Mersey Birders

Birding the North West

Top Birding Sites in the North West

Ainsdale Beach and Dunes               Martin Mere WWT

Bardsey Island                                  Marton Mere LNR

Cemlyn NR                                          Pennington Flash

Conwy RSPB                                                           Point of Air

Frodsham and Weaver Bend             Southport Marshside RSPB

Great Orme                                         South Stack RSPB

Heysham NR

Hilbre Island

Leighton Moss RSPB

Ainsdale Beach and Sands lake

Ainsdale Beach and Sands Lake

Location


From The A565 heading towards Southport, follow the coast road and take the first round-about left by Pontins Holiday Camp, the lake is opposite next to Sands Pub.
The beach is on the same road past Pontins to the end, you can park on the beach in restricted areas (a charge is made from end of April-October).

Map


Habitat
Dunes, Beach, saltmarsh and mixed scrub.

Birds
A good selection of waders are found throughout the year, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, with smaller numbers of Lapwing, Golden Plover, Little Stints often winter on the beach, with passage Whimbrel, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Green, Wood and Common Sandpipers. There has been a record of Pectoral Sandpiper in the saltmarsh, and almost anything can turn up here.

Spring/Summer
Garganey have been regular visitors on the lake, with a good selection of Warblers, incuding, Blackcap, Garden, Willow, Wood Warblers, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Sedge, Reed and Grasshopper Warblers, Whinchat, Redstart, Ring Ouzel, White and Yellow Wagtails on the beach, Little Egret has been noted, and flyover Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Honey Buzzard, Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl.

Autumn/Winter
The usual diurnal passage birds are noted from September onwards, including, Siskin, Redpoll, Brambling, occasional Twite, Corn Bunting. Snow Buntings are regular winter visitors to the beach with Shorelark seen from time to time (although rare nowadays).
Good numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare winter in the dunes with growing numbers of Blackcap. Jack Snipe and Water Rail can be found in the saltmarsh from late October.

Seawatching can be productive here with, Leach's and Storm Petrels (September), Manx Shearwaters, Fulmar, Gannet, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated Divers, with the scarcer Black-throated and Great Northern Divers possible. Balearic Shearwaters have been seen here, and all four Skuas and Puffin and Little Auk also seen.

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Bardsey Island

 

Bardsey Island

 

Location

 

Bardsey Island lies 2 miles off the Llyn Peninsular and Aberdaron, and is accessed via the island boat which leaves Porth Meudwy 1 mile south of Aberdaron every Saturday  at 08.30am.

 

Map 

 

Habitat

 

Bardsey has a small mountain 548ft high, half of which is covered in bracken and rocky outcrops, it has steep slopes on one side, and it is here the Manx Shearwaters breed.

 

There are 4 withy beds and a small pine plantation, which provides the cover.

 

Birds

 

Ten species of bird breed on the island mostly auks, Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Manx Shearwaters, Fulmar, Shag, Herring, Lesser Black-backed, Great Black-backed gulls, Kittiwake, Peregrine, Oystercatcher, Little Owl, Rock Pipit, Stonechat, Wheatear  and Chough.

 

Storm Petrels occur at night, but donít breed and passage birds can be spectacular in spring and autumn, with lighthouse attractions bringing thousands of birds down around the light, sometimes in large fatal numbers.

 

The list of rare and scarce birds is impressive with, Sora Rail, Summer Tanager, American Robin, Yellow Warbler, Eye-browed Thrush, Blythís Pipit, Isabelline Wheatear, Lanceolated Warbler, Icterine, Melodious, Barred, Raddeís, Booted, Sub-alpine, Yellow-browed warblers, Red-backed Shrike, Wryneck, Red-throated Pipit, Bairdís Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, and many more.

 

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Cemlyn NR.

Cemlyn N.R.

Location

Ten miles from Holyhead, Anglesey, from the A5, take the minor road off the A5025 at Tregele (Sign-posted, narrow single lane roads).
There are two car parks to choose from.

Map


Habitat


Brackish laggoons, with shingle- vegetated islands, next to a coastal bay.

Birds


The nature reserves main function, is a breeding colony of Terns and Gulls, mainly Sandwich Tern and Black-headed Gull, with smaller numbers of Common, Arctic and occasionaly Roseate Terns.


A vast array of rare birds have arrived with, Bridled, Sooty, Caspian,  Whiskered and White-winged Black terns, also American Golden Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Common Rosefinch and Rose-coloured Starling.

From the nearby point, seawatching can be productive with all four Skuas, Sooty, Cory's, Balearic and Manx Shearwaters, Grey Phalarope, and Sabine's Gull, with smaller numbers of Leach's and Storm Petrels.

 

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Conwy RSPB

Conwy R.S.P.B.

Location

Access from the A55 signposted Conwy and Deganwy, follow brown tourist information signs. Located on the east bank of the Conwy river/estuary.
Open daily (10am-5pm) Closed Christmas Day.

Map


Habitat
Open pools, islands and reedbeds and mixed scrub, saltmarsh.

Birds
Breeding Reed and Sedge Warblers, Lapwing, Redshank, Skylark and Reed Bunting.
Good passage of waders and wildfowl, including, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Green, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Little and Temminck's Stints, with rarer Pectoral Sandpiper, Wilson's, Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes, Marsh Sandpiper, Baird's, Broad-billed and  Terek Sandpipers.

Amongst the wildfowl have been, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Shelduck, Ring-necked Duck and a Canvasback (which didn't get the credentials it deserved, as a genuine wild vagrant).

Other rarities include, Bluethroat, Great Reed and  Marsh Warblers, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, Short-toed Lark, Ring-billed Gull, Black-headed Wagtail, Ortolan Bunting, Spotted and Little Crakes, Richard's Pipit, Common Rosefinch, Spoonbill and Honey Buzzard.

Regular winter visitors include, Water Rail, Water Pipit, Good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser and Gadwall.

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Frodsham and Weaver Bend

Frodsham Marsh

Location

From the M56, take J12 onto the A557 and then onto the A56, through Frodsham Village, as you pass the main high street, there is a secluded right turn past some cottages, which goes over the M56, follow this track to the end, the road rises up to a small parking area, and it is here the bird log is kept.

The Marsh lagoons lie next to the River Weaver and opposite the massive I.C.I complex, and on the Mersey estuary.

Map


Habi
tat
Comprises large sludge beds, which in the early years pulled in countless rare waders, now most of these have dried up, and only a few of the beds offer good wader watching, also Reed fringed pools, farmland, hedges and scrub, estuary and tidal river.

Birds
Regular flocks of waders, including, Dunlin, Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, with passage birds like Green, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Ruff, Little and Temminck's Stints,Little Ringed Plover, Culew and Whimbrel,  a huge list of rare birds include, Long-billed Dowitcher, White-rumped, Baird's,Buff-breasted,Pectoral, Marsh, Broad-billed Sandpipers, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Terek and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers amongst the waders.

 American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Spotted Crake, Montagu's Harrier, Spoonbill, Little Egret, Corncrake, Bonaparte's, Franklin's, Ring-billed Gulls, Gull-billed, Whiskered, White-winged Black Terns, Hoopoe, Red-backed, Woodchat Shrikes, Aquatic, Marsh Warblers, Richard's Pipit.


The period from March to June sees Garganey, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Little Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Whimbrel,Greenshank, Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper Warblers.

July to October, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Black Tern, Cuckoo, Blue-headed Wagtail, Whinchat and Raven.

November to February, Good numbers of Ducks, Swans and Geese, Smew are regular, Goossander, Whooper Swan, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Ruff, Mediterranean Gull, Fieldfare and Redwing flocks.

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Great Orme

Great Orme

Location

From the A55 come off at LLandudno and follow brown tourist signs for the Orme's Head, parking is available before the head itself or pay the small charge to drive to one of three car parks around the point.

Map


Habitat
A large proportion of the Orme is Limestone cliffs, with short grazed grass, Willow scrub, Hawthorn,and Gorse, also wet boggy areas and a small "reservoir" near the top.

Birds
The Orme can be an excellent place to be for watching migrating birds, mostly flying over head calling, with some taking advantage of the sparce coverage to rest and feed up, before hitting the road again.

Autumn is the most productive time for passage birds, including, large numbers of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Redpoll, Brambling, Fieldfare, Redwing and the commoner thrushes.

Amongst these also include, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Whinchat, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Wheatears, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Grasshopper Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Lapland and Snow Buntings and many more.

Rare and Scarce birds that regularly turn up are, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pallas's Warbler, Wryneck, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch, Richard's and Tawny Pipits, Golden Oriole has been recorded as well as, Arctic Redpoll, Nightingale, Great Snipe, Black-eared Wheatear, Rose-coloured Starling, Great Grey Shrike, Sardinian Warbler while Dotterel are annual.

The Birds you will encounter on a daily basis include, Chough, Peregrine, Raven, Green Woodpecker, Stonechat, Rock Pipit, Little Owl, and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch are found near the gardens at the back of the Orme.

Seawatching here can be very rewarding with a Westerly or North Westerly being the most productive, birds include, Manx Shearwaters and Gannets by the thousand, all four Skuas, Sabine's Gull, Sooty, Balearic Shearwaters, Leach's and Storm Petrels, all three divers, Common and Velvet Scoters, Great Crested, Red-necked, Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes, Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and Long-tailed Duck.
     

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Heysham NR

              
        Wooden Jetty off Heysham                                                         Heysham Outfall


Heysham NR

Location

The main reserve is located next to Heysham port off the A683, turn left at traffic lights by Duke of Rothersay pub, then first right after 300m.

Gate to reserve open from 09.30-6pm.

 

Map

Habitat
Varied; willow, Gorse, Hawthorn, Blackthorn scrub with lots of grassy areas, ponds reedbed and foreshore.

Birds
The reserve also has a bird observatory, which has seen a huge list of scarce and rare migrants trapped and ringed, including, almost annual Yellow-browed Warbler, Thrush Nightingale, Barred Warbler. Other birds of note have been Woodchat Shrike, Serin, Tawny Pipit, Bee-eater, Wryneck and Night Heron.

Large numbers of migrants are recorded with the best numbers in Autumn, thrushes and warblers, pipits and finches with a lot of these birds being attracted to the near by lights from the power station, similar to a lighthouse attraction on islands.

A good number of birds breed in the reserve area, including Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Moorhen, Chiffchaff, Linnet, Greenfinch, with Water Rail, Snipe Woodcock in winter.

Seawatching can be productive here Spring and Autumn, from the purpose built hide overlooking the power station outfall, regular movements of Pomarine and Arctic Skuas, Bonxie, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Fulmar, Arctic Tern, Black Tern in Spring, with late summer for Storm Petrel and then into Autumn comes Leach's Petrel, key winds for here are SW- WNW-NW being the most rewarding.

This site is also a very good place for Butterflies and Dragonflies, with Lesser Emporer being recorded as well as Red-veined Darter, Yellow-winged Darter.

 

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Hilbre Island

 

 

Hilbre Island

 

Location

 

Hilbre lies at the mouth of the Dee estuary, and consists of three islands, park at West Kirby which is on the A540 Chester-to-Hoylake road.

 

Follow the brown marine lake signs to Dee lane pay and display car park.

 

When visiting over high water set out from West Kirby leaving the Dee Lane slipway at least 3 hours before high water, or 3Ĺ hours on large tides 9.5 metres or higher, to allow for a stay of 5 hours or more on Hilbre. It is safe to leave Hilbre 2Ĺ hours after high water to walk back to West Kirby.

 

Map

 

Habitat

 

Consisting of three rocky islands with short grassland, and minimal tree cover, the main island has buildings on it, and a small fresh water pool.

 

Birds

 

The winter is the best time to visit Hilbre for its large wader roosts, with Oystercatcher, Curlew, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Redshank, Sanderling, Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper and large numbers of wintering Brent Geese, with Divers and Grebes offshore.

 

Spring and Autumn brings migrants, a lot of these are often trapped at the observatory such as Wheatears, Warblers, thrushes. Seawatching can be productive when winds blow from the West or North West bringing in Leachís and Storm petrels, Manx Shearwaters, Sooty and Balearic Shearwaters, Fulmar, Gannet, Grey Phalarope, and all four Skuas.

 

A vast array of rare and scarce birds such as, Little Shearwater, Surf Scoter, Laughing Gull, Gull-billed Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Sub-alpine Warbler, Pallasís Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler and Woodchat Shrike.

 

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Leighton Moss RSPB

        

                   Eric Morecambe Pool                 Leighton Moss (from Lilian's Hide)

 

Leighton Moss RSPB

 

Location

 

Leighton Moss is four miles NW of Carnforth, signposted from A6 N of Carnforth. From the motorway J35 signposted Carnforth.

 

Habitat

 

The reserve mainly consists of reed bed, Willow Carr, shallow meres with islands and surrounded by hillside woodland.

 

Birds

 

Summer

 

The reed bed is alive at this time of year with the sounds of Sedge, Reed and Grasshopper Warblers, Marsh Harrier, Avocets and sometimes Mediterranean Gulls breed.

 

There are a wide choice of habitats that make up the reserve, and this is closely matched with the variety of birds, all year round birds include Bittern, Bearded Tit, Marsh Tit, Water Rail, all three woodpeckers can be found in the area.

 

The list of rare birds recorded is impressive with, Little Bittern Purple Heron, Black Stork,  Spoonbill is regular, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Green-winged Teal, Red-footed Falcon,  , Pectoral Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Black-winged Stilt, Black-winged Pratincole, Lesser Yellowlegs,  Wilsonís Phalarope, Caspian Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Bluethroat, Saviís and Great Reed Warblerís, Golden Oriole, Waxwing.

 

 

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Martin Mere WWT

Martin Mere WWT

 

Location

 

From the A59 just after the 2nd bridge through Burscough, turn left onto the B5246 to Holmeswood,  the reserve is sign posted from here and from Holmeswood off the A565.

 

Grid Ref: SD 428 145

 

Map

 

Access

 

The reserve is open from 09.30-16.30 daily, (November-February) 17.30 rest of year, (closed Christmas Day) and there is a charge for non-members. There are excellent facilities here, including large gift/book shop, cafť, toilets and disabled access ramps, toilets, viewing areas.

 

By bus

The number 302 bus for Martin Mere leaves Ormskirk Bus Station every two hours on Monday to Saturday from 09.38am until 03.38pm.  The last bus leaves Martin Mere at 04.07pm to return to the Bus Station.

By rail

There are two railway stations in close proximity to Martin Mere: New Lane (on the Southport Ė Manchester line) is approximately 0.8 miles and Burscough Junction (on the Liverpool to Preston line via Ormskirk) is approximately two miles.

 

 

Habitat

 

The vast majority of the reserve is mossland, with a series of pools, dykes, reedbeds and scrapes, with mixed scrub and grassland.

 

Birds

 

Winter

 

Martin Mere is famed for the large winter wildfowl that congregate here in their thousands, with huge numbers of Pink-footed Geese which reach around 34,000, and these are often accompanied by Barnacle, Brent, White-fronted, Greylag  and Bean Geese, with sometimes the rarer Snow Goose and small race Canada Geese from time to time.

 

As well as the geese, large numbers of Whooper Swans gather, with up to 2,000+, and now only small numbers of Bewickís Swans which have dropped off dramatically over the past 10 years or so.

 

On the main lake, thousands of duck include, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Tufted, Goldeneye, Mallard, Pintail, Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck, Ruddy Duck with Scaup, Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser and Smew in smaller numbers, and Green-winged Teal are now almost annual amongst the Teal.

 

Out over the mossland, Peregrine, Merlin, Hen and Marsh Harriers, Buzzard, Short-eared, Little, and Barn Owls hunt in view of the hides, while amongst the trees around the hides, Long-eared and Tawny owls roost.

 

There are several feeding areas which attract Brambling, Tree Sparrow, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Willow Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker and most of the common bird table birds.

 

Spring/Summer

 

A good variety of passage waders pas through here including, Little and Temminckís Stints, Curlew, Wood, Green, Common Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Little Ringed and Ringed plover both breed, Redshank, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Curlew, Whimbrel and sometimes the rarer Red-necked Phalarope.

 

Garganey are amongst the passage duck and Common, Arctic and Black Terns may also be recorded.

 

A good selection of rare birds have been recorded such as, Spotted Crake, Corncrake, Bittern, Lesser White-fronted Goose, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Rough-legged Buzzard, Montaguís Harrier, Black-winged Stilt, Black-winged and Collared Pratincoles, Wilsonís, Grey, Red-necked Phalaropes, Pectoral Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Golden Oriole, Serin.

 

Contact

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre
Fish Lane
, Burscough
Lancashire
L40 0TA

www.wwt.org.uk/

T: 01704 895181
F: 01704 892343
E: info.martinmere@wwt.org.uk5

Marton Mere LNR

 

Marton Mere LNR

 

Location

 

The Mere is located 1.5mls east of Blackpool, next to the De Veres Golf course, and Marton Caravan Holiday Park.

From M55 take turn off for Blackpool Zoo at J4 onto the A583, look for signs for Zoo, and park in Zoo car park.

 

Habitat

 

Large open water with small islands and reed bed surrounding lake, with grassland and willow scrub.

 

Birds

 

In summer breeding Warblers include, Reed, Sedge, Grasshopper, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Willow, Chiffchaff, also Reed Bunting, Long-eared Owl (best seen in Winter), Barn Owl breed near by, regular waders include Green, Wood, Common Sandpipers, Little and Temminckís Stints, Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel,  Little Ringed Plover, passage Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Black Tern, Mediterranean and Little Gulls.

 

Winter birds include Water Rail, Jack Snipe, Bittern, Merlin, Peregrine, Short-eared Owl, occasionally Cettiís Warbler, Bearded Tit, as well as a good variety of Duck.

 

The reserve has produced an ever growing list of rare and scarce birds including, Egyptian Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Smew, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, American Bittern, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Honey Buzzard, Montagu's Harrier, Goshawk, Osprey, Hobby, Spotted Crake, Corncrake, Common Crane, Collared Pratincole, Temminck's Stint, Pectoral Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-necked Phalarope, Grey Phalarope, Ring-billed Gull, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Green Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Cetti's Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Barred Warbler, Firecrest, Bearded Tit, Golden Oriole, Great Grey Shrike, Hooded Crow, Raven, Mealy Redpoll, Hawfinch, Lapland Bunting.

 

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Pennington Flash

Pennington Flash

 

Location

 

The reserve is located off the A580 (sign posted Country Park) heading north onto the Leigh by-pass, after 1 mile turn left onto the A572 and the entrance is on the right. Park at the pay and display car park.

 

Habitat

 

Consisting of one main pool which has water sports and fishing on, the main reserve has a mixture of smaller pools and reedbeds, with mixed scrub, Willow, Birch, Poplar and some Oak.

 

Birds

 

Winter

 

Wildfowl are abundant here in good numbers including, Several hundred Teal, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, also smaller numbers of Shoveler, Wigeon Gadwall, Scaup, Goosander, Smew are regular, Ruddy Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye, Shelduck. Whooper Swan and sometimes Bewickís Swans occasionally turn up as do the scarcer grebes, Red-necked, Slavonian and Black-necked amongst the hundreds of Great Crested and Little.

 

In the reedbeds Water Rail, Bittern, Snipe, Jack Snipe and Water Pipit and Golden Plover and Lapwings on the scrapes.

 

There is an excellent feeding station here with Willow Tit, Bullfinch, large numbers of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Reed Buntings, Jay, Water Rail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Brambling, Tree Sparrow and Siskin.

 

There is a large gull roost on the main lake, which sometimes holds Glaucous, Iceland, Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls,  Ring-billed has been recorded a few times.

 

Long-eared Owls also have a winter roost here but are harder to see these days.

 

Spring

 

The passage of waders for an inland site is good with birds such as, Common Sands, Black-tailed Godwits, Whimbrel, Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Ringed plover, Curlew, Sanderling, Turnstone and Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, Green, Wood Sandpiper, Little and Temminckís Stints (rare), Ruff and Greenshank.

 

Osprey is regular on passage as is Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Garganey, Black, Arctic and Common Terns, with smaller numbers of Little and Sandwich.

 

The willows and reedbeds are alive to the songs of the many warblers here, with Chiffchaff, Willow, Grasshopper, Reed, Sedge Warblers, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat.

 

Kingfisher is resident here and Redpoll, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe and Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls breed on rafts.

 

There has been an ever growing list of rare birds that include, Whiskered and White-winged Black Terns, Spotted Crake, Marsh Warbler and Black-faced Bunting among others.

 

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Point of Air

 

Point of Air

 

Location

 

The point lies on the left hand side of the Dee estuary, on the welsh side, and is accessed from the A548 and head for Talacre Caravan park, there is a small car park at the end of the road.

 

Habitat

 

The area is mostly sand dunes and sandy flats, with shingle spits and pebbly shoreline. It has extensive salt marsh, with creeks and pools.

 

Behind the dunes are rough grassland and patches of reed bed, willow Carr and patches of scrub.

 

Birds

 

The best time to come here is probably autumn-winter, as it has large gatherings of terns and waders and a build up of wildfowl.

 

Several thousand Common Terns are joined by several hundred Little, Sandwich and smaller numbers of Arctic with occasional Roseate Tern too.

 

The near by Gronant shoreline has a breeding colony of Little Terns which attracts 100+ pairs, and is wardened by the RSPB in the summer.

 

Seawatching can be good here with a purpose built hide in the dunes, here you can see, Arctic Skuas in large numbers as well as Great, Pomarine and sometimes Long-tailed.

 

In strong North-Westerlies, Leachís and Storm petrels, Sabineís gull, Fulmar, Manx, Balearic, Sooty Shearwaters, and Grey Phalarope.

 

The winter build up of wildfowl include Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Brent Geese and joined on the sea by Red-breasted Merganser, Common Scoter and Goldeneye, with Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Guillemot and Razorbill.

 

Up to 20,000 mixed waders gather in winter, with Knot, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Grey Plover, Sanderling and Turnstone.

 

The autumn can be very good under the right conditions for rare and scarce passerines, Yellow-browed, Pallasís, Barred and Dusky Warblers, Wryneck, Hoopoe, Common Rosefinch, Firecrest and Tawny Pipit.

 

Rare waders occur from time to time and have included Wilsonís Phalarope, Pectoral Sandpiper and American Golden Plover.

 

Regular winter visitors include Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, and peregrine, Twite, Snow Bunting, Water Pipit and occasionally Shorelark.

 

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Southport Marshside RSPB

 

      

Southport Marshside RSPB

 

Location

 

Southport Marshside lies 2miles North of Southport off the A565 coast road, with the car park next to the sand washing plant.

 

Habitat

 

Consisting of marshy fields grazed by cattle to flooded shallow lagoons, small areas of reed with saltmarsh and tidal creeks, all of which is ideal nesting for waders of which Marshside is known for.

 

The reserve is bordered by the Hesketh Municipal golf course, providing short grass and willows for migrants.

 

Birds

 

Winter

 

The whole place is alive with wildfowl with 10, 000+ Pink-footed Geese, thousands of Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall, Shelduck, Greylag Geese, Barnacle, Whitefronts and Brent Geese occur amongst the Pinks, and if conditions are right Whooper Swans in good numbers, Bewickís Swan is now quite rare anywhere here.

 

Large numbers of Golden Plover and Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Ruff, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Dunlin with wintering Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers more regular.

 

Raptors are very numerous on the marsh, with Hen Harrier, occasional wintering Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Merlin, Peregrine, Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl and rarely Rough-legged Buzzard.

 

Good numbers of finch flocks gather to feed on the saltmarsh, including Twite, Snow Bunting, occasional Shore Lark, Lapland Bunting and Rock Pipit.

 

Summer

 

Passage birds include Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, Garganey, Marsh Harrier, Temminckís Stint occasionally turns up, Spotted redshank, Wood, Green Sandpipers, Little Egrets are regular, Osprey and Honey Buzzard are annual fly overs.

 

Breeding birds now include Avocet in large numbers, Reed Warbler, Redshank, Lapwing, Little Grebe and on the outer marsh Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls, Arctic and Common Terns, Eider, Shelduck and Shoveler.

 

The list of rare and scarce birds is impressive with,  Black Stork, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Night Heron, Purple Heron, Spoonbill, Ruddy Shelduck, Snow Goose, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Red-footed falcon, Montaguís Harrier, Red Kite, Goshawk, Quail, Spotted Crake, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, American Golden Plover, Bairds Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper,Marsh Sandpiper, Great Snipe, Long-billed Dowitcher, Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-necked, Grey Phalaropes, Ring-billed Gull, Rossís Gull, White-winged Black Tern, Black Guillemot, Little Auk, Nightjar, Wryneck, Richardís Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Nightingale, Bluethroat, Saviís Warbler, Barred Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Ortolan Bunting.

 

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South Stack RSPB

South Stack RSPB

 

Location

 

Situated 3 miles west of Holyhead, on Holy Island and the western most tip of Anglesey.

 

From A55 follow the road to Anglesey A5 which takes all the way across the Menai straight all the way to Holyhead Harbour, look for RSPB signs on brown background from here.

 

Information centre open from April-September (11am-5pm)

 

Habitat

 

The reserve lies on the steep 400ft cliffs with a small area of heath land, and rocky stacks and islands. There is a disused quarry and plantation near by which attracts rare and scarce birds on a regular basis.

 

Birds

 

The main focal point to South Stack is the breeding Auks, from May-June being the best time to visit, here you can see, Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins, Shags, Cormorants, Kittiwakes, Fulmar, Peregrine, Herring, Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls, Stock Dove, Little Owl, Rock Pipit, Chough, Raven and Stonechat.

 

Offshore, passing Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Common and Arctic Terns sometimes in very large numbers can be seen most days with up to 1000+ Manx Shearwaters in summer.

 

Autumn sea watching can be rewarding from late July onwards with the right conditions of strong North-West winds being the best bringing, Sooty, Balearic Shearwaters, Leachís and Storm Petrels,

Great, Pomarine, Arctic and Long-tailed Skuas, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, and all 3 divers towards the winter.

 

On passage birds feed on the short grass at the top of the cliffs, with Dotterel regular, Whimbrel, Merlin, Short-eared Owl, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Black Redstart, and common warblers.

 

The rare birds that have occurred have included, Ortolan Bunting, Britainís second Black Lark, Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird, Bluethroat, Wryneck, Gyr Falcon, Siberian Stonechat, Golden Oriole, Red-breasted flycatcher, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pallasís Warbler, Humeís Yellow-browed Warbler, Barred Warbler and Black-headed Bunting.

 

Other things of interest

Cetaceans can be seen regularly offshore including regular, Harbour Porpoise, Common Dolphin, Bottle-nosed Dolphin, occasional Rissoís Dolphin, Minke Whale, Pilot Whale, Humpback and Orca have occurred. Grey Seal can be seen close in to the rocks.

 

Silver-studded Blue Butterflies can be found on the heath land from end of June- August.

 

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Site Last Updated

13th Jan 2014

On this day rare birds from the past

Tuesday, Aug 22 All Day
Friday, Aug 25 All Day
Sunday, Aug 27 All Day
Friday, Sep 1 All Day

Photo Equipment Used

The photos on this site are mainly digi-scoped thru a Leica 77 telescope, using a Nikon Coolpix 995 3.4 MP for the older shots and the more recent shots are with a Fujifilm Finepix Z20 10 MP and a Samsung NV9  hand held to the eye-piece.

Also a Canon DSLR 40D with a 28-90 mm, 80-200mm lenses, 350D, Sigma 500mm f4,5 APO EX DG HSM, 7D.

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