Tuesday 25 May 2021

Excellent morning seawatch and an Osprey encore

The wind was quite fresh from the west to NW and back again. Some sunshine and showers

Seawatch report from Pete:
Heysham sea totals 0715-0945 with little after wind went NW around 0900.  Plenty of action but nothing scarce: 
Great Skua (Bonxie) 1
Arctic Skua one light morph and two dark morph birds together 
Razorbill/Guillemot  16
Sanderling 4
Gannet 105 in, many immature  
Kittiwake 10 plus 24.
Then one Fulmar and one Manx Shearwater 1025-1055 

Many of the birds including the skuas were close in, unfortunately no one available with a camera.

Heysham skear - low water 18:00 (MD)
Eider 5
Great Crested Grebe 2
Whimbrel 1
Turnstone 7
Sanderling 131 in 14 groups ( single bird to 35) moving west along the north edge of the middle skear, most moved on to the outer skear, which wasn't checked.
Most were in "Spring" plumage
But the lead bird here is almost in Summer plumage

Osprey 1.
This is, on the face of it, an unremarkable clip of Black-headed gulls and a Grey Heron shrimping. But it marks the arrival of the Osprey 17:40. Towards the end of the clip, you can hear a few gull cries and then the BHGs lift and join in the calling.
All the gulls went up and I managed to locate a distant black spot. At 17:47 I took this clip it was still high and distant, so much so that the gulls had returned to feeding:
When I looked back again, I couldn't find it. Then at 17:55 it hauled itself and a fish onto a sandbar. I got the impression that the fish was too heavy for it to fly with (it turned out to be a large flatfish so probably not too heavy so much, but it would difficult to lift out of the water)
You can see the channel that it was feeding in behind the Osprey. It is the main drain that flows into the shallow "lake" on the north side of the skear. After a while the gulls stopped mobbing it and it got on with eating its catch.

This shot shows the channel more clearly 

By 18:20, it had removed the guts and flew to the skear with the, now lighter,  fish.
It looks like a decent sized Plaice or Flounder. I hadn't thought yesterday that
the fish might have been partly eaten, that one too could have been a flattie..

This channel is only exposed on the current spring tides, last one probably Saturday. Saturday morning might be worth a look, low water 08:45. Meanwhile, I'll check again tomorrow evening.