January, 2012

Dee Estuary

Dee Estuary
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Dee Estuary

  • Hare raising stuff

    Right now there are two brown hares sitting out in the open just beside our main scrape - fantastic!

    These are amazing animals holdiing the land speed record for British mammals - often reaching speeds in excess of 40mph.  As you imagine at such speeds they can be difficult to see but ofetn they can be seen "lazing" around on the floor and their brown fur helps to camouflage them.  Eyes peeled then.

    These "large-rabbits" are present on the reserve and do breed here so fingers crossed for a few "Mad March" boxing Hares ... "Ding ding seconds out"

    Hopefully, these will be a regular sighting here at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands.

  • Is it Spring already?

    Probably due to the recent unseasonal weather the birds and the plants are gearing up for spring here at Burton Mere Wetlands.

    Several great spotted woodpeckers are drumming whilst all the other resident woodland birds are singing including robins, blackbirds and a song thrush.  The rooks are already starting to inspect last years nests and their version of the dawn chorus is increasing the noise factor.

    Out on the scrape some of the black-headed gulls have acquired their "black-headed" breeding plumage (can't wait to see if they form a colony).  The little grebes that nested last year have returned whilst the tufted ducks tufts are getting more and more majestic each day.  Two redshank were even seen "bobbing" at each other ..... a clear sign that they like each other.

    One of the over-wintering chiffchaffs has been seen with increasing regularity giving a glimpse of what the walk to Marsh Covert hide will be like in a few months.  I predict wall-to-wall warblers (patent pending!).

    Meanwhile, in the plant world we have some red campion and gorse flowering close to the visitor buildings.

    With the Sun shining and temperatures in double figures it gives us a sneek preview of just how good the place will be in Spring.  I for one can't wait :)

    Recent sightings - The numbers of European White-fronted geese are fairly stable at around 50 and the goose list for this year increased yesterday as a single dark-bellied brent goose was seen feeding on our barley stubble.  Elsewhere on the marshes at Parkgate there could possibly be 4 great white egrets!

  • Its Bean a great winter so far ...

    Despite the lack of traditional snow here on the Dee this year we have seen a recent influx of wintering geese.  This is no doubt in response to harsher weather even further north.

    The star species amongst literally thousand of wintering geese are two tundra bean geese, the first ever modern day record on the Wirral.

    These birds are not easy to distinguish as they hide amongst more than 1000 the pink-footed geese.  Add to that the fact they often feed in muddy fields thus covering up their distinctive orange legs and their bill, it can be a bit of a needle in a haystack job.

    As if these two bean geese weren't enough our small number of European white-fronted geese have rapidly increased their ranks form half a dozen to more than 50 again another record.

    These 3 species of "wild" geese are feeding in fields surroundding Burton Mere Wetlands along with 1500 canada geese and a few (presumed feral) barnacle geese.

    Your best chances of safely seeing them are to park at Burton Mere Wetlands and find out from the helpful staff and volunteers where they were last seen.