RSPB Conwy, 17th September 2019

Eight members turned out for a sunny day at the RSPB Conwy reserve. This is always a rewarding reserve with plenty of hides and viewpoints around the water areas. The sight of 17 Little Egrets on the side of one of the islands was a highlight. Many thanks to Ian Bunker for generously letting us view birds through his telescope. We also spotted Curlew, Little Grebe, lots of Redshank and Dunlin, Gadwall, Cormorant and Black tailed Godwit. The tide was coming in and pushed the Curlew and Oystercatchers onto the reserve. Lovely views across the estuary of the Conway valley hills and the castle. Super day out. 36 species in total.

Stephen Williams

Anglesey, 13th  October 2019

The first weekend trip of the new 2019/2020 season on saw six members make the trip to Anglesey. We met at Cemlyn Bay but the weather was atrocious with very heavy rain. A small flock of Golden Plover was flying around the field adjacent to the carpark. A decision was taken to move to Holyhead Harbour where we did some birding under one of the shelters out of the rain and highlights here included Linnet, Stonechat, Razorbill and Shag. There aren’t many reserves on Anglesey with hides so another decision was taken to move back to the mainland to Llanfairfechan where we took our lunch first and then went under the shelter on the front. Unfortunately, another birding group from the Wirral had the same idea so it was a little crowded under this shelter.

Highlights here included a small flock of Eider, parties of Common Scoter, Gannet, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Wigeon, Turnstone, Ringed Plover with Dipper and Grey Wagtail on the river. Although the rain was easing it was still fairly heavy and we moved to the luxury of hides at RSPB Conwy. Here we saw Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal, Common Snipe and Little Egret. The sun started breaking out mid afternoon and we decided to drive up to the Great Orme to look for a Yellow-browed Warbler that was reported earlier. We didn’t see the Yellow-browed because although dry by now there was a strong gusty wind on the top. We did see Stonechat, Raven and Chough.

The weather did not spoil our day’s birding but did change our itinerary for the day but we still ended up with a total of 51 species.

Ray Evans

Brockholes Nature Reserve, 22nd October 2019

Fourteen members met at Brockholes Nature reserve run by Lancashire Wildlife trust just off junction 31 of the M6. It was a new venue for all of us. We walked round the perimeter of the reserve starting with a path along the banks of the River Ribble which had been in flood the previous week. Well done to Heather Luk for spotting 2 Kingfishers on the opposite bank giving her the accolade of birder of the day! We got great views of the Kingfishers as they hung around for a while. At the far end of the reserve we went through the mature woodland of Bolton Wood and then along the lakes left from quarrying. But we did get good views of a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. Plenty of waterfowl on the lakes, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Cormorant and Great Crested Grebe. There was motorway noise at this spot. Also the hides were rather spartan - old metal containers. But the cafe and toilets on the floating village were appreciated and it was a worthwhile visit. 27 species in total.

Stephen Williams


RSPB Marshside, 9th November 2019


Nine members turned up on a very cold frosty morning. A quick look around before heading for the main hide gave us a Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and flocks of Pink Footed Geese. The water on the lake from the main hide was too high for many waders and these were forced to the back and side of the water. These included large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits with a few Bar Tailed Godwits. Many Pink Footed Geese with some Canada Geese. A Little Grebe on the water with some Lapwings in the background. All the ducks were present with good numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintails . Afterwards we left the hide where we crossed the road to view any raptors or waders on the marsh. We saw a male Hen Harrier along with several Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard. Little Egrets were in the channels. Looking towards the beach we could see flocks of Knot wheeling similar to Starling murmurations.  Fieldfares and Redwings flew over whilst watching these birds.


We then checked the water adjacent to the main hide. Here we found the female Greater Scaup.


Now lunch then off to the pier to see the large flock (100+) of Twite. We had good views and here we also had a solitary Knot.


Then on to Mere Sands Wood reserve where we saw Goosanders and had good views of Goldcrests.


In total we had 46 species.


Paul Kenyon


LWT Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve and WWT Martin Mere, 19th November 2019

Fourteen members arrived at Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve, near Rufford run by Lancashire Wildlife Trust on a cold morning but dry. We found that the renovations to the Visitor Centre had overrun, and a pile driver started thumping away! So we decided to walk away from the building noise around the outskirts of the mature woodland and were rewarded by views of Treecreeper and Nuthatch. There were comfortable hides to look over the lakes and we got the usual tally of waterfowl including a female Goosander. Sadly, no Kingfisher, but it had been seen earlier by some keen photographers who had staked it out.  On to Martin Mere Wetland Centre and we needed bowls of hot soup to warm up! We headed for the hides and masses of waterfowl were seen, Pintail, Greylag, Wigeon and Pochard. We returned to the Discovery Hide for the 3pm feeding and it was mayhem as they devoured a whole barrowload of food! Amazing sight with great close views of Ruff. This was a fitting end to our day out. Thanks to Simon Smith for the great photos. Total species count was 41

Long-tailed Tit
Grey Heron
Whooper Swan
Images courtesy and copyright of Simon Smith.

Stephen Williams
Mid-Cheshire Ornithological Society
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