Saturday 6 August 2022

Tanaid tops the bill......I know, exciting isn't it!

Light west wind, overcast, but dry morning with sunny spells in the afternoon.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Ringing report from John

Two nets set at Middleton this morning. In breezy conditions only five birds caught in first two hours. Additional net set, with a final total of twenty-one birds. Which comprised:

Willow Warbler              x5

Whitethroat                    x4

Cettis Warbler              x3

Lesser Whitethroat         x2

Bluetit                             x2

Grasshopper Warbler  x1

Blackcap                        x1     

Long-tailed Tit                x1    

Chiffchaff                        x1    

Wren                              x1 

Other than John's ringing there is only my stuff, and "stuff", was pretty thin on the ground today (MD)

South shore 09:00 ebbing tide.
Linnet 21 on saltmarsh edge, plus another 6 along foreshore.
The saltmarsh Linnets boosted by the arrival of at least two families of
newly fledged birds. The down covered bird above was typical.

Rock Pipits 7 - 2+1 on foreshore, 3 battling on Red Nab and one near wooden jetty.
Mediterranean gulls 4. There were three juvenile feeding on the outflows. I'd timed my walk to watch the tide near jetty become exposed. But only one adult Med turned up (the metal ringed bird)
At the start of this clip it regurgitates a pellet. It seems to have left a nasty taste as it spent the next few minutes washing its bill.

Common gull 1 juvenile on No.2 outflow

Heysham skear - low water 12:30
Very little showing here today too.
Little Egret 6
Great Crested Grebe 4
No Eider
Only waders were: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank and Turnstone 

So, we are down to crustacea!
I've seen these centipede like creatures for many years, but I've never been able to identify them properly. I believe them to be a Tanaid, but Wikipedia tells me there are 940 species. Even so, this c3cm species appears to be common in the bay, and reasonably striking, you'd think I'd at least be able to find a photograph somewhere. This clip is in a small rock pool.
They never seem to make any effort to hide from predators. I normally see them drifting with the current in open water, just a few centimetres below the surface and easily visible to fish and birds alike. And I only noticed this one as I walked through its pool, and it made no attempt to hide. This type of behaviour is normally associated with fowl tasting creatures, but there is no marine equivalent of Ragwort to obtain toxins, that I am aware of.

If anyone knows more of this creature, I would be very interested - Malcolm