Wednesday 21 December 2022

So here it is.......Merry Solstice.....

The SW wind continues, a dry day with plenty of sunshine.

As a child at this time of year, I was fervently looking forward to Christmas. As I've aged, and much as I still enjoy Christmas, what I really look forward to is today, the winter solstice. This is the shortest day of the year and after today the days start to get longer. You can understand how this day caused celebrations in ancient times. (Malcolm)

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
I had a quick look first thing. The absence of ducks on the main pond could only mean one thing, there was open water on the "no swimming" pond.
It was 50% ice free, and still over 50cm above its normal level, not good for the dabbling ducks, but good for the diving ducks!
Goldeneye 1 female - I'm pretty sure that this is the first record of a Goldeneye this year, this pond provided another late "first of year" last year, when a Pochard turned up and stayed over new year. Hopefully a chance again this winter.
Tufted Duck 2 male
Gadwall 8
Female Goldeneye with a male Gadwall

This clip, captures all three species, just.

Saltmarsh to Red Nab - high water 09:15 (MD)
Shelduck 20 out from saltmarsh 
Wigeon 240 - 210 out from saltmarsh plus 30 Red Nab, these are some of the saltmarsh birds

Common Snipe 2
Bar-Tailed Godwit 4 - 1 roosting on saltmarsh plus 3 on Red Nab
Bar-Tailed Godwit with Redshank and Oystercatcher on the saltmarsh 

A few more passerines around today
Blackbird 1 on saltmarsh 
Reed Bunting 3 at least on saltmarsh 
Rock Pipit 2 - saltmarsh and foreshore 
Greenfinch 2 Red Nab

Pete checked the lunchtime ferry in
Kittiwake 3 adult behind the ferry
Also Pale-bellied Brent goose 3 out from the children's play area
Later towards low water, presumably the same three, flew into the SE skear corner, possibly flushed from higher up the shore. They quickly made their way back up the shore where there is more weed available. They ended up on the rocks beyond the Sunnyslopes groyne, this clip, shows the location.

Other stuff from low water check of skear (MD)
Eider 39
Great Crested Grebe 1
The waders were a bit more interesting 
Oystercatcher c1,200
Curlew 2
Redshank 50+ (Still down on the typical 100-150)
Knot 25
Dunlin 1
Turnstone 15
Ringed Plover 6
Grey Plover 2
Bar-Tailed Godwit 12
The Grey Plover and the godwits were in loose association, the Plover were resting but the godwits feeding. 
Grey Plover and a Bar-Tailed Godwit

After a while the godwits stopped feeding and started preening.

It was clear that they were getting ready to move on.
Bar-Tailed Godwits plus one of the Grey Plovers
The godwits continued south, but the plovers peeled off and headed north

This Barrel Jellyfish was stranded on the beach. It's about 45cm diameter, and about as large as you see them here. I believe that they can grow three times this size!
Barrel Jellyfish and my size 9 wellie