|Time and Tide Wait for No Man|
|Birds? Wot Birds?|
West Kirby sandbank at low tide!!!
Readers of my Right Time at the Right Place web page will know how important it is to get to a good birding spot at the right state, i.e. time, of tide. I was reminded of this recently during two separate visits to the estuary.
The first was a trip to Hilbre Island at low tide. No problem with Hilbre which was it's usual good self with plenty of Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Purple Sandpipers and a small flock of Brent. What was amazing was the total lack of birds on the walk to Hilbre over West Kirby sandbank. Talk about the place being a desert! I suppose the word sand gives it away, never a particular favourite with feeding birds. A look south through my telescope to the mudflats off Caldy and Thurstaston revealed a very different picture. Here were the massed flocks of Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Knot and Shelduck just visible in the distance. Of course the time to go to West Kirby is at high water when the birds use the sandbank as a high tide roost. On that same day I saw a mixed flock of 5,000 Dunlin, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit there, at one time a peregrine put them all to flight and they were swirling around for about five minutes before all landing again like a breaking wave. A fabulous sight.
Several days later I went to Thurstaston shore. The best time to go is about three hours before high water although it is good throughout the low water period. Unfortunately I was delayed and didn't arrive until one and a half hours before high tide. The water had already covered the mud and was halfway up the beach, again it was a case of 'Birds? Wot birds?'!! Remember this was the same Thurstaston shore seen at low tide from my walk to Hilbre heaving with birds, which just goes to show - Time, Tide and Birds wait for no man!!
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Latest Bird Counts and Sightings:
| Inner Burton Marsh |
Count for 4th February.
20 Shoveler, 7 Shelduck, 8 Pintail, 200 Wigeon, 200+ Teal, 8 Goldeneye, 17 Pochard, 240 Redshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, 7 Ruff, 12 Spotted Redshank, 7 Ruff, 16 Tufted Duck, pair of Smew, 5 Gadwall and 1 Little Grebe.
Rarity News mid January to mid February:|
At Heswall the highlight was the arrival of a pair of Ruddy Shelduck which stayed for three weeks. The status of Ruddy Shelduck arriving in this country is unknown. They may be recent escapes, feral birds from the continent or true wild birds. Inshore at Heswall Dales the Dartford Warbler showed just once. Obviously doing a good job of hiding from the Twitchers, some of whom disgraced themselves over the Christmas period.
If anybody wants to E-mail any sightings of birds or sea-mammals to me I will be most grateful (see bottom of Home page for address).
Next Spring High Tides (Times BST):
Forthcoming Events (organised by the Wirral Ranger Service, Flintshire Countryside Service and/or the RSPB):
19th February (1145am). High Tide Birdwatch at Parkgate, experts on hand at Old Baths.
20th February. High Tide Birdwatch at Flint Castle. 12 noon (HW 1324)
6th March. High Tide Birdwatch at Heswall. 1045am (HW 1342)
13th March. Marsh Matters. 2pm-4pm.
19th(1030am), 20th (11am) and 21st (1145am) March. High Tide Birdwatch at Parkgate, experts on hand at Old Baths.
20th March. High Tide Birdwatch at Point of Ayr. 1000am.(HW 1230)
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