April 23rd 1998, my local patch
. It was a perfect for birding spring day, after a long period of blocking weather. clear overnight and rain at dawn....still and humid, verging on muggy.
Despite the handicap of a toddler (wedged into a backpack) I decided to check out my local patch. As soon as I set foot at Red Rocks it was clear that something amazing had occured. There were Willow Warblers in every clump of grass, let alone every bush. They were on the rocks, on the beach...everywhere. what is more they were still dropping out of the sky. I covered the whole of the recording area...carrying my daughter. I found singing Wood Warbler, 5 Pied Flycathers, Whinchats, Redstarts and as I was leacving a flock of 6 Ring Ouzels dropped in. There were at least 7 Grasshopper warblers, Reed warblers Sedge Warblers, in fact just about every migrant came in on the same day.
Although I was knackered I kept on going, still carrying my only slightly complaining daughter. I walked almost the whole of the North Wirral shore and the picture was similar. Finally it started to rain hard and I thought I'd go back to the car and count the massive flock of White Wagtails that was on the beach. While looking at them I noticed a Swift flying low down the beach towards me.....as it got closer and closer it became clearer and clearer that it was an Alpine! A Uk tick.
The swift was nice, but its the sheer numbers of migrants that will live with me.... 90 White Wagtail, 5 Yellow Wags, 3 tree pipits, 17 Blackcaps, 5 Pied Flys, 3 Redstart, 8 whinchat, 275 Wheatear, 8 Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, 1355 Willow warblers (probably an underestimate) 16 Chiffchaffs, 495 swallows.... and a load more.
My legs ached for weeks, but it was worth it.