Thursday, 5 August 2021

Saharan seascape

 The wind started from the east then freshened as it swung SE. Mainly overcast with a few light showers and occasional sun.

South shore
So far the only records today are from a couple of visits here by myself (MD)
Mid morning - approaching high water
Common Whitethroat - at least two female/immature near the small anemometer (not normally seen here)
Migrant Hawker 1 also around the small anemometer 
Little Egret - the bird with only one foot was waiting by the saltmarsh creek. I was hoping to see it fishing here on my return, but it had moved onto the saltmarsh by then. 
Whimbrel 2 came off the saltmarsh 
Curlew 52 feeding along waterline 
Rock Pipit 2 squabbling on the foreshore 
Mediterranean gulls 9 - 4 adult/3cy, 1 x 2cy and 4 juvenile - Roosting on the mud out from the saltmarsh. This clip shows three of the juveniles, just checking again, to make sure that a feather isn't food.

This is a unusual angle of the fourth juvenile Mediterranean gull.
Slightly more practical use of energy as it tries to catch a passing insect

The wind was due east when I started, there was nothing on the Buddleia, the same three Green-Veined Whites as yesterday were near Red Nab, but nothing moving along the foreshore or on the saltmarsh, just one static Large White seen. But by my return the wind was SE and there were now several Large Whites and two Small Tortoiseshell  moving south along the eastern side of the saltmarsh.

Just another quick check in the afternoon as the beach near the wooden jetty became exposed.
The wind was still quite strong from the SE, the tide was out and it was still warm. But no sun and it was actually raining when I arrived at the lighthouse area, so no surprise that no insects were coming in off the sea again.
Whimbrel 3
Mediterranean gulls 18 - there were 12 adult on the beach (possibly some were moulted 3rd calendar year)  plus another between the outflows. 1 x 3cy (probably), 1 x 2cy plus 3 juvenile 
They arrived at the beach from both the north and south side. This clip is just as the mud became exposed, there are 9 Meds, including the flying bird, plus a Black-Headed gull. The two obviously immature birds are the first and last in the clip.

All the gulls were paddling again today, it seems that is the easiest way to catch sand mason worms this year. The worms are much smaller than the ones they catch when they are feeding on patches on the dry beach. I have always suspected that bounty is related to the breeding cycle of the sand mason worms, which will obviously only involve mature worms. This clip shows two of the juveniles feeding, the one at the back catches a worm at the start of the clip and makes a bit of a meal of eating it (pun intended today). The closer bird appears to catch something, but I am sure it is only the top of the worm's tube.

This faded Ringlet was near the newt pond, it's the first I've seen for a week or so, and I had assumed that they were done for the year.
Ringlet butterfly 

Not so many butterflies around the Buddleia,  c5 Peacock, plus low numbers of Meadow Brown and Common Blue.
The Migrant Hawker was still around the small anemometer, I managed a couple of shots this afternoon.
This in flight shot is just to show location, the tower behind is the tall anemometer
as seen from the small anemometer. Fortunately the hawker eventually settled

Not quite fully mature male Migrant Hawker.

We are just finishing a period of neap tides, so for almost a week the mud out from the saltmarsh has not been covered by the tide. The hot sun over the last few days has dried it out. So when the wind freshened from the SE this morning, it created a Saharan like sandstorm. Well, perhaps not Saharan like, particularly with the Power Stations in the background, but at least enough to disturb a few of the roosting gulls.