I visited Hesketh Out Marsh with Chorley NATS this morning. Although it's not far from where I live, I've never been there before. One of the advantages of joining a local group is that you find out about such places and another is that there are more people to notice sightings.
This morning's highlight was a stunning male hen harrier quartering low over the marsh. We also saw a merlin and managed quite a close look as we walked along the embankment. We also saw a small group of golden plover, a brown hare, redshanks and way in the distance huge flocks of lapwings. It was interesting to compare the herons and egrets fishing at fast flowing inlets; the herons poised still, the egrets plodding around.
The hedgerows were also worth exploring and rewarding with 20 fieldfare, long tailed tits and other common species. Although I wished I'd worn my thermals, the wildlife seemed out of synch with the cold; we saw a painted lady butterfly, the larks were singing and dandelions along with red and white clovers were in bloom.