Today I was reminded of why I enjoy my job! I got to count birds all day all across the whole reserve in the sun :-) We had a couple of Garganey and a wigeon on the far pool along with shoveller and pintail and 1500 teal (2500 were counted last week with 2620 equalling 1% of the UK population!). On our way out to the marsh we had excellent views of 6 curlew sandpipers, dunlin, spotted redshank, greenshank and redshank on the Decca pools. While out on the flooded marsh with water up to our waists we saw the marsh harrier, peregrine and a low flying plane (!) flush curlew, egrets and 1000's of black headed-gulls. 20 bar tailed godwits flew right over our heads! We didnt get to the end of the marsh although it felt like it swamping through deep water the entire way! 80 cormorants were at the waters edge. The highlight on the way back was 5 black terns within 20m of us behind the Decca compound. Such delicate birds! To finish the day in a nice day Geoff came and gave us a lift back to base!
The only downer of the whole day was to see one of old fence posts floatig off down the Denhall gutter! Last Tuesday an enthusiastic group of volunteers helped Geoff and I remove all the old fencing in the Decca compound with the exception of a few tall posts that we left for the birds to roost on. However we are unable to take away the posts and fence yet as one of the bridges needs replacing before a vehcile can cross the marsh. So our taken down posts were left in neat piles only to be scatterred by the tides!
You may have noticed that the compounds are full of water and not sheep! A hasty removel was made Friday morning and they are now safe over on the MOD ranges. Our tenant has a new shepherd in place - Dominic from down south. He is very tall giving him an advantage when spotting sheep on the marsh! He is keen to both increase the quality and quantity of the flock.
Im off home to ride my bike now!