Surprisingly good

Wasn’t expecting much as I pulled into Hesketh this morning at 6am, but hadn’t visited for a couple of weeks and I get withdrawal symptoms. As I put the scope together 6 runners came down the bank chatting away – a friendly good morning and a joke about hoping they’d not scared everything off – as I say, expectations low.

A quick scan of Shelter though produced a black blob at the rear of the pool, and maybe it wasn’t going to be a dud after all. The scope confirmed a breeding plumage Spotted Red – what a stunner. Back early so probably a failed breeder, but it certainly made me forget the early morning chill.


A couple of Eider were also on the same pool – great to see them up close rather than distantly on a spring tide (pic from mid morning when the sun had come up!).


I carried on up the bank, already happy with today’s haul, when I noticed a smaller, pale wader in with the many Redshank. I watched it on and off for an hour, it never came close, but it did make a couple of short flights – a non-breeding plumage Curlew Sand – brilliant. We don’t get to see this plumage much so it was enjoyable to watch. Nice super, quite big looking against the Redshank, longer curved bill and white rump all on display.


Carrying on, another small wader was roosted up on the bank, it couldn’t be another could it? It spooked and then relocated to another pool – yes, another non-breeding Curlew Sand. How odd! This one only had 1 and 1/2 legs so found feeding difficult. This bird was closer than the 1st, but not as striking an individual. The heat haze now ruining most of the photo’s.


A Greenshank called and flew through, and then out of the blue, an adult Spoonbill dropped in for a feed – this day was getting better and better.


The Arctic Terns look to be doing well. 3 chicks on the rafts and another 2 nests on the ground. One narrowly avoiding disaster as a group of cows were scared of by the male’s persistent dive-bombing.


3 flyover Yellow Wags added to the excitement as did a Common Sand on Shelter as I returned.


Pete and Andy arrived just as I was finishing up and we had the Eiders and Spotted Red again, before I left them to it and went for a look at the Terns on the docks. Nothing unusual, but the 4 Arctic nests still going strong. A great place to practice tern flight ID.


Back home and for a pretty unsuccessful go at hoverfly photography in the garden. A couple here:


Interrupted by the House Martin’s alert calls revealing this Sparrowhawk overhead.


Who said June birding was boring? Oh yeah – it was me………..