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Sunny morning on the marsh

Posted by on November 26, 2006 5:52 PM | 


Bright sunny morning at Marshside today - still no sign of any gales - but there were good numbers of Starlings feeding on the saltmarsh (see above), which were understandably spooked by two female Sparowhawks, which flapped about the spartina languidly like a pair of harriers south of the Sandplant.
The accipiters frequently dropped out of sight into the marsh, which certainly put the wind up the local Skylarks too.
A male and female Stonechat on the fenceposts and wires north of the Sandplant, but top marks to Graham Clarkson who found a male Green Winged Teal between Pollys Creek and Crossens Inner Marsh.
Bazzo and Jellyhead also had a big Lanner hybrid cruising about on the estuary.
I had a look later for the teal with no joy, but I'm sure it'll pop up again.
Green Winged Teal seems to have a habit of evaporating into thin air for long periods of time...sneaky.
More reliable were the Little Egrets - I saw at least five on the outer marsh today, Marshside residents now, albeit whiter than white ones.

eg2611a.jpg eg2611b.jpg

Shame they're usually a good way out on the marsh, I'd love to get a crisp picture of one.
Then again, a crisp picture of anything is always a bonus for me...
Lotsa Pinkies out there today too, grey brown heads constantly popping up out of the bleached vegetation, including a neck ringed bird (too far out to read).



Greylags were tearing great lumps of the turf of Crossens Inner out like they hadn't eaten for years, and there were at least 35 Pochard on the Sandplant pool.
No sign of the Snow Buntings on the beach at the end of Fairway this afternoon, but at least 12 Turnstone were feeding on the mud along with the more usual waders, Skylarks and Linnets.
Ten Snow Bunts were here on Friday.
Went collecting sea coal with Mrs D later in the day at an undisclosed location - suffice to say we've got enough big chunks of the black stuff to keep the stove roaring away for a few days at Dempsey Towers - but there weren't many birds about, apart from a dead Gannet and even deader Great Crested Grebe on the tideline.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies....


Hi John, a minor point, but, I actually found the Green-winged Teal. Jacko & Barry saw it because I phoned Jacko on finding it in order to share it with others and to get the grapevine working.
I trust the grapevine is working? Cheers. Graham

As you know, I am most scrupulous about assigning due credit for bird-finding. In that spirit I must tell you that the Marshside Green-winged Teal was found by Warden Clarko, who told Jellyhead and myself by phone. We did, however, find our own Black-tailed Godwit on M2 later on.

Have altered the original entry to reflect Clarko's glorious discovery
(and congrats on the Blackwit Bazzo and Jellyhead - a remarkable find - such heartwarming and commendable honesty, which I'm sure would still have been the case if we'd have been dealing with a Rubythroat)
Perhaps more significant is the news from Graham that there were an estimated 5,400 Lapwings on the reserve this morning (Mon).

Being one to further the cause of all birds - local , national, twitcher, non-twitcher, etc - could you pass on the following to Graham.
in the hope that he will, if he hasn't already, submit his observation to the greater good!

How many starlings were there? A much under-rated little bird - reminds me of a german stuka bomber (seen them in the films on the television!)

Hi Bob - Starlings, probably 200-300 in one flock and smaller numbers elsewhere on the marsh.
Interestingly the main flock featured in my pic appeared to be almost all birds of the year.
PS If Starlings remind you of Stukas, God knows what you make of Griffon Vultures....


Interesting comment re Lapwing numbers. There was a flock of c3k at Longton on Sunday with high numbers at Banks yesterday.
An influx?
That there RL Buzzid was apparently still around Hundred End last week.
There were invariably one or two wintering RLBs on my old stamping ground on Sheppey, very site faithful (and eaters of rabbits) so maybe this one will stay put?

Good nos of Starlings at Martin Mere too apparently Ron, so there could well have been an influx.
Rough Legged Buzzards really are the most annoying raptors...sitting out of sight playing cards and dreaming of rabbits for days on end before showing to one or two people again.....d'oh!!!!

PS On the subject of Starlings, check Jen Walker's comments from Leighton Moss ("Latest from Leighton Moss" entry posted earlier this month, which Jen has just added to), where 25,000 have been coming in to roost

I see from the Midweek Southport Visiter that Marshside Sand Plant is to close in the near future, for economic reasons. This is good news for birders, but a word of caution:
Under the licensing agreement the Sand Plant people must restore the site to its original state!
This seems a dotty idea to me, on three grounds:
(1)The original state was sand and mud. This will soon become saltmarsh (after all, it is virtually surrounded by it). I beg to suggest that we have enough saltmarsh, with an ever-extending belt moving southward along the shore by the month. Another patch might increase our Redhank, Meadow Pipit and Skylark populations by one pair each.
(2) Digging out and carrying off thousands of tonnes of compacted rubble and sand from the rampart will cost a fortune, and leave a carbon footprint the size of Alaska.
(3)Clearing the compound of sand and buildings, but leaving the rampart intact, would create a superb potential habitat which could be landscaped for pools, bushes, hides, reedbed, visitor centre,car-park..whatever we like. A hide on Mt Baker would be ideal for watching over the saltmarsh, and the bushes a veritable migrant-trap for passerines in spring and autumn!
We need a campaign for the defence of the Peninsula. Sticking to the letter of the environmental Law in this case seems a absurd waste of resources and opportunity. A snappy set of initials desirable...any ideas? Save Our Peninsula (SOP)? Maybe not.

Instead of SOP, how about "We'd rather Mount Baker...."
Hmm, then again, perhaps not.
Completely agree with you though Bazzo, the letter of the law is something of an ass in this case.
What do the RSPB say?
The "Give us a Good Migrant" campaign starts here (God knows we deserve one).

Howzabout we all start writing now to the RSPB, Sefton Council, MP's etc? It would probably be too late once the plant closes. I could start with the MP for Bootle 'coz I know him quite well?

I love the idea of a hide on Mt Baker but a new carpark could also work. I was at Marshside this morning and you almost needed the sandplant big truck to get into the carpark as it is now!

Good on you Jim....
Did you see anything at the marsh by the way?

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