Boxing Day birding - an amazing day on Wirral (1 Viewer)

ColinD

I'm younger than that now
What a day I’ve just had on Wirral. We started off at Inner Marsh Farm, where we located the drake Green-winged Teal, had a fleeting glimpse of a scurrying Water Rail and watched in amazement as a Spotted Redshank swallowed a small fish, and then immediately caught and swallowed another. I’ve never seen this species eat fish before. How could it possibly catch such a fast moving, slippery, squirming prey with such a long, needle like bill? It’s like trying to catch a fish with chopsticks!

Next we headed for Parkgate. There has been a Richard’s Pipit present here for a few days, but it’s been very mobile and elusive, often flying out onto the saltmarsh where it is a long way out of sight. However, we got lucky, because a couple of birders were watching it on the golf course when we arrived. We had excellent views of the bird, right out in the open with the sun shining right on it, for about 10 minutes, before it was flushed by golfers, and flew inland until it was lost to sight. Also here, on the saltmarsh, we had male and female Hen Harrier, Merlin, and six Short-eared Owls flying together!
We had been so lucky, and seen everything so well, and it was still only 11:45, and we had half of the beautiful day still in front of us. We decided to head out to Hilbre Island.

It was absolutely packed in West Kirby, and there must have been 100 people walking over to Hilbre. Even so, there was plenty to see on the island, with 101 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, at least 16 Purple Sandpipers, one Shag and one Red throated Diver, plus lots of the usual waders.

On our return to West Kirby we headed for the Sands cafe and had tea and cake, and still the daylight lingered on. So finally, we decided to head back to Parkgate for the evening harrier roost.

We counted at least six, possibly seven harriers coming in to land, including two males. The marsh seemed to be filled with Owls, with at least two or three always in view, whichever direction you looked, and steady numbers of Little Egrets, probably totalling about 30 birds, headed down the estuary, presumably towards the egret roost at Inner Marsh Farm.

An amazing day.
 

PhilW

Well-known member
Even better today with a Black Redstart & Snow Bunting being found at Red Rocks and the Twite still nearby at Thurtsaston. We seem to be having a bit of a purple patch. I originally found the Richard's Pipit but its been pretty elusive and I know some people who've been 4 -5 times without seeing it. You struck lucky!
 
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ColinD

I'm younger than that now
.... I originally found the Richard's Pipit but its been pretty elusive and I know some people who've been 4 -5 times without seeing it. You struck lucky!

Nice find. I'm not surprised that people have struggled with the bird. It has such a huge area to hide in. When we saw it fly yesterday, it flew inland, over some pine trees until it was a dot, and was still going strong when we eventually lost it. I'm not sure that it's been seen since. It's even worse if it flies out to the saltmarsh.

The Dee seems to be almost a wintering ground for the species these days. Yesterdays bird was the fourth I have seen on the estuary in the past nine years, and all have been in December.
 

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