Friday, 15 April 2022


Very light breeze sometimes difficult to discern directions, but mainly southerly and definitely ended up a little  fresher from the west. High cloud with occasional sunshine 

Morning report from Pete:
Low tide channel 0650:  
326 Eider
16 Red-breasted Merganser 
3 Great Crested Grebe  
19 pale bellied Brent reappeared on the routine of feeding in Heysham village bay at 0700 then moving to Red Nab about 0900.  
Quiet on the sea 0700-0900 with just an:
Arctic Skua at 0813 
14 RTDiver (flocks of 7:3:4)
32 Common scoter
Razorbill/Guillemot 1 distant
1 Whimbrel (first record this year)

Jean had
WOODLARK flying high to the north calling over Heysham Nature Reserve  0800hrs (only the second record for the observatory)
little else on vis other than a single Tree pipit  - Meadow Pipit trickle and the odd Lesser Redpoll

Ringing report from Jean:

Not too many new birds ringed today:

Greenfinch 4 

Chaffinch 1

Lesser Redpoll 1

Dunnock 1

But a couple of retraps were of interest:

An "ancient" (in bird terms) male Chaffinch that was 6 years old. Most only live for 3 years but the longevity record is 13. 

A Greenfinch that was ringed as an adult on Middleton NR last year also in April. Is it a passage bird? Or a breeding bird? We'll have to see if it is caught again later in the year.

The only other retrap was a Chiffchaff which is probably breeding on the reserve.

Middleton Nature Reserve 

Angela reported that the Mallard now has only the two ducklings.

This conspicuous loss of young birds always seems sad, but it's not
inevitable, last year a female mallard on this pond, managed to
guide all 12 of her ducklings to adulthood.

This shot is actually from yesterday, Phoebe Russell managed to spot this common frog. There is always something to see if you look closely.
Common Frog, hiding in the grass.

Red Nab at high water (MD)
Just a very brief look, Red Nab was completely covered by the tide. No ducks or geese, then
Pale-bellied Brent c40 appeared from the south. 19 (this morning's birds) settled on the sea just out from Red Nab, but the rest continued north into the bay. After a minute the 19 took flight and followed them. There was no sign of any Brent in the evening check of the skear.
Wheatear 3

Heysham skear - low water 18:20 (MD)
Eider, Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser see Pete's report
Little Egret 10
Sandwich Tern 2 feeding together
No Knot seen
Oystercatcher c500
Turnstone c100
Dunlin 1
Curlew 4 feeding, plus this flock of 60 that flew from the south side over the skear and continued north into the bay

Finally, how lucky is this fish? It's a Lesser Spotted Dogfish, a type of small shark. It's day didn't start well, it was hooked on this angler's rig, unfortunately the second hook was snagged resulting in the rig snapping from the reel line. It would have been a dinghy angler and they would have returned this fish if the line hadn't snapped. The first bit of luck was that the small pool that it could reach was just deep enough to keep it alive while the tide was out.
Lesser Spotted Dogfish caught on a broken rig, survived in a pool just deep enough

The tide was coming in quickly, if I'd had passed a couple of minutes later I would have missed it. Even so  it was lucky that I found it. They have skin like tough leather and it was "cleanly" hooked at the edge of its mouth. I unhooked it (took the hooks and line home) and placed it in the next pool that was already filling with the tide.
It was going to be fine, a very lucky fish. But the crab that it will probably have for supper, not so lucky!

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