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    1st July 2000
    Wirral Bird Race 2000 - Results

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Wirral Bird Race 2000 - Results 
  

 

The year 2000 Wirral Bird Race was held on May 5th and 6th in glorious warm spring sunshine.  Just over 1000 was raised in aid of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This was given to the RSPB locally on the Dee Estuary to help pay for a new sluice on the reserves.

The race has been organised by the Wirral RSPB group since 1984 and in that period in excess of 18,500 has been raised for the RSPB. It is the group's 20th anniversary in 2002 and they plan to have a Mega race with invitations to all the teams who have ever taken part, plus local bird clubs etc. 

Now for the results. Five teams took place (plus one non-competitively) with the following scores (number of bird species seen in 24 hours).

The Blundering Albatrosses 106
The Millennium Falcons 105
The Pine Tree Terns 104
The Headless Chickens 102
The Chester Choughs 94

In total 123 species were seen including the first ever Quail for the race. Among other birds of note were Little Gull, Mauritanian Spoonbill, Ruddy Shelduck, Garganey, Gadwall, Tree Pipit, Grasshopper Warbler, Whimbrel, Little Egret and Spotted Flycatcher.

 

Bird Counts

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Inner Marsh Farm  No complete count this month (June) so a resume of the highlights/max counts from the whole of the month instead.
Gadwall 7, Great Crested Grebe 2, Sanderling 2, Black-tailed Godwit 194, Little Ringed Plover 2, Spoonbill 2, Water Rail, Mediterranean Gull 2, Marsh Harrier, Grasshopper Warbler, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank.
Please note that the count from Inner Marsh Farm is an informal estimate of species and numbers present, either carried out by myself or other birdwatchers visiting the hide. It is not meant to be a complete count and is not in anyway part of the Wetland Bird Survey or other count which might be carried out by the RSPB.

Wetland Bird Survey Count for Heswall Shore - (Kindly provided by the Wirral Ranger Service). 4th June.
Cormorant 8, Grey Heron 4, Shelduck 309, Mallard 6, Oystercatcher 480, Dunlin 20, Whimbrel 5, Curlew 191, Turnstone 7.

 
June Bird News
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Gronant Little Tern Colony 
The Little Terns had somewhat mixed fortunes during May and June. Breeding was at first slow due to poor weather and poor fishing. However, forty nests had eggs by the beginning of June. They then suffered from severe fox predation and consequently were down to twenty viable nests a week later. To combat this the RSPB wardens doubled up their numbers at night and this seems to have been successful as the terns have responded by re-laying and are now up to just under sixty nests. By the end of June many chicks had successfully hatched, a lovely sight. Crows are now the main problem. The colony was invaded by a flock of eight crows this last week (end of June) whilst I was wardening. Luckily no one else was about as it must have been quite a sight with me running around screaming and yelling waving a magazine ("Birds" as it happened) over my head! Between us, the Terns and I, we saw them off without any harm done. Now that there are chicks running around the terns are very aggressive and I was dive-bombed several times, which a thought was rather ungrateful!

Hoylake Shore
At low tide the sea seems an awfully long way away over the East Hoyle Bank. Even so, with a good telescope and some patience it is surprising what you can see, even at this supposedly quiet time of year. Jane Turner, who lives on Hoylake Promenade, has sent me her sightings from the past few weeks, this also includes some sightings from Red Rocks and  various land birds seen from, and in, her garden. 

Other News
On the subject of Terns, the colony of Common Terns on the Shotton Steelworks lake is doing very well with about 600 nesting pairs. There has been some good sea watching from both Hoylake and Gronant with large movements of Common Scoter and Manx Shearwater. 

Grasshopper Warblers have been much in evidence with both good sightings and hearings (is that the correct expression??) from both  Inner Marsh Farm and Gronant. Two Spoonbill (European) spent a few days at  Inner Marsh Farm, also at the farm have been a fair size summering flock of up to 200 Black-tailed Godwit. A Mediterranean Gull was seen at both Inner Marsh Farm and Oakenholt Marsh. 

   

Forthcoming Events
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July Highest Spring Tides
2nd July, 12.23hrs 9.6m. (all times BST)
3rd July, 13.15hrs 9.7m.

4th July, 1404hrs 9.6m.

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):

1st July. Food for free in the Dunes. 7pm - 9pm.
A leisurely walk through West Kirby sand dunes to Red Rocks looking at the amazing feast of wild plants on offer. Meet at Dee Lane Slipway, west Kirby. Booking essential, 0151 648 4371/3884.

1st July. Visit to Gronant Tern Colony. 9:30am
Visit the Little Tern colony as it reaches a peak of frenzied activity. Meet at Presthaven Sands Caravan Site, Gronant. For information contact 0151 336 7681.

6th July. Sunset Walk to Hilbre. Evening.
An evening stroll across the sands to Hilbre. A walk of 4 miles in 4 hours. Bring warm clothing and a snack. Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book.

9th July. Marsh Matters. 1.30pm - 3.30pm.
A walk into the creeks and marshes of the Dee Estuary to discover this seldom visited area. Close fitting wellies and warm clothing are essential. Meet at Banks Road Car Park, Lower Heswall.Booking essential, ring 0151 648 4371/3884.

15th July. Guided Walk to the Hilbre Islands. 
Cross the sands to discover the Islands' wildlife and history. A 4 mile walk of 4 hours, ideal for first time visitors. Please bring warm waterproof clothing and a snack. Wellies recommended. Booking essential, 0151 648 4371.

16th July. Below the Ridge. 1pm - 3.30pm
Join the Ranger on a walk to discover the lesser known paths of Royden Park and Thurstaston Common. No need to book. Meet at the Royden Park visitor centre. For information ring 678 4200.

22nd July. Birds, Bats, Moths and Barbecue. 8:00pm
Join RSPB and Wirral RSPB members group at Burton Point Farm for an evening of birds bats and moths. Numbers strictly limited. 5.00 for members and 6.00 for non-members. Ring 0151 336 7681 to book.

Note: Many of these forthcoming events extracted from 'Birdwatchers Diary 2000', which covers both the Dee and Mersey regions. 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.