Started off none too promising at Marshside today, but picked up for a superb bit of birding - as is often the way...
28 Pochards and a few Cormorants loafing about the Sandplant Pool, including one old white-headed bird that was trying to imitate a sinensis, which got me kinda interested, until it started being silly and I left it alone....
Merlin tazzing over Marshside Two spooked the Lapwings, Curlews and Blackwits, but although it had been seen earlier in the day, there was no sign of the Green Winged Teal while I was around.
Nice to hear the Skylarks singing again all the same.
The outer marsh had Peregrine, Merlin and Sprawk, and best of all, a gorgeous adult male Hen Harrier, which was hunting fairly close to the road (for a Hen Harrier), being hassled by Black Headed Gulls.
After about 15 minutes it headed back onto the outer edge of the marsh, where it snagged a vole and settled down out of sight to eat its dinner.
Five or six Little Egrets about as usual, and about 500 Pink Feet hidden in the vegetation, occasionally poking their necks up to have a look around.
Plenty of Skylarks on the outer marsh, with smaller numbers of Meadow Pipits, including this obliging one which did its best to balance on the old fence wires in the biting southerly wind.
Spotted Clarko as I was walking back down the road as he was doing his WeBs count and we were happily chatting away, when Graham spotted a white winged gull on Polly's Pool.
All chatting ceased and in seconds we were 'scoping a nice big first winter Glaucous Gull, as it foraged bizarrely for rotting vegetation in the water.
Hardly the right behaviour for an uber-gull, but it settled down after ten minutes to look mean and magnificent again -a cracking bird, it must be a few years since I last saw one on the marsh.
Shame Polly's is so far from the road - it would have been nice to get better shots of the big bruiser.
Taking to the air once or twice it looked massive, with an impressive wingspan, but on the deck it wasn't the biggest Glauc I've seen - chesty and with a great big pink and black bill, tertial step, square head etc certainly, but not much bigger than one or two of the larger Herring Gulls on the water...even if it did dwarf the Common Gulls and BHGs.
Still a great bird, presumably the one that has been seen around Blackpool's Stanley Park, but who knows?
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...