In the last week, with temperatures dropping, the skeins of geese coming into roost at dusk have been amazing with several thousand pink footed geese using the fields surrounding the reserve. Birds of prey including peregrine, marsh harriers and kestrel have been sighted almost daily. There are at least two silver male hen harriers and three ringtails on the saltmarsh, with ringtails regularly being reported at Burton Mere Wetlands.
It’s an exciting time to visit in search of waders around such as golden plover, ruff, dunlin, lapwing, black-tailed godwit, and lots of snipe. Earlier in the week a jack snipe was spotted briefly from Marsh Covet hide. Sightings of water pipit on the reserve have been reported regularly. An individual curlew sandpiper was present on the reserve until at least Monday.. On and off reports of green sandpipers also continue.
Curlew sandpiper (Anthony Lovatt)
The recent discovery of Bearded tits, seen from the reed screen and Marsh Covert hide, marks the first record of this kind on the reserve for several years. Bearded tits pair for life so it is perhaps no surprise that if there is one, another is often close by. This year the dry conditions have contributed to a bumper year for them on other sites where, nesting on the ground, low water levels create an abundance of places for them to nest. Visitors have heard and seen bearded tits several times this week. Today’s sighting of a pair of bearded tits from the far screen near the bridge beyond Marsh Covet hide provided some great photo opportunities.
Other sightings include regular reports of stonechats, kingfishers and the first few fieldfare of the year beginning to trickle in.. The number of whooper swans on the reserve has also increased to 13. Super stoat sightings appear in the visitors book again this week. Look amongst the gulls from the visitor centre for a Mediterranean gull, up to 3 have been seen this week.
Golden plovers with lapwings and teals (Maggie Bullock)
The feeders are a nice place to look out for some of our smaller birds. This week we have had nice sightings of nuthatch, treecreeper, and linnet around the woodlands and fields. Small flocks of tits are gathering together as they do at this time of year, weere visitors may momentarily stumble upon a noisy rabble of long tailed tits and blue tits at an otherwise quiet time of year. Water rail have been increasingly visible around the pool edges of late.
Star sighting Usually spending most of their time out on the marsh, a water pipit is this week’s star sighting with Marsh Covet hide being the most reliable place to look for this pipit. Typically they will have travelled here from their summer breeding grounds in the Alps and other mountainous regions in central and southern Europe. Sightings of water pipit have been regular all week with this individual bird being especially confiding.
Water pipit (John Hewitt)
Wardens’ wanderings This week the wardens have been sprucing up the barn at Burton Mere Wetlands, tidying away much of the fencing collected from the Point of Ayr and packing it away for the spring. The work to cut the reed in front of the viewing screen and open up the visibility is now complete with thanks to our excellent volunteers. This screen can be good to look out for little grebes, cettis warbler and occasional kingfisher sightings.
Cleared view from the reed screen.
Halloween family quiz trail
This months spooky Halloween family quiz trail 'Wild Things at Halloween' will be running until the 4 November. Pick up a quiz sheet from the visitor centre. Our next quiz will focus on Tremendous Trees. This quiz runs from the 5 November until the end of the month.
Join us for Raptorwatch
We'll be at Parkgate on Sunday the 11 Novermber for 'Raptorwatch'. The Raptorwatch events will continue every second Sunday of the month until March.
Join us for a chance to see up to seven different birds of prey including peregrine and merlin, plus two types of owl that all make their home on the RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserve. With its panoramic views of the saltmarsh, Parkgate is one of the best places to watch for these birds hunting.
Stick around until dusk for a chance to see the graceful and endangered hen harriers flying into roost for the night on the marsh close to the Old Baths car park, and maybe a ghostly barn owl emerging to hunt. No booking required, come along any time between 1pm and sunset.
Dress appropriately for the weather and don't forget your binoculars! Public toilets and various pubs and cafes are situated close by along Parkgate promenade
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