Crisp frosty morning, clear blue skies, Willow Warblers and Chiffies singing – all very nice, but the path between Hesketh Rd and Marshside Rd was hard going at 8am, with a Wheatear, a few hirundines, and Siskins and Redpolls over, and Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff singing away on the golf course.
Two Jays moved south, and Buzzard and Sprawk were up, but it felt quiet.
Shows what I know – got to the Hesketh Rd platform where I found Graham Clarkson (there he is look, with another Marshside mega in his troosers) and the Jons/Johns happily watching a Great Grey Shrike in the bushes on the west side of Marshside One.
Shrike-magnet Clarkson seems to attract members of this family, with Woodchat and Great Grey already under his “Marshside found” belt, before this morning’s score – thanks Graham.
Initially the bird was distant, hunting and perching up along the bank down into Wheatear Corner, a white blob in the morning sun, but later it crossed Hesketh Rd and gave up the coy business to perch right in front of the growing crowds on the Municipal Golf Course (first shrikey pic above), as Mipits mobbed it, before swooping into the scrub on the seaward bank.
Finally got Great Grey Shrike on me Marshside list (third record according to “Mr Marshside” Bazzo McCarthy – good to see you out again buddy) – yippee!
(see comment from Mad Dog Bannon – the fourth record as per Lancs Bird Report, ta John, my mistake)
With a quiet morning transformed, I carried on birding, but it was all a bit of an anti-climax after the shrikey stuff.
The Scaup were still off the Hesketh Road platform, a few Small Tortoiseshells were on the wing and at least three Med Gulls were in front of Sandgrounders, where a White Wag dropped in briefly, before I drove home under a Simpsons sky for an afternoon of slash and burn gardening.