Windswept, cold and on the whole bright
In truly blustery conditions, the Team met at the rendezvous just after 10am to be greeted by our old friends and local guides, Kenny, Colin and Stewart, as full of information as ever, and by our erstwhile guru Dave, who also penned the following:
The Wave of Windswept Wintry Weather Wended its way along the Wirral, Wheedling its way into the sinews of Team Tuesday, BUT without having the desired effect of Whisking these Wanderers back from Whence they came, for this Team is Wedded, nay Welded together with such a Watertight bond that Withdrawing from this gathering Would have Warranted far worse conditions that a Winsome Winnowing blow of Wind!
Thus all were soon bathing in the warm glow of their usual welcome from our beloved Wirral Threesome; Kenny, Colin and Stewart who were more than ready (as ever) to share their coastal patch with their favourite landlocked Mancunian’s! Hugs and almost kisses over, all set off at the usual companionable pace along Denhall Lane heading in the general direction of Denhall Quay.
A shout then went up as a Short-Eared Owl passed breezily overhead giving all easy viewing as it bounced about the sky directly in front of the Team. This always welcome (and so wished for) bird then proceeded to give a bravura performance landing out on the marsh/flying low/sweeping high/engaging with a second SEO enabling all to grab this sighting and place it deep within the safety of our ‘Wow what a day that was’ memory banks!
A few deep breathes and a few moments of ‘Karma’ were then attained before our composed spirits could continue with our quest to gain as much as this beauteous marshy landscape had to offer and only a few paces onward came Wigeon, Teal, Black Tailed Godwit and Redshank all of which were happy to swell the ranks of our inevitably large ‘Day-List’.
Nelson’s mooring place reached, we took a few minutes to further appreciate this delightful landscape which kindly offered up Curlew, Little Egret and that now sadly increasingly rare passerine House Sparrow. The Ying and Yang of age then came briefly into play as a gaggle of young children with their Teachers on a school history fieldtrip arrived at the same spot, but through my eyes the distinction betwixt the two somewhat ‘distant age groups’ was impossible to discern when I tried to compare the sheer joy and enthusiasm that both the groups effervesced in equal measure as all simply delighted in just being in the moment of this bright and breezy day.
Practicality then broke my esoteric musings as I realised that there was much more to achieve on this whirlwind trip of a day, and thus, after a quick de-brief, we set off for destination number two: Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB Reserve (The Titchwell of the North!) for here lay shelter and lunch!
A steady wander back to our cars led most of the Team to add Stonechat to the list, but much more importantly we were able to absorb two more integral members of our beloved Team, who owing to a few hiccups that life has served them of late had not been able to do our route-march over to the Harp Inn. Thus J and M were whisked along to join us for lunch in the well appointed Hide at the Mere. (At this point, let us all reflect on the work that the RSPB carry out on behalf of Birds (and Nature in general), and when we read of the bad press that is sometimes directed at this LAUDABLE organisation, let us pause and note that in my opinion, if it was for this reserve ALONE, they deserve our loyalty and admiration for their efforts to at least try and stem the wave of destruction that we humans impose upon the defenceless, natural, and seemingly ‘voiceless’ world!)
A warm welcome, a ‘roaring’ fire, a pleasant greeting by the RSPB Volunteers and a set of comfy seats pleased all on our arrival but even more delightful for TT was our re-grouping with T (and D) which apart from our much missed AD ‘completed’ our register.
Dunlin/Little Grebe and Coot were neatly scribed onto our list whilst we had lunch but this tally needed to grow thus soon we were out in the ‘cool’ adding Pintail and Avocet to the ‘exotica’ part of the list, but resting on our laurels was not an option and thus one more push led most of the Team to Parkgate.
Grey windswept skies greeted us on our arrival at Parkgate, but by this time the warmth of our the enveloping froth of a TT bubble-bath of a day popped and fizzed with our collective optimism, and sure enough within ten minutes we espied out there above ‘that marvellous marshy stage’ not one but TWO Ring Tailed Hen Harriers soaring about the heavens — “how could we ever beat such delights?” was then the question and, having gained our answer, all headed to awaiting cars just as the hail came in as if saying there is nothing more we can give — OK, we may have also delighted you at the last push with Redwing, Linnet and Song Thrush just to edge your tally to greater numbers, BUT now most assuredly was the time to quietly retreat homeward.
Kenny, Colin and Stewart, we salute both your Wirral and, more importantly, your good selves. Dave
Interestingly, the following list is remarkably similar to those of our previous visits to these sites in 2013 and 2014, both in terms of number and range of species seen. Thanks again to Barbara for her great efforts in producing the list for our record.
Bird List for Wirral (BP)
- Little Grebe
- Grey Heron
- Little Egret
- Mute Swan
- Canada Goose
- Tufted Duck
- Hen Harrier
- Grey Plover
- Black-tailed Godwit
- Common Gull
- Black-headed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Lesser Black-backed Gull
- Greater Black-backed Gull
- Feral Pigeon
- Stock Dove
- Wood Pigeon
- Short-eared Owl
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
- Meadow Pipit
- Pied Wagtail
- Song Thrush
- Great Tit
- Blue Tit
- Carrion Crow
- House Sparrow