A whistle-stop around the bird fair at Martin Mere was as good a way to catch up with a few old friends as any this morning, but it did use up a fair bit of valuable bright winter sun.
A walk round Hesketh Out Marsh afterwards was time well spent, once the crack of salvoes from the clay pigeon shoot behind had petered out and it got a bit more peaceful.
There were at least 11 female-type Goosanders forming a classy flotilla right down at the west end, with two Goldeneye and the long-staying two Great Crested Grebes.
A family party of ten Whoopers sailed about on the back pools.
Tree Sparrows, Linnets, Goldfinches, Long Tailed Tits, Robin, Goldcrest, Blackbirds, Redwing, Song Thrush and Chaffinches in the hawthorns, while Wigeon numbers began to swell out on the water.
A Great White Egret flew through, long black legs trailing behind it forever, heading out down the estuary towards Marshside, and there were up to five Marsh Harriers, Peregrine and two Common Buzzards.
Single Spotted Redshank and Greenshank, eight Dunlin and two Blackwits, but distant on the rear pools.
Nothing you wouldn’t expect to find at HoM at this time of year, but pleasant walking the bank anyway, avoiding the sheep-poop landmines.
Another look at the finch flock around the car park just before I left revealed a bright white bum in the darkening branches, betraying a Brambling.
It was dropping down into the paddocks to feed, but always kept deep in the willow branches when it flew back up.
Brambling is a bonus locally of course, but I hope the next one is a bit more obliging…