Six men in two cars left Newstead at 7.15 am for the Wirral. On the way over we stopped briefly at Goyt Moss to look for Red Grouse. We had hardly stopped when Tony found at least one. Meadow Pipits were also seen. Continuing on our way we arrived at our first stop at 9.30 as arranged with Stuart Taylor, one of our earliest members who now works for the RSPB at Lake Vyrnwy, mid-Wales. The trip list was now on 10 as Raven, Jay and Sparrowhawk were seen en route.
After a short break to stretch our legs we set off to our first watching point – Heswall Banks. Stuart T, not confusing him with Stuart Pryor, suggested a short walk here but on seeing the high tide (9.1 metres) told up that was impossible as the pathway was under water. We settled down to watch the marsh as the tide was still coming in and moving the birds in front of it. Over 1000 Redshank, along with hundreds of Shelduck and other waders were being forced up the marsh by the advancing tide. A female Hen Harrier was seen as was a Grey Plover and many Little Egret. Around the area we also saw and heard Chiffchaff. With the list now on 29 we headed back up the Wirral to Parkgate, a well known watch point on the marsh when there are exceptionally high tides of over 10 metres. These happen about twice a year but not today. (I’ll have to sort a trip out for that).
Similar birds were seen here as at Heswall Banks but Stuart T, had inside information that there was a Spoonbill further up the marsh so we walked up and had superb views of an adult. Buzzard was also seen. A Marsh Harrier was seen by some of the group.
With the list now standing at 38 we moved on again, this time to the RSPB Inner Marsh Farm. This is a fairly large reserve but at present with only one hide and a very small car park.
Treecreeper was heard in the car park by Steve and Pete heard our first Willow Warbler of the year, good views of which were had later on. We had good views of Raven, Buzzard and Peregrine Falcon. We also saw Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Ruff.
There was a distant group of Sand Martin and I managed to see one House Martin among them. Three Spotted Redshank and a single Greenshank were also seen. As we made our way back to the car park some of the group thought they had heard a Lesser Whitethroat but it couldn’t be located. There was a large herd of swans in the distance and it was reported that there were Whooper and Bewick’s among them but we couldn’t make them out. Rabbit and Grey Squirrel were seen on the way to the car park taking the years Mammal list to 5.
We had had a wonderful day in good company and were looking forward to the next trip.
The day list stood at 66 with 28 of these being added to our annual trip list. That list now stands at 111 compared with 85 this time last year.