Trip reports

Marshside RSPB, Southport

little egret, wading, water
rspb images

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Members of RSPB Lancaster Local Group met on a fine but cold day at Marshside RSPB, Southport. Pinkfooted geese flew overhead. with many more pinkfeet with just heads, or heads and necks, visible in the salt marsh. At least 20 little egrets were also spread over the marsh. We spent some time scanning the bushes by the old sand works and were rewarded with a pair of gold crests and 3 goldfinches.

The high tide was 10 metres just after midday, so we spent most of the morning by the shore, with a cold wind requiring a spell in Sandgrounders hide to warm up! As we watched from the sand dunes a reed bunting was perched, while a group of c.20 twite flew in a tight flock. Meadow pipits and skylarks flew over the marsh and a male kestrel hovered nearby. As we scanned the shoreline, several species of waders were observed, including redshanks, curlews, oystercatchers, knots, dunlins and a solitary grey plover, while a large flock of black-tailed godwits gave an aerial fly past. Several lines of cormorants flew along the tideline, with over 100 birds in total. 12 pintails flew up off the marsh as the tide came in. A single Canada goose flew past, while a distant merlin was visible through telescopes.

We had lunch in Sandgrounders before moving to Nel's hide. The hides provided large numbers of ducks, including wigeons, mallards, teals and shovelers. Nel's provided a pair of scaup mixed in with a group of tufted ducks. Coots and a couple of moorhens swam in front of the hide and a pair of mute swans were present. Gulls included black-headed, common, herring, plus a few lesser and great-black backed. However, one of the highlights was a superb male sparrowhawk a few feet to the left hand end of Nel's hide, finishing his lunch of what looked like the remains of a wood pigeon before flying off with his catch!

Ken Harrison