Martin Mere 06.12.16

Overcast and cold

A small (but well-formed) TT group gathered at the Martin Mere Visitor Centre on a rather murky morning, anticipating another day of fun, fresh air, friends and feathers.
Having admired the more exotic – but totally ‘unlistable’ species in the nearby enclosures – the group made its way to the Discovery Hide. Here there was no disappointment, as the sight of a myriad of waterfowl could not fail to impress. Elegant pintail, colourful widgeon and teal, shelduck, pink-footed geese and Whooper swans mingled with the more ‘usual’ species; mallard, coot and tufties. A wader or two then appeared on the nearby spit – soon identified as ruffs, many more of which were seen later in the day.
Promises of a Tawny Owl sighting urged the group on along the path, past tree sparrows on feeders, towards the Ron Barker hide – and Success! An eagle-eyed (or should it be owl-eyed) member of TT located this elusive bird high up in an ivy-clad tree. All eyes strained upwards, necks cricked, backs aching, everyone eventually managed to make out the well-camouflaged feathers against the bark, before moving on to the hide. More teal, shelduck and widgeon – plus a hovering kestrel and a distant buzzard on a post were noted, before a cry for lunch was heard and the group headed back to the Visitor Centre to thaw out and refuel before the afternoon’s action.
Feeling a little warmer and well-nourished TT decided that the Janet Kear hide was to be the next port of call; hopefully to add a few woodland birds to the list. Tits and finches obliged, with rats for company at the base of the feeders sweeping up any morsels they could find. Then onto the United Utilities hide, where a kingfisher emerged from the reeds, almost flew into the hide to greet TT, before skimming back across the water and into cover.
Unable to access the Harrier Hide, where a large group were having a talk about the site, TT decided to return to the Discovery Hide, there to ‘book’ front row seats for the feeding spectacle on the ground outside.
And what a spectacle! Close sightings of the many species that came to feed, allowing detailed observation and identification of feathers, legs and beaks. A superb finale to an extremely enjoyable and rewarding day! (MH)

Bird List (BP)

  1. Cormorant
  2. Little Egret
  3. Grey Heron
  4. Whooper Swan
  5. Pink-footed Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Shelduck
  9. Wigeon
  10. Teal
  11. Mallard
  12. Pintail
  13. Shoveler
  14. Pochard
  15. Tufted Duck
  16. Goldeneye
  17. Marsh Harrier
  18. Buzzard
  19. Kestrel
  20. Pheasant
  21. Moorhen
  22. Coot
  23. Lapwing
  24. Ruff
  25. Black-headed Gull
  26. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  27. Feral Pigeon
  28. Rock Dove
  29. Woodpigeon
  30. Tawny Owl
  31. Kingfisher
  32. Dunnock
  33. Robin
  34. Blackbird
  35. Great Tit
  36. Blue Tit
  37. Magpie
  38. Carrion Crow
  39. Tree Sparrow
  40. Chaffinch
  41. Greenfinch
  42. Goldfinch
  43. Redpoll
  44. Reed Bunting

Photos HP and CG

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