Saturday, 1 February 2014

High tide at Marshside

Short-eared owl 1
Great white egret 1
Water rail 3
Twite 50 (on the beach halfway between the sand plant and the pier)
Merlin 1
Peregrine 1
Ross's goose 1
Long-tailed duck 1 on junction pool
Bar-tailed godwits
Dunlin 1000s
Pink-footed geese

It was a 10.2m high tide at Southport today, and the sea was right up to the road. We spent a large proportion of our time sheltered from the wind on the northern edge of the old sand plant at Marshside. There were dramatic scenes, with birds flying in all directions. At the tides peak, we had voles and shrews swimming for their lives from the flooded marsh and three water rails were forced out into the open, right in front of us, and took shelter in the grass at the side of the road. The vast clouds of dunlin flying high glittered as the sunlight hit them, and they stretched so far across the sky, that they looked like thousands of raindrops against the dark skies to the north. A tremendous spectacle.

Marshside at high tide.

One of the stars of the show, a first winter Ross's goose, not much bigger than the mallard.

Now you can see why it's a first winter!

Not a particularly great picture of two Twite, but of interest because you can clearly see that the bird on the left has a pale blue ring on its left leg, and possibly a pink or red ring also.

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