It was our last full day at the cottage today and so we met up with Pete Worthy, a colleague from the Brandon Conservation Team who was also staying locally and knows the area well.
Pete arrived at the cottage just before 10am and while having a quick coffee before departing I managed to pick up a brief glimpse of a Great White Egret feeding in the pools on the marshland opposite the garden. The bird, first discovered by Dee last Sunday, has been here during the whole of our stay.
Our first stop was Marton Mere (not to be confused with WWT Martin Mere). Marton is a quiet refuge surprisingly situated on the outskirts of Blackpool. The reserve is an SSSI in recognition of its bird population and the site contains open water, reed beds, grassland, scrub and some pockets of woodland. There are footpaths through the reserve providing access to the bird hides and we enjoyed a few hours on site before moving on. One of the main reasons for starting here was the recently reported Long-eared Owls but sadly after several scans of the reported area we drew a blank. Highlight of the visit were several Whooper Swans.
From Marton we moved on to Blackpool's promenade where Pete guided us to an area he knows for Purple Sandpiper. After battling the strong wind and making our way down to the go-cart track, where the waves were crashing up against the wall, we duly arrived at the spot. Here a group of around 100 or so Redshank along with smaller numbers of Turnstone were huddled and roosting on the sea wall. Amazingly asleep on the right hand end were 2 Purple Sandpiper, which after a short while flew down to feed on the algae clinging to the sea wall. Hearts in our mouths as we watched the waves missing them by inches! Gutted I haven't had my camera on this trip!!
A report from yesterday regarding Velvet Scoter at Fleetwood determined our next stop and incredibly as we pulled in to park near the Knott End ferry the bird flew right in front of use towards the terminal. The bird remained during our stay and seemed to have a pattern of flying against the tide and then drifting with it before heading back to it's original spot. Also recorded of interest in various numbers while we enjoyed some seaside chips: Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Knot and Redshank.
With the light fading two further stops, firstly at Lytham Moss for Pink-footed Goose and Whooper Swan included at least 50 or so Curlew and a final stop at Fairhaven Lake for a recent Long-tailed Duck drew a blank. A really good final day on the North-West coast with Pink-footed Geese constantly on the move all around the area and of course a big thank you to Pete for his local knowledge and in particular for chauffeuring us around the patch.