Thought I'd squeeze in a quick look at the receding tide off Ainsdale this lunchtime, as the light was nice and sharp against the grey clouds of a weak front pushing down from the north west.
Beach was a whole lot quieter than the last few days of daytripper infestation too.
When I got to a reasonably-sized dune to scope the bay, I was immediately struck by the number of terns feeding offshore, and roosting and bathing on the beach - there were at least 120 Common Terns out there, and easily 200 Sarnies - although accurate counting was difficult as they kept coming and going, bringing fish in for youngsters, or evading skuas (more of those babies in a mo).
Most of the terns on the sands were in loose roosts from the Green Beach north, (when dogwalkers etc weren't spooking them), but a few Common Tern juvs were sitting on their own, presumably it makes it easier to hear your parent coming back with a nice tasty fish, as opposed to sitting in a noisy roost, and risking someone pinching your dinner.
Tern numbers always build at this time of year at Ainsdale, but it's nice to see 'em back.
No surprise then with the number of terns about, to see three Arctic Skuas ripping about offshore - easy pickings for them today.
Four Manx Shearwaters going north were good too (altho' I really don't like it when they do that funny fluttery flight, rather than the standard classy shearing - they look so "unmanxie" like), and about 30 Common Scoter were scudding along the wobbly heat-hazed horizon.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...