Pre-Spring Woolston Wander 06.03.18

Cool, but little wind and distinctly milder than of late! 

Of late, due to the severely cold weather which rode upon an icy easterly airstream, there have been a number of waifs and strays searching for food and shelter with Golden Plover and Ruff out on my mosslands, Brambling and Blackcap in my garden and today at the tail end of the awful weather I found a gaggle of souls wandering aimlessly about Weir Lane—for these I felt they needed gathering together asap and leading to the comfort zone of the nearby Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve….a task not too easy as it turned out….

All moved as one towards the Weir with relative ease noting House Sparrow aplenty along the route but once the river was encountered splinter groups started to occur as Tufted Duck, Pochard, Coot, Moorhen were carefully observed after which a re-grouping took place at the weir crossing for here Goldeneye were to be admired. Shelduck, Great Crested Grebe and Grey Wagtail then demanded our attention before we once more set off for number three bed moving slowly along the west bank of number two bed where summer plumaged Cormorant and a sentinel Grey Heron etched themselves onto the day list.

A Marsh Harrier was clearly noted by one of the team but this lingered not quite long enough for good views to be gained, but most of our eyes settled, all but too briefly, upon this raptor which disappeared into number three bed, which was then carefully scanned from our viewpoint but all we could turn up was a Buzzard—oh and a flock of Black Headed Gulls which were now back for the breeding season.

The pace then picked up and soon all were safely across the footbridge and onto the pathways of this splendid ‘island’ sanctuary but as expected a pause or two was built into our progress with the south scaffolding hide being the first of these and from this vantage point Shoveler, Gadwall and Teal were noted, boosting the wildfowl count for the day. En-route to the Morgan Hide Snowdrops and emerging Wild Garlic were noted reminding us that spring was almost upon us and as if to confirm this Greenfinch and Song Thrush were offering up their courtship song as we negotiated some of the ‘slightly’ mired sections of the pathway.

Destination reached and a chorus of contented ahhs then rang from within the auditorium that is the Morgan Hide as all settled down to admire the open water and reedbeds that hummed with life. Team Wirral (Kenny, Colin and Stewart) along with Woolston stalwarts Dave Bowman and Alan Warford were in situ and keen to point out the bird activity out on this ever-changing backdrop of life that lay before us. An Oystercatcher hurried about the bed, but couldn’t find anywhere to settle: with luck as the season progresses it may choose to breed out on the shingle isle that was created last year—fingers crossed. The bird feeders were not without their own whirl of activity as Chaffinch, Bullfinch and both a male and female Brambling managed to draw eyes away from the reedbeds in order that these too could be admired and of course tallied onto an ever growing day list.

A Lesser Black Back Gull then reminded us that nature is as raw as last week’s winds for one individual, which we surmised was full of breeding season territorial hormones, set about passing Black Headed Gulls with vicious intent and for those of the team who were of a stoic nature a video of a kill made by this gull, several hours earlier, could be viewed…

A patient wait to try and gain views of the Harrier, noted earlier, then took place with the time being happily spent catching up with our Wirral Wanderers, snacking through elevenses and plans for possible future birdwatching trips being discussed, but the bird remained stubbornly out of view thus just as the cool was starting to creep in we moved off for a circuit of the bed. Not too much was added to the tally for the day, but views of another Brambling was gained whilst Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goldfinch kept our scribe for the day in gainful employ.

Then it was time to make a steady move over to the weir and onto our cars with the book being closed once Herring Gull had become our final bird noted for the day. (DS)

Bird List (MHa)

  1. Mute swan
  2. Greylag goose
  3. Canada goose
  4. Shelduck
  5. Mallard
  6. Gadwall
  7. Shoveler
  8. Teal
  9. Pochard
  10. Tufted duck
  11. Goldeneye
  12. Pheasant (heard)
  13. Little grebe
  14. Great-crested grebe
  15. Cormorant
  16. Grey heron
  17. Marsh harrier
  18. Common buzzard
  19. Coot
  20. Moorhen
  21. Oystercatcher
  22. Black-headed gull
  23. Herring gull
  24. Lesser black-backed gull
  25. Wood pigeon
  26. Collared dove
  27. Great-spotted woodpecker
  28. Grey wagtail
  29. Dunnock
  30. Robin
  31. Song thrush
  32. Blackbird
  33. Wren
  34. Great tit
  35. Blue tit
  36. Long-tailed tit
  37. Magpie
  38. Carrion crow
  39. House sparrow
  40. Chaffinch
  41. Brambling
  42. Goldfinch
  43. Greenfinch
  44. Siskin
  45. Bullfinch
  46. Reed bunting

Photos JH




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