Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A hatrick of Merlins

On Saturday afternoon I should have been watching Blackburn Rovers play Aston Villa but the game was rescheduled to Sunday so I had a free afternoon. The Ribble estuary is always worth a visit at this time of year and I had time to call in at Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh. The timing wasn't great as the tide was out but free birding time is free birding time.

Marshide had the usual complement of wildfowl and waders with, I'd say about 1000 Lapwing and not many fewer Golden Plover on the pools. Two different Merlins both gave excellent views. Other waders included up to 100 Black Tailed Godwit, several Curlew and a single Ruff. Wildfowl included Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Pintail and Wigeon. A single Great Black Backed Gull was with several Herring and Black Headed Gulls.

Although the tide was out up to 50 Pink Footed Geese were on the mud banks. Everything else was too distant to id, save the odd Curlew and Redshank.

At Hesketh Out Marsh the third Merlin of the day was perched up on a hay roll. A dozen Whooper Swans were in the fields south east of the car-park along with a party of Fieldfare. Linnets and Goldfinches shared the hedgerow with the Fieldfare.

As the light faded I was optimistic of an owl of some sort, but none appeared. A Litte Egret flew in as I headed for the car-park and about 20 Skylark arrived overhead.

The lanes back to the main road produced a Little Owl perched up in a classic spot right on the apex of a barn.

A very satisfying couple of hours, much better than the football.

Merlin, Marshside

Pintail, Marshside
Lapwing and Golden Plovers, Marshside

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