High tide was in the early hours yesterday morning so I decided to have a look at the river at first light. As I set off along the edge of the saltmarsh I had 7 oktas cloud cover with a 10 mph southerly wind. A number of 'Pink-feet' were leaving their riparian roost, 174, and I also had 280 go over high north; some early vis.
As I walked, or should I say slid, along the muddy path a flock of 19 Twite flew over my head calling away, and I soon reached my watch point over the river. There were large Gulls coming and going to bathe and their numbers were quite spectacular, in fact my counts didn't represent the true numbers. I counted 990 Herring Gulls, 17 Great Black-backed Gulls, 32 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (starting to move through now and looking immaculate in breeding plumage) and 115 Black-headed Gulls. In reality there is probably 3,000 large Gulls at the site at the moment.
After some time going through the Gulls I picked out the 2CY Glaucous Gull that has been around for a number of weeks. I'm not a huge Gull fan, but even I can appreciate this giant white winger! There wasn't much wildfowl on this stretch of the river, but a flock of 110 Lapwings was nice. Walking back across the saltmarsh I added Rock Pipit and a male Reed Bunting.
I had a look on the pools next and there was two Shovelers (male & female), seven Tufted Ducks, six Mallards, 38 Coots and a Great Crested Grebe. I had a wander in to the reeds to check out some of our net rides in preparation for the lifting of the suspension of ringing within the 10 km surveillance zone for the relatively local avian influenza outbreak. All looked well and in fact I got to some net rides that we haven't managed to get to for two years due to high water levels, so that shows what a dry winter it's been.
All I had in the reeds was another Reed Bunting plus a Snipe and a singing Cetti's Warbler. So all in all a pleasant couple of hours!
Spanish sun - "Red Midday Sun" by Malcolm Downham The day was notable for two things a) a Pochard turned up at Middleton, almost the only one in the whole area and b) ...
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