Inner Marsh Farm Count for 6th
Wetland Bird Survey Count for Heswall Shore - (Kindly provided by the Wirral Ranger Service). 10th December.
Great-crested Grebe 3, Grey Heron 8, Light-bellied Brent Goose 17, Shelduck 5870, Wigeon 4, Teal 582, Mallard 84, Pintail 30, Oystercatcher 1540, Lapwing 40, Knot 20, Dunlin 10, Snipe 4, Black-tailed Godwit 3, Curlew 1330, Redshank 2200, Black-headed Gull 208, Herring Gull 27, Great Black-backed Gull 11, Merlin 1 and Sparrowhawk 1.
West Kirby high
tide roost, highest count for December carried out by Dee
Estuary Volunteer Wardens - 30th December.
Wetland Bird Survey count for Flint
and Connah's Quay - (Kindly provided by the Deeside
Naturalists' Society). 10th December.
December Bird News
I spent three magical days on West Kirby beach at the end of December during the cold frosty weather. Across the estuary the snow on the Welsh mountains was glinting in the sun through the crystal clear air, there was no wind so despite near freezing temperatures it felt quite warm in the sun and the waders were present in large numbers. Nine species were seen ranging from 12,000 Dunlin to a handful of Bar-tailed Godwit. I was one of the voluntary wardens protecting the birds from disturbance and with so many people out walking our role was crucial - a job well done in glorious conditions!
The snow and frost resulted in some cold weather movements including a passage of Redwing, Fieldfare, Lapwing and Skylark. The Skylark movement was particularly marked with 300 seen in just over two hours over West Kirby. Just across from West Kirby on Hilbre Island have been a record number of pale-bellied Brent Geese, 29 being seen regularly. A few years ago we were lucky to get more than four! There have been at least 34 Purple Sandpipers and a very good count of 650 Grey Plovers on the island.
5 Little Egrets spent virtually the whole month on Burton Marsh, occasionally venturing onto the Welsh side with 3 seen flying over Greenfield Valley on Christmas Day. 98 Bewick's Swans and 14 Whooper Swans have been counted on the estuary, a welcome return to their numbers of two years ago after a dip last winter. At Neston Old Quay four Water Pipits were in their usual haunt.
Strong winds and very low atmospheric pressure in the middle of the month resulted in some unexpectedly high spring tides flushing five Short-eared Owls from the reeds off Parkgate. Other notable birds included a Smew (Inner Marsh Farm). Green-winged Teal (Inner Marsh Farm), Pomarine Skua (Hoylake) and Firecrest (Point of Ayr).
What to expect in January: Many species have their peak numbers during January - look out for large numbers of Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Oystercatcher and Grey Plover. Both Mute and Bewick's Swans have their highest numbers in mid-winter with typical numbers of 100 and 60 respectively - both are best seen either off Burton Marsh or the New Dee Bridge at Connah's Quay.
A Smew or two may be seen at Inner Marsh Farm. Spotted Redshank usually have a mid-winter peak and these can be seen at Inner Marsh Farm, Oakenholt and Parkgate Boathouse Flash - typically a total of twenty birds.
Many thanks go to Jane Turner, Steve Williams, Brian Grey, David Ester, Carl Clee, John Gittins, Jeff Clarke, Brian Roberts, Cathy McGrath, Ian Lazarus, Mike Hart, John Kirkland, Bill Owens, Martyn Jaimeson, Chris Butterworth and the Dee Estuary Volunteer Wardens for their sightings during December. I rely on the goodwill of people like this, unlike some commercial sites I cannot offer financial inducements!
|| January Highest Spring Tides (Liverpool) |
11th January, 12.13hrs 9.9m. (all times GMT)
12th January, 13.01hrs 9.9m.
See Tides page for tide table.
Note that the marsh at Parkgate is covered when tide height is 9.8m or over, dependent on weather conditions. Low pressure with strong north-west wind will create higher than expected tide, high pressure with southerly wind means lower than expected tide.
Peregrines Phoenix Group
Wirral Bird Club
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service, Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the
High tide bird watches at Parkgate and Heswall for the whole of 2001 are shown here. Check latest newsletter for any additions or changes.
Sunday 7th January. New Year Walk.
10.30am - 3pm.
Saturday 13th January. High Tide at Point of
Saturday 27th January 10:00am (HW12:58, 9.2m) Heswall.
Saturday 27th January
11:45am High Tide Birdwatch, Hoylake.
Friday 9th February 10:30am (HW 12:02, 10.1m) Parkgate
Note: Many of these forthcoming events extracted from 'Birdwatchers Diary 2001', which covers both the Dee and Mersey regions. Copies available from the visitor centre at Thurstaston, Wirral Country Park 0151 648 4371, or by e-mail from myself (1.8mb Zip file).