Well, I've managed to get 2014 off to a good start with a trip to Wallasey on the North Coast of the Wirral. The weather was perfect: the sun was shining, there was no wind and the tide was impressively high.
Actually I took a short detour initially, to Burton Marsh, to see if I could spot the American Pipit that has been showing well in that area. However, there was a huge crowd so I didn't even bother to stop and drove on to Wallasey. Hopefully the pipit will remain for a few months and I'll try again once the initial excitement has died down.
So what was on offer at Wallasey? Well because of the very high tide the rocks by the lifeguard station were occupied by a number of waders all offering very close views. There were lots of turnstones in their more drab winter colours.
A number of common redshank, although these were a little more skittish than the other birds.
A dunlin or two stopped by, if only briefly.
But the stars of the show were a small number of purple sandpipers. They were mostly roosting so had their beaks tucked under their wings for the most part, like this little guy...
Occasionally, one would look up for a minute and then you had to be quick to get a shot off. It was hard to get one isolated from other birds. This is the best I managed before a large sparrowhawk sent the whole lot off and the purple sandpipers did not return.
I hope to try North Wirral again soon if the weather permits. I'd like to try to get some grey plover, bar-tailed godwit and know shots at Hoylake as the tide comes in.