You may remember that we set you a challenge last month to beat 46 sightings from around the reserve in a two hour window.......well it's come around already so I've been out around the marshes to see what I could find.

I set out around 10 O'clock this morning with the sun shining brightly over the reserve, albeit with a little bit of cloud involved.

Sunshine on the marsh by Barry Smith

I started out at the footpath from Fairclough's pool and went all the way along the path to Marine drive, you get a great array of birds along this stretch of the reserve. There is plenty of bramble, scrub and willow to your right hand side where you'll find birds foraging for invertebrates - I know it's difficult to turn your gaze away from the reserve but it's worth it!!

Along this stretch I saw blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, blue tit, great tit, greenfinch, chaffinch and goldfinch along with the high pitched sound of a couple of goldcrest flitting in amongst the willow - unfortunately I couldn't see them so I won't add this to my total!! Wren and robin were making plenty of noise and giving the house sparrows a run for their money as I walked by the school area.

Up above there was a buzzard being mobbed by a crew of jackdaw and plenty of gulls - lesser black-backed gull, herring gull and black headed gull.

To my left, and within the reserve I saw large groups of curlew, black-tailed godwit, and redshank with a few common snipe and plenty of wigeon, teal and pink footed geese. Carrion crow, jackdaw and starling were feeding amongst the grass with large flocks of lapwing and golden plover taking flight and landing every minute or so - presumably startled by a nearby raptor (but never seen).

Over at Sandgrounder's hide there were two cormorants catching some rays alongside Rainford's pool, jumping in and out for a dip like they were on their holidays. Shelduck, shoveler, mute swan and oystercatcher were also around the lagoons with moorhen, coot and pintail feeding amongst the reeds.

Cormorants by Barry Smith

A special mention has to go to the sky lark this week, providing a glorious spectacle between Sandgrounder's hide and Nel's hide - Belting out a song and rising steeply into the air, hanging for a couple of seconds and then parachuting back down - feels almost like summer.

Once I got to Nel's hide there were lots of tufted duck and black tailed godwit, a grey heron was moving stealthily amongst the reeds with mallard and canada geese completing my 'challenge list'........

Hang on I've just noticed wood pigeon and little egret making a total of 42, slightly less than last month and I'm still looking to break 50, let me know if you manage more.