The weather played havoc with our winter outings this year and we were forced to cancel visits to Nosterfield in January and Eccup Reservoir in March as well as to limit our Christmas outing to Strid Wood to lunch in a local café watching the rain pour down. However, we had successful visits to Nosterfield in September, Old Moor RSPB Reserve in October, Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve in November and Marshside RSPB Reserve in February.
21 September 2017.
We recorded 46 species on this visit. However, bird watching on the main lake was disappointing as the water level was very low. Nevertheless, we saw an Avocet and other summer visitors, Chiffchaff and Blackcap feeding on abundant berries and seeds in the bushes, together with Goldfinches and Blackbirds. Beside the working quarry we saw more birds: ducks, geese and waders and Great Crested and Little Grebe. We also spotted a Stoat running ‘wild’. A highlight later in the day was a Kingfisher flying over the reeds. (Leader Sheila Ginger)
Old Moor RSPB Wetlands Reserve
12 October 2017.
Three members made the visit to this popular site in the Dearne Valley.
At this time of year we expect to see wintering waders and we spotted Ruff, Lapwing, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Black Tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover and Spotted Redshank. In the past we have seen large flocks of Golden Plover, but not today, as they were apparently put off by the presence of raptors. The only raptor we actually observed was a female Kestrel. The surrounding bushes were full of hips and berries ready for the wintering Thrushes. (Leader Win Clements)
Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve
16 November 2017.
Nine members made the trip to our nearest RSPB reserve. From the Causeway hide we saw good numbers of Pintail and Shoveler. Nearby, Bearded Tits could be heard but were not easily seen. We did, however, see Marsh Tits and the Robins appeared everywhere. A new viewing tower gave good views of Little Egret and a Great White Egret. The highlight from the saltmarsh was a female Merlin which stayed on a grassy mound long enough for us to admire it through the telescope. As we left, we saw another raptor, a Sparrowhawk mobbed by Jackdaws. (Leader Gerald Light)
Marshside RSPB Reserve
15 February 2018.
Again, the weather affected our sightings at this coastal reserve north of Southport. We faced a strong cold wind so were grateful for the sun-warmed hide. We saw many duck, including Wigeon, which were put up by a hunting Peregrine, and Pochard, a bird we do not see often. Among the waders were numerous Lapwing, the smaller, fast-moving Dunlin and a group of Black Tailed Godwit. We also spotted a flock of Golden Plover, and Pink Footed Geese were flying in. Very few small birds were braving the strong wind. Although only 30 species were recorded we had an enjoyable sunny outing. (Leader Josephine Drake)
Report compiled by Sheila Ginger and Win Clements.
Photos: Marg Smith.
The Ornithology Group Coordinator is Win Clements.