Tuesday, 5 April 2022

A good variety of seabirds on seawatch, plus a Purple Sandpiper

Fresh west to WSW wind. No sun but plenty of showers.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick check of the two main ponds. As expected, yesterday's scoter had moved on overnight.
Mute Swan 2 pair
Coot 7
Moorhen 2
Little grebe 2 at least
Mallard 6
Gadwall 10

Pete and Jean managed a bit of sea watching.
Report from Jean:

Seawatch 11:50hrs - 13:30hrs (High tide 14:39 9.07m)

Migrating seabirds  included;

Gannet - 21 into Bay, 2 out of Bay

Red-throated Diver - 1 summer plumaged bird into Bay, 1 summer plumaged bird and 1 x 2CY out

Fulmar - 1 into Bay

Razorbill - 1 out of Bay

Inshore movements seen from Heysham churchyard, all birds heading to high tide roost areas to south :

Brent Goose - 48 PBB, 3 DBB

Turnstone - 255  

Purple Sandpiper - 1 with the Turnstone

Black-tailed Godwit - 6

Oystercatcher - 1711 

Curlew - 30 

Shelduck - 4

Eider  - 5 prs plus a male 

Also seen:

Rock Pipit - 3

South Shore towards high water (MD)
Brent goose 50+ They flew overhead as I was approaching the wooden jetty, not easy to count accurately and check the birds when they fly over quickly. They were obviously the same birds from Jean's report, but they had picked up two flocks of 3 Dark-bellied
Pale-bellied Brent goose 40+
Dark-bellied Brent goose 8
All the Pale-Bellied birds were in the main flock, but there were also at least two Dark-bellied amongst them.

Two Dark-bellied Brent geese, top left, with the main Pale-bellied flock

Two following flocks of three birds, both were Dark-bellied
Unfortunately the Brent were just leaving Red Nab and flying towards Potts corner as I returned to Red Nab.
Shelduck 17
Eider 10 out
Purple Sandpiper 1 - at this point I wasn't aware that Pete/Jean had seen one flying south with the Turnstone, but I always check roosting Turnstones for Purple Sandpiper. There were some Turnstone resting on No.1 outflow rails with Redshank, unfortunately it was obvious that a couple of walkers approaching from the other direction were going to flush them. I had my camera ready and set for the expected Brent (flew over about 2 minutes later) so I took some shots as the spooked birds flew off. Fortunately the sandpiper was with them. Almost certainly the same bird seen earlier past Heysham Head.
Purple Sandpiper - circled

Same shot as above, but cropped further 

A third of a second later and zoomed in further

Rock Pipits 6
Wheatear 1

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