First stop this morning was Crossens; I scanned the outer marsh for activity, I wasn't disappointed; I picked up a distant female Merlin perched on the big horizontal tree trunk. She blasted off after some Starlings and that was that. My first Merlin of the ornithological autumn. Female Kestrel out there too. Next stop Marshside where c. 300 Black-tailed Godwits flitted between the saltmarsh pools and Polly's pool. Five Little Egrets had learned the same trick.
Two Common Sandpipers were on view from the Sandgrounders screen and over at Nel's two adult male Ruff fed busily alongside c.155 Black-tailed Godwits. The high water levels on Rimmer's marsh are heaven for the 145 or so Coot, 21 Tufted Duck, 18 Mute Swans, 5 Gadwall and six Shoveler loafing there.
The real business of the day was to get my WeBS sector counted down at Birkdale and Ainsdale. Although I had a long, hot walk, I wasn't disappointed with the following birds counted; 6300 Dunlin, 2600 Sanderling, 110 Knot, 16 Ringed Plover, 228 Grey Plover, 125 Bar-tailed Godwit; 475 Oystercatcher, 318 Sandwich Tern (most I've ever seen there), five Common Tern, 140 Common Gull, 410 Black-headed Gull, 170 Herring Gull, 23 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 22 Greater Black-backed Gull, one Mediterranean Gull, one Great Crested Grebe, 28 Cormarant and a Grey Heron. Five Gannets were fishing offshore - always a delight to see. A good day on the beach.
Black-tailed Godwits on Marshside saltmarsh pools
Dunlin and Sanderling on Birkdale Sands
Sedge Warbler singing in the Alder scrub on the Green Beach at Birkdale