Thursday, 12 August 2021

Gadwall returning

The fresh breeze started in the south before moving SW.  Some cloud, but the sunny periods increased during the day.

First, a request. Janet lost her wedding ring whilst checking Middleton Nature Reserve, possibly on the road where the old brick building used to be. It's a long shot, but if anyone does find it please either contact Janet directly or myself (MD).

Heysham skear - low water 09:20
Great Crested Grebe 3
Eider 26, they appear to be in family groups, the males, still in eclipse. The gull in this clip is diving for crabs, it seems optimistic to find one below of a bunch of Eider.

Little Egret at least 18
Grey Heron 1
Oystercatcher c500 on middle skear, fewer than of late, but the outer skear was also exposed, more on that later.
Turnstone c60
Curlew c50
Redshank c40
Bar-Tailed Godwit 1
Ringed Plover c20 where they normally feed on the inner skear plus 15, presumed off passage on middle skear.
Dunlin 1

One of the reasons I went down today was to try and understand what caused the mass exodus of Oystercatcher yesterday (hoping a large raptor would show up!). The outer skear was exposed, but not checked in detail, but this shot shows two things. First, it is still nicely covered in mussels (it's the area beyond the first channel, running across the image). Second, it wasn't densely packed with Oystercatchers, but it is a large area.
The outer skear is the dark band on top of this image.
It is larger than it looks, at least 0.5km further to the main channel.
Nevertheless, these last few tides will have been the first time it will have been available for feeding for two weeks, so presumably more food there than the middle skear. The timing of the oystercatcher flying past the roundhead yesterday coincides with when the tide covered the outer skear, so clearly a factor. But it didn't happen today, and it didn't happen on Tuesday when the LDBWS were on the south wall. I can only guess that something else occurred at the same time yesterday, probably a large raptor, causing the already moving birds to continue to the south side. (MD)
Just another skear related snippet. These spring tides drain quickly, leaving lots of standing water on the skear, this inevitably finds its way to the sea, and once a channel is formed the water gushes out, removing any loose sediment. This is what has happened on this shot.
The mud has been swept away in this channel, leaving the tubes of tube worms exposed.
 These are not Honeycomb worms, more likely Sand Mason worms.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick look round mid afternoon 
The wildfowl was as per Tuesday except for 9 additional Gadwall, so 13 in total with the female and her young. This clip starts withe the female and her three young, she wasn't overly welcoming. Next is an eclipsed male, the rest all appear to be female/immature.

The insects were similar to Tuesday too, except fewer butterflies, plus four Migrant Hawker Dragonflies.
Migrant Hawkers