The day wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped, but it wasn’t without highlights.
Got down to Marshside for just after 9am, and met up with Bazzo to watch two Common Sandpipers from the Hesketh Rd platform, before walking the public footpath through Hesketh Golf Course.
A bit cooler than I’d expected, but Blackcaps were still carrying nesting material and the lurid green squawking machine was screeching around the treetops.
Otherwise, just a few Siskin over, a single Sand Martin and the same phylloscs that were in place a week ago.
Two Small Tortoiseshells on the bank hinted at spring. But it wasn’t a big hint.
The sandplant was quiet, bar a few White Wags and mipitry, with more through in front of the Sandgrounders Hide where we met up with Mad Dog Bannon.
About 3,000 Pinks were on the outer marsh, with the Common Buzzards, Kestrel, Sprawk etc.
I left the hide only to see the silvery grey wings of what looked like a Ring Ouzel powering out of the hawthorns beside the path and away from me, but my views weren’t great, and although we checked in case it had dropped into the remains of the Forest of Bale, there was no sign of it.
I let it go – I think you have to see birds as classy as Rouzels well to count ’em.
I left as I had to get down to Ainsdale where the Gems In The Dunes project were staging an open day, and by the time I arrived at 1230 the afternoon was finally starting to warm up.
Walking into the dunes, a few Willow Warblers were in full song, Emperor Moth, Peacock butterfly and Green Veined White were on the wing and there were stacks of Vernal Mining Bees out.
Andy Pryce had two Rouzels in the morning at Ainsdale so I decided to amble south through the grazing enclosures, as small groups of Redpolls buzzed through.
My first Yellow Wagtail of the year flew over my head calling, as yellow as the flowering gorse that my only Wheatear of the session found so attractive.
Down near the sheep pens I heard a Rouzel, before seeing a male perched low in the birch scrub, wary as ever.
Try as I might I couldn’t get near it, until it flew out of a hollow towards more open ground, and was promptly joined by a second male – obviously Andy’s birds from the morning were still about!
Great thrushes, I watched them for two hours as they foraged amongst the Creeping Willow or disappeared into cover, calling occasionally.
They have favoured this area of the LNR for the last few springs now – the conservation grazing regime clearly has fringe benefits.