Birdwatchers: Sandwell Valley 24th May 2017

This was the first time that Sandwell had appeared on our programme, but it was a struggle to turn that occurrence into reality. A motorway closure on the M6 halved the number of cars attending as two were forced to turn back by traffic density. The two cars that did make it were compelled to undertake a two-and-a-half hour trip that took in a good part of Shropshire. Sandwell’s position next to the M5 in Birmingham does little to inspire confidence, and some among us, rightly, were wondering whether the effort had been worth it.

The Visitor Centre was the first stop for our much-attenuated group of eight, and almost the first sighting was the bird of the day – a Rose-ringed Parakeet (or Ring-necked Parakeet) suspended from the feeders. This bright green addition to our avifauna established itself around London in the 70s, and has spread north in time. The RSPB’s estimate now puts its population at 8,600 pairs. Colour seemed to be the order of the day, as at least 3 pairs of Bullfinches adorned the feeders with up to 4 Greenfinches. Green Woodpecker and Jay flew across the glade in front of the Visitor Centre’s deck, while on the scrub edges Whitethroat and Great Spotted woodpecker attracted attention.

The piping and the sight of Oystercatchers finally urged us to leave the Visitor Centre and head through the woodland to the Lakeside Hide, serenaded by the song of several Blackcaps. The hide gave great views of an Oystercatcher pair, with two fluffy youngsters playing hide-and-seek amongst the undergrowth on one of the islands. Pairs of Black-headed Gulls were on the islands, while Lesser Black-backed Gulls and up to a dozen Herons watched the beach-side nest of a pair of Little Ringed Plover. We were lucky enough to watch their nest changeover while we were there, but the threat to their as yet unborn chicks was evident. Stock Doves were on the ground nearby, and Gadwall floated among the islands. Further out on the lake were several Mute Swans, a number of perched  Lesser Black-backed Gulls along a mooring rail, and two or three Great Crested Grebes.

We returned to the Visitor Centre for lunch overlooking the feeders, but of new list additions there were none. We set out for the east side in the afternoon, and the sound of Song Thrush and Willow Warbler set the list going again. We stopped at the Marsh Screen, where the local knowledge had directed us to listen for Reed Warbler, and sure enough they obliged. George, looking out of the side of the screen into the reeds, found a preening Water Rail, and all of us had prolonged views of this normally secretive reed denizen. A Sedge Warbler vaulted to the top of a small willow close to the screen, and began his song, an opportunity to separate it from the more distant Reed Warbler’s notes. We walked round on to the South Bank, alongside the River Tame and opposite the hide, and here, as promised by the locals, came the vocalisation of the Garden Warbler, another opportunity to compare the song with that of its cousin the Blackcap. Chiffchaff also rang out from across the river, and we turned back to the car park for an early departure, aware that traffic could still be dense on the motorways.

We need not have worried, we had a very quick transit back to Sandbach, and in the opinion of all, an excellent day, well worth the long outbound journey. Thanks must go to the drivers, George and Derrick, for their perseverance. We saw 52 species for the day, and took the group’s tally to 120 for 2017, and 126 for the season 2016/17. Additions to those totals at Sandwell were Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Parakeet, Little Ringed Plover and Swift, proving the variety available here.

Sandwell Valley Bird List  24th May 2017                                                                          

Mute Swan Several on lake.
Greater Canada Goose      Several on and around lake.
Shelduck                  One on lake below VC.
Gadwall                   Pair in front of Lakeside hide.
Mallard                   Several
Great Crested Grebe       3-4 on lake.
Grey Heron                10-12 on lake/lakeshore E. of Lakeside hide.
Buzzard                   Seen soaring.
Kestrel                   One hovering to south of lake.
Water Rail                One seen inside reed bed from Marsh Screen.
Moorhen                   Seen from VC.
Common Coot               Seen from Lakeside Hide.
Oystercatcher             1-2 pairs seen flying, calling, on shore.
Little Ringed Plover      Pair on nest to east of Lakeside hide.
Lapwing                   4-5 on lakeshore.
Black-headed Gull         Small numbers on islands.
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Good numbers on rails on lake.
Herring Gull              One high overhead.
Common Tern               Pair on islands.
Rock Pigeon               Overhead.
Stock-Dove                Overhead.
Wood-Pigeon               Several.
Rose-ringed Parakeet      One on feeders in front of VC.
Common Swift              High overhead.
Green Woodpecker          One flew across in front of VC.
Great Spotted Woodpecker  Heard and seen several times.
Wren                      Heard in car park and several times thereafter.
Dunnock                   Seen near Marsh Screen.
Robin                     Seen near Marsh Screen.
Blackbird                 Seen near Marsh Screen.
Song Thrush               Near R. Tame.
Sedge Warbler             Seen from Marsh Screen.
Eurasian Reed Warbler     Heard & seen from Marsh Screen.
Blackcap                  Heard a number of times.
Garden Warbler            One heard on South Bank.
Whitethroat               One seen in front of VC.
Chiffchaff                One heard very clearly on South Bank from across river.
Willow Warbler            Many heard & seen.
Long-tailed-Tit           On seen from VC.
Blue Tit                  On VC feeders.
Great Tit                 On VC feeders.
Jay                       One flew across in front of VC.
Black-billed Magpie       Seen from car park on arrival.
Jackdaw                   Seen from Lakeside hide.
Carrion Crow              Several seen.
Chaffinch                 On feeders in front of VC.
Greenfinch                On feeders in front of VC.
Goldfinch                  Near Marsh Screen.
Bullfinch                 On feeders in front of VC.
Reed Bunting In reed bed


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Birdwatchers: Carsington Water 22nd February 2017

The fourth Wednesday of February proved to be a blustery day with showers on and off, but that did not deter 15 members gathering at Carsington Water for this month’s field trip. While preparing to set off in the car park, we saw Lapwing and Canada Geese, and Tufted Duck were glimpsed on the reservoir. We walked to the Wildlife Centre, where a grandstand-like effect allowed all of us good views.

A single pale Ruff was quickly spotted on the waterline, two pairs of Oystercatchers were on the shore on the inlet in front of the hide and 3 Pochard and 5 Little Grebe were fishing. The large flock of Lapwing present kept flushing for no apparent reason, and with them went at least two small waders, later identified as Dunlin. A total of 5 Snipe were seen huddled into mud mini-cliffs at the waters’ edge, and a Pied Wagtail hunted food. Among the feeders to the left of the hide, Tree Sparrows cavorted, a male Reed Bunting flew in, and  a Willow Tit came briefly to the feeder. Back across the water, among Teal resting at the base of some shrubby willows, Long-tailed Tits and Chaffinches dropped onto the “beach” to feed. And a small flock of Barnacle (of unknown but suspicious origin) grazed among more Canada.

We moved on to the Sheepwash Car Park, where feeders were attracting Bullfinches and Collared Doves, while Stock Doves were seen in flight. At the Sheepwash hide Common Gull was picked out among the resting gulls along with a number of Lesser Black-backs. Several Goldeneye were diving among displaying Great Crested Grebe and a single Goosander was spotted. A Grey Wagtail paddled in front of us and 6 Curlew flew along the waters’ edge.

The Paul Stanley hide produced little in the way of novelty, although we did nail down Herring Gull among better views of the resting Larids. We made the decision to head for the Millfield car park, as the wintering Great Northern Diver had been reported near the dam, and enroute picked up the only raptor of the trip, a Buzzard. The advance party were unable to pick up our target bird, as were the main party when they arrived, despite a half mile muddy trudge to a better viewing point. The only addition to the daylist was a single Pinkfooted Goose keeping company with a couple of Canada. This brought our day total to 49, and the U3A group annual total for 2017 to 63.

Richard Howells

Carsington Water Trip List 22nd February 2017

Pink-footed Goose Single off Millfields Island with 2 Canada
Barnacle Goose Small flock near Wildlife Centre.
Canada Goose Several small flocks and groups around.
Mallard Ubiquitous.
Teal Large numbers around the margins.
Pochard 3 in Wildlife Centre inlet.
Tufted Duck Small numbers in several places.
Goldeneye Diving off Sheepwash, Paul Stanley, etc
Goosander Single off Sheepwash.
Pheasant Male near Sheepwash.
Little Grebe Several on water, in groups up to 5
Great Crested Grebe Several spread across water
Cormorant Small group on Stones’ Island.
Heron Single from Sheepwash hide.
Buzzard Over Hognaston.
Moorhen Sheepwash hide.
Coot Ubiquitous.
Lapwing Large flock at Wildlife centre.
Oystercatcher 2 pairs from Wildlife centre.
Curlew 6 in flight from Sheepwash hide.
Dunlin Up to 4, Wildlife centre, Sheepwash
Ruff Single Wildlife centre.
Snipe 5 Wildlife centre.
Black-headed Gull Good numbers Wildlife centre, Sheepwash
Common Gull Several from Sheepwash hide.
Herring Gull Single Paul Stanley hide.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Several Sheepwash & Paul Stanley hides.
Stock Dove Sheepwash area.
Wood-Pigeon Seen from car park, Sheepwash.
Collared-Dove Sheepwash car park.
Magpie Seen from main car park.
Jackdaw Wildlife centre.
Carrion Crow Sheepwash car park.
Willow Tit Wildlife centre feeders.
Great Tit Wildlife centre feeders.
Blue Tit Wildlife centre feeders.
Long-tailed Tit Willows across inlet Wildlife centre
Robin Ubiquitous.
Blackbird Ubiquitous.
Starling Over Sheepwash car park.
Dunnock Sheepwash car park and other places.
Grey Wagtail In front of Sheepwash hide.
Pied Wagtail Wildlife centre, Sheepwash hide.
Reed Bunting Wildlife centre.
Chaffinch Willows across inlet Wildlife centre
Goldfinch Main car park.
Bullfinch Pair at Sheepwash car park feeders.
House Sparrow Main car park.
Tree Sparrow Wildlife centre feeders.
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Birdwatchers: Marton Mere 25th January 2017

The weather was not too promising on our drive up to Blackpool, but by the time the 16 of us had assembled and set off, it was turning into the best day of the week. Cold, but with clear blue skies.

We stopped first at a platform near to the Fylde Bird club hide. As we arrived there our ears were assailed by a brief burst of Cetti’s Warbler song, but unfortunately thereafter it kept quiet and stayed resolutely out of sight. It was a good start and we were quickly noting Mute Swan and Cormorant and a single Great Black-backed Gull to add to our list.

We walked on along the wooded south side of the mere, picking out Wren, Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest. From the mereside hide here we saw a male Goldeneye, followed a little later by a female. Good numbers of Teal were dabbling in the shallows, small Tufted flocks kept to deeper water, and a flight of Shoveler circled the mere.

The SW corner of the mere gives a good overview of the lake, and from here we added Grey Heron and Common Gull to the growing number of species seen. A couple of Linnet were heard and seen overhead.

On then around the corner on to the west side, immediately arriving at the feeding area and the woodland hide that overlooks it. All the Tits presented themselves, Blue, Great, Coal, Long-tailed, and then we were summoned outside to see a Willow Tit that preferred the pathside alders. Other species included Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pheasant and Reed Bunting, and another, very showy, Goldcrest close to the hide openings.

We moved on to the North-West hide, where we partook of our packed lunches, some shivering in the hide where open flaps were allowing the cold wind to invade, some on the nearby platform, enjoying the sunshine. Although we had an excellent view of the mere, only Wigeon swam its way on to the daylist here.

Again we progressed clockwise around the mere to reach the container hide, not big enough for the whole group, and again some preferred the sunny weather. We latched on to Kestrel and Fieldfare up towards the mushroom farm, and then moved on to the berm at the eastern end. Here prolonged study of the Fieldfare flock in a grassy field revealed a couple of Redwing and a Mistle Thrush, and we were able to contrast Jackdaw and Rook on electricity wires. Finally a Buzzard drifted across, harassed by a couple of Crows.

We definitely had the best of that week’s weather, the warmth of the sunshine counterbalancing the cold of the wind. As we drove away, we turned left and the field two over from the reserve gave up Lapwing, raising our total for the day (and the year) to 45.

Richard Howells

Marton Mere Bird List 25th January 2017

Mute Swan Couple of pairs on the mere.
Wigeon  A few on the mere.
Teal God numbers around the shallows.
Mallard Ubiquitous.
Shoveler Three small flocks, one of which flew around the lake.
Tufted Duck Small flocks.
Goldeneye Male & female on the mere.
Pheasant Male under feeding area.
Cormorant Several on small island at the east end.
Grey Heron One at the west end.
Buzzard One harassed by crows over mushroom farm.
Kestrel One hovering & perched on wires at east end.
Moorhen Several.
Coot Good numbers.
Lapwing Several in nest but one field. east end.
Black-headed Gull Numerous on the mere.
Common Gull Couple flew in over the western end.
Herring Gull A few on the mere.
Great Black-backed Gull One on the mere from SE platform.
Stock-Dove Several over eastern fields.
Wood-Pigeon Several flew over.
Great Spotted Woodpecker One at western end.
Wren Southern and western sides.
Dunnock Numerous.
Robin Several.
Blackbird Several.
Fieldfare Good flock at eastern end in fields.
Redwing Two among Fieldfare flock.
Mistle Thrush One at eastern end, below mushroom farm.
Cetti’s Warbler One heard from SE platform.
Goldcrest One southern side, one feeding area hide, performed well.
Long-tailed-Tit Southern & western sides.
Blue Tit Ubiquitous.
Great Tit Feeding Area.
Coal Tit Feeding Area.
Willow Tit Feeding Area.
Black-billed Magpie Common.
Jackdaw Common.
Rook One perched on electricity wires eastern end.
Carrion Crow Several seen.
Starling Good numbers feeding among Fieldfares.
Chaffinch Southern & western sides.
Goldfinch South western corner.
Linnet Two over.
Reed Bunting Female at feeding area.
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Birdwatchers: Whixall Moss 23rd November 2016

Our destination for November was Whixall Moss, a site without facilities. So we met on the Whitchurch bypass to take advantage of the services there. And from there we plunged into some of Shropshire’s country lanes. There was a signpost off the main road, but they were few and far between thereafter.

We stopped on the approach road to the Moss, where the fields either side were flooded after recent rain, and were very quickly into identifying a larger number of birds on the floods, in the vegetation and flying around. Fieldfares were much in evidence, with large numbers using fruiting shrubs to feed and larger trees to digest and rest in. Flocks of Lapwings seemed jittery, often taking to the air perhaps because a Buzzard was spotted sitting on a post (with another shortly after). Kestrel was our second raptor on electricity wires, Teal and Mallard were shifting around on the floods, and a couple of Meadow Pipits were seen in the wet grass.

Bill then picked out one Snipe, and Louise another, immobile among the wet grass clumps. And then a couple of birds gave us pause for thought, as they followed each other up and down a tree by a bridge, behaving almost as if they had a nest close by – a pair of Stonechats, in less than usual wetland habitat. A Jack Snipe flew over, its shorter bill plainly visible, and as we got up towards the canal, Redwings began to appear among the flocks of Fieldfare. There must have been an overnight arrival for so many winter thrushes to be around.

We drove up to the car park, and then set off into the moss on a tree-lined ride. Activity dwindled rapidly, and it wasn’t until we approached the open mossland that we ran into a feeding tit flock, which included the three common tit species, but also Long-tailed Tit, a couple of Goldcrests and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Out on the Moss we had to work hard to find additional birds for our list. Meadow Pipits were present, and we added a third perched Buzzard. We found another pair of wintering Stonechat, but of the hoped for Great Grey Shrike, and wintering raptors, despite diligent searching, no sign. We walked back to the car park, ate our sandwiches and added a Jay, fighting with a Magpie, to our tally.

Our second venue for the day was Ellesmere, a different deeper water environment producing a diverse suite of avifauna, thus increasing the number of new species for the day. Early gulls began to gather throughout the afternoon for their evening roost, with Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed prominent, with fewer Common and Herring. Great Crested and Little Grebes were seen fishing, along with 5 Goldeneye. Good numbers of Goosander were resting on the mere, with one flock containing 22 birds, and a similar number of Wigeon. A single genuine Greylag was seen on the far side of the lake among a number of farmyard imposters. A single iridescent large dark green duck caught our attention, generating much discussion. Two minutes with Google later confirmed it as a Cayuga duck, a domesticated breed originating in the US, often used as an ornamental bird.

A Peregrine flew directly over our heads near the visitor centre carrying its pigeon prey, while we searched for the reported Long-tailed Duck. Again no luck, although we did connect with the male Mandarin, following first Mallard and then Goosander along the far shore. So with the failure in finding either of our target birds, members gained an insight into the disappointment of a twitcher dipping on his or her quarry! The reducing temperature finally drove us back into our cars, and we set off for the hours’ journey home, with 49 species for the day.

                                                                                                                                   Richard Howells

Whixall Moss & Ellesmere Bird List 23rd November 2016

Greylag Goose Single at Ellesmere on far side of mere
Canada Goose Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Mute Swan Ellesmere
Mandarin Duck Ellesmere
Eurasian Wigeon Ellesmere
Mallard Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Teal Whixall Moss
Tufted Duck Ellesmere
Common Goldeneye Ellesmere 1 male + 4 females (approx)
Goosander Ellesmere 22 in one flock
Ring-necked Pheasant Whixall Moss, heard and seen.
Little Grebe ruficollis Ellesmere probably 4
Great Crested Grebe Ellesmere
Great Cormorant Ellesmere many roosting on the island
Grey Heron Ellesmere
Eurasian Buzzard 3 at Whixall Moss, all perched
Eurasian Kestrel Whixall Moss
Peregrine Ellesmere carrying Wood Pigeon
Common Moorhen Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Eurasian Coot Ellesmere
Northern Lapwing Whixall Moss
Jack Snipe Whixall Moss single flew over.
Common Snipe Whixall Moss 2 seen in flooded fields.
Black-headed Gull Ellesmere
Common Gull Ellesmere
Herring Gull Ellesmere
Lesser Black-backed Gull Ellesmere numbers increased in mid-afternoon
Feral Pigeon Ellesmere
Wood-Pigeon Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Great Spotted Woodpecker Whixall Moss, flew into tree scattering Fieldfare
Eurasian Jay Whixall Moss single interacting with Magpie.
Eurasian Magpie Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Rook Whixall Moss
Carrion Crow Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Great Tit Whixall Moss
Eurasian Blue Tit Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Long-tailed Tit Whixall Moss with tit flock central ride.
Winter Wren Whixall Moss
Goldcrest Whixall Moss
European Robin Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Stonechat Whixall Moss – 2 pairs
Eurasian Blackbird Whixall Moss
Fieldfare 100s Whixall Moss
Redwing Whixall Moss
European Starling Whixall Moss & Ellesmere
Meadow Pipit Whixall Moss
Chaffinch Whixall Moss
European Goldfinch Whixall Moss
Reed Bunting Whixall Moss on floods and with tit flock
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Birdwatchers: Blithfield Report 26 October 2016

Eighteen of us met our guide Peter Betts of the West Midlands Bird Club at the car park at the western end of the causeway. We quickly latched on to the Meadow Pipits nearby, including those on the causeway wall. However it was a brief stop and we were soon on our way to the Education Centre within the boundary of the Severn Trent property.

Our first stop was at the feeders behind the Education Centre where we quickly racked up three Tit species, Nuthatch (there were at least two), and a couple of Wrens disputing the ownership of a bramble bush. The ground under the feeders was not easy to view, but Louise found a female Brambling hoovering up the spill from the feeders above. It had the good manners to hang around long enough for most of us to see it.

We walked down through the woodland to the Tad Bay Hide, where we found ourselves cramped for space. Nevertheless we were soon noting down Greylag, Teal, a small flock of Tufted and with them a solitary Pochard. Lapwing and Golden Plover swirled over the muddy margins, along with a couple of Shelduck, and quite a few moulting Shoveler. The group split into two to go down to the forward Tad Bay hide, which was smaller. Here a single Ruff and over a dozen Dunlin were picked out, while a couple of Goldeneye were spotted on the far side between dives, and Little Grebe too. The parties swapped over and Andrew picked out a couple of Barnacle Geese, inconspicuous among the Greylags. Just as we were about to rejoin the others in the main hide, a small wader was seen in the corner of the lagoon closest to the hide. We worked our way through the identification features – not a Redshank, the legs weren’t red, bill not quite long enough for a Dunlin, plumage on the back somewhat spangled certainly unlike Green or Common Sandpiper, but it did bob up and down like a sandpiper. We got there in the end, identifying the bird as a Wood Sandpiper, one of which had been hanging around the reservoir for a couple of weeks.

As we arrived back at the main hide, Dave H alerted us to the fact that there might be a stranger, perhaps a Grey Plover, among the Golden. Unfortunately we could not pick it out in the time remaining to us, and we had to move on. We crossed the peninsula to the Blith Bay side, where trees held numerous Blackbirds and Redwings, and a single Fieldfare. As we approached the first hide, a Green Woodpecker’s bounding flight was noted as it followed the boundary fence. We packed out this hide to eat our lunch, and moved to a second, even smaller, later. New species were not there, although we picked out just one Golden Plover, and the dozen Dunlin and the Wood Sandpiper as they dropped in from their preferred roost in Tad Bay.

We arrived back at the car park, and a quick check of the feeders produced a Great Spotted Woodpecker for the list, which amounted to 46 species for the day.

Blithfield Bird List 26 October 2016 

Greylag Goose Flocks in both Tad and Blith Bays
Canada Goose Flocks in both Tad and Blith Bays
Barnacle Goose 2 among Greylag in Tad Bay
Shelduck 2 Tad Bay
Wigeon Flocks in both Tad and Blith Bays
Teal Several in both Tad and Blith Bays
Mallard Ubiquitous
Shoveler Good numbers in Tad Bay
Pochard Single with Tufted Tad Bay
Tufted Duck Small flock in Tad Bay
Goldeneye 2 in Tad Bay
Pheasant 1 under feeders, 3 Blith Bay
Little Grebe 1 Tad Bay
Great Crested Grebe In several places across the reservoir
Cormorant In several places across the reservoir
Buzzard 1 seen from Tad Bay, 3 from Blith Bay
Moorhen Tad Bay
Coot Tad & Blith Bays
Golden Plover Single Blith Bay, flock in Tad Bay
Lapwing Good numbers in Tad Bay, some in Blith Bay
Dunlin approx 12 seen in Tad & Blith Bays
Ruff Single Tad Bay
Wood Sandpiper Seen both Tad & Blith Bays
Black-headed Gull Ubiquitous
Lesser Black-backed Gull Flocks in both bays.
Wood-Pigeon Seen Tad Bay
Green Woodpecker Seen Blith Bay, flew up fence line
Great Spotted Woodpecker Feeders.
Meadow Pipit Seen from Causeway car park
Pied Wagtail Tad Bay
Wren Feeders
Dunnock Feeders
Robin Feeders
Blackbird Blith Bay
Fieldfare Blith Bay
Redwing Blith Bay
Blue Tit Feeders.
Great Tit Feeders
Coal Tit Feeders
Nuthatch Feeders
Jay Seen on the approach
Jackdaw Tad Bay
Crow Ubiquitous
Starling Tad Bay
Chaffinch Feeders
Brambling Female under feeders



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Birdwatchers: Connah’s Quay Report 28th September 2016

The merest drift of drizzle greeted our arrival in Wales as we crossed the Dee. Thereafter it was dry, grew sunnier, and the afternoon brought a strong gusty wind. But the most important point was that our 14-strong party stayed dry.

High tide was approaching as we arrived at the reserve, so we went straight to the West Hide, and were soon picking out Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatcher on the remaining banks of the estuary. The lake on the wetland meadow behind the hide also had much of interest with 3 Barnacle Geese seen briefly, which used the cover of 100s of Canada to prove elusive. They were eventually rediscovered way out on Oakenholt Marsh. The lake also held a good crowd of Black-tailed Godwits.

Teal seemed to be everywhere, feeding in ditches or along the tide line or lake shore. Shelduck too were out on the tide line, while the first Little Egret of the day was spotted far out on the marsh, as was a seemingly immobile Peregrine, presumably digesting a late breakfast.

A Common Sandpiper was picked out on the tide line, while several species of gull (Lesser and Great Black-backed, Herring, Common and Black-headed) rested on the tide flowing upriver, or used the estuary as a fly way.

We moved to the Middle Hide, sifting through the Redshank crowded on the Bunded Pools’ narrow shoreline, and singling out a Greenshank and another Common Sandpiper. We were entertained across the river channel by a Kestrel, whose interactions with a Buzzard were overshadowed when another Peregrine entered the action, making several passes at the Kestrel before speeding away. And a very showy Yellow-legged Gull bathed in front of the hide, making it easy to pick out its identifying features, only the group’s second ever following the bird at Lodmoor in Dorset in 2015.

We repaired to the Field Studies Centre, which Deeside Naturalists had kindly opened for us, to eat our sandwiches and to drink the freshly-brewed tea and coffee on offer. The welcoming warmth of the large room seemed to slow us down, and it took a little while to get going again. But eventually we made our way down the string of hides by the Bunded Pools, watching a female Kestrel on the gutters of the gas plant cooling towers, and filling in the list with tits and finches. A large flock of Goldfinch was stripping the thistle heads on the salt marsh, while a mobile good-sized  Linnet flock was doing much the same.

The Bunded Pools gave up some Wigeon among the Mallard, and a couple of Stock Doves hid in the long grass. 4 Swallows made their way south reminding us that it was migration time for them as well as for the waders, a Marsh Harrier was seen quartering across the river, and as we headed for the cars, a Kingfisher was found sitting on the twig perch in front of the FSC. It sat long enough for all members to take in prolonged views, and provided a high note with which to leave the reserve. Total of species for the day was 45.

Richard Howells

Connah’s Quay Bird List 28th September 2016           

Barnacle Goose 3 on Oakenholt Marsh.
Canada Goose Hundreds on Ash Pool.
Mute Swan Pair on Bunded Pools.
Common Shelduck On Dee Estuary
Eurasian Wigeon Several on Bunded Pools.
Mallard Several on Bunded Pools and Ash Pool
Green-winged Teal Common throughout the reserve
Little Grebe 3 on Bunded Pools
Grey Heron Oakenholt Marsh and Bunded Pools.
Little Egret Several Oakenholt Marsh and Bunded Pools.
Western Marsh-Harrier One seen.
Eurasian Buzzard One seen over Shotwick Fields.
Eurasian Kestrel One over Shotwick Fields, one on gas plant cooling towers
Peregrine 1 stood on Oakenholt Marsh, 1 over Shotwick Fields.
Common Moorhen Ash & Bunded Pools.
Eurasian Coot Ash Pool
Northern Lapwing Ash & Bunded Pools.
Eurasian Oystercatcher Dee Estuary.
Common Sandpiper One on Dee Estuary, one on Bunded Pools.
Common Greenshank One on Bunded Pools.
Common Redshank Many on Dee Estuary and Bunded Pools
Eurasian Curlew Dee Estuary and Oakenholt Marsh.
Black-tailed Godwit Large flock on Ash Pool.
Black-headed Gull Small numbers, mainly over Dee Estuary.
Mew Gull 2-3 over the River Dee.
Herring Gull 1 over River Dee.
Yellow-legged Gull Single on Bunded Pools from Middle Hide
Lesser Black-backed Gull Several on Dee Estuary.
Great Black-backed Gull 2-3 on Dee Estuary.
Stock Dove 2 on Bunded Pools from Middle Hide.
Common Wood-Pigeon Several.
Common Kingfisher One on perch in front of Field Studies Centre.
Eurasian Magpie Wet Meadow, Bunded Pools.
Carrion Crow Several on meadows.
Barn Swallow 4 west of Dee hide.
Great Tit Hide feeders.
Eurasian Blue Tit Hide feeders.
Long-tailed Tit Hide feeders.
European Robin Several along road behind Bunded Pool hides.
European Starling Seen on Bunded Pools.
Meadow Pipit 3 on wet meadows.
Chaffinch Hide feeders.
European Greenfinch Hide feeders.
European Goldfinch Flock on salt marsh thistles.
Eurasian Linnet Flock on salt marsh and Bunded Pools.
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U3A NWR Health and Wellbeing Conference, Lancaster

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Lancaster and Morecambe U3A
on behalf of the North West Region of U3As

One Day Conference: Thursday, 26th October2017

Venue: The Banqueting Suite, Town Hall, Lancaster

Health and Wellbeing Conference

Aim: To enthuse, inform and empower participants to lead healthy lives


10.00 a.m. – 10.30 a.m. Registration and tea/ coffee

Morning session: Chaired by Gill Russell – North West Regional U3A Trustee

10.30 a.m. – 10.35 a.m. Welcome to the Conference
Gill Russell – North West Regional Trustee

10.35 a.m. – 10.40 a.m. Local welcome and introduction to the day
Professor Gill Baynes – Research Ambassador and External Liaison, L&M U3A*

10.40 a.m. – 10.50 a.m. What is Health ?
Dr. Alex McMinn, M.B.E. Former NW Trustee U3A and World Health Organisation Advisor

10.50a.m. – 11.20 a.m. Reducing your Risk of Dementia : The Science Behind the Headlines
Dr. Penny Foulds, Honorary Researcher, Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University

11.20 a.m. – 11.45a.m. Medical Screening to Maintain Health : The Role of Radiology
Professor Gill Baynes, former Chair in Medical Imaging Education, University of Cumbria

11.45 a.m. – 12.10p.m. The Role of Pathological Testing in Health
Alan Currie, Former Directorate Manager Pathology, UHMBT ~

12.10 p.m. -12.35 p.m. Non drug treatments to intervene and prevent dementia
Dr.Garuth Chalfont, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University

12.35 p.m. -12.45 p.m. Cancercare and its role in promoting Health and Wellbeing
Neil Townsend, Chief Executive Officer, Cancercare

12.45p.m. – 1.45p.m. Lunch – Banqueting Suite Town Hall

Afternoon session – Chaired by Neil Stevenson –NW Regional Committee Chair

1.45p.m. – 2.15 p.m. Keynote Lecture, Voluntary and Community Interventions to Support Active and Healthy Ageing
Professor Christine Milligan, Director for Centre of Ageing, Lancaster University

2.15 p.m. – 2.40pm Eyetracking as an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease
Dr.Thom Wilcockson, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University

2.40 p.m. – 3.00p.m. The role of Exercise in Active Ageing
Lindsey Wilcox, Retired Physiotherapist and committee member of the Morecambe Bay Branch of National Osteoporosis Society

3.00 p.m. – 3.20 p.m. The Security Challenges associated with Ageing
Dr. Lara Warmelink, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University

3.20 p.m. – 3.30 p.m. How the services of Age UK positively impact on Health and Wellbeing
Anne Oliver, Community Engagement Manager, Age UK

3.30p.m. – 3.50pm Open Forum : Gill Baynes, Alan Currie, Penny Foulds,Anne Oliver, Neil Townsend, Thom Wilcockson

3.50p.m. -4.00 p.m. Closing remarks: NW Regional U3A Trustee – Gill Russell

*Lancaster and Morecambe U3A
~ University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust

There will be a Marketplace event all day:
Stalls: Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Cancercare, Care Innovation, Continuing Learning Group, Defying Dementia, Dying Matters, Innovation Agency, MAC Clinical Research, National Osteoporosis Society

Venue :
The Banqueting Suite
The Town Hall

Dalton Square
01524 582583

Main access – Dalton Square
Disabled access – through Public entrance to Town Hall, at the left hand side of the building if standing at the front
For Parking please see
For Disabled parking please see:

Charitable donations appreciated to Cancercare

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