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….


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

Contact us

* * *



Our Tweets

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this


What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.