Trip reports

While the sun shines - making hay at Hesketh!

While the sun shines - making hay at Hesketh!
Ruff - Liverbirder

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Sunday 9th June field trip was to RSPB Hesketh Out Marsh near Banks.

This is one of those new reserves which is being created to help manage rising sea levels, create more saltmarsh and increase the presence of the RSPB on the Ribble estuary.
This very ambitious reserve is one of the largest managed re-alignments in the UK. So what does that mean. Well originally this area used to be saltmarsh but a bund placed around some of the saltmarsh helped to turn it in to very product farmland.
The RSPB have split the reserve in half and so far they have broken the bund in 4 places, allowing the Ribble estuary to flow into the site.

Enough about the reserve more about the walk. Well for the first time the hide on the reserve was useful, you could shelter from the sun! Some people needed to.

Looking out from the hide you could see shelduck's, avocets, oystercatchers, lapwings, redshanks, mallard and gulls. As the site is changing from farmland to saltmarsh the vegetation is still dense. Linnets, skylarks and meadow pipits were the small birds calling away and behind us we found whitethroat and heard yellowhammer. Redshank love this site and over the years I have seen lots of pictures of redshanks standing on posts but never seen them doing it. Well this is the place for it as we saw 3 birds standing on fence posts.

After watching one of these I saw a small movement and a warbler landed in a bush.
A lesser whitethroat, a new birds of for some of our band and a year tick for most of us. You can tell this site is close to managed farmland as we only saw 1 magpie and 2 crows!
A buzzard was circling in a thermal, while a few swift and a handful of swallows were after the flies.
A peregrine flew over the group and out on to the saltmarsh disturbing a shoveler. 7 tufted duck flew in and on to the deeper pool. A walk up to the farm buildings and it there seemed to have very little birdlife, shutters on all the barns meant that nothing was nesting them. A blue tit was feeding young in a nestbox which was intended for tree sparrows as there was 3 boxes together. House martin's were trying to rebuild their nests on the farm house. We did find goldfinchs, chaffinch, greenfinch and tree sparrows down one of the tracks. A text message told me that there was 4 curlew sandpipers as RSPB Marshside so we decided to call it a day and some of headed for Southport.

We walked in to Sandgrounders hide to see 4 curlew sandpipers and a fab ruff with a ruffled ruff!!

Black headed gulls were looking after newly hatched chicks.
We soon added a few new birds for the day list and ended the day on 46 different species which wasn't so bad.

Best bird was a toss up between the lesser whitethroat, totally unexpected or the ruff. But I leave that to you to make comments!

Thanks to our birding buddy 'Liverbirder' for the Ruff picture