Its been a fantastic week with everything from robins starting to sign again to the classic Winter visitors still showing well like (ringtail) hen harriers at Burton Mere Wetlands.
This week’s sightings have been for everyone from the novice to the more experienced wildlife watchers starting their new list for 2020 or just simply coming getting for a nice walk and some fresh air.
The waders this week have been great, especially considering you don’t have to go far to see them. Sat in the warmth of the Visitor Centre with a hot drink at this time of year we have had heaps of wonderful waders from the likes of the huge flocks of lapwing mixed with black-tailed godwit, curlew, dunlin, ruff, redshank, spotted redshank, green sandpiper on the main scrape, golden plover on the wet grassland mainly and the snipe still sat on the edge of Reception Pool. Plenty of different ducks out on the main scrape too such as teal, wigeon, shoveler, gadwall, shelduck and pintail which are typically seen from the Bridge Screen.
Golden plover by Paul Jubb
A number of reports threw out the week still of siskin, stonechat, Cettis warbler, redwing and fieldfare across the reserve. Some of the more shy birds that you do have to spend a bit more time and patients on have been seen this week include: woodcock, water rail, kingfisher, tree creeper, green woodpecker and water pipit.
Treecreeper by Paul Jubb
Kestrel are still being spotted supper close to the Visitor Centre, down by the Bunker Hide and a pair near Inner Marsh Farm Hide. They are very active at the moment feeding on small mammals across the reserve, which can only mean good thigs if they have plenty to feed on. The other even smaller raptor still being seen, again from the Visitor Centre, is the merlin. Seen on a couple of different days during the week near Inner Marsh Farm Hide and over the main scrape. The waders and smaller birds have still been the main object of attention for the peregrine and sparrowhawk, setting them off daily from the wet grassland area. Marsh harriers have been as usual but by no means ordinary to see most days, elegantly gliding over the reeds, from the Visitor Centre. The hen harrier on Friday stayed around all day again gliding as it hunted over the vegetation at the back. The weather had improved greatly since the morning and the sunlight was just memorising the way it shone off the bird as it quartered the reedbed.
Hen harrier by Paul Jubb
The star sighting for this week has got to be the great egret we have had. Although we now see them regularly out on the saltmarsh or coming into roost around the meres, this one has been spending time in the Reception Pool and out on the scrape giving great views and obligingly sitting next to a little egret so we can compare the differences not only in size but in the way they hold themselves and their behaviours. Strangely showing some unusual interest in the little egret by offering it sticks as if to impress it.
Great egret by Paul Jubb
The warden team have been doing more maintenance on the reserve this week, fixing doors, cleaning bridges along with the usual Winter surveys. Then lots of clearing muddy ditches near Inner Marsh Farm Hide, digging out around the sluice pipes and doing some underwater reed cutting around the Reedbed Screen and Marsh Covert Hide. Over all getting wet and muddy while doing all the work that most of us may take for granted.
Reedbed cutting and ditch clearance: Warden Team
When you visit Burton Mere Wetlands Visitor Centre you can take out the new January family quiz trail “Big Garden Birdwatch" to help get you ready for your Big Garden Birdwatch of your own at the end of the month. Along with the quiz trail we also have Winter Backpacks to hire for the kids to take out and get exploring.
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 birdwatch on (25-27 January 2020). Come 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.
Join our friendly, knowledgeable volunteer, Richard for a leisurely amble around Burton Mere Wetlands for our Winter Wildlife Wander. It starts at 10am on Tuesday 21 January.
Join the Wirral Coastal Rangers, the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens and the RSPB for the Hoylake High Tide Birdwatch on Saturday 25 January between 10am-1pm. Price: Free. We will be at Hoylake promenade to see large flocks of wading birds as they gather and roost on the shore.
Our next Little Explorers event is on Monday 27 January between 10-11.30am, meet at the Visitor Centre and come see what stories and activities we have planned. Price: £5 per child (£4 RSPB Wildlife Explorer members); accompanying siblings half-price.
Our next Binocular and Telescope Open Day will be over the weekend of Saturday 1 February and Sunday 2 February between 10am-4pm. Price: Free (normal admission charges apply to non-members wishing to access the reserve)
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 many other spectacular raptors.
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