I managed a final scuttle around the Lune Estuary last Friday before Christmas took it's hold, but I've been unable to find the time to get anywhere near my computer since.
Stonechat. Ana Minguez.
The day had the best ending in my book that I could have hoped for when I found 2 Stonechat on the tide wrack on the edge of the marsh opposite the entrance to the Caravan Park at Cockerham Sands, they were a 1st winter male and female, also interesting here was a lone Twite which had latched on to 14 Goldfinch and moved around and fed with them.
The down side of the visit to Cockersand was that I had no sign of the male Stonechat that had been around and seen three times since 11 December between the Lighthouse and Crook Cottage's, but I did see 22 Tree Sparrow at Crook Cottage.
Quite a spectacle was the sight of at least 900 Black-tailed Godwit which zoomed out of the fog to create a whoosh as they flew low over my head and out to sea before a U-turn back to land briefly on the headland. On Plover Scar, 45 Turnstone, with up to 550 Wigeon off here. In the field north of Bank Houses where I saw a Kestrel, 10 Stock Dove and 2 Skylark, a Dunnock in the hedgerow. There are probably still c.250 Whooper Swan over three fields down to Bank End, and a Merlin seen was concealing itself in a bush from Slack Lane.
It was pretty hopeless looking over Conder Pool through the fog, but when I returned an hour later it had lifted enough to reveal 115 wildfowl including 3 Goldeneye, otherwise predominantly Mallard, with Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal, and 2 Shelduck. A Greenshank was with Redshank, also a drake Goosander and a Snipe seen. On the canal basin at Glasson Dock, I just managed to pick 3 Goldeneye drake out of the gloom.
I'm grateful to Ana@Naturanafotos for the 'Spanish' Stonechat images sent to me in a Christmas e-mail, including at the head of this post, the portrait of a brilliant male.