SEVEN members met at Fairhaven Lake in Lytham St. Anne's. The weather was beautiful, too good for birding, but the tide was almost high so we started our walk from the sea wall scanning the throng of waders that were feeding in front of the advancing tide. The majority were knot, some still showing signs of their red summer plumage. There were also dunlin, most with their black chests and bellies, but the most spectacular were the grey plovers of which there were 20 or 30, many still in their summer livery. They are the most spectacular birds, with their jet black underparts, almost silver sides and silver and black mottled back - nothing grey about them at all. Also on the shore were large numbers of oystercatcher and redshank. We searched the flocks for any little stint or curlew sandpiper, but in vain, and neither were there any sanderling or bar-tailed godwit which we would have expected.

We then walked round the lake itself, but it was very quiet. The bushes held a chiffchaff or two, robins and goldfinch, but apart from several tufted duck and gulls the lake was empty.

We then went to have our lunch sitting on the sea wall and were treated to a remarkable display of synchronised flying by a flock of nine red hawks and were delighted in the deep throaty roar of two merlins. (The Southport Air Show was on and the red hawks were the red arrows display flight and the merlins were powering a Spitfire and a Hurricane).

After lunch we made our way to the crematorium were we hoped to see the ring-necked parakeets which have taken up residence there. They are very colourful birds, but surprisingly difficult to see in the tops of the poplars which they seem to prefer, but we all managed to see them in the end. We also saw a pair of red-legged partridge feeding among the gravestones.

We then proceeded to Marton Mere. Again everything was very quiet. No sign of the long-eared owls which winter here, probably we were too early. The reserve is becoming very neglected with the view from the hides restricted by high vegetation, but we did see pochard, tufted, shoveler and mMallard, along with herring, black-headed and lesser black-backed gulls on the water. The hawthorn scrub contained very little, but the highlight was a Cetti's warbler which we heard singing and some of us caught a glimpse of as it moved over the top of the reeds.

On our way back to the cars we came across a party of small birds including long-tailed, blue and great tit, a blackcap and several more chiffchaff.

In all we identified 51 species during the day.

We also saw a Lancaster Bomber coming in to land at Blackpool Airport, a twin-prop job identified by our expert as a Catalina, a very fast modern fighter which ought to have been a Harrier but which was probably a Typhoon, and finally, as we made our way home through Blackpool, a Vulcan Bomber passed over us just above chimney level, a wonderful sight to end the day.