Marbury Country Park 12.04.16

Overcast grey day (again!); threat of rain not materialising; getting progressively warmer

A good turnout of TT birders convened in the main Country Park car park wondering about the conflicting weather reports for the morning. But any pessimism was soon forgotten as they were greeted by the continuous and heartening chorus of woodland birds ( a wall of avian sound) which stayed with the group throughout the morning. Flitting from tree to tree were long-tailed, great and blue tits and blackbirds and then the first sighting of a swallow – a good start.

Passing the busy construction site from which the new wardens accommodation and toilets are fast appearing, the group headed down towards the western end of Budworth Mere with  sightings of woodland friends everywhere including robins, a chiffchaff and jays galore. Then overhead the appearance of a large dark raptor – buzzard size but not buzzard shape, a sparrowhawk perhaps, the jury remains out!

Reports of the presence of at least 10 little gulls on the Mere the previous day gave a keen edge to the examination of the water surface and far banks but alas no sightings! (Other experienced birdwatchers encountered along the Mere-side walk reported a similar absence – clearly the gulls had moved on.) However the Mere did yield black-headed gulls, tufted ducks, mallard, gadwall, shelduck and great crested grebes in their wonderful summer plumage, and along the far banks a lesser black-backed gull, a cormorant and grey herons. By the westernmost hide, some members of the group were lucky to see two grey wagtails down below the hide. And over the Mere flew scores of sand martins interspersed with house martins, first sightings of the year for many of the group.

Continuing along the Mere-side footpath and then the Forge Brook footpath, members continued to be entertained by excellent sightings of a blackcap, willow warblers, numerous nuthatches, goldfinches, courting wrens, songthrushes, more jays, a buzzard taking a well-earned rest on a tree branch and (joy!) goldcrests.

Following the splitting up of the group as some members were faced with the expiration of their car parking tickets, the main caucus ploughed on to the canal footbridge where a nesting buzzard was spotted in the nearby trees, and then onwards to Marbury Lane where the second blackcap of the morning was spotted by some.

With water levels at Haydn’s Pool somewhat higher than usual, mute swans, two oystercatchers, teal, a little grebe and shovelers were welcome sightings, supplemented by stock doves in the far trees and bullfinches and goldfinches in the trees by the hide.

Yet again the “water rail bridge” on Marbury Lane provided no water rails to observe or hear, but the disappointment was easily outweighed by a flurry of great spotted woodpeckers flying from tree to tree (some courting?) along the footpath to Neumann’s Flash. The Flash itself revealed great crested grebe, tufted duck, shelduck, gadwall, coots and moorhen, a nesting Canada goose and a “skulking” grey heron, and a fleeting glimpse of a reed bunting in the nearby reeds. Two car park returnees picked up these sightings independently and also reported hearing the yaffle of green woodpeckers in addition to the drumming of their bigger cousins. (SC)

Bird list (BP):

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Crested Grebe
  3. Cormorant
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Mute Swan
  6. Canada Goose
  7. Greylag Goose
  8. Shelduck
  9. Gadwall
  10. Mallard
  11. Shoveler
  12. Tufted Duck
  13. Buzzard
  14. Pheasant
  15. Moorhen
  16. Coot
  17. Oystercatcher
  18. Black-headed Gull
  19. Wood Pigeon
  20. Sand Martin
  21. Swallow
  22. House Martin
  23. Grey Wagtail
  24. Wren
  25. Dunnock
  26. Blackbird
  27. Song Thrush
  28. Robin
  29. Blackcap
  30. Chiffchaff
  31. Willow Warbler
  32. Goldcrest
  33. Long-tailed Tit
  34. Great Tit
  35. Blue Tit
  36. Nuthatch
  37. Jay
  38. Magpie
  39. Jackdaw
  40. Carrion Crow
  41. Goldfinch
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