Sale Water Park 7/03/2017

Generally overcast but relatively mild (and muddy)

Following the washout of the previous week which led to a disappointing abandonment of the trip to Burton Mere, there was a good turnout of TT members hoping for much better weather, which was duly delivered with a definite feel of Spring in the air.

Starting at the feeding station by the “Visitors Centre”, the group found a rather disappointing selection of blue tit, great tit and chaffinch despite the efforts of one member in topping up the food supply on one bird table. But things looked up as we sighted long-tailed tits flitting about in the treetops along the lane to the lake and then a goldcrest and a grey heron standing alone in the marshy area alongside the lane.

Reaching the lake, 6+ gadwall were sighted among the normal mix of black-headed gulls, canada geese, mute swans, and coots. Further across the lake were a pair of courting great crested grebe and cormorants resting on buoys. Skirting around the lake to the north a little grebe, a lesser black-backed gull, an immature herring gull and a goosander in flight were spotted. And then the first sighting of a kingfisher racing over the water towards Broad Ees Dole.

Reaching the Dole, the group were immediately greeted by the rare sighting of a buzzard on the far bank tearing apart prey as a mid-morning snack watched cautiously by a pair of mallard close by. Moorhen, a little grebe and mallard also mooched about and then a pair of teal hoved into view out of the low branches on the left bank. To our great delight, the group were treated to a pair of kingfishers racing about the Dole with one deciding to show of its brilliant plumage by perching on a bare bush on the central island in full view of the group. This was followed by a very keen-eyed member spotting a snipe beautifully camouflaged amongst the trees and undergrowth on the left bank. And this was joined by an incoming grey heron who stood statuesquely in the shallow water showing off its bright plumage in high definition.   Moving on to the pool to the west, the group were treated to further sightings of the kingfisher as well as several grey heron standing in the vegetation on the far bank.

A quick foray up to the bank of the River Mersey close to Barfoot Bridge revealed little of interest apart from a buzzard circling high above and a solitary drake mallard flying fast along the river. A slow return along the motorway side of the lake precipitated a debate about a lesser black-backed gull and an immature herring gull (first year? second year?).

Finally the group returned to the woodland hoping for treecreepers and nuthatches but had to content themselves to blue tits and robins and yet another brief glimpse of a kingfisher racing along the stream. High above the woodland a carrion crow was spotted furiously (but unsuccessfully) trying to chase away a sparrowhawk, and two buzzards lazily circled above the treetops. Back to the feeding station but little of note was spotted before the departure of all but a small luncheon club who were able to add nuthatches and willow tits to the list. (SC)

Bird list (BP)

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Crested Grebe
  3. Cormorant
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Mute Swan
  6. Canada Goose
  7. Gadwall
  8. Teal
  9. Mallard
  10. Moorhen
  11. Coot
  12. Snipe
  13. Black-headed Gull
  14. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  15. Herring Gull
  16. Goosander
  17. Sparrowhawk
  18. Buzzard
  19. Kestrel
  20. Woodpigeon
  21. Kingfisher
  22. Wren
  23. Blackbird
  24. Song Thrush
  25. Dunnock
  26. Robin
  27. Goldcrest
  28. Long-tailed Tit
  29. Blue Tit
  30. Great Tit
  31. Willow Tit
  32. Nuthatch
  33. Jay
  34. Magpie
  35. Carrion Crow
  36. Chaffinch
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