The weather forecast for Storm Brian didn’t really kick in until later in the afternoon by which time I had done the best part of my watch. I secured a sheltered spot looking north across No.6 tank where the conditions didn’t cause me too much concern. The afternoon tide tried its best to push shorebirds onto the flooded sludge tank, but with the recent rains and pumping of water/silt into the deposit tank the water table was far to high. These forces have acted against and have helped to reduce the areas of dry ground for the birds to find shelter.
Small flock after flocks of Dunlin tried their best to settle with the godwits but it was very difficult for the smaller shorebirds to purchase a firm footing. As mentioned a flock of (130) Black-tailed Godwit found it easier to ride out the tide in the flood water and included a Bar-tailed Godwit and 67 Ruff. Small groups of Curlew were watched flying in and settling within the sea aster beds in the centre of the tank.
Further out on Ince Marsh fields a raptor had dislodged several thousand Lapwing and Dunlin from their flooded fields and they were observed in wafts of avian smoke high above the area.
Back on No.6 tank and duck numbers were looking good with some big counts: 157 Shoveler (reduced from recent weeks), 36 Wigeon, 26 Pintail, 72 Tufted Duck, 18 Common Pochard and 554 Common Teal.
The Whooper Swan pair I saw last evening reappeared with a family group of Mute’s on No.6 and were later seen to fly off to the Canal Pools. Whooper Swan video here: https://vimeo.com/239274919
A Merlin darted through and was probably the cause of several bouts of panic flights by the waders and ducks during the course of my observations today.
A roving band of Long-tailed Tit dragged through the scrubby areas both Blue and Great Tit with them.
Observer and images: WSM.