Great day today in gorgeous sun, did the golf course with Bazzo, but we were swiftly summoned to the Sandplant, where Simon "Jellyhead" Jackson had heard a Yellow Browed Warbler calling.
This was good, as the golf course was dead.
The sandplant however held Blackcap, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and good numbers of titmice and Robins lurking in the bushes.
Bazzo and I managed a silhouette view of what looked like a Yellow Browed Warbler moving through the hawthorns, but the bird dropped out of sight and none of us (Jellyhead, Pete Allen, Bazzo or I) could find it again.
C'est la vie.
The Glossy Ibis was still doing its thang in front of a steaming hot Sandgroudners hide, and out on the estuary a Little Egret was on the mud.
Earlier in the day Graham Clarkson had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the marsh.
Few parties of larks and pipits and that was about your lot...until, Neill called from the east coast, where his pager was giving the news I'd been waiting for since Friday, namely that the acro at Red Rocks on Wirral was a Blyth's Reed Warbler - so off Bazzo and I went, weaving through the Sunday afternoon drivers to get to the site just before 2pm.
Crowd of about 30 birders on the boardwalk, including Pete Wheeler who had some mighty fine pix of the bird...but it was very elusive.
An hour later I'd seen Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, titmice, Robins and heard Water Rail from the reeds by the boardwalk and was on the verge of giving up, when the Blyth's Reed came out of cover and perched up "banana-stylee" seven feet from Bazzo and I in the bare branches of a bit of scrub!
Great views of the bird - long billed, big headed, super from the bill to the eye, broken eye-ring, short wings, cocked tail and cold grey brown upperparts.
Crucially it had dark grey legs.
Its throat was pale and there was a grey brown wash to the flanks - just like it should have - much better views than I've had of the thing in Finland, where one nearly reduced me to a nervous breakdown with its skulking behaviour.
Presumably the confusion over this bird earlier in the weekend was caused by the fact that a Reed Warbler is in the same small area - so if you see an acro in the reedbed at Red Rocks - check the leg colour first!!!!
Made up with such good views of the Blyth's, we headed out to the right side of the river.
Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Migrant Hawkers were on the wing, and while we were were away, Tropical got a few bugs of his own at Marshside - including a groovy Short Winged Conehead and a Migrant Hawker.
Trops had the Short Winged Conehead egg laying on a Sedum head.
If ever there was an argument for preserving the banks of the old Sandplant, the conehead is it - what an insect!
Thanks for the shots Paul.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...