Trip reports

Ellesmere area

Ellesmere area

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Sunday, 22 January 2017
Ellesmere area
Twelve members met at the mere side car park at Ellesmere on a grey, wintery day and set off in good spirits for a walk around the mere despite being bundled up like Michelin men against the cold. In fact snow crystals quietly fell from the sky for the first hour; the weather could only improve. Spirits lifted as the snow stopped and the church bells could be heard ringing out over the town.
The water birds were not deterred by the inclement weather and even the small woodland birds put in an appearance as the weather improved. In addition to the colourful Goosander and Goldeneye there were a number of Great- crested and Little grebe present as well the usual ducks, geese and Coot. A Grey Wagtail was seen bobbing up and down along the water's edge and good views were had of a Water Rail feeding amongst the logs and decayed vegetation close to a small watercourse which drained into the mere; it's plumage a masterpiece of camouflage. The woodland birds we saw included Nuthatch and Tree Creeper, Song Thrushes as well as Blackbirds, various Tits and friendly Robins. A disconsolate Buzzard was seen sheltering in a large tree.
It was then time to reconvene at the Boathouse café for a warm-up and a well-deserved hot drink and piece of yummy cake (for those of weak will).
Wood Lane reserve was the next stop; a muddy car park as usual. We all managed to squeeze into the SWT members' hut for a spot of bird watching over lunch. Lapwing, Snipe, Teal, Shelduck and various Gulls were added to the sightings list. Siskin and Redpoll were spotted feeding high up in an Alder tree while various Finches visited the bird feeders. The highlight was the diminutive Goldcrest which spent quite some time foraging along the fence-line below the hide window.
Early afternoon saw us at Cole mere searching for the Scaup that had been sighted there in recent weeks. Our luck was in; they were diving close to shore just beyond the picnic area. For some of us it was our first ever sighting so a definite highlight of the day. The male bird was in full breeding plumage so was really very smart.
Our last stop of the day was a quick visit to nearby White mere in the hope of seeing the Long-tailed Ducks that had been seen there recently. It would be too much to clock up another "first" and it wasn't to be; they had probably moved on.
All in all a great day out; over 50 different species spotted in one of our local Shropshire areas.