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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Out at Rossall

The story will follow... (bedtime, said Zebadeee!)


Dunlin and Ringed Plover and is that a Knot in the background?


Dunlin summer plummage

Wheatears on the beach

On the way back

Ringed Plover

Herring Gull

Anything to get away from those Grey Wagtails!

No story to tell really, I had a rush of blood and popped over to Rossall as it was a 10m tide around 12 lunchtime. It is unlikely I will be about over Easter weekend so this seemed a good day to get out before everyone else. I parked at the north car park and wondered why when I arrived. Glorious sunshine and the adjoining grass verges were full of tents, picnic tables, easy chairs, footballs and all. Whoops, was this a mistake? – Too late I'm here now. Rooting through the boot I wasn't sure if I should wellie up and put my wet weather gear on – glorious sunshine and 70 degrees!  Has this boy gone mad? (well we know the answer to that is yes). If I was going to roll around on the beach and at the waters edge it would be a shrewd move (I have  cunning plan!). Nah don't bother.

I set off south towards the Lifeguard Tower – hmmnnn every piece of beach had grockles playing or someone fishing. It was blue sky, wall to wall sunshine and a calm sea, apart from the tidal rip – and not a thing in sight. Zip, zilch, zero, nowt. I walked on. Past the point where it turns back a little, zip, zilch, zero, nowt. Grockles, dog walkers, bicycles (wish I'd brought mine now). Not looking good. Two Dunlin fly north over the sea... maybe I'll have to go up to Fleetwood. Well the sea is hopeless so I have a look at the wall between the esplanade and the Golf course (bearing in mind only been here once before). Straight away I spot a small bird sat on the wall some fifty yards off and it looks like a Wheatear to me. I approach a little closer, Yep, first Wheatear of 2011 for me... and over the wall on the Golf course is some sort of large concrete pillar and sat on top is another Wheatear, two – brilliant... and a dog walker who immediately scares them off! Great! I carry on walking close to the dividing wall and peering over to the Golf course in the hope of passing migrants. Nowt. Nowt on the beaches either. Strewth. I struggle on south. A Meadow Pipit makes an appearance on the wall.

I've decide the sea shore is not going to produce and my best bet is the path between the Golf Course and the Promenade wall, only thing is I have to walk to the end of the Golf course to access it. Eventually I am on this 'in-between' land and yes more dog walkers... ho hum. Then within 25 yards there is another Wheatear. He stays with me for some time and I rattle off a number of photos, better had while I can. I lose the Wheatear when the dog walkers approach. Carrying on I eventually manage to win the confidence of another Wheatear that allows me within 20 feet and I rattle off more photos before yet more dog walkers, who have other options, decide to come barging through where I have just spent half an hour gaining the confidence of this Wheatear – then it is off again. Much gnashing of teeth. Onward. I am fast approaching the Lifeguard Tower again and climb the Stile over the promenade wall to see if there is anything on the sea/shore. Nowt... when I clock a Wheatear heading onto the foreshore, so down to the seaward side. Yep a Wheatear on the foreshore and not only that up against the groyne are some Dunlin, Ringed Plover and the odd Sanderling. Excellent.

Ray Mears impressions on the beach aren't easy (what cammo do you wear?) but I see the Wheatear, rattle off some shots and approach the Dunlin and co with caution and rattle off some more shots. Working my way down to the waters edge and crouching low... do I care what I look like... just as well! Then of course they are up and away... why? How come? I have approached with caution, got close enough and now they have 'gone-up'.  And to my right a hound comes hurtling in. You have the WHOLE beach, the promende, the Golf course walk, there is loads of space, why come and keep me company? The air is blue!

Effectively this repeats itself. I spend all my time working my way into a decent position, trying to get the sun behind me, focus et al and Gnasher or the Hound of the Baskervilles comes charging in! It's not Ok and least of all when I am skulking behind the groyne engrossed in what I am doing when the Hound from Hell sneaks up on you and starts sniffing your groin... sniffing is one thing, it's when the teeth come out you panic! And I like dogs!

Well, the Dunlin are changing to their Summer plummage I creep about the beach, wishing I put my wellies on and wet weather trousers while Wheatear, at least 12 fly in and out of view along the seashore. Some of the photos appear here.

I drove back through Fleetwood (why?) to find the Fleetwood Nature Reserve and having taken the wrong turning (that may prove to be the right one – new housing estate, easy access from the north) and while parked, a Herring Gull decides to come and sit ten feet away from the car, so I attach his mug shot in case he's wanted for anything! I call in at the Nature Reserve, disappointed. Only thing of interest is a great Crested Grebe catching flies off the surface. Listening for warblers all I can hear is the high pitched drone of the model aircraft adjacent to the site, now who thought that one up? Model Aircraft next to a Nature Reserve? (I also like model aircraft! My father having built many a model. I have a Sea Harrier waiting to be completed). Worn out, time for bed!

Shows how much I know... here's me at Fleetwood nature Reserve seeing nowt, recceing for future visit and moaning about the Model Aircraft etcetera and within 48 hours a White Stork and a Short Toed Lark are seen on the site! Now where is that p├ętard?

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