Wetter field conditions, a high tide and strong winds on the estuary have all combined to push and encourage lots of Dunlin onto the fields and scrape to roost giving us our highest count of the winter so far, with at least 1200 counted this morning.
This morning's counts included at least 184 on the Top New Piece and a further big flock on the Bottom New Piece viewed distantly, but better views from the Kingfisher Hide. Our Guide in the Hide John saw a Ringed Plover fly through and land on Bottom New Piece this morning, and he also had a Merlin fly over the Dumbles heading down river. A large number of Lapwing are also spread across the New Piece fields with an estimate of around 2400+ birds present. A dozen Ruff, 17 Snipe, 500+ Wigeon, 29 Shelduck and 2 Pochard were also present.
The Dunlin flock here was at least 941 birds mixed in with the Lapwing flock on Bottom New Piece. There were also a few Golden Plover, 3 Ruff and 2 Curlew. The flock of 232 Barnacle Geese were grazing here too.
Rather bleak out on the Dumbles this morning with only 450+ Canada Geese, 10 Cranes, 2 Peregrine and 14 Skylark seen. No sign yet of the Linnet flock close in and the lingering Twite.
A few duck were on the Pillbox Pool including 121 Wigeon, 8 Teal and 2 Shoveler.
Robbie Garnett Hide
A busy Tack Piece with the usual assortment of Wigeon and Teal along with 16 Shoveler, at least 5 Ruff, 10 Redshank and 83 Curlew. A good number of Golden Plover moved in to the field mid-morning but spent a lot of time in the air, presumably nervous of hunting raptors.
The Reserve Team will be working in the Duck Marsh today opposite the Hogarth Hide. Our colleagues will also be working on replacing a window section on the Discovery Hide so disturbance is expected. This morning's counts included 900+ Lapwing on the scrape with 8 Dunlin and 7 Black-tailed Godwit, two pairs of Wigeon outside Hogarth Hide with 10 Shoveler.