Trip reports

South Walney Nature Reserve

South Walney Nature Reserve
Turnstone - Jill Islam

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The weather was dry and breezy, and quite cold as we left the car park and information centre of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserve and walked down the edge of the inner channel. On the saltmarshes grey heron and little egret appeared and disappeared in the ditches, and a few curlews were out on the grasses with them, including an albino or leucistic individual. A large number of wigeon were also feeding out on the grass. There were a few great crested grebes on the water and a number of grey seals popped their heads out of the water.

A number of waders made the most of the mud of the receding shoreline. They included oystercatcher, lapwing, grey plover, dunlin, redshank, and turnstone.

We reached the hide at an opportune time as it just started raining, so we had lunch while the shower passed over. Here on the far bank the flock of greylag and Canada geese also included the small number of feral emperor geese along with a couple of barnacle geese.
On the point opposite were a number of eider duck and a few cormorants. Some teal were found on the water's edge and a fair number of dunlin and ringed plover searched for food in the mud. The small gull roost included all the five more common species.

On the inner pools there were lots of red breasted mergansers. The small raft of tufted duck also included a couple of scaup, and a number of goldeneyes were also present. A few moorhens were in the water while a number of snipe rested on the grassy banks. An otter also made an appearance swimming across the pool and back again.

On reaching the sea we turned and headed back along the shore towards the centre. A merlin zipped over our heads before rising, circling and heading back down the dunes.
Other birds along this area were skylark, stonechat, linnet, and starling. Out to sea a couple of shag flew close to the water. We also came across a kestrel that was very reluctant to fly off. Whether it had a prey item, or had just had a large meal, it was reluctant to leave, just making short flight to keep out of people's ways.

Around the information centre and by the nearby caravan site there were a few smaller birds - robin, blue tit, house sparrow, greenfinch, dunnock, along with corvids in the shape of magpie, jackdaw and carrion crow There was also a lone pink footed goose in a field by the side of the road.

On the way home, we called at Leighton Moss RSPB where as well as adding a few more species to the day list, we were treated to another sighting of another otter from Lillian's hide.

8 attended, 61 species seen.