14.04.17. Birdlog

Not a good Friday to be out as the weather forecast predicted but we don’t listen to their authority that much (do we?). Anyway walking along the track of No.5 tank I bumped into Paul and Mike and we chatted for a while before splitting up and wandered on our way. I continued my walk and settled above the north bank of No.6 tank overlooking the bare sludge mud below.

A small selection of godwits and Redshank were gathered but generally it was underwhelming until I discovered a new colour ringed Black-tail within the flock (details as and when). Within the hour the bird activity increased with small flocks of godwits flying in from presumably the incoming tide on the river.

The total number of birds reached 400 but I’m pretty sure more would have arrived after I departed at midday. A group of 50 Ringed Plover flew in and settled with 200 Dunlin on the drier areas of the tank and another group of Dunlin chose the godwits as company. One or two Ruff joined the 120 Redshank present and 10 Avocet were coming and going throughout my watch.

The duck situation was slightly better than of late with 124 Shoveler, 46 Tufted Duck, c100 Common Shelduck, 230 Common Teal and smaller numbers of Gadwall and Mallard.

A couple of Marsh Harrier were present and a Sparrowhawk caused a bit of consternation with the godwits but flew low over the daisy beds and avoided the waders.

The mitigation was relatively quiet with the exception of a Ringed Plover and Avocet being the highlight. A minor embarrassment was my prediction that the Golden Plover may have left the marshes, 60 birds were on No.5 tank and many were jostling for partners.

The Raven flocks could be seen flying in from over the hills from the south and c200 Sand Martin and a dozen or so Swallow were either feeding over the sludge tank or moving north. The Cetti’s was again vocal, likewise a Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler and a Whitethroat. There were 6 Wheatear at the model aircraft field.

They got the forecast wrong the rain didn’t really arrive until tea time but I’m not complaining with a nice bevy of birds UTB.

The afternoon shift saw 6 Ruff, one Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit with the Black-tailes, 18 Avocet with the bird still on No.3 (FD).

Observers: Paul Ralston (image 7), Mike Turton (images 1 & 6), WSM (images 2-5 & 8).

Dedicated to Martin Gilbert.