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Recent sightings

  • 21 October 2014

    Wilde about Harry

    Meet Harry the hen harrier. He is currently on the decking outside our reception building.

    Harry is the wonderful creation of Findlay Wilde, aged 12 from Cheshire, and his father for their village scarecrow festival earlier this year. He is made from a variety of materials including insulation boards and roofing felt.

    Findlay is a keen birder and a big supporter of the RSPB's Skydancer project, which is helping to raise awareness and conservation of hen harriers in Northern England, and Findlay wanted his scarecrow to reflect this. He also writes a regular blog about his birding called Wilde About Birds.

    In mid-August, the inaugural Hen Harrier Day was established by BAWC (Birders Against Wildlife Crime), Findlay and his family attended the event in the Peak District, and took Harry along as a mascot which served to attract lots of attention.

    The following weekend, Harry was used on the RSPB stand at the annual Birdfair event at Rutland Water in Leicestershire. After that, Harry ended up at The Lodge and it was Findlay's idea for it to be brought to the Dee Estuary reserve as this is his closest reserve and one of the hotspots for hen harriers in the Winter months. Harry arrived on Monday 13 October and is set to stay until spring, apart from a brief flight to Leighton Moss for an appearance on BBC Autumnwatch later this month.

    Come along to Parkgate and join us for our Skydancers on the Dee events, there will be staff and volunteers on hand to show you these beautiful birds hunting over the marsh. We will be there on one Sunday each month until March 15, follow the link to see the full list of dates.

    Latest sightings here on the Dee Estuary have included a male hen harrier and 2 ringtails.

    Next time you visit Burton Mere Wetlands why not take a "selfie" photo with Harry? You can upload your selfie to twitter and share it with @WildeAboutBirds and #HenHarriers. We look forward to seeing them.

    Posted by Helen B

  • 16 October 2014

    Autumnal gathering

    A very busy week on the reserve with bird numbers increasing. A count of 1,800 teal gathering from Northern Europe and 1,600 pink-footed geese arriving from their breeding ground in the Arctic Circle and Greenland. As the days are now starting off chilly we are lighting the fire in the reception building to allow for birdwatching in the warm, a great place to sit with a cup of tea to start the day in comfort.

    The cattle egret is still here, arriving on 3 september. These birds which are smaller than a little egret and have a bright yellow bill are usually resident in France and Spain but after breeding will randomly disperse and wander during Autumn and Winter.

    Sightings this week include grey wagtail, little stint, 2 x marsh harriers, hen harrier, 7 x avocets, merlin, 7 x whooper swans, and green sandpiper. Just in front of reception hide have been a couple of water rail, always amazing to see these small birds close up.

    Upcoming events include Skydancers on the Dee, Sunday 26 October - Sunday 29 March 2015. In support of the RSPB's Skydancer project, we will be bringing you a series of events to show you these amazing birds of prey which use the Dee Estuary marshes as their home for the Winter months. The events are free and are from 12 noon - dusk, please click on the link for more information and full list of dates.

    Posted by Helen B

  • 1 October 2014

    Happy 3rd Birthday Burton Mere Wetlands!

    The wonderful season of Autumn is upon us, the leaves are tumbling from the trees and the nights are drawing in. This serves as a timely reminder that our car park will now be closing

    a little earlier at 7pm which should still give you time in the evening to come and enjoy the last of the autumnal daylight. 

    Last weekend we celebrated our 3rd birthday. Some say you can’t have your cake and eat it, well we did! Lots of cake was eaten, plenty of fun kids activities including den building 

    in the woods, making bird feeders, and our ever popular nature trail were enjoyed. 

    Recent sightings on the reserve include - Cattle egret which has been with us for a month now, little stint, golden plover, spotted redshank, wheatear, kingfisher, marsh harrier, greenshank and ruff.

    Upcoming events -

    We still have places on the Liverbird discovery cruise on saturday 4th October, booking essential.

    Join us for Parkgate high tide watch on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 October. Meeting at the Donkey Stand on Parkgate promenade, RSPB staff will 

    be on hand to show you the delights of this amazing spectacle.

    Autumn arrivals guided walk at Point of Ayr on Saturday 11 October 12pm-2:30pm, booking essential. 

    Posted by Helen B

  • 7 September 2014

    What a busy week we have had...

    We have been so busy this week as we have had some very exciting birds around the reserve.


    Photo thanks to Anthony Lovatt

    On Wednesday a cattle egret appeared on the scrape along with a little stint, Thursday morning we arrived on the reserve to the sight of a juvenile red-necked phalarope, Saturday brought us a pectoral sandpiper and on sunday 3 curlew sandpiper, all of which were still here on sunday afternoon.

    We have also had views most of the week of a great white egret, spotted redshank, ruff, hen harrier, marsh harrier and greenshank, whilst the kingfisher has been showing its hovering skills again.

    We still have a couple of places for our guided bat walk on friday 12 september, booking is essential.

    Posted by Helen B

  • 31 August 2014

    Mooving through...

    We have just had some new additions to the reserve, 44 cows from the neighbouring farm have been given the freedom of the scrape. They are there to graze on the vegetation and to help with the ecology of the area.

    Our kingfishers have been giving plenty of pleasure to our visitors over the last few weeks. Daily sightings from the reception building and around the mere of these colourful birds have been the highlight of many visits. The sight of a kingfisher hovering over the waters edge is amazing.

    The little egrets are evening visitors at this time of year, just before dusk they are returning in high numbers to the reserve having spent their day out on the marsh. Over 120 were counted gathering by marsh covert hide last week before they all headed off as one to their roosting area in the tall trees by the mere.

    Sightings this week have included ruff, greenshank, hobby, pintail, yellow wagtailspotted flycatcher, hen harrier and marsh harrier. The clouded yellow butterfly has been spotted too, a rarity for the reserve.

    Join us at Parkgate for the High Tide Watches on Wednesday 10 September and Thursday 11 September. Two days of exceptional high tides providing unusual views of a beautiful part of the Dee Estuary, with both birds and wildlife being moved closer to the coastline by the incoming water. Click here for more information including the tide times on these days.

    Like bats? If so join us on Friday 12 September for our popular guided bat walk, booking is essential. Prices, times and how to book can be found here.

    It is Burton Mere Wetlands 3rd birthday soon! On the weekend of Saturday 27 September and Sunday 28th September we will be celebrating. Come along and join us, its free entry for all.

    Posted by Helen B

  • 25 August 2014

    Return of the crakes

    Porzana porzana - photo © Marek Szczepanek

    An exciting time on the reserve with the appearance of a pair of spotted crakes on 31st July, with two black fluffy chicks on the back of the main scrape, in front of the reception hide. Since the discovery of a singing male crake in mid-May reserve staff have been out late at night monitoring its distinctive whip lash song. Occasional sightings of adult birds occurred in July and we suspected that there was a good chance that these elusive and very rare birds were breeding on the reserve. So as you can imagine when a couple of regular visiting birdwatchers reported that they had seen two adults with two chicks, the reserve team were delighted. The news was put out and many birders managed to see this very rare occurrence of spotted crake chicks and first confirmed breeding for the reserve. Unfortunately the birds have not been seen in the last couple of weeks but hopes are still high that they will appear again soon.

    Spotted crakes have bred in the area in the past, the area that we know as Burton Mere Wetlands was historically called Burton or Puddington bog and at one time was operated as a wildfowl shoot by Palethorpes the pig people. During this period in the 1930’s spotted crakes were documented as having nested in the area. Just before world war two, bore holes were installed by Shotton steelworks resulting in the lowering of the water table which then allowed the whole area to be drained and converted into intensive arable land. RSPB acquired part of the area in the 1980’s and with the reduction in water abstraction were able to start work in restoring the land back into wetland. With suitable habitat re-created at Inner Marsh Farm it was not long before spotted crakes were recorded on the reserve and over the years males have been heard singing on several occasions.

    Let’s hope that this is not just a one off and they become regular breeders on the reserve, so allowing visitors to see this enigmatic bird for years to come.

    Colin Wells - Site Manager

    Posted by Helen B

  • 21 July 2014

    Nature trail fun

    Our new nature trail is up and running and already being enjoyed by all the family. You will learn fun facts about species of birds and other wildlife found on the reserve. Pick up an entry sheet from the reception before heading off around the trail. Bring your smart phone along too, you can learn extra facts by scanning the QR codes on the trail sheets, you can download a scanning app before you visit. As the summer holidays arrive we have many things to keep children and adults busy, what better way to spend a few hours than enjoying the beauty of the nature reserve. Will you complete our trail, find the answer and earn a certificate?

    Our wardens have been busy clearing the views. The reed warblers and sedge warblers have finished nesting now so we are able to cut back the reeds at the reed bed screen exposing the view we have been missing for the last month or two.

    Sightings this week on the scrape have included common sandpiper, green sandpiper, spotted redshank, snipe, avocet, dunlin and ruff whilst hobby have been seen flying over the fields close by.

    Butterflies on the reserve have included a countless number of gatekeeper or hedge brown as many people prefer to call it. A beautiful butterfly with its bright orange and brown wings and distinctive black and white eyespot. A joy to see at this time of the year.

    Up and coming events include The big wild sea watch on Sat 26 July. Join the Coastal Rangers, staff from the RSPB and Hilbre Bird Observatory for a day on Hilbre looking for seabirds, wading birds and cetaceans that inhabit our wonderful coast. Booking is essential. Please follow the link...

    Posted by Helen B

  • 13 July 2014

    Whatever next?

    It is that time of the year when you just don't know whats going to show up next. This weeks sightings have included Little Ringed Plover, Common Tern, Greenshank, SnipeKingfisher and Dunlin with great views of Ruff, Common Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank on the scrape, the anticipation of what might arrive next is growing daily!

    We have Little Egrets a plenty on the Marsh Covert Hide pool, with youngsters now learning their fishing skills from the adults. With a recent count at the pool of over 50, it is a fabulous site to see.

    The beautiful Water Lilies are still in flower on the Mere, Moorhen chicks can be seen running across the Lily pads in quite a comical way. All around the shades of the Mere are the delicate pink hues of Herb Robert. A member of the Geranium family they create a fragile contrast to the sturdy Lilies.


    Flowers mean butterflies, and on the Reserve Gatekeeper, Painted Lady, Small White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet are amongst the ever growing list being seen. Also at the moment there a large number of Dragonflies and Damselflies adding colour and noise to the pathways as you walk around.

    Our resident Stoats are out and about most days, giving entertainment to our visitors, with youngsters (kits) playing in the sunshine on the boardwalk paths.

    Posted by Helen B

  • 1 July 2014

    Moorhen antics

    Our Kingfishers have returned! Having been away for a few months to breed they are back and adding a colourful streak as they fly past.

     Other sightings this week include Water Rail, Snipe, Common Sandpiper and a Spotted Crake which has been heard for a while but not seen until now.

     Welcome visitors to the bird feeder were a pair of Greenfinch, not seen on the reserve for a few years. A disease called Trichomonosis has had a substantial impact on their numbers. It is caused by a parasite and was first seen in finches in the UK in 2005. Really nice to see them back.

     

    Our Moorhen chicks are growing quickly with their parents providing much entertainment in the reception building. Adults are climbing the reeds to get to the seed heads. As you can imagine a grown Moorhen can be a little heavy for a reed stalk...

     

    Posted by Helen B

Your sightings

Grid reference: SJ3173 (+2km)

Great White Egret (2)
21 Oct 2014
Cattle Egret ()
22 Oct 2014
Curlew Sandpiper (1)
22 Oct 2014
Garganey ()
20 Oct 2014
Ruff (5)
19 Oct 2014
Greenshank (7)
19 Oct 2014
Spotted Redshank (3)
19 Oct 2014
Pink-footed Goose ()
18 Oct 2014
Water Rail ()
18 Oct 2014
Black-tailed Godwit ()
18 Oct 2014

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 53.257862,-3.021908
  • Postcode: CH64 5SF
  • Grid reference: SJ319739
  • Nearest town: Neston, Cheshire
  • County: Cheshire
  • Country: England

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