Wednesday 29 December 2021

Dark-bellied Brents - first of winter

A fresh SW wind, rain in the morning eased before lunch, then mainly dry.

Harbour waterfall
Just a quick check from Fishers side 10:10.
Rock Pipit 1
Shag 1 juvenile - this isn't my picture, it's another of Craig's great shots from yesterday. As ever with these high resolution images, please open to see the detail.
Juvenile Shag

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just another quick check
Two new adult Mute swans were on the main pond, the six cygnets were not happy and were trying to drive them off. This adult looks like it has already received a peck on its neck.
The original 2 adult and the other three cygnets were on the "no swimming" pond 
Another cosmopolitan list of wildfowl on the two ponds:
Moorhen 8
Coot 1
Gadwall 41 (20 on main pond)
Wigeon 2 
Tufted Duck 5 male (2 on main pond)
Mallard 10 (main pond)
Teal 4 (2 on main pond)
Shoveler 3 (female plus 2 male, 1 not yet in breeding plumage)
Pochard 1 male
This clip is not very clear, it was still raining. It starts with the Pochard, then the female and mature male Shoveler, then pans across to the other male Shoveler, via the Wigeon pair.

North shore 
Brent Geese:
A walk out to the skear started at Four Lane Ends at 12:40 (MD). A scan from the promenade couldn't locate any Brent geese. When I got to the bottom of the steps, I scanned again, nothing. Then 30 Pale-bellied Brent landed right next to me, no more than 10m away. They came in from the north, I don't know if they had just arrived from the west side of the bay or returning from the skear after being spooked. Either way, when they moved off a bit I backed away and left them to it.
By 12:50 I was approaching the waterline when 3 Dark-bellied Brent flew in from the west side. They were obviously Dark-bellied in flight, this clip shows them circling back and landing on the inner skear just out from Sunny Slopes groyne.
At 13:00 they must have noticed the Pale-bellied birds near the play area and flew over to join them. But it wasn't really the play area today, the gut weed there must be becoming depleted, as I was walking back, they were directly in front of the steps to Four Lane Ends where they landed beside me earlier. Someone was walking down the steps with a dog, so I took this clip to show just how confiding they are here, as long as walkers and their dogs keep to themselves. Most of the geese just continued feeding.
It took me a while to walk towards the play area, then back along the sandy strip that the dog walkers tend to use. In that time four lots of dog walkers passed the geese without spooking them, including a group of three walkers with four dogs. When I got back to the bottom of the steps, I took this clip. It includes the dark-bellied birds and ends with the Canadian ringed pair.

Three Dark-bellied Brent geese with a Pale-bellied bird on the right

Other than the Brents there wasn't a lot going on.
Eider 4
Great Crested Grebe 2

Pete and Jean were also checking from Knowlys Rd. and got the same Brent count as me (always reassuring) but in addition managed:
Mediterranean gull 1 adult near play area.
Plus checking south side
Kittiwake 1 adult briefly at the end of No.1 outflow

No sign of the Black Redstart just out of area