25 Mar 2012 Out and About

27th March 2012
Sunday was another very pleasant day, sun, blue sky and no clouds, I resisted the temptation to go back to Woolston Eyes and visited Houghton Green Flash in the hope of finding some Black-necked Grebe that I could photograph.

When I arrived I stood at the top of the embankment and scanned the water with my bins I was quite disappointed, I couldn’t see any. A couple of birders joined me and set up their scopes, they were also looking for the elusive Black-necked Grebes!

They had visited on the Saturday and they said two had been there then.

If last year is anything to go by the Black-necked Grebe appear to favour the edges of the flash so I decided to walk around just in case. The sun made it very difficult to see the far end of the pool from where I was standing so I was still hopeful!

I wandered lonely as a cloud but I didn’t stumble upon a host of golden daffodils or Black-necked Grebe! So here is a photo from last year.

Black-necked Grebe

All I saw on my little wander were Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Coot, Lapwing, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard and a handful of Wigeon.

Great Crested Grebe

Disappointed I thought I’d go home and put some bedding plants in the borders.

However on the way back I decided to have a look at the Mersey just to the East of the M6.

As I got out of the car a Buzzard was drifting over and was soon joined by another two. At one point they were quite low and directly overhead. I’ve got to say it is quite difficult to hold the 500mm lens vertically and keep it steady. I did get a few decent photos however. One of these Buzzards was the one I’d seen on No3 bed the day before.

Common Buzzard

Common Buzzard

Common Buzzard

As I walked along the footpath towards the river, I heard a Chiffchaff in the in a small copse just off the path. After a few minutes I eventually found it at the top of a tree, aren’t they always! The bonus being there wasn’t any leaves yet and although it didn’t stay in one place for any length of time I did eventually get a clear view of it through the branches.

My best photograph of a Chiffchaff, yippee; I’ve waited 6 years for it.


I continued on to the river and just gazed and gazed with little thought at the lordly river, broad and deep, dimpling along in silent majesty.

It’s amazing how clean the Mersey has become compared to how it was not too many years ago.

Anyway after my moment of solitude and reflection I made my way back to the car and home.

In the afternoon my wife and I went to the Wirral, big mistake; I think the fine weather had brought the whole of Liverpool out to play.

New Brighton was heaving and we couldn’t find anywhere to park and even the car park at Leasowe lighthouse was nearly full. They had an event on at the lighthouse and people were abseiling down it.

Anyway we went up to the walkway as there was an empty seat; we soon found out why the seat was empty! We’d only been sitting about 30seconds gazing out over the tranquil blue waters of the Mersey estuary and a swarm of horrible large flies descended on us. After a few minutes we gave up and escaped back to the car.

We moved on to Hoylake at least we could find places to park along the front, there wasn’t any flies and there were birds to see, mainly Redshank. I could also hear the evocative call of a Curlew and I eventually picked him out in the distance.


I also thought I’d found my first Curlew Sandpiper but on checking in various books and asking a friend I was disappointed and it was a Dunlin. A not very good photo appears below. Excitement over!


We moved on to West Kirby and I know it gets busy but the number of people on the beach was ridiculous, I’ve never seen it so busy.

We decided to head home but then we heard that there had been a crash on the M56 and turned to head back to the tunnel. Only to be confronted by roadworks and queues and my wife complained all the way home about the traffic.

Thanks for reading,


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