Tuesday 13 December 2022

Survival of the opportunistic (being tough helps too!)

Another freezing night, but a warmer, overcast day with temperatures hovering around zero. But another very cold night ahead. The light east breeze continues.

Janet managed a "hobble" to Half Moon Bay yesterday. Not the ideal conditions for someone nursing a broken ankle! 

This line of rising water vapour is coming from the Power Station
cooling water as the tide draws it from the outflows and past the buoys 

The only stuff I have so far today is from my morning stroll (MD)
South shore
Pink-Footed goose 45 north 09:00
Shelduck 180 feeding on the mud out from saltmarsh and foreshore 
Teal 4 - two male together plus two individual female.
This is the area the Teal were using, they look like lakes surrounded by sparse pine trees, but are just shallow saltwater pools surrounded by ageing Samphire.
Area to the south of the saltmarsh creek
which is becoming an ever increasingly interesting environment 
Mallard 3 - a female with 2 male circling around saltmarsh 
Snipe 3 around the saltmarsh edge, but they also frequent the above area just south of saltmarsh 

Black-Tailed Godwit 6 - they have been very uncommon in recent years, and these birds were only here due the generally adverse conditions. Their food of choice are the large lugworms found further out. But lugworm tunnel deeper in cold weather, well out of range of the longest bill. They can still be caught but mainly along the tideline, where they are likely not to be at the bottom of their tunnel. But these godwit had chosen to feed in the soft mud just out from the slipway. I thought they may have been after the small lugworm that burry in this mud, but they must have been too deep too. They were catching something else....
These are three of them, they are clearly eating something, but it's not obvious what

This clip give a hint of what they were feeding on and shows the location.

This is a still from the above clip. A small round mollusc,
probably a snail, going down (well up then down) shell and all.

It seems like meagre fare, but it was worth fighting for!
The smaller bird is a Knot, another opportunist, finding the tiny invertebrates disturbed by the godwits.

Skylark 2
Reed Bunting 3
Rock Pipit 1

Sea wall:
Wigeon 240 in channel along No.1 outflow
Grey Plover 1 - I can never resist taking a shot of a Grey Plover, they seem to be so photogenic in all plumages.
Grey Plover below sea wall

Rock Pipit - this bird too has refined its feeding strategy. There are little or no invertebrates available on dry land, but it was finding marine invertebrates on this rock.

Ferrel Pigeons seldom get a mention but they are resident around the harbour area. While other birds were finding ways to survive, these two had something else on their mind. It does seem a strange time to be planning a family!