A Very Windy Day On The Dee Estuary Birdwatching Trips Tour 22 February 2020



Avocet pair North Cave 1

Avocets back at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands - Spring is coming!



We met Ross and his sister Bev over at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands alongside the Dee Estuary at 9am, it was bright but very windy indeed. Looking from the car park we could see three species of geese grazing in the fields, Greylag, Canada and best of all a pair of Egyptian Geese, scarce birds here. From the Reception hide we could see a lot of birds on the lagoons and wet grasslands in front of this warm and sheltered position. A Great White Egret was fishing in the pool just below the window, closest we have ever seen one here, and it towered over a nearby Little Egret. Two beautiful Avocets, recently arrived summer visitors, were a thrill to see, such delicate looking waders. Masses of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings kept lifting up and swirling around over the reserve a wonderful sight. We walked out to the left of the Reception Hide braving the gale and heard the “wink-wink” calls of Pink-footed Geese and looked up to see these small geese low overhead, geese in flight always a thrill to see. From the Bunker Hide we had super views of the Great White Egret and here no glass to blur photos. Both Ross and Bev were keen to take photos of the birds we enjoyed and the bright overcast conditions were good for pictures of white birds.

We then walked down to the Marsh Covert hide and were very lucky to not only hear but see at least two Cetti’s Warblers! A single bird by the viewing screen and then two birds chasing each other near the hide. The wind was still near gale force and it was tough going to pick out birds in these conditions. Leaving the reserve we drove the few minutes down to Burton Marsh and walked north alongside the vast area of saltmarsh. The wind still howled around us making keeping binoculars and telescopes still very tough indeed. But we stuck to our task and were rewarded with good telescope views of a Merlin, twice, on fence posts and tearing over the marsh. Distant Marsh Harriers battled the winds over the marsh as a Kestrel seemed to take the gale in its stride and hovered near the path. Skylarks and Reed Buntings put in brief appearances but the wind was making seeing small birds very tough indeed.

We enjoyed lunch at nearby Ness Gardens and then set out again into the crazy wind which seemed even stronger! At Neston we scanned the wind-swept marshes in the vain hope of seeing a Short-eared Owl but the owls were sensible and keeping well down in the long grass, we did not blame them. But we were treated to an amazing hunting display by a Peregrine and a Marsh Harrier. We spotted the Peregrine whizzing low over the marsh, then climbing only to plunge down at a flock of Wigeon and Teal! The wildfowl “exploded” in a flurry of wings and water as the falcon tore through them but failed to strike a duck. But the Peregrine was soon back making another spectacular stoop! Then we saw the Marsh Harrier diving at the same flock of birds! Spectacular stuff as both birds of prey repeatedly chased the poor Wigeon and Teal leaving us breathless just watching the speed and agility of all the birds involved. As far as we could see all the ducks escaped the repeated attacks, the birds of prey must have been exhausted, but no meal to show for it.

Flocks of Linnets bounced over the marsh but never seemed to settle for more than a few moments. Little Egrets battled against the wind and we had really close views of more Wigeon and Teal on the pools close to where we watched the action. With no sign of the wind dropping we decided to return to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands in case any new birds had dropped in.

At the reserve we met a couple who had seen a Woodcock from one of the trails so we set off to see if it was still there. We stopped to watch a lovely mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare and then a single Mistle Thrush. A marshy area below the track seemed to fit the description of where the cryptically marked wader had been seen and we scanned the area, over, and over again but no Woodcock. As we walked back thirty-two Grey Herons flapped low overhead – quite a sight!

We said our good-byes but would be seeing Ross again the following day for a Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips tour, Bev was off to watch Manchester United v Watford the next day.

Black Guillemot

Black Guillemots in smart breeding dress one of over 120 species to enjoy in March.



We have two spaces, due to a cancellation, on our five day Best of North Wales tour 21 -25 March 2020 based at a lovely hotel in Trefriw, Conwy Valley. Lots of birds, superb scenery, great food and lots of fun await you. Come and join us!

Ring Ouzel male May 2015

The first migrant birds will be arriving back in March - Ring Ouzel



We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips, please see our tours pages and if you have any questions at all please fire away here….

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

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





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