Marbury Country Park – 21 Dec 2011

Eleven intrepid birders gathered at Marbury Country Park car park just four days before Christmas, to inspect the bird population of the park, and then to inspect the Christmas menu at the “Spinner and Bergamot” at lunchtime (where we were joined by another 3!)

The day was cold, grey but rainless, so we were able to enjoy our watching without a soaking. Redwing was the first bird of note behind the Info Centre, and we were soon ‘scoping out the identification details. We walked down to Budworth Mere through a fairly quiet park, but at least the Great Crested Grebes had come out to play on the mere. A Buzzard lifted above the wooded horizon while we studied Coal Tit amongst others on the hide’s feeders. We gave the reeds the severest of examinations hoping to pick out the winter-resident bittern, but with no success.

And then the azure and orange torpedo arrived, whirring across the mere in front of the hide. A Kingfisher! And just when we thought it had disappeared along the south shore of the mere, it whirred back again, and gave all of us good views of this brightest of British birds. More use of the telescope revealed Goldeneye and Great Black-backed Gull on the mere, and we found a Fieldfare behind the hide. One of the rangers spirited your intrepid leader away to find and focus on the two roosting Tawny Owls, and the whole group were treated to excellent views of these two resident owls through the telescope, before trying to find the birds through their own optics (not an easy task!)

When all had gazed their fill we walked along the paths on the south side of Budworth Mere, where a Treecreeper and Long-tailed Tits entertained us. We reached the path to the Woodland Hide, where a scruffy Great Spotted Woodpecker pinballed between the tops of various trees, causing much ache as we craned our necks to watch. Nuthatches vied with the Tits and Finches at the Hide’s feeders, and a female Bullfinch was spotted around the edge of the dipping pond close by.

We walked back through the Lime Avenue, adding Mistle Thrush and Jay to our grand total of 43 species, before the call to the pub could no longer be denied. There we fought a dogged rearguard action to keep Chicken and Turkey off the days list, however enjoyable they both were in providing sustenance for the hungry.

(PS Pat and I returned to the Mere 8 days later, seeking a Black-throated Diver, which had of course flown off a couple of hours before. The weather was foul, but we did see the Bittern as it flew across the reed bed, and the Tawny Owls as well, although they were even harder to pick out in the swaying tree tops)

Marbury CP 21 Dec 2011

Name Location
Greylag Goose Seen near sailng club slip, Budworth Mere
Canada Goose One on Budworth Mere
Shelduck One seen on northern margins of Budworth Mere
Gadwall At least 3 pairs on northern margins of Budworth Mere
Wigeon Seen on northern margins of Budworth Mere
Mallard Several on Budworth Mere
Tufted Duck Several on Budworth Mere
Goldeneye Three on Budworth Mere
Great Crested Grebe Several on Budworth Mere
Great Cormorant Seen on northern margins of Budworth Mere
Grey Heron Budworth Mere.
Sparrowhawk Seen western end of Budworth Mere
Buzzard Seen to the north of Budworth Mere
Moorhen Seen on Budworth Mere
Coot Several on Budworth Mere
Curlew Seen on northern margins of Budworth Mere
Black-headed Gull Marbury Country Park
Mew Gull Budworth Mere
Lesser Black-backed Gull Budworth Mere
Great Black-backed Gull One on buoy Budworth Mere
Wood-Pigeon Seen near Info Centre Marbury Country Park
Tawny Owl 2 seen near boathouse Budworth Mere
Kingfisher Flew past hide at W. end Budworth Mere thrice.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Seen near woodland hide & feeding station
Jay Lime Avenue, Marbury Country Park
Magpie Lime Avenue, Marbury Country Park
Jackdaw Marbury Country Park
Carrion Crow Seen near woodland hide
Coal Tit Feeders west end of Budworth Mere
Great Tit Seen on feeders near Info Centre Marbury CP & west end of Budworth Mere
Blue Tit Seen on feeders near Info Centre Marbury CP & west end of Budworth Mere
Long-tailed Tit Seen near boathouse and near Woodland Hide, Budworth Mere
Nuthatch One heard near boathouse, more seen near woodland hide & feeding station
Treecreeper One seen near boathouse.
Wren Marbury Country Park
Robin Seen near boathouse
Blackbird Seen near boathouse
Fieldfare Rear of reed bed hide, Marbury Country Park
Redwing Seen near Info Centre Marbury Country Park
Mistle Thrush Lime Avenue, Marbury Country Park
Starling Seen near Info Centre Marbury Country Park
Chaffinch 1st seen near Info Centre Marbury Country Park
Bullfinch Female seen near woodland hide