Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Meres Sands Field trip 28/10/12

Mere Sands Report.   Sunday 28th October 2012

18 brave souls set out for a day birding around this mixed habitat reserve.  It started raining in Liverpool at 11pm last night and didn’t stop while we were out all day.  Not all the bird feeders and tables had food on it but it didn’t stop the Tree sparrows, Moorhens and Mallards from helping themselves to the dregs.  During the day flocks of Pink footed geese flew over the reserve and  5 Greylags others noted were,Lapwings, Snipe, Black headed gull, Lesser black backed gull. Most of the ducks, Teal, Pochard, Tufted duck and female Mandarin were taking shelter under the trees and bushes but the cormorants were standing on whatever stumps they could find.  A female Goosander and Little grebe had the fish jumping out the water!  Back in the woodland we had a mixed flock of birds from Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Wren, Blue, coal, great and long tailed tit.

Watching what was flying over the reserve was also important with Mistle thrush, Great spotted woodpecker, Jay, Jackdaw, Magpie,  and Crows mobbing a Buzzard.  Grey heron and Coots were around the Marshall hide, but no sign of the Water rail.

Back out in the woods we had Wood pigeon,Stockdove and Goldfinches.The last birds to be added were Canada geese and a juvenile Shelduck before we headed back to the reserve car park for a warm drink.  

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sarnies at the Point of Ayr ~ August 4th

Eight intrepid Liverpudlians joined the Burton Mere rangers on a trip to Point of Ayr on August 4th. The aim was to see Sandwich terns resting up on their migration southwards,  as well as to learn more about the reserve situated across the water, on the far side of the Dee.  In the event, we were well rewarded on both counts, and the fact that the weather shifted from bright sun to drenching rain and back again in the space of a few hours just added to the diversity of wildlife on show.
Sandwich terns :

Geoff Robinson explained that the saltmarsh at the Point is very unusual, being almost entirely covered in sea purslane, with patches of sea aster and seablite. This provides an excellent habitat for ground-nesting waders, as well as a rich supply of seeds for dabbling ducks such as teal, feeding in the creeks in winter.  Our walk began two hours before high tide, and as the water rose, large flocks of curlew, herring gulls and black-backed gulls were driven towards us, along with small groups of ringed plovers and dunlin, while a small flock of redshanks flew along a creek to the shoreline. A few whimbrel were also spotted, as well as a bar-tailed godwit, but an elusive greenshank avoided all our attempts to find it in the crowd. A burst of sunshine also brought numerous butterflies into view, flying over the grassy margins of the path, which being made of limestone was home to a wonderful variety of wildflowers.

The return walk unfortunately coincided with a real downpour, but nothing daunted we turned into the cafe at Talacre for a cup of tea, and set off again when the clouds had moved on. This time we headed in the opposite direction, towards the sanddunes, and were met with the sight of a good number of Sandwich terns perching on the fence posts, as well as preening on the ground amongst the gulls, and had an excellent opportunity to compare them for size and details with a single common tern, as well as numbers of little terns flying to and fro from their breeding ground.  This called for celebration, so we tucked into an excellent carrot cake provided by a thoughtful member of the group. A grey seal and a harbour porpoise swimming out in the bay added to the variety, and we passed by the ponds where natterjack toads have been successfully re-introduced.

The final treat was again due to the changeable weather: considerable numbers of swallows, martins and swifts suddenly appeared flying south down the estuary ahead of another storm cloud.  We cheered them on their journey, and followed their example, setting off for home ourselves before we got drenched again.