Saturday, 14 May 2022

More Puffins and interesting Grey Wagtail record.

Light variable breeze early on settles to WSW by 08:00, and remained there till evening when after a breathless period it moved to NW. high cloud with plenty of sunshine.

First, a record from the Grey Wagtail colour ringing scheme (see scheme details on the side bar)
Grey wagtail AXH0615 ringed on autumn passage at Middleton on 15/9/2020 is currently a breeding male at Newburgh, Aberdeenshire next to the Ythan Estuary.  The most northerly of our birds found in the breeding season

Seawatch report by Pete:
Sea 0745-0915:
Puffin 3 (one flying in and across then two floating in on line just beyond yellow buoys) 
Guillemot 4
Razorbill 2
Kittiwake 13 (7,1,4,1)
Gannet 9
Swallow 17
Sand Martin 1
Everything flying or floating in cf yesterday.
Harbour porpoise 1-2

None of the Auks got as far as the Stone Jetty. The following is Nick Godden's report from Stone Jetty, as posted on LDBWS web page - obviously there will be some overlap:

14/5/22 6.15-9.50

Skua sp light morph in at 7.55 too distant to ID

Gannet 24

Eider 112

Kittiwake 15 out

Red-throated diver 1 out

Whimbrel 1

Sanderling 2

Swallow 53

Sand martin 2

Red Nab and Ocean Edge (MD)
Just a very brief check towards high water.
Wheatear 4
Little Egret 3 
Linnet 4
Goldfinch 2 (collecting grit)
Greenfinch 2

Heysham skear - low water 17:50
I went down early at 14:40 before the outer skear became exposed and any feeding waders had moved on.
Eider 33
Great Crested Grebe 3
Little Egret 6
Sanderling 8 - I found a group of 5 feeding amongst the Oystercatcher, unfortunately someone less stealthy than I, was also walking out. (in truth less stealthy than a camel! But never mind). At the end of this clip, all Oystercatcher and the Sanderling took flight. There are only three Sanderling visible on this clip.

On the Plus side, the pictures I took of them flying off revealed that there were actually 6 Sanderling.
Sanderling with Oystercatcher 

The chap left (think he was lost) and I managed to get closer to another 2. Watch the top bird at the start if this clip. It regurgitates a pellet before continuing to feed.

The only other waders were 4 Whimbrel

This pleased me. I normally do a piece on Hermit Crabs as they frantically seek out new (larger) shells in spring. This year I was prepared with an empty Common Whelk shell, in case I found a crab like last year in a woefully undersized shell. But although I saw lots of Hermit crabs this spring, there was nothing new to show, perhaps I'll do something next year (for any interested new readers, the search function on this blog works pretty well).
Anyway, there was a particularly active Hermit Crab in a barnacle covered Dog Whelk shell, so I thought I would film a clip. But I was distracted, watch the "eel" disturbed by the crab.

I knew it wasn't an eel, it's a Butterfish. They used to be the most common small fish around the skear, but I've not seen one since c1975. I'm sure they must have been about in reduced numbers.
Butterfish - nice to see an old friend (MD)

"Excitement" over I took a clip of the Hermit crab, you should be able to spot a small shrimp too.

These are tracks left by a Hermit crab, you can see the groove
in the mud where its shell has bobbled along 

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