Gronant can be an idyllic spot in the
summer. I remember my first stint as voluntary warden last June, arriving
early on a lovely sunny morning - two Grasshopper Warblers were singing in
the marsh whilst a male Stonechat saw me off its territory, as I approached
the warden's hut I suddenly became aware of the Little Tern colony, a
hundred or so were in the air screeching away before they left to go fishing
in the nearby sea - an amazing sight.
WeBS counts or count from Inner Marsh Farm this month due to Foot and Mouth
restrictions, hopefully this may change in a few weeks. So again a count
from Hilbre Island thanks to John Gittins of the Hilbre Bird Observatory.
Count from Hilbre, courtesy of the Hilbre Bird Observatory.
Note that gulls and some of the more commoner birds haven't been included.
May Bird News
Chorus Day on the 6th turned out to be a nice sunny morning, if rather cold,
with a reasonable turn out and a good variety of birds - including 'my own'
A Red Kite over West Kirby was the pick of the raptors, although a probable Barbary Falcon at Hoylake was the most unusual, almost certainly an escape. Hobbys put in an appearance at Greenfield and Leasowe. Marsh Harriers were seen over Shotwick Fields and Hilbre, and Ospreys at the Point of Ayr and north Wirral.
The first of May saw the largest wader flock of the month flying past Hilbre on their way north, 10,000 Knot and 2,500 Dunlin. Small parties of Dunlin and ringed Plover were seen throughout the month. Ringed Plover are breeding both at Gronant and the old Point of Ayr colliery site. Whimbrel have been passing through all month with the largest count being 29 on the 2nd at Hilbre.
The Little Terns are back at
Gronant with nesting starting a day earlier
The Greenfield Valley bird survey continues, the total is now 74 birds. Click here for a complete list.
What to expect in June: This is the quietest month on the estuary, but that isn't to say it is empty - at the beginning of the month we might still get late passage waders on their way north, especially Sanderling. As early as late June we get some birds returning after breeding - especially those that have tried and failed. But also many none breeding waders stay on the estuary for the whole summer. Oystercatchers, for example, don't breed until their fourth or fifth year and we get as many as 3,000 in June.
Most activity, however is out to sea where good numbers of Common Scoter, Gannets, Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, Kittiwake may be seen.
Many thanks go to Phil Oddy, David Ester, John Gittins, John Kirkland, Bill Owens, Chris Butterworth, Jane Turner, Phil Lovell, Mark Smith, Colin Jones, David Small, Peter Williams, June Hargreaves, James Twemlow, Paul Vautrinot and Brian Roberts for their sightings during May. I rely on the goodwill of people like this, unlike some commercial sites I cannot offer financial inducements!
that some events may be cancelled because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak.
See latest news - click here.
June Highest Spring Tides
Note that the marsh at Parkgate may be 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.
Wirral Peregrines Phoenix Group
Wirral Bird Club
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service,
Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
High tide bird watches at Parkgate and Heswall for the whole of 2001 are shown on the high tide birdwatch page. Always check latest newsletter for any additions or changes.
Saturday 2nd June. Guided Walk to the Hilbre
Saturday 7th June. Sunset Walk to Hilbre.
Sunday 10th June. All About Trees. 2pm - 4pm.
Wednesday 20th June. Heathland Guided Walk. 7pm - 9pm.
Thursday 21st June. Mid-summer Sunset Walk to
Friday 29th June. Birds, Beasts, Bats and bugs. 7:30pm - 6:00am.
Saturday 30th June. Guided Walk to the
Saturday 1st July. Gander at Gronant
Thursday 5th July. Sunset Walk to Hilbre.
Sunday 8th July. Talacre - Back in time.
1pm - 3pm.
Saturday 14th July. Guided Walk to the
Note: Many of these forthcoming events are 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 from myself as a 1.8mb zipped file.