Marinelife Meet

Old friends – the Stena Hibernia and Seatruck Precision

Today’s main nature time was spent at Heysham for a gathering of Marinelife surveyors. Heysham is a familiar venue for Marinelife, as in normal times three routes are used for our work (to Belfast, Dublin and Warrenpoint). Today we were admiring the vessels from afar, hopefully it won’t be too long before we can get out surveying in the Irish Sea.

The idea of the event was to spend a couple of hours watching the high tide activity and catch up on Marinelife matters. A couple of the attendees had never done a Marinelife survey, and had been trained just before the pandemic. They are itching to get out on a survey, and to be honest after this long so am I.

We picked up the sea wall near Red Nab, and a birder was already watching the Brent Goose flock. These are the same birds as I’ve mentioned a couple of times at Foulney, increasingly they are commuting across to the Heysham area. This is most pronounced in the New Year period, presumably as food sources in the Barrow area are depleted.

It was relatively quiet in bird terms, but not without interest. Rock Pipits have colonised the power station area since my last visit, and it was a change to see perhaps five or six of them. A Shag was among the Cormorants on the jetty, which following storms is no longer connected to land and hasn’t been for many years. When I first started visiting Heysham Harbour in the 1980s intrepid souls were still occasionally venturing onto the jetty in storms to seawatch.

The My Ben Chree Isle of Man boat, and the remains of the jetty

There were a couple of Seals bobbing about, and some Meadow Pipits were passing on their migration north. The Isle of Man ferry sometimes brings in some seabirds in its wake, but not today. I wasn’t too disappointed though as it was just a great day to be out in the fresh air.

After the event I stopped at a couple of places on the Fylde. As well as the parachutists landing I had some nice birds – a couple of Little Ringed Plover and a splendid male Merlin. Images below don’t do these justice.

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