Last updated 16th May 1998

Most of the spring migrants have now passed through the area, seemingly mostly on April 23rd. Jane Turner's account of that day at Red Rocks (below) made me really jealous, as I missed it all!

The Common Terns are back at their nesting site at Shotton Steel Works reserve. Now that the new Dee Bridge is open this gives an opportunity to get a good look at the colony. Stop at the lay-by just before the bridge on the Wirral side and walk 200yds towards the bridge. On the left is the reserve and you should get good views of the Terns crossing over the road on their way to and from the Estuary. Several hundred Terns nest here.

The RSPB reserve at Inner Marsh Farm, Burton, is a gem at this time of year as you can see from the bird counts below. As well as the main wetland area the path from the car park can yield some interesting birds, the path passes by the railway cutting with hawthorn, broom and brambles, further down is an area of Willow scrub and a marsh. A recent visit by Chris Little revealed Whinchat, Whitethroat, Sedge and Grasshopper warblers.

Another gem at this time of year is Talacre Marsh at the Point of Ayr. This extends behind the sand dunes all the way from the Point of Ayr to Gronant. The area is a mixture of wet grassland, dry grassland, willows, scrub and sand dunes. It is full of wildflowers and butterflies. Skylarks are continually singing overhead and among other birds to be seen there is a good selection of warblers, meadow pipits, stonechats and the usual woodland species in the scrub.

Latest Bird Counts and Sightings:

Red Rocks report by Jane Turner:
Exceptional day on 23rd April- two weeks of cold northerlies held up a lot of migrants - the change to southerlies and a shower before dawn grounded the biggest fall of migrants I've ever seen or heard of:

1355 Willow Warblers and probably more than 3000 on the N.Wirral. 270 (record count) at Red Rocks.
3 Pied Flycathers Red Rocks and another in Hoylake
6 Reeling Grasshopper Warblers (Red Rocks)
6 Ring Ouzels (Royal Liverpool Golf Club)
42 Wheatears am more than 150 pm, mostly on the beach at Red Rocks.
75 White Wagtails as above
3 Swifts, 1 Wood Warbler, 3 each of Sedge and Reed Warblers, Redstart, Whinchat (5), Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat (4) Swallow (350) etc.
30th April - 6 Whinchats, 30 Willow Warblers and Grasshopper Warbler. Also 30+ Whimbrel seen off West Kirby Marine Lake.

RSPB - Inner Marsh Farm
30th April 1998: 11 Spotted Redshanks, 5 Redshanks, 10 Dunlin, 50 Knot, 1 Greenshank, 300 Blacktailed Godwit, 2 Oystercatcher (breeding), 30 Shelduck, 6 Wigeon, 4 Pintail, 5 Gadwall, 4 Shovellor, 60 Tufted Duck.
10th May 1998: 300 Blacktailed Godwit, 3 Ruff, 1 Greenshank, 1 Little Stint, 31 Dunlin, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Tern, 3 Gadwall, 1 Buzzard, 3 Teal, 19 Shelduck, 20+ Tufted Duck. Sedge Warbler and Common Whitethroat seen on the path to the hide.

Rarity News:
Alpine Swift seen over Hoylake and West Kirby on 23rd April.

Spoonbills. 5 seen regularly off Denhall, Burton, until early May. Haven't heard any recent reports.

Greater Flamingo at Inner Marsh Farm (RSPB) most of the past month. Believed to have escaped from Dublin Zoo.

Ospreys observed flying over Hilbre and Mollington (a village between Burton and Chester).

2 Mediterranean Gulls at Inner Marsh Farm first half of May.

Next Spring Tides:
Sun. 24th May, 1033hrs, 9.3m.
Mon. 25th May, 1124hrs, 9.6m.
Tues. 26th May, 1211hrs, 9.7m.

Forthcoming Events:

Following organised by the Wirral Ranger Service.

28th May. Sunset Walk to Hilbre. Evening.
An evening stroll across the sands to Hilbre. Bring snack and waterproof clothing. Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.

31st May. Marsh Matters 10am to 12 noon.
A walk into the creeks and marshes of the Dee Estuary. Bring Wellies and Waterproofs. Meet at Banks Road car park, Heswall (by Sheldrakes). Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.

6th June. World Oceans' Weekend - Estuary Walk. 2pm to 6pm
A chance to discover the local Wilderness, with a walk to Wales (almost!). Please note this is a strenuous walk through mud of about 7 miles. Bring tall wellingtons, warm clothing and a snack . Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.

14th June. Cheshire Wildlife Trust Dragonfly Day. 2pm to 3.30pm.
Go Dragonfly hunting at Thurstaston Marl Pits. Meet at Wirral Country Park, Thurstaston. Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.

17th June. Walk to Thurstaston. 11am to 3pm.
A leisurely ramble through the countryside of west Wirral. Bring packed lunch. Ring 0151 678 4200 to book place.

20th June. Guided walk to Hilbre. Mid-day.
Cross the sands to discover the Islands' wildlife and history. 4 miles and 4 hours, ideal for first time visitors. Warm clothing and packed lunch recommended! Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.

25th June. Sunset Walk to Hilbre. Evening.
An evening stroll across the sands to Hilbre. Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.

Forthcoming events on this Web site!!
In June the Web site will have a new page - Images of the Dee Estuary and surrounding area. Hope you like it.

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