Trip reports

Visit to Dee Estuary - Burton Mere Wetlands

Visit to Dee Estuary - Burton Mere Wetlands
Red-breasted merganser, Marine Lake, New Brighton (Photo: Frank Batten)

Sunday, 23 February 2014

In amongst the sheep several pied wagtail fed on disturbed insects and nearby were a couple of redwing. A buzzard was calling loudly from across the field and soon took flight to be joined by a second bird.

The visitor centre was very welcoming, as was the staff; with a blazing wood burning type fire. Huge picture windows overlook the marsh so we spent a considerable time scanning the reserve.

Wigeon, gadwall, shoveler, mallard, teal, tufted duck, Canada goose, little grebe, coot and moorhen were all on show along with snipe, dunlin, lapwing and black-tailed godwit, the latter flying back and forth clearly showing their wing bars and black tails.

A juvenile hen harrier was spotted by the Reed and Fen Trail and we watched as it quartered the reedbed before dropping out of sight.

Leaving our cosy surroundings we headed off towards the large hide passing a feeding area and picking up blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, goldfinch and bullfinch both there and beside the footpath wren, treecreeper, dunnock, goldcrest and long-tailed tit.

From the hide there were plenty of wildfowl, at least twenty-three grey heron loafing around and a single little egret feeding.

Returning to the visitor centre for lunch we had good views of adult female hen harrier hunting. A couple of the group found a female ringed teal, a South American species, from the Burton Mere Trail which was confirmed by the warden as an escaped captive bird.

Back to the coach and Allan had already Sat Nav'd the shortest route to New Brighton and we arrived within thirty minutes, giving us plenty of time to walk along the seafront. Oystercatcher, turnstone, sanderling, herring and lesser black-backed gull were on the shoreline. By the time we reached Marine Lake the tide was splashing against the seawall.

The Isle of Man Packet was on its way and much larger vessels were departing Liverpool docks. A superb drake red-breasted merganser was close to the lakeside and on the pontoons at least fourteen purple sandpiper were sheltering from the wind behind a large group of redshank and a few turnstone.

What a great end to the day, once again the miserable weather forecast never materialised, and Allan had brought the coach halfway down the seafront to meet us!

Peter and Lesley Berrill