Wednesday 14 July 2021

First Wheatear of..........Autumn!

The west breeze becoming fresher, mainly sunny.

Heysham skear - low water 09:30
Shelduck 2 over to the south
Great Crested Grebe 1
Little Egret 14
Redshank 51 in two flocks of 30 and 21
Turnstone 15
Curlew c70
Plus the ever present Oystercatchers

South shore 2 hr before high water
Large Black-Headed gull roost on Red Nab, not checked for Mediterranean gulls 
Rock Pipit 1 on Red Nab
Northern Wheatear 1 juvenile on Ocean Edge foreshore.
Juvenile Northern Wheatear 

Not a plumage often seen at Heysham 

But the tail always helps.
I often tell visitors how the Wheatear came about its name, but perhaps not appropriate 
to post the explanation. If you are interested Google it, and imagine speaking the words 
in a strong north eastern accent (MD)

Heysham Nature Reserve early afternoon 
Kevin did a circuit and reported that there were plenty of butterflies active today, including:
Small Copper

Meadow Brown

A particularly large and bright Comma

Small Skipper

Kevin also had another moth new to Heysham in his light trap a couple of days ago. Suspected 

Another good moth, Lunar Hornet moth was reported from the Tim Butler pond on Middleton Nature Reserve by Linda Renshaw today.

Early in the spring I showed a clip of a Beadlet anemone taking hold of a small piece of barnacle (see post 2/04/21 MD). In the areas around here where I walk, Beadlet are not only abundant, but the only anemone normally seen. This one is different. It was on the middle skear, in a pool where the water was draining off the skear. This area of shore is so dynamic in changes in formation that you do not normally see any anemone. This one was only small, undoubtedly young and has taken advantage of the relatively calm period we have had for a couple of months. I'm not an expert, but believe it to be a young Dahlia anemone, if anyone has other thoughts, please let me know.
This first clip you can see some of the tentacles reacting as suspended particles in the draining water touch them.

Even on the above clip you can see that this species is much more reactive than a Beadlet. In the clip below I provide it a small piece of mussel shell. It was obvious that this species could easily, and almost certainly does, catch shrimps and small fish. The adult Dahlia can grow to 10cm diameter, this one was less than 2cm.
The anemone quickly recognised that the shell was inedible and at the end of this clip you can see it starting to discard it.