Marbury Country Park 29.09.15

Early cloud, but sunny and clear blue skies later

Gathering on Michaelmas Day, a large group set off from the pay-and-display car park and headed towards the hide overlooking Budworth Mere. We were disappointed to see that the feeders near the information kiosk were empty, even though this did not stop a solitary Nuthatch from a prolonged probing of the side of one of them in search of of food. A convenient tree stump meant that more or less everyone, despite their height(!), was able to enjoy a view of this bird over the fence, before continuing on our way.

Unstocked feeders at Budworth Hide, again, were a disappointment, but we had good views of Mallard, Moorhen, Tufted Duck and Great Crested Grebe, the latter showing especially well in the clear light. Walking along the side of the Mere afforded further views of a pair of Grebe that were fishing and feeding a piping youngster, whose ‘mee, mee, mee‘ calls were only silenced by an offering of fish from one or other of its parents. On the far side of the Mere Canada Geese, Blacked Headed Gulls and a few Greylag Geese were visible on the shore, and high above a pair of Carrion Crows were harrying a largish Gull  (a lesser Black Back Gull was identified later when we passed through this area again) that had evidently either strayed into their territory or been challenging for food.

With leaves beginning to turn and bright sunlight illuminating the sometimes curiously twisted branches, the magnificent trees of the park were a pleasure to behold, but something of an impediment to the clear identification of birds of which there seemed to be plenty about. There was movement in the leaf canopy and calls from all directions, but the birds were flighty and seldom paused long enough for us to get a really good view and to establish an identity. However, a consensus formed that many of the sightings must have been of thrushes, and this view was supported later in our walk when a good number were identified moving about in the meadows and flying up into a Sweet Chestnut Tree, just to the south of the car park. Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush were definitely identified, but it was not clear whether there were other winter thrushes with them.

At this point, a fork in the path resulted in the group accidentally splitting into two, with one smaller group carrying on towards a distinctly forlorn Haydn’s Pool (or perhaps ‘Puddle’ might be a better description, given the amount of water visible) with little to see save for a trio of female Gadwall and a solitary Magpie, whilst the rest doubled back round the meadow in an attempt to gain better sightings of the thrushes. Frustrated in the latter, however, a decision was made to work our way back round to the Mere and we were rewarded with the sound and sighting of a Goldfinch flitting amongst the fir trees, and from the bank of the Mere itself, distant, but clear views of several Curlew on the meadows across the water, and high above, of a Buzzard gliding past.

With that, happy for a very pleasant ramble through the woodlands, even though the sightings had been fewer in number than we have come to expect from this location, we turned back towards the car park and lunch (al fresco or back home, as the case may be).

Bird List (BP)

  1. Great Crested Grebe
  2. Grey Heron
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Greylag Goose
  5. Mallard
  6. Tufted Duck
  7. Gadwall
  8. Buzzard
  9. Moorhen
  10. Coot
  11. Curlew
  12. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  13. Black-headed Gull
  14. Woodpigeon
  15. Swallow
  16. Goldcrest
  17. Blackbird
  18. Song Thrush
  19. Mistle Thrush
  20. Robin
  21. Long-tailed Tit
  22. Great Tit
  23. Blue Tit
  24. Nuthatch
  25. Jay
  26. Jackdaw
  27. Carrion Crow
  28. Chaffinch
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