Excellent few hours down at Marshside today over the tide, with possibly the most interesting critter being this colour ringed Mediterranean Gull.
The bird was initially fast asleep in the roost at the back of Marshside One (Rimmers Marsh) with about 4,000 other gulls, mainly BHGs.
An adult, it was almost in full summer plumage, apart from a small white blaze above the bill. Luckily after about 15 minutes it came out onto the water for a bath along with the BHGs, right in front of Nels Hide.
It didn't sit still for long on the water, but while shaking my head at my pitiful digiscoping attempts, I noticed on a few blown up images that the bird was ringed.
In the light it was hard to make out what colours the bird's bands were - but it definately had two pale ones on the right leg, beyond that, it was anyone's guess.
You can just make the rings out on this blow-up....where is that from?
I believe there was a Dutch bird at Seaforth a while back - is this the same one?
Anyone have any ideas?
Away from the gull roost there are now ten Avocets dozing miserably in the shallower water between Nels and Marshside Road, looking full of the joys of Spring.
Marshside Two (Suttons Marsh) had good numbers of Golden Plover (up to 2,000 birds, including one or two coming into summer plumage), Little Egrets, a few Ruff and Dunlin and frisky Lapwings and Blackwits.
A fine young Merlin got all perchy in front of Sandgrounders for a few minutes before tazzing off to put the fear of God into everything again.
At Polly's Creek a Greater Black Back knocked down a Wigeon and with another bird trying to grab pieces, it managed to reduce the duck to spinal cord and a head in just under 45 minutes.
The Carrion Crows and Magpies didn't get a look in.
On the outer marsh, another Merlin was hunting, as was the sub-adult male Hen Harrier, which swept in once or twice close to the road, but never when I was ready with my camera, the weasel.
It perched up in the spartina once or twice, both north and south of the Sandplant, and even flew onto Marshside Two for a reccy before heading back across the road again.
A superb bird.
Much less challenging to photograph were the Kestrels hanging around the remains of the Sandplant walls, where two Grey Partridges broke cover - that's two more than I've seen on the mosses for quite some time.
About 25 Skylarks up hovering and singing over the outer marsh now.
A few Mipits were going over, but nothing to suggest serious passage yet, and the Sandplant lagoon had 13 Pochard, Cormorant, Oycs etc.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...