With all that drizzle, and a nice warm easterly, I needed a quick look at Marshside for an hour or two this afternoon.
Very, very murky and at first glance pretty quiet...but there's hope for the coming weeks.
With Nels Hide shut I popped into Sandgrounders for a scan of Marshshide Two.
Good numbers of Curlews (check for Whimbrels) feeding in the long vegetation and Ruddy Duck, Redshanks and three Dunlin on the Sandplant Pool.
Two more Dunlin up at Polly's Creek, and the usual Blackwits and Lapwings.
Common Sandpiper, Teal and Gadwall about too, with at least one Golden Plover in with a flock of spooked Curlews and Blackwits on Crossens Marsh.
That's all very well, but I needed a bit more, so headed out to check the Sandplant compound and Mount Baker in the drizzle.
Distantly, a juvenile Marsh Harrier was hunting the gloomy outer marsh, visible from the sad remnants of Mount Baker, now gouged and covered in scrambler bike tracks and digging.
English Nature should be very proud.
A Red Admiral was up there with me, and out on the mudflats and furthest creeks, five Little Egrets were feeding.
The Forest of Bale held at least two yellowy juvenile Willow Warblers, a few bedraggled Meadow Pipits and a single Whitethroat, all flycatching on the sheltered western side.
The Willow Warblers were zipping everywhere, never sitting still as they chased insects.
Walking back to the car, a Wheatear was flitting about, but most of the time it looked kinda tired and wet on the southern side of the Sandplant walls
Sympathising with its condition, I squelched on, but it's my first one of the autumn, hopefully the first of many.
Small groups of Swallows and Mipits were heading south, and it actually began to feel like birds were finally on the move...soon the July doldrums will be a distant memory.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies....