Friday 21 October 2022

SEO - good record.......terrible timing!

A fresh east to SE wind, some sunshine with heavy showers.

Today's showers more or less defined the day, which was pretty much all about timing, most of which the showers won!

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Report from Alan:

I went to Middleton this morning to set nets, but with few expectations. Rain made for a slightly late start and wind and further rain shortened the session. The mist nets caught considerably more leaves than birds although two more unringed Cetti's Warblers were ringed.

Pied Wagtail 1

Wren 1 retrap

Blackbird 3

Song Thrush 1

Redwing 2

Cetti's Warbler 2 + 1 retrap

Chiffchaff 1

Goldcrest 1

Lesser Redpoll 1

Movement overhead included: Pink footed Geese 50 + 150 N (more on these later MD)

One group of c50 Redwing seen flying SW.

Jackdaws 17 + 21 S Carrion Crows 40 N.

Janet flushed two Common Snipe 

South shore - high water 09:30 (MD)

The plan was to check Red Nab and foreshore before going onto the shore to check out the waders and gulls, it all started well as I set off in glorious sunshine.

Kingfisher 1 again it came out of the freshwater culvert on the sloping wall at Red Nab (it was also seen here Thursday evening by Angela). It settled further down the stream, so I took a few pictures. I couldn't see any sign of red on its bill (see yesterday's post).

I saw another of Angela's birds, one of "the" Carrion Crows with a white bib (see post 11th October), perched in the Power Station grounds. If not one of the original two, it must be a close relation.

Wigeon 48 on Red Nab

Mediterranean gulls 2 adult, unfortunately sat on Red Nab rocks so not possible to see if ringed (more on this later too)

Meadow Pipit 2 grounded

Rock Pipit 4, three of which with a Robin were trying to chase 13 Goldfinch off the foreshore.

Greenfinch 35 feeding around the saltmarsh fringes

Linnet c70 feeding on the saltmarsh 

Stonechat 1 male glimpsed on foreshore and saltmarsh edge. This was as good a view as I managed.

Skylark a steady trickle south, both from foreshore and from beach, minimum 9

Common Snipe 4 

Lapwing 33

Both the above on saltmarsh 

By the time I'd gotten on the shore it was just about high water, there were good numbers of waders at the water's edge plus 

Shelduck 130 feeding in/along the channel out from the foreshore. These are some coming in from the north.

I made way towards the waders, and was approaching a point where I could examine them carefully, then the heavens opened! I had to stash my optics and just stood there getting a soaking. My best estimates of numbers were:
Dunlin c2000
Knot c500
Grey Plover 25
Bar-Tailed Godwit 4
Ringed Plover 26
Plus numerous Oystercatcher, Curlew and Redshank 

Both me and the birds stood in the rain for about 10 minutes, the sun came out before the rain stopped, I was just getting my camera out when everything flew off! They were obviously waiting for the rain to stop before moving. I just managed a short clip of the last of them leaving with a rainbow in the background.

Rainbow framing a wet, but empty beach
The dark line is just the weed that was on the tideline 

On the way back I checked out the gulls near the saltmarsh, there were two Mediterranean Gulls with them, and one of them had a yellow darvic ring. I was still some distance from them, but could "almost" read the ring. Another 20 stealthy paces would have easily got me in range, but before I could move closer, something lifted the Lapwings, which in turn lifted the gulls. I focused on watching were the Med went, big mistake, first because it was pointless as it headed off towards Potts Corner. But mainly because the probable cause was seen shortly afterwards passing Potts..........
Short-eared Owl  1 Seen leaving the recording area and flying past his holiday caravan on Potts by Mark Jones. Presumably it had rested out the heavy shower on the saltmarsh or somewhere close by, it could have rested another minute!

Small Tortoiseshell 1 on foreshore another on saltmarsh 

Heysham skear - low water 16:10 (MD)
Didn't see much, but at least better timed with regard to the showers, I'd just got back to the car when another heavy one started.
Great Crested Grebe 3
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Red-breasted Merganser 

Lapwing 11 flying south (unusual here)
Little Egret 8

This cormorant has quite a large flounder, I thought probably too wide for its gape, but it had spent some time with its head underwater (so the gulls can't see what it has) getting the fish just where it needed to attempt to swallow. It twists it around 90 degrees to squeeze it past. Even so, only just!

Red Admiral 1 came in off

This is good! This clip is from Mark Jones (Mark is a professional sound engineer) These are Mark's comments.
This is a binaural video I made of the flock of pink footed geese that flew over us from the south (8.22) this morning. If you can, listen to this with headphones on as I recorded the sound with binaural microphones, as the flock get overhead a van comes down the track behind me (I was annoyed at the time as I thought it would ruin it) but in actual fact it enhances the 3d audio experience as you can hear it is behind me. You can see the location, the geese go right over heysham at the end. 

I don't have any earphones, but even without I know it sounds just as you hear them as they approach and then pass over. Please try it with earphones if you can.