Trip reports


Heswall crew -Laura Bimson

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Seven birds of prey in one day - Rapturous
Our well attended trip to Heswall on the Dee estuary started with a great view of a splendid male hen harrier. Shortly after setting up our scopes on the boat yard slipway it glided into view, the silver ghost much persecuted but beloved by all birders. Out on the marsh we also had a large peregrine perched on a post (never moved!)and a hunting merlin close by.
As expected waders and wildfowl were observed i.e shelduck, teal, mallard, redshank, oystercatcher, curlew, knot. Little egrets dropped in and promptly disappeared into the ditches! Snipe were flushed. Amongst the boats lots of wagtails, mainly pied. Rock pipit, starlings and linnets.

Inland along Broad lane on the horse and sheep paddocks, winter thrushes redwing, mistle and fieldfare foraged. Long tailed tits flew along the hedgerows where we found a chiff chaff singing. More wagtails pied and grey occupied the nearby sewerage plant. As for are magnificent seven, buzzard,kestrel and sparrowhawk joined our list.
A 'headsup' that 2 avocets had just returned to RSPB Burton mere wetlands, extended our trip as we dashed up the A road for another year tick. Mission accomplished, we then heard a lesser spotted woodpecker had been seen along the reserve path. Despite our best efforts we sadly dipped the diminutive woodpecker, but we were compensated by our last raptor of the day a stonking marsh harrier, preceded by another two hen harrier sightings. Other notable birds counted were black and whooper swan, siskin, cetti's warbler, godwits and ruff, and for the lucky few a water rail. A grand day out.