Sunday 30 April 2023

Miserable weather, but still plenty of interest

A south wind, quite fresh at times. The rain started just after 07:00 and continued till early evening

Report from Pete Crooks:

Heysham North Harbour Wall – A 30 minute sea-watch (6.50 – 7.20 am) in light drizzle turning to steady rain:

4 Sandwich Tern – on black & yellow buoy

Gannet – flew in

6 Swallow – flew NE offshore

1 Rock Pipit on sea wall

Possibly some slight overlap with Nick Godden's seawatch from the Stone Jetty:

6.15-8.20. A bit of seabird movement which stopped soon after the rain set in, and a few grounded passerines

Red-throated diver 15 in
Shelduck 16 in
Common scoter 58
Red-breasted merganser 6
Gadwall 2
Sandwich tern 24
Common tern 2
Arctic tern 5
Dunlin 8
Whimbrel 16
Turnstone 2
Swallow 21 NE
Wheatear 10
Willow warbler 2
Blackcap 1 f

I had a walk along the south shore (MD). The forecast "light rain" had just started and predictably there were more Wheatears than usual grounded.
Wheatear 20 minimum - there were 12 along Ocean Edge foreshore, then as I walked along the sea wall there was a "light" cloudburst! Kevin Eave's weather station recorded it at 12mm/hr. When I arrived at the small patch of scrub near the lighthouse it was full of soaked birds, including at least 8 more wheatear.
By this time we were back to light rain and the birds set about getting themselves dry and taking an opportunity to feed before continuing north.

Also around this small area were:
Warblers 3 - at least 2 and probably all 3 Willow Warbler
Rock Pipit 3
Robin 1
Wren 1 
Presumably at least one of the Rock Pipits and likely the Wren and Robin were residents trying to see off the new comers.
This is a wet Willow Warbler doing its best to get dry in the rain.

Rock Pipit and Wheatears

In total there were 5 Rock Pipits. 1 above waterfall and 1 on Red Nab.

Shelduck 23 resting on mud out from the foreshore 
Bar-Tailed Godwit 28 near Red Nab
Whimbrel 1 in

It was still only 09:15, and I knew I wouldn't be getting out again today, so I decided to call in for a quick check of the two main ponds at Middleton. 
Mute Swan - breeding pair plus 5 x 2nd calendar year 
Shelduck 2
Greylag Goose 2
Greylag Geese on the main pond

Mallard 2 males plus a female, still with 9 chicks.

Common Scoter 1 female - whether she was brought down by the very heavy shower or she arrived overnight can't be known, but I suspect the continuing rain and associated absence of visitors was the reason that she, and the Greylag were still around. We had one here last April, but as far as I know these are the only two inshore records for this species in the recording area. 
Female Common Scoter, with rainwater running off the duck's back.

Unlike last year's bird however, today's bird was feeding.

In common with last year's bird, she was constantly head bobbing, I wondered then if it was related to her drinking freshwater for the first time in months? She was certainly having sips of water.
The Scoter was still there, and still head bobbing, when I checked in passing this evening at 20:10 (isn't it nice having light evenings!)
Coot 2
Moorhen 2
Swallow 5
House Martin 2
Both the above feeding low over the main pond.
Cetti's warbler 2 singing

Jo Bailey posted a comment on yesterday's post (it was Jo who took the clip of the Grasshopper Warbler - thanks). Comments are always welcomed, but unless you include a contact email of phone number, there is no mechanism to reply. Jo wondered where the ringing takes place at Middleton. The answer is in the central marshes. But these areas are not accessible to visitors, as unnecessary disturbance can ruin a session. (Malcolm)