Sunday 7 February 2021

The cold starts to bite

It never actually got below freezing last night and today's temperature hovered around 2C. But it felt much colder in the cold NE wind. Overcast all day with some light snow flurries.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
A few observers took their exercise here today, shame there wasn't more to see:
Mallard 5
Gadwall 2
Shoveler 2 (pair)
Tufted 1 (male)
Little Grebe 2
Coot 4
Moorhen 4
Water Rail 1 calling from Tim Butler area
Grey Heron 1
Janet managed to squeeze all the "no swimming" pond ducks onto this frame.
Although you'll have to open the image to be able to make them out.
Also, looks like one of the Little Grebe in the margin, left of centre
Janet also took this shot.
Many visitors leave food out for the wildlife, 
I say wildlife as it isn't just the birds that feed on it, rodents also take advantage.
Although this Robin looks to have had more than its fair share!

Heysham skeer/low water channels 
Great Crested Grebe 9
Red-breasted Merganser 9
Eider c50 close in
This is Conger rock, it is by far the largest rock on the skeer (I always think of it as the Elvis Presley of rocks - no one ever calls it Conger Rock.... it's just known as Conger). Anyway, on these neap tides it's not fully exposed, allowing the eider to prise off some of the lower mussels.

Pale-bellied Brent 16 - there were 14 feeding in the middle of the inner skeer, including a group of 6 led by the red/blue ringed Canadian birds. I checked this area earlier in the week, there are only meagre patches of short weed.
This is the group of six. They were finding food, but there can't be much left here.
You can see from this image, there is very little greenery.
The additional two birds were late arrivals, from the direction of Barrow. These opted to feed on the southern edge of the skeer, exactly where two were feeding yesterday. There are a few isolated areas of weed here. It would seem that the remaining pockets of weed around the skeer require the more experienced birds to exploit. (MD).