Trip reports

Marshside RSPB and Lunt Meadows

Marshside RSPB and Lunt Meadows
Bittern - Jill Islam

Saturday, 18 February 2017

On a very pleasant morning 8 of us met up at Marshside.

From the car park we could see Skylark, Meadow Pipit, and Linnet, along with a few Black Headed Gulls.

From the hide the expected array of wildfowl and waders was on display.
Ducks being most numerous in the shape of Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Teal, with some Pochard, Pintail, and Shoveler. The waders included Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwit, and Curlew. More distant were small numbers of Pink Footed Geese and Whooper Swans. A few little grebe hugged the reeds and a couple of Little Egrets appeared and disappeared in the back channels.

We decided to walk around the perimeter of the northern pools to look for raptors on Crossens Marsh. None of the expected species were present but we were treated to a fly over Red Kite heading north towards Lytham.
The perimeter walk added Grey Heron, Shelduck, Redshank and Golden Plover to our tally, along with Common Gull to make a full set of the 5 more common species of gull.

We then drove to the south of Southport to the car par at Weld Road.
Here with the aid of wellingtons we had numerous Snipe, a few Jack Snipe, Wren, Reed Bunting, Linnet, and Sparrowhawk. Also present was a roving flock of Twite.

The decision was then made to go to Meresands Wood because of the reports of a Bittern.
Here plenty of woodland species were seen including Treecreeper and Nuthatch.
On the main pool were Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, and Goosander.
A Green Sandpiper called as it flew across the water but we were unable to relocate it, and a Kingfisher kindly posed for a few minutes before everyone's attention was then taken by the Bittern which crept out of the reeds directly opposite the hide lurking for 10 minutes before disappearing by taking a couple of steps back into the reeds.

We then headed off to our final stop at Lunt Meadows.
Here the good weather meant that if we wanted to see the owls, then we were in for an extended wait.
While waiting we saw Mallard, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron and Little Egret. Buzzard and Kestrel hunted in the distance and a few Grey Partridge showed well.
A pair of Stonechat came out in the late sun, and finally a Short Eared Owl began to hunt. It was a bit too late to wait for the Barn Owls to show so at that we called it a day.

71 species in total for the day.