Cold north wind

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Next time I start trying to look wise and begin nodding sagely when someone says: “Well, we haven’t really had a winter yet this year”, I’ll remind myself about this afternoon.
It was the day winter came to say hello.
A brutally biting north westerly showed no mercy on the fields at Hundred End and Banks, when I called in to look at the swan flock – it was my own fault, next time I’ll wear gloves, thermals mebbe a hat or a coat, possibly even billies.
Luckily the swans were fairly close to the road today and while I didn’t get a clear view of the whole flock, at least I could shelter in the lee of the wheels.
Counted 176 swans, mainly Whoopers of course, but at least 20 Bewick’s, probably more.

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Always strange to think that 40 years back the Bewick’s were the commoner swans on Crossens Inner and Marshside Two, and then, I longed to see a Whooper!
Common Buzzard flapped through while I scoped the swans and a few finch flocks, but it wasn’t long before I wimped out and headed inland with the car heater on full.
Stopped off to say “Happy New Year” to an old friend at a well-known Little Owl stake-out before turning back to the coast and Southport Marine Lake.

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Pretty nippy at the Marine Lake too, but only 5 Goldeneye at the top end including the two adult drakes.
The Twite flock was on the west side commuting between the seaward parking strip and the foreshore.
A count of 11 Little Grebe was the best I can remember managing here – the birds were in two flotillas.
No sign of last weekend’s drake Scaup though.

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A very quick scan over Crossens Outer was tough too, but at least Peregrine and Pinkies stuck their heads up against the snow-dusted Pennines as the afternoon light faded.