By the time the wall of shredding, hissing, sand at Ainsdale gave way to driving sleet this afternoon, the alternative 13 hour round trip drive to Aberdeen was beginning to look decidedly appealing.
Winter seawatching can be tough on the dunes, but at least you are unlikely to nod off at the wheel while barrelling back over Beattock…
The mountainous swell of Liverpool Bay was boiling with white water this afternoon, and it was impossible to lock onto anything over the tide at Ainsdale, so I quickly gave up and went to check the edge of the tide, hoping for more big score after I found a seabean there on Thursday (more on that here).
No luck, and not many gulls facing off to the screaming westerly either, so I headed up to Weld Road, via Sands Lake (two drake Pochards).
There were certainly more gulls at Weld Road (1-2,000), but most were sheltering in the saltmarsh, and as I wasn’t prepared to flush ’em, I left them in peace.
On to Southport Marine Lake, which had a drake Goldeneye at the north end, adult winter Med Gull and Twite and Linnet around the north west dune remnant.
Little Egrets flapping into the roost from 1500 onwards, often hassled by gulls.
As the light faded, a first winter Herring that sailed past (pic at top of entry) had me double taking, especially as it had what appeared to be dark underparts, but there wasn’t enough black in the tail – and too much on the bill – to pursue it as it disappeared towards the southern end of the lake.