10th March 2016.

As an Avocet is a rare visitor to the Reserve (only the third time recorded here) and the high tide at noon would be bringing the Oystercatcher group it was associating with closer to shore - I decided to go looking for it.

It was being seen regularly along the tide line from the boundary fence east to the Viaduct. However, it was in front of Byers Cottage that I came across it. The tide was already lapping the edge of the saltmarsh and it was associating with a small group of about forty Oystercatchers. They (the Oystercatchers) were already roosting on the grassy sward or washing and preening in the water. But it, with its long legs, was out feeding: scything through the water with a side to side action of its slightly open bill-tip, for small crustaceans.

The incoming tide soon started to cover the exposed knolls on the marsh edge and quickly moved the Oystercatchers further up the shoreline, but the Avocet wasn't so easily daunted and stuck it out until the very last moment.

However, eventually forced to join the others, it continued with its distinctive feeding action along the tide's edge. 

By now, a fairly substantial group of Dunlin with a few Grey Plover had gathered beyond and the Dunlin were using this as a base for their aerial displays. Three Shoveler also came sailing by. 

        General scene along the marsh edge as the tide swept in.

         Shoveler sailing by.

        High tide.

It had been a joy to watch this elegant long-staying bird (first viewed this time on 29th October 2015) with its graceful movements - photos don't really do justice, though!

Anonymous