Expectations were not particularly favourable with the tide barely high enough to force many birds from the estuary, nevertheless migration south is always possible in late July. The warm sunshine, little wind and Cleg Fly activity at its most virulent added to a testing walk across the marsh. I met Frank briefly on No.6 tank then later joined up with Tony after he eventually made it on the marsh from a long crawl along the westbound lane of the M56.
No.6 tank had a gathering of 100 Tufted Duck along with 2 Pochard, 56 Mallard, 12 Common Teal, 1 Shoveler, 2 Common Sandpiper, an adult plus juvenile Little Ringed Plover and a juvenile Ringed Plover. A couple of Dunlin were sitting low down in a crack in the dried mud to avoid the heat of midday. 240 Black-headed Gull included 14 Common and a 1st summer Herring Gull at the gull roost. The highlight was a juvenile Marsh Harrier hunting the western reedbeds.
A need to cool off and a change of scenery sent us to the Weaver Estuary where the breeze was a welcome relief from the oppressive heat of No.6 tank. 7 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Little Grebe, 56 Coot, 8 Mute Swan on the river were to be expected unlike a sinensis Cormorant and a Common Tern which ranged from the ‘Bend’ to the Weaver Sluices.
The Weaver Bend had a summering flock of 350 Black-tailed Godwit with smaller numbers along the river edge. 20 Common Snipe, 12 Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper which later flew from the river to the Shooters’ Pools were all part of a movement of waders. Also present on the pools were a number of Common Snipe and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover.
Other birds of note was a flyover Yellow Wagtail and the lack of the Red-necked Grebe which alas looks to have left the area? The last confirmed sighting was on 22nd.
Observers: Tony Broome (image 2), Frank Duff, WSM (images 1&3)