Monday 10 June 2024

Lots of gulls, nesting and feeding

Just a few spots of rain during the day after heavy overnight showers. The NW wind freshened considerably in the afternoon. Despite sunny spells, it was cool for this time of year, it didn't make 15°C

This is part of Jean and Pete's nesting gull survey for this year.

On the rooves of the industrial units at Middleton Business Park there were 78 LBB nests, 16 HG nests and 1 GBB nest. 

Around the Heysham port area: 38 LBB nests, 32 HG nests, 2 GBB nests. 

On Ocean Edge reception building roof: 10 LBB nests, 3 HG nests and 1 GBB nest. 

So the overall totals were 126 Lesser Black-Backed gull nests, 51 Herring gull nests and 4 Great Black-Backed gull nests.

Heysham skear low water 09:20 (Malcolm)

Eider just 5

Red-breasted Merganser 3

Great Crested Grebe 2

Little Egret 3

Pete and Jean counted 1150 Oystercatcher roosting on the Heliport wall as part of their webs survey this weekend. Today something spooked the Oystercatcher on the north side of the skear, and they in turn lifted all the other Oystercatcher. I never saw what spooked them, but at least it allowed me to see all the waders at once allowing a better estimate of numbers than usual.

Oystercatcher c1,000

Curlew 8

Knot 1

The white line across this shot are Herring Gulls feeding on the narrow strip of seed mussels
near the western limit of the middle skear. It just shows how localised the seed mussels are this year.

This clip shows some of the gulls feeding. The dark surface in the foreground contains the seed mussels, the brown strip beyond is just broken shells and stones, then the first channel. The gulls beyond the channel are feeding on the outer skear, and judging by colour there are plenty of seed mussels there.

Herring gull 750 mainly immature (250 each feeding on middle and outer skear plus 250 resting on a sand bar.
Lesser Black-Backed gull 50 feeding mainly along the northern edge of the skear

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Yellow Shell moth seen by Janet this morning 

I just did a quick check of the main ponds this evening (Malcolm)
Mute Swan 1 - only the female still sitting on the nest. No sign of the male.
Shelduck 2 - a female was on the main pond then later two birds flew off to the east.

Gadwall 1 male
Mallard 15 on the main pond, some looking like well grown chicks.

Coot 6 adult seen, the main pond birds were not happy with the influx of Mallard!
Moorhen 2 adult
Little Grebe 1 adult seen on the main and the "no swimming" ponds.

Warblers heard: Cetti's, Willow, Chiffchaff, Lesser and Common Whitethroat 

Kestrel 1 male hunting (we both managed to hold our heads perfectly still).

Male Large Skipper - first of the year