Got down to Marshside with Bazzo this morning just before 1130 and headed straight into the Sandplant compound...it was stuffed with Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Mipits, Blackbird, Robin, Reed Bunting, male Blackcap, Skylarks and overhead Rock Pipits (5 today), many concentrated into the area by the monster tide.
As we walked out to the west side we flushed a Short Eared Owl, one of two that flapped about like great big confused brown butterflies over the flooded marsh for the next hour or two, when they weren't being hassled by gulls etc (see pic above).
The water was covered in birds.
No idea how many Wigeon were out there - Bazzo went for a 40,000+ guess, and he was probably right.
All I know is that if it wasn't so cloudy and gloomy, they could probably have been seen from space.
Out past the wildfowl on the gentle grey swell, a Bonxie was resting on the sea - a dark bird, but we got reasonable scope views of a species not often encountered at the marsh.
A family party of five Whooper Swans fed at the edge of the submerged vegetation near an enterprising flock of about 500 Pinkies, and gulls (GBB, BHG, LBBs) were swooping down to scoop up voles like they were going out of fashion.
They were far more successful than the Grey Herons, Common Buzzard, 3-5 Marsh Harriers and 2 Short Eared Owls trying the same trick.
3 Merlin and several Kestrels hunting or perched up, with a Peregrine further out.
As the drizzle closed down visibility still further, a female Goosander came in from the south west to pitch down and feed in a deeper area of flooded marsh, and there were Little Egrets everywhere.
Once we had our high tide hit, we moved up to Crossens Outer, which was still largely underwater, but held about 500 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 30+ Ruff, Lapwing, Snipe, Blackwits, and up to 50 Dunlin.
A flock of about 70 Pink Feet strung out across a dry bank held three Barnacle Geese and a juvenile Greenland Whitefront, which was a bonus, while the Marsh Harriers drifted about just out of range behind the fenceline.
Could be even better tomorrow - the tide is higher and the weather is forecast to be much kinder.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...