Conwy RSPB, Tuesday 20 September 2016
Fourteen members met at 10.00 a.m. Four others joined us in the morning before leaving for the Great Orme.

Water levels on the reserve were low as we visited the hides. The best view was from the new screen at the far end of the reserve.

After lunch the group moved on the the Spinnies at Aberogwen. Around 100 little egrets roosted on the far bank. Brief sightings of a kingfisher was topped by golden plover below the hide and razorbill on the tideline.

An excellent range of woodlands birds, waders and ducks gave us a total of 45 species.

Harold & Valerie Fielding

Marshside RSPB & Hesketh Bank, Sunday,16th October 2016

Only five members turned up for this outdoor meeting. It doesn't appear a popular choice with people at the moment.

On arrival we were met by skeins of Pink footed geese in formation coming to feed on the marsh. We managed to reach the first hide before it started to rain. Highlights included the Cattle egrets amongst the cows and a Kingfisher plus a large flock of Black Tailed Godwit. Pink feet, Canada and greylag geese were feeding on the RSPB reserve along with a dubious Ross's goose.

Once the rain had stopped we went to view the marsh between the road and the sea where we were treated to views of Marsh Harrier and many wader species the highlight being a huge murmuration of Knot. Dublin, Ringed plover and Golden plover were seen in flight and a Great White Egret in the distance. Little Egrets were everywhere. Back to the car for lunch then off down the road looking for Yellow-browed Warbler which didn't show. Because of the rain and the time we went to Hesketh Bank where we added Whooper Swan, Stonechat and Greenshank to the list.

Raptor wise, apart from Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk plus Kestrel were seen.

In all a total of 55 species were seen.

Paul Kenyon

Point of Ayr, Tuesday 18 October 2016

Ten Members met at the Lighthouse Inn car park. (parking is now Council Pay & Display).

Walking along to the hide was cold and windy but the hide was more sheltered. With a 10m. tide at 1.00 p.m. the water flooded the marsh, pushing hundreds of wader and ducks towards the hide.

We left the hide and headed home as the rain arrived.

Harold & Valerie Fielding

Leighton Moss RSPB, Sunday 13th November 2016

Nine members met at the reserve and the group moved off to the Causeway Hide where large numbers of wildfowl were seen. A great White Egret was present feeding in the margins of the pool while two Marsh Harrriers were hunting over the area, causing the duck flocks to be rather flighty.

Moving on to the Lower Hide there were good views of Redpoll, Siskins and Marsh Tit in the wooded area. From the hide a drake American Wigeon was showing well amongst the large numbers of ducks present. Two Otters were seen feeding in the pool giving the group excellent views.

On the way back along the causeway the group paused at the grit trays with perfect timing as a Bearded Tit appeared allowing the group excellent views.

After lunch the group visited the other three hides on the reserve where further excellent views of Great White Egret and Little Egret were seen along with a wide selection of wildfowl.
 While viewing the reserve from the tower a Water Rail was seen moving between clusters of reed.

The group moved on to the Morecambe and Allen hides where good numbers of waders were present including Dunlin, Golden Plover and Lapwing. A Kingfisher was mobile around the pools and gave good views from its feeding posts.

A total of 65 species of birds were seen during the day, highlights were American Wigeon, Bearded Tit, Marsh
Tit and Marsh Harrier.

Graham Haspey

Mere Sands and Martin Mere, Tuesday 15th November 2016

Rain on way but dry for our visit to Mere Sands, the Lancashire Wildlife Resereve near Rufford. Thirteen members enjoyed the woodland birds and the walk round the lake. Top bird was the kingfisher, with several sightings together with male and female goosander and a good selection of duck. Another good sighting was the red legged partridge and a water rail.

Moving on to Martin Mere for lunch we were joined by 4 more members. We had excellent close up views of a kingfisher and of whooper swans, pink-footed geese and tree sparrows.
 We saw marsh harrier but levels of waders was disappointing with only ruff and lapwing  showing.

All in all a good days birding with a total 53 species.

Harold & Valerie Fielding

RSPB Burton Mere Wetland, Sunday 11th December 2016

Seven members attended the trip to BMW and Burton Marsh. Overcast but otherwise rain free day. A scan of the reserve provided excellence views of three Marsh Harriers and a couple of buzzards. A Merlin alighted on a distant post but was moved on by a Kestrel. A visit to the feeding station provided views of the now less common Greenfinch. At the back of the reserve in the distance both whooper and Berwick swans fed on the grassy areas.

A walk towards Marsh Covert hide produced some woodland birds which included Greater Spotted Woodpecker, nuthatch and the usual tit flock. Fleeting glimpses of Cetti's warbler were seen as they flew from reedbed to reedbed. Once inside the hide we were treated to our first view of a Hen Harrier (ringtail). Many Black Tailed Godwits were here along with a Ruff.

On to Denhall lane where we saw Little Egret then to Neston where we had lunch. Here we had good views of a Short eared owl hunting, another ring tailed Hen Harrier and Marsh Harrier. Also distant views of Peregrine and Merlin. A Kestrel alighted close by giving us yet another bird of prey. Great white egrets are a familiar sight here and we weren't disappointed.

Finally, onto Parkgate where we had a Male Hen Harrier and another Peregrine.

Not a bad day out with a total of 57 species seen.

Paul Kenyon

North Wales Coast and Foryd Bay, Sunday 15th January 2017

Ten members enjoyed the first trip of 2017 to North Wales. We all met at Llanfairfechan promenade and highlights here included Dipper, Grey Wagtail, both Black and Red Throated Divers, Common Scoter, Slavonian Grebe and Eider.

We then proceeded to Foryd Bay, a tidal bay south west of Caernarfon. Skirting the minor road to the west of the castle at Caernarfon brought us to the Menai Straits and eventually the northern end of Foryd Bay. We made a few stops along the bay and highlights included a flock of Brent Geese (both Pale and Dark Bellied) that over-winter in the bay, Rock Pipit, Wigeon, Pintail, a wintering Greenshank and a Long Tailed Duck

After a couple of hours we travelled back to the Spinnies nature reserve at Aberogwen where we had our lunch. Highlights here included sizeable numbers of Goldeneye, Peregrine, Raven and a big mixed flock of Curlew, Redshank with a few Black Tailed Godwit in the fields.

We then proceeded to the Westshore at Llandudno where a walk along the beach gave us another Peregrine, Rock Pipit and two Snow Bunting.

We then moved on to Rhos Point and saw Purple Sandpiper but there was no sign of the reported Black Redstart.

Our last port of call was the Kinmel area where we looked for the reported Waxwings but to no avail and a quick visit down to the beach gave us Sanderling as a new bird for the day. With the light fast diminishing we called it a day.

We managed a respectable 70 species on a cold January day.

Ray Evans

S.W. Scotland, 17th - 19th February 2017

Eleven members enjoyed a weekend’s birding in S.W. Scotland. We stayed at The Bruce Hotel in Newton Stewart and were well looked after.

We met on Friday lunchtime at RSPB Mersehead on the Solway in drizzle and mist and highlights here included hundreds of Barnacle Geese, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Golden Plover mixed in with a flock of Lapwing, and a large mixed flock of Linnet and Reed Bunting. The weather picked up a little bit and we then travelled the short distance back east along the coast to Southerness where the highlights among the waders were a single Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone and Common Scoter. We then proceeded to Newton Stewart to check in to our hotel and enjoyed an excellent evening meal.

After a sumptuous Scottish breakfast on the Saturday we drove to Wigtown for a short walk along the marshes and highlights included Pink-Footed Geese, Little Egret, Bullfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. We then moved towards Stranraer and birded a few different points around Loch Ryan. The weather was sunny but with the odd shower. Highlights included Red-Throated Diver, Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Razorbill, Eider, Scaup, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Brent Geese, Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter, Gannet and a group of four confiding Twite on the Esplanade at Stranraer. Travelling north of Stranraer towards the Wig we caught up with the Cattle Egret in a roadside field. We moved on to Sandhead and Luce Bay where we saw some more distant Common Scoter and Red-Breasted Merganser. The final destination for the day was West Freugh where the weather was sunny but with a keen wind. The highlights here included three ringtail Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard and Whooper Swan. We made our way back to the hotel and had another excellent meal.

After another filling breakfast and checking out on the Sunday morning, we set off east towards RSPB Ken-Dee Marshes. On the minor road down to Ken-Dee we saw a few Red Kite and a flock of White Fronted Geese were on the shores of the loch from the car-park. A walk at the reserve yielded a few woodland birds including Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch and Bullfinch together with Raven, Sparrowhawk and Red Squirrel. A short lunch stop at Carlingwark Loch in Castle Douglas gave us close views of the drake Ring Necked Duck from the car-park together with Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Goosander and Little Grebe. A little light drizzle again moved us on west along the A75 towards Dumfries and during a short stop at Auchunreoch we saw another Goosander together with a female Smew. We then proceeded to Caerlaverock WWT reserve on the Solway. Highlights here included Whooper Swan, two drake Green-Winged Teal, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, hundreds of Barnacle Goose including a leucistic bird and Pink Footed Goose.

We ended up with a list of 103 species, and everyone enjoyed an excellent weekend’s birding.

Ray Evans

Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB Reserve,Tuesday 21st February 2017

Sixteen members met at the Visitor Centre were there was lots of activity including Avocets, Marsh and Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Black Tailed Godwits Whooper Swans, several Barnacle Geese with the Pink-footed Geese.

Walked to Burton Point, with several Great White Egrets and Little Egrets in view.

A move to Parkgate added no new species as the rain set in!

Fifty species recorded.

Harold & Valerie Fielding

Worlds End and Clocaenog Forest, Sunday 12th March 2017

Seven members made an early start, meeting at 07:00am at Worlds End.

The first stop was a Black Grouse Lek where circa twenty males were displaying at no more than 20 metres distance.
 Moving on a short distance we came across a male Red Grouse which gave stunning views as it stood at the side of the road. Travelling across the moor further lekking male Black Grouse were seen. In total, we saw sixty plus males. While walking over the moor a Sparrowhawk gave a very acrobatic display. A Stonechat and good numbers of Meadow Pipits were also present. 

The group then moved on to Clocaenog Forest. Parking at the picnic area good numbers of Crossbills were seen, some of which were recently fledged young birds. The next stop was Craig Bran Banog.
 From the parking area there is a fairly lengthy and sometimes steep walk to the summit. The rewards were worth the effort, a hunting male Hen Harrier was first to be seen then a Great Grey Shrike gave really good views while seated out in the open. At this point the weather closed in and the rain forced an early end to a very enjoyable day, which was capped off by a Red Kite being seen as we drove home. A total of 37 species were seen including our Raptor 'five a day' consisting of Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier and Red Kite.

Graham Haspey

Pennington Flash, Tuesday 14th March 2017

Twelve members gathered in the slight drizzle and visited each of the hides in turn. As expected, the range of habitats gave us a wide variety of birds with a good start at the Bunting Hide, a well-stocked feeding station. Highlights included up to 10 Bullfinches, reed buntings and a pair of Willow Tits, Greenfinch and several Stock Doves. On the way to the next hide we had our first Chiff-chaff.

A range of duck including several Goosander and Shoveler were on the Flash and a Long-tailed duck had been reported and was seen briefly. The only waders were a Snipe and 2 Redshank.
 We also heard a Cetti’s Warbler.

38 species recorded

Harold & Valerie Fielding
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