Trip reports

RSPB Macclesfield Christmas Outing to Marbury Country Park

RSPB Macclesfield Christmas Outing to Marbury Country Park
Ray in festive gear.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Twelve members met at Marbury Country Park for a pre-Christmas lunch bird walk. The weather was dry and bright and a little milder than it had been on previous days. One member really was in the festive mood as the photograph shows - well done Ray.

The Group set off towards the bird feeding station by the Ranger offices but disappointingly the bird table was empty and there was no sign of any birds. We soon heard a robin singing and a mistle thrush with its rasping rattle call at the top of a fir tree in beautiful sunlight. As we moved onto the area where hawfinches were seen a few years ago we were met with blackbirds and great tits searching for grubs in the leaf litter. Sadly no hawfinches to be seen so we approached the bird screen at the Coward reedbed to be stopped in our tracks as numerous redwings flew across the path thirty metres away. Everybody started searching the trees in the area and we soon had chaffinch, jay, treecreeper and nuthatch to add to the day list. After this little bit of activity we moved down to the bird screen to find no seed or fat balls on the bird table but plenty of coot, great crested grebes (20-30), tufted duck and mallard in front of the screen. As we started looking up the mere a goosander started playing hide and seek, before people could focus their binoculars it dived under the water. The regularly reported bittern was nowhere to be seen but as this bird is not usually reported until late afternoon just before dusk it came as no surprise.

As we moved along the edge of the mere we used our telescopes to search the far bank to find cormorants drying on the fence posts with curlew probing the ground for worms. On the bank edge a flock of lapwings landed after a short 'fly around' with a flotilla of Canada geese swimming across the Mere and a raft of black-headed gulls with a few common gulls out in the safety of the water. Close inspection of the far bank revealed two little egret standing in the shallows taking a rest from feeding. Time was moving on and we were due at The Stanley Arms, Anderton for 12:30 so we headed back to the car park looking for winter thrushes on our way.

At the Stanley Arms two more members joined us and we all enjoyed a two or three course Christmas lunch. The service and quality of food was excellent and thanks must go to Moira and her team at the Arms plus Lydia for organising everything.

Bird List included the following:
Robin, blackbird, woodpigeon, mistle thrush, bullfinch, black-headed gull, chaffinch, nuthatch, treecreeper, great tit, blue tit, jay, water rail (heard), tufted duck, great crested grebe, mallard.
Ian Taylor
13 December 2019