Eton Rifles

The Jam’s song on the stereo this morning on the way out was pretty apt – as I opened the car door at Hesketh the sound of guns from the outer marsh put a mass of duck up on the western part of the reserve. Thankfully they whirled around a few times, but then dropped back in.

As I got to the top of the bank by the old shelter, I noticed a distant pale bird swooping up and down on the inner fields. I looked through the bins, and both the adult male and the ringtail male Hen Harriers were tussling together – superb. The ringtail disappeared, but the grey was present for about an hour hunting and then resting up on the hedges. What a bird!

IMG_5402

In between snatches of the Harrier, I starting scanning through the duck. There was at least 10,000 birds just on the West – I love Hesketh when it’s like this, you feel that almost anything could appear in the flocks as you’re working through them.

After a couple of sweeps, I picked up a distant American Wigeon. I managed to get a little closer and it looked like it was the same bird as last months. It is interesting that it disappeared from here on the 10th November and then shortly after, a bird was found at Leighton. That bird hasn’t been seen since Friday and now my bird is back here. We already know birds move between the 2 sites with colour ringed Avocet records, so really interesting if the Wigeon flocks are also moving up and down the coast.

IMG_5581IMG_5579IMG_5571IMG_5554

Quite an aggressive bird, it certainly intimidates the Eurasian drakes. I watched it for quite a while, enjoying the way its head pattern changes with the light and angle. The duck flock also held a lot of Teal, 20+ Pintail, Shovelers and a few Gadwall, but nothing rarer – one day I’ll find a Falcated Duck!

A Water Pipit overhead was a nice addition, as were a couple of Marsh Harrier, a Spotted Red and a GWE on Banks.

I moved across to the East and there were yet more duck on this side. At least 1,000 Teal and to be honest, I was pretty surprised I didn’t find a Green-winged, but there were plenty in gutters that I couldn’t see so maybe next time.

As I was leaving, a Merlin took a small bird in mid-air about 30m away from me and then settled on a post for its lunch. Nice note to end on.

IMG_5594

A quick look at the gulls on the marine lake and the only bird of note was this Yorkshire rung Herring – I can’t remember if I’ve seen this one before or not, Y:970.

IMG_5612

Gulling was how I spent most of Saturday morning – I watched the birds at the  Suez waste site near Blackpool for over 3 hours. Nothing rare, but a nice rotation of birds and several ssp argentatus Herrings plus some oddballs like this yellow-legged Herring. I’ll definitely try that site again over the winter.

IMG_5279IMG_5363IMG_5346

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s