Monday, 20 September 2021

A plethora of ducks!

It was breathless early on with just a light breeze developing from the west during the day. It started off cool with a heavy dew, but the sun quickly warmed the day.
It was still calm mid morning as this vertical plume of water vapour 
from the Power Station testifies 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing report from John

Not ideal ringing conditions this morning, being clear and sunny quite early.

From an early start 6.30am, seventeen birds caught comprising;

Grey Wagtail x 6

Meadow Pipit x 4

Blue Tit x 2

Robin x 2

Wren x 1

Chiffchaff x 1

Goldcrest x 1

Just a quick check of the two main ponds c09:00 (MD)
Mute Swan pair plus 9 Cygnets on main pond
Pink-Footed goose 15 south
The rest of the wildfowl was on the"no swimming" pond
Mallard 8
Gadwall 20
Teal 3
One of the Teal

Moorhen 6
Little Grebe 2
All three of today's duck species are in this clip, the Gadwall seemed to be bickering about pairings. A Little grebe pays a guest appearance towards the end.

Chiffchaff 1 singing
Cetti's warbler 1 singing

South Shore
Janet took these shots
Little Egret on Red Nab

Common Snipe - it really is on this Red Nab rock,
although you may need to open the image to see it

Linnet and a Robin on the wire near the lighthouse. There were a lot
of Robin again today, plus there seemed to be a few additional Wren too

Wheatear near the lighthouse 
Wheatear at least 2. One already left south before Janet saw the above bird. Later one on Red Nab, which may have been this bird.
RockPipit 2
Mediterranean gull 1 x 2nd winter bird on Red Nab as tide was almost full - ref Kevin

I went to check the waders being pushed up the shore by today's spring tide, out from the saltmarsh (MD)
Lapwing 31

There were large numbers of waders feeding on the wet mud, not just the waterline as on neap tides. Mainly Knot and Dunlin, but at least 50 Grey Plover. As they were feeding on the wet mud, the Dunlin were mainly feeding on different patches to the Knot, presumably different food source. The Grey Plover mixed in with the Knot. 
One of the objectives of today's walk was to see how practical it would be to read ringed Knot from here (as there are very few roosting on the heliport wall so far this year). The answer was, it is possible, but you don't get much time. There was no walker disturbance today, but a pair of Peregrine initially lifted everything. Fortunately, for those that remained, the Peregrine must have made quick kills and the waders resumed feeding, albeit further away. The tide was just pushing them closer when a chainsaw started up behind me, they just about tolerated the first blast, but the second was too much and they were off. This is the clip of them being spooked. It includes a ringed bird with an orange flag, contrary to Howard's impeccable images of ringed birds, this is typical of what most of us see without using a scope. So, a scope or a high magnification camera is required to read rings from here.
There were at least 2,000 Knot in viewing distance but I only managed to check c500 in enough detail to check for rings. 5 were ringed, 4 of them with an orange flag. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to read any.

On the way back a shoal of small fish were in the shallows near the saltmarsh. They appeared to be hunting not grazing so I think they were small Bass. This shot shows the location, I walked towards them to spook them like this.
My thoughts were, these are a perfect size for Little Egret, so I looked up....
Altogether there were 10 Little Egret on the saltmarsh,
although I suspect some would be juveniles

Out of recording area
Heysham Moss Nature Reserve 
Myself and Kevin had a stroll around, mid afternoon. Although the sun had been shining all day it wasn't as hot as my visit last week. It was still a worthwhile walk though - all pictures below by Kevin.
Migrant Hawker 2
Common Darter everywhere 
Black Darter 4 male (at least)
Male Black Darter

Brimstone 1 female
Speckled wood 20+
Small Copper 2
Small Copper

Again, just one Bog Hoverfly seen