Trip reports

The Wirral - 11/10/14

The Wirral - 11/10/14
Blackbird - Holly Page

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Our first port of call was RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands. We headed out of the left hand side of the reception building and down the path in search of the little owl which has been regularly reported. Unfortunately it wasn't on show today but nevertheless we were able to get good views of the various waders present on the main pools - black-tailed godwit, lapwing, dunlin and the odd ruff. By the time we got back to the reception hide a small flock of whooper swans had flown in although they didn't stay very long.
We then headed out of the right hand door and out to the main part of the reserve. Plenty of goldfinches were in evidence on the feeders and a nuthatch was calling in the treetops. Blue and great tits were also regular visitors to the feeders.

The link between this reserve and the old Inner Marsh Farm reserve has opened this year meaning you can walk right round to the original hide. Along the path are a couple of pools and a reedbed. Several species of duck were present on the pools including teal and gadwall while reed buntings hopped around the reeds.

Waders are the main attraction at the Inner Marsh Farm hide with good numbers present and set to increase as the winter draws in. Redshank, lapwing and black-tailed godwit are the most numerous but a couple of snipe and spotted redshank were also seen. A few of us got a brief glimpse of a water rail as it dashed from the cover of some grass, across a channel and back into the reeds.

The one bird we had all been hoping to see was thus far proving elusive. A cattle egret had been present on the reserve since the beginning of September and had been reported pretty much every day.

However, it had a tendency to disappear into the fields at the back of the reserve to feed with the cattle for long periods meaning it was completely out of view. There were a couple of tentative sightings of an egret briefly flying up from the area where the cattle were grazing only for it to go straight back down without letting anyone get a good view. We headed back to the visitor centre in hope of better luck.
We spent a good hour waiting to see if it would appear but we were disappointed. We did add a couple of little stints to our daily tally though.

We decided to move on and headed up to New Brighton for the high tide. The tide was almost right in by the time we arrived so we set up our scopes on the waders roosting on the pontoons in the marine lake. This is a good spot to see purple sandpiper in winter but as it was still quite early in the season and the weather had been so mild the only waders present were redshank, turnstone and a single dunlin.

Parkgate was our next stop. We parked up at the bottom end of the village and decided it was time for lunch. A few of us wandered up to the excellent chippy and by the time we got back were informed that we had just missed a merlin! It's a good job the chips are so good!!!
Plenty of little egrets were feeding out on the marsh but we soon spotted a much bigger bird which we identified as a great white egret. A single marsh harrier was also seen quartering the marsh.
After lunch we decided to head back to Burton Mere to have another shot at the cattle egret but were disappointed yet again.

Still it was a greatly enjoyable day with a good range of species seen.