Sunday, 19 December 2021

Brents take advantage of the mist

Calm, cold an misty, all day. The mist was actually worse than yesterday for most of the day.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
This was actually the opposite to yesterday, it wasn't possible to see much of the main pond, but more of the "no swimming" pond was visible, just.
Mute Swan 2 adult 9 cygnets on main pond, rest of stuff from "no swimming" pond.
Gadwall 29
Tufted duck 3 male
Mallard 1 male
Coot 1
Three male Tufted Duck on the very edge of visibility 

South Shore
Rock Pipit 4 ( one on Red Nab, two together of sea wall and one near the waterfall)
The Red Nab Rock Pipit, standing guard after chasing off the two Pipits on the wall.

It was supposed to be WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) day today, Pete and Jean normally cover Heysham, but it was impossible today. I'd, naively, hoped to help a bit by getting a shot of the Cormorants on the wooden jetty, but when I reached the roundhead, I could barely see the land side of the jetty!
You can just make out the start of the wooden jetty from the edge of the
roundhead - not much help for the WeBS!

This first calendar year cormorant was perched near the waterfall. The Rock Pipit calls a few times on this shot, but not easy to hear with the Power Station noise behind.
Sorry, I've just listened to this from the post, and can't hear the Pipit at all, it must lose some sound quality when posted.
Wigeon c80 on Red Nab, probably more out of sight.
Pink-Footed goose - again, several skeins flying around low in all directions. At 10:30 I could hear one such skein seeming to be travelling east over the sea out from the sea wall, then there were other goose calls with them, Brent. I don't know if it was coincidence or if the Pinkfoot were following the Brent. I imagine it would be easier for the Brent to locate their shoreline feeding grounds than the Pinkfoot to find their inland fields. Either way the Brent found Red Nad.
Brent geese - all that were seen were Pale-bellied, and they probably all were. It wasn't possible to get an accurate count, but when I got back to Red Nab there were 14 feeding very close in, just below the wall. Peering into the mist it was obvious that there were many more further out, so over 20 birds. The Brent don't normally feed this close to the wall, but the gut weed is lusher here, possibly their experiences near the Play area is emboldening them, but the wall was quiet today and the mist making it seem more so. Even just below the wall, they weren't easy to see, this clip is just a few of them feeding with the Wigeon.

After lunch on the ebbing tide I had a look at Half Moon Bay. It was very busy (noisy!) with families out for a walk, many with dogs, but the mist was keeping most close to the sea wall. The gut weed here, as per the play area, flourishes best near the ground water drains close inshore. The main area being just out from the boat statue. The Brent normally move on when this area is no longer covered in water, but today, at least 11 were feeding long after, shielded from sight by the mist, but not shielded from the noise! If I had wings, I would have gladly flown away! But, then again, I'd already had my lunch. 

I left them to it. Not having wings, I walked along the waterline to the Children's Play area, there were just 8 Brent on "view" here, so possibly the 11 were still defying the walkers on Half Moon Bay. Although there were many rocks that remained out of sight out from the Play area.

A similar day forecast tomorrow, but a bit warmer. I hope the mist has gone! (MD)