15 Jan 2012


A beautiful weekend in our part of Cheshire with blue skies, no wind and the first heavy frosts of the year. In fact the temperatures struggled to reach positive numbers all day Saturday on Hilbre! With a late tide and the prediction that there would be few new passerines around it was decided to make a leisurely start and arrive around mid morning with the intention of staying for a seawatch!

Plenty of activity from the waders with good numbers of Redshank, Curlew, Knot and Oystercatchers feeding as the tide flooded.

The Purple Sandpiper flock was still present but dispersed to roost in a number of different sites over the high tide. Turnstone numbers also continue to increase with the regular colour ringed bird from 2007 being present again. There were at least 4 Shags fishing off the north end - including a ringed bird that has probably originated from the colony on Puffin Island further to the west.

Compared to recent weeks the seawatching was a bit of a disappointment but entertainment was provided by a Rock Pipit making the most of some spilt crisps on the slipway below the hide.  It obviously heard the camera shutter but couldn't work out where the sound was coming from.

As well as Hilbre I've had a couple further up the estuary starting with Parkgate after work last Thursday. Two of the three Great White Egrets were easily seen within minutes of arriving at the Old Baths car park and a male Merlin followed two ring-tailed Hen Harriers around making the most of the small birds they flushed. Sunday saw me walking from along the footpath to the Decca Pools and then on to the sewage works where a Cetti's was typically skulking. Two water pipits were seen flying into the sewage works and one was seen through the fence feeding on one of the filter beds with a flock of Pied Wagtails, Grey Wagtails and Meadow Pipits. Walking back through the marshy area  Jack Snipe and 4 Common Snipe flew up in front of me and a Water Rail was seen by the small stream. Great stuff and a great winters weekend.


Marc Heath said...

A great read and some lovely shots to match as well.

Phil Woollen. said...

Cheers Marc.