Scaups and stuff.

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The two drake Scaup were sailing about, diving and preening on the Junction Pool at Marshside again this morning, with the Tufted Duck flock, while a chilly wind tried to stamp out any of that spring nonsense.
That said, a few Pied Wags were moving through, one or two Mipits called overhead, and a Chiffchaff moved quietly along the bank north of Nels in the afternoon.
38+ Avocets looked as miserable as only Avocets can when it gets cold in March and hunkered down on Marshside One.

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Little Grebes were yikkering away from the reeds by Nels, and for the botanists, Green Alkanet was blooming, joining Common Whitlow Grass (a favourite of Neill Hunt’s of course, hence the picture), Coltsfoot and various nasty Hawksbits in flower.

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Plenty of Golden Plover (1,000+ on Crossens Inner), Blackwits, a few Ruff and Curlew, but only a Merlin was prepared to put the effort in on the outer marsh in the strong wind.
I headed up to have a gander at Crossens Outer, where about 1,500 Pinkies had been pushed onto the cropped grass.
Although fairly distant I ‘scoped them (shamefully the first time I’ve spent any amount of time on the geese this winter), picking out six Barnacles.
As I did, a Lanner-type falcon came whizzing by, and crash landed on the turf then tried to regain its dignity on one of the tide stranded tree trunks.

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Infinitely cooler, a Raven dropped in, chased off the Lanner a short distance, then had a go at the carcass out there, before bouncing around amongst the geese for a few minutes – top bird!
A quick look at Weld Road on the way home revealed 13 flighty Twiteys and a Pied Wag.
Meanwhile the Siskin infestation continues at Dempsey Towers, although numbers seemed to have fallen back a bit today, which means my sunflower seeds may last a bit longer.

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Let sleeping ducks lie

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With a break in the sleet forecast for the afternoon I picked up Tropical Thomason and we buzzed up to a muddy and bleak Hesketh Out Marsh today.
Conditions were a tad challenging but Trops was after year ticking the Yankee wigeon (I think he was swanning around Jamaica when it turned up)…and who could say “no” to gob like that?

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Plenty of Teal and Wigeon on the water but the Pinkies (approximately 500 or so) were too flighty to work through, especially with a Typhoon ripping the sky a new *rsehole overhead.

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Despite all this racket, the best candidate we could find for American Wigeon today snoozed away amongst the Wigeon and Teal, down past the big log, only waking up after we’d had a good soaking as we waited for it to stir, by which time we were suitably caked in mud, despair and sheep poop.

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Finally saw the underwing/axilliaries on this bird today, which looked a bit greyish, (although my view was fleeting through a wind-shaken scope), and we did wonder if it should be developing a stronger head pattern by now?
At least one of the Spot Reds was more amenable, flying past us before pitching down nearer the bus shelter.
About 70 Whoopers on the fields nearer Banks, but the weather closed in all too quickly…destination Guesty!!!