Saturday morning saw Django and me in Andy Pryce’s car before first light heading off to Fairhaven Lake near Lytham for a squint at the Red-Necked Grebe that’s been there for most of the past week. We found it almost immediately, very close to us in the easterly corner of the lake. The sun was not fully up and the light was poor, and my optics as ever were filthy so the usual apologies for my photos and videos ~ Andy’s are better and are on his flickr page. Here you can make do with mine, and this bit of video
We took the short trip from there to Lytham Crematorium, where 7 Ring-necked Parakeets were putting on a good show. Plenty of Redwings here, and drumming by a GS Woodpecker was followed shortly afterwards by the sight of two birds in apparent display flight. Huge numbers of Pink-footed Geese – certainly a couple of thousand or more airborne at the same time in the fields north of the crematorium grounds – may have been worth a better look, but we opted to head up the coast road.
A short seawatch at Little Bispham was very productive: a large flock of Eiders, perhaps forty birds, with Scoter, distant Auks, and a couple of Red-throated Divers were readily seen. But the freezing on-shore breeze and rising tide encouraged us to carry on to somewhere for wader-watching, and we were soon at Cleveleys.
What at first seemed to be four Turnstones on a rocky groyne turned out to be three Turnstones and a Purple Sandpiper, birds which scurried off to join another Purple Sandpiper with some Ringed Plovers higher up the beach as the tide rose. A tightly huddled flock of over two hundred Sanderling with several Knot was close to the water’s edge and scuttling from the larger breaking waves and thoughtless dog-walkers.
Up the road in Fleetwood this Great Northern Diver was showing far better than this photo would suggest. It was distant, and dived frequently, but frozen fingers were starting to eat into the will to endeavour for as long as perhaps the bird deserved. Still, whilst it was underwater feeding there were plenty of Red-breasted Mergansers to look at, as well as a few Redshanks and huge numbers of gulls to scan on the various dock building roofs.
After superbly fresh and inexpensive fish and chips by the docks had warmed us up a bit we decided not to go looking for the Red-Breasted Goose also on the Fylde, but headed to Marton Mere for the remaining daylight hours. No Bittern, but seven Long-Eared Owls showing very well and even moving and preening a bit, together with a calling Cetti’s Warbler, a Whooper Swan, some raptors and plenty of wildfowl, including my first Gadwall this year, rounded off another great day’s birding this year. 2011 has given me my birding mojo back!