Let me be absolutely clear; I have been warmer on the tundra and snow-dusted fjells above Varangerfjord than I was at Marshside this morning. It was sodding freezing – all you could feel for summer migrants arriving today was abject pity.
An early doors look at Marshside One before picking up Bazzo wasn’t promising – loads of hirundines, the pair of Scaup and two Whimbrel sure, but it was bleak, bleak, bleak.
Back on the platform at Hesketh Road just after 9am we ‘scoped the place with Duncan “Skip” Rothwell, Pete Allen and Alan Wright.
I picked up what I thought was a falcon or Sprawk coming in from the right high, but in my bins it became a Cuckoo, which sailed past us all before swinging round and heading off inland over the SSSI ditch.
I couldn’t resist the award-winning shot above as we see them so rarely these days.
I expect that picture will be gracing wildlife calendars for years to come, but any Cuckoo, even a silent (distant and extremely blurred) one is just dandy.
The golf course and SSSI had Sedge, Reed, and Willow Warbler, two singing Goldcrest, 4+ Blackcap and Chiffchaff, with plenty of hirundines forced low by the cloud and icy air, plus my first Swifts of the year, arcing around against the grey.
Had five in all this morning.
Another Whimbrel went over calling, Redpoll buzzed through and there were at least three singing Whitethroats on Hesketh Road, although all were keeping their heads down.
Bazzo and I had a look over the outer marsh, which bizarrely still boasted a heat haze despite the Baltic temperatures, and watched as a Mipit collected grasses at our feet.
Initially I thought it was gathering nesting material, but I suddenly realised it was trying to pull the strands together to fashion a rudimentary duvet. Even the remaining Pink Feet looked cold.
Small flocks of summer plumage Dunlin (25+ birds) and Ringed Plover on Marshside One, alongside the Avocets, Blackwits, Lapwings and wildfowl.
Water levels are dropping now, making the place look tastier than ever.
About 15 White Wags at the back of Marshside Two.
Sandgrounders echoed to the BHG din, while the Swallows there looked particularly miserable.
“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”