Enjoying a morning coffee with Mrs D in the back garden at Dempsey Towers today, I couldn't help but hearing Chaffinches, Skylarks and Mipits passing overhead - birds were on the move, so I decided to head down to Marshside before the start of today's airshow.
The planes and choppers don't particularly disturb the birds, but I like to watch the birdies without the thumping of rotor blades in the background making the place sound more Saigon than Southport...
And I wanted to get down before the car park filled with rubes looking for a free spot to watch proceedings from (although if they're that interested in watching things two or three miles away they should take up seawatching).
Anyway, I worked round the Sandplant compound first, scanning it from the top of Mount Baker (ahem).
There were a fair few passerines going through - 15+ Pied Wagtails, a single Wheatear, small groups of Meadow Pipits and a Whitethroat.
At least 8 Robins and 3 Goldcrest were calling from the bushes, and Migrant Hawker, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma were on the wing.
Best and worst bird of the day was a Spotted Flycatcher which was flitting around the bushes in the south east corner and perched up in the sunshine ready for me to digiscope, before a dog walker and his charming brood flushed the bird and it flew off inland.
First record on the marsh this year that I know of.
Two Grey Wagtails, Skylarks and a single calling Yellow Wagtail went overhead - quite exciting really...
I'd like to have got better views of the skulking rich brown passerine in the undergrowth on the north west corner (just past the reedbed) too, but it disappeared. Probably just a Robin.
This Reed Bunting was particularly confiding, perched up in the Forest of Bale.
Small groups of Swallows were heading south and hordes of Pinkies were yelping away all over the place - later there were at least 5,000 on Marshside Two and Crossens Inner.
The Ruddy Ducks were still on the Sandplant Lagoon, and the Marsh Harrier was quartering Crossens Inner before drifting south.
I could see at least three Little Egrets from the top of Mount Baker, but no sign of the Glossy Ibis - down a ditch most likely.
At Nels I met Brian Woolley and we scanned the roosting Blackwits - including a colour ringed bird (Right leg: white above red; Left leg: white above yellow).
I can feel another e-mail to Iceland coming on....
A lone Turnstone and a single Knot were also at Nels, plus five or so Ruff.
Snipe in the quieter bays, and the Kingfisher darted by a few times, as did several mating Migrant Hawkers.
All in all a lickety-split morning, before I headed home via a tortuous crosstown route to avoid the airshow queues.
There seemed to be very large numbers of Coot on the Marine Lake as I sped by (conservative estimate: sh*tloads), plus the usual Mute Swans etc.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...