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.