RSPB Conwy, 17 September 2018
Seven members enjoyed our first trip of the new season to RSPB Conwy with a Low Tide exposing lots of mud on the estuary for the Curlew to plunge their long beaks into! Yum! Also saw Little Egret in the gulleys. . Despite lots of wind, we got clear blue skies and sunshine for a great walk round the reserve. First we had a fleeting glimpse of a Water Rail by the scrapes and plenty of water fowl who didn't seem to mind the wind. There were a flock of Redshank sheltering under the reeds with a few Dunlin but we missed having a scope in the group to see them better. On the water we counted: Red breasted Meganser, Little Grebe, lots of Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall. Bird of the day was a Snipe grubbing around in the open, but so well camouflaged it was hard to spot. Well done to my wife Jackie who spotted this! Total for the day: 27 species.
Woolston Eyes Reserve, 16 October 2018
We had a great turnout of 19 members to visit Woolston Eyes Reserve in Warrington next to the Ship Canal which had been pre-booked as a guided tour. The weather stayed dry for us with light cloud and it stayed mild. Access to the reserve is strictly controlled with locked barriers and locked gates to keep out undesirables! We were guided by Ashley, a RSPB warden and David a volunteer who helped us find the hides and birds. The main hide gave excellent views over No 3 bed with lots of Shoveler and Teal, Black Tailed Godwit, Pintail, Little Grebe, Wigeon on the water or wading in the shallows. Close to our hide were feeders and we were delighted to witness a large flocks of Greenfinch going mad for the seed! We had wonderful close views of a Kestrel who kept returning to sit on a plank on the ground showing off fine plumage. Our warden was worried that this was very unusual behaviour and might indicate that it was not getting enough food, but we all thought it looked quite plump! We got a brief glimpse of a Willow Tit on the feeder and our guide heard one as well on our walk round. The site is well managed to encourage black necked Grebe so a return visit is definitely a good idea. They recommended May to get the warblers. Total species: 27
Anglesey, 21 October 2018
Seven members made the trip to Anglesey. We met at Cemlyn Bay where the highlights were Shag, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Purple Sandpiper, a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver in the bay, Greenshank, Curlew and Snipe on the lagoon and a mixed flock of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting and House Sparrow in a field nearby but no sign of the reported Tree Sparrows which is a rarity for Anglesey.
We moved to a small lake inland from Cemlyn, a new venue for the Society, Llyn Llygeirian. Here in amongst a group of Tufted Duck was a female Lesser Scaup (a new bird for the Society, I think).
We then moved to the harbour at Holyhead where we had our lunch and where we were unsuccessful in finding the Black Redstart reported earlier in the morning. Moving from here to the Inland Sea at the Anchorage at Four Mile Bridge, the highlights included Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe and Wigeon and again were unsuccessful in finding the reported Cattle Egret.
We travelled to Penrhos CP where the highlights were a group of Pale-bellied Brent Geese, Eider, Mediterranean Gull and Slavonian Grebe.
Our final destination was on the mainland at Fairbank Road in Towyn near Rhyl where we had a few brief views of a Yellow-browed Warbler.
The weather stayed fine all day and the final tally of birds was 60 Species.
Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve, 17 November 2018
Eight members met at the reserve car park. The visit began at the Eric Morecambe hide where large numbers of wildfowl and waders were present. An American Wigeon was the target bird which was quickly found. Other birds of note were Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Pintail Duck and Greenshank.
Moving on to the main reserve the group first visited the Grisedale and Tim Jackson hides. Hunting juvenile Marsh Harriers created some panic amongst the large numbers of ducks present. A small group of Common Snipe were seen resting on the bank of the Grisedale pool. From Lilian’s hide large groups of wildfowl were again seen. Other birds of note were Great White Egret and Little Grebe.
After Lunch the group moved off to the Lower Hide. On the pathway to the hide Marsh Tits were seen at regular intervals. From the path a Great Grey Shrike was seen, albeit at some distance. Additionally Sparrowhawk and Green Woodpecker were seen. From the lower hide, Goldeneye, Shoveller Duck and Great Crested Grebe were seen. While walking back to the Public Hide, Tree Creeper and Goldcrest were seen in the scrub areas. Other raptors spotted were Kestrel and Common Buzzard.
On the insect front, a Common Darter and a Red Admiral butterfly were seen which indicates just how mild the weather has been recently.
A couple of nice bonus birds, two Cattle Egrets, were seen in a roadside field on the way from the reserve. This rounded off a very enjoyable day.
A total of 54 species were recorded.
RSPB Marshside 9th December 2018
Nine members of the society turned out for a chilly but fine day. Parking at the now defunct sand plant we viewed the Marsh where we had good views of many Pink-footed Geese, many on the Marsh and many in the sky. Little Egrets were in all the gullies and a distant murmuration of Knot was enjoyed as well as a Merlin perched on a stump and a couple of Marsh Harriers. We crossed over the road to the hide where we had good views of many species of duck, Pintail , Shoveler etc and a couple of raptors , Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Golden Plover were in the sky with the very jumpy Lapwings. Two brown hares were on the Marsh with good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits.
We crossed back over the road to the sand plant where we saw Peregrine . We then crossed back to look over the opposite Marsh where there were more duck. Good numbers of Pintail, Shoveler and Tufted Duck. Tree sparrows were seen here too.
Next we headed off to a very windy Hesketh Bank where we had a picnic lunch. Birds of note here were two Hen Harriers (male and female).
We decided to head to Lunt Meadow which is a reserve not visited by the society before. A Short-eared Owl was seen as well as many Snipe but suddenly the weather deteriorated and we headed home.
45 species were seen.
Marbury Country Park, 11th December 2018
Ten members turned up at Marbury Park for the pre amble to Christmas lunch. Lots of small birds, Goldcrests, Redpolls plus a large flock of Redwings and Fieldfares all on the way to a walk by the mere. On the Mere itself were nine Goosanders, six of which were males. Several of the Great-crested Grebes were paired up and doing the very dance they are famous for. Water Rails called from the reedbed. Curlews were on the grassy bank across from the spit. A Little Egret and a male Goldeneye were amongst the highlights. Several Great Spotted Woodpeckers were heard and Nuthatches called. A Sparrowhawk was seen to flush many of the small birds.
Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, 15th January 2019
A record number (23) of members visited RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands on a mild, part sunny dry day for our first visit of 2019. Unfortunately there was some clearance work on the meadows behind the main lagoon with bonfires sending smoke across our view. So we decamped upwind to the Marsh Covert Hide where a Water Rail was spotted and lots of Wigeon. On the way we looked hopefully through the screens for Bearded Tits (spotted yesterday in the logbook) but no luck. The reedbed has grown substantially since our last visit giving great cover for the birds meaning we heard Cetti's warbler but couldn't see it! I had to depart at this point for Cardiac rehab so handed over the reins to Derek Todd and Ian Bunker. There were sightings of Snipe, Stonechat and Linnet.
The group split into two and some members went on to Parkgate spotting a Short Eared Owl really close chasing a Marsh Harrier!
Ian recorded a magnificent total of 47 species.
Stephen Williams/Ian Bunker
Mid-Cheshire Ornithological Society