Yarr, at last a decent wind to put a shine on a man's cutlass!
Coupled with a high tide, the coast was wet and wild today battered by gale force winds in the morning, with mountainous waves and a massive surge that inundated the parking area on Ainsdale beach, pushing Sanderlings almost onto Shore Road.
Raggedy groups of Common Scoter offshore, with two Gannet, a Kittiwake, the inevitability of the wintering Cormorant flock, and a female Merlin, which tazzed south through the troughs to God knows where.
Watery oblivion probably.
The tide pushed right over Weld Road too - Jack Snipe would have been a dead cert there this morning, but they'll be sneaking about in the dunes for a day or two now after such high water levels.
I was there just after the peak of the tide, when a medium-sized gull roost was building up (nowt out of the ordinary), and 15 Twite flew in to feed on the last exposed grassy verges around the car park, with Linnets, Skylark and Pied Wags.
With the tide falling back in the afternoon I headed down the Green Beach to an area I'm working on and had a classic Ainsdale Leach's Petrel at 1400 - skipping and tottering along over the sand and channels, spooking the waders as it went.
I lost sight of it near a group of large gulls.
Really is best to look for these critters at Ainsdale after the tide, especially if the wind holds and tired individuals re-orientate over the beach.
You'd be very lucky to pick 'em out in the deep troughs of high tide, given the low elevation - the Tobacco Dump at Formby is always a better option.
I wonder how many were out there today...
Before I forget, thanks to Phil Smith for his pix of Fox Moth caterpillar at Ravenmeols (see comment, previous entry) - you can't beat a good woolly bear.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...