Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Heading North West- Buff-Bellied Pipit and Surf Scoters!

It was late on the 27th that Tim Jones posted that he was thinking of going for the Cheshire Buff-bellied Pipit and wondered it anyone would join him, and with the next day (A Tuesday) being my day off, i inquired, and soon after plans were being made for the day!

We arrived at the end of Station Lane early the next morning, and we went about scanning the Pipit flock that was present. Some time later, it seemed as if the bird wasn't present, as we could not find it. While on a brief break from scanning the close Pipits, a scan across the fields towards the Estuary revealed a single drake Pintail, as well as distant flocks of Wigeon and Teal. A Little Egret and 50 Pink-footed Goose flew past, but we still couldn't pick it out. A pair of Stonechat kept us occupied, but soon after Tim had picked up the BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT, and soon after that we were both on it.
Initial thoughts that i may have been overlooking it were cast out as i scoped it. It really did stand out significantly from the Meadows. That fairly plain brown mantle, hindneck and crown stood out the most to me, but i was struck by a fairly clean and striking bird. Those white wing bars were very prominent and after initially being a little further away, the bird started walking and feeding straight towards us, and for a good space of time, the bird went of to preform very well for the assembled crowd!


It was as the Pipit moved closer that a familiar call rang out, and a second after, a stunning pale SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF flew past us, landing on the fenceline at intervals calling its head off!

After a good time watching both birds, we took the decision to move on. A brief stop at nearby Parkgate revealed little. A flyover Black-Tailed Godwit being the pick of the lot in my opinion!

The previous night, plans were made to head to my favorite country after leaving Cheshire, and after a fairly short 40 minute drive, we pulled up at the beachfront at Pensarn, and started scanning from there. Soon after, i was looking at 3 somewhat distant, though perfectly identifiable SURF SCOTER as they loafed offshore with a massive number of Common Scoter, all of which were showing in the same scopeview. Two of the birds were immaculate drake birds, but the 3rd was a fairly discreet female bird. The males almost gleamed in the sunlight, and the white patches on the hindneck and forecrown stood out like beacons, as did that huge brightly coloured bill!. Even with my fixed magnification eyepiece, it was clear that the female bird was paired to a male, and she would shadow his every move.

As with the usual MB mentality, a record shot is better than no picture, so despite the range, i took a few max zoom photos. And it seems as if one is identifiable!

Our view. The Scoter flock were about halfway between the low water tideline and the distant wind turbines.

It was crazy to see such a massive Scoter flock, as it stretched right off into the distance!

A scan of the sea revealed a few other birds also, and 5 Red-Breasted Merganser, 3 Red-Throated Diver and 10 Great-crested Grebe were seen.

What a day!


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Regional MEGA!


What is going on this winter!
Birding around the Midlands has actually been really decent this winter, with Two-Barred Crossbills, Glossy Ibis, Seaduck, the usual array of scarce Gulls and more than a fair share of Great-northern Divers!
It really does all seem to be going on. And it was on the 25th, while our crew from Worcestershire was thrashing North Norfolk, a text informed us to the presence of another regional MEGA!

Like Two-Barred Crossbill, this really was up there with the rare of the rare of Midlands birds, being only the 2nd ever in the WMBC area and a first for Warwickshire!

The temptation proved to hard to resist, i knew missing this one would be severely annoying, so, after sitting through the early morning rain until mid-day at home, and letting the hardcore of Midlands Birding, that being, Martyn, Kay and the man of the hour, Mr Dave Hutton, the finder of this superb eastern gem to relocate the bird, i finally headed out once the skies started to clear.
An hour or so later, we were pulling up near the famous Edison road outflow, where the HUME'S LEAF WARBLER had been seen.

First of all, a homage needs to be made to this stunning location! An area of wasteland, strewn with litter and plastered in glutinous mud and overgrown bramble, surrounded on all sides by the Hams Hall industrial estate adjacent to the warm outflow water from the sewage works which feeds into the river.

What a stunning location for the Warbler to choose!

An anxious 30 Minuite wait followed, with no sign of the bird, but i was mid sentence to a local birder when a piercing 'dsu-weet' call emerged from the line of tree's between us and the river. Immediately it was obvious this was the bird we were here to see, emphasised by Martyn's somewhat frantic pointing to his birding companion Kay towards an area of tree's a few meters from where they stood.

Within a few seconds, and having covered only a few meters, the bird flew out of the tree line, and dropped into a block of Bramble in front of me, slowly working its way past through a variety of tree's and bushes.
At this point, plumage detail was hard to see, but as it worked its way down the hedgeline, it started to give slightly longer views, at times spending a fair time feeding in a few spindley hawthorn bushes in the nettle clumps. Here, the crowd was able to scope the bird, and everything supported what i had expected to see. A very cold and washed out 'Leaf warbler' (particularly so on the crown, being a grey colour here), showing the familiar greater covert bar of its close couin the Yellow-Browed warbler, but having a very pale median covert bar, being almost non-existant! Although it is somewhat of a cliche when talking about Humes Warbler, it really did appear as if you were watching a Leaf warbler through clouded Bins.
One of the main attractive points for these excellent Siberian warblers, as well as their obvious beauty, is the ferantic, flitting flycatching behaviour they posess is very appealing, being very restless and busy, much akin to our 'regulus' genus (that being Goldcrest and Firecrest), which are also species i love to watch.

With the crowd having now relaxed, having all had a decent view of the bird it truily became an enjoyable twitch! With many 'familiar faces' being present, the conversation and atmosphere was brilliant. To catch up with so many familiar, old, and new faces is one of the reason i enjoy twitching.

You all know who you are, so i wont bother with that, but thanks all for making this bird ever more sweeter! Cheers to Dave for the find, certainly one of my most enjoyable midlands twitches in a long time!
Lets do it again!


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

#The Midlanders are coming! (Yet again!)

The opening month of the year is always an exiting one for me! And it was with great excitement when 3 of the 'crew' from our last #TheMidlandersAreComing expedition exchanged plans to thrash the North Norfolk coastline. Any birders dream!
So, around 4am, the journey started from deepest Worcestershire, and having met the other 2 of our crew, Gert, Neil, Mike and me started burning up some rubber eastwards!
Our first destination was one of Royal stature, as we pulled into the small, country roads of the Sandringham Estate. Needless to say, the shady atmosphere was on heightened by a number of cars being parked at awkward angles on the verges and the regular slow drive pasts of a number of similarly shady looking vehicles, with many occupants gazing anxiously down the roads.
Our reasoning for being there on those country roads, surrounded on all sides by large rhododendrons was perhaps no less shady. We were in search of a glimpse of the gaudy Golden Pheasants which inhabit the area.
Having sat in the car for 30 minuites, the sun now up high in the sky, and with no sign of anything 'Golden' we decided to leave, as, if i am honest, the sight of lines of non-native hedgerow were boring us.
So we drove up to the coastal 'resort' town of Hunstanton, where there was significantly more in the way of wildlife!
Our arrival was greeted by thick fog, but from the car we spied 2 Dark-bellied Brent Goose on the beach, as well as Redshank and Bar-Tailed Godwit.Having found a suitable parking spot however, we walked the promenade north, where we were greeted by the presence of a stunning flock of around 150 Dark-belled Brent Goose, with their evocative call piercing through the fog!
From the far north end of the Promenade, we quickly found at least 5 Fulmar on and around the cliffs, but we quickly became distracted when the fog started to lift by the sea. Around 30 Bar-tailed Godwit were feeding at various points along the tideline, as were numerous Sanderling, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Turnstone. A single Ringed Plover flew past, and Dunlins were also moving through.
With the fog having now, we were able to scan the sea, and soon our list of ' desirble' birds was increasing. 20 RED-BREASTED MERGANSER were feeding offshore, as were a few Great-crested grebes. Good numbers of Teal and Wigeon were flying past distantly, and these included 4 Shoveler, a single Goosander and oddly, 2 Mute Swans! Certainly the latter i was not expecting on a seawatch!
Next up, it was further north east along the famous coast road. Holme Dunes.
On the pool immediately opposite the car park a Greenshank was feeding, a species i have never previously caught up with in January! The pool also hosted healthy numbers of Little Egrets, Redshank and a couple if Bar-tailed Godwits, with more on the tideline. A wisp of 4 Snipe flew over us and our first Grey Plovers of the day were feeding from the wet sand.
Hundreds of ducks and geese were feeding in the fields behind the beach, mostly comprising of Wigeon and Teal. The Greylag flock held a single Pink-footed goose, but my main highlight was getting decent views of at least 3 MARSH HARRIER, including one pristine, stunning male! In my opinion, Marsh Harrier are one of the best breeding birds we have in Britain, and i still always get that moment of excitement when i pan onto one!
Bring on the day they're breeding in the midlands!

A single Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and a fly through Peregrine completed the bird of prey list for the site!

Next it was onto the site of our first twitch. Burnham Ovary, where a certain Buzzard was currently in residence. It felt somewhat blasphemous driving past Titchwell RSPB without stopping, but our plan was to take shape!

Our scanning for Buzzards was fruitless, with only 4 Commons seen, but it was more than made up for by 2 stunning RED KITE which drifted in and hunted over 'Gun hill'. In common with the aforemented Harrier, Red Kite must go down as one of the most graceful birds to watch, gracefully swaying its tail from side to side to adjust its trajectory as it sweeps low over open fields, and this time having a backdrop of the North Sea!
 A single Barnacle Goose was feeding in the fields, as was a large flock of Brent goose,but with time wearing away, and with their being no sign of our main target, we took a unanimous decision to head inland.
A long staying party of PARROT CROSSBILLS have taken up residence in a wood just on the edge of Holt country park. However, before we had gotten to far from Burnham we drove past Holkham, where we managed to 'tick' Egyptian Goose for the day without even slowing the car!
 With some excellent map reading skills from Mike, we arrived at the location of Edgefield woods without any problem!
A short walk later and a small crowd appeared staring into the tops of pine tree's. It took a matter of a few seconds to realise where the birds were, and soon after, we were all getting decent, if often obstructed views of 4 PARROT CROSSBILL as they fed in the tops of the tree's

 They really were quite a pain to get a decent view of! Looking almost vertically to see a bird jump from one branch to another! Occasionally however, the birds would appear in the open, showing off their massive bulk, which, even though there were non for direct comparison obviously dwarfed Common Crossbill (2 flew over calling)

Having all been satisfied with this life tick, and having got decent views, it was time to head off again. We had to pay homage to the Norfolk birding gods.

Titchwell here we come!
We rushed straight to the beach, which was sadly looking very different to the last time i was here! The recent tidal surge had all but destroyed the dunes, so much so that it is not an exaggeration to say there were non! The power of the sea!

Luckilly however, the surge did not damage the main reserve, unlike the fate of many other reserves along the coast.
The sea was practically dead. Around 100 Common Scoter could be seen offshore, and 30 Goldeneye in nice and close, but otherwhys it was painfully hard going.
We started walking back towards the Parrinder hide, birding as we went, and the birding soon picked up! A good selection of waders were present, including Oystercatcher, Avocet, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlews and a very good sized flock of Ruff (28!). A single Knot joined the Lapwings on the freshmarsh briefly, but nothing could prepare us for the next 10 minutes.
We were guided onto a female SCAUP, and soon after one of our group picked out a nice 1st winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL on the islands.
Marsh Harriers were circling over the reedbed looking back towards the south, when all of a sudden, the hide was lashed by horizontal rain!

In the distance, a huge flock of around 6000 Pink-footed Goose battled past as the storm grew ever worse, and it was only a few seconds before the first lightening bolt struck the floor, illuminating 9 roosting Marsh Harriers as they were spooked from the reedbed.
It was surreal to be watching these gorgeous Raptors battling against the wind and rain, and to often share the same field of view as a lightening bolt striking the floor, a memory that I'm sure will stay with me for a long time! Absolutely amazing!
However, just as quick as it arrived, the storm had moved east, and we were again treated to gorgeous clear weather, and a stunning sunset.
Stunning isn't it,
 Look at those stripes on that hat!
If you would prefer a version without the addition of a 'Suited birder', see the additional option below.

But no!
It didn't end there, we moved down the track slightly, to where the reedbed joins the path, and we stopped and scanned. And its a good job we did, as soon after, our model from the above photo was calling out the presence of a stunning ringtail HEN HARRIER! In the fading light, its pale rump patch stood out like a beacon, and as we watching this gorgeous, rare, and sadly persecuted bird of prey, a BARN OWL flew across and started hunting in the same field of view!
This is what Norfolk is about folks!
What a way to end the day!
With the sun now set, a cheeky Suffolk cider in a nearby Thornham pub finished the day off nicely. 98 species, great company, and great location. That's what birding is about!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Tri-county Birding- Seabirds and Gulls

With the days slowly getting longer, the opportunity for some late night gull watching in the roost at Bartley comes into play, and after suffering the horrendous traffic from Dudley to Bartley Green we arrived with about 15 minutes before darkness.
Luckily, a selection of locals were already present, and after getting out of the car i was quickly ushered by Terry onto a stunning 1st winter CASPIAN GULL, which really was a looker of a bird.
Even in the low light, it stood out like a sore thumb, so much so that after leaving Terrys scope and setting up my own, i was on it within a few seconds! Luckily, it was in with the closest mass of Gulls, with most having landed near the dam end.
Unfortunately, i failed to pick out the Iceland, but the light had all but gone by that time.
Having dipped the Velvet Scoter earlier in the week, i was somewhat relieved to hear that it had been refound! This time in adjacent Shropshire! So with the morning tasks done, we took the relatively short journey up to Telford.
Luckily, again, a few familiar faces were present and on site at the time, and they relieved me by saying the bird was still showing.
Pulling into the layby at Priorslee Lake revealed a nice group of mostly local birders, all of whom had come to admire this seaduck!
Soon after, i was watching the female VELVET SCOTER as it swam around with the flock of Tufted Duck, Pochard and Coot really close in to the dam! It was great to be able to study this unusual seaduck so closely, as most Scoter are usually miles away sitting on the sea. It was quite surreal to see a duck, so closely tied to the sea swimming around and happily feeding with a flock of Tufted Duck just about as far from the sea as you can get! 

What made the visit even better though was the presence of 3 GREATER SCAUP (1w drake and 2 females) which were similarly swimming around and roosting with the Tufted's at close range!

Priorslee is also famed for its Gulls, and it wasn't long before a YELLOW-LEGGED GULL joined the flock briefly before it was flushed by a Sparrowhawk and flew north with the majority of the Gulls.
With a dark cloud now approaching, we decided to bite the bullet and blast along the A5 towards Cannock, were more avian treats awaited us.
Gailey Reservoirs was the next destination, despite no news having emerged from the site, so we were 'going in blind'. Once parked and scanning, we quickly located the GREAT-NORTHERN DIVER, which was showing well on the sailing pool. It was while watching this though that i turned and scanned the edges of the fishing pool, were i was struck by a white 'object' in the reedbed adjacent to a flock of Grey Herons. A few seconds later, and the head and neck of a GREAT WHITE EGRET emerged from the reeds, showing off its bright yellow bill. It was while trying to get the attention of some nearby birders though that i saw the bird jump out of the reeds, and then very quickly fly off along the shore, and then over the treeline heading south.

As if the Egret had sensed danger, this was quickly followed the by arrival of the local hunting 'party' (Feel free to change the word 'party with a word of personal preference). Needless to say, once they started going 'gun ho' on anything that flew by, i vacated the site in disgust at how such vile people can live in a so called 'civilised world'. It was somewhat heart wrenching to see a female Goldeneye flying for its life followed by a barrage of gunfire, and more so to see an unidentified duck fall out of the sky having had its body plastered in shotgun shot.
With the light now dropping, a brief drop into Engine lane, Brownhills was rewarded with very good views of the GLOSSY IBIS as it fed in the now very saturated 2nd paddock. After a brief time watching, the streams of Gulls passing over our heads became obvious, and it was time for the pilgrimage to Chasewater,

As if just to show the amount of luck i have had for the day, everything about the Gull roost was perfect. Due to the strong southerly winds, a large proportion of the gulls seemed to be using the south shore as cover, and were very close in for roost standards. Having just placed my scope down on the south shore, i panned onto my main targets. A stunning juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL! As it was still 'early' in the roost, and with the bird being very close in, i took the opportunity to get some pictures and video as it sat on the water!

Having been joined by a few extra gullers, we were soon grilling the flocks, and being in the prime position we were able to pick out 3 CASPIAN GULLS (The 2 regular adults and a 3w bird), which was also a huge surprise, as i have never had more than singles in the roost before. As if to complete the set, we also picked up 2 YELLOW-LEGGED GULL, ending what was probably the best possibly days birding in the midlands for the time of year!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Excellent Midlands birding!

Remember how in the last post i said i saw some pale looking Redpoll's with a Goldfinch flock on the Golf Course at Lineholt?

Well it turns out that an hour or so after we left, a local birder went on to find a stunning flock of Mealy Redpoll!

I wonder!

Anyway, i returned the next day, and i was treated to decent views of them as they fed in the tops of birch tree's along the southern edge of the Golf course. It was hard to estimate numbers in some very dense tree's, but while i was there a flock of 25 Redpoll were present, including at least 18 MEALY REDPOLL!

Most were of the 'greyish' kind, but there were also around 5 really stunning pale birds (Check out the 2nd bird in the video!).

Looking into the setting sun made it hard to get anything other than silhouetted or 'darker than real life' photos, but as usual i tried!

My first visit to Sheepwash this year was rewarded with a good flock of 35 Goosander. More impressive though in my opinion was the 29 Tufted Duck, one of my highest counts from the site! 2 Shoveler and 16 Pochard completed the list of 'highlights'.

I was shocked by the lack of Pochard on the lake, as usually by this time of year the flock is nearing 40! Sadly, as shown by the recent WeBS survey, it seems as if numbers of this red-headed diving duck have declined hugely in the UK. Reasons for this are fairly clear, and perhaps more-so this winter. Mild winter temperatures throughout Europe means that many of our winter species don't have to travel as far to reach a reasonable winter climate, and many of 'our' birds are now regularly wintering on the continent.

With the year list off to a flying start, Neil Duggan again offered a morning out birding in Staffordshire and north Birmingham. Our reasoning?

A seaduck that continues to elude me, as well as a whole host of excellent species!

Aqualate mere was playing host to a good number of ducks, so arriving at dawn we took the relativly easy tack towards the hide. While walking down the fenceline however it became clear we were quickly going to regret our decision, the boardwalk was under 2 ft of water!
Reluctantly we continued walking, we had come to far not to search! And within a short distance, both of us and our boots were inundated with water. Even my wellies were not enough to keep my toes from getting wet!

Our suffering was rewarded along the boardwalk when 2 WILLOW TIT were feeding along the hedgeline feeding and calling. After a few seconds watching, we continued on. 

The Mere was very full of water, but our task had become even harder than thought!
Every one of the ducks were on the very far side of the lake, and because of that were very hard to view. For an hour we scanned, in which Neil expertly picked out a drake Pintail (which i couldn't pick up until much later), but neither of our target species were showing!

With time passing on, and with us both needing to be in Dudley by 2, we took the decision to move on, and we were soon pulling off onto the backroad at Gailey. Again our confidence was taken from us when we were told out main target had flown out half and hour or so before! Not only that, a seriously heavy rainstorm then hit, and as well as being birdless, we were now soaked from head to toe!

Luckily, the GREAT-NORTHERN DIVER was showing as we scanned and sheltered from the sailing buildings. The weather was truly awful by now, and here is a photo of the Diver to give you the idea!

We chose that as our time to leave. Not much longer after that, we were pulling into Engine lane, just outside Brownhills where the GLOSSY IBIS from had reappeared from the previous year was currently residing!

The bird wasn't too hard to locate, and was showing very well in the 2nd paddock, feeding around the feet of the horses and in the deep mud!

It was somewhat surreal to think that the bird, originating from somewhere on the Iberian Peninsular had somehow found its way to rainy, and somewhat dreary Brownhills, and then chose to spent the winter there!

I can tell you, if i had wings, Brownhills would certainly not be my first choice of Winter home!

With Stubbers Green being on the way home, it would have been rude not to have a look. And a few minutes after, we were pulling up adjacent to the pools. Worryingly, there were very few gulls present throughout our visit, with no more than 80 large gulls at a time. A adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL dropped in briefly for a wash, but it was soon off out again to feed on the tip. Just after mid-day however, the visit was somewhat enlightened by the appearance of one of my favorite winter birds!


The great thing about Stubbers though, is as well as having great Gulls like this, you get really stonking views of them. Personally, these were probably the best views of an Iceland as i have had.

As well as being a very 'crisp' looking adult, what makes this bird more interesting is its life history! Every winter since it was in juvenile plumage, this bird has returned to North Birmingham, and i have managed to catch up with it in 2nd winter, 3rd winter, 4th winter and adult plumage's! It is great to think that this bird has found something it likes with the area. Maybe its the prominence of Landfill in the area? Or maybe its proximity to Chasewater to roost? Or even possibly the fact it just likes Walsall!  Whatever it may be, i'm very glad we have this bird returning year after year!


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Birding and Guitars

Finding myself in Edgbaston  to pick up my new guitar, it would have been rude not to drive the couple of miles up the road to admire the Great-Northern Diver that had (Somewhat ridiculously) taken up temporary residence on the Swan Pool in Sandwell valley!
So, with my Les Paul Studio sitting on the back seat, it was a short drive through the back streets of Edgbaston and Smethwick to our destination. A quick walk out to the lake edge and the GREAT-NORTHERN DIVER was showing on the far side of the pool.

Having seen around 40 the previous day, i chose not to walk around to the other side to get a closer look, and after a short time, decided to cross the road to Forge Mill Lake. Sadly, the amazingly close views of the previous day, and with them seeming almost 'common' i was left somewhat with a glazed look in my eyes. Around 20 Goosander were feeding there, as were very good numbers of Pochard. Moving around the the partially rebuilt RSPB center, i looked over the feeders, and soon found my main target. WILLOW TIT.

Sadly, this is a species that has all but disappeared from my home county, and it is hard to believe that i once had both Willow Tit and Tree Sparrow visiting my garden! Within a few seconds through, the bird had flicked onto the feeder, collected its seed and flew off to eat/stash it away somewhere, and i didn't see it again.

Somewhere nearby, i found myself watching a party of RING-NECKED PARAKEETS, as they flew around calling, and eventually settling on tree's in someones back garden, where i was able to scope them through a hedgeline, 2 metal fences and across a school playing field! Thankfully, being the school holidays, there were no issues with doing so!

Having such a great start to the year was made even better when Neil Duggan offered me a day out, collecting a local rarity and then heading down to Slimbridge for their spectacular wintering flocks!

The TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS were being as elusive as ever, but were tracked down in a stand of pines as they called incessantly for a while before flying out and disappearing altogether! As i had hoped,the Two-Bars became my 100th species for the year. A good number of Common Crossbill were also showing, some landing in trees adjacent to the path!

With short winter days, time was limited, so we then started towards Slimbridge, but a spur of the moment trip had us dropping into Lineholt, were other than a distant flock of 10c Redpoll sp (Associating with Goldfinch on the Golf course) nothing was seen. Interestingly, one or two looked fairly pale, but with the light and distance they were hard to ID with certainty.

Our arrival at the car-park at Slimbridge was greeted by masses of circling Lapwing and Golden Plover over the tack piece, and it was here where we first headed. Bewick's Swan were dotted along the flooded fields, surrounded by thousands of Lapwing, Golden Plover, and hundreds of Black-Tailed Godwit!

It was clear though, that the most activity was from the Holden tower, as following a very high tide, a large layer of silt created ideal feeding opportunities for thousands of birds. And i mean THOUSANDS! Around 3000 each of Lapwing and Golden Plover, nearing 2000 Dunlin (The most i have ever personally seen here in winter) and similar numbers of both Wigeon and Teal, it was immense!

This is surely the meaning of birding in a British wintertime!

Despite these massive numbers of birds, numbers of White-Fronted Goose and Bewick Swan were seemingly well down, with only 170 White fronts and only 30 Bewicks! The reasons for this are clear though just by walking outside and looking at the sky. A very mild winter (and hence the almost no-stop rain) means our northern and eastern visitors have no need to venture so far west to find sufficient food, so they are currently feeding somewhere in Germany or the like. Certainly not in the UK!

While scanning Teal and the very far edge of the Dumbles however i was surprised to find a female GOOSANDER sitting in with them just off an area of floodwater, well back from the estuary edge! Certainly not a bird i exactly associate with flood water!The resident BRENT GOOSE was showing fairly well on the Dumbles edge.

The Zeiss hide was very quiet in comparison. But 4 Avocet made up for the lack of birds as they roosted on the somewhat flooded flash. A Cetti's warbler was showing stunningly well on the edge of the reeds, which was a real privilege!

With the light fading, and after a quick check of the 'south finger' we decided to look for Egrets at Court lake at Frampton. A Kingfisher, 6 Little Grebe, 10 Pochard and very good numbers of Tufted Duck were noted, but we failed to see any Egrets.