New Year`s Day in Merseyside & Wirral. 2017

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Bird Watching, Birding
Tags: , , ,

Our annual “blow away the cobwebs” trip started with an early (6-30am) departure from Rochdale for four A team members. We decided on Merseyside initially and we headed for Marshside, Southport with myself at the wheel. After a tricky drive in the dark we soon reached Southport and it was still dark! A good mooch around as the dawn broke, had us all watching a Great White Egret in the company of a Little Egret, nice for comparison. The usual expected birds were seen and then at Nell`s Hide a Lesser Snow Goose (Blue Phase) was seen right outside the hide and a couple of “phone scope” pictures were taken. The bird soon departed in the direction of Martin Mere?
A few Cattle Egrets had been seen a couple of times in Birkdale, but after meeting a couple of birders, who narrowly missed the Lesser Snow Goose, told us that they had looked for the egrets without success, we had a look anyway and they were right, no sign, but 3 Grey Partridge at the side of the road in Hightown helped. Next stop Seaforth & Crosby Marina. It was very cold and fairly quiet bird wise but lots of people out enjoying the sea air. We headed through the tunnel onto the Wirral and straight to New Brighton. We arrived just in time to watch around 10 hardy souls plunge into the icy waters for a swim, we think we are daft sometimes! Purple Sandpipers on the pontoon with Dunlin, Redshank, Turnstone, Shag, Cormorant and a small selection of gulls gave us all some photographic opportunities.
Final call of the day was the beautiful Dee Estuary, which never fails to be interesting, we parked up on Denhall Lane and searched for any of the numerous birds of prey that hunt the marshes. In around an hour we saw: – 1 Short Eared Owl, 6 Marsh Harriers, 2 Kestrels, 3 Buzzards, 4 Hen Harriers (including 1 cracking male on show for around 5 minutes) Brilliant birding. We even tried to turn a gull into a male Hen Harrier shortly before the real one appeared, was it the dreaded two bird theory or what? Home by 5-30pm after seeing around 65 species.
Dave O.

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