Feeling very autumnal here with glorious golden leaves shining, we continue to be treated to several thousand pink footed geese filling our skies coming into roost here on the reserve. The daily spectacles from raptors such as marsh harrier, kestrel, sparrowhawk, peregrine and hen harriers flying over the reedbed and wet grassland giving our visitors some amazing views.
Still lots of wonderful waders to be seen such as golden plover, ruff, dunlin, lapwing, black-tailed godwit, and lots of snipe with a jack snipe seen aswell. The water pipit has stuck around reported regularly by visitors from marsh covert hide and has been seen at inner marsh farm hide.
We had a rare visit from a goldeneye duck this week which briefly stuck around Monday and Tuesday to give some lucky visitors a nice view and photo opportunity.
goldeneye (John Hewitt)
Other sightings for this week have included brambling, fieldfare, male and female stonechats seen fluttering in front of reception, both cattle egret and great white egret have been spotted about the reserve. Also there are good numbers of wigeon, teal, shoveler and pintail ducks. The number of whooper swans is increasing with groups building at the back on the fields and wet grassland areas. It’s been lovely to see these elegant swans come down onto the main scrape to see up close.
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, great spotted woodpecker and linnet around the woodlands and fields. It’s a good time of year to see and hear flocks of long tailed tits gathering to forage together. Water rail have been increasingly visible around the pool edges of late.
The star sighting for this week is the 2 bitterns seen down at parkgate roosting in Neston reedbed. They have been seen flying back into roost after a day out feeding around dusk time.
Bittern in flight ( David Tipling- RSPB images)
A windy and overcast yet mostly dry Tuesday this week saw our volunteers and warden team out at the far back of the scrape brush cutting the reed. As the burning of dry reed met with the sizzling of wet sedge a funnel of low smoke was sent from the fire chased by the wind, its tunnel traveling some distance before gently rising. Wellie boots sinking over wet ground as we moved pitch forks of cut reed. Later, with a lull in the otherwise constant noise of brush cutting, saw the group of cows come to investigate our work. After an inquisitive nibble of the cut reed and a tentative attempt by one cow at licking the handle of the brush cutter, the herd lost interest and moved on.
Over the day we managed to open up a sizable area of open ground with more work planned over the coming weeks to cut the remaining reed in this area of reedbed. Out on the marsh snipe zigg-zagg away from us on approach to the muddy places and edges where they hide and feed, small groups of skylark send out short contact calls as they flit from the rough grass and the occasional kestrel being harassed on a daily basis by the resident crows were just some of the wildlife encountered during the days work.
Our clothes may have had that clinging aroma of smoke that a fire brings with it by the end of the day yet the heat emanating from the fire and its hypnotic movement of flames, soothing in the slight drizzle and warming under ominous dark clouds for a period of the day, were all enjoyable elements to be had during the work party. Forks sizzled in the wet mud from being heated in the fires heart as reed was lifted to stoke the flames, taking advantage of the wind, before spreading out the ash into fading embers at the end of the day. A little raking of the remaining reed into piles too wet to burn finished the day’s task.
Come down and get involved in our tremendous trees quiz trail which is running here at reserve 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
To find out more information follow this link:
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654