The estuary is relatively quiet in April and May, most of the waders and duck having moved on to breed. However, good numbers of some species are still present so it is certainly worth a look at the high tide roosts.
Just as the estuary goes quiet the surrounding woods and heathland come into their own. The gorse is ablaze with yellow flowers and the woods full of bird song. Thurstaston and Caldy hills seemingly have Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers in every bush!
April and May are particularly good for migrants. Red Rocks, Hilbre Island and Point of Ayr are recommended.
Inner Marsh Farm RSPB reserve at Burton is very much worth a visit this time of year, the sight of hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage flying in a tight flock around the reserve is truly magnificent.
Latest Bird Counts:
Heswall 15th March 1998: 1 Greenshank, 4120 Redshank, 1400 Curlew, 500 Oystercatcher, 30 Grey Plover, 300 Dunlin, 5 Mallard, 760 Shelduck, 1 Ruddy Shelduck, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 18 Teal, 2 Great Crested Grebe.
Hilbre Island 14th March 1998:2 Snow Bunting, 9 Pale-breasted Brent, 50 Red-throated diver, 1 Black-throated diver, 1 Scaup.
RSPB - Inner Marsh Farm 3rd April 1998: 17 Spotted Redshank, 400 Redshank, 250 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ruff, 3 pair Little Grebe, 35 Shoveller, 62 Pintail, 44 Shelduck, 30 Tufted Duck, 2 Peregrine Falcon (Male and Female), 100 Teal, 50 Wigeon, colony of Blackheaded Gulls.
1 Greater Flamingo, 1 Ruddy Shelduck and 1 Falcated Duck in Burton/Parkgate region - all probable escapes.
Little Egret. 1 on Burton Marsh late March/early April.
Spoonbills. Between 3 and 5 at Parkgate. Also seen at Burton and Inner Marsh Farm.
4 Short-eared Owl and 2 Water Rail seen at high tide at Parkgate on 28th March.
Next Spring Tides:
Sun. 26th April, 1143hrs, 9.9m.
Mon. 27th April 1230hrs, 10.0m.
These are the last of the big tides until September.
High Tide Birdwatches at Parkgate, experts on hand at Old Baths - 26th April and 27th April.
The following are arranged by the Wirral Ranger Service and should be good for birds:
15th April. Walk to Parkgate 11am to 4pm
A leisurely walk to Parkgate, following the coastal marshes of the Dee Estuary. Bring a packed lunch and footwear suitable for muddy path. Ring 0151 678 4200 to book place, don't forget to ask where the starting point is!
19th April. Marsh Matters 10am to 12 noon.
A walk into the creeks and marshes of the Dee Estuary. Bring Wellies and Waterproofs. Meet at Banks Road car park, Heswall (by Sheldrakes). Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.
2nd May. Spring Migrants on Hilbre. Early morning.
An early morning bird-watch on Hilbre to see the spring migrant birds. Bring warm waterproof clothing and food. Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.
3rd May. Early morning Birdwatch at Stapledon Woods. 8am to 9:30am approx.
Meet at Kings Drive North (off Column Road - just up the hill from Caldy round-about on A540, unmade road). Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.
14th May. Sunset Walk to Hilbre. Evening.
An evening stroll across the sands to Hilbre. Bring snack and waterproof clothing. Ring 0151 648 4371/3884 to book place.
The following are arranged by the Flintshire Countryside service:
3rd May. Birds before breakfast. 5:30am.
Walk with RSPB warden Andy Gouldstone. Meet at environment Centre, Greenfield Valley (off A584 at Greenfield). Ring 01352 714172 to book.
3rd May. Dawn Chorus, 5:30 am.
Walk around Wepre woods to hear the dawn chorus. Meet at Wepre park visitor centre. Ring 01244 814931 for details.
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