It was wet and wild throughout the few hours to the build up of high tide out on the Mersey estuary. Wirral RSPB group had already made an impasse along the track of No.5 tank to the distant ‘Splashing pool’ where they encountered a Green Sandpiper and 4 Common Swift doing their best to avoid the inevitable drenching.
The group had watched a few waders including a likely candidate Curlew Sandpiper or two. They were heading back to dry off and get some sustenance, while I stood watching in the rain watching a soddened c450 Black-tailed Godwit huddled together out on the margins of the shallow water of No.6. It gradually got worse and worse with most of my lens cloths succumbing to the rain from my drippy optics. Eventually the deluge eased and slowly the sun emerged and things started to improve considerably. It didn’t take long before the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper reemerged and it was joined by two others. A smallish flock of 60 Dunlin was a very low count considering the time of year?
A Hobby made a light-hearted attempt at dislodging the Dunlin flock but its attention was drawn away to several hundred Swallow, House and Sand Martin flying low over the tank. The rain had dumped a lot of passerines onto the drier mud with c50 Pied and 4 Yellow Wagtail the latter species being a scarce bird this summer. A Common Buzzard even got a piece of the action by temporary spooking the godwit flock but they soon settled back to roosting. The juvenile Peregrine made a better effort compared to the buzzard and sent everything into panic mode before slinking off. Another Peregrine was perched up on the tall blue topped chimney over at Weston Point. A couple of Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a distant Marsh Harrier added to the raptor list for the day.
Back to the shore bird action and within the godwit flock emerged a couple of juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit, a juvenile Knot, 11 Ruff, 233 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Oystercatcher, a small group of 7 Ringed and 24 Grey Plover (including 2 partial summer plumaged birds).
Ducks were settled with the godwit roost and included 167 Shoveler, 7 Gadwall, 21 Mallard, 46 Tufted Duck, 28 Common Shelduck and 76 Common Teal.
Walking back in glorious sunshine it was good for the marshes to at least get in on the wader action this autumn.
Observers: Wirral RSPB, Frank Duff, Paul Ralston, WSM (and image).