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    6th February 2000
    Clubs, Societies and other gatherings
    Latest Bird Counts
    January Bird News
    Forthcoming Events
    Latest Newsletter
    The UK Birding Web Ring

 Clubs, Societies and other gatherings 


The Dee Estuary is blessed with a large number of bird and wildlife organisations of one sort or another. Those of you who have delved into the darker regions of this web site will already know about them, but for those who haven't a listing with contact addresses and/or WWW links are in my local organistations page*. In some cases there is a complete listing of events for the year 2000. 

* PLEASE NOTE - as from March 2003 local organisations page no longer exists. All local organisations can be contacted through their web sites, see addresses in the links page.

The organisations cater for all tastes from the beginner to the experienced birder, and for all age groups. A recent addition to the list are the RSPB peregrines based at Thurstaston, this is run jointly by the Wirral rangers and the RSPB for the benefit of  teenagers. At the other end of the spectrum is the Liverpool Bay Wader Study Group who consist of a few keen birders trying to make sense of all the WeBS data gathered from the Dee, Mersey, Alt and Ribble estuaries. This is a fascinating study and I understand that they are currently producing a web page describing their work. I will provide a link as soon as it goes live.

Of course with several reserves on the estuary the RSPB have a large following with user groups including that from Wirral. As a major presence on the estuary the RSPB  take a leading role in the Dee Estuary Conservation Group. This is a body which consist of representatives from all those parties which have an interest in conservation. The DECG's role is to try and bring together the views of these different conservation interests into one coherent strategy. It also acts as a united front to any threat to the wildlife of the estuary. 

If you know of any wildlife orientated society based around the Dee Estuary which you feel would benefit from some publicity  on this Web site please contact me. I can either provide a link to your web site, give a description of the aims of the society and/or show a complete listing of events.


Bird Counts

Inner Marsh Farm  
21st January: Shovelor 40, Gadwall 8, Pintail 17, Wigeon 500, Teal 100+, Shelduck 28, Pochard 12, Smew (drake) 1, Goldeneye 4, Tufted duck 5, Spotted Redshank 6, Black-tailed Godwit 150, Ruff 4, Lapwing 1000+, Little Stint 1, Dunlin 13, Redshank 20, Curlew 2, Grey Heron 2, Coot 100, Peregrine Falcon 1, Linnet 6, Reed Bunting 20, Bullfinch 1.

Wetland Bird Survey Count for Heswall Shore - (Kindly provided by the Wirral Ranger Service). 23rd January.
reat Crested Grebe 1, Cormorant 3, Grey Heron 2, Greylag Goose 9, Shelduck 508, Teal 43, Mallard 18, R. B. Merganser 4, Oystercatcher 1760, Lapwing 420, Knot 140, Dunlin 76, Snipe 6, Black-tailed Godwit 147, Curlew 505, Redshank 210, Turnstone 1

West Kirby shore high tide roost  - counts carried out by Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens.
The highest count during January was on the 19th: Bar-tailed Godwit 20 (700), Knot 5,000 (19,000), Oystercatcher 56 (0), Curlew 700 (0), Grey Plover 8 (1,900), Dunlin 1,760 (17,000), Sanderling 0 (100) and Redshank 23 (300). For comparison the highest count for January 1999 is included in brackets. As you can see numbers are well down this year. 


January Bird News
Good numbers of Snow Bunting are on the Welsh coast with 45 seen at the Point of Ayr and 34 at Gronant. However there are very few Shorelark around, unlike last year when at least twenty over-wintered at Gronant.

The marsh at Neston has been the subject of some interest with up to 7 Water Pipits present along with three Little Egret and the Mauretanian Spoonbill. A Great White Egret was reported at nearby Parkgate but as far as I am aware this has not been confirmed. 

There are plenty of interesting wildfowl around with both a red head and Drake Smew at Inner Marsh Farm but seemingly never on the same day! The Ruddy Shelduck is still around at IMF often seen with a small flock of 100 Pink-footed Geese or the 20 or so Bewick's Swans. Seven pale-bellied Brent Geese are at Hilbre Island, they can often be seen from West Kirby beach flying to their favourite roost on Little Eye at high tide.

The pick of the waders were ten Spotted Redshank feeding busily at Inner Marsh Farm with Ruff  and Black-tailed Godwit. Wader numbers at the West Kirby high tide roost have been disappointingly low with counts less than half last year's records.


Forthcoming Events
February Highest Spring Tides
20th February, 11.47hrs 10.0m. (all times GMT)
21st February, 1229hrs 10.0m. 

22nd February, 1310hrs 9.9m. 

Young Ornithologists Club at Ness Gardens
See the listing of events for 2000. This group have a most interesting series of monthly outdoor and indoor meetings for the younger birdwatchers.

Wirral Peregrines Phoenix Group
A group for teenagers jointly run by the RSPB and Wirral Ranger Service.   For all young people (you don't have to be RSPB members) who want to do something to improve our environment and enjoy wildlife. See the year 2000 events

Wirral Bird Club
The Wirral Bird Club welcomes all who are interested in birds, from the beginner to the experienced.  See the complete listing of events for 2000

Forthcoming Events (organised by the Wirral Ranger Service, Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):

6th February. Birdwatch at Heswall Shore. 9am
Waders and wildfowl galore at the edge of the rising tide (HW11:58, 9.3m). Meet at Banks Road car park (near Sheldrakes), Lower Heswall. Further details, Wirral Country Park 0151 648 4371, or RSPB 0151 336 7681.

19th February. High Tide at Flint Castle. 9am
Meet at Flint Lifeboat Station car park. High water at 1102. For further information contact RSPB on 0151 336 7681.

12th February to 20th February. National Nestbox Week.
6 days of activities involving making bird feeders and bird boxes. For details contact the Wirral Country Park on 0151 648 4371.

20th February. Bird Activity Day at Wirral Country Park. 10am - 3pm.
A day of family activities including bird box and bird feeder making, and guided walks throughout the day plus ringing demonstration. No need to book, just turn up at the visitor centre at Thurstaston. For information ring 0151 648 4371. 

20th February. High Tide Birdwatch at Parkgate. 10am.
Spectacular birdwatching as the tide covers the saltmarsh (HW 11:47, 10.0m). Large numbers of waders and wildfowl, whilst Water Rail, Peregrine, Merlin, Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl are all possible. Experts on hand at the Old Baths car park, near Boathouse Inn. For more information call 0151 648 4371.

Note: 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.