The Magic of Parkgate
In winter, whenever possible I visit the Old Baths car park just before dusk because of my enthusiasm for Hen Harriers, especially in strong winds when they are always spectacular before finally dropping into the roost. For me, 2004-2005 was a very special winter season. I can find 15 records that I have made over the period from 7th November to 26th February.
On 27th and 30th
December, on both occasions together with a number of other observers, I
saw five Hen Harriers at the roost site at dusk - an adult male and 4
Ed: This is a
slightly extended version of a letter first published in Cheshire and
Wirral Bird News (CAWOS), shown
here with kind permission of both the editor of the Bird News and the
Dee Estuary WeBS Report
The Dee Estuary Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) report for 2004/2005 has just been published. As usual, it is full of facts and figures and interesting bits of information. If you want to know how our birds are doing, this is the report to read. The Dee Estuary (including Gronant and the North Wirral Shore) remains one of the most important sites for wildfowl and waders in the country with 11 species in Internationally Important numbers, and a further eight species in Nationally Important numbers.
September Bird News
gales this month so no spectacular sea-watching, unlike last year.
However, we did have some fresh SW and W winds and 26 Leach's Petrel were
seen from Hilbre on the 29th, three also
at New Brighton on the same day. On the 23rd
Hilbre had an American Wigeon, 2 Pomarine
Skua and over 150 Gannet - so not a bad day! Both the Mersey Ferries
birdwatching trips out into Liverpool Bay were in calm conditions and both
a great success. Highlights were - an Osprey overhead, eight Arctic Skuas
(four on the first trip), one Great Skua, 50 Kittiwakes, one Little Gull
and at least 100 Common Terns.
Passage waders weren't outstanding but we did have 21 Curlew Sandpipers at Heswall, 7 Little Stint at Hoylake and 1 Pectoral Sandpiper at Inner Marsh Farm. A Green-winged Teal and Spotted Crake at Inner Marsh Farm were both seen on several days and a female Eider was off Hilbre Island for most of the month.
What to expect in October
We didn't get the hoped for gales in September but in my experience
that means we will get them in October instead. We won't get the large
numbers of sea birds we would get in a September gale but there should
still be plenty of skuas, Leach's Petrels, Manx Shearwaters etc. around to
make for some great birdwatching.
Many thanks go to Andrew Wallbank, Gavin Butler, Hwfa Jones, Allan Hewitt, Frank Huband, David Esther, Geoff Hall, Dave and Emma Kenyon, Mark McBride, Colin Schofield, Chris 'Dunraven', Alan Patterson, Mark Turner, John Roberts, John Campbell, Clive Ashton, David Davies, Charles Farnell, Ian Hughes, Steve Williams, Chris Butterworth, Stephen Ainsworth, Steve Renshaw, Dave Harrington, John Boswell, Jane Turner, Allan Conlin, Mike Hart, Dave Wilde, Mark O'Sullivan, Phil Woollen, Steve Roberts, Colin Wells, Steve Round, Iain Douglas, Bob Howarth, John and Andrew Morris, Dave and Emma Kenyon, Tony Coatsworth, Thomas Cookson, the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens and the Hilbre Bird Observatory for their sightings during September. All sightings are gratefully received.
October Highest Spring Tides,
17th October, 11:52hrs 9.8m. Times BST.
18th October, 12:31hrs 9.8m.
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service,
Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
Saturday 15th October, 9:00am - 2:00pm, Open Day at the Connah's Quay
Saturday 15th October, 7:00am, Migration Watch and breakfast at
Marsh Farm RSPB Reserve.
Monday 17th October, 10:45am, Rails of the River Bank,
Riverbank Road, Heswall.
Saturday 5th November, 10:30am, High Tide at
Point of Ayr.
Note: Many of these forthcoming events are extracted from the 'Birdwatchers Diary 2005', 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.
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