The time and the place.

I got to Marshside an hour or two before high tide today and settled down at the end of the Sandplant as the waters crept in over the outer marsh.
It’s the right time and right place, so I wasn’t surprised to see my first two Wheatears of the year hanging around on the south side, as 30+ Skylarks and Mipits fed in the fenced off area.
Both Wheatears frequently flew up to perch on posts and lean into the strengthening south westerly breeze, allowing me to look down on them from the cover of the sandplant revetment…

Marvellous birds, wonderful to see them back, as a Chiffchaff sang in the scrub behind me.
I wasn’t expecting a female/first winter bird so early on though, usually I just see adult males in March, although I seem to remember females were moving early last year too…?
As the marsh disappeared one (or was that two?) Short Eared Owl took to the air, hunting briefly along the water’s edge before searching for drier ground to the north, and two Merlins zoomed about.
The air fizzed with clouds of waders, gulls and egrets – you can’t beat a big tide at Marshside.

Offshore two drakes and a duck Eider bobbed about on the swell, while the waters pushed thousands of geese off the outer marsh and onto Crossens Inner.

The ringed second summer Med Gull was off Sandgrounders, and one of the female Scaup and a Pochard was with Tufties on the Sandplant Lagoon.
The Spoonbill was hoovering through the Avocet carpet on the flashes behind Polly’s, and the two Barnacle Geese were still about.

The day began to drop cold as the tide receded, so I headed up to Crossens, where pipits and Pied Wags were feeding on the freshly exposed turf and on Crossens Inner the small Canada Goose was with thousands of Pink Feet and showing well, or at least it would have if I’d walked down the inner bank, but by then I was too cold, so ‘scoped the tease from the pull-in.