Man, I hate waiting in for people to come and do a job - today it was the chimney sweep - he was a great guy and all, looking like a cross between a Sooty Shearwater and my father-in-law, but as he worked, I could see the gorgeous, still, bright weather fading all the time.
Great Tit singing in the garden at Dempsey Towers though, with a few Redwing etc.
It strikes me that the Victorians had the right idea - get a few street urchins and stuff 'em up the flue every once in a while with an old toothbrush stuck to their heads - no need to wait in then, the job would be done quicker than you could say "Dick Van Dyke".
If social services had a problem, a fellow could simply lock the said urchins in the garden shed with a copy of "Great Expectations" and some humbugs and no one would be any wiser.
Ahem..anyway, I eventually got down to the marsh at about 2.30pm, but it was still pretty fine.
This superb Sparrowhawk landed on the depth pole right in front of Sandgrounders Hide and Graham Moreton, John Aitcheson and I ogled it for about a minute before it flapped off - great bird.
The Sandplant lagoon had over 20 Pochard on it, with three Little Grebe and Ruddy Duck.
Particularly liked the circle of water droplets this male Pochard threw as it shook its head...
Neat trick! Do it again! Do it again!
Golden Plover, Blackwits and Lapwings dreaded on several occasions, and skeins of Pinkies were heading out towards the mudlfats by 2.45pm.
Walked up the Coast Road with John and we picked up a hunting male Hen Harrier - unfortunately it was hunting on the Fylde side of the estuary - long distance views, that were forgotten later when another male came north over the marsh off where the old wildfowler's platform used to be.
Wonderful scope views in the winter sunlight.
Two male Hen Harriers - not too shabby!
The Glossy Ibis was mooching around the pools on the outer marsh, frequently going out of sight behind the vegetation.
A bit further up, two Short Eared Owls were hunting over the marsh in the usual area, from about 3pm onwards - always fantastic to see them at Marshside....
Don't think Andy Bate et al have much to worry about looking at this long distance record shot!
What was interesting was the plumage tones on the birds -one a rich rufous underneath, the other very pale...
Merlin and another Sparrowhawk over the outer marsh too.
Fine bit of winter birding - if it stays settled, tomorrow could be good too.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...