Monday was our day to go to the Wirral. Top target (from my point of view at least) was the long-staying first-summer Laughing Gull at New Brighton, but we were also down to visit RSPB Burton Mere and Parkgate. We opted to try New Brighton first, but a walk around the marine lake where it had resided for weeks on end proved fruitless. We walked along the prom after that and checked the beach, again finding no Laugher, just a number of Herring Gulls and a few Redshanks. The other three decided that a quick trip to Costa was in order before we moved on, and I decided to check the lake again.
I was standing there alone, looking forlornly down at the birdless pontoon where the gull was usually seen, when a gull in flight overhead caught my attention. It seemed a bit small, and very long-winged, with a lovely crisply marked black-and-white tail... A look through the bins confirmed it, and I watched for several minutes as it flew in leisurely circles over the lake before settling on the pontoon. Then I texted the others, who arrived in due course, and Hazel very kindly bought a bag of fish from the nearby Morrisons so we could tempt it a bit closer.
The reception hide here gives views over a nice bit of water which was furnished with Avocets and a few Black-tailed Godwits, as well as Black-headed Gulls and many Shelducks. We then followed the trail past some woodland-edged ponds.
From there, it was on to Parkgate. This wide expanse of saltmarsh on the Dee estuary becomes completely inundated when there is a big high tide, and that famously flushes out lots of small mammals which in turn attracts raptors. However, today the tide was a) not til the evening and b) not very big, so we didn't see much here at all.