Trip reports

Visit to Marshside RSPB, Southport

Avocet wading in water

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Another damp and dismal start to a local group outing, but eventually the weather improved and from lunch time the weather was sunny & warmer.

Ten members met in the carpark near the old sand workings & first went to the Sandgrounders Hide and spent some time observing the several Avocets that were nesting in front of the hide, giving really close views of this RSPB emblem. Also seen on the marsh were several Black Headed Gulls squabbling as usual; a Ruff (black) was spotted on the edge of one of the pools along with a few Black Tail Godwits. Coot & Moorhen were seen in the dykes; on the pools were Tufted Ducks, Shoveler, Mallard, Greylag & Canada Geese. A Common Sandpiper was seen display flighting (a further 2 seen later).

The group then relocated to Nel's hide, stopping to check the viewing screens along the way.
Looking out over the marsh a group of 50+ Black tailed Godwitswere seen, many in summer plumage. Also seen with them were Knot (2); a flock of 25 Golden Plovers flew past; a few Dunlin also seen, along with displaying Lapwings. Wildfowl was carefully scrutinised looking for the Green winged Teal - it was eventually spotted giving reasonable views to some members. There were several ordinary Teal, along with further Shovelers, Gadwall, Wigeon, and several displaying and aggressive Shelducks. In the calmer areas of the marsh, Little Grebes were heard trilling & seen; also a Ruddy Duck (M), along with a sentinel Grey Heron.

On reaching Nel's hide, the first thing noticed was the high water level, which did not bode well for sightings of waders, the only ones seen were a single Redshank, a further 2 Ruff and a single Black tailed Godwit. High numbers of Black Headed Gulls were present & after checking, 7 Little Gulls were picked out swooping & dipping to the water & pattering along the surface, (in total there were 2 adults, 5juv/immatures) - they were a delight to watch. As we were watching the Little Gulls a Common Tern flew through along with Swallows (2) complementing an earlier Sand Martin.

The scrub area & tide rack produced the following: Wheatear(m), Sedge Warbler, Linnet, Reed Bunting (M/F), Dunnock, Wren, Willow Warbler, Meadow Pipits & Skylark. Kestrel & Sparrowhawk also seen.

As the meeting closed some members went twitching Night Heron at Mere Sand Wood & Ross's Gull at Lytham.

Again my thanks to the members who support the outing arranged by the local RSPB group.

Species seen:
Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag & Canada Geese, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Green winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Black tailed Godwit, Ruff, Black headed Gull, Little Gull, Common Tern, Sand Martin, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

Apologies for any omissions. JW Bateman (Group Leader)