Tern it in

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early start again to see  yesterday’s reported Wood Sand near Stanley High School at Marshside. It didn’t disappoint and was feeding away close to the public footpath on the pools. It had disappeared by the time I’d done the golf course and returned, but maybe it was just hiding in some of the rushy edges – cracking bird in the early morning light. I left Marshside as the loud speaker system cranked up for the Triathlon, and decided to head for Hesketh Out Marsh. The 5 pairs of Arctic Tern were putting on a good show, as were 2 day flying Barn Owl at the far west end. There had been a mini influx of Eider with 5 on the reserve (2m, 3f), also singing Corn Bunting and a couple of fly past Yellow Wags The Terns made me think about the Docks, so I headed over to have a look how the Common Tern colony was shapi...
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Ding dong the Spring is gone

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Around 8 hours of birding at Marshside and the surrounding area over the last 2 days, and the going has been tough. The waders have all but disappeared and there doesn’t seem to be much on the move, but a couple of highlights none the less. First was a site first for me in the form of a Red Kite moving through early Friday morning – it caused havoc with the Godwits on Rimmers and then bedlam in the Gull colony on Suttons – great birds. The 2nd was 2 Spotted Flycatchers on the Golf Course found by Pete Allen this morning – they were mobile and difficult to get close to, but provided some entertainment with their aerial acrobatics. The Cattle Egret was still around, Crossens Inner yesterday, Suttons today. A few Corn Buntings at Banks and plenty of Reed Warbler singing around the marsh. Try again t...

As you were

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
The weekend’s been a bit of an anti climax after Friday, despite some promising weather over Friday night. Although it’s hard to be disappointed when birds over Saturday and Sunday have included the Temminck’s again on Saturday (although more distant – 1st pic from Friday), Garganey, 2 Glossy Ibis, 4 Curlew Sand, 2 Eider, 10 Arctic Tern, my first Whinchat of the year (finally), 2 LRP, 4 Yellow Wags, 8 Wheatear, GWE and a few stunning Ruff’s still knocking about (pic courtesy of my dad). It was nice to see my first Avocet chicks of the year today – 3 on Rimmers. You can just about make them out in this pic! ...
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Morning Stint

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early morning visit to Marshside paid off today when I found a Temminck’s Stint feeding along the mud edge on Rimmers Marsh. Originally picked up distantly from Hesketh Road Platform doing its mini Common Sand impression, I walked up to the bench at the junction with Marine Drive for a better view. After 10 minutes of desperate searching (my record images thus far were not ID’able), It picked its way into view again feeding on the grass and mud edge. Not the most striking wader in the world, but they have a subtle beauty, and I spent a thoroughly enjoyable 20 minutes with the bird before I had to leave for work. There was also still 6+ Curlew Sand in the Dunlin by Marshside Road. Earlier in the week they had crept in to double figures with 11 on Tuesday morning, with a few Ring Plover mixed in and a single LRP. ...
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Cattle Market

I knew Marshside would be busy today – good birds and good weather always bring a crowd. I got out early to avoid the heat haze and the herds. The golf course was quiet, but a female Sparrowhawk perched up nicely in a tree for me. The wader flock on Rimmers had grown in size and now 6 Curlew Sands probed the mud with around 200 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and c50 Ruff. Couldn’t resist taking a picture of one of the Lapwings – imagine if that was rare! I found a Cattle Egret punking it up near to Avocet Island and this was the 1st one on the reserve for a while – hopefully now the cattle are back, they’ll return in bigger numbers and breed on the marine lake.   The 2 Glossy Ibis dropped in, but then seemed to go missing later on in the morning. On to Crossens for the geese, and a smashing Tundra Bean sho...
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When the Arctic meets the Med

You have to love Spring migration – a real medley of winter and summer species with a good sprinkling of common migrants and a dash of the exotic. Marshside has been on superb form this week, helped by some serious hours put in by the cream of the local regulars. No new finds today, but a couple of sessions before and after work resulted in some amazing close up views of some of the recent highlights. 4 Curlew Sands were performing well on Rimmers. They’re one of my favourite birds so I just sat and watched them for an hour first thing. One of the birds nearly in full breeding plumage looked stunning in the morning light.     Some video of them feeding here Curlew Sand 1 and Curlew Sand 2 As I was watching them, one of yesterday’s Glossy Ibis drifted over me and then settled down only 20 meters away &#...

Make a joke and I will sigh

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Birds popped up all over the marsh today only a few hours after I’d checked the same sites. Little did I know how apt the Black Sabbath track playing on the radio this morning on the way to Marshside would be, but the birds were certainly playing games with me today. That aside, I had some quality time with a wide range of waders, and although I didn’t find anything rare, it all ended well. The Ruffs were play lekking on Rimmers with at least 40 birds involved at one point, and the various colour combinations are really starting to take shape.   The Sand Plant had a nice fall of Wheatear with at least 10 birds present, although they seemed to move through in a wave as I was there and by the time I’d left there were far fewer. There is also a Ringed Plover on eggs on the lower tier so care is required when wanderin...

Hop it

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Eyes Lane has been pretty good over the last few days with 4 LRP, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Greenshank and Bl t Godwit on the fields as well as a decent number of Corn Bunting and some showy Yellowhammers. But back to Marshside this morning and the golf course at dawn. Still nothing unusual, but the cacophony of bird song was worth the early start. Quite a few Reed Warblers now chugging away in the reed bed and my first Whimbrel of the year on Rimmers. A few Swift hawking the Sand Plant, a pair of Wheatear, and a few Sedge Warbler but nothing much else there. A quick look from Junction Screen produced a French colour ringed Avocet building a scrape, but the water is still a little high for most other waders. After that, I had a walk along Crossens Inner. Not far from the road, I heard a Gropper (Grasshopper Warbler) reelin...
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A for effort

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Some serious field hours and footsteps covered today, but very little reward – seems like the surrounding areas were scoring, but really struggled for any quality today. Let’s not complain too much, it was great to feel the sun on my back, but the birds just didn’t play ball today. Started at the Golf Course at dawn and it felt like it would be a good day – 8+ Redpoll through and my first Tree Pipit of the year. A pair of Sparrowhawk chased through the scrub and Whitethroats were in fine song, but little else of note. The Sand Plant still had a few White Wags around (there were still plenty on Crossens etc), a pair of Wheatear, the resident tame Dunlin and a few Willow Warbler including an acredula type A quick look at Crossens Inner produced a Common Sand, but the geese on the outer marsh were too distant s...
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Unfinished Business

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An excellent day on the Ribble – an early start, a few migrants, re-found the Brant and some good company. Started early on the golf course and sand plant which were pretty quiet apart from the newly arrived Willows, Blackcaps and Chiffs. The sand plant had a nice pair of Ringed Plover, a Sprawk and the start of what became a huge movement of White Wags. Ruff continue to don their summer garb. Really, I was killing time to start the search for the presumed Grey-bellied Brant I found last week. The poor images and limited views felt like unfinished business so that was the main priority of the day. Crossens Outer had the resident 2 Barnacles, but nothing else so I moved on to Banks. After a couple of scans, I picked up the Brant distantly towards Hesketh Out Marsh so set off down the bank for closer views. The bird showed well in...
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