A rather busy few days of visible autumn migration has left me slightly dizzy. It's been a rollercoaster ride on the muddy banks of the Dee, but I've managed to stay in the thick of it!
Friday last saw a decent high tide (9.9m) but a high pressure weather system sat over us and an easterly wind meant it was never likely to achieve its predicted height. Still, it was down to Riverbank Road to watch the marshes to see what birds are about.
It certainly wasn't disappointing! After a sluggish start (it's always a slow burn at Riverbank) the tide flooded and we were treated to a fine selection of birds. 6 Greenshank feeding in the gutter was a highlight but the show was stolen by 2 Marsh Harriers, an adult male and a juvenile, drifting away from the slow but unstoppable flow of the tide. A Short-eared Owl also put in a brief appearance. The birding action continued into the evening with a trip to Inner Marsh. Here Little Stint fed around the feet of a couple of Spotted Redshank while a Black Tern swooped over their heads. 150 Little Egrets had arrived to roost as we left with more floating in as we wandered homewards.
For the rest of the weekend autumn dressed as summer, warm sunshine reminding me of my recent trip to Greece! Saturday had a feel of a migration day. A walk along the Marine Lake to Caldy Beach yielded 40-odd Pied Wagtails and 2 Grey, a fine start. Things improved on a trip around the Thurstaston Circe (see earlier post). On the shore I found a juvenile Greenland Wheatear flitting from boulder to boulder bobbing it's tail in an angry way. Perhaps I was scaring the bugs it was hunting. Ringed Plover too, and a Common Sandpiper, Greenshank calling overhead too. Nice!
But it was along the hedges and farmland that the main action was. Visible migration is a tremendous phenomenon and it was a real treat to watch a near constant stream of finches (mainly Chaffinch, but plenty of Greenfinches too). Nuthatch were moving along the Wirral Way, so were Goldcrest. Siskin were a nice surprise too.
Suddenly the air was full of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. More than 100 of the former and about 80 of the latter descended on Heswall Fields. These might not be ultra rare birds but catching them in these numbers so obviously migrating is something special to see.
Sunday was another scortcher, and the migration continued, with many of the species of the previous day much in evidence.
Monday morning and I'm pegging out some washing in the back yard when 57 Pink-feet head over in a North westerly direction. They are incredibly high, but I dash in and grab the camera and reel off a few shots, more so I can count them than admire the pictures.
News of more unusual stuff turning up is buzzing on the wires, there is still plenty to look for over the next few days, if I can get out to look for it!
One last migrant put in an appearance this morning, but not a featherd one!
Migrant Hawkers are perhaps my favourite dragonfly. A late summer species, they look similar to Southern Hawker. It's all in the ante humeral stripes. Migrant Hawkers have small, narrow ones and Southerns have big bold broad ones.
Who knows what will turn up over the next few days? I can't wait to find out!