Friday 29 January 2021

Landslip, mayhem and carnage

Very heavy overnight rain eased to light rain by daylight and stopped by lunch. Winds started from the west and ended up NNE
South shore
Common Snipe 34
Jack Snipe 1
Both the above flushed from saltmarsh by the rising tide
Grey Plover 1
Reed Bunting 1
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Wigeon 256 were counted flying/drifting from Red Nab as the tide covered it, many more had left earlier.

Today's title sounds like a firm of solicitors, but this is part of the carnage.
Cormorant - lots feeding, Janet took these nice shots of one with a bass. Best opening these images to see the detail.

The problem a Cormorant has with a fish this size, is avoiding the other cormorants and the gulls long enough to get it in the right position for swallowing. I wonder how long a meal like this will last it before it needs to go hunting again.

A typical selection of waders on Red Nad at high water.
 Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone and Curlew.
Also by Janet

This is the landslip of the title.
This brick structure used to sit under the top of this cliff. It has slipped down overnight, purely by being undermined by rain water. It was definitely overnight as the loose soil disturbed by it had not been smoothed by the rain.
This is at the southern boundary of Ocean Edge, but these structures would have belonged to the industrial operations that once occupied Middleton Nature Reserve. The bricks to the right have been down a while, and I always thought they were an old pump house.

You can see the flattened clay where this portion slid down the slope. The remaining structure appears to be a brick lined culvert with a small pipe.
All four sides of the portion that slipped sown are solid brick, with just the small pipe at the bottom of the front and top of the back. Originally it would have been subterranean with a capped access hole at the top, presumably housing a valve. It is subterranean no more!
The very important lesson to be learned from this is how dangerous cliffs can be after heavy rain.

Heysham skeer
This is where mayhem and further carnage comes into it.
Spring tides, around here, tend to peak with high water around lunchtime and midnight. This means low water is early morning and evening. The tides are rising quickly, therefore the skeer wasn't really exposed till late afternoon. The Knot, c2,000, didn't turn up till 15:45. Within two minutes a Peregrine attacked and took one. Then Five minutes later another Peregrine turned up and a Merlin also joined in, taking advantage of the ensuing mayhem. This is what panicked Knot look like:
A decent slip fielder could have caught one!
After a few minutes they all settled again, so at least the Peregrine will have been successful. Feeding time out here on these tides isn't long with the short days, I didn't have the heart to risk spooking them again, so I turned back and left them to feed.

Knot c2000
Turnstone c25
Ringed Plover 5
Eider 158 - nice and close in so easy to count accurately 
Great Crested Grebe 3
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Peregrine at least 1 probably 2
Merlin 1