CAR TRIP TO WIRRAL - 10 SEPTEMBER 2011

The original plan was to visit Hilbre Island. However a mistake was made in calculating the tidal times so we had a change of plan.

Three of us left the Guild to drive to West Kirby where we picked up a further three members. From there we travelled to Hoylake. Here we spotted a large flock of Ringed Plover, Cormorants with their typical pose drying their wings, many Swallows flying high, preparing to migrate to Africa, and Greylag Geese. Dunlin gave us a spectacular co-ordinated flight.

Leasowe Lighthouse was the next planned stop via Moreton. We spotted many wading birds: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, and Bar-tailed Godwit. Sea watching rewarded with Gannets diving far out to sea. Lesser Black-backed, and Black-headed gulls flying above and on the sea were noted, and a Common Gull flew overhead. Pied Wagtails chased insects, and a large flock of Starlings sunbathed on a rooftop. A couple of Meadow Pipits and a flock of colourful Goldfinches were seen on a grassy bank. A Collared Dove appeared on the sea wall.

Arriving at the Wallasey Embankment we were delighted to see four Wheatears, undisturbed by our presence. Common Scoter far out at sea were noted by those with keen eyesight, while House Martins and Swallows were feeding above the water. Common and Sandwich Tern flew over. A short trip along the grassy footpath gave us sight of Moorhen, Coot, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Magpie and beautiful dragonfly. Margaret found a lovely scented Sea Rocket.

New Brighton was the next stop, passing though the pretty village of Burton. Here we saw the stocky Turnstones, and Redshank.

From here we drove to the RSPB Reserve at Inner Marsh Farm. The feeders were busy with Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch with Dunnock and Robin feeding from the ground. Many Lapwings were sunning themselves on the marshland. Ruff, Grey Heron, Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, and Green Sandpiper picked food from the water and mud. A variety of ducks, Teal, Tufted, Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler all happily fed from the muddy water. Buzzard and Peregrine falcon flew over without causing too much panic. Greylag Geese flew in to be alongside the Canada Geese. A bit aggressive on arrival but soon settled down for a doze. A lovely sighting of four Little Egrets across the water was a special treat, and then flying nearly above the hide two had a short battle in the air. These attractive birds nest in the trees beyond.

Dragonflies also seem to enjoy this marsh and reedy area; we watched quite a few dancing around the tall reeds and grasses. Water Rail had been reported earlier; we saw the fluffy chick among the reeds but no adult. We also hoped to see the Spotted Crake but the usual Birdwatchers lament – you have just missed it.

The weather was fine and warm in spite of the forecast of dull and rain. We had one downpour but were in the car at the time. Many thanks to Brian for a very interesting day, and I for one did not mind at all that we did not go to Hilbre Island, there will always be another time.

JENNY

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