Sunday, 26 May 2013

Woolston Eyes nature reserve 26 May

Black- necked Grebe

A beautiful sunny day saw 10 of us meeting up at Woolston Eyes NR. Ann Thomson had arranged for us to be shown around the reserve by one of the volunteers who manage Woolston.
Woolston bed 3

The reserve lies on the east side of Warrington, and is between the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. It covers 645 acres and comprises 4 large lagoons which have in the past been used for depositing canal dredging. It is now designated an SSI and is most well known for its breeding black necked grebes, holding 25% of the UK population.
Woolston Wanderers

Birds seen included mallard, tufted duck, gadwall, pochard, coot ( with young), moorhen, greylag goose, canada goose, ruddy duck (don't tell anyone), mute swan (with cygnets), black headed gull, lesser black backed gull, great views of 1little ringed plover  and 1 arctic tern right in front of hide, little grebe, great crested grebe, black necked grebe......fantastic views in superb summer plumage, buzzard, 1 marsh harrier hunting over reed beds but chased away by the nesting black headed gulls, lapwing, reed bunting, reed warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat, chiffchaff (heard), great spotted woodpecker (heard), blackcap (heard), water rail.....great views by the lucky half of the group, jay, magpie, pheasant, chaffinch.
Arctic Tern

Tower hide
Little ringed plover and Black headed gull


We then had lunch next to the Manchester ship canal where  we had been told there was a good chance of seeing kingfisher........sure enough within minutes the kingfisher flew past carrying a small fish. The only problem was that the kingfishers were nesting in the bank directly below us making it impossible to see, with the overhanging vegetation. We did see it again briefly as it perched on a dead tree in the canal before it darted across to the far bank.

After lunch 4 of us continued on to nearby Risley Moss nature reserve..........part of the Mersey Forest project and a rare example of a raised peat bog. Most similar habitat between Manchester and Liverpool having been turned into farmland many years ago.

The birds seen here included..............willow warbler, whitethroat, buzzard, canada goose (with goslings), robin, blackbird, great tit, blackcap (heard), swift, tufted duck, kestrel, and best of all a distant hobby, yellowhammer (heard), .................later 2 further hobby seen distantly circling very high chasing one of the soaring buzzards. Also brimstone and meadow brown butterfly.

Large Carp in the Mersey

A great day out in lovely weather. Woolston Eyes is a fantastic reserve and if anyone wishes to visit there is an open day on 30th June, access is normally restricted to members only.

Sean.                 Photos  added! - Laura