A fine evening awaited me at the end of the working day and birding on the marsh beckoned.
The pile driver was hard at work close to the ramp track onto No.5 tank and for the short period it was active, this was enough to nurture a banging headache (well, a minor tremor). A shooter popping off Wood Pigeons was acting as judge and executioner on the fields along Lordship Lane. The Tufted Duck were in relative security on No.6 tank but a little wary and probably weary of the shooting nearby. The ducks took nervously to the wing on several occasions but, when the noise settled to a distant din, I settled down to count the duck scattered across the open water.
The Tufted Duck were typically clustered together and numbered 267 birds. Common Teal were the most numerous species but they generally kept close to and in the margins of the Michaelmas Daisy beds with an estimate of 400 birds. Both Shoveler and Gadwall were in double figures while Wigeon were a surprise count with 37 birds widespread on the tank. 30 Cormorant and 9 Mute Swan were also present while 400 House Martin and 100 Swallow made up the rest of the cast.
A visit to Marsh Farm at dusk was rewarded with seeing the Peregrines perched up for the night on the blue-topped chimney. The adult female was a massive girl and she dwarfed the male, being twice his size.
Observer and images: WSM