COACH TRIP TO MERE SANDS WOOD & BROCKHOLES 29 JAN 2012

As many of you already know, I am a novice to both the committee and bird watching! I have not been looking forward to writing a report and have threatened to write that we saw plenty of little brown jobs (end of story)! Somehow I think this would be insufficient, so here goes…………..

On a cold crisp Sunday morning, twenty two of us set off for two centres in Lancashire previously unvisited by the group, namely Mere Sands Wood and Brockholes. Both are Wildlife Trust reserves We had barely gone a few miles down the road when some ‘eagle-eyed’ members spotted a sparrow hawk from the coach, then several pheasants, blackbird, jackdaw and wood pigeon to name but a few species.

Mere Sands Wood is located near Ormskirk, on a site covering 105 acres in a rich agricultural area. Sand quarrying up to the 1970s facilitated the formation of the lakes and the surrounding mixed woodland provides an ideal habitat for many birds. Three happy hours were spent meandering around the lakes.

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A great spotted woodpecker, lesser redpoll, treecreepers and nuthatch were seen in the woods. Views from the various hides overlooking the lakes did not disappoint us either. Goosander, golden eye, mallard, teal, shelduck and heron were all clearly visible but the highlight must be the Water Rail photographed by Robert. Everyone was treated to several close up views of this timid bird. Alas the bittern proved elusive.

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However some experienced members of our party thought they saw three mute swans in the distance – scopes and ‘bins’ were trained on these ’birds’ only to discover they were three white drums! Liz M provided the photograph of the Goosanders (Common Mergansers) shown on the right.

Post lunch we travelled to Brockholes, a new centre near Preston and close to the M6 motorway. Away from the crowds, we were treated to a rare view of a solitary Brent Goose in a field of sheep! Some members then spotted a peregrine falcon from the neighbouring woodlands whilst others had a spectacular, close view of a kestrel. Fallow deer were also spotted near the woodland. The lake provided a resting place for approximately 500 black headed gulls and a few lesser black-backed plus herring gulls in addition to cormorants, golden eye ducks, gadwall, tufted ducks and great crested grebe. A single common gull was identified amongst these birds. Whilst sauntering around the lake, a flock of about 30 lapwings flew overhead. Brockholes is in its’ infancy and in a few years time a revisit might prove worthwhile.

Nearly 60 different species of birds were seen on what proved to be a very satisfying day.

Chris B.

PS. A few more images taken by Robert during the trip can be accessed by clicking on the blue - Files at the bottom of this page and then selecting MERE SANDS WOOD IMAGES. Bob.

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