Trolls having been exorcised, it was good to head back to Marshside after a lengthy change of routine. A Wheatear in the sandplant, vast flocks of Goldfinches and Starlings, Mipits seemingly on the move, and a Short-eared Owl way off over Crossens Outer were early highlights. A liberal sprinkling of Little Egrets, and a Goldcrest in the bushes by Sandgrounders, then down to Nel’s where five Spotted Redshanks were close in, and later on four Greenshank dropped in.
It was a foggy day today when I finally had chance to catch up with the Bittern on Crossens Outer. A couple of Short-Eared Owls were around too, and several times I had the Bittern, the shorties and Little Egrets all in the same view in ‘scope and bins. A great day following a similarly fine day at Anfield yesterday. Very bad light for photography of course, but this video captures the jizz of the Bittern well: it’s showing very clearly here in North Merseyside, for such a normally secretive bird.
Thanks again to Phil Boardman for these images: he snapped this bird at Marshside today. It fits the description of one seen at Martin Mere earlier in the week too.
And if that’s not enough to make you want to check out Phil’s flickr stream, how about these stunners:
I spent most of the day counting gulls and ducks for the Wetland Bird Survey; I fired off this quick shot of a Sedgie just as I was heading home. The original was not quite in focus, very flat, washed out, and lacking contrast. I seldom do any processing other than cropping and perhaps a tiny tweak of exposure, but I cranked up the curve in this using some very rudimentary software and got this effect. Let’s call it art. Or crap!
Meanwhile, Jason went to the Wirral and did some proper digiscoping, starting with this Grasshopper Warbler at Leasowe …
… and then this Grey Seal at Hilbre
I’ve not managed to get to Nel’s Hide during its opening hours this week to snap the near-summer plumage Spotted Redshank currently there. The last time (and indeed the first time) I saw one in summer plumage at that hide was also one of my first ever “successful” attempts at digiscoping, on the evening of the France v Portugal match in the 2006 World Cup, if I recall. This was taken with a Coolpix 995; the bird was on the nearest mudbank to Nel’s along with a juvenile Little Ringed Plover. I got back home in time for kick off.
Another very fleeting visit with Django, the dog, tonight. Little to photograph except the resident Kestrel once again, who poses for me very readily. I think he has one eye on Django as a likely snack. The midges had similar thoughts about me.
My mooching around the house all day, being off work sick, was clearly too much for the family, who persuaded me that a bit of fresh air would do me good, and dumped me and the dog at the end of Marshside Road some time after 6pm. Rumours of a Great White Egret having flown over at 5pm were quickly scotched by a phone call, which also advised that the Spotted Redshank was still viewable from Nel’s at the time it was locked up, and sure enough it was ‘scopable even from Junction Pool but a photo was out of the question. So the highlight of this short visit was this Whinchat. Having seen, but failed to get a decent image of, the bird in the sandplant on Saturday, this one was at least eventually sufficiently obliging for me to get these record shots. A probable Tree Pipit flew over the sandplant, which had plenty of Wheatear around.
male ruff Philomachus pugnax marshside rspb 18/04/2009, originally uploaded by jason stannage.