Saturday, 1 January 2011


2011 dawns with a resolution. More blogging!

Its been too long since my last post. 2010 got a little hectic towards the end!

So 2011 starts with a slow walk to work stopping at a couple of the patch hot spots to kick off the new birding/blogging year.

First up is the Marine Lake, now thawed out after more than a week locked away from birds and birders alike.

The Mergansers are back but no sign of the Goldeneye. We had some cold weather migrants before it froze. Pochard, Scaup and a couple of Tufted Ducks turned the boating lake into a nature reserve for a few days.

Looking beyond the lake to the mudflats huge flocks are on the move. The tide has reached its height and the waves are unsettling the birds. Flocks so big they nearly obscure Little Eye...

The tide being in means the old baths at the Sailing Club end of the lake will have a few waders on it so I stop there for a bit.
Plenty of Dunlin are squabbling on the armour stone, Redshank look on unimpressed with the disturbance to their roosting. Turnstone are dotted throughout the flock and more Dunlin flight in from the flats.

I can see just one Knot among the (at least) 700 strong gang on the rocks. It's singled out by one Dunlin for a free ride. It jumps on it's back like a drunken reveller left over from the New Year's celebrations of a few hours previous and if a bird could look perturbed then this lone Knot did. It sidles away and shakes its passenger off before disappearing into the bubbling grey birdy throng.

I don't hang around as the rain starts to edge in as the tide recedes. I join the Wirral Way ready for a winter thrush feast, but the grey damp squib has enveloped everything. I see a handful of Redwing and Fieldfare but nowhere near the numbers of recent days. At times it has felt like I had an escort of Blackbirds as I walked along the track.

It seems the usual suspects don't like this cold, dark morning and things are eerily quiet.

On to the shore at Thurstaston to look for my first ringed Blackwits of 2011. It's been a great season so far, but the weather has taken a real turn for the worse. A biting wind and heavy persistant rain make ring spotting difficult and not at all fun. I managed 3 ring codes before I headed for the safety of the office and it's whistling kettle.

Despite the premature and dreary end to my first birding exploits of the year I can't wait to get out again.

A new year bulges with opportunity for wildlife watching and I resolve to keep out there as much as possible, and blog about it!

Happy New Year!

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