The Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens Bird Report  2001

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Systematic list - 
Mediterranean Gull to Great Black-backed Gull
Kittiwake to Rock Pigeon.
Stock Pigeon to Sand Martin.
Swallow to Wren.
Hedge Accentor to Blackbird.
Fieldfare to Garden Warbler (below).
Blackcap to Coal Tit.
Blue Tit to Chaffinch.
Greenfinch to Reed Bunting.

Fieldfare                                                                  T. pilaris 
Passage migrant and scarce winter visitor
14 February 16th. c.100 October 15th. and 16th. overhead were the first birds of the second winter period, with 48 at Red Rocks on October 16th. the first 'on the deck' birds. 1,500 were recorded overhead on October 21st. which was the largest single flock of the year and 2,500 October 24th the highest hourly count..
[This is a normally a very scarce bird on site and is usually only recorded on passage overhead. There were more records of the 'winter' thrushes this year, mainly because of increased coverage.]

Song Thrush                                                     T. philomelos 
Present throughout with a peak of 14 on October 15th.
[ See Winter Wren. Numbers in the general area have been increasing over the last 5 years and are now back to the point where they are, at last, a common garden bird once again. ]

Redwing                                                             T. iliacus 
Passage migrant and scarce winter visitor
There were no records from the first winter period. For the second winter period c.20 in flight October 15th were the first record and 19 at Red Rocks on October 16th the first 'on the deck'. A peak count of a minimum of 500 were counted in flight with Fieldfare on October 24th.
[ This is normally the scarcest of the thrushes to be recorded on site. Small numbers are recorded flying over with Fieldfare, but not annually. The best year for records since the wardening began but the reason for this is the same as for the increase in records of Fieldfare.] 

Mistle Thrush                                              T. viscivorus 
Scarce visitor
2 March 6th, 1 April 27th, 5 ( family party ) July 23rd., 3 October 4th., 5 on 12th., 7 on 16th. 2 November 20th.
[ The best year ever for this locally frequent bird. With a succession of mild winters and plenty of large gardens, playing fields and farmland in the vicinity there is little need for thrushes to come down to the shore. ]

Common Grasshopper Warbler       Locustella naevia 
Summer visitor
First recorded :- 1 April 1st ( earliest ever record for Cheshire and Wirral. ) 
Peak count :- 3 ( in song ) May 7th
Last recorded :- 1 September 2nd.
[ Grasshopper Warblers seem to be going through something of a purple patch in the general area. Although there were probably no more than 15 birds passing through during spring, a minimum of 2 birds were 'reeling' from the golfcourse until the end of May. Surprisingly enough no birds were recorded from the site last year.]

Sedge Warbler                                    Acrocephalus schoenbaenus 
Summer visitor
First recorded :- 3 April 15th.
Peak number :- c. 30 May 28th.
Last recorded :- 2 September 29th.
[ This is the commonest of the breeding warblers, and probably of the summer visitors, on site. Birds were recorded at least a week before the first one here, from around the Ribble. The peak count at the end of May included numbers of newly arrived males singing from all habitats available, including Marram Grass in the dunes. Birds were present from April 7th. until September 30th. last year ]

Common Reed Warbler                            A. scirpaceus 
Summer visitor
First recorded :- 1 April 16th.
Peak count : - 3 May 12th.
Last recorded :- 1 August 29th.
[ Although there appears to be ample suitable habitat for this species Reed Warbler are only ever found in very small numbers on site even though their range now stretches to the north of Scotland. Although juveniles were recorded this year, the number fledged is unknown. April 25th. and September 13th. were the extreme dates last year. ] 

Lesser Whitethroat                                   Sylvia curruca 
Passage migrant
First recorded :- 1 May 2nd.
Peak count :- 4 May 3rd.
Last recorded :- 1 September 9th.
[ Lesser Whitethroat breed in most years on the golfcourse but, apart from migration, are rarely picked up on site. The fortunes of this species do not seem to have improved in line with the resurgence of Common Whitethroat even though suitable habitat is widespread throughout the general area.] 

Common Whitethroat                         S. communis 
Summer visitor
First recorded :- 1 April 29th.
Peak count :- 7 September 21st.
Last recorded :- 1 October 2nd.
[ This is the second commonest of the migrant warblers to be found on site. There were at least 4 pairs breeding this year and juveniles were observed from July 9th. The first bird, last year, was April 24th. and they were present until October 17th. ]

Garden Warbler                                             S. borin 
Passage migrant
1 May 2nd , 2 May12th and 13th. 1 August 23rd.
[ Even in the days when there was a lot of ringing carried out on site Garden Warbler were always scarce with a maximum of c. 20 birds recorded each year. Garden Warbler are usually only recorded in spring with autumn birds being considered very scarce or even rare. ] 

Blackcap to Coal Tit.