Wednesday 4 January 2023

Rough weather birding

 A fresh SW wind with strong gusts, overcast with plenty of showers.

Pete and Jean checked the lunchtime ferry in:
Mediterranean gull 1 adult
Kittiwake at least 44 probably more

They did well counting as many as they did. I was at the lighthouse (MD), it's very difficult counting when the birds and the sea are swirling round so much. Fortunately I knew they were counting so I focused on getting some pictures,  even then it wasn't easy. This is about my best effort.
Three adult plus a 2nd calendar year Kittiwake behind the Ben My Chree
There are seven Kittiwake in this shot, but it is really just to show today's conditions 

Shag - at least one immature 
Shag (left) and Cormorant at the waterfall 
Later it, or a second bird, looked like a 3rd calendar year, was in the middle of the harbour before flying out.
Immature Shag leaving the harbour

Pale-bellied Brent goose 1 feeding on Red Nab - it's unusual to see a solitary bird. Again this clip of it with Wigeon, is more to show the conditions.
No reports, as yet, of anyone checking the north side feeding area.

Turnstone, playing "chicken" with the waves on the sloping sea wall.

There was a crowd of cormorants between No.1 outflow and the wooden jetty. One had a large Bass, I've seen them swallow Bass not much smaller than this one, but this one was just too big.
Bass are a very dense fish, and weigh a lot for their size. This one will weigh not much less, or possibly more than the cormorants! The larger birds were bickering for "their turn" to try swallowing it. And they gave it a good go.

This one was apparently "taking too long" and was duly told so.

This one made a great effort, but was eventually beaten 
Like the Pelican, their beaks can hold more than their belly can!

Eventually they all gave up, unfortunately the Bass would not escape, the Cormorants immobilise them by  breaking their gill rakes. But nothing is wasted in nature. The crabs and shrimps will eventually succeed where the Cormorants failed, providing more food further down the food chain. 

Well, I got out today, but it was an effort! I felt like I carried a sack of coal to the lighthouse, then two sacks back again! But think I'm on the mend now, so hopefully I'll be more mobile tomorrow (MD).