Well I enjoyed Wednesday's patch sarnie so much that I decided to have seconds today (Thursday). Took Ezzie with me to speed up transit between patch portions and arrived at Pumphouse Pool 09:30.
Pumphouse Pool 09:30
249 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 20 Black-headed Gull, 13 Herring Gull is the gullage on't pool this morning. Kingfisher puts in his usual appearance... today zipping along the north shoire of the island, calling. There are 5 juvenile Moorhen pottering about, 2 Grey Herons, 4 Gadwall, 7 Tufty, 1 Pochard, 4 Mallard and 20 Coot on the water. In a change from yesterday, there are 19 Canada Geese here today and no waders at all; not even a single Lapwing. On the shore there are 2 Pied Wagtails, 3 Magpies and 3 Carrion Crows. No Grey Wagtails today and no hirundines. Time to head for the river...
Halfway House 10:00
25 Gadwall fly over as I'm setting up my stuff, else things look similar to yesterday... Can't decide though where the Lapwing are at though, as they're strung out along the mud. Takes a count with my clicker to realise that numbers are up again - 874. Curlews are about the same (3) and the single Little Egret is here again feeding in the shallows. Lesser Black-backed Gull numbers are down (215), Black-headed Gulls about the same (224) as are Great Black-backed (2) and Herring Gull (12) but there are twice as many Common Gulls. Yes, there are two! There are Canada Geese and Greylags out on the mud again (12 and 10 respectively) and the 2 white 'domestics' are here again too. Don't know where the rest of yesterday's Canadas are, nor where the 3 extra Greylags came from. 31 Wood Pigeon, 5 Feral Pigeon, 2 Stock Dove, 3 Cormorants, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sand Martins and a female Kestrel complete the feel of 'yesterday-ness'... UNTIL...
A Raven has just flown over calling and I'm watching the Little Egret that has just flown across the river and landed on the muddy margin on the far shore in front of Cuerdley Marsh. The wind has picked up. No rain today but the wind has a fat northerly edge to it, which tends to push things right to left from where I'm sitting, from upriver to downriver. The Little Egret has caught something. I'm hitting the x60 on my trusty Zeiss and sharpening the focus on it when there's a sharp, harsh 'teuk... teuk' close in. I look up to catch a solitary TURNSTONE blow past low along the near shore. I dash around the reeds in front of me to look downriver towards the stoney embankments and wall but can't find it again. Maybe it flipped over onto the ship canal. Either way it is THE patch bird of the year so far for me!!! Better even than the spring passage Knot and Sanderling. I really didn't think I get a Turnstone on the patch (see This week, I have been mostly eating... roasted chicken). Bloody marvellous and patch year tick 126!!!
Well, something tells me that I'm not gonna get better than that on the river this morning and so I decide to head off and check a few more spots. First off Norton Marsh Pool. There's been bugger all on here since mid-Jul and I figured with stuff starting to move through it was worth a look. Money was on, if anything, Green Sandpiper as there'd been one at Pumphouse yesterday so they were definitely about. Dump everything but my bins in the car and me and Ez are flying down the tracks on Upper Moss Side. Get to the hide in no time, lean Ezzie against the benches inside and nip out onto the marsh. Looks like Duncan's cut a path through to the pool... handy. Sneak along it through the Phrag and... Green Sandpiper up and away. Ha! Well, if there's one, there could be more. Hop on the bike and shoot around to the Tower Hide Pools, but alas, they are completely overgrown and there's no water anywhere. Upshot... no waders. Meh! SO, Pumphouse to finish methinks.
Pumphouse Pool 12:00
Pretty much the same as earlier, but minus the Kingfisher. Moorhen juvs seem to be liking the conditions - there are 10 spread around, max count that I think. Coots are clearly resting up out of sight as there's only 10 on show compared to double that a couple of hours ago. Gull numbers are about the same... OK. Just got time to check the Viaduct Pools.
Viaduct Pools 12:40ish
There are 2 pools by the viaduct separated by a bund. The larger, eastern pool which you can see through the fence from the track along the south side of Pumphouse is shallow and dries out very quickly and never really pulls much in, although finches like to feed on the slopes during the winter. The smaller, western pool holds water, is Typha fringed with muddy margins and sometimes pulls in passage stuff, like Green Sandpiper. Worth, therefore, a check. Today the area to the west of this pool is also watery, but a soggy sedgey slosh around both yields nothing except 40 Goldfinch that erupt from the thistle - a max patch count for the year.
Not a bad way to end a sesh.