Tuesday 21 February 2023

Barnacles top a busy goose day

A light SW wind overcast but it remained dry.

There was quite a bit of varied goose movement today, mainly Pink-Footed. Kevin Eaves saw a very high flock of c2,000 heading NW 14:30 in a purposeful manner. Pete advises that Pink-Footed geese have also been heading north along the east coast today.
More local movement was a low skein c200 to the east over my house at 09:00 and c80 south at 15:00.
But not just Pink-Footed.
Barnacle Goose 6 to NW over Middleton Nature Reserve at 12:05 - scarce in the recording area
Barnacle Geese - a heavily cropped shot, they were quite high (MD)
The local movement of the Brents is covered below.

Red Nab to Saltmarsh 10:00 -10:45 (MD)
There were no Pale-bellied Brent feeding on Red Nab as I arrived, then 10 flew in from the south (more on this later)
Wigeon c200
Shelduck c80
Rock Pipit 2 - 1 each Red Nab and saltmarsh 
Turnstone 50 in one flock
Common snipe 86 flushed from saltmarsh 
I didn't wait till the saltmarsh was fully covered, but did wait till the tide covered the line of marsh grass to the south of the saltmarsh. No Jack Snipe seen today.
This is looking south from the saltmarsh, on the left is the "rocky outcrop", and far left the faux castle.
The dark line just above the waterline is the line of marsh grass which now follows the freshwater 
channel. Water almost constantly drains over the shoreline here, again more on this later.
Great White Egret 1 SE 10:20
Great White Egret - another heavily cropped shot

Just a couple of the ringed Knot identified by Howard today.

Spot the ring.......you'll probably need to open the picture 

Heysham Head (Mark Jones)
It was a nice day for a walk around the Head, if nothing else, the views are great.



No Rock Pipits seen or heard

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Just a stroll around exercising my daughter's dog. This is where I saw the Barnacle geese.
Mute Swan 2 adult 5 immature 
Pochard 1 male
Gadwall 4
Mallard 4
Teal 2
Coot 4
Moorhen 6
Little Grebe 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Sparrowhawk 1

Just out of the recording area
Mark Jones has just arrived at his holiday caravan. The beginning of the caravan site can be seen in the above shot from the saltmarsh, it is just south of the faux castle which is nominally the southern boundary of the recording area. Look what Mark saw when he opened his curtains this morning.

The important thing here is the green swathe close in. The coastline here is boulder clay and groundwater constantly seeps out below it (even during the deep freeze and hot spells). This results in gutweed growing between the rocks. It's a relatively quiet area, but the few walkers around must pass along here, otherwise the Brent would be feeding here constantly (at any time except during the highest spring tides). Perhaps this explains why the Red Nab birds arrived from the south today (they normally come from the play area rocks to the north). 
The ground water eventually drains into the creek that defines the saltmarsh and it is now lined for most of its way by marsh grass.
Grey Plover and Ringed Plover in the same area

Cetti's warbler singing at the top of Carr Lane to the caravan site, Mark has not heard one here before