Saturday, 21 February 2015

A little marsh today

The Safari was able to get out for a look at the very high tide, the highest for over 20 years, at the local tiny saltmarsh. We picked up BD on the way and hopefully he'd be able to get the Jack Snipe pics he's been hoping for - today was bright and sunny (warm! out of the wind) and not too windy, ideal conditions really.
The tide was already lapping the outer edge of the marsh, only 100 yards away, and almost all the birds that pre-roost there had left apart from a few Curlews.
The water drew nearer and started to flood the marsh flushing out a few small wisps of Snipe and a flock of Knot flew past. An idiot woman let her dog charge through the now wet marsh which flushed at least another 10 Snipe and two Jack Snipe both of which plonked back down as soon as they could but their time in the marsh was limited.
We stood and watched and waited. A nice flock of Linnets came by and a few Meadow Pipits too. Feeding along yesterday's strandline were a handful of Reed Buntings.
The marsh was eventually covered and the beach rapidly following suite when more Jack Snipe started to appear.
About half an hour before the top of the tide which will reach the toe of the dunes
The last bird out was a Water Rail, we've never seen one fly so high or so far as this one climbed over the dunes to land in the enclosed water works area safe from people and, more importantly, their dogs. The vegetation was now fully covered and we walked the few yards through the dunes to the lake we watched the Red Throated Diver at the day before yesterday. BD is getting in to mosses and showed us several different species growing on the higher strandlines and on bare areas of sand in the dunes. Beautiful but tiny forms, we'll have to get the macro lens out and do some serious studies of them.
Our main reason for a wander round the lake wasn't the diver but the Scaup which had put in an appearance yesterday and which we'd dipped on there earlier in the year. Unfortunately we dipped it again as it hadn't flown in off the river today. The diver was still there though but well out. It was worth the walk round to the far end passing the same flock of Jackdaws as we'd seen the other day, stunning iridescence on them in the sunshine today.
The diver floated nearer to the bank and had attracted quite an entourage which included many of our birding friends. It was still a bit far for our camera but BD had seen a Turnstone poking around between their feet on the edge of the lake.
Ominous black clouds threatened and we still had a fair walk back to the car so it was time to beat a hasty retreat. Just made it! Phew - that shower was heavy and icy.
Where to next? A slightly bigger marsh to watch tomorrow's high tide at.
In the meantime let us know who's leaving it to the last minute to leave your outback

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