Trip reports

Burton Mere Wetlands & Dee Estuary

Burton Mere Wetlands & Dee Estuary
Brent geese - Steve Settle

Saturday, 11 January 2020

The day started in the carpark at Chester services with a pied wagtail scurrying about, a raven cronking and flying on to the nearest pylon, and in the distance a hundred plus pink footed geese making their way to the estuary feeding grounds.
Firstly, we called at West Kirby Marine lake to fill time before the high tide. Well worth it, with a juvenile shag, and 4 brent geese being only a few yards from where we parked the car. A couple of turnstones and a redshank rested on the periphery with a number of black-headed gulls.
At the other end of the lake however there was a 2000+ throng of dunlin either resting on the rocks practically in touching distance, or swirling about. In with them were a couple of knot, a dozen or so turnstones, and 30 plus redshanks. In addition to these a few red-breasted mergansers dived for fish in the far corner among the black headed gulls and lesser black-backed gulls.
It was then on to Parkgate for the high tide. Unfortunately, the hope of seeing short-eared owls was hampered by the strong winds, though we were able to watch a few marsh harriers and a single male hen harrier hunting the marshes. The main effect of the tide seemed to be to flush a few little egrets and a great white egret into showing themselves, and pushing a few hundred pink footed geese further up the salt marsh.
Two peregrines sat close to each other on a distant log on the marsh. On the fields at the back of the car park there were a large number of redwings with a small party of goldfinch, a reed bunting sang from the tree above our heads, and a kestrel and a buzzard flew over.
We then headed off to Burton Mere for lunch in the information centre hide. The pools were relatively quiet but there were a number of wigeon, teal, mallard and gadwall. The waders seemed to be unsettled and the black tailed godwit and dunlin constantly took to the air for a fly around. These were joined by a large number of lapwings flooding the sky, though the only apparent raptors were a kestrel and a very distant buzzard.
On the other pools, from the Marsh Covert hide, the only different wildfowl were a couple of male pintails. Two Egyptian geese were on one of the old fishing lodges but distanced themselves from the Canada geese and greylag geese also present.
To finish the day off we thought we'd try and get access to the nearby boating lake for the long staying long-tailed duck. A couple of club members walking their dog allowed us access and we soon found the bird in among the small flotilla of tufted ducks, though they all appeared very wary, upping and resettling 100 yards away every time the dog walkers approached on their way round. Also on the lake, were plenty of gadwall and coot, along with a couple of dozen little grebe.

55 Species seen, 9 Attended