Hands full

My first Whinchats of the year naturally decided to appear today at precisely the moment I was struggling from the office at Ainsdale laden with bin bags, litter-pickers, bin hoops (why???) and high vis gillets for our volunteers helping out on the coast over the Bank Holiday Weekend.

No bins, no camera, no chance.

Once I’d dropped the stuff off I nipped back to the office and grabbed my gear, but it took some time to relocate the male and female in the Sea Buckthorn just to the north of our skipyard at Ainsdale seafront.

The female was super-skulky while the male took flight whenever Starlings, Goldfinch or Whitethroats came close. Jumpy.

The dwindling House Sparrow colony were a distraction in the sun while I tried to pin down the Whinchats again.

By sitting against one of our fences quietly and waiting, eventually they emerged from cover or the male did at least.

Great birds, I watched them as good regular pulses of Swallows hurtled north over the dunes with fewer House Martins in tow and out of sight I could hear Sandwich Terns.

A quick look offshore over the tide revealed Sarnies, small numbers of Common Scoter out there and a few Gannets cruising by heading south, but the air was icy cold and despite the sun it didn’t feel much like spring.

(The temperature registered at just five degrees celsius at the start of the early morning count at Marshside).

Three big bright Wheatears squabbled on the office roof later on and one or two Redpolls were still going through, but my day belonged to the Whinchats.