No sign of the Long Eared Owls at Marton Mere this morning (which was my gameplan for today), so I headed down to the marsh, meeting up with Bazzo and later Neill in glorious winter sunshine.
Much of Marshside One was still iced over, and remained so for most of the day, but five Avocets were dozing on long frozen legs to the north of Nels Hide, and a Water Rail was squealing away in the SSSI ditch.
A small gull roost held mainly Black Headed Gulls, including one in full summer plumage, but the ice made hard going for the Coots, Marshside's most elegant resident.
This one really distinguished itself as a bird of regal bearing, by skating about eating the gull and duck crap on the ice - classy. And it must be said, a little perverse.
A few Curlews about, and still reasonable numbers of Pintail, Wigeon and Shoveler.
Bazzo and I gave Mount Baker a quick check, admiring a flock of at least 50 Linnets and 15 Greenfinches feeding on the sandy ridge and out on the marsh.
Some of the Linnets were singing, but definitely NO Twite here at the moment, before anyone asks.
The Green Winged Teal had been in front of Sandgrounders earlier, and I noticed in the log that Graham Clarkson had counted 13 Little Grebe yesterday - a mighty fine count for Marshside.
Only three or four today, and about 40 Pochard and Tufties on the lagoon.
A male Stonechat was just north of the Sandplant.
Bazzo and I met Neill and we walked up to Crossens, counting 6-7 Little Egrets along the way.
Crossens Outer had a distant Merlin, with about 100 Pinkies in the deeper vegetation, and a few hundred Golden Plover and Lapwings.
Some of the southern race Goldies are in gorgeous summer plumage now - always worth a look. A few Dunlin were with them, as was a single Little Stint, rushing about like a clockwork toy.
One or two Stock Doves up there too.
About 30-40 Meadow Pipits were feeding on the cropped grass - early spring migrants most likely.
Lapwing tail raising in display up here too, but no sign of the Great White Egret - that seems to be a late afternoon/dusk job, as it flies over to roost in some mysterious location - Hesketh Park? The Marine Lake islands?
As we walked back to the Sandplant, Stephen Menzie rang to say he was watching a Water Pipit in front of Sandgrounders Hide - a very good record for Marshside these days. Unfortunately by the time Bazzo and I got into the area, all we had was a pipit with a Rock/Water type call heading out onto the outer marsh and oblivion.
Stephen is going to e-mail me a pic of the bird, which I'll stick on when I get into work tomorrow.
Now a quick message to the sonofabitch that pranged my car in the Sandplant car park today, leaving a dint the side of a big ashtray over the driver's side front wheel arch.
They then very kindly disappeared without leaving any details.
If you're a birder I hope all your twitches are dips, you lose your bins and all your geese are escapes.
If anyone saw them hitting the black Ford Fiesta let me know huh?
Returning to Dempsey Towers less than pleased, I did at least have a male Brambling at our garden feeders for a few minutes as some consolation, but it flew off before I could digiscope the critter.
C'est la vie.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...