With high tide not til 4.30pm, Nick and I made the walk across to Hilbre Island on Sunday morning. This lies off the south tip of the Wirral, and is walk-to-able at low tide via a big expanse of soggy sand. There was snow overnight in Warrington but this hadn't made it to the Wirral - it was, however, a dull grey day.
Halfway across, with half of my face numb from the crosswind, I paused to admire the crazy landscape of rippling flatlands, stretching across to the straggly hump of Hilbre Island itself. It's the seaside, Jim, but not as we know it.
We didn't see much on the way over. A Knot flew by at a distance, a Golden Plover very close. Once we could see the shore beyond the island we found a few waders there, including a Bar-tailed Godwit. Approaching the main island via seaweedy rocks we were soon among Turnstones and Oystercatchers.
Once you reach the 'Little Eye', the nearest bit of the island, you head sort of north-west along the low ridge that separates the Little Eye from the island proper, and when you get to the island proper you join a proper tarmaced path that brings you past the bird observatory and eventually to a walled but roofless building that gives views out to sea. Here we stayed for a while and found (well, mostly Nick found) various goodies including Grey Plover on the rocks (not a cocktail), and three or four Slavonian Grebes and a single female Scaup on the sea.
The walk back to the mainland was really hard-going - FIERCE cold wind in our faces, and conversation died completely as we put our heads down and concentrated on making it back to dry land. Then it was time to do a clockwise lap of the Marine Lake.
We got to the far end without finding the diver, and then carried on along the road back towards our starting point. There is a little jetty thing here with rocks around it, and on these rocks were roosting waders.
While I was taking lots of photos of the waders, Nick was more constructively engaged and managed to find the diver. It looked like it was nearer to the far shore than to us so we retraced our steps for closer views, but that didn't really happen.
We had to get back to the car then but there was time for a few more gull photos.
From here we went down to Parkgate but stayed only briefly because the cold was getting ridiculous. We saw a Marsh Harrier here, also Little Egret, but not a lot else.
When I got home yesterday I added up my year-list - 105 so far. And still lots of obvious and embarrassing gaps!