I had planned to go looking for Sand LIzards after work today in the frontal dunes - Dave Pennington had been watching some particularly fine males in an area off Shore Road.
Sod's Law then that as I pulled back into the depot at Ainsdale in the late afternoon, the precise spot in the dunes were the lizards had been seen was ablaze, with a gang of stunned youngsters standing around the racing flames and frying marram.
Even a Woodpigeon with learning difficulties could work out that playing with lighters and ciggies in the bone dry dunes is NOT a good idea.
Yet another area of good habitat wrecked for the season.
With the fire extinguished, but the vegetation completely incinerated, Plan A was down the toilet, so I headed home, spent 20 minutes retching up the marram smoke, then headed out to Marshside.
Hordes of BHGs and Avocets round Sandgrounders, but I opted for a walk round the sandplant compound with John Aitchison.
At least four fine big Wheatears playing hide and seek in the mounds in the evening sun, so I spent a bit of time digiscoping.
The birds all looked big, bright and very long winged, and it was tempting to think they were a group of Greenlands coming through, who knows?
Mipits, Reed Bunts etc in the compound too.
Marshside One still held a few hundred gorgeous Golden Plover, with one of the Ruffs in dark summer plumage and lots of brick red Blackwits.
Several thousand Pinkies flapping about in the haze of the outer estuary was a surprise.
Earlier in the day I had two Tree Pipits calling over Southport beach as they moved north early doors, and in the afternoon warmth, a male Whitethroat back on territory in Birkdale.
Few Swallows too.
Yesterday was uneventful, apart from watching a Buzzard pretending to be a Woodpigeon on Plex (or was it the other way round?), and the Lapwings there hammering hell out of two Pheasants that strayed into their territory.
A walk round Freshfield Dune Heath was good - Willow Warblers and Chiffies galore and Jay, Greater Pecker etc, with several groups of Sand Martins and Swallows going through, and more gorse and heather than any man could reasonably ask for.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...