Tuesday 12 September 2023

Excellent Marsh Harrier and Little Gulls.......but eclipsed by a moth!

A light NE wind. Overcast with light showers.

Report from Pete:
520 Redshank 
235 Turnstone
1 snipe 

Red Nab/Ocean Edge
Mediterranean gull at least 38 (22 2cy, 3 1cy)
Little Gulls 2 juvenile 

Marsh Harrier highish to south over golf course about 0900

I had a walk on the shore (MD). Normally I thoroughly enjoy walking out on the mud, but today wasn't right. There was dead Whitebait strewn all over the mud. Gulls and Crows seemed to be ignoring them and just standing around. But two of the biggest opportunistic feeders wouldn't ignore such easy pickings, they must have woken up to a feast and gorged themselves silly! All the Whitebait were the same size and quite small, obviously all members of what was once a large shoal. There were tens of thousands of them and I only covered a relatively small area of the shore. I can't think of any natural cause in these tides and weather conditions. I have an idea for a possible cause, but only speculative, so I shall keep it to myself (nothing too bad).
This is out from the foreshore, which held the densest concentration 
It was like this for 200m x 50m. And there were still lots further out on the shore

This section near Red Nab was covered in gull footprints and droppings and still there were
hundreds of Whitebait remaining, goodness knows how many there were when the tide left them!
No gulls feeding on the outflows this morning, all too full!

Presumably the glut of free fish is what enticed the Little Gulls to hang around, although where they were resting didn't have too many fish on the mud.
These are the two juvenile Little Gulls, they appear to be resting on a young Mediterranean gull's patch of shore (we're not in black and white mode, but the wet mud was reflecting the grey sky and all three gulls were basically shades of grey).

Little Gull with 1st calendar year Mediterranean gull

Juvenile Little Gulls
Redshank 200
Knot 220 - these are some of the Knot coming in.
Bar-Tailed Godwit 2
Lapwing 13 (on saltmarsh)
Plus the Oystercatchers and Curlew. There was only a few each Ringed Plover and Dunlin while I was out on the shore, but their numbers were increasing as I left.
Linnet 6 on saltmarsh 
Rock Pipit 1 on Red Nab
Meadow Pipit 43 east in small groups - none closer than 50m from the shoreline.
Wheatear 29 - including 5 on Red Nab, Kevin Eaves saw 15 - 20 on Red Nab mid afternoon 
Robin singing its heart out on the saltmarsh edge

Pink-Footed Goose 507 in 8 skeins, the last at 10:20. Janet had 20 south early on. Jean had 731, of which at least 561 didn't overlap with mine. So minimum number today 1,088

Full report from Jean, from along the sea wall.

Pink-footed Geese - 731 in total as follows:

0840hrs 50 over HNR heading south, then 70 and then another 50

0955hrs 200 heading S over the sea

1000hrs 40 SW

1015hrs 200 S high SW over the power station

1020hrs 24 SW

1030hrs 40 SW coming over the power station m then 55 SW and finally 2 high S

Other vis:

Meadow Pipit 8 east

Pied Wagtail 1 heard


Goldcrest - 1 in the bushes at the harbour

Robin - 1 in the bushes at the harbour

Linnet - 4 on the wire at the harbour

Grey Wagtail - 1 flew along the sea wall and possibly the same one heard within the power station later

Goldfinch - 12 juvs in the bushes near Red Nab

Red Nab of note:

Redshank - 390 roosting at high tide

Kevin Eaves had this special moth in his overnight trap:
A rather special moth in the trap this morning. A very rare Clifden Nonpareil. A rare
migrant which may have established itself in one or two locations in the south of the country. 

They are huge!