Sunday 31 October 2021

Starlings top a, not so, star studded bill!

A strong SSE wind. This morning's forecast said showers, only technically correct. What we had was steady rain interspersed with some showers of extremely heavy rain. By late morning the showers had become more traditional and continued for the rest of the day with short periods of sunshine.

I got a good soaking twice! (MD)

I had planned to check the south shore this morning, but thought I would look at the two main ponds at Middleton first "while I was still dry".
Nothing on the main pond except.
Mute 2 adult + 9 cygnets
Mallard 5
Coot 1

In the 200m round trip to check the "no swimming" pond, the heavens opened, by the time I'd got back to my car, there was nothing for it but to head home and get dry. Was the trip worth it? Only in the sense of better understanding the vagaries of the wildfowl here, there was nothing on the pond! 
The water level was up about 10cm, perhaps that is enough to prevent the dabbling ducks reaching the weed.

After lunch the sun was shining so I tried the skear as it moved to low water. But by the time I got to the skear there was a big black cloud overhead. The sun was shining all around the bay, but the black cloud followed me around like a pet camel (I say camel as it was constantly spitting at me). 
Starlings c70, you do sometimes get small groups of local Starlings on the skear edge, they come for broken barnacle shells for their crop. But these were at the water's edge on the south side, then flew over to the water's edge on the north side of the skear. So I suspect these were off passage migrants (Pete advises that they were on the move inland today).
Eider 6
Red-Breasted Merganser 8
Little Egret 11
Knot three small groups totalling 95
Dunlin 6
Redshank 100+
Oystercatcher c1,000
Turnstone c30
Curlew c40
Ringed Plover 16
Cormorant - this one was snorkelling, this sort of feeding behaviour I normally associate with Mergansers looking for crabs, but I can't recall ever seeing a cormorant with a crab. More likely looking for Flounders, which can come in very close when the tide is slack. I watched it like this for a few minutes, but didn't see it catch anything.

After this my pet cloud got fed up of playing games, and dropped all of its contents on to me (well, that's what it felt like!). Time for home again. More of the same forecast for tomorrow but with strong westerlies.