I was thinking about calling this post ‘Waders in the Mist’ because it was foggy when I arrived on the marsh and the only birds you could actually see were a few Dunlin. The birds were feeding at the edge of the reed bed below the bank where I was standing, the rest could only be heard hidden beyond the thick mist. After an hour the fog shifted to the east and the birds began to reveal themselves.
A large gathering of Herring Gull, Great Black-backed, Herring, Lesser Black-backed including a Larus fuscus intermedius, Common and Black-headed Gulls were either bathing or resting up while the fog cleared. Shorebirds included 500 Dunlin, 2 Little Stint (1st winters), 23 Redshank, 170 Black-tailed Godwit, 500 Golden Plover, 780 Lapwing, 100 Curlew and 23 Common Snipe.
Video of Little Stint in slowmo here: https://vimeo.com/198495593
Ducks can always be relied upon to give a birder something to do and a flock of 23 Common Pochard, 87 Tufted Duck, 18 Pintail, 76 Shoveler, 320 Common Teal, 54 Common Shelduck, 49 Mallard, 6 Wigeon and 7 Gadwall (certainly did give me something to do and that was count them). Additionally, a further 50 Wigeon and 43 Common Teal were on the pools on No.3 tank.
A disoriented skein of 8 Pink-footed Goose flew south but soon turned tail and headed back to the north.
The sub-adult Marsh Harrier flew in and headed east while later in the day it returned from the east and headed out to No.4 tank. I was watching the Peregrine sat on top of the big blue topped chimney at Weston Point when suddenly not one but two flew out off the chimney rim. They both gained height and disappeared out of sight into the mist. Shortly after the entire flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover out on the river marshes exploded from their rest and flew up in streams of hundreds of birds and this contined on and off for most of the afternoon.
A recently dead sheep that I spotted earlier this week had been well gutted by the 34 Raven attending to the corpse and many could be seen digesting their meal whilst perched up on the fence line with bellies hanging low.
Observer and images: WSM.