|Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Weld Road car park, Birkdale 25 January 2012.|
|Tundra Bean Goose (centre) with Pink-feet on Downholland Moss, Lancs 25 January 2012.|
Hesketh Out Marsh was back to something resembling "full fitness" on Monday morning (23 January) with ringtail Hen Harrier on the approach road to the reserve and then over the weedy field next to the car park as I pulled up.
For the first time this winter there were respectable numbers of Pink-footed Geese in the eastern fields, some 2000 or so with an adult Greenland Whitefronted Goose and two adult European Whitefronts arriving with Pinks from the south later.
The 70 Whooper Swans were accompanied by 3 adult Bewick's and a Merlin could be seen perched on the fenceposts nearby.
Back on the RSPB reserve the saltmarsh was rapidly being flooded by the incoming 9.4m tide with 2 Marsh Harriers and a Merlin present, 8 Gadwall, hundreds of Wigeon and Teal, single Little Egret and 14 Snipe present. A walk to the end of the seawall revealed 8 Barnacle Geese amongst another 2500 Pink-feet present and a couple of Grey Partridge.
I soon picked up a pair together, both having nice bright orange legs, but their bills covered in mud! Even so, the chunky bill of one of the birds was obvious, compared to the accompanying Pink-feet (one orange-legged Pink-foot has been seen here recently). Neck-collared IJF Pink-footed Goose was in the flock again too (it was here Saturday morning).
|Tundra Bean Geese, Downholland Moss 25 January 2012.|
Next stop today was Weld Road on the Ribble coast near Birkdale where this juv' Glaucous Gull was showing very well indeed. Same bird I've seen here in the raging gales over the New Year and a couple of times up at Marshside even before Xmas. First photo opportunity though and there is a second winter bird around that I've still not connected with.
A flock of 25 Goldeneye was all I noted on the Southport Marine Lake before joining Graham Clarkson at the Marshside Sandplant where we saw Great White Egret, 6 Little Egrets, Merlin, Short-eared Owl and hundreds of distant Pinks. Graham headed off for the mosses to look for the Beans as I headed to TC's for a bacon and sausage barm via Crossens Outer where there were 5 Barnacle Geese with the Pink-feet and a Marsh harrier being mobbed by a Peregrine.
I ended the day at Martin Mere WWT listening to a reserve first in the shape of a Cetti's Warbler, found while I was watching the Beans this morning. At least 2000 Pink-feet came onto the reserve in the late afternoon with 38 Barnacle Geese and of course there were loads of Whoopers. Kingfisher outside the United Utilities Hide was a year tick, 2 croaking Ravens are always a delight and I returned to the reed-bed walk for sunset where the Cetti's was calling frantically (I didn't make a lot of effort to see it) and ringtail Hen Harrier and 3 Marsh Harriers wheeled over the reeds at dusk.
One of my best South Ribble / SW Lancs birding days for quite a while.