Saturday 10 February 2024

Planet Earth is blue.......

A heavy early morning shower, followed by a dry and sunny day with a light east wind.

South Shore (MD, JP)
I walked out on to the shore on the rising tide (Malcolm). We are back to spring tides now and it comes in very quickly over the flat shore out from Ocean Edge. Not something to attempt if you are inexperienced with the tides here.
The tide was already moving the waders south and several hundred had already left as I approached the waterline. Even so there were still:
Bar-Tailed Godwit 645
Knot 1800
Dunlin 110
These are some of the Knot and Dunlin coming in to join a group of Godwit.

But the tide was racing in, and pretty soon I was surrounded by sea and fleeing waders! You can both see and hear how quickly the tide is coming in (the mud looks blue as the heavy early morning shower had both flattened and wetted it, making it a mirror for the now blue sky).

Although these tides do come in very quickly, you can still easily out pace them. The potential danger comes from it filling gullies between you and the shore. It is vital that you know the safe line to walk back. I was soon safely on the shore side of the last gully and checking the waders feeding inshore.
Grey Plover 24
Ringed Plover 16
Dunlin 120 (additional to the birds on the waterline)
Redshank 120
Redshank - the wet mud reflecting more than just the blue sky

Ringed Plover and a Dunlin

Grey Plover

Other waders:
Common Snipe 1
Oystercatcher 100
Curlew 80

Pale-bellied Brent goose 22 flew from Red Nab to Potts Corner
Pale-bellied Brent geese

Pink-Footed goose 104 (72 and 32) south

Janet had a walk along the sea wall.
Black-Headed gull with what looks like a small Pipefish

Black-Headed gull with a fish (probably a young Whiting or Pouting)

Rock Pipit near the lighthouse 

Cormorant on one of the platforms in the harbour

In the Nature Park
Coal Tit

Male Blackbird 

North shore
Howard managed to read several Knot on the high water roost on the Heliport. This is a particularly nice shot (and a blue ring for a blue day)

Common Scoter 1 beyond the groyne at Whinnysty lane
Common Scoter - record shot by Kevin Singleton 

Heysham skear - low water 18:30 (MD)
It was such a lovely evening that I couldn't resist another walk, although my legs are letting me know about now! (Malcolm)
There was a group of small ducks being rushed through the first channel by the outgoing tide. Small ducks here can be interesting, unfortunately the light was behind them and they were drifting into the setting sun.
Turned out they were Wigeon, 17 ended up to the south of the channel and another 10 to the north. We don't normally get Wigeon here except for off passage, they are probably struggling with the shortage of gutweed on the north side.
Eider 80+
Red-breasted Merganser 3
Great Crested Grebe 3
This evening's walk was hard work, but worth every ache in my limbs!

After the sun sets in winter, it soon becomes dark, I set off back in twilight and it was dark by the time I reached the promenade. These 14 Pale-bellied Brent were just getting ready to leave too.
Just after this clip they flew west towards the other side of the bay.

Pink-Footed goose 230 in one flock north

Just out of the recoding area - Middleton Parish Hall
The Glossy Ibis was feeding in the horse paddock behind the Hall early morning and last report at 15:30 by Hugo Charlton-Jones