We started off at RSPB Hesketh Out Marsh, which was quicker to get to than usual, thanks to the newly tarmaced access track (except the last bit which still has a few holes to catch out the unwary). Four juvenile Marsh Harriers were on show, two hunting over the marsh and two thermaling and heading towards the Fylde. Other raptors seen were two Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and five Kestrels. At least three Yellow Wagtails headed over and Jacob enjoyed learning the calls of Greenshank (four present) and Green Sandpiper (one calling in the inland ditches). A Raven cronking overhead caused some questions and comment; "Dad is that Huggin or Munnin?" and "let's check your tattoo and see which one it is". The Raven headed off inland and was ignored by the 28 Carrion Crows on the reserve.
Over at Old Hollow we counted 270 Golden Plovers (see photo below of one there today), 680 Wigeon, 640 Teal and an Avocet. A juvenile Merlin and a juvenile Peregrine flushed the waterfowl, creating a smashing spectacle for my youngster to enjoy.
Jacob enjoying Hesketh Out Marsh.
We had our bikes on the back of the car and parked up at Marshside and cycled up to Southport pier. Scanning out to sea we could see numerous, distant flocks of Common Scoters heading north out in Liverpool Bay, heading towards Blackpool. I estimated 5500 Scoters, difficult to get an accurate count given the distance and shimmer. As Jacob played on the beach, on a dropping tide, clouds of flying waders changed shaped and began to land on the shore, I counted c.3600 Knot.
After the beach we cycled back to Marshside to visit my Uncle and Aunt for a brew. Post brew we headed for the seawall and counted 46 Pink-footed Geese and nine Little Egrets on Sutton's marsh and marvelled at the wheeling flocks of Black-tailed Godwits. Definitely golden time. Priceless.
Some of the 46 Pink-footed Geese that have been on Sutton's marsh for the past three days.