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A Blackhead that I did want! 15/4/2

Late news from Saturday and the fact that I had a free day today made my mind up as to what I would do, and so not long after breakfast I was heading up the M6 for a morning at Leighton Moss RSPB in Lnacashire.

First port of call was the ‘Eric Morecambe Complex’ where in a field next to the entrance track a Black-headed Wagtail had been found yesterday. Black-headed Wagtail is a race of Yellow Wagtail, namely Motacilla flava feldegg, but in many birders opinions it is the most likely split in that complex, to become a full species. Whatever the status of this bird, species or subspecies, it is a mega smart bird and worth a look at any time, hence my trip, even though it was my 4th Black-headed Wagtail ever, in the UK. On arrival the bird was on show, albeit scope views only, of the adult male Black-headed Wagtail which was distant but still welcome to get under my belt so quickly. Moving round to the railway level crossing, just back down the main road, closer views were achieved and record shots were even taken through the scope (picture attached) as the bird fed with a large group of Meadow Pipits.

After a while I bobbed over onto the RSPB reserve proper and had a mooch, picking up Marsh Tit for my yearlist, in a small area where Blue, Great and Coal Tits were also feeding as well as Dunnocks, Robins, a Willow Warbler and a Bullfinch. Having to get back for early afternoon I couldn't do this reserve justice and so cut my visit short. This reserve is a large area and well worth a full days visit, maybe next time.

On my way back from Leighton Moss I had to travel past Marbury CP in Chehsire, so I popped in and managed to pick up a couple of good birds that had been found earlier by a couple of local patch 'lads'. Best of these was an adult Little Gull, in very near full-summer plumage but just with a few flecks of white in the black hood, not noticeable unless scoped at high mag. This smart bird also had the pink flush that many Little Gulls often do. It was watched coursing up and down Budworth Mere, occasionally alighting on the water. Also present were two Common Terns, one with long tail-streamers that had earlier raised hopes of it being an Arctic Tern, but sadly not. A female Goosander was on the far shore near the spit as well as two Oystercatchers.

Another good day, albeit a shorter one than I had hoped, roll on the good weather this week and the prospect of more birding and more summer migrants.

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