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.