Tuesday, 26 October 2010

24-10-10, Parkgate RSPB

After getting a few things sorted at the house it was time to head home. I had been watching the tide times and today it was about 13.20, give or take. It was also forecast at 9.5 metres or near there. This could possibly be good for Parkgate. For those who dont know this place, Parkgate is on the Wirral facing the North Wales coast. What once used to be a port where boats would moor up to load, offload cargo, it is now been reclaimed by nature and all you can see is marsh. this is until there are spring tides or just very high tides. Then the sea water races over the marsh and for a time Parkgate is like it used to be with sea water lapping up to the sea wall. when these tides happen, all life within the marsh has to fight for survival and it can get rather gruesome. Hen and Marsh Harriers, Merlin, Short-eared Owl, Kestrels and even Grey Herons and Little Egrets have a field day eating what they can. Many a Water Rail has been seen taken by the Grey Herons but it is all of the shrews and voles which the birds feast on and it can be spectacular.
I decided to head there for high tide time and see what was about, hoping the tide would breach. Unfortunately it didn't quite make it so not the spactacle it could have been but I noted Wood Pigeon, Littel Egret, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Skylark, carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Starling, Jackdaw, Linnet, Buzzard, kestrel, Grey Heron, Wren and a Sparrowhawk.

24-10-10, Frodsham Marsh.

I suppose this site will always be a bit special for me as it was the scene of my very first twitch and where i got the bug for birding properly. I was always interested in birds and remember in primary school joining the bird club and our teacher, Mrs Bates (whom I still see birding out and about and have been out birding with), led us down a path in the village which led to fields pointing out the birds. Ive blamed her ever since!! But whilst I worked for BTCV Cymru a couple of the guys were birdwatchers and I started to get back into it. Then on 18th May 1999 my boss asked me if I would like to go and see a Broad-billed Sandpiper at Frodsham Marsh. I agreed, the bird was noted and I have never looked back. In fact I was twitching a Marsh Warbler at Conwy RSPB only a month later.
So back to today and on arrival I decided to check out the River Weaver that flows around the marshes. Birds noted were Black-headed Gull, Robin, Wren, Cormorant, magpie, Tufted Duck, lapwing, Teal, Little Grebe, Pintail, Pochard, Mute Swan, Skylark, Redshank, Meadow Pipit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Shelduck and Goldfinch. There are usually more waders when I visit here, quiet really. Then it was off on a drive around the settling tanks. The tanks are where the dredgings are tipped from the Manchester Ship Canal and there are quite a few huge tanks and it has had some good birds in the past, notably (on a personal scale) Dotteral on 7th April, 2002. It is walkable but there is also a very long road around the perimeter. I drove. It was basically drive, stop, drive and stop, looking down into the large tanks to see what was on the mud. In years gone by there was much more water and lots a more birds. Today there was just mainly Lapwing and lots of mud. I did add Kestrel, Curlew, Linnet and Great Black-backed Gull. Not much birding wise but its always nice to go back and visit.

24-10-10, Whitemoor Haye.

It was then a long drive back home. I was thinking about one of the flashes I have visited in the past around Crewe but headed home instead. Shame as a White Stork had been present at Elton flash for part of the day. Oh well, I had to put up with the Whooper swan that was with the Mute Swans. A quick look there before the lake were it started to lash down so home. Birds noted were the Whooper and Mute Swans, Lapwing, Starling, Dunnock, Magpie, Dunnock, and Robin around the lane hedges and Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, 6 Mallard, Pied Wagtail, 2 Tufted Duck, Black-headed Gull, 6 Pochard, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Teal and 5 Wigeon.

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