Happy Mondays

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Sometimes you can forgive the marsh for another cold, Wheatear-free March morning, and today was one of those times.
Things started off well enough with the ringtail Hen Harrier patrolling the edge of the marsh from the Sandplant – long range record shots, but I think it is a young male, what does anyone else think?
It certainly seems to have had a fairly set schedule over the winter, usually winging past here mid-late morning most days, although this is the first time I’ve caught up with it.

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Sandgrounders was infested with staff from Natural England as Tony Baker was showing them around on a marine-type training day, and they’d picked up a Med Gull amongst the BHGs. I slipped out to have a quieter look at it on the sandplant lagoon, where there were still two Pochard drakes.

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The floating shapes of all three comatose Scaup (two males, one female) were on the Junction Pool amongst the Tufties, and while wildfowl numbers have obviously fallen away, the regular waders were about in force.

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More parties of Mipits about today, but no other obvious signs of movement.
Mad Dog Bannon and Ron Jackson turned up, and we headed up to Crossens Outer for pipit pain.
Two Ravens were out on the cow carcass before the pipitry began.
Actually things went swimmingly – I picked up the full adult Water Pipit found by Pete Kinsella and Mark Nightingale yesterday, just east of the concrete water trough, and had great, if brief views, before it sped back out of sight down the banks of the Crossens Channel.
Lovely blue grey wash to the nape and unstreaked mantle, with pale flushed chest and underpants – superb.
The second, moultier bird that Pete and Mark found yesterday was still there and incredibly sat around just long enough for me to fire off a couple of long range record shots (top of this entry and below):

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This one pumped its long tail (like a wagtail) frequently and moved with a strange almost Jack Snipe like bobbing motion as it fed.
The Water Pipits called once or twice, but this was really hard to pick up against the roar of the traffic.
If you’re trying for these birds (and they are difficult), they are extremely flighty – best bet is to use the cover of the taller trees along the bank and look ahead of you as they seem to like feeding close to the bank – although the summer bird was out in the open today, albeit briefly.
Water Pipits are always worth the effort.

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There were about 30-40 Mipits here today too, but if you walk up and down along the pavement you’ll just flush the lot.
Best to find a spot on the bank, hunker down and hope the pipits drop in in front of you.

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5 thoughts on “Happy Mondays

  1. Plenty of the regular waders at the end of the lorry road over the high tide at Marshside today, and quite a few Turnstone too.

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      • Hi Jack,
        Junction Pool is the area of water in the north west corner of Marshside One, at the corner of Marshside Road and Marine Drive.
        It is overlooked by a wooden screen – you can’t miss it, it’s just across the road from the car park at Marshside RSPB.
        When the winter floods recede on Marshside One, the pool itself will become more obvious.

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  2. Budding wildlife explorers of all ages are urged to visit RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay nature reserve this Easter to discover more about the wonderful wildlife that calls the Silverdale site home.
    Every Wednesday throughout the holidays, families can explore ‘Nature Up-close’ – a special microscope event, providing visitors with the chance to see wildlife from a whole new angle and find out all sorts of unknown colours and features. These drop-in sessions take place between 1-3 pm.
    Families are also invited to uncover ‘What Lives Beneath’ during weekly pond dipping events running every Thursday from 31 March-21 April. Drop-in sessions take place between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm and there’s no need to book.
    For more details on these events and other activities at Leighton Moss, visit the website rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss.

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