Monday, 28 February 2011

Bitterly cold and embarrassing amount of lifers!!!

Post is a week late due to not having the chance to even turn the ole PC on in the past few days as work, home life and baby were top of the order.

Anyway, after exchanging a few emails with Mr DM regarding what had been going in the local area, I was informed that it would be an impressive high tide up at Warton Bank.  So after a brief think and realising that Liz and Briony would be away for the weekend; I decided that it would be worth meeting up with D to be shown the ropes of Warton Bank.

Waking at 08:30 on the Sunday morning after having a bit of over indulgence with beer, movies and sweet things, it took me a while to pluck up the courage to slope out of bed and get myself ready.  So on noticing that it was a good clear day but looking quite brisk it was snowboarding pants and boots time.  With thermos cup of coffee in hand, binoculars and camera packed I headed towards Warton Bank near Preston (Map below)

On arrival I parked up, walked down to the marsh and noticed only 2 other people.  I was surprised by this as thought the high tide later in the day would of brought a lot more people... this was to change.  I headed through the orchard behind Warton Aerodrome and after a few precarious moments of losing my footing in mud I arrived at a good vantage point looking towards the river/estuary.  Another fellow birder was about who informed me that not much had appeared but for me already the sighting of 6 Little Egrets was a plus point (1st lifer of the day).  Around 10:45 Mr DM appeared and after a brief introduction to Frank (wonderful chocolate brown Labrador, which more dogs SHOULD act like) things started to happen.  First of all a Skylark was flushed from the marsh towards us,  followed by a group of Whooper Swans which settled further up the bank making the group around 30 strong. Pink Footed and Greylag geese a plenty flew in over the marsh, followed by my 2nd lifer of the day a Stock Dove which settled just in front of us.

Then for me the highlight of the day happened, 3 raptors in quick succession.  The gent that was near myself and DM pointed out a Merlin (3rd lifer of the day) that was flying low over the marsh, which then skirted through the bushes behind us.  Soon after I noticed a huge flock on the opposite side of the river (Hesketh Out Marsh) which DM id'd as Lapwings but then he noticed 2 Marsh Harriers (4th lifer of the day) underneath the flock, possibly what had sent them packing.  Then what I had hoped for a Short Eared Owl (5th lifer of the day) was seen heading in from marsh, never imagined how large these beautiful birds seemed.  After DM noticed a flock of Golden Plover over and a few Long Tailed Tits and Chaffinches flitting around in the orchard, we realised the tide was now seriously pushing in as all channels were filled and the water was flowing over the path out into the marsh, we decided to head down towards where a throng of birders were stood looking outwards from another vantage point.  No sooner had we arrived than the 6th lifer of the day appeared a Water Pipit and also a lifer for DM, so close to id and such a wonderful looking bird and actually not to difficult to id when it was stood with a few Rock Pipits.  By now the cold was seriously starting to hit me but just before I headed of home to see Liz and Briony, the final lifer (number 7) of the day was flushed from the reeds, 2 Grey Partridge followed by an amazingly close sighting of a beautiful male Sparrowhawk chasing the Reed Buntings and Pipits through the reeds.

DM decided he would head to Marton Mere, where I myself decided to head home, to see the wife and baby and to get a much deserved HOT cup of fresh coffee!!!  I know a few people will turn their noses up and state that "WOW only just seeing those" but for me the majority of my watching is in passing of wherever I am or when I actually get free time, which is not as often as it used to be.

All in all a fantastic 3 hours, proving that you just need to get out and you will see ALOT that you have not seen before.  And thanks to Mr DM for the company, hope to catch up again soon mate.


  1. Some great lifers there Neil sounds like Warton Bank is the place to be. I've never been before but you get similar sightings on the south side at Hesketh Out Marsh.

  2. Sounds like a top trip out Neil, some fine sightings there.

    I wouldn't worry about what others think re. what you have/haven't seen before (& obviously you're not too worried or else you wouldn't have mentioned your newbies).
    There's loads of birds I'm yet to see, which are all something to look forward to in due course, in the meantime I see what I see, I miss what I miss, but most of all I'm enjoying getting out there looking as much as I'm able to.


  3. Derek/Cliff, it was indeed a great trip out. Hope for more in the near future.

  4. 7 lifers, just the one or none at all - its always great to be out in the field, even if it was a bit arctic.

    Got that Med yet?

    Howdja do that map thing?



  5. I havent got it yet Dave, hopefully tonight will head to Lawsons Field and see it. As for the map thing I will email you.