Thursday 22 September 2022

A tiny break in the rain, but it was well timed!

A southerly fresh wind in the morning gradually moved around to the west. Showers early morning, soon gave way to persistent rain.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
John's ringing report from yesterday:
Four nets set 6.45am to 10.45am
Fairly quiet again with only sixteen birds caught which comprised:
Grey Wagtails     x 5
Chiffchaffs         x 5
Reed Buntings    x 2
and singles of
Meadow Pipit

Little overhead movement of birds observed apart from Pink-footed geese, moving similarly to yesterday, northwards, with 1800 observed between 7am and 8.30am.

South shore - high water 10:15 (MD)
The plan was to watch the rising tide push the waders up the beach out from the foreshore. It was raining when I set off, rain won't affect the waders but would have made any photography difficult. Fortunately it had eased by the time I reached Red Nab.
Wigeon 4 on Red Nab, shortly into this clip a Redshank makes a distress call (they are always distressed!). You can't hear it because of the wind noise, but you can see the immediate reaction of all four Wigeon and the Black-Headed gulls.

Rock Pipit 2
Wheatear 1
Linnet 8
Shelduck 248 all headed south. The largest flock of 100 had been resting on the water out from the foreshore. This is them setting off south, you can see the wader flock on the shore below them. The rain was back now, so I was having to use my old camera.

Apart from the wader flock in the above clip, there was another further south, but still well within the recording area. So I headed for the gap between them. Periodically a group of smaller waders would leave the close group to join the one further south. Even so when I reached the waterline and checked the inshore birds there were:
Bar-Tailed Godwit 56
Grey Plover 148
Knot 1,200
Dunlin 300
Sanderling 2

The other group was too distant to count from where I was, but it was a similar size and mix, but probably had more Grey Plover.

Fortunately by this time the rain had stopped, probably the only time all day it actually stopped! It was just about high water, so I paddled out several metres (I always wear wellies on the beach). The near flat beach here means that the water is very shallow for some distance.
This clip is the close in feeding group. It's just to show location really, the birds continue around the sand bar.

This clip provides a bit more detail of some of the birds

I'd seen the Sanderling working their way south along the waterline as I was walking out. I had assumed they had joined the southern group, but they must have just fed in that direction when the tide was flooding, as now that it was ebbing they made their way back (quickly). They fed along the waterline directly in front of me. I do like it when nature ignores me!
Adult Sanderling in winter plumage

First calendar year Sanderling 

Sometimes, when you are closer to birds than you normally get, their detail can be confusing. It took me a while to be confident that this was just a small young Dunlin with a short bill. It's a lot easier on the screen than through a camera viewfinder - Pete advises Schinzii/arctica with nominate alpina

The rain had started again, I had checked the southern group and couldn't  spot anything different with them. So left them to it.
Ringed Plover 25 closer inshore.

High water tomorrow 10:50, no reason not to expect a similar gathering. The birds are easily visible from slipway area, particularly with a scope. Saturday's tide at 11:25 could be ok too, but you would need to be there about an hour before high water.  (MD)