Tuesday 16 May 2023

Quite a variety of sightings

 A fresh NW wind, sunny spells, particularly in the morning. 

Report from Pete:
Three 1st summer Kittiwake still on pipe SW corner harbour, 
One 1st summer Mediterranean Gull on outfalls 
Quiet on sea with singles of 
Manx Shearwater 
Sandwich Tern
Two Razorbill/Guillemot 
Also one swallow in and immature Mute swan on sea off Red nab 

I checked the south shore around High water (MD)
Swift 2 north over Moneyclose Lane
Linnet 1 male "standing guard" at saltmarsh 2 more males between Lighthouse and waterfall plus 4 feeding at Red Nab
At 8.7m the tide covers most of the Red Nab Rocks
Little Egret 2
Curlew 3

Bar-Tailed Godwit 9
Bar-Tailed Godwit with Oystercatchers
It must have been quiet along the wall this morning, as many of the large gulls were roosting out of the NW wind on the sloping wall.

There was no sign of the Mediterranean gull at high water, but still a few Common Gulls feeding.

1st summer (2nd calendar year) Common Gull

Rock Pipits 5(ish) - one male was parachuting half way along the foreshore, but there was no sign of any females to be impressed. One was feeding on Red Nab before flying into the Power Station grounds. Two above the lighthouse nest, at least one taking food to the chicks. Three were flying around and bickering behind the waterfall.
This is one of the lighthouse birds. I thought it had a large sea slater to begin with, but it is quite a large and dead shrimp. The only possible source for this would be from the cooling water intake near the waterfall, possibly what the squabbling was about (not in their territory). This seems a large food item for a young bird to swallow, but shrimps, like crabs, regularly shed their hard exoskeleton leaving them soft and vulnerable for a few days. The dull colour of this shrimp does suggest that it is a soft one.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Janet had a quick look while dog exercising 
One of the two Shelduck on main pond

Mallard 2 females with chicks also on main pond. This one is likely the first brood seen, as her current 8 ducklings are now quite large.
big enough to see if a tennis ball is edible!

Coot with chick on main pond (not yesterday's birds)

Common Blue

Yellow Flag Iris

Heysham Skear - low water 16:40 (MD)
No encore from yesterday's Osprey
Little Egret 3
Eider 23 -  just 2 female
One female decided to fly off and was immediately followed by 13 males!

Great Crested Grebe 4
Curlew 1

In many areas, the seed mussels are now too compacted for the gulls to prise them loose.
A bed of seed mussels

The gulls are restricted to prising off the mussels at the edges of the beds - this clip is actually from yesterday.

Where the mussels are forming over honeycomb worm beds, the worms are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their tube between the tightly packed mussels.
You can see the pale tips of a few honeycomb worm tubes squeezed between the seed mussels.
But soon there will be no room for them. The worms will not die, but they will not be able 
to continue living here and have to find another patch of skear.