Sunday 9 April 2023

Little gull........for a little while

A much cooler and fresher SE wind. The forecast sun only lasted till just after lunch, then overcast.

Heysham Nature Reserve 
Some interesting observations from Jean.
I was convinced there was a Tawny Owl calling at Heysham NR this morning but it was mid morning which was strange, and then the culprit appeared - a Jay. They can  make the most peculiar noises and they seem to be good mimics.

A Kestrel was hunting over the reserve and the displaying Sparrowhawk appeared again. The Ravens came over to annoy the Carrion Crows again - maybe the Ravens just like being chased?

Other than that there was a Willow Warbler singing by the top pond.

Report from Pete:
Adult Little Gull flew up boat channel then briefly feeding seaward end Heysham two before heading into bay
132 Common and 67 Black-Headed gulls outfalls and area - influx 
Reduced numbers of birds off Heysham Head in low tide channels, only 3 Great Crested grebe and 6 Red-breasted Merganser seen 

Heysham skear low water 08:35 (MD)
Eider c75
Great Crested Grebes as Pete, but as the tide started flooding more Red-breasted Mergansers arrived, ending up with 11.
This clip gives a sense of the activity when the tide is coming in. It contains, Red-breasted Merganser (1 preening, 2 feeding), Cormorant (2 resting 1 feeding) and 7 Eider.

Little Egret 6
I like this shot, you can see the shadow of its head and bill on its wing
Waders: Oystercatcher c2000, Redshank c150, Turnstone c50, Curlew 10, Knot 9

A large Bass had washed up on the shore, too big for the birds to break through into the gut cavity. It didn't stop them trying mind. The Great Black-Backed Gulls will attempt to relocate the carcass on each low tide, eventually it will be decayed and be nibbled enough for the guts and soft tissues to become available.
The scavengers line up!
3 Great Black-Backed gulls and 2 Carrion Crows

One of the Great Black-Backed Gulls was a 3rd calendar year 

On the way out there was a small group of large gulls congregating where I photographed the seed mussels emerging on Friday.
Herring gulls checking out the emerging seed mussels
I don't think the mussels are big enough yet to provide a worthwhile meal, but it looks ominous for them. The good news is that there were several other areas with tiny seed mussels starting to show today.

This Peregrine Falcon caught something close to the shore. I didn't see the capture, just it flying off. It is a sizeable prey (you can see it juggle it for a better grip). So possibly one of the Pigeons that regularly come to the inner skear to collect grit.

A zoomed in still from the above clip.
Swallow 1 north
Meadow Pipit 6 north 2 east
Lesser Redpoll (probably this species, I'm not great at bird calls MD) 3 east