Saturday, 25 September 2021

Pinks piling through, and a bonus Scaup.

Very low cloud with light occasional drizzle. The breeze started SW but moved to SE by mid morning, then back to south by lunchtime. Some sunny periods later in the day.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:

It was mild and humid this morning with low misty cloud. Birds caught and ringed were:

Meadow Pipit 3

Grey Wagtail 1 (of 6 seen)

Reed Bunting 2

Great Tit 2

plus one each of Dunnock, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit.

Plus Pink-Footed geese covered below.

Recording area Pink-Footed Geese. Between Alan, Jean, Pete, Janet and myself (MD). We counted 12,200 up to 11:45 from various Heysham and Middleton locations. There is a possibility of a small overlap with Middleton, but if so almost certainly cancelled out by my woeful undercounting (every flock I photographed contained many more birds than I initially tallied, unfortunately I only photographed a few). 

Heysham skear - low water 09:00. 

Pink-Footed geese - from 08:15 to 09:30 there were many but mainly smallish skeins (typically 50 - 70 birds). These were flying low, little choice with the low cloud, and due south most along the middle of the bay.

But by 09:30 when the tide was rising quickly the skeins dramatically increased in size. Pete had already counted 1,100 on a mudflat out from the sunny slopes, these later flew over my head as they were flushed by the tide. By that time the breeze had shifted a bit to the east and the largest skeins crossed inland to the east well before Middleton. Presumably many more groups had been resting on the bay mudflats. I left the skear at 10:30, by that time it had returned to the odd medium sized skein.

For a while it was almost a continuous conveyor belt of movement, sorry about the loss of focus on this clip.

Great Crested Grebe 10
Red-Breasted Merganser 5 - in one small group of female/immature 
Eider 64
Waders included, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Dunlin (2) and Knot (8).
Meadow pipits c30 south in twos and threes

Little Egret 23 - there were 17 feeding in this small pool (shrimps) as I walked out.

There were still 14 in the same pool when I returned. It is obviously is a good catchment pool for shrimps on this height tide. This shot is on the return leg is just to show the location of the pool, clearly visible from the promenade.

Location of the current favourite shrimping pool for the Little Egret 
That is the road from Four Lane Ends top right

Scaup 1 - this was a bonus, and initially an error. The light was so poor everything was just shades of grey. I originally identified it as a Pochard (MD), but on checking with Pete, and looking at my photographs, realised that it wasn't.

In this clip it is quite distant, but when an Eider surfaces with a crab it dives down for a look.

This is a clearer view. The gull in the foreground at the start of the clip also had a crab, as did many other birds seen today. No idea why it was a bad day to be a crab!

Drake Scaup, plus an Eider