The combination of an early dart from work and a relativity clear evening sky was enough for me to head down to the marsh.
On arrival the brisk cold south-westerly concentrated the duck flocks on No.6 tank to seek shelter on the edge of the sea aster/daisy beds. A quick scan revealed 357 Shoveler, 29 Common Pochard, 12 Pintail, 14 Common Shelduck and c400 Common Teal. The receding water level encouraged a flock of 267 Black-tailed Godwit and c300 Lapwing which were nervously shuffling about. A flock of c200 Curlew flew into roost on the drier areas of the tank and although impressive their numbers are well down on previous winters.
A Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds but that was about the limit of raptor activity.
The evening Starling roost didn’t materialised and following previous years the flocks winter roost have been mostly restricted to the end of last year.
As the evening light diminished the yelping calls of Pink-footed Goose could be heard and then three skeins of c200 birds were watched as they flew over from the south to settle on the salt marshes.
Observer and images: WSM.