Friday, 12 November 2021

One transatlantic trip too many?

Strong SW wind with heavy showers.

North shore (MD)
First these two clips from the skear yesterday, I kept them back as I wasn't sure the weather today would allow any photography. They are a continuation of the same event, but the full clip is too large to post. This cormorant has caught a decent sized Flounder, there are plenty of bigger ones about, but this is just about as wide a flatfish as they can manage. I've seen them try with larger ones, eventually giving up and then catching another one, a more suitable size. 
The technique requires getting the fish in the correct orientation 

After that it just about squeezing it past its gape, when it goes it goes quickly!

Heysham skear today - low water 12:00
Yesterday's low water height was 2.80m today's was 3.05. So, all things being equal today's low water level should be 0.25m higher than yesterday. But everything wasn't equal, the strong SW wind was holding the tide back and the reduction in atmospheric pressure meant that the water level was generally higher (yesterday the pressure was 1024 millibar today 1004 millibar, so 20 millibar lower - 1 millibar is roughly equal to 1 cm water height). The net effect of that was today's low water was over a metre higher than yesterday. Tide tables are essential if you go on the shore, but every tide table will always qualify itself as a guide only, as both timing and heights can vary significantly.
One consequence of this is that the sea lettuce area in the skear corner did not become exposed, even so it was still accessible.
Pale-bellied Brent 4 - unfortunately they had to feed in the water. I say unfortunately, as at least one had red and blue rings, but very difficult to see. In this clip the middle bird briefly reveals a red ring on the right leg, but you'll do well to see it!

If you missed it, this is a zoomed in still from the above clip
Pale-bellied Brent Goose with red ring on right leg

I managed to establish that at least two of the other geese had no rings, and I didn't think the third had either. This is a worry, as our two regular red/blue ringed birds from Heiberg Island Canada always feed together. 
So I returned to the children's play area 15:30, all four had moved to here, but unfortunately still mainly feeding in the water. Even so I was able to confirm that only one was ringed. There will be many other red/blue ringed birds from this scheme of course, but this one did follow previous feeding patterns. I'll see if they return tomorrow, a better height tide for feeding on the shore, so might be able to read rings.
These are this "evening's" Brent being temporarily flushed by walkers.
You can't make it out on this shot, but the lead bird here had red ring on right leg and blue on left.

Common Scoter 1 juvenile feeding just beyond the low water line on north side of skear, before flying to south side.
This is between dives, a bit different to the serene glide from Wednesday!

Juvenile Common Scoter

This is it flying back

Juvenile Common Scoter