With apologies to Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster, but it has been an odd few days.
A text from Planet Spottiswood on Sunday alerted me to Andy’s excellent find of a Grey Phalarope on a flooded path in the north west corner of Ainsdale NNR.
With 189 numbered slacks (flooded low lying areas) in the dunes plus countless winter pools and wet areas, relocating the bird after it flew north was always going to be a needle in a haystack job, and I gave up after a two and a half hour search, a few Stonechats, Fieldfare and countless Sea Buckthorn and bramble puncture wounds.
The phalarope was the very least Andy Spottiswood’s textbook patchworking deserved this autumn.
Then yesterday a sighting of a Wood Mouse in the kitchen at Dempsey Towers led to online searches with the boss for ACME giant anvils, massive coils of rope, big lumps of holey cheese and large red crosses – these being the preferred trapping methods I remember from documentaries I saw as a child.
Iron filings disguised as cheese and a giant ACME magnet may also prove successful – and can be adapted to capture Roadrunners of course.
So the appearance of another (or the same??) Grey Phalarope at Marshside today presented the further chance of a lunchtime dart into the weird as the phalarope was spinning constantly while I watched it from the bank.
Endlessly twirling it barely paused for breath – you can watch my spinning wobbly video on YouTube here.
The bird was on the small pool immediately beneath the golf course northern fence at the top end of Rimmer’s Marsh across from Stanley High School.
Andy Spottiswood will be better placed to comment as to whether it was his phalarope or not – he did mention some staining on the bird he found, which I thought I could see at first in the murky conditions today, then realised it was vestigal smokey plumage on its right breast and flanks.
One of the local Kestrels eyed it up for a minute or so, then presumably got too dizzy and flapped off.
The phalarope is probably still spinning around the pool now.
Finally thanks to new readers in the US of A who have started following the blog recently – much appreciated folks and welcome, anything must be better than listening to the big puling orange baby at the moment.