Saturday 25 May 2024

Interesting early Hawker

A warmer day with a freshening SE breeze. Sunny spells all day.

Heysham Nature Reserve 
I escorted a lunchtime field trip (Malcolm). 14:15 - On the return along the dog walk path c100m from the main reserve a Hawker dragonfly was also making its way north, green thorax with blue and black markings along the abdomen. Its small size suggested a Migrant Hawker, but far too early for them. Indeed early for any of the regular hawkers here. Pete advised that the only realistic possibility is a Hairy Hawker which would be only the fourth Lancashire record.
I eventually lost it in the scrub near the road, the nearest pond would be the dipping pond. A return with the help of Jean scoured the likely areas but failed to relocate.

It was the only dragonfly seen today, but there were lots of Damselflies. These are Azure Blue and Large Red ovipositoring (the Chiffchaff wasn't exactly sat on my shoulder, but it wasn't far away).

Large Red Damselfly

Common Blue Butterfly
Other butterflies:
Orange Tip
Small White
Large White
Green-veined White
Speckled Wood

Burnet companion moth 

Not really any birds of note, but an obliging Peregrine Falcon circling the Power Stations provided entertainment and good binocular practice.

North shore (Malcolm)
Just a quick check as the ebbing tide began exposing the inner skear.
Little Egret 13 - this one using an unusual stalking method for this terrain, but it appeared to work (note the quick check behind, to ensure there was no competition, before grabbing its target).
Eider 5
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Female Red-breasted Mergansers with a Herring gull

Oystercatcher 400
Knot 400
Sanderling 4
Things were different today. The waders were finding small invertebrates (almost certainly tiny shrimps) in the shallow water and wet mud. This is the feeding technique I expect here at this time of year, but haven't been seeing up to now. This clip begins on the four Sanderling then pans across some of the Knot.

As the tide exposed more of the skear, the Knot moved further out. But the Sanderling were happy to stay and feed, again, something that they haven't been doing of late.
There is no obvious metrological or tidal reasons for tiny shrimps to suddenly become available. Perhaps they have just been late developing this year. Hopefully, if they are here to stay, we might see higher numbers of Sanderlings feeding here.