Inner Marsh Farm Count for 1st September.
Pintail 36, Wigeon 8, Garganey 2, "lots" of Teal and Mallard, Barnacle Goose 1, Curlew Sandpiper 2, Dunlin 4, Ringed Plover 6, Black-tailed Godwit 2, Green Sandpiper 1, Snipe 8, Little Stint 1, Greenshank 22, Spotted Redshank 2, Curlew 1, Raven 2, Peregrine Falcon 1.
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). 17th September.
high tide roost, highest count for September carried out by
Dee Estuary Volunteer Wardens - 26th September
September Bird News
birds from across the Atlantic were the highlight of September. The White-rumped
Sandpipers just off Hoylake promenade
attracted a good number of twitchers, the second bird staying for several
days although both were hard to spot among all the Dunlin.
The Curlew Sandpiper passage rather petered out after the beginning of the month but we still managed 30 at Hoylake and 18 at Heswall, both on the 2nd. Other notable Sandpipers were a Pectoral Sandpiper seen both at Burton Marsh and Inner Marsh Farm, and a Wood Sandpiper also at Inner Marsh Farm. As the numbers of Curlew Sandpipers dropped off so the Little Stint passage increased with between 5 and 15 present at Hoylake for several days.
A day of strong north-west winds on the 6th meant some excellent sea-watching with Great, Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas seen along with thirty Arctic Skuas. Other good sightings were 3 Roseate Terns and both Little and Sooty Shearwaters, plus a large passage of Common Terns and Gannets. 10 Leach's Petrels were seen off Leasowe and 8 at Hilbre Island, but the winds didn't go on for long enough for large numbers of this species to appear.
We couldn't quite match last month's record count of Greenshank but there were still fifty two at Parkgate at the end of the month. Redshank numbers at Heswall continued to build up with a remarkable 7,580, one of the highest ever counts there.
Wildfowl numbers are rapidly increasing on the estuary after the breeding season. The 5,500 Shelduck at Heswall probably spent their late summer moult among the 16,000 Shelduck counted on the Mersey estuary in August. Eight hundred Pintail were spotted on Burton Marsh and three light-bellied Brent Geese spent their time swimming in the sea just off the beach at West Kirby. Up to four Garganey and a Ruddy Shelduck were present at Inner Marsh Farm.
Other notable birds during September included 2 Spotted Crake (Inner Marsh Farm), Little Egret (Parkgate), Long-eared Owl (Hilbre), Osprey (Red Rocks and Hoylake), Marsh Harrier (Inner Marsh Farm), Mediterranean Gull (Meols) and Wryneck (Point of Ayr).
What to expect in October: Large flocks of Dunlin and Knot - expect to see flocks of at least 10,000 birds roosting at Point of Ayr, Hoylake or West Kirby. Shelduck numbers usually peak this month with over 8,000 on the estuary, mostly at Heswall. Other duck such as Pintail and Teal should also return to the estuary with about 5,000 of each species, the Dee Estuary is the most important site in the country for Pintail. It is not too late to see good numbers of Leach's Petrels so long as we get several days of strong north-west wind early in the month. The first Purple Sandpipers and Snow Buntings should appear, the former on Hilbre Island and the latter at Hoylake, Hilbre Island, Point of Ayr or Gronant. Winter migrants from Scandinavia will be coming in large numbers, including Fieldfares and Redwings, many of these can be seen migrating along the coast (see Migration Watch 2000 below).
Many thanks go to Jane Turner, Steve Williams, Cathy McGrath, Mark Feltham, Jeff Clarke and Martyn Jaimeson for their sightings during September. I rely on the goodwill of people like this, unlike some commercial sites I cannot offer financial inducements!
October Highest Spring Tides (Liverpool)
27th October, 12.04hrs 9.7m. (all times BST)
28th October, 12.42hrs 9.7m.
See Tides page for tide table.
Note that the marsh at Parkgate is 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.
Young Ornithologists Club at Ness Gardens
Wirral Peregrines Phoenix Group
Wirral Bird Club
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service,
Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
1st, 14th and 15th October. Migration Watch 2000 (see below)
1st October. High Tide at Flint Castle.
7th October. Guided Walk to the Hilbre
15th October. Beginners Bird Watch at
Hoylake. 12 noon to 1:30pm
18th October. Parkgate Walk. 11am - 4pm
28th October. High Tide Birdwatch on Hilbre
29th October. Heswall Shore High Tide
Bird Watch. 9:15am
12th November. Searching the Strandline. 11am - 1pm.
Note: Many of these forthcoming events extracted from 'Birdwatchers Diary 2000', which covers both the Dee and Mersey regions. Copies available from the visitor centre at Thurstaston, Wirral Country Park 0151 648 4371.
Migration Watch 2000
Every year since 1992 the various Ranger Services in the Mersey and Dee Estuary region have been staffing visible migration watchpoints. This brings to the public's attention one of the most fascinating aspects of bird behaviour. Each autumn vast numbers of birds pass through our region unseen but a few notable species gather together in large numbers. At certain points they become channeled along well known migration corridors. Each year produces surprises, such as 1999's Woodlark and Common Crossbills at the public watchpoints on the Wirral, but the real thrill is seeing the massed passage of regular migrants such as the winter thrushes as well as the various species of finches and buntings. For full details of venues contact Wirral Country Park at 0151 648 4371/3884. The selected dates and times of the migration watches are:-
Public watchpoints will be staffed at several locations around the region. This includes the Wirral Country Park at Thurstaston, Denhall Lane at Burton, both on the north shore of the Dee Estuary (all dates) and Hale Lighthouse Shore (1st October only), in Halton on the North shore of the Mersey.