August 15:

Returning from a quick visit to Hesketh West to see digger-driver John, I reflected on the fact that it had seemed ‘very quiet’ bird-wise but that actually when I added up what had been seen, it was still quite a haul.  I managed to record 8 little egrets, 3 grey herons, a couple of skylarks, 11 linnets, a young sparrowhawk and a (very small) young merlin.  I saw the merlin stood on the track ahead and as I approached in the van I was thinking; “is that a mistle thrush – that would be a first”.  Once it flew its identity was revealed as ‘just’ a merlin!  Where was it born I wonder – Iceland or Gwynedd perhaps?  All in all, not bad for a quick visit on a ‘quiet’ day.  However, I was outdone by John who had flushed a short-eared owl earlier that morning when he started up the digger!  “Not much about?!” 

Merlin (Falco columbarius).  Photo credit: Chris Gomersall (