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Warblers in March

Posted by on March 2, 2014 10:22 PM | 

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With the skies brightening briefly just before lunch, and the rain easing, I decided to nip over to Martin Mere to have a look at the Siberian Chiffchaff, and picked up Bazzo on the way, driving out over a soggy Churchtown Moss (2 Whoopers, Corn Bunting, Red Legged Partridge), before trudging off down the Reedbed Walk at the side of the reserve.
Maybe we're getting old, but we both agreed a travelator like the ones at airports would be a distinct improvement to this trail and would make the walk far more entertaining.
The Sibe Chiffy was surprisingly elusive while we were there - a fleeting glimpse as it shuffled about on the deck under the hedgerow was all I had in an hour, before it finally gave itself up and fed on the outside of the bushes for a few minutes.
Shockingly pale compared to two "normal" tail-pumping collybita Chiffies there (one of which was singing), Mr Frosty resolutely refused to sing, which was a shame as it has been awhile since I've heard this subspecies's song.


To be fair, it was a dark, drizzly and breezy afternoon - I don't think I'd fancy singing in that either.
Got a point and press pic or two before it melted back into the branches.
Its cold grey uppers and very pale underparts contrasted with the yellowy wash on the wings.
Hordes of Reed Bunts here, with Mipits, Pied Wags buzzing around the neighbouring sewage works, Great Tits, Robins and Long Tailed Tits - fun to see so many passers, attracted by the insects around the stinky plant.


Earlier in the day the male Blackcap was around the feeders at Dempsey Towers, picking at fallen seed rather than pecking at the fatballs.
It was joined by no fewer than 11 Siskins, including some smashing males - good to see 'em back at the towers in numbers.



1 Blackcap, 2 Chiffies and a Sibe Chiffchaff - not a bad warbler bag for the beginning of March.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...


Out for a walk this beautiful morning around the Gorse Hill Nature Reserve; Skylarks larking, Yellowhammers singing, a ChiffChaff doing its thing, Blackbirds, Chaffinches and Song Thrushes in full voice.
Then the ultimate confirmation that it might indeed be Spring - the postman arrived wearing shorts and a tee shirt...

Long Tailed Duck in front of Nels Hide today, also 5 Avocet from there as well.

Very smart winter-plumage Slavonian Grebe on Southport Marine Lake this afternoon (14.30-15.15) on east side of southern island; diving a lot.
A bit distant but decent scope views.

Slav Grebe still in the same place on Southport Marine Lake this afternoon.

Slav Grebe showing well off southern island on Southport Marine Lake till 1500 at least today.

Regarding the condition of Southport Marine Lake: during the period that it held large numbers of Coot and Mute Swans, the lake supported dense beds of Beaked Tasselweed (Ruppia maritima) which was evidently a major food for the wildfowl.
The plant has apparently almost disappeared, thereby perhaps accounting for the decline of Coots and swans.
Ruppia is a water plant that likes rather nutrient rich, alkaline and brackish conditions. Presumably, the environment of the lake has become unfavourable for the plant.

On the way out of Southport upto Leighton Moss this morning a Merlin flew over Preston New Road quite high towards Churchtown Moss from the direction of Marshside, I don't think I've ever seen Merlin over urban Southport before.

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