Trip reports


Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland
RSPB Image

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Maybe some were out panic shopping or were self-isolating at home, but in any case heavy rain, strong and cold wind and flooded roads weren't great incentives for our annual visit to Middlebere, so it was hardly surprising only three hardy souls made it to the start point.

We didn't dawdle on the walk along the track towards the cottages but did, surprising, see three Bullfinches although little else. The wind was blowing straight at the hide overlooking the Middlebere channel and, with the shuttered windows open, we had to sit at the back to avoid getting wet. Quite a few birds could be seen including plenty of Dunlin and Grey Plover, Redshank, Curlew, a single Avocet and the usual duck species. Don called out that a Spoonbill had landed in front of the hide, but it didn't hang around, and six Bar-tailed Godwits appeared amongst the other waders. As the tide gradually went out Rob spotted(!) a Spotted Redshank and two Snipe flew off. A Marsh Harrier flew past and later flew back the other way. The only gull we saw was a Great Black-backed individual.

After a couple of hours in the hide we decided it was time to leave as the rain had eased. We couldn't find the reported Firecrest near the cottages and little else was seen on our way back to the cars apart from a few Goldfinches and a Mistle Thrush. A scan over Hartland Moor just resulted in a few corvids but no raptors so we decided to call it a day. Nevertheless a total count of 28 species wasn't too bad considering the conditions.