Trip reports

Outing to Hesketh Out Marsh and Marshside

House martin in flight
rspb images

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

I met Maureen at Booths supermarket car park Hesketh Bank at 10.15 am on Wednesday the 6th September. We waited until 10.35 but nobody else arrived to join the outing so we set off to the car park at the Out Marsh. The lane down to the reserve car park is easily missed and this is why the meeting point at the supermarket car park was chosen as an easier place to find. We proceeded along Shore Road in the direction of Banks and soon came to Dib Road on our right. We were treated to the sight of a skein of canada geese flying over as we drove down the lane to the reserve car park. We walked west from the car park along the surfaced path up the bank to the view point. We rested there on the benches for a few moments to take in the view of the pools below, then set off along the bank scanning the pools as we went.

We soon had views of little egrets, cormorants, mute swans, lapwings and on one pool there were 5 herons. We reached a gate and decided to retrace our steps. The path proceeds along the bank and can be followed as far as Marshside. There is also a path down to the cultivated fields on the other side of the bank which could be followed as a circular route back to the cars. On our way back we saw flocks of wigeon, some redshanks and a few gulls which were too far out to identify. A skein of greylag geese flew over, swallows darted around and a party of goldfinches fed on the thistles along the bank, while a kestrel hovered over the fields.

We made use of the picnic table in the car for our lunch and decide to carry on to Marshside afterwards as Maureen had not visited there before. There is also a path to the east from the car park which leads along to the river Douglas but we decide to leave that for another day. This RSPB reserve, opened in 2009, has been returned to saltmarsh and is becoming an important site for wintering wildfowl, while avocets and redshanks have already started to nest there in summer months. At Marshside we first visited Sandgrounders hide but the pools there were fairly quiet with only a couple of little grebes to note and lots of house martins flying around. Nell's hide was much more productive with teal and black headed gulls to add to our tally, but the highlight was the 3 cattle egrets we saw. A good day with reasonable weather although a little windy, but a pity there weren't more eyes to help with sightings and id while a telescope would have been a great help with the birds on the pools further out.

Valerie Hall