It was the Upton Warren monthly work party so we got down to the moors for about 8 o'clock to do a bit of birding before starting work over at the flashes.
Walking towards the West Hide there was 20 Greylag Geese in the A38 field (reserve record count) then once in the hide I noted 4 Wigeon (2M 2F), 2 Shelduck, 16 Shoveler, about 30 Pochard, 41 Cormorant and several Great Crested Grebe. Staying here for a bit before moving round to the East Hide where I counted 22 Coot, c65 Lapwing 33 Teal and 15+ Tufted Duck. Met Phil Andrews in this hide and then walked back round to the West Hide where John Belsey was we loaded up the cars with strimmers and everything we'd need for the work party. Gordon Greaves also showed us some very interesting photos, one of the moors from 1961 when there were horses on where the broad meadow is now I think?!
Arriving at the Sailing pool Mike Wakeman put us onto a female Goosander, a good Upton year tick. We then unloaded the cars and were joined by Dave Walker and Graham B just after the Goosander had flown off, Dave wasn't too happy!
Getting down to the Flashes we walked out across the strip of land between the 2nd and 3rd Flash and flushed 62 Snipe and 6 Jack Snipe. A flock of around 15 Linnet were darting around and we soon got on with strimming the grass in front of the hide for breeding Redshank and Lapwing and hopefully a few Wheatear and Yellow Wagtails on passage. Whilst doing the work around 400+ Large Gulls were moving over mainly Lesser Black Backed but with some Herring Gull as well, I managed to pick out a 1st Winter Great Black Backed Gull but with the loud strimmers going couldn't get anyone else onto it! Later on managed to add Green Woodpecker to the year list and after lunch Mike pointed out a bird perched in the oak to the right of the sewerage works I had my bins on me and called starling a bit too quickly! It then turned to the side and I could tell it was a small falcon, quickly pointed it out to the rest of the work party where it then flew down and across the tree line where I noted a grey colouring across the back and small pointed wings all pointed towards a male Merlin, Phil quickly came running across from the 2nd flash island very nearly falling in the mud (which he did later) and everyone managed to get onto the lovely raptor before flying off behind the barns.
Once all the work had been done we went back to the Moors to see if anything had moved in during the day. 1 Little Grebe was another year tick and a high count of 57 Pochard were about. Another great day helping out at the Upton work party with 2 Upton lifers (GBBG+Merlin) and 4 other year ticks taking me to 67.