Sunday, 20 February 2011

Disneyland Paris birdwatching

A family holiday to Eurodisney with a load of none birders and not allowed to bring the bins isnt the best thing for a birder.

I have been here a few times in October with kids and had a number of common species but not a great deal apart from crested tit while queueing for Thunder Mountain in 2004. I thought it was a passing bird.

So, Valentines day flying to Paris sounded romantic. Tuesday morning up and early and off to the park. Common species like mallard, crow, house sparrow, chaffinch, black headed gull were easy to see.

I soon added cormorant, blackbird, wood pigeon, canada goose and kept queueing for rides. Moorhen, greenfinch, sparrowhawk, magpie, collared dove and redpoll finished off day1.
We stayed in the Cheyenne which is a cowboy themed hotel but as my eyes kept scanning the skies no birds of prey or anything different than listed. I walked through to Newport Bay Hotel on our last day and added blue, coal, great and long tailed tit, rook, dunnock, goldcrest, pied wagtail. A large flock of serin were feeding by the main lake at the hotel. I walked through the hotel out on to the circular road adding jay and out on to the open fields hearing pheasant, wren, skylark and watching a reed bunting and kestrel.
Last rides were the order of the day and back to Thunder Mountain and I heard, then saw the crested tit again in the pine trees by the fastpass entrance. What a way to finish the trip.

Speke Garston Coastal Park part1

I spent some time last year visiting this site as part of 'Birdwatching by Bike' for Liverpool City Council's Cycling Speke. I thought it would be a good place in Liverpool for the group to have a regular visit to, and see what birds and wildlife visit the site through the year.

A good turn out for the first walk on Sat 12th Feb allowed us to see a number of birds species such as woodland, waders and grassland types.

We saw 32 different birds with the highlights being, 2 stonechats, grey partridge ( very rare in a built city ) and lapwings getting ready to hold breeding territory, if they can survive the crows!

Watching stonechat's fly catching.

Next walk here according to the membership card is Sat 30th April but due to double booking we will be visiting again on Sat 16th April at 9.30

Enjoy the birds Chris.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Drama at the Dee

A dramatic natural event can be witnessed this month as Spring tides are due to inundate RSPB Dee Estuary Nature Reserve, at Parkgate.

Spring tides only happen on a handful of occasions each year. If the weather conditions are right, they are so high that they actually flood the whole saltmarsh.

This natural occurrence becomes a real wildlife spectacle as the more secretive birds and creatures that normally live there, like water rails, snipe, harvest mice, and water voles, flee the rising tide and are brought closer inland. This in turn can attract the most amazing birds of prey, like ghostly grey hen harriers, gliding short-eared owls, and high speed merlins as well as the majestic grey herons and little egrets who take advantage of the situation.

Paul Brady, RSPB Visitor Development Officer, said: “Watching the tide surge towards you with the Welsh hills as a stunning backdrop is thrilling. Add to that the sights and sounds of huge flocks of birds, along with the excitement of expert predators doing what they do best, makes it an experience to remember.”

He added: “The wildlife can come so close on these tides that one year someone actually had a bird that’s normally very hard to see, a water rail, hiding in his rucksack!”

In the winter, the marshland of the Dee Estuary is an internationally important habitat for a vast numbers of ducks and wading birds.

These free RSPB High Tide Bird Watch events are running on Saturday 19 February at 10 am, Sunday 20 February at 11 am and Monday 21 February at 11.30 am.

Everyone is welcome to come along to the Old Baths Car Park, Parkgate, where expert staff and volunteers will be on hand to showcase the action.