Saturday, 27 November 2021

Brents defy the wind

The very strong overnight NW winds continued throughout the morning, easing over the afternoon. Again, a surprisingly dry day, with plenty of sunshine, but bitterly cold.

South shore
I did a couple of quick checks in the morning and again when the wind had eased somewhat in the afternoon. A marked shift in behaviour, in the morning all the shore birds were sheltering in the lee of something. Some feeding but most just waiting out the storm. By the afternoon, there was a frantic clamour to feed before the quickly approaching night.
Morning shift:
Shelduck c100 feeding just in front of the foreshore, unfortunately too close for their comfort when I walked along, as they took flight, the wind caught them and lifted them high.
Shelduck caught by the wind, fortunately they landed further
out and continued feeding in a "sheltered" shallow drain
Wigeon, just a few sheltering behind No.2 outflow
Rock Pipit 1 on foreshore
Mediterranean gulls 2 adult sheltering amongst the rocks on the seaward side of the beach near wooden jetty.

You really need some south in the wind to drive seabirds into the bay, even so, with such a strong overnight wind, there is always a chance of something unexpected. But I wasn't expecting this unexpected land bird (MD)
Kingfisher 1 briefly on Red Nab, before flying west along the sea wall, I suspect it then flew into the Power Station grounds.
Kingfisher - it flew off just after this shot

The afternoon look didn't find anything new apart from a lot more Wigeon. This short clip demonstrates how frantic the activity was around No.2 outflow. Most of these are Wigeon and Black-Headed gulls, but also a few waders.

As ever when there are plenty of birds around, the predators aren't far away. This young Peregrine was searching for opportunities.

North shore 
Howard checked the north shore, and despite my assertion yesterday, that Brent are reluctant to come over in high winds, he located 21, although at least some of them did not arrive until the wind had dropped. 
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 21. Initially 12 in the channel out from Heysham Village, later joined by 9 more. They all then made their way towards the rocks near the children's play area. They were still there at 16:00.
Three of the birds were ringed. Hopefully pictures and possibly some details for tomorrow's post.

Finally the first snow picture this winter, it looks nice, but I wouldn't want to be up there today, although I know that some, hardier souls, would.
Snow on the South Lakes hills