After an hour or so down at Marshside today I headed over to Mere Sands Wood to check out the feeding stations - always the easiest way to see woodland birds at this time of year.
The marsh was looking good in the bright sun, with two Merlin, hordes of Little Egrets, Pinkies and marauding GBBs spooking the wildfowl on M2.
A "great white dot" out on the estuary off Banks looked much bigger than the many "little dots", but I couldn't get a good enough view to turn it into a GWE.
No such problems at Mere Sands, with lots of birds coming down to the feeders around the centre - especially Reed Buntings.
Much nicer, but all too fleeting, was a zippy Willow Tit, which sadly didn't hang around with the large numbers of Great, Blue and Coal Tits, preferring to melt away in the tangle of branches.
Four Siskin feeding in the treetop catkins alongside Goldfinch, Chaffinch etc, and a small group of Redpoll buzzing overhead.
Just one Bullfinch while I was there tho', with two Greater Peckers, Tree Sparrows and swarms of Robins and Dunnocks, plus squawking Jays.
Kingfisher and at least four Goosander, including a male, from the Marshall Hide, but generally too far away to get great views of these stunners.
Two or three Nuthatch were hanging around the gnarled old oaks on the western side of the reserve, occasionally singing, but mainly frustrating any attempts by my good self to get decent pix.
When they weren't scooting down tree trunks or hiding behind branches, they were up in the treetops at tripod and neck breaking angles (the sooner they make a Slik D3 out of Playdoh the better)...great wee birds though, but I wish one would make it to Dempsey Towers in Ainsdale - for a species undergoing range expansion, they take so long to cover relatively short distances.
In the fading light, one of them finally did the right thing and sat still for a few minutes to preen, so I could get some nice scope views.
Didn't get time to get all the way round the reserve, so Crossbill and Woodcock hunting will have to wait for another day.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...