Started the morning well with a Sprawk causing a ripple of excitement in the field at the bottom of the garden – a quick scan produced 10 Snipe feeding away just the other side of my fence. Wonder how many of these birds the cold spell has displaced? These looked to be feeding well now the permafrost has subsided.
On to Hesketh where the only thing more frozen than the pools was me by the time I’d walked up the sea wall. A Jack Snipe out of the ditch on the way up the entrance road and a Barn Owl were just about the only birds on offer. The owl and one feeding on Crossens Sluice later were out despite the fierce wind – I guess they need to feed after several days of snow and gales.
I nearly turned around until I spotted a decent sized finch flock rise in the distance. As I got nearer the flock, I nestled myself into the bank and hoped they’d work their way towards me. Almost immediately, a Merlin shot through and shifted them to virtually under my feet. There were at least 50 Twite in with Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Linnet and Meadow Pipit. 20 minutes with the birds as they fed around me was the highlight of the day – capped by the fact they are rare at HOM and this was maybe a site record count. They remind me of holidays to Scottish Isles on the West coast in Spring when I was a kid – super birds.
On to Marshside and a brief stop at the Wildfowlers pull in produced my first Barnacle of the year distantly with the Pinks on Crossens Outer, but other than that, the frozen conditions had reduced the number of birds considerably.
I knew the Marine Lake would be clear of ice so I checked it from a number of viewpoints. Well worthwhile as it held drake Red-breasted Merganser, the 1st w drake Scaup, 10 Pochard, 100+ Tufted Duck, 8 Goldeneye, GC Grebe, a stunning Med Gull and hundreds of Herrings (although still no white winger for my efforts).
The tide was big, but not quite high enough to push the geese out of the long grass – I watched the distant flocks moving about for a while along with Peregrine and Marsh Harrier and then went home for lunch after a great morning.
Here’s a few pics of the Hightown Bean Goose from last week to end with….