Coach Trip to Middleton Lakes & Park Hall Country Park - Sunday 30th March 2014

Middleton Lakes


The RSPB has transformed 400 acres of old gravel quarry into a natural oasis bursting with wildlife, so says the information leaflet, and 25 Wilmslow Guild birders found this to be correct. We walked along bridleways, through woodland, past a heronry where 100 Herons make their nests each year and explored the wetlands and the grasslands.


We arrived at 9.45am to walk along the Woodland trail, first stopping to watch Dunnock, Blue tit, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Great tit, Long tailed tit, and Lesser Redpoll visiting the feeders. Other visitors to the feeding areas were House sparrows and Reed bunting. Coots were busy nest building on a pond; another pair already had a brood of ginger-headed chicks. Walking further along, Cetti’s warbler and Green woodpecker were heard. A Song thrush and Chiffchaff were heard and later seen. Noisy Rooks were busy with their nest building, Blackcap, Great-spotted woodpecker and Nuthatch showed themselves briefly. Wood pigeon and Pheasant were here also. The first Bluebells were beginning to show.

Passing over the canal we walked onto the Wetland Trail with lakes and reedbeds. Here we spotted Canada geese, Mallard, Tufted ducks, Black-headed gulls, Cormorant, Shoveler, Goosander, Goldeneye, Gadwall, Teal, Little egret, Great-crested grebe, Mute swan, Redshank, Oystercatcher, and Lapwing. Two Avocets were dozing, then gave a better view when they stood up. Little ringed plover sitting pretty on a scrape, and Snipe were present for those who had good ‘scopes and a keen eye. A Skylark sang and soared overhead.

Moving on and into the hide a beautiful Mediterranean gull was spotted, probably the best spot of the day. Lesser black-backed gulls, Coots, Moorhen, Greylag geese, and Shelduck were here also.


We left Middleton Lakes having had a very satisfactory morning, the warm sun shining after a misty, hazy start to the day.

Park Hall Country Park, Stoke on Trent

This site was declared as Stoke on Trent’s only National Nature Reserve in 2002 and the sandstone canyons are a SSSI for their geology. The sandstone canyons are important nesting sites for Kestrels, Little owl and Sand martins. The guano showed life was there but not seen! The heathland and woods provide a habitat for Short eared owls, Skylarks, Meadow pipits and the gorse is valuable for Linnets.

We spotted Robin, Chiffchaff, Wren, Magpie, Blackbird, Jay, Carrion crow, Collared dove, and Brambling. A Long tailed tit with a feather much bigger than itself was busy nest building with its mate within the gorse.

Also spotted during the day were Tree sparrow, Goldcrest, Redwing, Mistle thrush, Coal tit, Treecreeper, Rock dove /Feral dove, Pheasant, Red legged partridge, Jackdaw, Kestrel and Buzzard soaring and gliding above us, bringing a field total of 67 for the day.

Photos by Robert D


For more photos of the Mediterranean Gull please click here to visit Sandpiper’s Page on the Group website.

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