A 3 1/2 hours stint from dawn at Hesketh this morning. It was a birding battle with the constant strong southerly, poor light and light drizzle, but I gradually notched up a decent list of birds.
It felt wintry and the birds were very much a winter haul too. Seems like autumn is well and truly over, but hopefully I’ll be proved wrong with a late flurry.
One of the highlights was this drake Goosander that I found yesterday – my first breeding plumage drake for the reserve and there are few smarter looking resident waterfowl – their peachy/pink hue is stunning. Also 5 redheads on site.
More duck highlights were the first Goldeneye of the winter (drake), single Pintail and 5 Shoveler.
Although the Hen Harriers managed to avoid me today, I still saw 3 Marsh Harrier, 2 Merlin, Peregrine + the commoner species.
The other highlights were the waders – 3 Spotted Red were nice, if not somewhat expected, but a very vocal and flighty Green Sand at the west end was my first at Hesketh this year. Shame the record shots are just that – a great looking wader in flight.
The other surprise was a flyover Jack Snipe that was conveniently with 2 Common birds – the size difference in flight is particularly obvious, as is the short bill. I’m lucky to get 1 record a year at Hesketh despite them probably being in the wet grass in decent numbers. Also 36 Golden Plover over and 40 Dunlin on the pools. Finally a couple of Rock Pipits again giving there distinctive call.
A quick trip to the marine lake for gulls was fruitless, but I did have a look for the Twite flock by the pier and was pleased it had grown to c100 birds. Quite distant, but they did fly across the road every ten minutes to drink briefly from the roof of the yacht club.