Superb day at Marshside today - tide right over the outer marsh, hordes of birds on the wing, a raging hooley blowing and occasional sunshine.
Actually on the subject of hooleys, I have decided to re-grade the Dempsey/Beaufort windscale following this Thursday gone.
If 10 is maximum hooley strength, then the "mega mad-basted killer hooley" that ripped into the north west probably scored 16.
Consequently, today's hooley level 7 gale from the south west felt like a gentle balmy breeze.
I struggled round the peninsula first thing, and got onto the top of Mount Baker for a serious buffeting, with the tide surging over the marsh a good 90 minutes before its peak.
Two Grey Partridges flew up and were blown backwards past me - interesting.
On the Sandplant pools a NEW male Scaup, almost a full adult, was amongst the Pochard, but the hides were already full of visitors from Leeds.
The coachtrip had a fine time.
Met Si Glinn and we walked up to Crossens as the marsh disappeared under water - it really was Marshside at its best, with birds everywhere - at least three Short Eared Owls, 5 Little Egrets, plenty of Pink Feet and wildfowl, Merlins, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk.
Voles flushed out of the grass by the waters were being eaten by everything from Black Headed Gulls to Kestrels.
I'd have had one myself (I left Dempsey Towers without having any brekkie today), but I didn't fancy getting wet.
As the tide reached its peak, Short Eared Owls and Sprawks zoomed past, but it was virtually impossible to get a sharp shot of them in the high winds (that's my excuse anyway).
Great to watch the owls battling past in bright sunlight - one even headed out over the waves of the estuary for about 400 metres as it looked for somewhere dry to settle.
This Sprawk had no problem.
The high tide flypast continued with Pink Feet, Skylarks, Redshanks, Pintail and everything else being moved off by the rising water.....
As the tide fell back, we walked back down to the Sandplant and peninsula but it was quieter now, with a male Stonechat and dead Razorbill notable.
The same three Scaup were asleep off Nels Hide in exactly the same place as they were last week (see blog entry "Scoping Scaup") and there were several hundred gulls roosting at the bottom of Marshside One.
A dodgy Barnacle Geese was in with the Pinkies today. Less said about that the better.
Good gull roost at Taggs Island on the way home too.
Anyway, the tide is even higher tomorrow, so if you wanna see the spectacle, you know where to go.
Tide high at about 12.30pm.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...