Tiny dancer

A thoroughly enjoyable morning spent mostly at Marshside. Spurred on by the Stilt Sand (great find by the way – bet that got the pulse racing), and in all honesty hoping it had relocated to Marshside over night, I’d planned to get there early. That plan was scuppered on the way there though as news came through that it was still at Lunt – ah well, birders optimism failed again.

Not to be deterred, I had a quick look on the golf course and whilst scanning Rimmers, noticed a distant, but lovely 1st summer (2cy) Little Gull dancing around in front of the Junction Screen. Wanting a better view, it was back to the car and a drive round to the Sand Plant. The gull was no longer on Junction, so I chanced Rainford’s – the Black-headed Gull’s are not very tolerant, but maybe the wee fella had snuck in undetected. No joy at first, but a surprise Arctic Tern did 2 loops of Suttons before departing West – pretty sure this is a Marshside tick for me – I’ve certainly never seen one over the reserve proper (excuse the pics!). Also an LRP creeping around the back of Rainford’s.


Then as if by magic, the gull appeared again and landed by one of the islands – what a stunning bird, probably my favourite plumage combo on this midget gem.


This Sedge Warbler serenaded me as I watched Polly’s.

A Wood Sand was still knocking around the pool out from Halfway Screen and a distant Common Sand in front of Nels.


The Common Sand had gone by the time I’d got in Nels, but the Black-tailed Godwits were putting on a show – pretty special in breeding plumage.


Highlight from the hide though was the Avocet attack on a GBB loitering with intent.


As I was leaving Nels, Ian Walker messaged my about 2 Temminck’s Stint he’d found at Newton Marsh – made up for him – well deserved for lots of work in the field. The pictures he managed are great.

A brief run around Banks and Hesketh, but good weather and sun never great for either site. Banks added a couple of Greenshank and 2 singing Corn Bunting.


Hesketh was quiet, but 4 now dodgy looking Barnacles and nice to see some Arctic Terns breeding.


Back to Marshside for a walk up the Sand Plant Road at high tide. A quick repeat look at Polly’s and Junction added another Barnacle (shouldn’t these be gone by now if they’re wild?) and a cracking pair of Garganey on Junction – maybe new birds just in.


The waders were a spectacle from the Sand Plant road, as they often are. Many more Sanderling than my last visit including a ringed/flagged bird which I just couldn’t get – but definitely a yellow flag on the left leg and a blue ring on the right – maybe a Dutch rung bird.


11 Barwits, lots of Knot and Grey Plover and a decent number of Dunlin. You need a bit of luck here, but a brief Curlew Sand was the only bird of note.


A very high tide so groups of birds were pushed onto the road itself – some really nice flocks of Ringed Plover. Also a few Sandwich Terns over the sea including 2 birds that perched up on the “gate posts”.


The heat haze from such a low position put pay to any hopes of picking up a distant Pom, but a Gannet out there was nice. Great morning and only saw 2 birders in 6 hours……..

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