The Grebes are back


No, not the Black-necked, but the Great Crested Grebe pair were on Rishton Reservoir this-morning, both in breeding plumage already. Two drake Tufted Ducks were still present but I couldn't see the drake Pochard that was present yesterday afternoon. 73 Lapwings were still standing around on the ice that still covers a proportion of the reservoir along with a few gulls. Eight Goosanders were also actively fishing by the far bank. There was plenty of bird activity in the wood with Long-tailed Tits still very much in evidence as well as a flock of 15 Goldfinches.

I headed over to Southport via Hesketh Out Marsh for a while. The south-easterly wind cut through you like a knife - or rather it cuts through your legs in the 'shelter'. I was immediately rewarded with a fine Merlin forcing Redshanks to plunge-dive to escape and a second bird chasing a Crow. As usual, most of the birds were in the eastern section with lots of Lapwings, a few Redshanks and Curlews and a single Golden Plover. A couple of Ravens croaked over the marsh (as seems to be regular in my limited experience here). A small flock of Fieldfare and Redwing were near the car park but most birds were keeping their heads down.

En-route to Marshside, there was a flock of 40 Whoopers and 2 Bewicks close to the road at Hundred End - it would be nice to have more Bewicks around again. At Marshside I spent a fair bit of time scanning the geese that were partially hidden in the grass on the outer marshes (no sign of the Bittern from the previous days). There were plenty of Pinkfeet out there and several Barnacles but I was delighted to bump into Bill Berry who I've not seen out birding in ages - he put me onto the white head of a goose in the long grass. That's all we saw of it, its head. It was accompanied by at least four Barnacle Geese. Not 50 yards away, there was another goupl of Barnacles with another odd looking goose - maily white with grey back and all sort of randon grey/black markings. I'm sure they'll casue some consternation!

Birds of the day though were a small party of at least five Grey Partridge out on the marsh - such a rare sight these days. A Sparrowhawk glided over the marshes putting up large numbers of Skylarks that were otherwise hidden to view and a quick visit to the Marine Lake yielded the Red-crested Pochard and a couple of Little Grebes.

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