|Data were supplied by the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), a joint scheme of the British Trust for Ornithology, The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Joint Nature Conservation Committee (the last on behalf of the Countryside Council for Wales, Department of the Environment Northern Island, English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage).
Inner Marsh Farm
9th December: Bewick's Swan 17, Tufted duck 3, Shoveler 30+, Gadwall 5, Pintail 60, Wigeon 400, Pochard 1, Shelduck 4, Smew 1, Teal 100+, Goldeneye 4, Ruff 1, Dunlin 50, Black-tailed Godwit 60+, Redshank 50, Curlew 1, Greenshank 1, Lapwing 2000, Sparrow Hawk 1.
Wetland Bird Survey
Count for Heswall Shore - (Kindly provided
by the Wirral Ranger Service). 26th December.
Numbers somewhat down due to a joy riding helicopter pilot disturbing the roosting birds. The counter, Martyn Jaimeson, had an interesting observation of a juvenile Peregrine attacking a Woodpigeon. It dropped the pigeon which then proceeded to chase the Peregrine. Both birds then went their separate ways.
West Kirby shore high tide roost - counts carried out by Dee
Estuary Voluntary Wardens.
December Bird News
end of August/early September is my favourite time on the estuary then
mid-winter must be my second favourite. Little parties of Knot dot the
foreshore, many just a few yards from the beach seemingly unafraid of
the many walkers getting a bit of fresh air and exercise after the excesses
of Christmas. Off Heswall and Thurstaston
they are often joined by Black-tailed Godwit, together they perform a
spectacular aerial ballet when disturbed by the incoming tide. At this time
of year many waders feed in the fields surrounding the estuary and the
Curlew in particular make a splendid sight during their morning flight
The Richard's Pipit which turned up at Oakenholt Marsh at the end of November stayed all month, although it moved further north along the Welsh coast to Greenfield Dock. The influx of Pomarine Skuas reached here early December with sightings on three different days, the best day was on the 1st when 5 were seen at the Point of Ayr, together with 5 Artic Skua and 4 Great Skua.
At Inner Marsh Farm the pick of the month were Smew and American Wigeon, both drakes. A Ruddy Shelduck and Mauritanian Spoonbill also frequented IMF from time to time and a Little Egret was seen on nearby Burton Marsh. A few miles further north at Parkgate ten Short-eared Owls appeared at the Christmas Eve high tide bird watch. On the Welsh side both Snow Bunting and Shorelarks are wintering at Gronant and Point of Ayr.
January Highest Spring Tides
22nd January, 1201hrs 10.0m. (all times GMT)
23rd January, 1247hrs 10.0m.
24th January, 1331hrs 9.8m.
Young Ornithologists Club at Ness Gardens
Wirral Peregrines Phoenix Group
Wirral Bird Club
Forthcoming Events (organised by the Wirral Ranger Service, Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
8th January. Beginners Birdwatch at West
Kirby shore. 11am - 1pm.
8th January. Birdwatch at Heswall
9th January. High tide at the Point of Ayr.
22nd January. High tide Birdwatch at
23rd January. High tide Birdwatch at
6th February. Birdwatch at Heswall
Note: Species spotlight and forthcoming events extracted from 'Birdwatchers Diary 2000'. Please e-mail me if you want an electronic copy, hard copy available from the visitor centre at Thurstaston, Wirral Country Park 0151 648 4371. Thanks to Tony Broome for the illustration.