At the end of last week, I found myself birding at two inland marshes; one as part of one of my wintering bird survey sites (marsh 10, and the other at my good friend's farm near Garstang (marsh 2).
I was at my wintering bird survey site first thing in the morning, and I had full cloud cover with a light north-easterly wind. There seemed to be a number of Chaffinches around this morning, no obvious visible migration, but I recorded 20 in total, and these were mostly in the hedgerows. Also, in the hedges, were six Tree Sparrows, and I hadn't had any Tree Sparrows at this since late Autumn, so again I'm guessing they were migrants.
Fieldfares were conspicuous by their absence, and I only had a single bird this week, but there was still a few Teal on the marsh, about 16 or so. There was a lot more on the other marsh, but more of that later. Good numbers of Mallards seemed to be everywhere, and there were gangs of males and females on the marsh, on shallow floods, and just generally in some of the arable fields, all full of the joys of spring. A look back in my notebook shows that I had 54 in total!
There was a Water Rail still somewhere on the marsh, giving itself away by its call, and two Reed Buntings were singing from the dense vegetation. I was scanning across the marsh, and on the other side I noticed a large brown bird wandering around a field looking at the ground. And this large brown bird was a Buzzard, and these large raptors are partial to a few invertebrates, and this bird was probably looking for earthworms or something similar, digging them up with its powerful feet.
I had two nice fly-over birds. The first being a Raven being mobbed by a Carrion Crow, and the second was a Great White Egret that flew over me when I was at my second VP and headed towards the marsh. Other fly-overs included 208 Pink-footed Geese and a male Sparrowhawk. The Great White Egret came right at the end of my survey period, and I headed off to my friend's marsh near Garstang.
There were a lot more wildfowl on this marsh, and I had 250 Teal, four Pintails (a good inland record), 49 Wigeon and twelve Shovelers. I had a look along the hedgerows and in the woodland, and recorded the usual suspects Robins, Great Tits, Blackbirds etc, and in a fairly wet field I had a flock of 12 Fieldfares and 10 Redwings. These Viking invaders will have been feeding on invertebrates brought to the surface by the wet conditions.
So, a pleasant day in all, at two inland, but quite different wetlands!