Monday 31 January 2022

No wind blown stuff, but not too bad

As forecast last night's WSW strong wind veered to WNW and began easing by 09:00. Quite a bit of sunshine in the morning.

South shore (SC and MD)
Shaun had made an early start, but the only thing he managed over the sea, were a flock of 14 Pink-Footed goose flying in, later there was a single bird milling around close inshore.
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 51 - 09:05 they flew high over Shaun's head at the lighthouse on their way from the north side to Red Nab. At 09:45 they flew from Red Nab towards Potts corner. (Later in the afternoon  there were at least 17, including the Canadian ringed birds, out from the children's play area).
Brent flying high with the wind over the south wall roundhead 

Wigeon c160
Shelduck c30
Shag 1 juvenile showing well in the harbour
Rock Pipit 3 including the ringed male and presumed female at the lighthouse nest site.
The ringed maleRock Pipit, escorting me away from the nest site

Another colour ringed Herring gull in the harbour, also ringed at Bowland on 8th July 2021
You can read the ringing report of this and Thursday's bird on the North West Gull Project wbsite

Mediterranean gull 1 adult behind lunchtime ferry - ref Jean

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Gadwall 37
Wigeon 2
Tufted Duck 2 male
Shoveler 4 (2 mature males plus 2 female)
Coot 1
Moorhen 9
Little grebe 1

North shore
Howard managed to to read several ringed Knot on the Heliport at high water, despite occasional disturbance from a Sparrowhawk. These are just three of his images, as ever, you will need to open these to see the ring detail.

Heysham skear - late afternoon 
Eider c80 - this clip of a mature male shows just what a splendid bird they are when seen up close.

Great Crested grebe 4, 2 in summer plumage - this clip shows the difference between a bird still in winter plumage and a more extravagant summer plumaged bird.

Knot c1,000, lowish numbers probably influenced by........
Peregrine Falcon 1
Bar-Tailed Godwit small flock of 10 on waterline before flying off north. They were already skittish and it seems that the click of my camera was the last straw - it is getting a bit worn!

Sunday 30 January 2022

Signs of stirrings?

The day started sunny with a light SE wind, but the wind shifted to SW and the cloud cover increased until rain started early evening. The winds are currently strengthening and still from WSW, but forecast to be WNW by morning, which isn't ideal for blowing stuff into the bay. 

Just my morning check of the south shore so far (MD)
Skylark 1 calling around the saltmarsh - we often get one or more wintering here, but this is the first time, to my knowledge, this winter.
Pale-bellied Brent goose 50 on Red Nab - this clip, shows some of them feeding. Some of them in the water are finding decent sized clumps of weed, suggesting that it settles out of reach between the rock crevices when the tide is out. But it must also mean that the gut weed continues to grow throughout these mild winters.

Wigeon c180
Shelduck 36
Rock Pipit 3 (1 Red Nab, 1 waterfall and 1 at the lighthouse). This is the lighthouse bird, not the ringed male breeding bird, but this one did visit the nest site, so I presume it was the female checking things out. The nest site is a hole in the the harbour wall, directly below this bird. You can tell it wants to go and look, but they never visit the nest site, when they are aware of being watched. As soon as I looked away it flew down to the hole.

House Sparrow 1 - it was in the scrub at near the lighthouse before moving into the Power Station complex. Not an exciting record, but I can't recall ever seeing one here before (although Sparrow sightings are not especially memorable). Either way, it's come from somewhere.

Shag 1 juvenile - the tide was still quite high and the waterfall well below the surface, so it was fishing along the south inner harbour wall. I watched from the lighthouse hoping to see what it might catch, but all I got were a series of their distinctive dives (their body clears the water in the initial leap).so I strung a few together, don't know why, they all look exactly the same!

I was going to say, hopefully more tomorrow. But I'm not overly optimistic, we'll see.....

Saturday 29 January 2022

Sea described as slow!

The heavy winds didn't start until late into the night. Strong WSW in the morning veering to WNW by evening. It threatened rain all day, but mainly just light showers until evening.

Shaun (09:00-10:00) and Pete (10:30-11:40) managed a sea watch, but mainly they just watched the sea!
Red-Throated Diver 1 close in
Mediterranean gull 1 adult in
Kittiwake 2-4 adult (both observers saw two birds, possibly the same ones, albeit 2 hours apart)
Nothing behind the lunchtime ferry.

South shore (MD 09:00 - 10:15)
Shelduck 30
Wigeon c100
Pale-bellied Brent goose 48 - they were feeding on Red Nab at 09:15 and set off towards the north side on my return at 10:10 (there were a similar number out from Whinnysty Lane this afternoon). These are them setting off, not a great clip, but it does give a sense of this morning's conditions. 

Shag 1 juvenile bobbing around in the middle of the harbour.

Rock Pipits 2 - the Red Nab and lighthouse birds heard only

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick look on the way home, not much change, except 2 Tufted again and 3 Shoveler. This is a nice group shot.
Three Shoveler, two Tufted, a male Wigeon and five Gadwall

Heysham skear late afternoon 
Eider c40
Great Crested Grebe 1
Knot c2,000 including one flock of c700 that came in high from the north of the bay.
Some of the Knot arriving from the north, with an Oystercatcher below

Redshank c150
Turnstone 20
Curlew 15
Ringed Plover c20 - they are very difficult to see when they are hunkered down behind a, similar looking stone. There are at least 11 plover in this clip, sorry about the juddering, but it was a bit windy!

By 15:45, the heavy rain that had been threatening all day, stopped threatening! The good thing about a west wind is that it, and the rain that it drives, is on your back as you walk off the shore.

Friday 28 January 2022

Just about ticking over

SSW wind overcast with some light showers.

The only stuff so far is from my morning stroll around Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Pink-Footed goose 120 east
Grey Heron 1 - present every visit, but I forget to record it!
Mute Swan 8 adult plus 9 cygnets
Mallard 15
Gadwall 32
Shoveler 2 (pair)
Tufted Duck 1 male
Coot 2 (together on "no swimming" pond)
Moorhen 15
Little grebe 1
Water Rail 3 squealing
Common Snipe 7
Woodcock 1
Pheasant 5
Stock Dove 2

A good representation from the corvids
Raven 1 - plus Carrion crow, Magpie and Jackdaw.

And Tits - Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed
This Coal Tit was actually from yesterday it was in association with a pair of Great Tit.

Not so good for finches, just:
Bullfinch 8
Goldfinch c30

Song Thrush 5 singing

I didn't check the shore today, but I can guarantee that both these species would have been present. Again these clips are from yesterday.
This Curlew reminded me of a Lion stalking a fast moving prey. I've no idea why it felt the need for stealth!

This Turnstone has a completely different technique but seemed to be finding plenty to eat.

Hopefully tonight's wind will blow something new in for tomorrow.

Thursday 27 January 2022

Green Woodpecker enters the year list early

West to WNW wind sunny spells with the occasional light shower.

Just my stuff so far, hopefully more to come, e.g. I've no Brent records, but I'm sure there would have been plenty near the play area. (MD)

South shore towards low water
Shelduck 30 on the mud out from foreshore 
Pink-Footed goose 1 fresh corpse on Red Nab. It was partly eaten and obviously by a fox (they are a surprisingly neat feeder). PinkFoot do not routinely roost here so presumably a sick/injured bird or possibly a dead bird washed ashore. Red Nab is not covered by these neap tides. Although, the goose was partly eaten the fox will be back for more tonight. What was surprising, was that there were no scavengers (crows, gulls, rats etc) taking advantage of the corpse. 
Rock Pipit 3 - 1 on sea wall plus two near the waterfall. This is the waterfall male bird striking a pose and calling. It was also making aerial displays.

This second calendar year Herring gull was in the harbour on Monday, it is another of the North West England gull project (see link on the side bar). We have now received its history.
This is a good project being well managed, over 500 gulls ringed last year, so there will be plenty more to find. I like this graphic of the movement, shame that there is only one sighting so far. You will have to open this image to see the detail.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick look on the way home towards lunchtime. Landscape maintenance around the main pond meant that all the ducks, except the Mallard had moved to the "no swimming" pond.
Mute 7 adult plus 9 second calendar year birds
Moorhen 9
Coot 1 
Mallard 15
Gadwall 43 (high count for this winter)
Wigeon 2 (pair)
Tufted Duck 1 male
Shoveler 3 (mature male plus two female)
Teal 3
Little grebe 1 - moving back to summer plumage.

I was just returning to my car when a....
Green Woodpecker 1 flew past to the west past the low car park.

It was a nice evening so I couldn't resist another look at the Jackdaw roost. At 16:30 there were c100 milling around, but the local Carrion Crows have decided that they don't want them resting on the pylons, so the Jackdaw were constantly moved on. By 17:15 (still some light left!) there were over 200 looking for a safe roost, and again heading to the east side of Middleton Rd. This is the largest of three groups at that time - it was much darker than this picture suggests.
Part of the largest of three flocks of Jackdaw this evening

Wednesday 26 January 2022

All the key birds seen today

SW wind mainly overcast, but with a few welcome sunny periods.

South Shore 
Kingfisher 1 on Red Nab ref Janet
Today's bird evaded photography, this is Kevin's shot of yesterday's bird
Wigeon - Janet took these shots of them arriving at Red Nab on the rising tide:

Some of today's Wigeon

Shag 1 juvenile in the harbour - ref Pete

North Shore
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 53 - there were 16 out from the play area as I walked out to the skear (MD). A further 35 flew in at 10:30 and an additional 2 remained in the SE skear corner. Later in the afternoon, Janet took these shots as they were preparing to move off.

Brent leaving the children's play area towards the south side

Heysham skear (MD)
Eider - c60 were well scattered today, many with accompanying gulls. I noted that it was mainly the immature, and therefore less experienced, birds that had a gull waiting for an opportunity to pinch their meal. Or, perhaps it was because the adults had things other than feeding in mind. There are two adult male and females in this clip, the second male appeared to prefer the other male's mate, but she was having none of it!

Great Crested grebe 2
Waders - mainly Oystercatcher, with Knot c1,500, Redshank c50, plus several each, Turnstone, Curlew and Dunlin. I can empathise with this Dunlin, finding a channel to be deeper than expected, I've been there so many times (including the walking away, pretending it never really happened!)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a brief check on the way home, I had been thinking that the wildfowl numbers were diminishing, but there was an increase today.
Mute and Moorhen unchanged 
Gadwall 39 (20 on main pond)
Mallard 15
Wigeon 2 (pair)
Tufted Duck 2 male
Shoveler 2 - 1 male in breeding plumage plus one in only partial breeding plumage 

Although it was only a quick lunchtime visit, there was more corvid activity than typical:
Jackdaw 15 together
Carrion Crow 2 chasing off a.....
Raven 1

Just out of the recording area: 
Pete managed both the lamppost Mediterranean gull and the Sandylands Black Redstart 

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Another enthusiastic bather!

Very light SE breeze, low cloud/mist for most of the day (the sun broke through for 5 minutes early afternoon!)

South shore (Kevin)
Kingfisher 1 male on Red Nab 
No sign of the Shag today

North shore:
Pale-bellied Brent geese 45 minimum. There were two groups feeding amongst the rocks near the children's play area, 41 (without the Canadian ringed birds) plus a more distant group of 4. This clip shows the same area, but later as the tide was reaching the rocks. You can see a group in the shallows out from the play area, plus another group on the water making their way to join them. (Thanks to Steph, via Janet for this clip).
This is the optimum, but unfortunately short lived, period for them to feed here. The gut weed floats on the rising water making it much easier for them to gather, but soon becomes out of reach.

Mediterranean gull 1 adult (doubles up as the lamppost bird). I mentioned the other day that what all birds seem to have in common, is that they all appear to enjoy having a bath. The Med was no exception!
It is bathing in a freshwater run off from the rocks just below the promenade to the north of the play area.

After its bath if flew over to join the Black-Headed gulls

Adult Mediterranean gull flanked by BHGs
I have never seen this bird feeding, only resting here or on the lamppost, I suspect that the bulk of its meals are provided by the owner of the bungalow near the lamppost (MD)

Heysham skear
Great Crested grebe 3
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Eider 100+ Both these birds have something, the top one definitely has a crab, it throws it into the sea to prevent the marauding Herring gull from pinching it. I'm pretty sure what the lower bird has is also a crab, but one that has already been suitably subdued, enough to swallow. 

Pink-Footed goose 1 flock south, heard only through the low cloud 10:45
Knot c1,500

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I went down late afternoon to see how the Jackdaw roost is doing, it was already quite dark at 15:30, there were already c50 Jackdaw around, by 16:30, when I left, there were still only about 120, but plenty of time for numbers to grow.
Mute 7 adult plus 7 second calendar year
Gadwall 33
Mallard 15
Wigeon 2
Goldcrest 1 - this is a rubbish clip, but it shows what you typically see of this species. It was in the scrub below the pylon where the Jackdaw have been roosting, you can hear a few in the background.


Monday 24 January 2022

Kingfisher in action

Very light SE breeze, low cloud all day. 

Pale-bellied Brent goose 37 - seen in the corner near Half Moon Bay cafe (thanks Alan), then at 14:00 flew along the south wall and landed on Red Nab. This is about as tight a "formation" as I've seen them fly in (MD).

Other stuff from South shore:
Wigeon 223 turned up just as the tide reached Red Nab
Shelduck 27
Rock Pipit 2 - 3 one near lighthouse plus one along sea wall, possibly the same bird as later seen on Red Nab
Shag 1 juvenile in the harbour

Kingfisher 1 male providing a good show about an hour before high water. Janet managed some nice in flight shots, these are much more difficult than they look, mine are always either a blue or orange blur!

His efforts were not in vain, and he caught several fish.
This is a common Goby

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mallard 8
Tufted Duck 1 male
Gadwall 35
Wigeon 2 (pair)
Shoveler 2 (pair)
Teal 1 male

This additional information was received via a "comment". No observer information provided.
4 Bar-Tailed Godwit plus Lapwing and 35 Snipe Half Moon Bay, 
Black Redstart  Morecambe 2.30pm opposite blue house 

Sunday 23 January 2022

Likely, three Shag

The west wind continues with very high cloud an the occasional very light shower.

Report from Pete Crooks:

Heysham Village Bay 

48 Pale-bellied Brent Geese close to the promenade off the play area between Whinnysty Lane and Knowlys Road (including the Canadian colour-ringed pair VD and VT) at 9.50 am

1 adult Mediterranean Gull on the beach, then flew off towards Whinnysty Lane

Sandylands Promenade, Morecambe – Black Redstart on gutter by ‘blue house’ at 10.15 am but flew off over roof tops, possibly due to the presence of a Robin

Heysham skear (MD)
Eider c80
Great Crested grebe 2
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Knot c1000
The main waders were, as ever, Oystercatcher, but also a few each Redshank, Curlew, Turnstone and Dunlin 
Little Egret 2
Shag 1 - feeding out from the skear, meanwhile Pete advises that 2 were seen in the harbour c10:00. The implication being that the bird on the skear was a third bird. 

Imperial Road - from the bypass to the recycling centre.
Common Buzzard 1
Kestrel 1
Little Egret 2
Greylag Geese 50 - they came from the east, did a circle over the west side of Imperial Rd, so within the recording area, before settling to feed on the east side. At that point outside of the recording area, but still visible from it. This is them passing over the eastern boundary of the recoding area and landing just beyond it.

This is where they ended up, just to the east of the "Waste Technology Park".

They are getting ready to replace the blades on the wind turbines to the east of Imperial Rd. 

It is my understanding that these units are not just used to generate electricity, but also serve as crew training units (much "safer" than offshore). And also test units, so perhaps the exercise is to try a new design of blade, or perhaps just to train the crews. Either way, I was glad that I was stood on the ground. Can you see the chap stood on top of the further one?

This is zoomed in. You can't see it on this shot, but he was attached to a safety harness, even so he was obviously very comfortable up there. It turned my legs to jelly just looking at him (MD)

Saturday 22 January 2022

Cafe corner Brents turn out to be the regulars

Light west wind, overcast all day.

I didn't have much time today and so far only my records, hopefully more to come (MD).

Half Moon Bay cafe area
Pale-bellied Brent geese 48 - 12:00 they had made their way to the gut weed in the corner just below the sea wall beside the cafe. They included the two red/blue ringed Canadian Arctic birds, so my speculation yesterday that they may be unfamiliar with the area was not correct. You can hear a dog barking in this clip, but the dog walkers were very considerate and kept a good distance from the geese. It was also nice to see other observers enjoying the Brent.

There are 46 Brent on this shot

At 12:07 they flew off along the north sea wall, presumably heading for Red Nab. I don't think they were spooked by anything, although a Herring gull was becoming quite vocal. Assuming a reasonably undisturbed area again tomorrow, there is no reason not to expect an encore.

Rock Pipit 1

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I just stopped off in passing early evening.
Gadwall 35
Wigeon 2 (pair)
Mallard 10
Tufted Duck 1 male
Shoveler 2 (pair)
No Coot seen

I took these clips near the "no swimming" pond a couple of days ago in the late afternoon light. There was both a male and a female Bullfinch stripping the buds of this tree. They were both moving around quite quickly, which appears counter intuitive from the bird's prospective as there seems to be plenty of buds easily within reach. But this behaviour would benefit the tree, as loosing a few buds from each twig will have less impact than loosing them all from a number of twigs.
First up the female

and the male
I know that I have mentioned this before but, people with one type of colour blindness (I can't remember which one) cannot differentiate between a male and female Bullfinch - both look like a female looks to people with standard vision. 

Jackdaw c150 milling around, but I had to leave 15 minutes earlier than I did yesterday.

Just out of the recording area:
The Sandylands Black Redstart was seen again today.

Friday 21 January 2022

New(?) Brent behaviour

A WNW light wind, overcast all day.

Pale-bellied Brent goose 67 - the question mark on today's title is to signify that although today's behaviour was new to me, it might not be new for the Brent, although if it has happened before it can't have been often (MD).
11:18 - 34 flew from the north side of Heysham Head and began feeding on broken weed in Half Moon Bay. Here they are invading the beach.

11:30 - a further 14 flew from the north and joined the birds on Half Moon Bay
11:50 After checking around the Head I returned into view of Half Moon Bay, the Brent were all in the corner near the cafe, 20 flew off south, I presumed to Red Nab. But the others, now numbering 47 remained in the corner.

12:00 - they were still tight in the corner near the cafe. This was as close as I dare go, and most were obscured by the rocks and waders.
I've not seen them feeding here before, and there isn't a huge amount of gut weed here, although I suppose what there is will be quite long. One possibility, is that this group is not familiar with the feeding options in the area, a faction of them took flight when the 20 left towards Red Nab, but returned when the others remained. Janet later saw c20 on Red Nab. Or perhaps they were just taking advantage of relatively few dog walkers today to feed in this normally inaccessible area. It will be interesting to see if they attempt the same behaviour tomorrow, when it is bound to be busier.

Earlier on Half Moon Bay, I watched the tide cover the rocks in front of the old heliport. In previous winters 100+ plus Common Snipe have been typical here, but today only 30 were flushed from the rocks, plus another 3 came in from further afield. These are some of them, I didn't manage to locate any Jack Snipe.

Even later Keith took this nice shot showing the density of the Oystercatcher roosting on the old Heliport wall.

South shore 
Jean had a walk along the south wall:
Shag 1 in harbour
Mediterranean gull 1 adult behind ferry
Rock Pipit 3 on Red Nab 2 near lighthouse 
Wigeon 306! On Red Nab
Pale-bellied Brent goose 43 north from Middleton (not sure how these fit in with my sightings (MD))

This is one of Janet's shots of 20 Pale-bellied Brent goose feeding with Wigeon on Red Nab.
Brent geese and Wigeon

Kingfisher 1 - it was the male on show today. Keith put together this montage 
I have heard visitors saying that you normally see the Kingfisher close to a Little Egret. That's because they are both after the same food. When the Egret shifts from the large pond to the freshwater stream, it means that there are now fish moving up the stream, and that is when a Kingfisher is likely to fish there too. As per this shot from Keith today.
This is the freshwater stream from the culvert - Kingfisher on rocks to the 

Janet took these good comparison shots of the juvenile Shag with a Cormorant 
Immature Cormorant 

Immature Shag

Shag left - Cormorant right

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick evening check.
Wildfowl pretty much unchanged 
Wood Pigeon at least 30, almost certainly many more, coming in to roost in the wooded area just below the pylon to the south of the main pond.
Both Gulls and Starlings heading west in large numbers, to their roosts.
Pink-Footed goose c150 SW to their roost.
Jackdaw c300  - none would go to the previously favoured pylon to the south of the main pond, presumably something was either waiting for them tonight, or had scared them off last night. There were over 130 on the two pylons further south. The rest of the Jackdaw were trying to find somewhere to settle and were actually on the other side of Middleton Rd when I left, still looking for a safe roost.

Plus just out of recording area - both the lamppost Mediterranean gull and Sandylands Black Redstart seen today.

Thursday 20 January 2022

Stock Dove.....albeit a red one!

Heavy overnight ground frost. Sunshine all day with a light NW breeze

South shore towards high water
Pale-bellied Brent goose 48 arrived at Red Nab at 10:50, all but 1 flew off towards Potts corner at 12:20.
Pink-Footed goose  83 SE at 10:45
Wigeon c150
Shelduck 44
Rock Pipit 2 on Red Nab
Common Snipe 2 flushed from saltmarsh, quite early in the tide
Jack Snipe 3 together amongst a small clump of marsh grass near the southern boundary of the caravan site. Accidentally flushed, but they landed on the saltmarsh.
Grey Plover 1 in the same area
Song Thrush 1 on the saltmarsh 

Kingfisher - the female at least was on show on Red Nab today, they are always more likely to be seen c2 hours either side of high water - Keith's picture below and Howard's below that are all high resolution and merit opening to appreciate.
Female Kingfisher - thanks Keith
North shore
Howard was frustrated by works operations on the old Heliport causing too much disturbance for the waders to settle, but he managed these excellent images of Common Snipe and Lapwing on the Near Naze.

Common Snipe

Lapwing (Green Plover)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
A late afternoon check to see what the Jackdaw were doing
The "no swimming" pond was partially ice covered
Gadwall 36 (24 on main pond)
Mallard 14
Wigeon 2 (pair)
Tufted Duck 4 male
Shoveler 2 (pair)

Jay 2
Sparrowhawk 2 waiting in trees below Jackdaw roost
Jackdaw 120, but the birds were still coming in to roost as I left. They arrived from all four directions, so no single source, it just appears to be the roosting area for the local birds (MD)

Stock Dove 2. One rested briefly on the power cables before both moved off south. Not obvious at first glance as the setting sun made it look blood red! This is the first record in the area since February last year.
Stock Dove looking particularly rosette in the light from the setting sun

Wednesday 19 January 2022

First Woodcock and a Butterfly!

Sunshine pretty much all day, coolish WNW wind

 South shore mid morning rising tide
At 09:50 the only birds on Red Nab were:
Shelduck 24
Little Egret 2
Kingfisher 1 male
Rock Pipit 2
220 Wigeon arrived at 10:00 
43 Pale-bellied geese arrived from the north side at 10:20
Brent geese flying past the south wall roundhead 

No Shag seen this morning

I like this shot from Janet taken this evening from more or less the same area and the Brent picture above. It has everything, sun, sea, "sand" and Starlings preparing to roost on the wooden jetty. Please open to appreciate it.
Starlings preparing to roost

Middleton Nature Reserve 
A quick check in the morning, really just to see what the Jackdaw situation was - answer. As normal just 7 birds blogging around the main pond area.
No swimming pond:
Gadwall 35
Wigeon 2
Tufted 2 male
Shoveler 2 male in breeding plumage (so at least four birds over the past two days)
Little grebe 1
Coot 1
Moorhen 5
A patch of weed near the surface of the pond had concentrated the wildfowl this morning, this short clip captures most of the above.

I returned in the late afternoon, primarily to try and understand what was going on with the Jackdaw, but a short walk proved fruitful (MD):
Woodcock 1 - first record this winter period - flushed from strip to the east of the golf course
Common Snipe 4
Raven 2 just east of the reserve, but within recording area
Redwing 1 
Solitary Redwing in the evening sun

Pheasant 1 male 
Male Pheasant seems strange without a white collar, presumably some colchicus ancestry.

Jackdaw - when I first arrived there were still just 7 around. By 16:00 small flocks started arriving from the north, 63 in total by 16:10, although they seemed to have moved straight through. But they must have been arriving from other directions too, at 16:30 they flew up from behind the trees to roost on the south side pylon.
By 16:40 there were 130 on the south side pylon with another 38 on the north side pylon, so 168. Not as many as yesterday, but there could have been more a Sparrowhawk flushed them all, and it was getting too dark to watch them reassemble. I'll have a look again tomorrow and see if I can find where they are feeding pre-roost.

Finally Kevin was delighted to find this Small Tortoiseshell sunning itself on his garden wall.
Small Tortoiseshell looking fresh, but it seems to
have slept awkwardly on its antennae. 

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Two Kingfishers, and Jackdaws darken the sky.....

The light breeze drifting round again, starting NW and ending SE. A misty start, but the sun broke through by mid morning. After that high cloud with some sunshine.

South shore - mid morning towards high water
Pale-bellied Brent Geese 42 on Red Nab they remained over high water. Today's tide was 8.9m tomorrow is 9.0m, with a fresher west wind forecast, they will only remain over the tide tomorrow if there is minimal disturbance at high water.  
Shelduck 52
Wigeon c200
Song Thrush 1 on saltmarsh 
Rock Pipit 1 - only the waterfall bird heard today
Shag 1 juvenile in the harbour
Two Cormorants, the rear bird is a mature adult in breeding plumage.
The younger bird in front is just developing its breeding plumage 

It will be a few more years before this juvenile Shag sports its breeding plumage.

Kingfisher 2 - on the way out this male was feeding on Red Nab
Male Kingfisher with a fully black bill
On my return from the harbour, this female was fishing
Female Kingfisher with red at the base of the bill
At that point they were both around, this one (male I think but the light was difficult) managed to catch a common goby

This is interesting, they often fish at the freshwater culvert outlet, but this one, looks like the male, actually flew inside the culvert. I expected it to return quite quickly, but it didn't. Presumably the low sunlight was allowing enough light into the culvert for the Kingfisher to fish inside (MD)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a mini circuit before dusk
Mute Swan 8 adult 9 immature 
Coot 1
Moorhen 15
Mallard 17
Gadwall 33
Teal 2
Shoveler 2 a female with a male in partial breeding plumage 
Today's female with male Shoveler 
No sign of Tufted Duck or Wigeon
Common Snipe 8

Roe Deer 3 - a buck with presumably a female on central marsh plus one on the west side hill (thanks to a passing dog walker for this record)

Jackdaw c220 - it felt like "The Birds". There has been an increasing presence over recent years, but no idea where these have come from (MD). Jean proposed the possibility that local farmers may have been spreading slurry on their fields and the Jackdaw had been feeding there. Does anyone know if there are fields around Middleton being slurried?
They came in to roost on the two pylons either side of the main pond. This clip is the south side pylon.
There were as many, if not more around the north side pylon, but more distant. This is the north side pylon after the birds settled.
Jackdaw roosting on north side pylon

Just out of the recording area:
Both the Lamppost Mediterranean gull and the Sandy Lands Black Redstart reported today.
Janet took these shots just south of the recording are near Middleton sands:
Waders concentrated by the rising tide, many of these
would have started just out from the saltmarsh

It wasn't just Janet keeping an eye on the waders

Meadow Pipits