Trip reports

Marshside RSPB, Southport

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland
RSPB Images

Sunday, 20 October 2013

On a day of heavy showers, ten birdwatchers visited Marshside to view the saltmarsh during the high tide and watch in rather more comfortable conditions from Sandgrounders and Nels hides. As I waited for the group to assemble, a kestrel hunted over the saltmarsh and meadow pipits and skylarks flew overhead. We looked out over the saltmarsh and could see several heads, which belonged to pinkfeet, partly hidden by the vegetation. A sizeable flock of knot flew along the tideline and curlew and shelduck were on the edge of the marsh.
We moved to Sandgrounders and had views of a variety of duck, including wigeon, teal, mallard, shoveler, gadwall and a couple of pintail. A snipe was well camouflaged and expertly spotted by John Webb, along with a black-tailed godwit. A couple of little grebes were diving in the channel at the left of the hide. A distant pool provided gulls, with common, black headed, herring and lesser black backed present.
Some of us ventured out onto the edge of the saltmarsh and braved the showers and were rewarded with several groups of pinkfeet taking off from the marsh and flying over our heads. A little egret was added to our list, along with lapwing and a distant flock of dunlin. The only raptor was a peregrine which perched on a stump. Numerous small groups of cormorants flew along the edge of the tide, always moving in the same direction!
After retreating back to Sandgrounders to avoid a heavy shower, some of us had lunch in Nels hide, with good views of several hundred teal, and a similar number of black-tailed godwits. A solitary knot was spotted amongst the godwits, and a single ruff fed at the back of the godwits. A sparrowhawk flew across to add to our raptors, and John had a final day tick as a swallow flew by as he made his way to the car park.
Ken Harrison