Went Xmas shopping like a demon today (or rather went birding and detoured occassionally to buy something), with first stop Martin Mere, where the guy on the entrance was dressed like a knight (chainmail and everything).
He didn't think it appeared odd, so I decided not to draw further attention to his predicament.
Inside a string quartet was playing.
I put my eyes to the floor and kept walking......
Plenty of Whoopers on the main mere, with Ruff, etc and in the pastures beyond, the escaped Red Breasted Goose was shamelessly parading itself alongside the feral Barnacles.
And you wonder why Eric Hardy used to call this place "Janet Kear's Duck Brothel".
The Whoopers are nice though.
Andy Bunting from the In Focus store had an immature Marsh Harrier on the reserve yesterday.
From the mere, my sleigh laden with gifts (birdseed and pottery ducks all round), I drove down Curlew Lane (no Curlews) and on to Rufford.
At the back of the village a winter flock of 11 Corn Buntings were with Starlings in a leafless sycamore.
One of the Corn Bunts was singing.
Nearby at Mere Sands Wood (no prezzies to get here, I just like the place), Greater 'Pecker and Grey Wagtail were around the feeders by the visitor centre, with Tree Sparrow and titmice and on the water from the Marshall Hide a pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying as a female Goosander fished near the reeds.
Damn tricky to get a decent pic of any of 'em, as they wouldn't keep still, diving in the sunniest part of the water, with light bouncing off the surface left, right and centre.
The Goosander was particularly annoying......
At least this Coot was a bit more obliging, apart from hiding behind the reed stems whenever I took my camera out.
Nice to see it still carries a torch for Crass, with that neat anarchy motif on its flanks.
Marshside was abso-bloody-lutely covered in birds - thousands of wigeon, at least 1,700 Golden Plover behind Polly's Creek and waders wheeling around everywhere. Superb.
On the Sandplant Lagoons 103 Pochard were hanging out, but most were asleep.
Three Little Grebes on the pools too. I'd like to have spent more time at the marsh, but I still have a turkey to murder...
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...