Wednesday, 18 August 2021

At last! The sand mason worms start providing

West light wind all day. Mainly overcast with light showers.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Wildfowl unchanged except an additional male has joined the "no swimming" pond birds (now 8). He has joined the female with the three young (bet he got an earful).
House Martin 2 feeding over main pond.
Two small mixed tit flocks seen.
Very few butterflies, just. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood.
Migrant Hawker Dragonfly 2

There were three rocks on the edge of the main pond marked with both fresh and old droppings consisting of broken crayfish shells. I am satisfied that they are Otter spraints, they are supposed to smell "oily", so I had a go. I suppose it could have been described as oily, the best I can say for it was that it didn't smell like what it looked like (thankfully MD) 

South shore 
Wheatear 2 ( one on foreshore plus one on Red Nab)
Rock Pipit 3 
Mediterranean gulls 20+ on beach between wooden jetty and No.1 outflow - no juvenile 
This is what today's title refers to, two things have changed.
1. For the first time, that I've witnessed, this year the meds were catching the sand mason worms all over the dry beach.
2. The worms that they were catching were much larger than the ones they have been catching up to now.

There were two colour ringed birds amongst them, one a regular and long staying green ringed German bird, the other a new white ringed bird. Details awaited.
This clip shows three things. The white ringed bird, how easy it was finding sand mason worms today and how much longer these worms are compared to the others I've shown being caught this autumn. 

When the meds are feeding like this each tries to defend their own patch of beach. Black-Headed gulls are also feeding, but they try and muscle in on other birds. 

Just a still of a sand mason worm being extracted from its tube

I suspect that when the worms are easily available like this, it relates to their breeding cycle, i.e. the worm has to at least partially leave the safety of its tube to deposit milt, presumably into an adjacent tube, or perhaps just onto the beach as lugworm do.