Trip reports

MOORE NATURE RESERVE & CONNAHS QUAY

little egret, wading, water

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The day started cold but bright as we made our way first to Moore Nature reserve, just south of Warrington.

This was a reserve we had planned to visit last year but inclement weather had forced a change of plans then. So with great anticipation, a dozen or so of us met up on the road just outside of the reserve.

First stop was at the feeding station hide which was occupied by a number of photographers, who were patiently waiting for that perfect shot. They, and we, were not disappointed with an excellent variety of birds, most of the tit family, including willow tit, wren, bullfinch, reed bunting and nuthatch all putting in an appearance. We then took a route through the woods towards the lake. The lake is situated nearby to a municipal landfill site which always has the potential to attract a wide variety of gulls, with the occasional rarity.

On the way we spent some time looking for the roosting tawny owls which we were told were in the area. After much searching of the ivy covered trees, we finally found one! Once found, we wondered why it had been so hard to spot - what a wonderful sight. We then moved onto the lake where we saw a great variety of wildfowl and gulls including an all white black headed gull amongst other common, herring and greater black backed gulls, plus numerous gadwall, widgeon and mallard with the odd little grebe and shoveller. We also spotted buzzard and kestrel over the fields on the way back to the cars.

We then headed off for a lunchtime rendezvous at the Connahs Quay Power station nature reserve. This reserve is only accessible if you are a member of the Deeside Naturalists group or if they escort you. We met our escort and started our tour from the visitors centre (after making full use of the facilities on what was now a very cold day!). The visitors centre is at the eastern edge of the reserve and from there and two other hides, we got excellent sightings of little egret , hen harrier, peregrine, flying through the power station, redshank, green shank and a number of the usual birds around the feeders near one hide.

We then drove up to the other end of the reserve to the viewing tower which has better views across the Dee Estuary. Unfortunately the tide had turned by then but we still managed good views of curlew, shelduck, great crested grebe, red breasted merganser, cormorant and many others.
The sharp eyed amongst us spotted short eared owls quartering over the marshes on the far side of the estuary which most of us picked up after a while.

Some of us then decided to call it a day as our fingers had almost frozen, others headed off to the other side of the estuary to try and catch closer and better views of the short eared owls.

All in all an excellent days birding and thanks are due to our Guide from the Deeside Naturalists Group who showed us around the reserve at Connahs Quay. Definitely a place to return to in future programmes.

Report by Malcolm Alderton
Library Photograph: little egret

Note: this is a report on one of the Wigan RSPB Local Group's bird watching trips. Details of future trips are to be found on the EVENTS page of this web site - non-members are most welcome to book on all trips.