Monday 2 May 2022

A good morning seawatch and a nice Osprey nightcap

 Light variable winds starting north then drifting to west, high clouds with some weak sunshine, 

Seawatch report by Pete Crooks:
An adult Puffin relatively close inshore (inside the yellow buoys) gradually drifted past the North Harbour Wall towards Heysham Head between 10.40 and 11.10 am on the incoming tide.
Puffin - picture by Andrew McCafferty

Arctic Tern – A total of 116 in a series of widely spaced flocks were seen gaining height (with some disappearing into the sky before reaching the yellow buoys): 62 at 8.28 am, 9 at 9.24 am, 15 at 10.10 am (including 10 repeatedly landing on the flat calm sea) and 30 at 10.30 am. 

Kittiwake – a single tight-knit flock of 60 flew in while gaining height at 8.28 am (when the first Arctic Terns appeared).

Gannet – A total of c.33, including a high flying group of c. 15, then 6 + 3 + 8 + 1.

Also: 3 Sandwich Tern, 46 Eider and 8 Red-breasted Merganser in the first channel
34 Swallow – in groups of up to 5 low over the sea
2 Rock Pipit along the North Harbour Wall
1 Grey Seal
1 Harbour Porpoise – visible thanks to the calm sea surface

Additional records from Andrew McCafferty:
Red-Throated Diver 1 in
7 common scoter also in
1 Guillemot going out, all before high tide

Middleton Nature Reserve (Janet)
Greylag goose 2
Grasshopper Warbler reeling - same location as yesterday, towards the Tim Butler pond

South shore (MD)
Linnet 2 pairs around the saltmarsh plus 8, seemingly in pairs between the lighthouse and the waterfall.
Rock Pipit 3 one each at the lighthouse and waterfall, but no sign of the ringed male. 1 along the sea wall
Wheatear 2 
Shag 2nd calendar year on the wooden jetty 
Whimbrel just 2 
Common Sandpiper 2 together along the sea wall.
Common Sandpiper, well camouflaged amongst the wrack covered rocks

Easier to see when they move

This is just a clip of them flying down towards No.2 outflow.

Heysham skear (MD)
Low water wasn't till 19:50, I went down at 17:30
Shag 1 2nd calendar year feeding on the north side, presumably the bird on the jetty this morning
Eider 26
Red-breasted Merganser 5
Great Crested Grebe 3
Little Egret 13
Grey Heron 1
Whimbrel 6
Dunlin 17
No Turnstone 
Peregrine 1
Osprey 1 - at 18:00 all the gulls and Oystercatcher went up, I knew a large "predator" was about and suspected an Osprey, but I couldn't find it! Turned out it was just a distant speck about 1km north of the skear. Even when it got a little closer, it was difficult to get my camera on it and keep in focus.
This is it scanning the shallow lake just north of the skear.
There are about 20 large gulls just behind, but it managed to keep scanning.

Fortunately, I managed to keep a clip in focus long enough to show the dive and capture.

These are some stills from the above clip
Just before hitting the water

Caught a reasonable sized flattie (plaice or flounder)

I like this clip, as it shakes the water off its feathers before flying off with its catch, followed by some of the gulls.

This time last year when I saw an Osprey feeding here, it returned the following day. If we are to get a repeat performance tomorrow, it could be any time after about 17:45.