Even allowing for commendable attention to cleanliness, I thought the Starling flock at Crosby Marina were taking things way too far today, breaking thin ice on the flooded grass for a bathe.
It was bitter cold, but they didn't seem to mind, repeatedly splashing about and showering me in icy water droplets (at least I hope they were water droplets) as they wheeled about over my head.
Ice does strange things to birds - I watched young Herring Gulls snapping pieces off the edge of the frozen water yesterday from Nels Hide at Marshside, for no obvious reason?
The continuing cold snap today did mean Crosby Marina and its surrounds was quite impressive this morning though - 97 Tufties, 37 Goldeneye, 8 Pochard, 3 Red Breasted Mergs and single Great Crested and Little Grebes joined no fewer than four first year Shags, and a small gull roost.
Waders probing the grass included 10 Blackwits, Barwit, Turnstone, Lapwing, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Dunlin, while a few Redwing passed overhead and Song Thrush and Blackbird foraged around the bushes.
Early afternoon, an impressive flock of about 8,000 Woodpigeons rose from fields around Sniggery Wood (near Little Crosby), which also had Common Buzzard, and nearby St Mary's Playing Fields had a good flock of Pinkies, but I didn't get a chance to check 'em.
A bit more intriguing has been the discovery of two dead seals on the coast - one just north of Hall Road on Thursday (about 5 ft long) and the other on the Alt Estuary at Hightown today (a much smaller animal, under 3ft).
Sorry about the poor quality pix seal-fans (mobile phone shots), but going by the size of both animals, pale bodies with heavy spotting and small, rounded heads, I wondered if they might have been Common rather than Grey Seals...the nostrils were very close together and formed a tight "v", which is a bit of a pointer, but the species is fairly rare along our coastline, so two in the space of a few days would be exceptional.
They certainly lacked the "Roman Noses" of our regular Greys, which are the usual tideline corpses.
Back on the birding front, Mr McCann (fresh from picking up the Ring Billed at the weekend) found a colour ringed Sanderling on Crosby beach at 11.30am yesterday.
Right leg: White above yellow
Left leg: Green above yellow.
Have to see what I can find out about that one.
And while I'm on the subject of ringing, I've just got a return back on a dead Guillemot I found on Ainsdale beach after storms in early September this year.
Not much of a life, the beastie was rung as a nestling on June 27th this year on Puffin Island off Anglesey.
Them's the breaks.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...