Pretty much constant rain meant hide hopping was the only option today, so I aqua-planed over to Martin Mere and settled into the Janet Kear hide.
Things started off well enough with the nice bright male Brambling still about, but then Mr Mean swept in, fumbled a snack snatch at the feeders then perched up to glare furiously at his shortcomings.
It was strangely quiet around the feeders after that for some reason.
A visit to In Focus brought views of more than 70 Snipe in the air after a raptor flush, and two spring Ringed Plovers dropping in amongst the Ruffs and Whoopers.
On to Mere Sands where Redpolls buzzed over the damp canopy, and one of the Nuthatches was giving it the beans above me.
The Bittern was hunting frogs and fishies in the reeds off to the right of the Rufford Hide, but I didn’t mind – it’s the first time I’ve managed to see it in three attempts.
Reasonable views through the reed stems until it walked up and over the bank and out of sight into the next lagoon.
Not the best views I’ve had of Bittern – but by no means the worst either.
I stopped off at the Lancaster hide on the way out – at least three Bullfinches were on the seed behind the centre, while from the hide five Mandarins were dozing on the gravel island before steaming out onto the water in the rain.
Three drakes and two ducks, I can’t remember seeing that many here for quite some time, if ever.
I know they’re plastic, but Mandarins are gorgeous in a ridiculous sort of way, especially with those orange sails and whiskers up as they head out about their business, with Little Grebes yikkering away in the background.
And watching them here was somehow far nicer than taking up a parking space at Southport DGH for 20 minutes…