Monday, 22 March 2021

The return of the Blob

Low cloud all day, but dry and the visibility remained good. Light west winds.

Middleton Nature Reserve - report from Pete
Very odd record: lesser Redpoll ringed as 1st Winter on passage 11:10:20 retrapped today on return passage at Middleton along with one unringed bird.  One unringed goldcrest caught

South shore.
Rock pipit - just a Red Nab bird seen. The lighthouse area not checked.
Swan sp - 5 distant to NW 09:45 - possibly Whooper, based on recent sightings 
Wigeon 30
They were in the channel next to No.2 outflow, then took off and flew north.
I took a picture in case they weren't planning on coming back

Shelduck at least 130, but they also look to be ready to move on. Quite a lot of bickering and displaying going on. These two Sheldrake were displaying to the Shelduck (right). She seemed to have chosen one.

North shore
I went down before the water reached the rocks out from the children's play area. I wanted to see how the gut weed was doing (I know how to enjoy myself! (MD)).
No sign of any Brent but they may have arrived later.

I thought this was interesting, not as interesting as watching gut weed grow......but what is?
This flock of fancy(ish) pigeons dropped down on this small patch of rocks.
There is nothing for Pigeons to eat here, so I presumed they had a favoured 
surface water spring emerging here, to drink from

But, they didn't drink and appeared to be eating.
It was only later that I realised, they were probably collecting broken barnacles to act as grit in their crops. Presumably the birds are from a local coop and know the area well.

Back to the object of the trip. The gut weed is not only still available here, it is much more abundant than when I last checked about a month ago. It is clearly growing quickly in the warmer weather.
This is the typical growth on the rocks furthest out from the play area.
This is about 100m out, well away from most dog walking activity 

This is closer in, but still well within previous feeding range for the Brent.
Here the weed is c20cm long and growing on the mud as well as the stones
Hopefully, before the Brent head back, they will feed here more often and in greater numbers than of late.

Finally, forget Black Redstarts and Roe Deer, the subject that seems to have generated the most interest recently is Green Jelly Blobs (see posts 6th and 7th of March for details). So by popular demand:
A walk along the low water line on the south shore located several, but these were not washed up, they were still attached to their anchorage. Although the anchoring didn't look up to much and you would expect a decent wave would easily break it free. Perhaps it works on the same principle as a sapling bending in the wind.
This is in just a few centimetres of water and is being dragged back and forth by the gently lapping waves.

Warning! - the mud on the southern shore can be dangerous. Most of it is flat and firm and easy to walk on, but if you walk too far you can find deep, wide gullies of quicksand can be between you and safety. Not a walk for the inexperienced.