Snatched hours

The stores still selling flowers were as Herring balls pillaged by Orcas, so I grabbed an hour or two before all the lovely Mother’s Day stuff this morning and took a stroll in the Local Nature Reserve at Birkdale.
I walked in from the Royal Birkdale side, with Chiffchaffs singing all the way along the trail, a Blackcap tuning up and Siskins, Redpoll, Goldcrests, titmice and Greater ‘Peckers zipping about.

A female Marsh Harrier came in off the sea at 10.30am as I enjoyed the panoramic view from one of the highest dunes (what a place to watch vismig!).
Beautiful blue skies saw local Sprawks and Buzzards up.
Walking back I came across a pair of Crossbills sitting quietly in the top of birch trees next to the Hillside Golf Course boundary fence.

Crossbills have been lingering in this area (or if they’re not there, check the areas around Gate 28 and 29 in the cattle enclosure fence, where I think they come down to drink in the narrow ditch, after all, it’s thirsty work chewing pine resin) for the last month at least, and with another 50 reported in the NNR a week or so back, it looks like a good spring for the big beezered ones.
Post breeding dispersal from the north?
Spring passage?
Or birds that maybe be settling on the coast again – last time they bred here in numbers they seemed to be significantly later nesting than ones further north, which are often found brooding in January with the Speyside snow dusting their backs….