I must have missed the invite (this happens to me a lot) to the “barkiest dog, shoutiest child” competition being staged at the Local Nature Reserve at Birkdale today, but everyone else seemed to have got theirs – the place was rammed.
Hardly surprising on a glorious early spring day, although turning up for lunchtime peak dog walker wasn’t my smartest move either.
Still, Coal Tits and Robins were singing away, several Goldcrests were wheedling in the pines and a Small Tortoiseshell tottered through the branches.
Sprawk, Kestrel and Buzzard were up.
Despite the crowds I was hoping for a few Redpolls in the birch canopy, but apart from three fly-throughs there were none about.
The Crossbills were a bit more obliging, with a group of three, then later a flock of five, bounding in to perch above favourite watering holes.
A lifetime spent chewing on pine cones must be thirsty work.
Even these southern birds can give off a highland vibe as Scottish as tartan shortbread to me – the sooner Wee Jimmy Krankie can see her way to relaxing travel restrictions north of the border the better.
I like the way Crossbills in Birkdale tend to hide in plain sight – nowhere to be seen for long periods of time, then a few hard chipping calls and they sweep in for a drink, perching quietly, stocky dark blobs in the branches high above puddles and pools.
The first three this afternoon included a fine male, and didn’t hang about for too long, but later I watched a group of four birds – a male and three females – with John Kelly before they flew off to the south east, immediately joined by a fifth bird we hadn’t noticed.
Single calling Bullfinch then a fly-by pair and a Chiffchaff in song by gate 28.