Mere Sands Wood 13.03.18

Overcast at first, clearing later

Despite the less than promising skies, a good number of the Team met outside the Visitor Centre at this Lancashire Wildlife Trust reserve and quickly decided upon splitting our visit into pre- and post-lunch sessions. Setting off first towards the Cyril Gibbons hide, we were soon scanning the tops of the trees where a variety of tits and finches were flitting about making the most of feeding opportunities. Blackbirds and Robins flew back and forth across the path in front of us, and as we approached the hide the unmistakable whining of a Little Grebe was heard. However, from the hide itself there was no sight of this bird, but we were treated to good views of a couple of pair of Goldeneye, numerous tufted Duck, Mallard, Shoveler and a Great Crested Grebe which was looking its very best in fine breeding plumage. Pressing on round Mere End, some of the group caught sight of a Treecreeper, others of a Collared Dove and Mistle Thrush, whilst all were treated to good views of some Nuthatch, which first attracted our attention by their noisy calls. One pair appeared to be readying a nesting hole in one of the trees, or at least one of them did, whilst the other (the male or the female?) preened itself in the warm sunshine that was beginning to break through the clouds by this time. Looping back round on the path towards the VC and lunch, Shelduck were spotted feeding in the stubble fields just adjacent to the reserve, and a Grey Heron and Coot were added to our day list at Heath Lake and End Lake.

Lunch was taken in the Visitor Centre, by kind permission of the site manager, and suitably refreshed we dallied for a while behind the screens at the VC watching a variety of birds coming in to take advantage of the well-stocked feeding trays: Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Dunnock and even a Pheasant, which jumped up rather awkwardly onto one of the tables. Our afternoon circuit, taking in Marshall and Ainscough hides, was made in increasingly sunny, almost spring-like conditions, and we had good views across the Hollow of Cormorants, a Little Egret, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, a couple of Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a pair of Oystercatchers.

From Redwing hide, despite determined scanning, we were not able to add anything to our list, but, undaunted, we pressed on to  Rufford hide where we had clear, but only partial views of a Sparrowhawk, perched on the far side of a pile of logs, evidently enjoying the sunshine whilst it digested what must have been a fairly substantial lunch, since not even the antics of some Magpies that dropped in appeared to be able to disturb it. The sunshine was now lighting up the view in front of us and the colours of a number of Teal resting amongst the reeds positively sparkled.


Sadly we had at last to drag ourselves away from this pleasing spectacle, but there was just time for a few of us to make a final detour down to Heath Lake, where at last we caught sight of a Little Grebe busily diving, looking for, and, one one occasion, finding food. A pleasant stroll back to the carpark rounded off a very successful trip to a site that is always attractive.


Bird List (M.Ha)

  1. Canada goose
  2. Greylag goose
  3. Shelduck
  4. Mallard
  5. Gadwall
  6. Shoveler
  7. Teal
  8. Pochard
  9. Tufted duck
  10. Goldeneye
  11. Pheasant
  12. Great crested grebe
  13. Little grebe
  14. Cormorant
  15. Little egret
  16. Grey heron
  17. Sparrowhawk
  18. Common buzzard
  19. Moorhen
  20. Coot
  21. Oystercatcher
  22. Black-headed gull
  23. Herring gull
  24. Stock dove
  25. Woodpigeon
  26. Collared dove
  27. Dunnock
  28. Robin
  29. Blackbird
  30. Mistle thrush
  31. Long-tailed tit
  32. Coal tit
  33. Blue tit
  34. Great tit
  35. Treecreeper
  36. Nuthatch
  37. Magpie
  38. Jackdaw
  39. Carrion crow
  40. House sparrow
  41. Chaffinch
  42. Goldfinch
  43. Bullfinch
  44. Reed bunting

Photos HW and CG


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