Bird Survey Count for Connah's Quay and
Flint - (Kindly provided by Brian Grey), 6th
2 Little Grebe, 105 Cormorant, 7 Heron, 9 Mute Swan, 720 Canada Goose, 100 Shelduck, 1 Wigeon, 455 Teal, 185 Mallard, 5 Moorhen, 15 Coot, 2,500 Oystercatcher, 410 Lapwing, 31 Knot, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 206 Dunlin, 3,950 Black-tailed Godwit, 32 Curlew 32, 17 Spotted Redshank, 1,177 Redshank, 4 Greenshank.
Inner Marsh Farm Count for 8th October.
Wetland Bird Survey Count for
Heswall Shore - (Kindly provided by the
Wirral Ranger Service), 6th October.
October Bird News
We had the usual spectacle of between 8,000 and 9,000 Shelduck off Heswall and Thurstaston. Spread out on the mud at low tide they are surprisingly difficult to see, just little dots to the naked eye. Four Scaup were unusual visitors to West Kirby Marine Lake, even more unusually a tundra Bean Goose turned up at the Point of Ayr. Two long-tailed Duck flew past West Kirby and another one was seen off Leasowe the day after the gale. The wild swans are back with so far 22 Bewick's and 2 Whooper, best seen in the Shotwick fields and Burton area.
Both Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints continued to pass through in small numbers with a maximum of four of the former and three of the latter at Inner Marsh Farm. A count of 3,950 Black-tailed Godwits at Connah's Quay was a magnificent sight, and as I understand it there were also 200 at Inner Marsh Farm at the same time which makes it a record high number for the estuary. There was a good, if somewhat late, passage of Sanderling with 400 at West Kirby being the highest count. Among the 6,000 or so Oystercatchers regularly roosting on West Kirby shore are two leucistic birds. These are pale birds, sometimes called - incorrectly - partial albinos. One has only the odd bits of black and grey colour on it's back where it should be completely black, but the other has a rather fetching chocolate brown plumage where it should be black. A pale Redshank has also been seen for several years at Heswall.
Thirty Little Egrets counted coming to roost at Burton is another estuary record. Swallows are very late this year, the last so far seen on the 30th. A Yellow-browed Warbler was a good find at Leasowe.
What to expect in November
The first Goldeneye and Red-breasted Mergansers of the winter will return to the Marine Lake at West Kirby, an excellent spot to see these birds but either get there early or on a calm day when no wind-surfers are about. Teal, Mallard and Pintail often peak in November, these duck tend to be in the marshy areas off Heswall, Parkgate and around to Flint. Flint at low tide can be a good place to see them when many duck are resting on the banks across the river channel, otherwise choose a high spring tide when the duck are flushed from the gutters in the marsh.
Water Pipits should return to Neston Old Quay and may be a Green-winged Teal or two at Inner Marsh Farm. Last year the Little Egret population peaked in November, so we could see an increase on this October's record of 30.
We have another set of Parkgate high tide birdwatches at the beginning of the month, given a bit of luck with the weather (low pressure and west wind) we should have some great birdwatching with Short-eared Owls and Water Rails, along with the usual thousands of waders and duck. Last year we had quite an influx of Short-eared Owls seen on Burton Marsh, Leasowe and Point of Ayr.
For those interested in what birds are out in Liverpool Bay there is a 90 page report available commissioned as part of the study into the feasibility of the wind farm off north Wirral. The website is http://www.seascape-energy.co.uk/env_statement.html, click on 'Appendix B: birds' to download the report. For those who haven't realised the wind farm is almost certainly going to go ahead - spoiling our sea views and having the potential to cause many bird deaths. This independent report has allayed my misgivings about the wind farm to some extent but by it's own admission it is far from complete, and I am still far from happy about the whole idea of 30 turbines out there turning away day and night amongst all those birds. For examples of anti wind farm web sites expressing concern about bird kills see http://www.saveoursound.org/birdkills.html, http://www.countryguardian.net/case.htm#lbirds and http://www.birdweb.net/arklowbank.html. Note that a 30 turbine wind farm off Prestatyn has already been given consent.
THESE LINKS (above) VALID AT TIME OF WRITING!
November Highest Spring Tides
4th November, 10:28hrs 9.9m. (all times GMT)
5th November, 11.13hrs 10.1m.
6th November, 11.56hrs 10.1m.
7th November, 12..39hrs 9.9m.
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service,
Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
Sunday 3rd November 8:00am, High Tide at
Sunday 10th November 11am - 3pm, Twixt Land and Sea.
Saturday 7th December 10:30am, High Tide at
Point of Ayr.
All material in this newsletter, and indeed the whole web site, has been written by myself, Richard Smith, unless specified.