A tide of birds

It was the highest tide of the year on the north west coast and so, with a good forecast, I set off for Marshside to witness what was a morning full of birds. It was a bit foggy when I pulled up and there was a distinct chill in the air  - the marsh was already full of  flooded pools from the overnight tide and large flocks of Wigeon were floating around with a few Teal and Shoveler mixed in.
It was two hours before the peak and Crossens channel was pretty full already. Flocks of Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Redshank and Knot came in at regular intervals whilst an adult Peregrine surveyed the scene from its vantage point out on the marsh.

Thankfully the sun came out to augment the spectacle, highlighting the flocks of gulls and Shelduck strewn across the marshes. Black-tailed Godwits started arriving and six Little Egrets came out of the more dense cover.
As the tide pushed higher, another Peregrine took flight along with at least three Merlins, chasing the flocks of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, but it was only when the water was nearing its full peak that the Short-eared owls decided to come out of hiding - at least five birds from the area we were looking at.
Now the water was flooding the grazed areas right in front of us and the whole area was awash. A few skeins of Pinkfeet flew overhead and a flock of eleven Avocets joined the throng of waders out on unseen tide-line.
The few Pintail that were there stayed rather distant as did the Curlews but all-in-all it was a splendid morning's birding.

Back at home, the Chaffinch numbers have increased recently with at least ten males yesterday. New Robins, Dunnocks and Blackbirds have alse been in residence (or passing through of course).
And we're starting to get regular visits from the local tree rats..... These are the creatures that need exterminating, not Ruddy Ducks


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