15 January 2020

· Wirral ·

A glorious, clear day: gentle breeze, blue sky. Took a walk to Burton Point along the edge of the Dee Marshes. A pair of stonechats flitted about near my parked car. A buzzard circled upwards on a thermal. Large flocks of lapwings and crows high up. A lone curlew piping from the marsh. At the Point, I heard a raven cronking from the stand of birches by the Iron Age hillfort. I eventually spotted it eyeing me warily through the branches. Kestrels hovering above the alder carr. A small flock of chaffinches. Occasional skeins of pink-footed geese heading out into the marsh. Little egrets. Had a brief chat with a birder who informed me one of the owl boxes in the field near where I’d parked is definitely occupied by a barn owl. Local intelligence.

Female stonechat
Female stonechat

Later, drove to Gayton Marshes. Lots of water on the marsh due to high tides. Teal and black-headed gulls swimming in the drainage channel. A few redshank. A flock of around 400 wood pigeons. Waders too far out on the marsh to identify, but certainly curlew and redshank in amongst.

Later, as I was working in the car, the same old story… A female hen harrier passed right in front of me. By the time I’d got out the car and focussed my camera, she was twisting away into the distance above the Phragmites.

Female hen harrier
Female hen harrier

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Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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…wonderful. Science and history and geography and evolution and culture all tangled up in musings while walking about the moors around Hebden Bridge.”—PZ Myers
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