Monday, 17 December 2012

The quest

Sunday dawned bright and the Moore 6
Moore 6
were up early on a mission to try and help Ann get to her target 200 UK birds for the year, 3 to get. Our target birds were Smew, Short eared Owl and Purple Sandpiper.
Moore nature was part flooded,part tundra, the reserves lakes   frozen around the edges despite the recent rain and upturn in temperature. There were plenty of skating teal and squabbling coots but the Smew if it was still there, kept itself well hidden.


2.5 hrs later we decided to decamp to New Brighton to the marine lake by Perch Rock. Fortunately the seadogs  had not been out in their boats and subsequently  not hauled them out on the pontoon are waders roosted on.  Here we found a mixed flock of waders cuddling up against the bitter wind. Mainly Turnstones and Redshank, some Dunlin and 16 Purple sandpipers.

Mixed waders on pontoon roost

That's a tick and we rewarded ourselves with a restorative cup of hot coffee and a wee cake. Well..needs must!
Purple Sandpipers

Onward to Parkgate...not before eagle eyed Tyno spotted a hooded crow flying overhead  as we departed, sadly Ann already that ticked.
On arrival the Parkgate twitchers informed us they had see up to 8 shorties earlier in the day scouring  the marshes..promising. Scanning the marsh we could see plenty of  whirling  waders on the shore line,  and 2 Gt white Egrets were hanging out with several of their smaller relatives.
We trudged down the path towards Thurstaston, observing Finches and Fieldfare on the golf course. The time passed and we were treated to all kinds of raptors a pair of hunting Hen harriers and a solitary ring tail,  and then a Peregrine and Merlin perched on posts, but not a sniff of a Shortie.

Shoreline Hunter - Hen Harrier   c. N Prendergast

As the light faded in the west we had to call it a day, 2 out of 3  had eluded us. But it has been a grand day out and Ann still has 2 weeks to reach her goal -   although I don't think she will be too  disheartened to have reached  a measly 198! 


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