I set out birding and headed to Curlew Lane to look for two Patchwork Challenge targets species; Grey Partridge and Bewick's Swan. The first birds I saw and heard were a group of Corn Buntings, Curlew Lane is an excellent, year round site for this local speciality. the next species heard was a group of rasping Grey Partridges, I stood still next to the car and sure enough a covey of twelve revealed themselves in a weedy carrot field across the road on Burscough Moss - lovely birds, another local speciality. As I watched the Partridges a flock of 65 Skylarks flew past and a large herd of a Whooper Swans was constantly growing up at the Rufford end of the lane.
At the top end of the lane the Whooper Swan where in the usual place, grazing on winter wheat. I scanned through and was delighted to pick up my second target bird, a smashing adult Bewick's Swan, presumably the same bird that has been visiting the local WWT for free wheat handouts and stinky potatoe meals. Nice to see it in the 'wild' though, along with 256 Whooper Swans and 16 Mute Swans. One of the Whooper Swans was orange-legged, rarer than Bewick's Swan which it obligingly stood next to.
After enjoying watching the Swans I headed over to Mere Sands Wood for a walk. Nothing rare or unusually there, the usual species in the usual places. I enjoyed watching the ducks, and it was fascinating to watch a young Grey Heron literally and metaphorically make a meal of a frog.
Drake Eurasian Teal at Mere Sands Wood.
After Mere Sands Wood I dodged the heavy downpours and took Marty out across the local stubble field (off Red Cat Lane) and we flushed a superb total of 67 Yellowhammers.
The final birding of the day was a very brief visit to Martin Mere to look for Tawny Owls, I did see one, albeit poor and briefly. Beaten by the cold and wind I popped into Infocus to see Andy and compare Patchwork notes.......
I shall try again tomorrow!