Monday, 15 November 2021

Shag becoming predictable

 Very light mainly SE breeze. Low cloud all day, precipitation almost constant, ranging from mist to heavy drizzle.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from John:

Short ringing session this morning, ending with the arrival of heavy drizzle just after 9am. Birds caught prior to this comprised :

Redwing x 7

Blackbird x 1

Cettis Warbler x 1 retrap

Wren x 1 retrap

Log-tailed Tit x 1 retrap

South shore high water 08:45 (MD)
Just Red Nab to saltmarsh checked
Chiffchaff 1 in scrub behind Red Nab
Greenfinch 13 on Red Nab + 11 on saltmarsh 
Peregrine 1
Wigeon c80 on Red Nab
Shelduck c20 on Red Nab + 62 feeding out from saltmarsh 
Little Egret 6
Grey Heron 1
Lapwing 35 out from saltmarsh + 43 south

Heysham skear - low water 15:30
Checked an hour before low water, it was already dark enough!
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 8 - in SE skear corner. I managed a close look at 6 on the way out none ringed. A distance check on return saw 8 together.
Eider 97
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Great Crested Grebe 3
Almost certainly more of the above three species, but visibility range was very low.
Dunlin 2
Knot c900 flew in from the north and the rested on the middle of the skear.

Shag 1 juvenile - I could see it from a distance on conger rock with two cormorant. This shot is from the waterline and conger was just within visibility range. Even at that distance, with cormorant to compare with, you can pick the Shag by size and general shape (better birders than I would not require a comparison bird (MD).
Conger rock looming out of the gloom, with Shag on left

Fortunately, by the time I was on the skear, and closer, the Shag had moved to the north side of conger, making for better viewing. This rock gets some "fertiliser", just as well it is washed down twice a day! Shag now on right side of conger.

Not long after this clip all the birds started leaving to feed, the tide was still ebbing, but the water was at a similar height to when they left the other day. So perhaps, at least for the Shag, it is the depth of water here that counts. This is it flying off to feed, not the most graceful of efforts! Unfortunately, the drizzle increased at this point and I couldn't get a decent clip of it diving.