Saturday, 20 February 2021

A tale of two communities

Very heavy overnight rain continued till lunchtime, it then remained mainly dry but still overcast. The SSE wind was quite strong, but warm. It was 12C in the afternoon.

Just mine (MD) and Janet's stuff so far.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick look at the two main ponds
Mute swan 3 adult 3 juvenile
Little grebe trilling on the "no swimming" pond
Gadwall 2
Tufted 2
Male and female Gadwall and Tufted on "no swimming" pond

Rock Pipit 7:
1 near rocky outcrop east of the saltmarsh 
1 Red Nab
2 + 1 near the lighthouse 
1 old heliport 
1 north side of Half Moon Bay beach
Two of the lighthouse area birds
There has been these numbers in these locations throughout winter, but this is the first time for a while that they've all been seen on the same day.

Janet took this nice shot of a male Red-breasted Merganser
taking off from Red Nab
Grey seal 1 near the outflows
This shot shows its back, dark markings on a pale background 
In my book, that makes this a female
(male have pale markings on a dark background)

Common Snipe - this is what today's title refers to.
A walk past the saltmarsh, when the tide was still a long way out, saw 22. As soon as one bird is spooked, others respond like a chain reaction and they make for Middleton Nature Reserve.
A check as the tide covered the rocks in front of the old heliport saw another c30 birds. But these needed a crowbar to get them moving. I suppose the main difference is that these birds only need to fly to the top of the wall. I did think that the regular visits by the Merlin over the saltmarsh might have made those birds more flighty, but the Merlin also includes the heliport within its hunting range.
These are some of the heliport birds:
There are 14 snipe plus 5 Redshank on this picture,
but you'll probably need to open the image to see them all

This one ran out of rock to stand on
But found another one
The rocks were already mainly covered when I arrived, despite their reluctance to move, I suspect that many more snipe would have already shifted to the heliport grass.

Pale-bellied Brent 6. A look towards the children's play area from Heysham Head located the group making their way from the water's edge towards the rocks.
These are 5 of the PBB. Amazingly, even at this range you can just
make out that the 2nd and 3rd birds from the left have red/blue rings.

Jackdaw - 2 arrived in adjacent gardens (Cyprus Rd) during the cold spell, and are showing no sign of moving on. The Magpies don't seem bothered, but the resident Carrion Crows are not best pleased. The Jackdaw were checking out chimneys today!