We stretched our legs a bit more to go through Dog Kennel Wood, but here too was a little quieter than expected. The roe deer were in their usual place near the wooden bridge with a grey heron standing as lookout for them. The time as usual went too quickly so we returned to the visitor centre to check our results and report them to the RSPB.
Some of the group then carried on birding further west. We shared a picnic at Mere Sands Wood LWT reserve, particularly enjoying the water rail coming to the feeder set among the reeds. Proceeding to the coast we parked in the car park at Marshside RSPB reserve. Scanning the shoreline we were able to see thousands of birds. Fortunately for us some did come a little closer. A solitary peregrine was sitting on a fence post giving us some great views. Feeding amongst the grass were hundreds of pinkfooted geese with shelducks, lots of gulls and skylarks singing above us. It was still very cold so we decided to go to one of the hides to warm up. The view from the hide was brilliant. We saw wigeon, teal, shoveler, mallard and too many lapwings to count.
Black-tailed godwits were feeding busily close to us and a Great Black-backed Gull kept disturbing all the flocks in the nearby field. I then saw another winter visitor from the north. This time it was human. Richard Else, who used to be on Bardsey called in with his parents. He now works on North Ronaldsay and was taking his winter break from that observatory. It was good to renew acquaintance. As usual by mid afternoon, hunger pains take the place of enthusiasm, so we set off home for a hot drink and some chips. Sadly that means two days birding without anything new. My total remains at 153