A Day On The Dee A Custom Birdwatching Trips Tour 10 September 2020

Pink footed Geese arrive Sept

Wonderful to see Pink-footed Geese arriving on the Dee Estuary today.

Alan met up with Scott at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands on the Cheshire/Flintshire border at 9am to explore this great area. It was a dry, calm, overcast day ideal for birding so they were optimistic but this didn’t last long. A volunteer called over in the car park to tell them that the islands in the lagoon were about to cut with strimmers, not good. Alan and Scott hurried to the viewpoint overlooking the main lagoon and luckily no strimming yet! Hurriedly scanning the shallow lagoon birds came thick and fast and included an Avocet, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Coots and Moorhens. There were plenty of Swallows feeding over the grassland behind the lagoon and amongst them were two Swifts. Then the RSPB team arrived complete with their strimmers to cut back the vegetation on the islands, be great when it is done.

Lackford Kingfisher 7

Wonderful views of a Kingfisher always brightens any birdwatching day.

At the viewing screen a Cetti’s Warbler sang loudly but refused to show and then a flash of blue announced the arrival of a Kingfisher! Luckily this gem of a bird landed in the reeds close to the screen and allowed super views. They moved on to the next screen where lots of Greylag and Canada Geese crowded the water, more Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Lapwing here too and House Martins feeding low over the pool.

At the viewpoint overlooking the Inner Marsh Farm pool there were hundreds of Lapwings on the mud and with the telescopes 5 Ruff, 7 Dunlin and more Black-tailed Godwits were enjoyed.

Walking up to the lookout over Burton Marsh and the vast expanse of the Dee Estuary there were plenty of birds to enjoy both close and out on the marsh. Meadow Pipits flew up from the grassy field and some landed in hawthorn bushes where Swallows were already perched. These same bushes held Chiffchaffs and a male Blackcap. A lovely juvenile Wheatear popped up on the stone wall and was joined by 3 Linnets. Out on Burton Marsh at least 6 Great White Egrets strutted about with their giraffe like necks held high, a similar number of Little Egrets visible to, remember the days, not that long ago, when Great White Egrets were really rare? A juvenile Marsh Harrier drifted past fairly close being mobbed by a gang of Jackdaws. Then a wonderful sound, the “wink-wink” call of Pink-footed Geese and forty of these wonderful winter visitors appeared in the sky from the north, had they just arrived? The geese were all calling excitedly and four of the group broke away and landed on the reserve, perhaps exhausted after a long flight? A wonderful sight and sound and a real sign of autumn.

Walking back movement in the bushes by the railway bridge caught the eye and there were plenty of birds feeding in the railway cutting. Chiffchaffs were flitting about and amongst them a really bright juvenile Willow Warbler. Several Blackcaps here too and a really smart Lesser Whitethroat gave great views. Local birder Tony joined Alan and Scott and chatted about the birds he had seen on the reserve including a Ruddy Shelduck. Back at the viewpoint overlooking the Inner Marsh Farm pool there was the Ruddy Shelduck off to the left and showing well through the telescopes. Scott saw a Green Sandpiper flew across the same pool but if dived out of sight, luckily it soon flew again and chased a second Green Sandpiper across the area, such great birds in flight with their black under-wings and white rumps. A juvenile Marsh Harrier, perhaps the same bird as seen earlier was sitting in a bush beyond the pools.

A short drive took Alan and Scott down to Burton Marsh where they enjoyed a picnic lunch overlooking the huge marshland. Walking north to Decca Pools where more great birds were enjoyed including a Peregrine Falcon watched on a fence post, Scott picked out a Hobby zooming low over the marsh, super views of Kestrels and at least 5 Buzzards. On the pools they enjoyed wonderful views of Black-tailed Godwits and Snipe along with Shoveler, Teal and Lapwings.

Spoonbills Cley 5

Spoonbills using their spoons so wonderful to watch.

Another short drive and Parkgate just a little to the north was the next location for more birds. The first flash held lots of Canada Geese and a Black tailed Godwit and 2 Little Grebes. Further north two white blobs on the marsh became Spoonbills in the telescopes and it was wonderful to watch these weird birds actually awake, so often they are seen head under wing asleep. These two were preening each other and passing a stick between their “spoons” did they think it was spring? The Spoonbills moved out of sight and a bit further along the next flash was visible. Here a flock of Redshank and 2 Greenshank along with 8 Dunlin and more Snipe. Three more Great White Egrets were visible here too amazing to see so many. Then 3 Spoonbills were flying over the marsh heading towards the first flash, these were followed by three more again dropping down out of sight. Alan and Scott walked back and enjoyed wonderful views of 7 Spoonbills feeding in the first flash a wonderful sight to see them all sweeping their “spoons” back and forth through the water.

A quick return visit to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands but very little was added – a Barnacle Goose amongst Canada Geese – so time to say goodbye and head for home. A great day on the Dee! We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales, and once the world returns to normal, we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. If you have any questions at all please fire away here….


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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