What a wonderful bit of sunshine we have had this week. It has meant splendid sightings of dragonflies and butterflies like common darter and one of my personal favourites speckled wood butterfly.
Still some great waders around too. Up to fifteen ruff on the main scrape, loads of snipe peppered across the reserve and at times two little stints almost always with a flock of dunlin. Other waders included; little-ringed plover, greenshank, green sandpiper, lapwing, black-tailed godwits and the newest addition this week are the golden plover at Inner Marsh Farm hide.
The visitor centre has been a good spot to catch the kingfisher zipping past and landing in the vegetation either side of the Reception Pool.
Raptors have been a bit less frequently seen across the reserve with hen harrier turning up more in the late afternoons, marsh harrier, peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel, hobby and merlin sporadically still from the visitor centre.
Sparrowhawk (Male) by Tom Giles
Great egret are still occasionally seen at Burton Mere Wetlands, sometimes on the main scrape and down the reedbed area. Water rail have also still been showing on and off from Marsh Covert hide as well as the reedbed area. Great view of a grey heron eating a young eel very close in the Reception Pool, was great to see.
Cettis warbler, blackcap, chiffchaff, goldcrest, grey wagtail, spotted flycatcher and green woodpecker all been active in different areas across the reserve.
Green woodpecker by Colin Wells
The star sighting for this week was the return of a cattle egret to the main scrape. Just the one appeared on Thursday after almost two months' absence and has been around over the weekend, showing well from the visitor centre.
Cattle egret by David King
Wardens have been out to Point of Ayr this week tidying up around the hide, checking the fence and some general maintenance for winter. Onsite at Burton Mere Wetlands they have been busy spraying the invasive Crassula, continuing to mow areas of the wet grassland, did some significant cutting in the reedbed to open up the view from Marsh Covert hide and placed two grit trays out to hopefully encourage the bearded tits into view once more. Bearded tit bills aren’t built to crack open tough seed shells, so they have to eat grit to help them grind the hard seeds to digest them. Hard to believe it's almost twelve months since they arrived!
On Tuesday 24 September, volunteer Richard leads his autumn Wildlife Wander taking in the whole of Burton Mere Wetlands and helpful ID tips on all the stunning wildlife and plant life at Burton Mere Wetlands. No need to book, just turn up on the morning ready for a 10am start.
Reminder for the Parkgate Tidewatch events in autumn on Sunday 29 and Monday 30 September.
We are running a new event for preschool families and kids called Little Explorers on Thursday 10 October and Thursday 24 October 10-11.30am.
Tickets are also now on sale for our final 40th anniversary event, RSPB Dee Estuary: Celebrating 40 Years at Neston Cricket Club in Parkgate. This is an exclusive chance to hear original warden Bob Gomes and his long-serving successor Colin Wells talk through the reserve's development from 1979 to today.
We still have our Wild Challenge family trails going at Burton Mere Wetlands, this month “Wonderful Waders” from 31 August to 30 September.
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