A Dowitcher at last

Bernie's coughing and spluttering everywhere and I haven't had a good nights sleep for ages so it was a bit of an effort to drag myself out of bed this-morning. However it was a beautiful day so I thought I'd check the reservoir before doing the shopping. As is becoming usual these days, I was rather brassed off when I saw a fisherman's tent on the far bank but there were still a few birds around as whoever was in there hadn't set foot outside.

A flock of 29 Redwings flew over as well as Meadow Pipits and Siskin. Robins were active in the bushes and all seemed well. Then the fisherman appeared and everything took off - including five Wigeon (unusual here) and 42 Lapwings. There was nothing else happening so it was off to the shops before the afternoon's planned excursion to the coast. I managed a few minutes in the 'obs' - plenty of activity here but once again, the Woodpeckers arrived after I left.

Banks Marsh

I met up with Billy and John at 1:30 and we made for Old Hollows Farm, a place were you can get excellent views of Banks Marsh and the pools there. As we made our way to the top of the bank I could see that there were lots of birds to keep our interest. Common birds were Dunlin, Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwit with a couple of Curlew Sandpipers and Sotted Redshanks to add variety. There were several Little Egrets, plenty of Grey Herons a party of Mute Swans and a couple of escaped Black Swans. A flock of 60 or so Fieldfare were my first of the autumn.
The bird were were hoping to see, a Long-billed Dowitcher that John and Billy had found a few days previously, was not forthcoming so we spent a good couple of hours scanning the area. We had three visits by a Merlin (which caught a Meadow Pipit on its final sortie), a couple of Buzzards and a juvenile Marsh Harrier. We were watching several flocks of Skylarks, some giving rather strange calls, when a 'flava' Wagtail flew over heading east - definitely unexpected.

Having met up with Mike Watson and posed for the above picture, we continued on our quest. Eventually Billy picked up the Dowitcher roosting with some Black-tailed Godwits and partially hidden. It had a quick preen and then started feeding allowing us some reasonable if distant views. A couple of Green Sandpipers flew past and we found another Spot Red and Curlew Sand.

From there we spent the last hour at the new Hesketh Out Marsh reserve which certainly looks like it will have great potential in the coming years as it develops. A couple of Ravens croaked overhead as they headed inland and there plenty of birds further out in the creeks and gullies.

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