GONE FOR A BURTON! – 16 Nov 2011

…could well become the phrase to denote a trip to the new RSPB reserve of Burton Mere Wetlands. Across the marsh from the old hide at Inner Marsh Farm, the new visitor centre permits a raised view across the marsh, lagoons and scrapes created from a former fishery. 14 Sandbach U3A birdwatchers made the trip up to the Wirral to visit the new wetland and weren’t disappointed. The first bird of note was a Coal Tit on the feeders between the VC and the car park (substantially larger than IMF’s), and when settled in the VC a number of waders were spotted – good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits coming and going, 4 Dunlin, Lapwings, a fair few Redshank, several Snipe and a Ruff. A variety of wildfowl claimed their place in the notebook – Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon and Mallard, while as we watched Greylag and 4 White-fronted Geese flighted in. Little Grebes and a female Tufted Duck were diving immediately in front of the VC.

We moved on to the dual aspect Marsh Covert hide, which was fairly quiet. Careful study identified several Pintails at the back of the pools, and Canada Geese were added to the list. Our route back took us through the Burton Mere trail, between two of the former carp pools, where the proximity of woodland produced Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch and Siskin.

Back at the VC for lunch, swans on the main mere proved on inspection to be Whooper Swans, 6 of them. Further study of arriving geese finally isolated a Barnacle Goose on a small island, and we continued to have good views of species seen earlier. As the pace of new arrivals slowed, the decision was made to move across to IMF, and we were soon driving across Burton village and down the familiar lane to the tiny car park. Another Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding on peanuts within a couple of metres, and as we walked down the meadow, a Raven with a full crop flew across the reserve.

The hide was frankly surprising – not a bird on the surface of the pool. The residents were all strutting their stuff in front of the VC across the marsh! Eventually a Moorhen braved the spotlight while we tried to turn it into a Water Rail, and then a male Stonechat appeared posing in the limelight on a bulrush in front of the hide, allowing everyone perfect views. We turned back up the hill, spotting a couple of Fieldfares in a hawthorn. Still early, we dropped down to Denhall Lane on the edge of the estuary marshes to see if we could pick up one of the Short-eared Owls seen recently. No owl, and the only addition was a Lesser Black-backed Gull masquerading as a raptor perched on a pole. 46 species had gone for a Burton.

VC = Visitor Centre IMF = Inner Marsh Farm MC = Marsh Covert hide

Species

Location
Greater White-fronted Goose 4 on Burton Mere
Greylag Goose Burton Mere
Barnacle Goose Single on island on Burton Mere
Canada Goose Burton Mere, seen from the VC and MC hide
Mute Swan 2 on Burton Mere
Whooper Swan 3 on Burton Mere, 3 more flighted in
Common Shelduck Burton Mere, seen from the VC and MC hide
Gadwall Burton Mere, in pool in front of VC
Eurasian Wigeon Burton Mere
Mallard Burton Mere
Northern Shoveler Burton Mere
Northern Pintail Seen from MC hide
Green-winged Teal Burton Mere, seen from the VC and MC hide
Tufted Duck Single female diving in front of VC
Little Grebe At least 3 diving in front of VC
Grey Heron One in flight over IMF
Eurasian Kestrel Inner Marsh Farm
Common Moorhen Burton Mere, in pool in front of VC, 1 IMF.
Eurasian Coot Burton Mere
Northern Lapwing Burton Mere, seen from the VC and MC hide
Common Redshank Burton Mere
Black-tailed Godwit Burton Mere
Dunlin 4 on Burton Mere
Ruff 1 on Burton Mere
Common Snipe Several on Burton Mere
Black-headed Gull Burton Mere, IMF, Denhall Lane
Mew Gull Denhall Lane, Burton Mere
Lesser Black-backed Gull Single on post in Burton Marsh
Common Wood-Pigeon Burton Mere, IMF
Great Spotted Woodpecker One on Burton Mere Trail, 1 IMF feeders
Eurasian Magpie Seen from MC hide
Carrion Crow Burton Mere, IMF, Denhall Lane
Common Raven Inner Marsh Farm
Coal Tit One on VC feeders.
Great Tit Several
Eurasian Blue Tit Several
Winter Wren One MC hide, one at IMF.
European Robin Seen & heard Inner Marsh Farm
Stonechat Single male performed on bulrush IMF hide
Eurasian Blackbird Inner Marsh Farm
Fieldfare 2 in hawthorn Inner Marsh Farm
Pied Wagtail Burton Mere
Chaffinch Burton Mere, IMF, Denhall Lane
European Greenfinch Inner Marsh Farm
Eurasian Siskin Burton Mere Trail
European Goldfinch Burton Mere Trail, IMF