March 14, 2011:
It was fortunate that other reasons led in the direction of Southport today as it also provided the opportunity to make a short visit to Marshside to see if the Avocets had arrived.
At first, the only sightings were two birds sleeping on an island plus a small flock at extreme range way out on the marsh with some Godwits. Soon, though, three new birds flew in and began to feed in the shallows nearby. Avocets are such elegant birds, delicately wading through the water in search of food and seemingly very careful where they place their feet.
All Avocets may not have impeccable manners but two of the birds on two separate occasions hurried out onto the bank to perform their bodily functions before immediately returning to the water to carry on feeding. Was this a conscious effort to avoid fouling the water in which they were feeding?
[The two well-mannered birds]
There were at least 20 Avocets here today and no doubt more to come in the next few weeks. Not many years ago just one bird would have caused a major sensation. Conservation work here is certainly paying off.
[Distant Avocets well out in the marsh]
[Typical wildfowl and wader habitat at Marshside, a result of conservation by the RSPB]