Tuesday 1 March 2022

Longer days allow return to outer skear

Overnight frost. A very gentle NE breeze freshened slightly and shifted more to the east. Sunshine all day.

South shore - high water 10:20
Pale-bellied Brent goose 50 on Red Nab towards high water (later c25 around the skear at low water). These are just a few of them, I've shared this clip as much for the audio as the video. You can hear the Brent "grunting".
Wigeon 200+
Shelduck 36
Shag 1 2nd calendar year flew out of the harbour 
No sign of the Little gull today
Greenfinch 15 in scrub around Red Nab.

Rock Pipits 5 - including this one which, unusually, was perched on a caravan aerial.

Today's high water of 9.1m was 0.6m higher than yesterday, in theory. In practice, the low wind and high atmospheric pressure, meant it only covered the same amount of saltmarsh as yesterday. Still it managed to flush:
Common Snipe 16
Skylark 4 (3 moved off south 1 landed back on the marsh)

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Mute Swan - just one adult on the "no swimming" pond, chasing off two immature birds. The other 5 immature and 5 adult were on the main pond.
Moorhen 6
Mallard 2 male
Gadwall 25
Pochard 1 male

Imperial Road
Just a quick look to see if any Stonechat were around. There wasn't, but there were four Roe deer. Two bucks and two does.
This is the larger of the two bucks, its six point antlers already impressive,
but still growing as they are still covered in velvet.
All four are on this clip, you can hear the bypass traffic passing no more than 60m from the deer.

Heysham skear 
Today's low water of 1.2m at 17:25 meant that I could visit the outer skear for the first time since late autumn. 
I didn't actually go across to the outer skear, but this is the first channel that marks the boundary between the mid and outer skear. There is no doubt that this section of skear will support mussel beds again this year.
Western end of the mid skear with the first channel left of image.

Other areas are definitely in the realm of the honeycomb worms. There is a long reef along both the north and south sides. The southern reef may succumb to storms, but the northern reef will not. Indeed it will almost certainly increase in height through the summer. This clip shows part of the north side honeycomb worm reef.

Other areas fate this year will depend on conditions as the seed mussels develop. This large area of the mid skear could go either way.
Part of the middle skear, currently covered in clumps of honeycomb worm colonies.
Hopefully, these will be covered as the seed mussels arrive and grow.

Eider c150
Male Eider looking fine in the evening sun

Great Crested Grebe 10
Red-breasted Merganser 5
Little Egret 3

Finally, this is nothing to do with nature, but I found it interesting (MD).
This was this morning, the aeroplane appears to flying along a track where it's contrails will later be.
But it is just a coincidence that the angle of the sun casting a shadow of the contrail behind the plane, is exactly the same angle as the plane's flight line