A late trip out to Cliffe Pools blackberrying yielded a lot of distant bird sightings today. The below large bird of prey was visible way over towards the distant docks; I was hoping it would be a marsh harrier, as they are well-known inhabitants of these wastes, and according to my bird-watching friend Matt, that's exactly what it is. The pools, too, yielded large numbers of waders; last time they were dominated by a group of spoonbills, but these ones turned out to be avocets. There were some spoonbills keeping to the background, but none came within range of my lens.
It was less than a month ago that these pools were populated by spoonbills, striding purposefully along and waving their spatulate beaks back and forth in the shallows. Today’s birds looked similar in the distance, but had splodges of black as well – zoom photographs revealed them as avocets! One or two spoonbills still hanging around in the distance though, along with the odd little egret. Plenty of lapwings too, and a dense stand of grey-brown waders all facing the wrong way. I think they might be bar-tailed godwits, but I wouldn’t swear to it.
Later, the raptor returned, (or a raptor anyway), and put the wind up a lot of these waders. The masked face markings identify it as a female marsh harrier I think - rather than the more common buzzard!