Inner Marsh Farm Count for 23rd June.
6 Spotted Redshank, 5 Redshank, 32 Lapwing, 510 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Tern, 10 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Barn Owl, 19 Grey Heron, 58 Teal and 17 Shelduck.
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.
June Bird News
hundred Black-tailed Godwits have been over summering on the estuary, a
magnificent sight in their summer plumage. These are non-breeding birds of
the Icelandic race, it is believed that this is the largest over summering
flock in the country. Six Spotted Redshank at
Inner Marsh Farm heralded an early autumn passage for this species. Two
Whimbrel were unexpected visitors to Leasowe
shore. Perhaps the most obvious bird
on Heswall/Thurstaston shore in June was
the Carrion Crow with over 150 seen at low tide, this must be a sizeable
portion of the west Wirral population.
The much smaller Little Tern colony at Gronant, the only one in Wales, is also on course for a record year. We have already beaten the record for number of pairs, with 93 compared with 1999's total of 86. It would certainly be nice if we could beat the 1996 total of 120 chicks fledged but to be honest I would regard anything over 90 as a bumper year. The average for the last ten years is 58. So far predation has been very low and the weather good, a Kestrel has recently become a nuisance taking a few chicks but we are very hopeful that the level of predation can be kept down to an acceptable level. Thanks to all the wardens for doing such an excellent job - it's not too late to volunteer, contact the RSPB on 0151 336 7681.
The distinctive call of a Golden Oriole was heard in Dungeon Wood (Heswall) at the beginning of the month but a possible fleeting glimpse of it a few days later in Heswall was the only reported sighting. A Tawny Pipit was seen for a couple of days at the Point of Ayr. June is an unusual date for this vagrant but may be it was blown by the same east wind that brought the Black Lark to South Stack! What was presumably the same Red-backed Shrike as last month returned briefly to Red Rocks.
It has not been a particularly good month for sea watching but 20 Manx Shearwaters were seen on the horizon from Gronant. Gronant was also a good place to see Common Scoters where 30 or so flew by most days.
What to expect in July.
Wader numbers will rapidly build up during the month. Most of the Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshank will have bred in this country, a second wave of birds from Iceland and Scandinavia will follow in August and September. We can also get quite large movements of Sanderling and Dunlin, these will be birds which have bred in the far north passing through on their way south. As soon as the chicks are old enough to feed themselves the adults leave, this avoids the adults and chicks competing for the same food.
July is also good for the passage of rarer waders - for example Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper. May be an early adult Curlew Sandpiper will make an appearance, and last year we even had a Marsh Sandpiper. Avocets have been breeding not too far away and we could see a family or two pausing on their way south.
Little Egrets will return to the estuary, last year we had 12 by the end of the month. It will be very interesting to see if they can carry on increasing at the same rate as the previous four years. Apart from the usual Gannets a fresh west wind might bring in Storm Petrels.
Highest Spring Tides, also see Tides page.
15th July, 13:20 hrs 9.1m. (all times BST)
16th July, 14.04hrs 9.0m.
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service,
Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
Thursday 3rd July 8:00pm - 11:00pm. Night Owl Watch.
Saturday 26th July 8:00pm. Birds, Bats, Moths and BBQ.
Monday 25th August (Bank Holiday) - Pelagic Trip from Anglesey in to the
Note: Many of these forthcoming events are extracted from the 'Birdwatchers Diary 2003', which covers both the Dee and Mersey regions. Hard copies available from the visitor centre at Thurstaston, Wirral Country Park 0151 648 4371.
All material in this newsletter, and indeed the whole web site, has been written by myself, Richard Smith, unless specified.