Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Grand Day Out...Christmas Eve.

After all the dull and very gloomy mild weather recently, it was nice to see brighter conditions forecast for the Christmas period.Christmas Eve promised some sunny conditions but with very strong winds.Mike and I had decided on a trip to the Lancashire Coast as the very high tides and stormy weather might produce some good birding.Our first port of call was to Fleetwood and Rossall.It was a surprise to see that the Marine Lake had been drained leaving large muddy areas.This attracted numerous waders including four purple sandpipers.The sandpipers were roosting in the shelter of an island with a very large flock of turnstones.This made for some interesting images of the many turnstones,redshanks and purple sandpipers.It was also very convenient as the birds could be safely photographed from the comfort of the car thus avoiding the gale force winds pounding the coast.

Also nearby were three red breasted mergansers on the boating lake and again giving excellent photo opportunities from the comfort of the car.It's not often you get the opportunity to photograph these fish eating ducks at such close range.They provided some memorable images as they surfed the waves on the lake.We then moved on a short distance to see the much photographed shorelark at Rossall picnic site.

From there we took the coastal road through Blackpool and heading for St Annes to have a look for the Great Grey Shrike which has been present for a few weeks.The road along Blackpool seafront was being battered by the high tide and I stopped briefly to take a picture of the angry sea.Eventually we made our way to St Annes and the shrike site.The bird was still around but we only managed a brief view before it departed.

Next we went to Fairhaven Lake at Lytham.Another marine duck,the scaup was present here and showing well as they also rode the waves .I had never photographed scaup and this was an ideal opportunity to grab some images of these scarce marine ducks.We finished off our Fylde safari calling at Newton Marsh at Freckleton where many hundreds of wigeon were on the roadside lakes.However the highlight here was a very obliging roadside brown hare which posed beautifully for the camera.It was a super ending to what had been a grand day out along the Lancashire coastline.

Shown above are images from the day of the turnstones ,redshanks and purple sandpipers at the Marine Lake. The bird of the day for me was the Red Breasted Merganser and I have shown a few images of both male and female enjoying the stormy weather at Fleetwood.I had to publish an image of the shorelark,a rare visitor to the west coast but I felt this bird has been been harrased and photographed by too many bird photographers.A shot of the wild seas off Blackpool is shown as we made our way along the coast.My final selection from a very busy day with the camera is of the scaup at Fairhaven Lake and the lovely brown hare at Newton Marsh.An excellent day with good company and some memorable images from the stormy Lancashire Coast. Thanks for looking in ,may squeeze in another posting before the year ends.    


  1. Excellent illustrated account of your day.

    The Turnstones at Rossall are impressive in a number hard to come by in our area of Morecambe Bay up the coast at Heysham/Lune Estuary etc, four Purple Sandpiper are also good.

    As your title says 'A Grand Day Out' Brian.

  2. Certainly sounds and looks like you`ve had a GRAND DAY OUT Brian, despite the gale force winds.I think thar we`re blessed with such a wonderful and varied countryside in Lancashire that its a pleasure to be in whatever the weather.