Marbury Country Park 20.11.18

Overcast and cold

A group of 15 eager TT members gathered in Marbury Park car park on Tuesday – a morning with a decidedly more autumnal feel. But the damp ,chilly air did nothing to stem the cheerful chatter amongst friends and a Great Spotted woodpecker perched on the topmost branch of a nearby tree welcomed all with its call.

As the group progressed out of the car park bird song could be heard all around, suggesting that this might be quite a productive day. A mistle thrush high in a tree was soon identified while titmice flitted about nearby. An exceptionally loud cronking raven then flew overhead only to be vociferously mobbed by a group of crows. More thrush-like silhouettes then tempted us to turn left before the toilet block and through the picnic area – new territory for many of us. Here more blue tits, great tits and a nuthatch were visiting a well-stocked bird table and the first goldcrest of the day was spotted in a conifer . Cormorants flew overhead and the thrushes were identified as redwings.

On reaching the hide overlooking Budworth Mere there were good sightings of dozens- no … hundreds of various species of waterfowl. Of particular note were the great numbers of great crested grebe- none of us had ever witnessed such a gathering -alongside many coots, mallards, tufted ducks and pochard, with a single pair of shoveler making up the numbers. Many tits-great, blue and coal were busy too at the feeding station in front of the hide. Moving round the lake the sound of curlew calling alerted the group to a flock settling on the grassy land across the mere, with Canada geese a-plenty grazing nearby. The gulls on the water were scanned but no common gulls were found- although we knew they must be there somewhere.

After a coffee break – at possibly the coldest point of the whole site – the woodland hide was visited, but not before a grey wagtail had entertained us by rooting through the leaves on the path in front of us. At the woodland hide more great tits and blue tits were the main visitors with an occasional appearance of dunnock and nuthatch, not to mention the omnipresent grey squirrels. Goldcrest and goldfinch could be heard – and indeed seen – in the trees at the back of the hide.

Next a walk through more woods brought a sighting of a bird of prey swooping in and out of the trees . We all desperately wanted it to be a goshawk- now that would have been something to brag about- but no – the final vote was for sparrowhawk which was a tad more realistic.

Our final stop was at the hide overlooking Neumann’s Flash. Here we were rewarded with views of hundreds of lapwing on the shores, with teal, shelduck and widgeon to add to our list. Lunchtime now beckoned, but as we turned to leave the hide a magnificent marsh harrier decided to treat us with a wonderful fly-past.

A fantastic finale to a great morning’s birding. (M.Ho)

Bird List (M.Ha)

  1. Great-spotted woodpecker
  2. Wood pigeon
  3. Grey heron
  4. Robin
  5. Blue tit
  6. Blackbird
  7. Great tit
  8. Mistle thrush
  9. Raven
  10. Nuthatch
  11. Carrion crow
  12. Goldcrest
  13. Chaffinch
  14. Fieldfare
  15. Redwing
  16. Cormorant
  17. Long-tailed tit
  18. Shoveler
  19. Great-crested grebe
  20. Coot
  21. Pochard
  22. Mallard
  23. Tufted duck
  24. Coal tit
  25. Moorhen
  26. Canada goose
  27. Curlew
  28. Black-headed gull
  29. Common buzzard
  30. Sparrowhawk
  31. Siskin
  32. Grey wagtail
  33. Lapwing
  34. Magpie
  35. Dunnock
  36. Teal
  37. Wigeon
  38. Shelduck
  39. Lesser black-backed gull
  40. Herring gull
  41. Marsh harrier
  42. Jay

Photos JH

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