easy viewing. You don't need to be a gull expert to recognise the "juvenile" behaviour!

This next bit is also from Red Nab at high water, but it was from yesterday (I forgot to post it yesterday, but may be of interest if we get more warm sunny days(MD)).
This is the pool below the sea wall at Red Nab, it is formed when the spring tides reach
this height. It is then topped up by any rainfall, sometimes making it brackish.

There hasn't been much rain since the the last spring tides, so the water would still be quite saline. But that hasn't stopped it being occupied by dragonflies, yesterday there was one Migrant Hawker and at least four Common Darter on this pool, including this pair ovipositoring. 

Back to today
Linnet 19 on saltmarsh 
Skylark 1 grounded near slipway.

Monday 20 September 2021

A plethora of ducks!

It was breathless early on with just a light breeze developing from the west during the day. It started off cool with a heavy dew, but the sun quickly warmed the day.
It was still calm mid morning as this vertical plume of water vapour 
from the Power Station testifies 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing report from John

Not ideal ringing conditions this morning, being clear and sunny quite early.

From an early start 6.30am, seventeen birds caught comprising;

Grey Wagtail x 6

Meadow Pipit x 4

Blue Tit x 2

Robin x 2

Wren x 1

Chiffchaff x 1

Goldcrest x 1

Just a quick check of the two main ponds c09:00 (MD)
Mute Swan pair plus 9 Cygnets on main pond
Pink-Footed goose 15 south
The rest of the wildfowl was on the"no swimming" pond
Mallard 8
Gadwall 20
Teal 3
One of the Teal

Moorhen 6
Little Grebe 2
All three of today's duck species are in this clip, the Gadwall seemed to be bickering about pairings. A Little grebe pays a guest appearance towards the end.

Chiffchaff 1 singing
Cetti's warbler 1 singing

South Shore
Janet took these shots
Little Egret on Red Nab

Common Snipe - it really is on this Red Nab rock,
although you may need to open the image to see it

Linnet and a Robin on the wire near the lighthouse. There were a lot
of Robin again today, plus there seemed to be a few additional Wren too

Wheatear near the lighthouse 
Wheatear at least 2. One already left south before Janet saw the above bird. Later one on Red Nab, which may have been this bird.
RockPipit 2
Mediterranean gull 1 x 2nd winter bird on Red Nab as tide was almost full - ref Kevin

I went to check the waders being pushed up the shore by today's spring tide, out from the saltmarsh (MD)
Lapwing 31

There were large numbers of waders feeding on the wet mud, not just the waterline as on neap tides. Mainly Knot and Dunlin, but at least 50 Grey Plover. As they were feeding on the wet mud, the Dunlin were mainly feeding on different patches to the Knot, presumably different food source. The Grey Plover mixed in with the Knot. 
One of the objectives of today's walk was to see how practical it would be to read ringed Knot from here (as there are very few roosting on the heliport wall so far this year). The answer was, it is possible, but you don't get much time. There was no walker disturbance today, but a pair of Peregrine initially lifted everything. Fortunately, for those that remained, the Peregrine must have made quick kills and the waders resumed feeding, albeit further away. The tide was just pushing them closer when a chainsaw started up behind me, they just about tolerated the first blast, but the second was too much and they were off. This is the clip of them being spooked. It includes a ringed bird with an orange flag, contrary to Howard's impeccable images of ringed birds, this is typical of what most of us see without using a scope. So, a scope or a high magnification camera is required to read rings from here.
There were at least 2,000 Knot in viewing distance but I only managed to check c500 in enough detail to check for rings. 5 were ringed, 4 of them with an orange flag. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to read any.

On the way back a shoal of small fish were in the shallows near the saltmarsh. They appeared to be hunting not grazing so I think they were small Bass. This shot shows the location, I walked towards them to spook them like this.
My thoughts were, these are a perfect size for Little Egret, so I looked up....
Altogether there were 10 Little Egret on the saltmarsh,
although I suspect some would be juveniles

Out of recording area
Heysham Moss Nature Reserve 
Myself and Kevin had a stroll around, mid afternoon. Although the sun had been shining all day it wasn't as hot as my visit last week. It was still a worthwhile walk though - all pictures below by Kevin.
Migrant Hawker 2
Common Darter everywhere 
Black Darter 4 male (at least)
Male Black Darter

Brimstone 1 female
Speckled wood 20+
Small Copper 2
Small Copper

Again, just one Bog Hoverfly seen

Sunday 19 September 2021

Four Roe in a row

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing and vis report from Jean.

The vis was a bit better today in between the weather fronts:

Pink-footed Goose 4

Teal 2

Swallow 89

Grey Wagtail 7

Meadow Pipit 85

Goldfinch 30

Reed Bunting 1

Snipe 1 flew in from the west and dropped in.

Ringing was worse! But at least all the birds were migrants:

Chiffchaff 2

Blackcap 2

Robin 1

Meadow Pipit 1

Pete managed - Today’s “highlights” for me were flocks of six juvenile pheasants and four f/imm roe deer on the ringing track.

No other reports and I didn't get out today (MD)

Saturday 18 September 2021

Still plenty of Meds about

Light SE to south breeze. Drizzle early on, but held off for the remainder of the day.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing and vis report from Alan:

Arrived at Middleton at 06.10 whereupon drizzle immediately began and persisted until 07.00. Just two nets set then until 11.30 and 36 captures resulted.

Meadow Pipit 5 (of approx. 35 attracted down)

Grey Wagtail 5 (these were from a total of 9 seen to come down near the ride)

Wren 1 Retrap

Dunnock 1

Robin 1

Reed Warbler 1

Whitethroat 1

Blackcap 12 (these probably dropped by near the coast by the rain shower and caught whilst dispersing inland)

Chiffchaff 4

Goldcrest 1

Long-tailed Tit 1 Retrap

Blue Tit 2

Tree Sparrow

Little else seen moving overhead except for a group of 6 woodpigeons, a small flock of 6 starlings and 1 swallow all flying southward

Red Nab and saltmarsh area

I had a check as the tide was making up the beach (MD)

Wheatear 7

Meadow Pipit 10 grounded on saltmarsh then south another 6 individuals or small groups over to south.

One of the grounded Meadow Pipits

Rock Pipit 1 - didn't manage a decent shot today, so this picture from Thursday for comparison.

Rock Pipit

Linnet 6
Robin several around the shoreline
Lapwing 30+ around the saltmarsh

Lapwing amongst the Samphire 

Again there were large numbers of waders along the waterline, but well dispersed by dogs and horse riders. I didn't try to get close, but the numbers probably less than yesterday. Bar-Tailed Godwit, Curlew, Knot, Grey Plover and Dunlin present. 
Surprisingly the only raptor around was the Kestrel over the saltmarsh.

Sandwich Tern 4 on Red Nab just before high water - three of them looked like adult, but the front bird here appears to be a first winter. You wouldn't describe it "as elegant as a tern"! (MD)

A still from the above clip, showing wing pattern 

A little later Pete checked the gulls on Red Nab and managed a good count, despite one "individual's" (my phrase not Pete's!) attempt to chase the birds off by throwing stones at them!

Mediterranean gulls minimum 24, including 5 juvenile and 2 2nd calendar year. The rest adult or 3rd calendar year.