Voluntary Wardens at Point of Ayr
John Harrison (Assistant RSPB Warden - Dee Estuary).
We are looking for people to become
Voluntary Wardens to protect the nationally important wader roost site at
the Point of Ayr RSPB Reserve.
from Connah's Quay and
Flint - (Kindly provided by
Naturalists' Society), 16th November. 73 Cormorant, 1 Little
Egret, 2 Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 15 Canada Goose, 170 Shelduck, 2,600 Wigeon,
1,240 Teal, 120 Mallard, 2 Pintail, 1 Shoveler, 2 Tufted duck, 1 Moorhen, 43
Coot, 75 Oystercatcher, 12 Ringed Plover, 1,420 Lapwing, 33 Knot, 165
Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Curlew, 1 Spotted Redshank, 395 Redshank.
Count from Heswall Shore - (Kindly provided by the Wirral Ranger Service), 16th November. 45 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 4,910 Shelduck, 539 Teal, 43 Mallard, 9,340 Oystercatcher, 1 Ringed Plover, 265 Golden Plover, 280 Lapwing, 17,600 Knot, 8,700 Dunlin, 2 snipe, 2,660 Black-tailed Godwit, 2,150 Curlew, 500 Redshank, 50 Black-headed Gull, 80 Common Gull.
Peak counts of waders at the West Kirby
high tide roost, November 2003 (date in brackets), counted by the
Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens.
November Bird News
numbers of Black-tailed Godwits have been seen this month - I don't have the
exact figure but understand it is well over 4,000. Over two thousand of
these have been seen on the English side of the estuary - they spent the
spring high tides at the edge of the marsh off
and feeding on
shore at low tide. The rest can be seen anywhere between
Connah's Quay and
Point of Ayr. 17,000 Knot was an excellent
Shore during a neap high tide mid-month.
There have been a few Snow Buntings around - nine seen briefly at Hoylake was the highest number, and five were also at Gronant. Three of the rarer Lapland Bunting was a good record for Gronant, along with two Shorelark.
A single Green-winged Teal and red-head Smew (briefly) were at Inner Marsh Farm, and 1,000 Wigeon was a gsood count at the same location. Bewick's Swans are starting to build up on Shotwick fields/ Burton Marsh with 54 the highest count so far, along with 5 Whooper Swans. Four Scaup continue to frequent West Kirby Marine Lake, this is a female with three immatures. Good numbers of Brent Geese have been around Hilbre, I believe the 21 (20 pale-bellied) recorded at the end of the month is a record for November. A large influx of Wood Pigeons was noted during the month, particularly noticeable on the marsh off Parkgate where, presumably, they feed on seeds. Highest count was 3,000. Although many people believe that there is a mass immigration of this species from the continent during autumn, the BTO Migration Atlas makes it quite clear that there is virtually no evidence for this - or indeed of any long distant movement of British bred birds. So the Wood Pigeons seen on the marsh in the winter are probably birds which have bred within a few miles of the estuary.
A checklist of the Birds of The Wirral Peninsula has recently been published, this can be obtained from the author, Steve Williams at 2 Westbourne Road, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 4DG at £2.00 post free, copies are also on sale at the Thurstaston Visitor Centre.
What to expect in December.
We usually get a Smew or two at Inner Marsh Farm by the end of the month. At least one Green-winged Teal is also usually seen and last year we had an American Wigeon. Bewick's Swans should reach about 70 or so in number on Burton Marsh, often with a few Whoopers. If we follow the pattern of the last three years Brent Geese should reach 20 or more, mostly of the pale-bellied race. Hilbre Island is the best place to see them at low tide, but high tide often pushes them down to Little Eye or Heswall Shore, or across to the Point of Ayr.
Purple Sandpipers are also a Hilbre speciality. Numbers have been a bit down in the last couple of years, but we should see at least 20, with up to another 10 along the North Wirral Shore - usually showing best along the breakwater at Wallasey. Last year a party of three Snow buntings took up residence on a small patch of beach at Wallasey for a couple of months. But usually they are more common over at the Point of Ayr and Gronant.
December Highest Spring
Tides, also see Tides page.
23rd December, 10:49hrs 9.6m. (all times GMT)
24th December, 11:38hrs 9.7m.
Forthcoming Events (organised by the
Wirral Ranger Service,
Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
Sunday 14th December, 10:00am, Low Tide Birdwatch at
Sunday 28th December, 12.30pm - 3pm,
Saturday 3rd January, 11am - 4pm. New Years Resolution Walk.
Sunday 4th January, 9am - 12 noon. New Years Bird Race.
Sunday 11th January, 10am start. Walking the Wirral Way.
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. 2004 diary should be published during December.
All material in this newsletter, and indeed the whole web site, has been written by myself, Richard Smith, unless specified.