I managed to revisit another old haunt when I was back in the Uk: Saeforth Dock Pools in Liverpool.
You need a permit to get in these days and the reserve has seen better days and is just about clinging on. It is surrounded by new buildings and a lot of the birds seem to have gone. It used to be famous for Little Gulls but apparently they no longer visit.
There were a few common ducks around like the above Gadwall and lots of Shelduck (I’ve only ever seen one in Japan).
There were also a few common waders around: Dunlin, Red Knot, Eurasian Curlew etc.
A Black-tailed Godwit at Leighton Moss. I had a quick look at this reserve, another old haunt, on my recent trip back to the UK. There were lots of Godwits, Avocet and the usual common stuff from this part of the world as well as several Marsh Harrier high in the sky.
An Avocet at Marshside, Southport last week. This species was very rare in the northwest of England when I was a kid but now they are everywhere.
Marshside is near where I grew up and was one of my faveourite local birding spots. It is now an RSPB reserve and I managed to get in 3 visits when I was back. there were 2 pairs of Mediteranean Gulls in summer plumage, numerous Black-tailed Godwit, Little Egret (another recent colonist), Ruff, Pink-footed Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Common Redshank and Oystercatcher.
At the nearby reserve of Lunt there were more Godwits as well as Cettis Warbler, Blackcap and 2 Black-necked Grebe, a UK tick for me.
The best bird I saw on my short trip back to the UK was this Iceland Gull.
It was in Sefton Park, bang in the middle of Liverpool. A mild sunny day, this bird looked a bit out of place.
The only other time I’d seen this species was on another visit back to England 9 years ago. I think it has been lumped together with Thayer’s Gull though-a species I have seen several times in Hakodate.