Monday 2 January 2023

Some long distance birding!

Very light west breeze in the morning switching to SE in the afternoon. Plenty of sunshine with at least one light shower.

Visibility was great today, Pete scoped into the distance.
Red-Throated diver 2 distant
At least 37 Pale-bellied Brent seen from Knowlys road including at least five flying across the bay from Barrow.  
Flock of 6 Barnacle Geese seen in flight from Knowlys off East Plain - feral? 
SD46A survey abandoned due to off lead dogs simply everywhere including all the beach off Heysham head

Heysham harbour 
Kittiwake 1 adult or (now) 3rd calendar year - ref Kevin

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Janet had her first stroll around with her camera since breaking her ankle. Not a lot about, but as ever, some lovely pictures.
Roe deer 1 
Long-Tailed Tit

This one is looking for invertebrates, but appears to be just enjoying the sun.

Grey Heron

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I had a quick look in the late morning, and caught what was probably the only shower of the day (MD).
Nice to see a Coot back on the main pond
The water level generally is high, but the "no swimming" pond is over a metre higher than normal. The pump or the sensor must have failed. This shot is the same area where I filmed the heron searching the reeds (see post 24/12/22). The reeds now below water.
Just the very tips of the reeds now poking above the surface 
The only dabbling ducks still here were a couple of Gadwall
Tufted Duck 2 male
There were 6 Teal and two more Gadwall on Tim Butler pond

Heysham skear - low water 14:40 (MD)
I didn't bother checking the play area rocks, turned out I didn't need to. As Pete pointed out there were lots of people exercising their dogs today. Only to be expected, a nice sunny Bank Holiday in the middle of winter, The days are so short it concentrates all activities.
The brent probably had been spooked as 32 were resting/feeding near conger rock, there is some gutweed here along the old fish trap stakes. As the tide turned they swam to the SE skear corner before flying back to the play area outer rocks. But they were only there 20 minutes before 39 flew back out, 35 settling on the sea near conger and 4 flying off north.
They swam back to the corner again
I watched them waddle onto the shore in the corner, they all appeared to be adult and none were ringed, even though the white ringed bird was with the group near conger earlier. They all had a drink in the groundwater runoff reaching the corner, then flew back to the play area rocks again. But it was still busy and this flock of 30 flew back and straight over my head. You can clearly hear their "soft" honks as they pass over and continue north.
Another two flew off west

Eider 41
Great Crested Grebe 3
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Female Red-breasted Merganser 

Shag 1 immature (the two options now being 2nd or 3rd calendar year)
Immature Shag, you can't really tell but that's a Brent goose behind the Oystercatcher