Sunny periods and a strengthening south westerly were good enough for a poke around Marshside in the early morning yesterday.
Grey wags, meadow pipits, wheatear, 4 white wags, swallow, siskin and a common sandpiper all proved that birds were on the move, while on the nearby golf course, goldcrests called from the foliage, and it quickly became clear there had been an influx of robins _ "tiKKing" away in the undergrowth.
A single chiffchaff was the only thing that responded to my pitiful attempts at pishing, the warbler popped up from a willow more out of embarrassment than anything else I guess.
A jay came in over the southern end of the reserve _ an autumn arrival clearly, its stuttering hesitant flight telegraphing its identity from long range.
Okay, so Walney had a golden oriole, a stunningly good record for autumn, and a red necked phal was near Barrow, but Marshside birders usually have to lower their sights a little....
Good numbers of geese were on Marshside One, but there's still very little water there, so not surprisingly wildfowl numbers are low on that part of the marsh.
On the up side, when it does flood (if it does flood), the water should be a soup of seeds, providing a supersize meal for ducks and waders.
There's a reasonable flock of greenfinches and linnets building up around the sandplant, a good bet for drawing in a twite later in the winter _ if the flock stays together.
Failing that, the Ribble marsh out from Baxter's Farm at Banks usually holds a small flock of twite in winter, often containing colour ringed birds _ but watch out that you don't park in the wrong place, unless you really WANT a major diplomatic incident!
Further up Southport's Coast Road at Crossens, 900 wigeons were counted by Graham Clarkson.
On the outer marsh skylarks chirrupped above me and a merlin tazzed around like there was no tomorrow.
Two of the escaped little egrets fed in a creek out on the mud beyond the saltmarsh _ pale blotchy legs mark them out as escapes from a collection on the northern side of the Ribble.
The ring billed gull popped up at Crosby Marina over the weekend.
The Richard's pipit is still on the Great Orme (more about that in my coloumn next Saturday), but with birds on the move, and the mega-fest that is October only days away, anything could turn up...anywhere!
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies.