After a seven-day stint in work it was with great relief that I could relax and spend the last light of the day watching the birds on and over No.6 tank. On arrival a biting south-westerly was ripping through the marsh but fortunately it wasn’t too cold. I had a quick scan of the ducks that were sheltering under the southern banks. A gathering of 43 Common Pochard, 23 Tufted Duck were present with the return of the two immature Greater Scaup, now that the open water has thawed out. The Shoveler were again looking impressive with 342 countered and along the edge of the daisy beds were a few Wigeon and 71 Pintail. Common Teal have also made a return in good numbers with 3-400 birds.
The first time for ages the high tide out on the estaury brought in some waders to a recently exposed muddy bay at the edge of the daisy beds. There were 230 Dunlin, a few Black-tailed Godwit and 130 Lapwing…Every little counts!
The Starling flocks began to arrive after sundown with much reduced numbers and flocks. The birds simply didn’t even attempt to gather in nearby fields and instead shot straight into the reed beds without hesitation. The roost attracted a couple of Sparrowhawk but perhaps the highlight of the watch was a record count of 7 (one male, 6 female types) Marsh Harrier in the air together.
The Whooper Swan herd was still in fields by Spring Farm with their usual stable mates the Mute’s.
A Cetti’s Warbler rang out the festival season on No.4 tank.
Observer and images: WSM.