A Wirral Wander 26.02.19

Bright and sunny – and unseasonably warm!

The pre-walkers ambled along Denhall Lane before the appointed time for Team Tuesday’s Wirral Wander finding enough, but not too much bird activity, for we didn’t wish to rob our soon-to-be-assembled gathering of any of the hoped for starlets that this sweep of land often has hidden in the wings,  awaiting to emerge to the oohs and aahs of an audience of land-locked Mancunians. Assured that the simple spectacle of the bustling rhythm of countless birds spilling over a landscape, that on this morn was bathed in what seemed to be a thousand suns of light, would do more than please the crowd, we moved over to our meet point.

Our Wirral hosts Kenny and Stewart, along with the rest of the Team were ready to march off at the pace which would have easily accommodated any stray sloth that may have wished to join us for this was ‘such a day’ that to hurry would be, as if offering an insult to our landscape host, which this day lit the wings of a myriad of birds … our job was to amble, pause and happily observe … nay – appreciate such flurries of life.

Starling in flocks of such numbers that lifted the spirits of the Team whose knowledge oft carries it down to that of negativity being aware of the almost catastrophic loss of this once common species.  Yet today here was a sky that tried so hard to allay our fears for the survival of this quirky species. Skylark bopped up and down as if desperate to be seen and appreciated by an eager audience, but they needn’t have been concerned for our ears were being caressed by their eloquent song. Next a ‘wave’ of raptors swept into view as one, two, three or was it four Marsh Harrier skimming atop the vegetation, all looking for breakfast or elevenses (who knows?), but for their observers this was a highlight which could have peaked our days list … if it wasn’t for the next instalment of this ‘day of delight’.

A ghostlike apparition, which one would expect to send shivers down the spine then came into view and to a person all shivered in delight at seeing a Male Hen Harrier; a perfect exemplar of how a simple combination of the colours Grey and Black can outshine the glow of a rainbow.

Decca Pools reached, giving all a rest from the cut and thrust of a brigade of power peddling cyclists as we took to the slightly raised viewpoint from which we kept our keeper of the lists busy as Shoveler, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, LittleGrebe and oh, so many more species. A push a little further towards Neston Quay, but not quite achieving this destination for once we had absorbed views of three perfectly plumaged Stonechat, we felt that lunch would allow time to reflect upon a morn that would take some beating for its sheer delight, which combined a landscape of gold which was populated by life on the wing. The ribbon of our team stretched over quite a distance as conversational-led strolling moved some on at animated speed, and others at a languid pace, which gave some more views of the Male Hen Harrier plus a perched female Merlin and for others simply the carefree comfort gained from a morning already full of delight.

Burton Mere then welcomed us into the bosom of mother RSPB where lunch was enjoyed at ease whilst Nuthatch chivvied away in the car park copse, Black Tailed Godwit wittered on from the marsh and other birds such as Avocet and Green Sandpiper quietly got on with their day. Lunch over and most then chose to wander over to the next Hide from which the views of a busy watery landscape fed our retinas with a
Stand of Grey Heron and Little Egret, a crowd of Redshank, and a new species or two for the list including Gadwall and Pintail and a hide which at one stage reverberated to the sound of some young families enjoying being here with wildlife. A great positive and a proof perfect that a touch of noise within a hide on an established Reserve makes not a jot of difference to the day to day lives of the wildlife that shelter on such sites. Cathedrals of wildlife need not quietude as we would expect out in the field.

The ranks then decided to choose different directions to close this delightful day which proved such a success up to that point, for all felt that in truth there was little else to be asked of this nigh on perfect day. Thus some stayed on site whilst a few decided that old-old traditions drew us to close the day at Parkgate …. where sadly (for all the team were not present), yet happily, Three Short Eared Owl closed this day of being at one with the Wirral. (DS)

PS Thanks once more to Kenny and Stewart for adding the spice to this sumptuous meal of birdwatching.

PPS The ‘Remainers’ at Burton Mere continued on their way over to the Inner Marsh Farm hide, carefully stepping round a number of frogs that were making their way along the path, some giving their mate a lift!  At the hide they were greeted by the piping calls of large numbers of Teal and Widgeon and had good views of Reed Bunting pecking at the reed heads, a pair of Oystercatcher and of a lone Curlew  probing in the soft ground at the water’s edge. The trek back to the car park, was lit up by the clear sighting of a Cetti’s Warbler, that had earlier made its presence known by its lusty singing. Thus, both sub-groups set off on the journey home well-satisfied with a great day’s birding and very appreciative, as ever, of Dave’s, Kenny’s and Stewart’s company and guidance. (CG)

Bird List (M.Ho)

  1. Mute swan
  2. Canada goose
  3. Greylag goose
  4. Pink-footed goose
  5. Shelduck
  6. Wigeon
  7. Mallard
  8. Gadwall
  9. Shoveler
  10. Pintail
  11. Teal
  12. Tufted duck
  13. Pheasant
  14. Little grebe
  15. Great white egret
  16. Little egret
  17. Grey heron
  18. Marsh harrier
  19. Hen harrier
  20. Common buzzard
  21. Kestrel
  22. Merlin
  23. Peregrine
  24. Moorhen
  25. Coot
  26. Avocet
  27. Oystercatcher
  28. Lapwing
  29. Green sandpiper
  30. Redshank
  31. Black-tailed godwit
  32. Curlew
  33. Black-headed gull
  34. Herring gull
  35. Great black-backed gull
  36. Lesser black-backed gull
  37. Stock dove
  38. Woodpigeon
  39. Collared dove
  40. Short-eared owl
  41. Skylark
  42. Pied wagtail
  43. Wren
  44. Dunnock
  45. Robin
  46. Stonechat
  47. Blackbird
  48. Song thrush
  49. Cetti’s warbler
  50. Long-tailed tit
  51. Coal tit
  52. Blue tit
  53. Great tit
  54. Starling
  55. Magpie
  56. Jackdaw
  57. Raven
  58. Carrion crow
  59. Rook
  60. House sparrow
  61. Chaffinch
  62. Goldfinch
  63. Linnet
  64. Reed bunting

Photos DS & CG

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