Marbury Country Park 10.01.17

Generally overcast and somewhat gloomy

Our morning’s birding turned out better than perhaps could have been expected, given the discouraging weather forecasts and the rather gloomy skies which greeted the dozen members of the Team who assembled just after 10am in the pay-and-diplay car park at Marbury. Indeed, spirits were almost immediately raised with a sighting by a few early arrivals of a Green Woodpecker and then, by most of the rest, of a pair of very active Goldcrests that were feeding in the bushes nearby.

Setting off on our usual route round the park, we soon noted several improvements that had been made to the facilities and were later pleased to find that feeders were well-stocked; general evidence that a bit more care (and presumably cash) is being lavished on this popular site. On the way to the Budworth Mere Hide, some common Redpoll were spotted in the tall trees along the path, and from the hide itself we had good views of numerous woodland birds, mostly tit mice and Nuthatches that were being drawn in by the feeders. Out on the water, very pale Great Crested Grebe were very much in sometimes confusing evidence – reports suggest that perhaps sixty pair are in residence –  as well as a usual mix of ducks including Mallard and Coot. A Kingfisher, seen by many, but not all, did a two-way fly past, and, in the distance, a Curfew of some 50 or so Curlew took flight wheeling around before coming to rest in one of the fields on the far side of the lake.

Making our way along the shore we were struck by how quiet the woods appeared, but a couple of pauses to scan across the water revealed four or five Little Egrets in the shallows amongst the Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, an unusually large number of Coots busily feeding in one of the fields and a lone Heron makings its way along one of the inlets. Another pause, this time mostly for coffee, and the sight of a lone Mute Swan, gave rise to a discussion of the nature of the carmen cygni, which Wikipedia suggests is largely myth, although with a slight basis in fact in relation to the whooper swan (which we had not seen).

Another well stocked feeder provided good sightings of Nuthatch, Chaffinch and Robin, all in bright plumage, but our walk through the woodland alongside Forge Brook was notable for little apart from a number of Long-tailed Tits that were spotted feeding above us. Arriving at Haydn’s Pool was a bit of an anti-climax; it appeared deserted and bereft of any signs of life, and ten minutes or so determined scanning produced nothing more than a couple of Moorhen feeding along the muddy shore, a lone Buzzard resting in a tree some distance away and a pair of Stock Dove that settled on the owl box which is visible in front of the hide.

Eventually, with rain threatening it was decided to head back to the cars and, for some, lunch.  However, one last treat lay ahead in the shape of a pair of Treecreepers that were spotted just at the entrance to the play area, adjacent to the car park, and were busily climbing and dropping down a tree barely five or six metres from the path. These provided a suitable finale to our visit, which, in sum, had proved to be perhaps surprisingly rewarding.

Birdlist (MH)

  1. Mute swan
  2. Canada goose
  3. Shelduck
  4. Mallard
  5. Pochard
  6. Tufted duck
  7. Great crested grebe
  8. Cormorant
  9. Little egret
  10. Grey heron
  11. Common buzzard
  12. Moorhen
  13. Coot
  14. Curlew
  15. Black-headed gull
  16. Lesser black-backed gull
  17. Stock dove
  18. Woodpigeon
  19. Kingfisher
  20. Green woodpecker
  21. Great spotted woodpecker
  22. Dunnock
  23. Robin
  24. Blackbird
  25. Goldcrest
  26. Long-tailed tit
  27. Coal tit
  28. Blue tit
  29. Great tit
  30. Treecreeper
  31. Nuthatch
  32. Jay
  33. Magpie
  34. Jackdaw
  35. Carrion crow
  36. Chaffinch
  37. Bullfinch
  38. Lesser redpoll
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