Feeding frenzy

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Clearly good numbers of Gannets and Manxies feeding around what I assume was a large shoal of fish not too far out at Ainsdale this morning with LBBs and other gulls, so I pulled an early lunch and ‘scoped ’em for an hour.
It was remarkably good fun – at least 80 Gannets of varying ages plunge diving repeatedly, while about 300 Manx Shearwaters skittered about beneath them, crashing into the water after the fish, or chilling in post-scoffing rafts.
Wonderful to see so many seabirds off Ainsdale again.
While ‘scoping the Manxies, what appeared to be a demented bat tazzed through – much much smaller as it hared around the feeding party before disappearing…looked like a Storm Petrel to me, but it was long range and unfortunately didn’t return in the hour I spent with the feeding frenzy.
A single Little Tern came through closer in though, which made a change from the regular Sandwich and Common Terns, and Common Scoter numbers, while still low, are clearly increasing as birds start to arrive back in Liverpool Bay – failed/non-breeders presumably?
Four RB Mergs were a surprise too.

Ainsdale 1200-1300

Gannet 85+
Manx Shearwater 300 approx
Storm Petrel 1 possible
Great Crested Grebe 2
Little Tern 1
Sandwich Tern 8
Common Scoter 43
RB Mergs 4
LBBs 50+

Impossible to put an accurate count on the Manxies and Gannets as they were constantly wheeling about, but I enjoyed it so much, I’ve organised a short notice emergency (!) lunchtime seawatch from Ainsdale tomorrow over the high tide – meet at 1230 at the Ainsdale Discovery Centre if you fancy it, although such impulsive behaviour is probably a guarantee the bay will empty overnight.
While we’re on the subject of links, this National Geographic piece is interesting too….

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2 thoughts on “Feeding frenzy

  1. Water Rail again calling from the Reedbed at Taggs Island yesterday morning in an early session (5-7am) at Birkdale dunes, suggesting they have bred or at least have attempted or are attempting to breed (this season being the first time I have ever recorded them in the breeding season at Birkdale). Lots of activity either side of the coast road with 7 species of warbler, including cracking views of both Sedge and Reed Warbler at the reedbed. Stonechats visiting a nesting site and another male looking shifty as he disappeared over the road into the outer dunes presumably to his own nest. Stacks of Reed Bunting and plenty of Meadow Pipits, Linnet etc. A lovely early morning.

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