I've been meaning to catch up with the Twite flock at Weld Road, Birkdale, for a week or two; this afternoon seemed a good time to do it.
The birds didn't take long to find, although mobile at first, they gradually settled down to feed on seedheads on the saltmarsh about 200 yards south of the beach entrance at Weld Road.
Fussy eaters, they completely ignored the finch seed I'd dropped for them a little further up the very muddy path that leads out on to the beach proper, preferring the natural food supply.
Sat and watched 'em for about an hour and a half, as my wellies sank slowly into the half frozen mud.
At least 50 birds in the finch flock, but one or two Linnets in there with the Twite, and small parties kept breaking off to forage elsewhere.
For anyone who has "Twite issues" (they can be hard to pin down sometimes), this pic shows the different face patterns of Linnet and Twite (the Twite is on the right -it'd better if it was in focus mind!).
Twite call is so distinctive too.
Those curry-coloured faces and yellow bills make Twite great little characters, if a tad hyperactive.
At least one bird was colour-ringed (blue over yellow) - does anyone know if that has been done down here (many of the Weld Road flock have been ringed locally) or elsewhere, like the Hebs or Pennines?
Hmm, must check that out.
Finches aside, two or three Little Egrets were flopping about, and I managed to flush two Jack Snipe, both close together and only a foot or two from me - one of these days I'm going to be alert enough to see one of the little weasels on the deck, its been a long, long time since I watched 'em bobbing about in the open at Lower Moors on Scilly....
8+ Common Snipe out on the marsh, with Skylarks, Mipits, hunting Kestrel, Redshank and Pied Wagtail.
Mighty fine way to spend an hour or two.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...