The end of July and August sees the return of large numbers of waders to the estuary. In fact August counts of Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshanks are usually near those obtained at the mid-winter maximum. These are likely to have bred locally in the British Isles, in contrast the more northerly breeding species such as Knot and Dunlin are virtually absent. Also present only in very low numbers are duck, not very surprising as they are undergoing their annual moult. Most of the Shelduck leave on their famous moult migration to the German Waddenzee, not to return in large numbers until October.
This time of year sees the start of the Autumn passage. A visit to Hilbre Island should reveal good numbers of Common, Sandwich and Little Terns. Maximum counts in 1996 were 1000, 1200 and 180 respectively. This is my favourite time to visit Hilbre with warm weather (hopefully!) making a visit to watch the Terns and other migrants a truly pleasurable experience.
Anyone who wishes to E-mail me their sightings will be most welcome (see bottom of Home page for address).
Latest Bird Counts and Sightings:
RSPB - Inner Marsh Farm
Birds seen 10th and 11th July:
250 Black-tailed Godwit, 32 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 6 Dunlin, 2 Common Tern, 1 female Tufted Duck with 8 young, 2 Shoveler, 1 Wigeon, 1 Shelduck and 2 Pintail. 3 Grey Partridge with chicks seen in fields above reserve. Also see rarity news below.
Birds breeding at Red Rocks - compiled by Jane Turner.
6 pairs of Sedge Warbler, 4 pairs of Reed Warbler, 3 pairs of Reed Bunting and one pair of Mallard breeding within Red Rocks marsh reserve. 25 pair of Linnet, 10 pair of Skylark and possibly Grasshopper Warbler breeding on the sand dunes and golf course behind the reserve.
460 Common Tern nests at Shotton Steelworks Reserve. Unfortunately the cold June weather has resulted in 40% loss of chicks.
60 Little Tern nests at Gronant. According to the RSPB warden approximately 35 of these have been successful. If bad weather doesn't result in any further losses then this would be a comparatively successful season for this colony.
3 immature Spoonbills at Inner Marsh Farm most of the previous four weeks.
1 Little Egret at Burton Marsh. Seen at the end of June but likely to have been alternating between Burton and Connah's Quay/Flint marshes for most of June and July.
Late June brought an American White-rumped Sandpiper, Cory's Shearwater and 12 Black Terns to the Point of Ayr.
Next Spring High Tides (Times BST):
Sun. 9th August, 1248hrs, 9.3m.
Mon. 10th August, 1330hrs, 9.4m.
Tues. 11th August, 1414hrs, 9.4m.
The next big tides which cover the marsh at Parkgate are due 8th and 9th of September.
Following organised by the Wirral Ranger Service.
5th August. Guided walk to Hilbre. Afternoon.
Cross the sands to discover the Islands' wildlife and history. 4 miles and 4 hours, ideal for first time visitors. Warm clothing and snack recommended! Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place. Should be ideal for seeing migrating Terns.
16th August. Walk to Parkgate. 11am to 4pm .
A leisurely walk to Parkgate, following the coastal marshes of the Dee Estuary. Bring packed lunch Ring 0151 678 4200 to book place.
18th August. 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. Should be ideal for seeing migrating Terns.
Following organised by Flintshire Countryside Service.
16th August. Exploring the Dunes, 2pm to 4pm.
Explore the sand dunes of Talacre to find out more about the dunes and their flora and fauna. Meet at the information board, Station Road, Talacre.
Disappointingly my link to the Liverpool Tide Tables has not been updated recently and the tables only go up to the end of June. If I can't find an alternative by the end of July I will create my own tide page with software which I have downloaded. If anybody knows of a Web site showing the Liverpool Tide Tables please let me know.
General note on place names and spelling.
In most cases in this Web site I have used the same spelling and nomenclature as the Ordnance Survey. So it is Point of Ayr rather than Point of Air, which is how I frequently see it (miss-?)spelt. The Island next to Hilbre is Little Hilbre rather than the alternative Middle Hilbre or Middle Eye. The only contentious naming is Red Rocks. According to the Ordnance Survey map (although it is not completely clear) Red Rocks is the small island off Hilbre Point. Locally this Island is called Bird Island and the whole area (Island, point and marsh) as Red Rocks. In this case I have chosen to use the local names.
If you feel I have used wrong or miss-spelt names anywhere please let me know. See bottom of Home page for E-mail address.
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