Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Rainy Day At Marshside - 27 May 2013

Summer (almost) and yet today was cold and very, very wet. So I considered my options carefully before choosing to drive north to Marshside RSPB, Southport. I did this in the belief that I would find the brighter conditions promised by the weather reports but frankly, it just got worse!

After parking up and donning the waterproofs, the short walk from the car-park to Nel's hide (580 meters) was less than pleasant and I was not surprised to find an empty hide. Looking out into the murky greyness, the nesting Avocets were restless and forlorn looking, and appeared to intensify the near monochromatic view.

A hot coffee brightened my spirit suffice to begin scanning through the gloom and I found plenty of birds out there. On the small islands of mud, I found quite a few Dunlin busy feeding. I checked through some them looking for other small waders but the further out they were, the more impossible the task became. I did find a number of Ringed Plover across in the far margins but they are often there, so I knew where to look.

As it approached high tide in Liverpool Bay, a number of waders came in. A small flock of Knot were soon followed in by more Dunlin. Then came a big mixed flock that eventually settled to roost in the still gloom in front of me. I managed to pick out Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, more Knot, more Dunlin, Curlew and a few Sanderling.

Then came the days highlight when a small wader emerged from the pack to feed alone on one of the far muddy islands. I first assumed it was a Dunlin, but on closer inspection I was surprised to see it was a Little Stint.

Whether the bird had just come in or had been out there for a while, I don't know! I do know that the day suddenly seemed brighter!

Little Stint - a reasonable record shot given the conditions

Dunlin - summer clothes, wintery weather!

The Swallows were finding food despite the weather

Species Log (33) - order as seen: Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Teal, Dunlin, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Shoveler, Coot, Oystercatcher, Gadwall, Lapwing, Moorhen, Ringed Plover, Herring Gull, Swallow, Little Egret, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Curlew, Sanderling, Little Stint, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Canada Goose, Swift, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Magpie.