After four hours walking the dunes from 7.30am, it was Les Brown’s discovery of a charming male Pied Flycatcher in Hesketh Park that was bird of the day – an obliging stunner.
I only got to it by mid-afternoon, when it sang briefly, but so quietly I could barely hear it above the Chaffinches, Nuthatches, Willow Warblers and Southport background drone.
The flycatcher was typically hyperactive, zipping around the canopy in the south east corner of the park.
My earlier walk into the dunes south of Shore Road was pretty good too – rising temperatures after mist, new Whitethroats in, the Gropper still reeling and a wonderfully bizarre fly-through Bar Headed Goose, heading north, which I assume was the Marshside escapee on a day-trip.
Slowly covering my usual circuit from Ainsdale Discovery Centre to the sheep enclosure and back from 0730 -1130 I had:
Willow Warbler 15, Whitethroat 3, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Whimbrel 1, Wheatear 4, Swallow 20+, Sand Martin 50+, Redpoll 5, Chiffchaff 1, Peregrine 1, plus the usual resident Blackbirds, Mipits, Lapwing and ignominious Bar Headed Goose.
It was a fine morning to be out, with groups of Sand Martins pushing through and Whitethroats tuning up – I’d forgotten how compulsive this patch mullarkey can be, even when the St Mark’s Flies start ganging up on you.
Not to be left out, I had a quick look at Plex in the afternoon, but apart from Orange-Tips and Cowslips in the newly shorn Haskayne Cutting, hirundines firmly back on territory around farm buildings and jangly Corn Bunts, it was pretty quiet, and the lure of the Pied Fly in town was just too strong.
Back home at Dempsey Towers now and a pair of Siskin are on the feeders and a Willow Warbler has joined the singing Chiffchaff in the tall trees down the bottom.