Coach Trip to Marshside - 19th November 2017

We set out on a bright and frosty morning not really knowing the day’s itinerary other than that we were visiting Marshside RSPB bird reserve. We ventured out on our mystery tour and as per usual, Brian’s planning did not let us down.


The first brief stop was at Crosby where Anthony Gormley’s sculptures of “Another Place” could be seen gradually disappearing as the tide came in. Several species of bird were flying past including large flocks of knot, bar-tailed godwit, oystercatchers, grey plover, redshank and a little egret. Out to sea common scoters could be seen bobbing up and down on the water.

On route to the next destination, flocks of pink-footed geese were observed having taking up residence on the local football pitch. Our destination was the Alt Estuary; this proved to be the location where the aforementioned flocks of birds were flying into and on arrival huge flocks could be seen gathered on the shoreline including oystercatchers, bar tailed godwits, knot, dunlin and redshank.

In between, the knot would take off providing a spectacular aerial dancing display that was enhanced by the sheer numbers in the flocks. In the distance, we could also see greater black-backed and common gulls, shelduck, and curlews, and a goosander came in close to the shore.

A stonechat could also be seen in the shrubs close to the shoreline repeatedly flying back and forth to the same perch and a grey wagtail was on the beach.

On walking back to the coach large numbers of greenfinch and goldfinch could be seen on the surrounding trees and just before getting in the coach a tree sparrow was spotted on a tree in a local garden.

Following this we stopped off at the marine lake at Southport on which could be seen mute swans, gadwall, dabchicks and greylag geese. A lot of debate took place around the identity of a duck that turned out to be a hybrid.


Moving on, our next port of call was Marshside. This forms part of the Ribble estuary with freshwater pools and saltmarshes. On arrival at the visitor centre, several species were observed including wigeon, teal, golden plover and black-tailed godwit. On leaving the hide, we looked out over the marshes to see a kestrel perched and marsh harriers in the distance over the coastline.

From Nel’s hide, we could see shoveler, 2 well-hidden snipe but the star turn from here was close up views of pintail ducks (right) that were directly in front of the hide.

The last stop was Hesketh out marsh again part of the Ribble Estuary. Dusk was fast approaching and we ventured off in the hope of seeing some owls. A peregrine falcon swooped into a flock of birds and was subsequently seen sitting on a perch giving a prolonged view for all to see. In addition, another Marsh Harrier could be seen out hunting. As we walked along the path, a great white egret flew into a field and two hares could be seen running up the edge of the field. A skein of geese flying in formation provided a true autumn evening view and eight goosanders could be seen on the pool. Unfortunately, no owls were to emerge but there were no complaints as the day had been very enjoyable.

A total of 69 species were recorded.

Photos by Chris S


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