16 Dec 2008

Parkgate comes up trumps!

Finally, after much anticipation, this winter period has turned up a good bird on the Wirral. Finishing work early I picked Molly up and headed for Parkgate where I intended to spend walk along the sea wall from the Old Baths to Cottage Lane and then down the Wirral Way and back to the Old Baths in time for the Harrier roost at dusk. The weather was miserable and overcast in contrast with the bright frosty days we've had recently.

My plans changed when a large Pipit flew up off the saltmarsh calling 'shreep, shreep' before dropping down again. Before I'd even had a chance to say 'oh dear, I think that was an example of Anthus richardi' it flew up calling with a small party of Meadow Pipits and circled the golf course before landing in the top of a hawthorn. Fcuk me it was a Richard's Pipit! I managed a couple of quick record shots from a huge distance just to get something as proof! Then I rang everyone I knew who might be interested. Allan questioned me as to whether I'd ruled out Blyth's but 'my' bird appeared bigger than I'd expect a Blyth's Pipit to be and on checking the call it sounded like a Richards! No doubt someone will refind it and prove me wrong...................................

The bird then flew around a bit more before hovering over the golf course and settling briefly on the fairway before getting flushed by a couple of golfers and landing in an area of rough. It stayed hidden from sight for the next 20 -30 minutes suddenly flying off N W and settling on the saltmarsh where it remained hidden and out of sight for the rest of the daylight hours. Superb!

Whilst waiting for the Richard's Pipit to reappear the boredom was relieved by the presence of two Hen Harriers, including an adult 'grey' male a brace each of Short-eared Owls & Stonechats and a single Merlin. A female Kestrel provided a good photo oppurtunity as the light faded.

Nice to catch up with Hilbre regulars John Elliot & Colin Jones along with Scruff the dog. Frank also turned up, as did some of the Sandbach Crewe (Jan & Bob Jones with Robbo) but we couldn't refind the pipit. With darkness falling it looked like it had gone to roost on the saltmarsh. With rain forecast overnight it could still be around tomorrow. It seems that the high tide may have pushed it off the saltmarsh today and may do so again tomorrow.

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