CAR TRIP TO MERSEY VALLEY - 11 DEC 2011

The weather was looking a little ominous as 4 intrepid birders set off for a day’s birding around the Mersey Valley, where the first stop was Moore Nature Reserve in Warrington.

As we reached the hide at the first lagoon, it started to rain and as it continued for the next hour or so, we remained in the hide to keep dry. On the water was a good range of waterbirds including Mute Swan, Pochard, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Greater Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Coot, Moorhen, Canada Goose and Little Grebe.

When the rain stopped we took the opportunity to head to the hide overlooking the Bittern Reedbed, on the way disturbing a perched Common Buzzard. Several woodland species were seen on the way such as Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Blackbird and 3 members of the Tit family, Blue, Great and Long-tailed. However, it started to rain again and as the hide here no longer had a roof, we didn’t hang around and moved for a covered hide on the way back.

An interesting event occurred when John spotted a Stoat ahead of us, only then realising as it ran off, that it had recently attacked a rabbit which was on its last legs as we reached it.

As we crossed a boardwalk, to the left we saw a Tawny Owl as it peeked out from some ivy – a really good find. Then some Lesser Redpolls were seen feeding on tree seed.

At the feeding station, a number of new species were noted for the day – Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit and a good Willow it – the calling Nuthatch remained out of sight.

We moved on to Wigg Island, which was a new venue for the Group and having spoken to a very helpful Ranger, it was clear that the site had much potential for birding around the year with views over the estuary, reedbeds, pools and a little woodland.

Unfortunately, Robert became unwell here and after a short break while he recovered, we headed back home.

The weather had not been kind to us yet we still managed to see 54 species in the day.

Moore Nature Reserve continues to be a good birding site where it is easy to spend a full day and we had found a potentially good new site in the form of Wigg Island.

TOM G

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