Clwyd Bird Report 2001
Clwyd Bird Recording Group has produced the latest Clwyd Bird Report. The
CBRG may well be unique among bird groups, they represent different
interested parties, not one group or club, and their county no longer exists
as a single administrative unit but comprising of Flintshire, Denbighshire,
Aberconwy and Wrexham.
They have produced another excellent report with the usual fully comprehensive systematic list and interesting articles. Of particular relevance to the Dee Estuary is a fascinating article by Chris Pirie (English Nature/ Countryside Council for Wales) about the Conservation of Birds on the Dee Estuary, detailing both the reasons why the Estuary is so important for the birds and also the Statutory Designations (SSSI's etc.) which protect it. In addition there are articles on the population status of UK's birds and a report on ringing during the year. The front cover consists of a watercolour painting of three Bullfinches, a target species for the group and a species of conservation concern - all records welcome!
The report can be purchased by sending a cheque for £5.50 (includes p&p) made out to Clwyd Bird Recording Group to Anne Brenchley, Ty'r Fawnog, 43 Blackbrook, Sychdyn, Mold, Flintshire CH7 6LT.
The Clwyd Bird Recording Group has asked me to remind everyone to please send in their records for Clwyd to Norman Hallas (Clwyd County Recorder), 63 Park Avenue, Wrexham, LL12 7AW, tel: 01978 290522, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .They are still accepting records for 2002.
Island, count from 15th July kindly provided by the
12 Gannet, 26 Cormorant, 5 Grey Heron, 600 Oystercatcher, 10 Ringed Plover, 5 Sanderling, 118 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 26 Curlew, 37 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 500 Black-headed Gull, 400 Common Gull, 800 Herring Gull, 100+ Lesser Black-backed Gull, 150+ Great Black-backed Gull, 200+ Common Tern, 1,500+ Sandwich Tern and 37 Little Tern. Also good passage of hirundines and swifts.
Count from Connah's Quay and Flint - (Kindly provided by Deeside Naturalists' Society), 20th July. 4 Little Grebe, 23 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 6 Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 69 Canada Goose, 395 Shelduck, 13 Teal, 122 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck, 1 Ruddy Duck, 1 Moorhen, 10 Coot, 5 Oystercatcher, 93 Lapwing, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Curlew, 2 Spotted Redshank, 98 Redshank, 14 Common Sandpiper.
Count from Heswall Shore - (Kindly provided by the Wirral Ranger Service), 22nd July. 2,990 Redshank, 42 Lapwing, 1,900 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1Turnstone, 2,380 Curlew, 11 Whimbrel, 1,500 Oystercatcher, 1 Greenshank, 15 Heron, 74 Cormorant, 4 Mallard, 193 Shelduck, 6 Canada Goose, 1 Peregrine ad male, 6,500 Gull spp, mainly Black Headed and Common.
July Bird News
mind the White-winged Black Tern or Honey Buzzard, the bird(s) of the month
must be the Little Terns at Gronant. I'd been saying all spring that we were
due a bumper year, and what a year it has turned out to be! A record number
of pairs, 110, have produced a record number of fledglings - 160 - and
another 20 or so are still unfledged as I write. A look at the graph below
shows just how good a year it is for the Little Terns. As is typical for a
Little Tern colony numbers fledged vary greatly from year to year but the
general trend since the RSPB wardening scheme started in 1975 has been
upward. The season got off to a good start when the weather turned fine at
the end of May just in time for nesting to begin. We have an excellent team
of wardens who have managed to keep predation very low, the only problem
being a particularly persistent male Kestrel which has taken a few chicks.
So a bumper year indeed!
As usual July has been a good month for Sandwich Terns at the mouth of the estuary. They spend a lot of time loafing around roosting on the sand banks at any state of the tide, making them easy to see and count. The highest number were off Hilbre with a good count of over 1,500, and several 100 were seen daily at Gronant, Red Rocks and West Kirby. Of course the rarity of the month was the White-winged Black Tern, first seen at Gronant, it then moved to Hilbre and Hoylake before it was last seen at Seaforth. At this time of year this species is normally migrating over the east Mediterranean but with the fabulous weather we were having at the time no wonder it got confused!
It's been a good year for Common Sandpipers with 5 at Gronant, 7 at Hilbre and 6 at Shotton, as well as regular reports of single birds at various locations. There have also been good numbers of Spotted Redshank with up to 9 at Inner Marsh Farm. The Greenshanks are back at Parkgate, highest count so far is 24.
An unexpected sight was a Honey Buzzard on a fence by the Moreton spur road, but we quite often get Common Buzzards there.
What to expect in August.
Flocks of waders several thousand strong - Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling and Knot - will be passing through on their way south. These are birds breeding in the far north which winter in Africa. Some years the peak of this late summer passage is in early August, it then goes quiet again before the next wave in Autumn.
Greenshank numbers will build up, the Boathouse Flash at Parkgate being a favourite spot, we should get at least 50 by the end of the month. Inner Marsh Farm is a good place to see Green Sandpipers, last year at least one was present on most days of the month. Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper should start to pass through, they could turn up just about anywhere but Point of Ayr, Heswall and Hoylake have been prime sites for these delightful waders in the past.
Little Egret numbers will continue to build up, expect to see an increase on last year's 26, look for them off Parkgate and Denhall Quay. Marsh Harriers will be on their southward migration, and if we are lucky may be an Osprey or two.
August Highest Spring
Tides, also see Tides page.
29th August, 13:19 hrs 9.5m. (all times BST)
30th August, 13.58hrs 9.5m.
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service,
Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
Sunday 10th August, 8:30am. Banks Road Birdwatch at
Monday 25th August (Bank Holiday) - Pelagic Trip from Anglesey in to the
Saturday 30th August, 11:30am, What's that wader?
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.