BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY THE FOREST OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND.........................................................................................MIGRANT HAWKER PETE WOODRUFF

Sunday, 22 November 2020

A Redstarts Tale.

A decent weather forecast for Thursday saw me take off to Heysham for some therapeutic escapism. I decided to look in on the promenade off Knowleys Road as the Brent Geese had been reported back there on 11 November, be nice to see them there again this winter.

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The geese hadn't returned there, but  I saw 8 Little Egret foraging the pools, and 2 Whooper Swan flying across the bay heading south. Then I was off to Heysham Harbour to spend a couple of hours of nothing to note to be honest. But n'er mind, a quite enjoyable birding experience was about to unfold and fire up my passion.

Black Beauty.

Black Redstart Heysham. Malcolm Downham.

As I arrived at the seawall, I approached a birder looking over Red Nab. As a conversation piece, I asked 'any Meds about', he replied 'no but I saw a couple of Black Redstarts about an hour ago, they were flushed by dog walkers, and flew off '. I thought to myself, hopefully these birds will have gone to the area of rough ground or the scrub at the south wall of the harbour, or perish the thought, maybe onto the non-operational land within the power station....Whatever, no luck, they've disappeared.

I'd earlier seen Malcolm Downham along the seawall, he had also seen the birder who also reported the redstarts to him. Malcolm takes up 'A Redstarts Tale' here....

Black Redstart Heysham. Kevin Eaves.

Towards high water a visiting birder reported 2 female/immature Black Redstart on Red Nab, which had then been flushed along the wall by walkers. Myself (MD) and Pete Woodruff were in the area, we split up, and after an hour, relocated them just 30m from the original sighting, on the rocks east of Red Nab. They were very mobile and kept disappearing then reappearing, sometimes two together other times a single bird. By this time we had been joined by Kevin Eaves, and between us managed some record shots. Kevin had "both" birds together at Red Nab and looked over to me and Pete who were photographing another 100m away, there were three Black Redstarts.

Later we learned another had been found at Bank End, there was 4 Black Redstart in our recording area, same day, same time....Another first!

Vagrant Emperor.

I wanted to feature this excellent creature, discovered on the seawall at Heysham Harbour on 9 November. species primarily found in Africa and the Middle East, it is a highly migratory dragonfly, capable of traveling long distances, there are records from Iceland, and even the Caribbean. 

The Netherlands were flooded with large numbers of Vagrant Emperors in 2019. The influx was unique for more than one reason, the number of Vagrant Emperors was higher than all previous sightings combined, and it was the first time a real influx was seen before summer. Mating and ovipositing was observed at many Dutch locations, and for the first time in history the Vagrant Emperor emerged in The Netherlands, in August 2019.  

Vagrant Emperor Heysham 9 November. Kevin Eaves.

A mega for Heysham, and congratulations to Kevin. 

Malcolm's header image though small, shows how startling the birds rusty-red tail is when taking to flight. Many thanks to Malcolm and Kevin for their images, they are much appreciated.


Marc Heath said...

Vagrant Emperor. The stuff of dreams. Incidentally, I photographed my only one a year ago today. Still fresh in the memory. Take care.

Richard Pegler said...

I make that eight Little Egrets in that video, Pete - 3 to start - no.4 flies in - pan left to no.5 - pan left to no.6 which then flies left and lands where nos.7&8 are already there!

Black Redstarts are always a delight. Vagrant Emperor, however, would be the absolute pinnacle of my dragon hunting adventures if ever I was lucky enough to see one!

Hang on in there - it looks as if there's a glimmer of light at the end of the Covid tunnel. Best wishes to you and KT - - - Richard

Pete Woodruff said...

I could have won money on a bet that you would respond to this dragonfly record Marc. 'The stuff of dreams' says it all.

I'll be in touch with you about this record, need to look deeper into the significance of it....Take Care.

Pete Woodruff said...

Quite funny about the egret count Richard. I actually did a double check thinking I'd seen eight, then missed out No.5 when I did the recount....Oh dear!!

Take Care, with kind regards to yourself and Lindsey.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi Pete!!!.. I hope you are well... Very nice video and place to birdwatching... Lovely shots... Have a great week... Stay safe...

Pete Woodruff said...

Thank you Ana. Hope all is well with you and that you are staying safe....Viva España.