Wednesday 17 November 2021

Lots of waders

Wind started SSW but moved to WSW by the afternoon. Overcast to begin with, but the sun broke through late morning and it remained largely sunny in the afternoon.

Just my stuff so far (MD)

Red Nab and Saltmarsh - high water 10:00
Wigeon 120 on Red Nab with some moving to saltmarsh - these are on the saltmarsh, I don't think it is the marsh grass they are eating but gut weed that grows on the mud between the grass. They would prefer to eat this when covered in water so it floats upwards, but today's tide was not high enough.
Shelduck 14
Lapwing 40
Redshank 48
Grey Plover 2
Grey Plover near Saltmarsh - I'm always drawn to taking a picture of Grey Plover,
I think it's because they always seem to "strike a pose" 

Rock Pipit 1 on east side of the saltmarsh, the returning Robins defining their winter territories seem to have pushed the regular birds out.
Greenfinch 27 + 6 around the saltmarsh feeding on wild mustard seeds.
Chiffchaff 1 near small anemometer 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick look,at the two main ponds on my way home.
Mute 2 adult 9 cygnets 
Moorhen 6
Mallard 11
Gadwall 30
Tufted 1 male
Little grebe 1

Heysham skear low water 16:50
Checked from 14:00 to 15:30
I couldn't work out what was attracting these gulls and crows as I went down the sea wall steps, it is typical behaviour when being fed bread, but no sign of anything to eat! It is only when I looked back from the shore that the reason became obvious. This is two clips from different angles merged together.
Someone had left a handful of seeds on a rock, presumably intended for the House Sparrows, who feed around the rocks.

Pale-bellied Brent goose 8 - the first two arrived at 14:20
On my return there were 8 feeding along the ground water run off channel, so I had a look at the rocks where I left them feeding yesterday. Not very impressive, no sea lettuce and no large amounts of gut weed, just the occasional gut weed covered rock.
A few gut weed covered rocks were the 20 Brent were feeding yesterday 
Little Egret 10
Eider c70
Great Crested Grebe 11
Red-breasted Merganser 8 - these are some of the Merganser feeding, watch the bird on the right, early in the following has just surfaced with a small fish, and immediately a young Herring gull swoops down, but is nowhere near quick enough!
This is a still from the clip below, the Merganser on the right has just surfaced with a small fish.

There were a lot more waders around today, no doubt waiting to get onto the outer skear that would become exposed a little later in the tide, this will be the first time it has been exposed for a week.
Oystercatcher 2,500+
Knot c1,500 estimated on ground, including however many there were in this undulating flock.
There were no Knot seen on the Heliport wall at high water this morning. It is likely that the increasingly regular instances of dog walkers trespassing onto the Heliport grass is causing them to roost elsewhere, significantly impacting on the important reading of international schemes involving colour ringed Knot. The port authorities have been notified of the trespassing.
Curlew 88 counted, almost certainly many more missed
Redshank c50
Turnstone c40

Finally, it was a bit misty this afternoon and the west side of the bay was largely obscured. But the bright low sun picked out the white limestone of Sir John Barrow Monument (Ulverston lighthouse). Making it look like the launch of a Space Shuttle, albeit without rocket smoke.
Sir John Barrow monument atop of the 138m Hoad Hill