I can't remember when was the last time I had a seven day break between my birding but there was nothing enjoyable about this one and today it came to an end when I was back on the road again at last.
Goosander. Paul Foster.
A nice family portrait of the female Goosander with five of her chicks. I don't know if this was the full compliment or not, if it was then she's at least two down with the possibility of up to nine down from a full clutch of fourteen. Thanks for the picture Paul, it's excellent.
I gave Conder Green a good 1.5 hours this morning to find, 3 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 3 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper - is there a wintering bird in the making here - and a flock of at least 80 Goldfinch, all found on the circuit. In the channel downstream from the old railway bridge, 2 Curlew Sandpiper juveniles were with c.150 Redshank and 11 Dunlin. Conder Pool was quiet but 8 Little Grebe, 3 Wigeon, and 18 Teal were of note. From the bridge I took note of up to 120 Canada Geese and c.60 Greylag in the distance on Colloway Marsh.
On the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was with c.220 Redshank with barely a double figure of Dunlin, the area was otherwise unimpressive, I saw 2 Red Admiral and never stood a chance of any more where I went today in a near gale force wind. On Jeremy Lane the Little Owl on the derelict farm building was in the sun and sheltered from the wind.
At Cockersands I decided to do the headland and return via the road circuit - and almost got blown over a few times into the bargain - to find c.30 Eider bouncing like corks off Plover Scar where 3 Little Egret were seen, 7 Wheatear were at various points along the headland. The road back drew a blank until I reached the Lighthouse Cottage where at least 30 Greenfinch were in the winter seed 'wedge' opposite, my best count in a year or two.
By now it was 2.30pm and I decided I'd give Aldcliffe a look over but before I left Cockersands the bird seen whilst munching a packet of Hula Hoops changed all that as a Fulmar came into view from somewhere off the Lune Estuary and flew inland east over the Abbey Farm fields and before I'd finished the munch what turned out to be a Razorbill dropped on to the sea at Plover Scar and eventually gave excellent views appearing healthy if 'windblown' and diving on occasions, by now I was beginning to think it a good idea to stay put and see if anything else turned up whilst scanning the sea near and far in the prevailing wind conditions the result of which soon came as a Leach's Petrel was flying out of the estuary quite close in and giving excellent views.
An excellent return to normality for me.
Was of the claim of a Little Shearwater on the Wirral flying west past Meols Point and later west past Hoylake this afternoon.