We arrived at Kings Acre in the late afternoon. Our accommodation was a lodge converted from a stable sitting on a small holding on the edge of Chester. It was immediately clear it had lots of potential for wildlife.
A Buzzard on the field hunting invertebrates was a good start to the morning, along with a number of common species. Our first stop was the RSPB reserve at Burton Mere, a series of pools just inland from the Dee estuary. We had missed seeing a Pectoral Sandpiper, a rare visitor from North America by 10 minutes! During the next 90 minutes, it did not reappear, but we did see a number of Curlew Sandpipers and 3 Green Sandpipers, as well as Avocet, Ruff, Dunlin and a Great Egret.
From here we went onto Parkgate. Parkgate was once a seaside town on the Dee estuary. However, over the years the estuary silted up and now instead of the beach, the promenade runs along the edge of a marsh, which is managed by the RSPB. Here we had Dunlin, Little Stint, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank and Spoonbill on the ‘flashes’ – areas of mud and water in the marsh.
Whilst here we heard that the Pectoral Sandpiper had reappeared at Burton Mere so we hurried back and got good views, albeit distant on the far side of a mere.
Our first stop was at Parkgate again, but this time we went to the northern end of the promenade to explore another part of the marsh. 12 Spoonbills were on boathouse flash and 3 Marsh Harriers were seen. Our afternoon stop was the front at New Brighton but there was too much disturbance for any birds to stay on the beach.
Today was a trip to Wales. We drove to Llandudno and I took the tramway to the top of Great Orme headland in search of Chough. It was very Windy but I did see a party of Chough near the cliff edge.
In the afternoon we went to the RSPB reserve at Conwy, where there was a good selection of waders.
Exploring Kings Acre. Some Chiffchaffs and a Redstart present plus Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Jay.
Went to the WWT reserve at Martin Mere in Lancashire.A good selection of birds seen including Hobby, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Pinkfoot geese (just arrived from breeding grounds) and Cattle Egret.
Our first destination today was Crosby Marine Park, from where we could look over the pools in Seaforth Docks. On the lake in the marine park were Little Egrets and Common Redshank and on the dock pools were Oystercatchers, Knot, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and best of all. an American Golden Plover. This was only the second time I have seen this species in the UK. After a stop in Southport, we finished the day at the RSPB reserve at Marshside in hope of a Hen Harrier but did not see one.
Spent some time at Burton Mere where there were 8 Spoonbills present plus a Green Sandpiper and a number of Curlew Sandpipers.
We visited Leasowe Common looking for migrants. On the sandbanks were 4 species of gull, Oystercatchers and Common Redshank. on the Common there were some families of Stonechats and some Chiffchaffs. We then returned to Burton Mere, where a Barnacle goose was a new addition alongside Spoonbills, Teal, Gadwall, Curlew Sandpipers and Lapwings.
In the wild circling vultures are a sign to other scavengers about the presence of food. It was interesting to note that even in the UK, circling birds of prey have the same effect and that whilst we were watching the flying displays at Gauntlett, the birds were joined by a number of wild birds of prey including a Sparrowhawk, a Red Kite and up to 4 Common Buzzards,
As we were packing the car to return home, a party of 12 Pinkfoot geese flew over Kings Acre, a clear sign that the arrival of winter visitors had begun. This brought the list of species seen close to the lodge to over 30, confirming our initial feeling that we would have good wildlife on our doorstep. One other highlight to mention was that we recorded 3 species of Owl, Barn, Tawny and Little on the site.