Thursday 25 February 2021

Shovelers on the move

Mild SW wind and a largely sunny day meant it was ideal for walking. Also ideal for flying, any paserines passing over must have continued as none were reported today.

Not quite true - late news: Stonechat 1 on old heliport - ref Howard.

South shore - high water 10:05
Pale-bellied Brent goose 15 arrived at Red Nab 09:00 and flew north at 11:40.
Some of the Brent, nibbling the bowling green quality gut weed growth.
Picture by Kevin

Heysham skeer 2hr before low water
Pale-bellied Brent goose 19 (15+4)
They were waiting on the water until the few remaining pockets of weed came within reach. This video is to show the feeding technique, but also the wealth of bird life. As well as the Brent there are: Red-breasted Merganser (not obvious in the strong contrasting light), Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone and Knot. Not to mention the gulls.

Eider 80+
Great Crested Grebe 2
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Turnstone - there were a lot again today, apart from typical numbers feeding on the skeer, c30. This flock came from the south and continued north over the skeer.
This is about 75% of the flock and there are 150 in this frame.
You'll have to open the image to see any detail.

Shoveler - at least 8
These 2 male and 3 female were squabbling in the SE corner before flying off north.
A check at distance found three more with the Brent geese, but these had also gone by the time I was close enough to check the detail, but they looked like 3 female.

10 minutes later a male with two female flew from the middle of the bay and landed near the green marker post. Probably three of the earlier birds, but possibly an additional three.
Not a great picture, and you'll have to take my word for it, but I like the context.
That's 3 PB Brent in the middle on the water, with a male and 2 female Shoveler
flying above them, in front of Heysham Head.
Pete confirmed that this is "duck migration time".

Anemones are common in the shallow inner skeer pools throughout summer, but this is the first one I've noticed for a while. I don't think they stop feeding in winter, I just think the shallow pools are too cold for them in the winter and they don't open when the tide is out. But this one is just opening, you can see the tips of its tentacles emerging. 
A sign of spring?