Wednesday 5 May 2021

Snow tops the bill - we have had busier days!

A cold fresh west wind all day, but the sun shone for most of the day.

Snow covered the South Lakes hills. This shot from the harbour

It wasn't just a light dusting but a serious covering, it was still laying 
thick on the ground in the afternoon, this shot is from the skear.

Pete and Jean managed a few more birds on this morning's seawatch:
Sandwich Tern 6
Guillemot 2
Harbour Porpoise 1

South shore 08:00 - 09:30
Sandwich Tern 1, possibly one of Pete and Jean's 
Whimbrel 5
Wheatear 2
Rock Pipit at least 3 - the ringed male near the lighthouse was feeding itself,  another bird towards the waterfall was displaying and calls, that sounded as if they came from the lighthouse nest hole. It still isn't cut and dried what's happening here.
Linnet 8 including one taking nest lining to nest site near the waterfall.
Goldfinch - it's always good to hear the Goldfinch twittering away as they forage, but this bird was having a sing.

Heysham skear - low water 14:20
Eider c20
Great Crested grebe 1
Red-breasted Merganser 4 (2 pair) - these were together then disappeared, I think they moved on. I'm not sure if these male gestures are a cordial "hello" or a less than cordial "go away" (MD)

Whimbrel 5

These two Dunlin flew in, settled on the skear and made no attempt to feed.

Middleton Nature Reserve (I'll leave the time for you to "deduce" (MD))
I just checked the main pond for Otter spraints
Mute swan - just 3 adult 
Mallard female still with 10 chicks 

I did a full circuit of the main pond and found no sign of Otter spraints, but as Janet said yesterday there is evidence of Signal Crayfish being eaten, but not much, so presumably it has only just resumed.
In a complete circuit of the pond, I only came across one "head case"
(I know......begging for a comment.....but I'll let you make your own up!)

However the only other remains I found were fresh, certainly no more than a few days old. This is how I found it, an almost complete front end, upside down.
It was still attracting flies, one circled

This is a clearer view of the under side. This section was 11cm long, so quite a large specimen.
The right side legs have been cleanly bitten off, strongly suggesting Otter

This is the top side, this one's head case is missing, but the earlier one was
 too small and on the opposite side of the pond

Having checked the full perimeter, I will be able to tell if any future Signal Crayfish remains are new. And, I'll be checking regularly for spraints. If anyone sees likely droppings on a prominent stone or feature, please take a picture or advise me where it was seen - Thanks.