Monday, 4 October 2021

First Whooper and more Brents

The wind started SSE before moving to SSW during a severe downpour 11:00. Sunny spells with heavy showers for the rest of the day.

Red Nab to shore south of saltmarsh - high water 10:45 (MD)
Whooper Swan 1. Flew directly over me east over the saltmarsh. It has a yellow ring with three characters. I think I can read the first character but not the remaining two. I have not pre sized this shot, so if you want to try reading the ring, you can open the image.
Whooper Swan with yellow ring

Mediterranean gull at least 13. There were 3 adult/3cy and 2 1st winter on Red Nab at the start of my walk, the 3 adult still there on my return. In addition 6 adult/3cy plus 2 x 2nd winter on mud out from the saltmarsh.
When the sun shone this morning, it made for good light for photographing Meds against the dark backdrops provided by the increasingly black skies.
First a couple of flight shots of adult/3rd calendar year birds, the first one has an unusually dark bill.
Adult or 3rd calendar year Mediterranean gull with unusually dark bill
Adult or 3rd calendar year Mediterranean gull with a typical bill
From bottom to top: Common gull, two Black-Headed gulls, Grey Plover,
Redshank and the dark billed Mediterranean gull
Two adult or 3rd calendar year Mediterranean gulls

Wigeon 23 
Little Egret 12
Lapwing 66
Grey Plover 34
Knot 27
Wheatear minimum 3 probably 5-6.
Linnet 9
Rock Pipit 6
Meadow Pipit 39 - they started moving through just before high water, but very low, 31 in 10 minutes, before the heavens opened. 8 later seen grounded.
This is a unusual clip, it shows two Meadow Pipits moving south low over the shore. The quality of the clip isn't sufficient to identify the Meadow Pipits, but it give a good sense of the conditions and the other birds on the shore.

This is another slightly unusual clip, there were twelve Carrion Crow and three Little Egret competing to see who was the most raucous (the egrets were winning, hands down!). Strangely they fell silent as I took this clip. Still, interesting behaviour.

You can see in the above clip how the east in the wind was whipping up the incoming waves. What happened next was a downpour of biblical proportions, including heavy hail. It probably lasted only 10 minutes, but when it finished the wind had shifted to SSW. It had just stopped when I reached the foreshore, when this Angle Shades moth appeared to fly in off the sea!
Angle Shades moth, pristine after a storm 
I can't imagine how this largish moth could have flown through the preceding storm, but I did see it fly in over the rocks, the only alternative is that was sheltering in the rocks and flew from there. But why fly from shelter to wet grass? The tide was already ebbing so not flushed by the tide. 

Heysham Head
Jean managed a check this afternoon.
Brent geese - flock of 18 flew south toward the harbour area, one was confirmed as a Pale Bellied Brent.

Heysham skear
Just a quick check found that the storms have stripped most of what little gut weed and sea lettuce there was. I'm not optimistic about Brents feeding here this winter (MD).
Pink-Footed Goose 24 south plus a flock of c50 landed on the mud near Stone Jetty, just ahead of another incoming squall