I thought I’d give the marsh the once over for a change and parked up and walked the length of the track overlooking No.6 tank. The threatening angry-looking clouds out to the north-west didn’t really concern me too much (but the lack of an overcoat would be a bad move later in my watch).
Ducks are a big feature on the tank at this time of year so the first female Gadwall ferrying her 12 ‘gadlets’ to safety and away from the bigger ducks was a good start. All in all Gadwall are a much underrated species and don’t really feature much in general conversation with other birders but they do have a penchant for the marshes and with 100 birds here a welcome sight diversion from the average.
There was plenty of other species of duck to distract the 12 summering Common Pochard with 34 Tufted Duck present, Common Shelduck and Common Teal which totalled 74 birds (excluding their American friend). Three Garganey were reported to one of the bird information services for today?
A gathering of 16 Avocet were mobile around the tank unlike the sedentary 300 Black-tailed Godwit which were again roosting up with the teal in the dead daisy clumps. A surprise find were two splendid red, black and white dandy looking Ruff within the godwit flock.
As I mentioned earlier I hadn’t bothered to bring along my overcoat this evening, which transpired to be a very bad decision indeed. The malevolent clouds that looked nasty earlier rolled in with thunder and lighting. Despite sheltering in the lee of the hedge which provided some protection the storm punched through and by the time I had reached the relative comfort of my car there wasn’t a dry item of clothing remaining (and I mean not dry!).
Observer and images: WSM.