I knew it was going to be good on the high tide today when just about the first bird I saw as I started walking north from the Sandplant was a Short Eared Owl, flapping about in that bewildered way, looking for dry land as the rising waters quickly covered the entire outer marsh.
Another two Short Eared Owls were trying to avoid the attention of mobbing gulls over the remaining vegetation opposite the old wildfowler's car park, and keen-eyed blog readers may just be able to make one out in this blurry shot!
(it's the sixth flying blurry blob from the left, honest!)
The water was right under the road long before the height of the tide and it flushed many Common Snipe, and two superb Jack Snipe, which flew right past me before pitching down in the last bit of unsubmerged vegetation just north of the Sandplant - great to see them away from Weld Road.
Obviously they'll be out on the marsh throughout winter, but seeing one of these skulky little critters is usually a different matter.
Met Dave Fletcher who'd had Jacks at Weld Road earlier, pushed out by the tide, and at least three Short Eared Owls on Crossens Outer.
After a quick chat I got down the bank and settled in to see what the tide would push up, just as the rain started to come in.
Voles (Bank/Short Tailed?) were swimming about trying to avoid being eaten and soon the floating debris began to fill up with Mipits, Skylarks and at least five Rock Pipits.
Particularly enjoyed watching the Rock Pipits even though everything was soaked in a predictably heavy shower or two.
Usually they're just a calling silhouette in the air above me on the marsh, so it was good to 'scope 'em on the deck for protracted periods of time...just how many winter at Marshside I wonder?
The air was filled with birds - waders (Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing etc), wildfowl, egrets, gulls, even the "little white goose" had a go at a flypast!
In all the excitement of a spring tide, it's easy to forget what a pain they are for many of the birds and voles - all that displacement, feeding grounds submerged, roosts disturbed etc.
Unless you're one of the gulls patrolling the edges picking off the exhausted or unwary of course, in which case it's a mega-picnic.
And, for those of us lucky enough to be able to witness it, it's a birding bonanza.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...