Steart Marshes - 24 January 2015 (morning - high Spring tide)
Suite of winter raptors and spectacular swirling flocks of wader.
1 Merlin (female/2cy type) - flew in low and fast from the NE, passed Mendip Hide and landed on a grassy bank looking very attentive. Five minutes later, flew off low over Otterhampton Marshes, apparently hunting.
2 Peregrine - adult (probable male) dive bombing into a wheeling Dunlin flock above the beach off Wall Common. Later a 2cy male was seen hunting very fast and low over the marshes. It attacked some waders but the outcome was undetermined.
3 Kestrel - one perched quite closeby to Mendip Hide and the other two hover-hunting.
6+ Common Buzzard - two soaring together, and the others all loafing about on low perches or on the ground.
15,000+ Dunlin - including huge flock around 12,000 seemingly airborne virtually continuously for at least two hours.
3,200+ Golden Plover - most in a single but dispersed flock seen patrolling the skies above the beach off Wall Common for at least 90 minutes.
280+ Curlew - single flock roosting on Wall Common beach.
70+ Avocet - tight flock flying around above the River Parrett.
25+ Grey Plover
20+ Common Snipe - flushed from the marshes by the incoming tide.
6 Little Egret
8 Grey Heron
30+ Mute Swan 2 Whooper Swan - in flock of c25 Mute Swan in field adjacent to and visible from Main Car Park.
40+ Black-headed Gull
6 Common Gull
1 Greater Black-backed Gull
15+ Meadow Pipit
2 Song Thrush
6 Pied Wagtail