Point of Ayr, 22nd September 2021
It was a real joy to restart a new birding season with a visit to Point of Ayr on the North Wales Coast. We had a turnout of 14 and were so happy to see each other again after 18 months. The visit was timed for a rising tide and we were rewarded with huge flocks of waders being pushed nearer to the hide. Oystercatchers were in a crowded mass on the point with Godwit, Redshank and Curlew abounding. A Greenshank was showing nicely. On the embankment we were serenaded by a huge flock of Goldfinch swooping around. We bagged a female Stonechat on the way back . After lunch we walked over the dunes to Talacre beach, not many birds, but we found a Wheatear on the ground in the beach car park. Thanks to Simon Smith for the pictures. Total of 28 species.
Godwit in flight
Goldfinch in flight
Curlew in flight
Leighton Moss, 10th October 2021
Four members of MCOS met at Leighton Moss on a sunny and mild morning. First stop was the grit trays along the path to the Grizedale Hide. On arrival seven Bearded Tits were on the trays giving superb views. Both adults and juveniles were present. On the way to the hide there were Cetti's Warblers calling with a very brief view of a single bird. From the hide, small numbers of waterfowl were present with a Marsh Harrier viewable on a distant bush. On leaving the hide Bull Finches flew overhead. Stopping of at the tower viewpoint a Red Deer was feeding in the reeds.
Moving on to the lower hide, Water Rail were heard calling. Along the path to the hide Marsh Tit, Siskin and Gold Crest were seen. From the hide, larger numbers of waterfowl were seen with a single Whooper Swan. From the public hide very few birds were seen.
After lunch the group moved on to Lillian's Hide where upwards of two hundred Black-tailed Godwits were present at very close quarters. Allen and Morecambe Hides were the final stop of the day. Very large numbers of waders were present. Greenshank and Spotted Redshank being the best of the bunch. On the path from the hide to the car park, a Chiffchaff was seen ending a very enjoyable day. Total of species for the day was sixty one.
RSPB Conwy, 12th October 2021
Nine members enjoyed a productive birding day out despite the odd shower whilst we were sheltering in the hides. A very showy Water Rail was the first bird spotted next to the café coming out of the reeds to feed on the mud in full view. We were treated to a “wisp” of 8 Snipe on a lagoon island, who disappeared in the binoculars as soon as they stopped moving! A truly cryptic camouflage! We had a surprise close view of a Stonechat sitting on top of the undergrowth. The estuary had plenty of mud remaining on the incoming tide and we bagged a Great White Egret next to several Little Egret. Lots of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit were also seen but no Shelduck anywhere for some strange reason. Thanks to Ian Bunker for sharing his telescope with the party. Bird count: 42 species.
Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve, 16th November 2021
Nineteen members enjoyed a different birding day out at Woolston Eyes guided by Mr Brian Martin, recorder of the Conservation Group. We had to be let through a barrier to access the site and then pass through a fearsomely protected padlocked bridge to get into the reserve. The main hide over No 3 Bed gave us the best views with 3 Snipe paddling in the shallows with their Teal friends close by. At either end of the hide were well stocked feeders attracting Greenfinch, Chaffinch and a very handsome Bullfinch who stayed in position so we could admire his magnificent plumage. Plenty of Teal and Shoveler on the water. Ian Bunker regained his crown as “Birder of the Day” bagging 27 species on a quietish birding day. We hope to revisit the reserve in Spring in a future season.
RSPB Hesketh Out Marsh/Marshside, 14 November 2021
Twelve members turned up on a warm sunny day in November to witness some exceptional birdwatching. On arrival at Marshside 2 Hen Harriers (ringtails) were seen. During the course of the next couple of hours several Merlins, Peregrines, Marsh Harriers, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks, Buzzards were observed in good numbers. A fantastic murmuration of Knots was also taking place along the shoreline at the same time. All the time Pink-footed Geese and Greylags were flying overhead. The hide across the road was almost empty of people so we fitted in ok. Cettis Warbler was heard and seen by the hide entrance. We then walked to the platform at the very end of the reserve to observe a Glossy Ibis .
The afternoon was spent at Hesketh out marsh where we were treated to a fantastic Barn Owl display which posed for photo opportunities. Also here 6 Grey Partridges and a Tree Sparrow. Overall an excellent day with 70 species seen.
Mid-Cheshire Ornithological Society