25 Aug 2008

A Bank holiday weekend in Cheshire

The weekend started with a BBQ at Inner Marsh Farm RSPB laid on for the 'volunteers' who help with work both at the reserve and wardeining Neston reedbed. A good night was had by all and it gave us 'vols' the oppurtunity to look around the newly acquired fishing pools and recently planted reedbed. When all the planned work is completed the reserve is going to be pretty spectacular with a new wader scrape also being planned!

Saturday afternoon was spent walking around the local area. Highlight being an adult Med Gull with Black-headed & Common Gulls following a plough. A good local sighting.

Sunday saw me back at Inner Marsh Farm early afternoon in the hope a Spotted Crake might be around. No chance but plenty of other photo oppurtunitys with a very showy Common Snipe and a typically elusive Water Rail in front of the hide.

The Snipe spent the best part of an hour probing the mud infront of us but was partially obscured by Mares Tails alot of the time.

Other waders were a bit thin on the ground with three Green Sandpipers and a Greenshank to distant to photogrpah on No. 1 lagoon. Fewer Black-tailed Godwits were around with only a small number visible from the hide.

Star bird however was the juvenile Hen Harrier that flew through causing mass panic before hunting the fields adjacent to Shotwick sailing lake. A beautifully marked bird with really rufous underparts.

A quick check of the fields adjacent to Marsh Farm was the final destination of the day and a good sized flock of Pied Wagtails were found catching insects distubed by the sheep. Amongst them were four Yellow Wagtails! All flew off when a marauding Hobby passed overhead being mobbed by the local Swallows & House Martins!

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