Sunday 31 July 2022

A possible lack of Otter/Crayfish explanation

NW wind, a showery start but mainly sunny after mid morning.

Report from Shaun:
Red Nab to Wooden Jetty 
Shag 1 2cy on wooden jetty
Mediterranean gull 23 - 12 adult/3cy and 9 juvenile on Red Nab plus 1 adult on beach next to, and a juvenile feeing on No.2 outflow.
Redshank 68
Turnstone 65
Grey Seal 1

Nature Park
Red Admiral 3
Peacock 2
Comma 2
Small Tortoiseshell 2
Common Blue 1
Gatekeeper 5
Meadow Brown 4
Speckled Wood 5
Large White 1

Dog walking track to HNR:

Green-veined White 2

Common Blue 6

Peacock 2

Red Admiral 1

Comma 2

Small Tortoiseshell 1

Meadow Brown abundant

Gatekeeper 55+

Speckled Wood 5

Heysham Nature Reserve:

Large White 1

Small White 2

Green-veined White 2

Common Blue 16

{a blue seen briefly in the canopy of the tall trees in the NE corner may have been Holly Blue?}

Peacock 2

Red Admiral 2

Comma 5

Small Tortoiseshell 2

Meadow Brown abundant

Gatekeeper c35

Ringlet 1 (very worn)

Speckled Wood 8

Small Skipper 4

Emperor Dragonfly 3

Brown Hawker 4

Middleton Nature Reserve 

These nice shots from Alan Wilson

This is a very interesting shot. I photographed a Heron here (NW corner of the main pond) last year with a gold coloured fish, and had presumed it was one of the Goldfish/Rudd hybrids, but this high resolution shot from Alan shows this fish to be a small Tench. I didn't know that there were Tench in this pond (MD), but it may explain the apparent reduction in the Signal Crayfish (there has been no evidence, so far this year, of Otters feeding on the Crayfish). Tench are bottom feeders, and although they wouldn't worry a mature Crayfish, they will happily eat the fry. We'll see.


Common Blue 

A nice sequence of Green-Veined Whites

I just had a look along the south wall in the afternoon, there were 9 adult and 3 juvenile Mediterranean gulls on the sea out from the harbour, almost certainly some of Shaun's from earlier. This clip shows one adult and two juvenile.

And, continuing today's fish theme, this is one of Red Nab rock pools. These are small Grey Mullet.

Saturday 30 July 2022

Grey outs, out takes and updates

Quite a fresh wind, with rain pretty much all day.

I managed two walks along the south wall, got a good soaking each time! (MD)
The world was grey, the grey mud and sea quickly lost any features and just became a grey haze. No horizon just greyness all around. To be fair, the rain wasn't as heavy during my second walk, so it was a slightly paler shade of grey!
Shag 1 resting on the wooden jetty. The rain had eased slightly so I managed a shot, even at this range you can make out the shag from the cormorants by its smaller size, and as in this shot, pronounced forehead.
Immature Shag on wooden jetty with Cormorants 
A rubbish shot, but the only one I took today, so I'm going to use it!

Sandwich Tern 2 - flew high over the Power Stations from the north side, but circled round and flew back north past the roundhead 
Whimbrel 2 together
Mediterranean gull 2 - 1 adult on beach near wooden jetty and a juvenile feeding on No.2 outflow
Rock Pipit 2 on Red Nab

Fortunately, I had anticipated a lean day today and held back some general stuff from the skear yesterday evening (these are the out takes)
This cormorant has just caught a small flatfish. By the time I zoomed in it had swallowed it and was diving for another.

This may prove significant. Unlike this time last year, there are large areas of the skear covered in gutweed. Close in it is everywhere, but this area in the middle skear is some distance out. Unless something drastic happens there should be loads for the Brent Geese to feed on, if they return this winter.
This area of gutweed in the NE corner of the skear is larger than a football field.
This is the area the Eider feed over, eating both the gutweed and crabs that abound
amongst it (the crabs are buried in the mud when the tide is out)

Even so, the Turnstone have taken to turning it over in their search for invertebrates.

Even more fortunate is that Rosemary and Peter Silvester have shared these images and clips taken from recent outings, on sunnier days.
Middleton Nature Reserve 

Male Mute Swan

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Small Skipper

Faded Meadow Brown

Faded Ringlet

Common Bluetail Damselfly

In this clip the Common Bluetail is eating a small fly, don't know what the convulsions are for.

Male Common Darter

Female Brown Hawker ovipositoring 

This is strange, the Brown Hawker at the top is ovipositoring, but if you look closely at the lower one she is only pretending to. Perhaps she is waiting to go to the same spot as the other insect.

Friday 29 July 2022

Scoters returns.....well, a Scoter returns

SE light wind in the morning shifted to SW by the afternoon. Plenty of sunshine, but mainly hazy.

I only had time for two short walks today, one early morning and another in the evening, but both provided some interest (MD)
South shore 8:30 - 09:30
Swallow group of 6 heading south
Rock Pipit 3 (1 on Red Nab, 2 near lighthouse)
Mediterranean gull 5 - just 3 adult plus 2 juvenile on the beach near wooden jetty.
Greenshank 1 - the bold highlight as this species is not common in the recording area. There was only one record last year.
It was on the beach near the wooden jetty, in association with c20 Redshank. This clip is quite distant but shows it feeding with the Redshank 

But it soon got fed up with that and went off feeding in the pools filling with the incoming tide.

But it left with the Redshank flock when they moved on.
They only flew as far as the next beach between the outflows

Heysham skear 18:00 - 19:30
Eider the creche is still around, but I only counted 24 birds today, just 1 adult
Great Crested Grebe 3
Waders: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone and a single Dunlin

Common Scoter 1 male (Jean advises that 1700 were seen moving over the east coast today). It was a distant speck to the south of the skear, but as the tide turned it came in closer and started feeding, becoming  a recognisable speck.
This is it diving:

This was as close to the shore as it came:

Male Common Scoter

Janet took these nice shots of a Hoverfly and a Bumblebee on Middleton Nature Reserve this morning 

Thursday 28 July 2022

Two Terns and a slight hitch

SE to east breeze all day, but no sunshine to tempt the insects. Light showers.

South Shore
Janet took these shots in the Nature Park 

Blue Tit looking for food amongst the weed on top of the newt pond

Ringlet, not as worn as yesterday's, but still showing signs of wear

I had two walks along the wall, the first mid afternoon on the dropping tide (MD)
Sandwich Tern at least 1 feeding in the shipping lane between the outflows - this is the slight "hitch" I didn't actually see any, but constant calling and the occasional splash, showing that it/they were feeding.

Common Tern 1 juvenile feeding on No.2 outflow

Juvenile Common Tern

It seemed to be finding plenty of tit bits, it finds something here.

I couldn't resist another look in the evening. No sign of any Terns.
Mediterranean gulls 23 feeding on the beach next to the wooden jetty including 5 juvenile. Most were too far out to check for rings, but these were mid distance. The encouraging thing was that they were catching Sandmason worms.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

A good day for juveniles

Very light and variable breeze early on, settled to a light WNW breeze for the rest of the day. Some cloud cover, but plenty of sunshine.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing report from Alan.

We had a decent ringing session this morning with two nets set on each side. The conditions were almost ideal with perhaps a little too much clear sun at times. However, the catch of 43 birds ( the majority juvenile) was satisfactory. The first juvenile Grasshopper Warbler was a nice catch.

Sparrowhawk 1

Wren 2

Dunnock 1

Robin 4

Blackbird 1

Grasshopper Warbler 1 juv

Sedge Warbler 5

Reed Warbler 2 plus 3 retraps

Lesser Whitethroat 3

Whitethroat 5

Blackcap 8

Chiffchaff 4

Willow Warbler 1

Great Tit 1 retrap

Bullfinch 1

I just did a quick circuit of the main pond in the afternoon (MD)

Additions to wildfowl 

Coot 1 first for a month or so

Moorhen have two young chicks

Emperor 2

Brown Hawker 2

Black-Tailed Skimmer 3

Common Darter 6

South Shore

Report from Pete Crooks.

Red Nab (9.10 – 10.45 am on rising tide)
28 Mediterranean Gull (18 adults, 10 juveniles) – with many heading off SE towards Potts Corner with the incoming tide.
420 Curlew
1 Whimbrel
1 colour-ringed Oystercatcher – green darvic & white code on left leg, but too distant to read
1 Rock Pipit

1 Grey Seal offshore

Heysham Nature Park – Butterflies included 7 Red Admiral, 2 Comma, 8 Gatekeeper, 6 Meadow Brown, 2 Common Blue and 1 Small Skipper

I checked along the wall as Pete was finishing (MD).

There were at least two juvenile Mediterranean gulls feeding on outflows (1 on No.2 then 2 on No.1). Probably some that Pete had seen on Red Nab.

Juvenile Mediterranean gull 

This clip, shows one of the juvenile Meds from all angles

Between myself, Janet and Pete we managed 13 butterfly species
Brimstone - 1 male on Middleton Nature Reserve 
Red Admiral
Large White
Small White
Green-veined White
Meadow Brown
Small Skipper
Ringlet 1 faded individual on Middleton 
Speckled Wood
Common Blue 

Janet took these shots
Common Blue

Red Admiral


Meadow Brown

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Eider creche grows

NW to WNW light wind. Overcast with the odd light shower in the morning, sunshine increasing during the day.

Only my stuff so far (MD)
Red Nab to saltmarsh 
A check towards high water to see if anything was roosting on the mud. There was today, but just Oystercatcher and Gulls
Mediterranean gulls 4 adult/3cy and 2 juvenile on Red Nab, two more adult with the gulls on the mud.
Rock Pipit 3 on foreshore 
Linnet 5
Little Egret just 2 today, this one looks like it's on a white string, I suppose in a way it was! 
Little Egret, and what my car manual euphemistically calls "bird lime"
You wouldn't want this on your windscreen! 

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I just called in briefly at the top car park to see if I could relocate the Purple Hairstreak. I did have one possible sighting, right size and colour and high in one of the oak trees, and it quickly disappeared. But I didn't get a good enough look to rule out other options. I'll keep checking when conditions suit.
Plenty of other stuff around the gun club/ car park
Red Admiral 1
Gatekeeper loads
Meadow Brown 3
Green-Veined White 2 mating
Small White 1
Large White 1

Common Darter 4

Heysham skear low water 17:30
Shag 1 feeding
Little Egret 6
Eider - the creche of ducklings has grown, very hard to count accurately as they were constantly diving, but at least 39 juvenile with one adult female. Another two adult female were seen sloping off.
One of the juvenile Eider, still with under developed wings. 

They were feeding in the NE corner of the skear and catching loads of crabs. I sat on a rock and watched a few minutes and saw several crabs caught. Two of these have a crab, they break off the claws before swallowing (I wonder if that is instinctive, or if they learn the hard way!).

Adult female Eider with two juvenile 

By this time, they had moved quite close to me, but when I stood up to move on, they formed a tight protective creche. I think they are all in this clip.

Great Crested Grebe 1
Redshank 50+
Turnstone 9
Plus Oystercatcher and Curlew 

Several people have told me that there have been a lot of jellyfish washed ashore recently. I can't say that I'm seeing more than normal, there were several on the mud south of the saltmarsh this morning, but I didn't see any this evening. This was the largest of this morning's, it's a Lion's Mane Jellyfish, they all were. Their tentacles do sting, and hurt, but are not normally dangerous.
Lion's Mane Jellyfish next to my size 9 wellie

Monday 25 July 2022

Thick-thighed Flower Beetle........who could ask for more?

West to WNW fresh wind. Overcast all day with a few showers.

Mainly stuff from my check of the south shore (MD)
I had a quick visit at high water to see if there was anything roosting on the mud, there wasn't. 
Just Red Nab to Saltmarsh checked.
No Mediterranean gulls seen on Red Nab
Rock Pipit 1 on Red Nab plus 1 on foreshore (also 1 on Near Naze, checked on way home)
Linnet 2 on saltmarsh 
Little Egret 7 - 1 on Red Nab plus 6 on saltmarsh 
These are five of the saltmarsh birds, the clip begins with a Curlew and a Redshank 

I returned 3 hours after high water to watch the beach near the wooden jetty become exposed.
Shag 1 resting on the wooden jetty
Mediterranean gulls 11 minimum  (3 adult plus 4 juvenile near jetty  - Pete also saw 7 adult or 3cy roosting on Red Nab).
It started off looking promising as the three adult and two juvenile were already waiting on the water before the beach was exposed, unfortunately only joined by two more juvenile when they started "feeding" (inverted commas as I didn't see them catch any Sandmason worms)
Adult  Mediterranean gulls waiting for the beach near jetty to become exposed
They are loosing their black heads now making individuals easier to recognise

Juvenile Mediterranean gulls 

Two adult and a juvenile Mediterranean gull 
The adult on the right has already lost its black head and has a very pale mask

This is one of the juvenile trying to catch Sandmason worms, yow can see the end of their tubes poking out from the mud.

This is the history of the German ringed bird seen last week

It was surprisingly cool, I was wearing my winter coat! Even so, there was some butterfly activity in the Nature Park.
Meadow Brown 4
Gatekeeper 2
Small White 2
Large Skipper 1
Common Blue 2
It's unusual to see two butterfly species so close together, but it was not coincidental.
The Skipper had followed it here and had chased off another male Common Blue.
Perhaps they are old friends! The Blue has certainly been around a while.

In this clip you can actually see the white wing border coming away from the very worn Common Blue.

In contrast, the other male was very fresh
A very fresh looking male Common Blue

But today's star is behind the butterfly, the green beetle. Unfortunately, my image isn't really good enough for Alison to confidently identify, but she suspects it's  a Thick-thighed Flower Beetle Odemera nobilis. Much too good a name not to use! If you wonder why they are called this check google images!

Sunday 24 July 2022

A day to enjoy the ordinary

SW to S fresh wind. Plenty of sunshine in the morning but overcast with showers in the afternoon 

South Shore
Shag 1 resting on wooden jetty seen by Pete.
I didn't have much time today and mistimed this morning's walk slightly, as the tide had not left the sea wall. Still it was a pleasant walk (MD)
The only passerine around saltmarsh and foreshore was a single Goldfinch.
Rock Pipit 1 on Red Nab and 1 between the lighthouse and waterfall. This is one of the birds that had a bad foot, the foot is completely gone now and presumably the stump is not too sore as it was prepared to put some weight on it, and seemed to be getting around better now than when its foot was withered.

One of at least three Rock Pipits in the recording area with one foot withered or missing.

Mediterranean gulls - I could only make out 5 adult on Red Nab
Whimbrel 1 on Red Nab
Oystercatcher c2000 flew past the roundhead and flew to Red Nab. Something or someone must have flushed them from their Heliport roost.
Oystercatcher flying past the wooden jetty 

There was a single Curlew with them

This Great Black-Backed gull was in the harbour
To me they always seem to be looking at you, to decide if you could be swallowed
(Or maybe I'm just paranoid! MD)

This shot by Alan Wilson from earlier in the week shows the Herring and
Lesser Black-Backed gulls bathing in the freshwater stream on Red Nab

Despite the fresh SSW wind there had been some butterfly movement, perhaps from inland. Singles of three species ware amongst the scrub near the waterfall. 
Unusually, no Meadow Brown seen.
Small White 1
Small Tortoiseshell 1
Peacock 1 looking quite fresh, the lower wing eyes looking particularly realistic.

A walk back through the Nature Park located:
Meadow Brown several
Gatekeeper 4
Red Admiral 1
Small White 2
Large White 2
Comma 1
Speckled Wood 2
Small Skipper 1

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Janet had a walk around and located nothing new, but took these nice shots
Buff-Tailed Bumblebee (probably)

Small Skipper

Not sure what this insect is, looks like a large hoverfly
Nice shot of the Fleabane