Trip reports

Point of Ayr and Burton Mere Wetlands

Point of Ayr and Burton Mere Wetlands
Stoat - Jill Islam

Saturday, 23 November 2019

With half of Yorkshire underwater and the prospects not looking good for birding at Spurn Point we decided to set off in the opposite direction in hope of better weather, and opted for a visit to Point of Ayr on the Flintshire coast of North Wales. Unfortunately, the tide wasn't in our favour, but on the salt marsh and exposed mud we were able to see reed bunting, shelduck, kingfisher, greenshank, little egret, and lesser black-backed gull. The structures of the adjacent gas terminal provided perches for a number of mistle thrushes.
With the tide out we then decided to make for Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB reserve. A decision made easy by knowing the hide at the information centre has a nice glowing stove in the middle.
The feeders outside the centre attracted nuthatch, blue tit, long tailed tit, robin, dunnock, and pheasant.
The pools facing the hide held a large variety of wildfowl, waders, and gulls. The ducks included wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, shoveler, and tufted duck, along with coot, moorhen, little grebe and cormorant.
The waders comprised oystercatcher, lapwing, black-tailed godwit, curlew, and redshank, while the gulls were made up of black-headed, lesser black-backed, common, and herring gulls.
A few meadow pipits and starlings were to be found on the grassy island along with a few grey wagtails on the water's edge.
Aerial sightings included marsh
harrier, buzzard, and kestrel, along with
numerous skeins of pink-footed geese flying over. Though the most memorable sighting was the stoat the ran across the banking in front of the hide.
After lunch we ventured from the warmth of the centre on a short walk down to the feeding station at the barn. This gave us stonechat, wood pigeon, collared dove, blackbird, song thrush, magpie, carrion crow, jackdaw and great spotted woodpecker en route, with goldfinch, greenfinch, great tit, chaffinch, and starling around the feeders. It was here we were able to find the great egret on one of the far pools before it took flight.
Finally, just as we were leaving a merlin zipped low over the car park.

52 species seen, 5 attended