Monday 8 May 2023

Time to make way for the next generation......

A light SE wind with prolonged heavy showers.

Seawatch report from Pete:
One hourish 1030-1130: 
Dark morph Arctic Skua in Cumbria - flew out then landed.
Manx Shearwater in mouth of bay
c7 Sandwich tern, 
2 Mute swan
at least 21 swallow and 2 house martin north  

Heysham skear - low water 08:20 (MD)
It rained throughout this walk
Eider 15
Great Crested Grebe 7
No mergansers seen
Little Egret 5
The gulls feeding on the seed mussels is now in full swing. I didn't count them, but these are less than half of just one of three main feeding groups.

Waders - not many!
Oystercatcher c200 
Ringed Plover 5 on inner skear
Curlew 2
Whimbrel 3
This immature Mute Swan was resting on a distant sand bar
It made me wonder if the breeding pair at Middleton Nature Reserve had displaced their five young from last season, so I checked on the way home.
Sure enough the 5 x 2nd calendar year birds were nowhere to be seen and the two adults were resting on the bank of the main pond. The male was preening, but the female looked like she was covering her new chicks.

She eventually graced me with a glimpse of her new family, but there was no way of counting how many.

Towards high water I checked the south side. Three more 2nd calendar year birds were flying around and appeared to head for the Lune estuary.

But they may have doubled back as there were also three on the north side, out from Half Moon Bay.

It's unlikely that all, if any, of the 2nd calendar year mute seen today were the outcasts from Middleton, presumably similar scenarios have been occurring in several other nesting areas. They will all have to find a suitable habitat not already occupied by mature birds. Not so easy as all the prime sites will already be occupied. 

Also on south side
Whimbrel 1 Red Nab
Linnet 4
Wheatear 1 
Wet look Wheatear

Also on Middleton 
This is the Mallard with 8 chicks

The Coot are still in dispute 
Roe Deer 1 female

Janet had a walk along the south sea wall
Plenty of gulls feeding on No.1 outflow

One of two Rock Pipit above the lighthouse nest site. This one has some small
food items in its bill. Food this size is typical of what they feed newly hatched chicks.