Wednesday 10 April 2024

Wet.......but not as bad as forecasted

The rain held off till 09:30 then rained all morning. Showers in the afternoon. A fresh SE to south wind.

Heysham skear - low water 07:40
An early start to avoid the rain (Malcolm)
Little Egret 6 feeding
Grey Heron 2 high to the north appeared to be movement.
Heron heading north ahead of the oncoming rain

The clouds were rolling to the NE in waves

Pale-bellied Brent goose 11 - 4 drifting on the sea close to the beach. 7 resting on the skear.
More accurately there were 5 plus 2 close by on the skear. These are the 5, 2 adult with 3 x 2nd calendar year.
Eider c60
Red-breasted Merganser 11
Great Crested Grebe 6
In this clip three merganser and two grebes are waiting to go through the first channel to the north side. The tide has been coming in for 20 minutes at this point, but water is still rushing out through the channel. People mistakenly think this means that the tide is still going out, but it isn't. The skear acts like a huge dam with only two channels to let the water out. The water level on the north side is therefore several centimetres higher than the south and water continues to flow out until the rising tide has removed the differential. At that point the tide has been making a while and is coming in quickly! You can see the water in the middle of the channel is still running out quickly, the clip ends on the other two resting Brent geese (adults).

There were much few waders today, partly as a Peregrine was patrolling early on, but also, much more skear is exposed on these high spring tide, and many waders would be on the outer skear and beyond.
Oystercatcher less than 100
Curlew 2
Knot 250 (although larger flocks were seen at distance heading south as the tide displaced them)
Redshank 30
No Turnstone seen which is unusual 
Ringed Plover 1 close to shore 

South shore 
I had a look an hour after high water in the afternoon (Malcolm)
The recent storms have both brought in new flotsam to the saltmarsh but also stirred up the existing flotsam, providing plenty of feeding opportunities for the passerines.
Wheatear 13 (9 on saltmarsh)
Quite a rufous male Wheatear

Rock Pipit 6 (3 on saltmarsh, plus 2 on foreshore and 1 on Red Nab)
White Wagtail 1 male on saltmarsh 

You can see the extent of the flotsam here. Pleasingly, it contains much more organic detritus than man made (although the gales blew the plastic bottles etc onto the shore itself, where, equally pleasingly, Ocean Edge staff collect and recycle)

All 11 Pale-bellied Brent were on Red Nab, still in two groups of 4 and 7.
Shag 1 adult on wooden jetty
Peregrine Falcon pair - the female was just hanging on the wind, but she kept being buzzed by the smaller male. At the end of this clip, she sets off in a stoop, much to quick for me to follow with my camera.

The Cowslips in the Nature Park are looking nice

Just out of the recording area - horse paddock behind Middleton Parish Hall

Glossy Ibis was checked in the middle of the morning rain, looking decidedly grey, not purple!