A new bird for the Garden

Aa there was quite a high tide expected, I decided to spend the late morning over at Warton Bank in the hope that some Water Pipits might get pushed up off the marsh. There were plenty of good birds around - a flock of Meadow Pipits required searching and a couple with a pinky- orangy wash and greyish head got me wondering. However they were all Mipits - around 40 and further flocks were coming off the marsh and passing through.
Little Egrets were much in evidence, at least eight different individuals. A cracking Peregrine was the only bird of prey. The gull colony on Hesketh Out Marsh was busy and I picked up an adult Mediterranean Gull heading out there.
The tide didn't breach the river banks so there was little chance of the Water/Rock Pipits that tend to be far out on the marsh, so it was back to do some chores around the house.

I couldn't resist the temptation to spend half an hour in "The Hide" as there were lots of finches about - more than usual. Indeed there were at least 20 Chaffinches feeding down the dip with double figures of Goldfinch, Grenfinch and Redpoll. However may delight was unbounded when a lone Brambling suruptitiously landed in the base of a hawthorn - a bird I've wanted in my garden for a long time (no 104). Several birds were ringed from last weeks session but most were unringed.
After a while I eventaully retreated to the house to enter something on the computer when a text message came through - 1st Winter Ring-billed Gull at Stocks. Well that just had to be twitched on the off cahnce it remained. It was about 5:30 when I got there and Mike Watson, Mark and Margaret Breaks were there and I got a view of the bird - asleep. Hmmm. John Wright soon followed and we watched the bird on and off for the next hour until the light faded. Looked very good apart from the tail band that appeared rather crisp. Certainly had the right wing pattern at rest and the head and bill were heavy. The mantle was certainly paler than the hundreds of adjacent Common Gulls, some 1st winters to compare with. I'll have to look at Marks photos. Anyway, a Short-eared Owl showing off in front of the hide was a pleasant end to the day!

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