News archive

November 2007

Sunday, 25 November 2007

male stonechat perched on bramble

Keep your "Wigg" on !

The Groups field trip to Halton Council's Wigg Island nature reserve was a huge success. The reserve staff were extremely welcoming and gave us a tour of their environmentally groundbreaking centre building. We were then led on a guided tour of the reserve, with the warden taking us to areas that are ordinarily closed to the public. We learnt not only about the wildlife of the reserve but also about the "coloured" history of the area, including the fascinating story of the "Hush Hush" factory where mustard gas was manufactured during the 1st World War. The habitat on the reserve varied from mashland, through reed and open water to scrub land. Although duck numbers were low on the day we did still manage to see plenty of teal, pochard, shoveller and the odd gadwall. Excellent views of peregrine, kestrel and several buzzards made up the bird of prey contingent for the day and caused pandemonium amongst the large flocks of lapwing, redshank, curlew etc... on the marsh. A pair of stonechat had taken up winter residence in an area of scrub on the marsh. All around us mixed flocks of tits, finches and goldcrest moved amongst the headrows looking for food. A greater spotted woodpecker - a bird which apparently has just started to be seen regularly on the reserve - flew over calling before landing to give good views. There is no doubt that the birds of the day were 6 woodcock which gave excellent views for us all as they flew from their roosting ground. The reserve staff have worked hard on habitat management and have great plans for the future of the reseve. Wigg Island is worth a trip during any season of the year!