Tuesday 12 December 2023

Timing......some good, some bad, some interesting

Very mild both overnight and during the day. Overcast with a few showers, particularly in the morning. The light east wind eased further during the day.

South shore (MD)
Just a check from Red Nab to the saltmarsh. 
This was the bad timing......the low atmospheric pressure meant that the tide was higher than I anticipated and Red Nab was already covered when I arrived.
Brent geese - none seen, if there were any in the morning they would have moved on before I arrived. A second quick check on the ebbing tide was too late and again none. (A passing check from Knowsly Rd also failed to locate any)
Common Snipe 13 - again I was too late in the tide, I'm sure others would have been flushed before I arrived
Jack Snipe 3 - this was the good timing. I went down specifically to watch the area of the marsh being covered where I saw a Jack Snipe lifted on the last set of spring tides (see post for 30/11/23). The tide that day was nominally slightly higher than today's, but today's was going to come in further. On the way around the saltmarsh both the tide and I flushed one each. Both headed towards Middleton Nature Reserve.
I managed this shot of a Jack Snipe heading towards Middleton.
This is about as good a shot as I normally manage.......but not today

I sat on a rock and watched the tide move further over the area where one lifted last month. This area won't have been covered by the tide since then. After a while I realised that a darker patch of "vegetation" at the water's edge was actually a Jack Snipe. It isn't immediately obvious.

It knew I was watching, but I had the advantage, I knew the tide was going to rise further, and soon it would have to show itself.

When it could no longer pretend not to be there, it took flight, and also headed towards Middleton.
Something seems to have changed this year. Normally when they are flushed, particularly on this height tide, they land on another area of saltmarsh.

Jack Snipe - what a splendid bird!

Wigeon 120 out from the saltmarsh, many more further out and flying around
Reed Bunting 1 

Imperial Rd (MD)
This was the interesting timing, interesting to me at least as I learned something. A heavy shower was just ending as I was going along the bypass. I wondered if the Buzzard would be on the fence hunting worms again. It was, but not quite as I expected.
I have been asked which fence to check, so I took this clip and panned out to show the location.
But when it began hunting, it was relying on a Mistle Thrush (perhaps I was hasty assuming the three Mistle Thrushes earlier in the week were just passing through) to catch the worms, then pinching them off it. The thrush would not look for worms when the Buzzard was watching, so the Buzzard tried its best to pretend that it wasn't. 
This was quite a large worm, probably a lobworm, it would have taken the Mistle Thrush some while to eat it, but I was surprised that it didn't try to take it with it.