Wednesday 23 March 2022

Brents still around

Very light breeze from ENE to ESE. High cloud with plenty of sunshine, but hazy.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing report from Alan:

I set just two nets this morning, targeting Redpolls and Meadow Pipits.

Nine Lesser Redpolls trapped and ringed.

Also nine Meadow Pipits ringed - approx 40 seen moving through on a SW to NE line.

One each of Pied Wagtail, Blackcap and Chiffchaff plus a retrap Cetti's Warbler caught.

Two Cetti's Warbler plus one Water Rail (main reedbed) calling.

Heysham skear - low water 09:00 (MD)
Swan 1 immature bird in the far channel, probably a displaced Mute
Pale-bellied Brent 29 - they flew in from the south at low water, landed on the sea beside the skear, then drifted around in a tight raft. This is them coming in to land, nothing I haven't shared before, but it does give a flavour of the skear this morning. Lack of wind helps with the sound, you might be able to hear a Meadow Pipit passing over.
They made no attempt to feed, just drifted around, still there an hour later, but presumably they moved to Red Nab as the tide rose. A similar number were feeding there towards high water.
Eider c200
Wigeon 6 - originally on the water then flew north
Great Crested Grebe 15
Red-breasted Merganser 11
Little Egret 4
Meadow Pipit a steady stream of individuals and small groups over to north. 20+ occasions.

Red Nab to saltmarsh 
Just a very quick check as the tide was reaching Red Nab
Brent geese - 20+ Pale-bellied already feeding all around the skear when I arrived. Then an individual bird swam in from over 50m out and headed to the freshwater stream to drink. Unfortunately, the light was directly behind it, but it did look like a Dark-bellied bird. I tried to get a better angle but I was rushing and when I looked back it was nowhere to be seen. 
Probable Dark-bellied Brent goose (MD)

This is a clip of it drinking:

Shelduck 4
Wigeon 35
Wheatear 1 male
Male Wheatear
A rubbish shot, but does show just how striking they are at this time of year

Heysham Head (Tim)

I spent 45 minutes on the Head and the woods behind this lunchtime.

2 Little Egret, 

1 Chiffchaff, 

6 Coal Tits - in one mobile group (very unusual in Spring)

4 Greenfinch

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Jean and Pete managed an afternoon ringing session. Report from Pete:

Afternoon feeder session using a single net by hnr office saw: 

16 Goldfinch, 

10 Greenfinch, 

2 Robin and one each of Blue and Great Tit ringed plus about 8 assorted recaptures, including birds ringed at Middleton. 

The Robins may have been migrants although there will be plenty of unringed local birds with no ringing for two years during the pandemic 

From Jean - This little Blue Tit caught today must have been feeding on willow
catkins because its forehead is yellow with pollen.