Thursday, 16 December 2021

Is, or are, the Shag becoming predictable?

Very light SW to WSW wind, low cloud all day but it remained fine.

Heysham Head - high water 09:30 (MD)
Rock Pipit 2 - 1 Half Moon Bay 1 below the high cliffs 
Red-breasted Merganser 2 (pair)
Shag 1 juvenile feeding just out from the rocks.
This is it diving:

It managed to catch a Common Blenny. It didn't seem overly proficient at handling it, but eventually managed to swallow it. This clip starts almost a minute after it first surfaced with the Blenny.

This is just a zoomed in still from the above clip

In this clip it has moved out a little further, so gives an opportunity to show the location a bit better.

These rocks are part of a group called Throbshaw Point. If you are not familiar with their location a Google search will pinpoint it. The answer to the question in the title is, yes it it is predictable, as I am about to make a prediction. The real question should be, how accurate will the prediction be?
I am confident that it will return to this general area sometime around high water tomorrow, but exactly when and for how long I couldn't say. The clips above were approximately 45 minutes after high water, but I don't know when it arrived, or if it left just after. In theory it could be feeding at any point 2 hours each side of high water. Common Blenny are a resident fish, in that they seldom move more than 10m from their home. When the tide goes out they stay in rock pools, so they will be available as soon as the tide reaches the rocks. I'll probably have a look at some point, but if you go and see one, or possibly more than one, then please let me or Pete know.

Red Nab to saltmarsh mid morning (MD)

Just a quick check of the foreshore really. Not much around except plenty of Wigeon and Shelduck around Red Nab, but a high count of:

Lapwing 220 - there were about 100 resting on the mud out from the saltmarsh then another flock came in from the NE, I thought they were going to join those on the mud, but instead the resting birds joined the new birds. After flying around a while they eventually settled again but much further out. This is the arrival of the second flock.

Common Snipe - slightly unusually, Janet flushed one from grass at the junction of Meldon Road and Kingsway.

Middleton Nature Reserve 

Just a quick look at the two main ponds in the afternoon 

Mute, Coot and Moorhen unchanged 

Gadwall 36

Mallard 5

Tufted 1 male

Shoveler 1 male

Heysham skear - low water 16:20

The light was already fading as I walked out, still it was nice to see a bit more of the skear exposed. The clamour was even more pronounced than yesterday, at times almost deafening. This clip shows the Eider joining in, as new beds become exposed. This year, the mussels eventually won out over the honeycomb worms, on the west side of the middle skear where this clip was taken.

Eider c170
Great Crested Grebe 4
Red-Breasted Merganser 2 (pair, probably the same two out from the Head earlier)
Pale-belied Brent goose 37 at least. As I was walking out I saw a flock of c30 fly from the rocks out from the village to closer to the play area. At 16:00 a flock of 3 flew off west. As I was coming off the skear, now quite dark, I could see a number in the skear corner, although there is very little for the Brent to feed on there at the moment. This clip gives an idea of how dark it was getting, I was impressed at how light my camera made it look.

I could see there were more Brent further up the shore, but couldn't make out how many. I was just wondering how to get past them without spooking them, when they all took flight. Nothing spooked them, it was just "time".

There are 34 in this flock (don't they sound nice). I assumed that they were heading back to the west side of the bay to roost, but instead they circled round and landed on the water on the north side of the skear. I'm not aware of any weed in that area, available for them on this height tide, but, much as it pains me to admit it, they know the area much better than I do! (MD)