No two ways about it, this is the quiet time now at the end of winter and before the start of Spring; an afternoon at Marshside did little to quicken the pulse, but the only way you get through this time of year is to keep on birding.
14 Mute Swans showing a wide array of rings at the bottom of Hesketh Road, with most showing white on blue, as is normal round here.
One bird had a narrow yellow band on its right leg, with no numbers, something I don't think I've seen before...does anyone know where that one comes from?
One or two had standard BTO manacles but no colour rings.
The swans spent most of their time preening today with the odd bit of male wing rattling, while Curlews broke into short bubbles of song as they flew in to roost and feed at the bottom end of the marsh.
Still plenty of Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Pintail about, with Gadwall starting to display out on the deeper water, but far fewer Pink Feet, with only a few skeins over the outer marsh.
No sign of the Green Winged Teal from Sandgrounders (it has been missing for a few days now), so walked up the road with Jellyhead Jackson, only to find Phil Smith hunkered down on the bank staring out at the marsh.
He really deserved a Hen Harrier or Shortie for his troubles, but got neither.
And neither did we.
Mike McKavett was heading up there as we walked back to the car, I hope he did better than us.
Skylarks singing, and there were two Stonechats on the fence wires, with a few Dunlin scurrying around the Blackwits, but otherwise it was quiet.
Little Egrets and hunting Sprawk were the only distractions on a grey afternoon.
Pochard and Tufties, with four Cormorants, that don't appear to have moved since last Sunday on the Sandplant Pool, where I found Tropical Thomason, fresh from his latest diplomatic successes in Galway.
Trops hadn't seen anything either.
First Avocet should be arriving any day now, if the cold-ish winter hasn't set them back too much.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...