Trip reports

Ellesmere and Wood Lane

Ellesmere and Wood Lane
Matt MacGillivray (Toronto )

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Meres of North Shropshire offer birders a wealth of opportunities. Wood Lane is one of the best bird-watching sites in Shropshire. This nature reserve has been developed over recent years on a disused industrial site, Tudor Griffiths Group's old sand and gravel workings.
Several large lagoons with islands and surrounding rough grassland make up the reserve, which is surrounded here by a working landscape with mountainous heaps of sand providing a backdrop - and also the perfect nesting opportunity for hundreds of pairs of sand martins. Landfill and quarrying activities take place adjacent to the reserve.
On a cold but dry and sunny day fourteen members met at The Boathouse , Ellesmere to plan the day. There had been reports of a Great Northern Diver at the mere, but the bird, at first proved to be elusive. However the group eventually found the bird and were treated to an exhibition of it's fishing prowess. The bird caught a very large fish and proceeded to swallow it. It seemed to take an eternity to swallow the roach giving the group prolonged views of this rare bird. Kingfisher, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye, Tufted Dick, Wigeon and Goosander were also spotted.
Having seen 35 species at the mere the group moved on to Wood Lane where the species count was taken over the fifty mark. This included Shellduck, Water Rail, Siskin, Lapwing and Pied Wagtail.
All in all a very enjoyable day in North Shropshire.