also produced some great birding
on the marshes with three Great White Egrets, five Short-eared Owls and
3,200 Pink-footed Geese, all on the 13th. That latter count is by far
the highest count of 'pinkfeet' on the marshes since at least the 1920s
There have been at least five Hen Harriers including three 'grey'
males, a stunning sight and two birders were lucky enough to see all
three in the air together on the 14th off
records that is the highest number of males since the winter of1985/86.
a Ruff joined the flock on the Marine Lake pontoon, seen and
photographed on the 15th, and again seen by myself on the last day of
The end of the cold weather was marked by strong south-west winds which
resulted in some good sea-watching including three Gannets, a Great
Northern Diver, 79 Red-throated Divers, a Velvet Scoter and six Little
Gulls. 32 scaup were off
on the 20th.
Many thanks go to Chris Tynan, Damian
Waters, Alan Irving, David
Haigh, David Leeming, Steve
Hinde, Karen Leeming, Julie
Rogers, Mathew Fry, Jeremy
Bradshaw, Steve Hassell, Paul Brady,
Keith Smith, Alan Hitchmough, Mark Evans, Kenny Dummigan, Ken Mullins,
Jakeman, David Jones, Steve Williams, Ashley Cohen, Ray
Eades, Simon Smith, Bruce
Atherton, Ian Fleming, Chris
Butterworth, Peter Evans, Dave
Wild, Keith Scovell, Matt
Thomas, Bill Wonderley, Roy
Lowry, Antonius Plagge, Steve Round, David
Small, Jeff Cohen, Dave
Edwards, Paul Hill, Colin
Schofield, Phil Oddy, Bernard Machin, Bill Dickinson, Richard Beckett,
Steve Edwards, Paul Vautrinot, Sean O'Hara, Gail
Wilson, Kevin Smith, Michael Davenport, Paul Mason, Richard Steel,
Sheila Ryde, Sheila and Malcolm Davies, Tony Quinn, David Barry, Tanny
Robinson, Brian Burnett, Peter Welch, Peter Haslem,
Richard Payne, Steve Hand, Mike Hart, Garry
Ridsdale, Les Hall, Paul Grennard, Colin Jones, Steve
Morris, Glyn Roberts, Chris Wilding, William Boyce, Nigel Young, Austin
Morley, Tom Marshall, Michael Ward, David Farrell, Duncan Wright, Polly
and the Hilbre Bird
for their sightings during January. All
are gratefully received.
There are two high tides
just before mid-month (see below), only 9.9m but given a fresh westerly
this should cover the marsh at Parkgate
and elsewhere. Over the past few years such tides have often been
spectacular in February inlcuding 10 or more Short-eared Owls and great
views of Hen Harriers. There are also up to three Great White Egrets on
the estuary and we often get a Spoonbill or two this month, hopefully
the tide will be high enough to flush a few Water Rails and maybe even
Twite at Flint Castle, January 31st
© Jeff Cohen.
to sea there should be a flock of Scaup
along with several hundred Scoters and Great Crested Grebes, and
perhaps Velvet Scoters, divers and some rarer grebes. This month often
brings large movements of Pink-footed Geese starting to return north, a
spectacular sight as they fly through the estuary, and that's in
addition to the 3,000 or so over-wintering 'Pinkfeet' which should be
flushed off the
marshes by the big high tides.
has been a very good winter for Knot with numbers around the 40,000
plus mark and we would expect high numbers to continue. As in January
we can expect some spectacular high tide roosts at West Kirby
and Point of Ayr
, and in
Purple Sandpipers should also be relatively high with over 20 at
both New Brighton
Along north Wirral we can get many thousands of gulls with 10,000
Herring Gulls alone and who knows how may rarities among that lot!
There should definitely be a few Mediterranean Gulls around and they
will be starting to acquire their summer plumage.
signs of the coming spring will be singing Chiffchaffs and Skylarks
with perhaps one or two Cetti's Warblers along with drumming
woodpeckers and various woodland birds in song. Last year the first
Sand Martin had arrived by the end of February!
to forget Waxwings of course, it is likely that numbers will
increase again as they start to make their way north again.
Spring Tides (Liverpool)
11th February, 11.45hrs (GMT), 9.9m.
12th February, 12.26hrs (GMT), 9.9m.
Organised by the Wirral
Ranger Service , Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the
All these events and walks have bird interest, even those not
advertised specifically for birdwatching. No need to book for these
events unless specified - please check below.
Also see 2013 Events Diary.
Saturday 2nd February - 10:00am - 3:00pm, World Wetlands Day - Wirral Country Park
The Visitor Centre at Thurstaston overlooks the internationally
important wetlands of the Dee Estuary.
will be marking World Wetlands Day with a day of activities at the
Centre including a slideshow at 11.00am and a guided walk at 12.30pm.
There will be experts on hand to answer bird watching questions and
there will be stalls with information about local groups.
Warm waterproofs, strong boots and binoculars are recommended for the
For further details telephone ring 0151 648 4371. No need to book.
Sunday 3rd February amd 3rd March:
Skydancers at Parkgate
- 12 noon until dusk.
is an exciting new four-year project aimed at raising awareness and
promoting the conservation of hen harriers in the north of England.
Dee Estuary is a vital wintering ground for these amazing birds and is
the best place to see them from October through to March.
people have never seen a hen harrier, but once seen it is rarely
forgotten. This bird is a beautiful, agile hunter, and its aerobatic
sky dances are among the most awesome spectacles in nature.
with only a handful of pairs still breeding successfully in England,
the hen harrier is currently a species on the brink.
Come along to
Parkgate to find out more about the hen harrier story and what you can
do to help save hen harriers before it's too late!
Look for the
RSPB Love Nature marquee along the main promenade at Parkgate where
friendly staff and volunteers will be with telescopes and binoculars
plus family activities, free information and more: http://www.rspb.org.uk/skydancer/
Directions: The "Donkey Stand" opposite Nicholls Ice-cream shop on The
Parade (B5135), Parkgate, Cheshire.
Sunday 3rd February - 10:30am - 12:30pm, Winter Birds at Royden Park
the Ranger and spend some time looking at our resident winter birds and
gaining some hints on feeding and nest box locations.
Meet at Coach House/Court Yard at Royden Park.
Sorry no dogs.
For further enquiries ring 0151 677 7594.
Tuesday 12th February - 8:00am - 4:00pm, Hilbre Island
Each winter Hilbre Island plays host to a small troop of Paurple
small waders are a real highlight of Hilbre's winter avifauna and are
the target species for this guided walk across to the islands.
We will also look for other Hilbre winter specials like Brent Geese,
Divers and Grebes.
There will also be a short slideshow and talk in the day room.
This is a full day trip, staying on the island over high tide.
Places are limited so booking is essential, please ring 0151 648 4371.
Saturday 2nd March, High tide Birdwatch,
11:00 am start - high tide 13.30hrs 9.3m.
will discover why Wirral’s foreshore is an internationally protected
site when you join the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens, Coastal Rangers
and the RSPB on this winter birdwatch at Hoylake. Dress warmly and
bring binoculars if you have them.
No need to book.
Meet at the bottom of Trinity Road, North Parade, Hoylake promenade.
Please ring (0151) 648 4371 if you need more information.
Saturday 2nd March, Guided Walk at Point
Price: Free, but Booking
- please ring 0151 353 8478.
The Point of Ayr is a fantastic mosaic of habitat right on the seaward
edge of the RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserve.
our team of knowledgable staff and volunteers as we explore the area
looking for early migrants before settling into the new hide for the
rising tide which, pushes in thousands of wading birds.
Meet in the "Smugglers Inn" car park at the end of Station Rd.
RSPB Point of Ayr, Talacre, Flintshire.