Woolston Eyes 7th June 2018
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Nine members met up at the barrier to the Woolston Eyes reserve waiting for the warden to let us in.
The summer heatwave was in full swing so we had a lovely sunny and warm day for our visit. After
crossing the bridge over the old River Mersey (now an ox-bow lake) the warden pointed out several
of the dragonfly species found on the reserve.

As we crossed the field towards the first hide a Whitethroat was singing from its perch on a bush. There was a good variety of wildfowl on the reserve including Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, Shelduck, Greylag Geese, and Canada Geese. The Black-headed Gull colony provided a raucous background, and we also had Lapwing, Coot, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebe, and Little Grebe present.

But what we were really here for was the breeding colony of Black-necked Grebes. The warden informed us that the grebes had experienced a successful breeding season so far, with several pairs hatching chicks, thanks to the good weather. Initially we just had distant views of the grebes and their chicks but best views were obtained when we moved round to the Warrington Rotary hide. Here, an adult Black-necked Grebe was feeding 2 chicks close-in in front of the hide giving us really good ‘scope views of this delightful bird.

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We concluded our visit here early afternoon so we decided to use the rest of the day to visit another local reserve, Risley Moss, only a few miles distant on the other side of the M6 motorway. The main attraction here is the Hobby, which visits during the summer months to hunt the abundant dragonflies. We had quite a while to wait but 1 bird eventually showed up and gave quite a spectacular display as it swooped across the reserve in pursuit of its prey.

A good end to a good day’s birding.

ROBERT D

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