Trip reports

The Wirral - 02/03/13

The Wirral - 02/03/13
Purple sandpiper - Dennis Atherton

Saturday, 2 March 2013

A sunny, crisp and frosty morning greeted us as we arrived on the Wirral. Our first stop was Denhall Lane where we walked down the path towards Decca Pools. In the hedges lining the path we saw blackbird, goldfinch, chaffinch and robin. A nice addition was a small group of siskin. Out on the marsh were a few little egrets along with shelduck, mallard, teal and good numbers of skylark and reed bunting. As we got to the pools we found redshank, curlew and shoveler. The best sighting at this location was a merlin which was initially perched on a fence post but then flew past on the hunt.

Our second stop was the new RSPB reserve, Burton Mere Wetlands. From the reception hide we had excellent views of a water rail out in the open. In the woods were nuthatch and siskin. The marsh covert hide showed us the usual ducks - pintail, wigeon and pochard. There were also a good number of black-tailed godwits.

We then moved on to Parkgate where we had our lunch overlooking the newly formed & interestingly named Donkey Stand Flash. The highlights here were snipe, black-tailed godwit and little egret. After a trip into the outstanding ice cream shop (black cherry flavour - delicious!!!) we went up to the car park at the Old Baths at the north end of Parkgate. The idea was to watch the high tide come in. We weren't expecting the water to come right up to the wall as the conditions weren't right but we were at least expecting a bit of a show. We were very disappointed as the water didn't even come up onto the marsh at all. The saving grace was a stunning male hen harrier spotted by a member of our group, who is now known as Hawk-Eye, just as we were getting into our cars. This beautiful raptor flew right up the river giving us all good views.

The final stop was New Brighton where the high tide never fails to produce. The pontoons on the marine lake were packed with waders taking refuge while the beach was covered by the tide. Dunlin, turnstone and redshank were all present but the star species was purple sandpiper. As they were on the pontoons they were pretty close - you couldn't ask for better views or a better end to the day. 60 species seen.