Trip reports

Burton Mere and Parkgate

Monday, 20 January 2020

On our previous trip to the Dee estuary we encountered heavy fog for much of the morning. The opposite was the case this time as it was sunny for most of the day with visibility deteriorating by the time we got to Parkgate in the late afternoon.
At Burton Mere the pools were mostly iced over which reduced the numbers of waders and ducks using them. There were black-tailed godwits and redshanks on the main pool and elsewhere we saw lapwing, snipe and dunlin. Teal and shoveler were the commonest ducks and there were also mallard, gadwall and tufted duck present. Surprisingly we only saw one wigeon. Many of the group went up to Burton Point to overlook the Dee estuary. On the way siskin and Cetti's warbler were encountered. At the point several great white egrets were plainly visible. A peregrine, a marsh harrier and a kestrel were also found as well as a couple of buzzards. A green woodpecker was seen in the trees adjacent to the railway line and great spotted woodpecker was sighted in a couple of places on the reserve. Elewhere on the reserve a few people were lucky enough to see a ringtail hen harrier quartering the reedbeds.
Prior to our visit there had been reports of water pipit in the field behind the Bunker hide. However, despite our scrutiny, none were definitively seen by our group. We did see meadow pipits, grey and pied wagtails and a chiffchaff in the area reportedly frequented by the water pipits.
At 2.30 pm we left Burton Mere and went down to Neston where we walked along the estuary up to the Parkgate viewpoint. At Parkgate several marsh harriers were seen but the only sighting of hen harrier was a male spotted by a couple of the group seen distantly on the seaward horizon. However, we did get excellent views of short-eared owl, one of which perched on a post directly in front of the view point until being chased off by another short-eared owl. Altogether we saw three different individuals.
Between us we saw over 50 species and the listers among us added some welcome year ticks to our year lists.