With all those Yellow-browed Warblers basically dropping out of the trees from Pickerings Pasture out to the furthest reaches of ‘Old Cheshire’ on the Wirral, I foolishly and with a little expectation scoured the lanes from Brook Furlong to Redwall reed bed., Then after drawing a blank I continued along Moorditch Lane out to the upper reaches of No.3 tank and with a couple of Chiffchaff, a solitary Goldcrest and a small flock of Long-tailed Tit later I was losing the will to continue. If we’re going to see a YbW on the marsh then it will have to do so by chance…I’m giving up chases shadows.
Apart from my fool’s errand I did get a chance to pop by head over the banks of No.6 tank and saw the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper joining up with 5 Ruff and the usual ducks which appeared to lack any counts of Wigeon?
I decided to try for Yellow-browed Warblers along Brook Furlong Lane and headed down there early via the coffee shop as usual. I was heartened to see the first Redwing fly over calling as I walked back to the car. The wind was a fresh SE2-3 and the sky clear blue. Surely the marsh would give up something. After all, we were in the middle of one of the biggest eastern vagrant periods in recent years with hundreds of Yellow-browed’s throughout the country. I parked up at the old log and got ready for a short vigil whilst sipping the coffee. A trickle of Meadow Pipit and the odd alba Wagtail went over calling high up, heading south. Two Swallow hugged the tree tops as they too headed for warmer climes. I wandered down towards Redwall reed bed and the field below the log, straining my ears for the high-pitched call that would give away the position of a Yellow-browed Warbler, but despite straining really hard, there were none to be found, despite Hale and Pickerings boasting birds on the other side of the Mersey for their second day.
There were a few bits and pieces around. 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, an immature Marsh Harrier and 8 Common Snipe, two of which flew over eastwards, the rest flushed from the wet field. Interestingly the photos of the birds showed one with a very pale underwing and one with a dark, heavily barred underwing. Anyway, pressed for time, I headed off back up the M56… but like Arnie, I’ll be back!
Observer and images: Tony Broome.