Mother knows best

After a lovely morning in Lytham with the family, I managed a couple of hours with the geese at Marshside late afternoon. The birds are still concentrated on Crossens Outer and Banks, gorging on the rich salt marsh grasses before their journey North. Small flocks constantly on the move, with the occasional large scale aerial display when a small plane or helicopter gets too close – the spectacle both sounds and looks amazing. I could watch them all day, that feeling as you gradually relax by becoming absorbed in the sifting through the grey hoards looking for “Wally” – for me, only wader watching is on a par.

They’re still not really in “Bean distance”, but a few thousand were nearer today than yesterday. If they concentrate on the short stuff on Crossens Outer before they leave, the goosing will be superb.

First odd one out of the day was an adult Russian Whitefront – the same bird from last weekend with the striking belly bar patterning.

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After half a dozen more scans, the real prize was picked up distantly on the marsh looking towards Blackpool. Still too distant for decent images, but much better than the “lego bird” pictures from yesterday. Brilliant to have the Grey-bellied Brant back on the marsh again for consecutive Springs.

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Unfortunately, no sooner had I picked it up, took the poor images above and put the news out, than it disappeared – still, 5 more minutes with this little bruiser were easily the highlight of the session.

Another pack shuffle as a Marsh Harrier worked along a distant fence line and moved a group I couldn’t see previously – the North American Canada popped out and completed the Nearctic duo for the 2nd day running. Makes the hours of goose pack scanning thoroughly worthwhile.

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Other highlights were a Merlin, 30 Whoopers honking north on their way back to their breeding grounds and a GWE snake neck feeding in one of the many gutters. Ribble birding at its best…….

UPDATE: Neck collar Pink that was in the group record below – attempting to find out where this recent influx has come from. It’s a Norfolk bird, but a couple of months gap in the history so not sure where it’s been in that period.

UBK

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