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Another Bittern break

Posted by on January 26, 2010 8:25 PM | 


Nipped down to Marshside at lunch with Ralph and Duncan for yet another ogle at the Bittern today.
Dunc is just back from Tenerife, and understandably fancied catching up with a local carpetbag - and why not?
I think it's great that you can pop in on a reliable local Bittern during lunchbreak....long may the frog killer's stay continue!
(Oddly Duncan's enthusiasm for the Red Crested Pochard wasn't quite so fierce, so we gave a Marine Lake detour a miss - presumably the duck is still about?)
The male Hen Harrier was getting in a state further out from the Bittern on the marsh, probably due to a marauding Merlin, which seemed to be chasing down Skylarks flushed by the larger raptor - harriers really do not like it when the falcons pull this stunt.
Plenty of Pinkies in the murk, but too distant to really grill, although a few Barnacles stood out from the grey horde.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...


Flock of 40 (or so) Twite still present at Weld Road.

A careful count of Marine Lake Coot yesterday afternoon produced a total of 1428, which I think is a site record (unless someone knows otherwise).
I realise I need to get a life, but I quite like Coot and, in any case, I was able to combine the count with a visit to Crossens where the Bittern was doing its stuff, together with four Short-eared Owls, four Merlins and a Weasel. Splendid!

There were two female Red-crested Pochards on the Marine Lake today at 10.00am. One of the birds is very pale and sandy, the other darker - just like those in captivity at Martin Mere.

Jack Snipe and two Common Snipe - Green Beach, Ainsdale end.

Hello John
I understand the Red-crested Pochard has a metal ring on its right leg. Anyone managed to get any details, please? Thanks

Howdy Pete,
My understanding is that the bird was ringed by Pete Fearon Jnr on Jan 14th at the Marine Lake (BTO ring), and retrapped a few days later by Kane Brides...unless anyone else knows different?

Hi John,
Fantastic website and photographs. I am a relatively new birder and would appreciate your (and any other birders) advice on what spotting scope to buy to appreciate the vast expanse of Marshside. Thanks

Hi John,
Early this morning I saw the Bittern leaving the area of reeds by Polly's Pool. It then flew over the road to the outer saltmarsh.This is the second time I've seen this happen, so perhaps it spends the night in that location.

A lot depends on how much you are prepared to pay.
"No object" then one of the top of the range German/Austrian/Japanese models although Zeiss/Leica/Swarovski prices have gone through the roof for no apparent reason, not as if they're offering anything significantly better than they were" pre- recession".
Maybe quite a lot of punters new to birdwatching in the market with lots of dosh to spend e.g. retirement lump sums and the like.
If money is an object, and if it were me (money is an object!) I'd go for one of the Nikon 50mm object lens "mini" scopes matched to a good quality Nikon eyepiece e.g. their 13-40x ED zoom.
This will set you back about £600 plus you'll need a tripod such as a Manfrotto or Velbon model with a detachable centre column which converts into a hide clamp.
These scopes are mini, not as bright or as powerful but importantly not as heavy or as expensive as their bigger Nikon brethren. Lovely and portable so that e.g. easy to take on an overseas trip.
The additional beauty of these scopes is that if in the future one needs a bigger scope eg for digi-scoping or for the extra power/brightness /field of view that say a Nikon 82mm Fieldscope provides then your 13-40 eyepiece is simply switched to the larger scope (giving 24-60x I think) giving you the option of travelling light or heavy.
I've got several scopes ( I used to collect vintage optics) but the one gap is that filled by a "50mm".
The "In Focus" shop at Martin Mere should be able to sort you out, they do "price match" as well (they did for me) and often have second hand gear,


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