News of a Curlew Sandpiper at Marshside on Saturday drew Eddie and I to this excellent Southport reserve. The bird was nowhere to be seen, but plenty of other stuff kept us occupied...
Nothing had prepared us for this little guy: a leucistic Sedge Warbler, standing out like a sore thumb. Actually, the birders parked opposite the bird on double-yellow lines grabbed our attention first.
Next stop: Martin Mere, just a hop, skip and a jump away.
Mark Abram and I headed to Leighton Moss on Thursday night, blessed again with decent weather and lengthening evening daylight. First stop: Public Hide...
Next stop: the saltmarsh hides where we met this chap munching on leaves in the brambles by the path.
Then we watched the water birds until well after sunset: all the usual suspect; Little Egrets, Avocets, Black-Tailed Godwits... all common birds but the atmosphere was magical.
Mark Abram lives on our cul-de-sac and has a similar interest in wildlife. The fine weather last Monday evening brought us out to the coast to see what was happening. Good to see that Lytham Crematorium still had a healthy population of Ring-necked Parakeets, four of which were roosting in the same tree.
Parking the car on Lawson Road, Blackpool, we found Marton Mere alive with noisy warblers; Cetti's Warblers were heard and several Grasshopper Warblers were seen in the long grass. Too dark for wildlife photography, but at least this crow sat nice and still for me.
Rainy, windy weather would normally root me to the house, but there had been enough rarity reports on "Birdguides. com" to lure me and Eddie out yet again. First stop was Aldcliffe Marsh near Lancaster to see if the Woodchat Shrike was still around...
Next stop: Leighton Moss to see if the spoonbill would play ball. This time we struck lucky as this specimen politely waited for our arrival, albeit distantly.
Other birds at the saltmarsh getting wet:
Bank Holiday Weekend + Decent Weather = Devon. The English Riviera has just about everything a family could want plus loads of wildlife, especially along the shoreline.
And if your kids like crabbing, you must take them here. Just 10 minutes from Paignton lies the sleepy village of Stoke Gabriel, arguably the best place in Britain to go crabbing. Watch them haul em out, one after the other. With a £1 crab line and bit of bacon rind, you can't go wrong...
But what's in it for the serious naturalist I here you ask? Honestly, this area is wildlife heaven. On Sunday morning I drove for just 7 minutes from our hotel in Paignton to a favourite destination of mine: Broadsands Beach. This is one of the few places in Britain where you are likely to see a Cirl Bunting. From Paignton head towards Brixham and turn left into Broadsands Lane, park your car at the end of this road (where the road meets the farm track: Elderberry Lane). Get there early, before the dog walkers, and you wont be disappointed.
And to round it all off, there's nothing quite like a bit of terrorism. Don your finest pirate outfit and get ye down to Brixham Pirate Festival. Take the water-taxi from Torquay or Paignton, stay the whole day and get as drunk as ye like with hundreds of other pirates. Aaaaargh!