A lovely morning to be walking on Walney again and lots of birds about today, especially skylarks, which seem to be flocking, perhaps before heading south. Few swallows now. Driving in, I saw two stonechats, near where the family had been earlier in summer and then a second group of 2-3 on willows near the fishing pool.
Along the path through the gorse, plenty of autumn colour: reddening bramble leaves, bright rose hips and woody nightshade berries. Enjoyed sitting by the smart new table. Feeders well stocked but quiet while I was there. Then along the edge of the saltmarsh and a merlin was perched on a post preening. I have looked many times in the past but this was the first time I have seen one there. Very exciting! It kept its eye on me but was not disturbed so I had plenty of time to admire it.
On the heath, still some heather flowering and a few harebells. A great spotted woodpecker flew over calling. Dipped down into the sphagnum bog and flushed four snipe. It was just one of those good days.
The sun broke through and, as I walked back by the long pool, there were a few common darters flitting about. Teal coming into breeding plumage and a few little grebe. Watched one surface with a little silvery fish in its beak. Just one butterfly, a small copper by the dunes. Probably more about this afternoon. A few parasol mushrooms, real beauties.
Then back along the shore and out on the sands. A coven of cormorant, 50+ out on the edge, plus usual oystercatchers, curlew, gulls, a drake eider hauled out and two mergansers fishing in a pool amongst the far shingle.