Everything’s shearing.

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With a good fresh south westerly f4-6 this morning, a quick look off the dunes at Ainsdale was only sensible as the “low” high tide started falling back and before too much sun hit the waves.
Nothing startling, but there was a steady movement of Gannets (the distant youngsters were mainly shearing away impersonating large shearwaters) and quite a few Razorbills were tazzing past.

Ainsdale 0830-0900:

Razorbill 17
Guillemot 2
Gannet 59
Red Throated Diver 2
Great Crested Grebe 1
Sandwich Tern 8
Common Scoter 400+

Arctic Skua 1 dark phase (later on)

The Arctic Skua was nice – a fine dark phase bird that swept in over the sands at Ainsdale later in the morning heading north (about 11am).
Having scared the pants off me at first by shearing along much further out, it was a relief to see those primary flashes.
The cold autumn sun was catching the underside of the wings of the Common Scoters as they whizzed by too, giving all the males a silvery underwing.
Our Irish seawatching friends call out Common Scoters as “Black Puddings” (male) and “White Puddings” (female) respectively as they pass County Clare’s wild Atlantic coast, which is a great name for ’em – I think we may get too much of a “pudding avalanche” for it to catch on here though.
Meanwhile the WWT were tweeting away earlier about large departures of Pink Feet from Iceland this morning, so I guess it’s gonna feel a whole lot more wintry soon (and Dick Van Dyke the chimney sweep was at Dempsey Towers today, which is as sure a sign as any that the smart money should be heading south, Pechoras or Acadians regardless).

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3 thoughts on “Everything’s shearing.

  1. New research by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has revealed that bird food provided in British gardens has helped Blackcaps to rapidly evolve a successful new migration route. This is the first time that garden bird feeding has been shown to affect large-scale bird distributions.
    Blackcaps historically only came to Britain in summer. Over the last 60 years there have been surprising changes in Blackcap migration behaviour, with birds from central Europe visiting British gardens in winter, rather than heading to their usual wintering grounds in southern Spain. The reasons why Britain has become great for Blackcaps were previously unclear, but now scientists have been able to uncover some answers, using the extensive data on garden birds and feeders collected by thousands of volunteer birdwatchers for the BTO’s weekly Garden BirdWatch survey.
    The new study, published in the international journal Global Change Biology, has revealed that Blackcaps are becoming increasingly associated with garden bird feeding over time, and that supplementary foods, particularly fats and sunflower hearts, are affecting their national distribution in winter. The findings also indicate that changes in the British winter climate have been important in shaping the evolution of this new migration behaviour.
    As the global environment rapidly changes due to human activities, it is becoming increasingly important that we understand if, and how, species are able to respond. These findings indicate that some species, like the Blackcap, may be more resilient to environmental change than we previously assumed.

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  2. Had a wander round Taggs Island early evening, was quiet, a group of 3 migrant Chaffinches passing over and a few migrant Meadow Pipits around, otherwise a good size Goldfinch flock and a single calling Chiffchaff along with the usual reed Bintings Linnets and so on.
    Back home in Birkdale the local House Martins, which appeared to have cleared off ahead of the rain earlier in the week are actually still around with 8 mobbing a Sprawk over head this evening and 5 around last night. This is, I think, the latest they have stayed around our corner of Birkdale that I am aware of.

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  3. Burton Wetlands

    Marsh Harrier x 1
    Kestrel x 1
    Buzzard x 4
    Kingfisher x 2
    Golden Plover x 4
    Siskin x 1
    Chiffchaff x 1
    Swallow x 5

    House Martin’s also still present in St Helen’s as per comment above.

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