The day started well (at least for Reece) with the sighting of 5 Ring-necked Parakeet on the power cables on Curlew Lane near Marton Mere. I know 'down south' they are now considered a pest in the capital but to see them so far north and with temperatures of -2 (according to the cars gauge) was a little suprising. Also along the lane, a place always worth a look if your traveling to Martin Mere, were Corn Bunting 10+, Common Buzzard, Fieldfare 2, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Rook and Jackdaw.
Martin Mere was a little quiet and as usual we started at the Ron Barker hide were we bumped into Iain who I first met early December in the same hide. We set up and had a glance around with Wigeon, Teal, Grey Heron, Shellduck, Mallard, Lapwing, Cormorant, Moorhen, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Geese, Stonechat and a Little Grebe on show. The woodland walk contained the usual mix of birds including Blue & Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon and 4+ Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 1 of them drumming. Brief visits to all the hides to the Swan Link included Pintail, Coot, Pochard, Greylag, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Carrion Crow, Redshank and Ruff including the mainly white one we saw on our last visit.
Next was on to Hesketh out Marsh with Little Egret and Mistle Thrush being added to our days list. We parked up and had a breif glance out across the flooded marsh with just Shellduck and Redshank visible. We then decided to walk down the public footpath to see if there was much else across the reserve and where the path turns left back into the fields we flushed our first Short Eared Owl. How we had missed it sat on the post to the right about 10 feet in front of us I'll never know but we watched it fly out across the marsh and then get mobbed by a Carrion Crow before disapearing out of view. 4 Mute Swan and a large flock of Whooper Swan, to far to check for Bewick Swan which Reece was hopping to see. Several Little Egret, Teal, Wigeon,Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting and Fieldfare rounded the visit off.
Finally we headed over to Marshside which seemed very quiet bird wise, none of the numbers of Lapwing I saw in early December and no sign of a Golden Plover or Godwit I'd seen on the same visit. Teal And Wigeon were still there in numbers along with a few Shoveler, Pink-footed Geese, Greylag and Canada Geese. We did go in search of the reported Snow Goose but couldn't find it anywhere. We did manage to see the Great White Egret before it headed out towards the Ribble, also several more Little Egret and a Stonechat near the sand works. Lapwing, Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Jackdaw finished the day off. We did have a quick look for the much reported hunting Short-eared Owls but with the cold wind blowing in our faces we finished the last of our coffee and headed home to the warmth.