Trip reports

Walney Island - 29/09/12

Oystercatcher wading in shallow water

Saturday, 29 September 2012

A blustery but relatively sunny day saw us crossing the bridge from Barrow onto Walney Island.

Our first stop was the western side of the island where we picked up several species of wader feeding on the shoreline. These included curlew, turnstone, oystercatcher and redshank. We then moved onto the South

Walney Nature Reserve run by Cumbria Wildlife Trust. At the very first hide we visited we were treated to excellent views of a merlin which flew only a few feet in front of us and then landed nearby allowing everyone a good look. We followed the shoreline south seeing further wader species such as sanderling, grey plover, dunlin, bar-tailed godwit & ringed plover. Out to sea we saw fly-past eider & common scoter.

On reaching the southern tip of the island, we had lunch in the hide which overlooks the sea to the south & west and a tidal lagoon to the east. Here we saw a very large flock of oystercatchers roosting at high tide as well as barnacle geese and some sea-watching produced sandwich tern, a close-in great crested grebe and a distant arctic skua.

Turning back to the eastern side of the island the other pools on the reserve found us good number of redshank & greenshank as well as a pair of red-breasted mergansers. Other birds seen around the reserve were linnet, goldfinch, kestrel, skylark and some late swallows.

We dropped in at Leighton Moss on the way home to find that the reserve had been flooded during the recent rain and only the feeding station & Lillian's hide were accessible without wellies. Lillian's hide had good numbers of tufted duck, teal, snipe and a marsh harrier posing nicely on the post across the water - no doubt the only perch it could find to keep its feet dry!! The feeding station had nuthatch, bullfinch and, among the usual tit species, the Leighton Moss speciality of marsh tit. A flock of siskin was also seen.

A total of 54 species were seen.