Mrs B. and I happened to be in Southport this afternoon so we popped down to the Marine Lake. Almost totally frozen over, the birds were packed into the north end where a slushy pool was just about ice-free. Many of the Tufted Ducks and Pochards were diving in small areas of open water cleared by the feeding Mute Swans.
The usual 'exotica of unknown origin' was at large on the lake including the Black Swan and that pasty female Red-crested Pochard. OK, we know where they've come from.
Some colour-ringed Coot as well. In fact when I looked round there were plenty of bling-clad birds. A nice adult Mediterranean Gull was a nice surprise at the lake this afternoon.
We decided to call in at Martin Mere WWT on the way home for a bowl of soup and a look at the spectacular gathering of Whooper Swans on the mere.
Have a listen to the Whoopers on the mere ........
With a late lunch in mind we headed straight for the new and plush 'Mere Side Cafe'. Now I like the new 'Mere Side Cafe', but I also liked the 'Pink-foot Pantry' (certainly liked the name better). Vegetable soup was OK today, but can I have the broccoli and Stilton next time please? Ta.
The mere was heaving with swans. They've had record numbers here this winter (1940) and I've never seen so many at MMWWT for sure. The cacophony of Whooper calls was quite incredible and it didn't take too long to find a couple of adult Bewick's Swans close the Swan Link Hide.
The Northwest European population of Bewick's Swan is in severe decline, whereas that of the Whooper Swan has increased dramatically of late. Numbers of Bewick's rose during the 1960 - 1990 period but a decline of over 25% has been noted during the 1995 - 2005 period. So far no single issue can be attributed to this decline and the drop in population may be a combination of factors such as weather and habitat changes.
It was nice to see 3 Bramblings from the Janet Kear Hide and Mrs B. managed to get a snap during one of their brief visits to the bird table.