A late visit this evening with the sun over to the west giving some excellent bright light across the marshes. A small flock of 20 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding with a small number of Avocet on No.3 tank but the main action was over on No.6 where 960 black-tail’s had gathered. A lot of these birds were in non-breeding plumage but several hundred were not and gave the impression they were gearing up for a continuation of their migration. The birds were busily engaged in feeding, chattering, bathing and stretching their flight muscles in preparation for a long flight ahead?
A group of 20 Ringed Plover and a couple of Dunlin were a small in small numbers compared to the flocks of the last few weeks. A solitary Whimbrel dropped in at dusk.
The Ruff flock included 12 finely plumed males with 3 Reeve in attendance. During the course of my observation several birds were in ‘lekking’ mode with the ‘fops’ dancing and pushing around the less ornate subordinate males, see videos here: https://vimeo.com/216122035 & https://vimeo.com/216073390 .One of the females was preening a male whilst he lowered his body with ruff plumes extended forward, as seen on the video above. Although the male I have nicknamed ‘Agent Orange’ who was present and has the best fancy plumes didn’t take part in any of these folly dances instead he sat it out within the godwit flock.
The ducks are always a feature and this evening c100 Tufted Duck, 250 Common Shelduck, a pair of Pintail, 34 Shoveler, 20 Gadwall, 80 Common Teal and 26 Mute Swan.
The male Marsh Harrier cut a fine figure against the golden coloured reed beds at sunset.
The evening ended with the Cetti’s Warbler sounding the last post.
Observers: Colin Paul, WSM (images and videos).