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.

Stephen Williams

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

Stephen Williams

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.

Graham Haspey.

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.

Paul Kenyon

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.

Paul Kenyon
Mid-Cheshire Ornithological Society
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