Saturday 18 February 2023

Nothing new, but a wealth of birds

A moderate SW wind mainly overcast with light showers

South shore - high water 09:40 (MD)
We are just moving back to spring tides, but high water today was only 8.6m and it only just covered the edges of the saltmarsh.
Today's high water at the saltmarsh 

So I was surprised at how many snipe were lifted by the tide
Common Snipe 108, absolute minimum. I counted this many lift, in several groups, and head towards Middleton Nature Reserve. Then c20 and c30 came in and landed on the marsh. I couldn't tell if they were returning or if they had arrived from elsewhere, so there was little point in continuing counting.
Common Snipe lifted by tide

Common Snipe coming in to land on the saltmarsh 

This is the smaller of the two flocks coming in to land.

Reed Bunting 1 on Saltmarsh 
Rock Pipits 4 - 1 on Red Nab and 3 between lighthouse and waterfall.
By the time I reached Red Nab it was largely covered. These Oystercatcher and Redshank were roosting on the sloping wall. I knew they were going to take flight as someone was approaching them with a phone camera. It's just to show the number of birds around Red Nab, it ends on a few of the Wigeon.

Shag 1 immature on wooden jetty
Kittiwake 9 (2 adult) on outflows and in the harbour
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 6 - on my return just a few rocks were exposed on Red Nab, but the Brent were already feeding.

Heysham skear - low water 16:40 (MD)
Pale-bellied Brent goose 10 (8+2 although all together, two birds were regularly shooded away). They were feeding in the SW skear corner, there is no weed growing there this year, but they were finding plenty of broken weed collected in the corner by the wind and the tide.
This clip starts with 3 Bar-Tailed Godwit, again, just to show the diversity of birds around.

Eider c80 - these are some of them

Red-breasted Merganser 2
Little Egret 1 feeding
Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone and Curlew plus
Bar-Tailed Godwit 3
Knot c2,000
Dunlin 30
Dunlin - all but one on the up beat - there's always one!

These are Black-Headed gulls, Redshank and Dunlin

By the time I'd got back to the skear corner it was low water. There were now only 8 Brent. I don't know if they had been there all the while I was out. Either way a little later, they flew off north.
Pale-bellied Brent geese