Sunday 16 January 2022

BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 13th January Patch with a Friend and Return to an Old Patch, Southport, Merseyside


Please donate to the charities I am supporting this year.

        After a wonderful evening with Jan and Neill Hunt, a fantastic couple, who had got in touch to offer conversation and a bed, with Neill being a passionate birder and twitcher, Neill and I head off for his local patch in the morning.

    A capped ex-refuse tip was covered with trees, bramble and grass with a great network of pathways enabling all areas to be accessed. Neill and I walk so many paths for a couple of hours and Neill tells of those magic patchwork moments that mean so much to a patchworking birder. 

        As with the previous evening, conversation between two birders is always going to be about birds seen. The morning walk goes quickly with talk of relative rares, breeding birds and possibilities.

        Off to a local hotel, Prince of Wales on Lord Street, Southport, after thank you to Jan and Neill, I am soon out to walk to the pier and then along the shoreline to Marshside RSPB reserve.

        No sign of the reported Twite at the pier, there are a few Redshanks,* new bird for the BIGBY list. Very few birds around except for a lone Skylark* and a large number of Pink-footed Geese are just visible in the tall grass until they reveal their numbers by taking off. 

        Marshside was my own patch back in 1977-8. Back then I lived on Marshside Road with a future Mother-in-law, (!) above a wool shop owned by her. Jean Alexander, Hilda Ogden, lived nearby and I used to see her on the bus home from where I worked at that time, as a teacher at a Secondary Catholic School, Christ the King.

        Being back now, changes were few with a closed down sand-winning plant now a bush-covered lump and the estuarine mud retreting far into the distance over a sea of saltmarsh grass. Areas that used to have large high tide roosts of waders were now totally covered by the grass. Otherwise it was much as I remembered it from 45 years ago.

        At the RSPB reserve there a lovely lady, Annie, was feeding a Robin, whom she called Bob-Bob. 

        The walk back to Southport had the setting sun going down behind the long pier and an evening was spent thanking people for donations, thanking people for their support and kind messages and spent updating this blog and the BIGBY list on Bubo Listing.

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