Very grey and very raw at Marshside today, as Bazzo and I discovered.
Not much round the old Sandplant site, apart from a few Song Thrushes, Robin, Dunnock etc, while the Sandplant lagoon held 43 Pochard and 53 Tufties.
The view from Sandgrounders was as expected - Little Egrets, a few Lapwings, a small gull roost and pockets of wildfowl being spooked by the GBBs, and Nels Hide didn't offer much more than that.
A large roost of Blackwits, 2,000+ gulls dozing and bathing at the back (white wing free), and the usual Pintail, Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler.
So far, so February.
Luckily Marshside has an ace in its back pocket this winter - Crossens Outer is on fine form.
Even after the high tides earlier in the week had flattened much of the bleached vegetation, there were two Short Eared Owls hunting, the sub-adult male Hen Harrier was cruising up and down in the gloom, and the Bittern was on the prowl again, in the usual area, but a bit further out.
The Shorties were a fair way out too, but I never tire of watching 'em....like last winter, a pale and a dark bird on the wing today, weaving and hovering over the grasses, while numerous Grey Herons glowered at 'em.
Although the owls put the wind up the Starling and wader flocks, the latter didn't fly far, almost as if they knew the Seos were unlikely to pick on them. Far more interested in the owls are the local Carrion Crows, which mobbed the birds any time they gained any height above the marsh.
They left 'em alone while they quartered low down, but as soon as they rose 30 feet or so in the air, the corvids were right on 'em...not that the owls seemed too bothered. 'Bout 500 Pinkies with numerous Little Egrets and a Ruff on the flatter grass of the outer marsh, and two hunting Merlins.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...