Posted on behalf of Katie Ellis
Waders have been on top form this week with lots of the expected types of birds seen including dunlin, ruff, redshank, black-tailed godwit, curlew and golden plover residing on the scrape and over at Inner Marsh Farm hide. We’ve also been treated to sightings of up to 7 spotted redshanks on the scrape and a green sandpiper was seen at the end of the day on Friday. Flocks of lapwings out on the wet grassland were frequently disturbed by the raptors, especially from the almost daily visits from two peregrines. A ringtail hen harrier treated us to a visit, marsh harriers and sparrowhawks have also been seen regularly.
Image: Paul Jubb
Our resident snipe remained on the edge of Reception Pool in front of the Visitor Centre for several days earlier on in the week. Although tricky to identify camouflaged in the rushes, once found it gave visitors great close-up views.
Image: Ron Thomas
There’s been plenty of ducks out on the scrape including wigeon, teal, shoveler, gadwall and shelduck. Less present this year, a few tufted ducks have been seen on the meres and pintail have been residing again on Bridge Pool. The twice daily spectacle from the pink-footed geese has continued, flying over in their thousands both morning and evening.
Out on the estuary the saltmarsh has had lots of reported activity this week. Parkgate has seen frequent sightings of ringtail and the occasional male hen harriers, bittern flying into Neston reedbed at dusk and 3 short-eared owls from the Old Baths car park.
We’ve had regular visits from stonechat, green woodpecker, grey wagtail, Cetti’s warbler and kingfisher. Water rail have been around Marsh Covert Hide and cormorants fishing on the meres.
The Big Farmland Bird Walk on Sunday was a great success with lots of wildlife seen. Going off the traditional routes with a focus on the agricultural land, reported back were sightings of redwing, green woodpecker, curlew along with great egrets and little egrets leaving roosts. A keen young birder also caught sight of a goldcrest, sharing it with several members of the group before flying off.
Image: Dan Trotman
The good views and numbers of spotted redshank have made them the star of the show this week. Numbers have fluctuated throughout the week, but have been viewed well almost daily from the scrape.
The Warden team are back into full swing with the arrival of our new Warden Becky. Becky has had a busy first week familiarising herself with the reserve and getting stuck in with a range of tasks. Lots of essential drainage work has been completed clearing the ditch around Reedbed Screen and ensuring good water flow to Reception Pool. They’ve also done an excellent job installing kick boarding on the recently renewed boardwalk to Inner Marsh Farm Hide, ensuring the pathway is suitable for all visitors to use.
To finish off the week, Becky and Liz ventured out onto the marshes to help with the sheep round up for the high tides.
We still have the January quiz trail out in Burton Mere Wetlands Visitor Centre “Big Garden Birdwatch" to help get you ready for your Big Garden Birdwatch of your own at the end of the month. There’s also have Winter Backpacks to hire for the kids to take out and get adventurous.
Our Little Explorers group is back this week starting on Monday 13 January and another session on Monday 27 January, with more story times and wild play. A great excuse to get the little ones involved and connect with nature!
Sunday 19 January is our get ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch event. In support of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch and prepare you for your own birdwatch next weekend (25-27 January 2020), pop along to this hands-on event at the reserve. Our knowledgeable team will be on hand to assist with garden bird identification to help you prepare for your birdwatch in your own garden, green space or school grounds.
Sunday 12 January is our next Parkgate Raptorwatch. Come down and joins us to see if you can spot the fabulous raptors and egrets out over the marsh.
Join us for our first Parkgate Tidewatch of the year on Tuesday 11 February and Wednesday 12 February between 10.30am-2.30pm. We will be down at the Parkgate Old Baths for the spectacle of high tide as it comes in and pushes small mammals up the saltmarsh which then brings in the likes of short-eared owls, hen harriers, marsh harriers and any other spectacular raptors.
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