....this one of the Lune Estuary at Cockersands, showing a distant Crook Farm on the right across the river from Sunderland Point slightly obscured in the light mist.
But I started at Conder Green where - to my somewhat amazement - I found a smart little male Stonechat which put thoughts through my mind like 'where the bloody hell have you been mate' and 'how the bloody hell did you survive the big freeze'. Also on the traditional circuit - where almost the entire wader population seems to have disappeared - 3 Little Grebe, a drake Goldeneye had found its way almost to the A588 road bridge, and probably up to 100 Teal in the creeks, Conder Pool remains frozen over and deserted. A couple of Redwing and a 'few' Blackbirds - seen everywhere again today - a Sparrowhawk changed the bird scene in an instant, and c.550 Pink-footed Geese > south, another c.160 PFG were on Colloway Marsh seen from Glasson Dock where I saw just 5 Goldeneye on the Lune Estuary, 2 Little Grebe and a Grey Plover to note, otherwise the area was almost unbelievably void of waders. On the canal basin, at least 150 Tufted Duck and 11 Pochard all drakes save one female were all in the 20% ice free area around the marina. From Bodie Hill, 15 Goldeneye and 5 Black-tailed Godwit noted. On Jeremy Lane 2 Reed Bunting, and on Moss Lane a 'few Fieldfare and 2 Redwing seen from a moving car.
At Cockersands I did the circuit which was a bit 'bare' for the main part, but at least 90 Linnet were at/in the set-aside - with 55 of them in the moderate pic above - a Song Thrush and Dunnock were the sum total of small birds, and 14 Redshank had found some easy pickings in an inland field. In the Cocker Channel, c.2,600 Wigeon, c.380 Mallard, 2 Pintail drakes, a 'few' Teal. At the lighthouse end, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and single Bar-tailed Godwit, and the 'customary' Grey Plover.
And to end with....The 'joke' in my Christmas cracker - as it happens quite appropriate for me - was so incredibly unfunny it must be published here....Why do birds fly south in the winter....Because it's too far to walk.