Field Trip Meeting to RSPB Ynys-hir – 3rd April 2022 – report by Mim & Jock Elliot-Smith
9 members of SOS met at 10am in at RSPB Ynys-hir on a beautiful sunny, if slightly nippy, April morning.
Our arrival at the reserve was heralded enthusiastically by a calling Nuthatch, and our list got off to a good start even before we left the car park with Blackbird, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff singing in the trees, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Nuthatch and Chaffinch on the feeders, and Moorhen, Teal and Kingfisher on the pool below the picnic area. Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming, and we added Dunnock, Pheasant, Bluetit, Siskin, Red Kite and Carrion Crow to the list. Our RSPB Visitor Engagement Officer, Roger, gave us a brief talk about the current situation on the reserve: a nesting pair of Red Kite and also breeding Lapwing, and reports of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers.
As we moved on into the reserve, we saw a large number of Oystercatchers a fair distance way on the estuary, with Mallard, Canada Geese and Shelduck also in view. Along the trees and hedges lining the path down to the railway bridge we spotted a Robin, and while focussing in on a very close Song Thrush, also became aware of a soaring Sparrowhawk – the bright sunlight making the wings and tail appear almost translucent against the clear blue sky. In the trees, an elusive Goldcrest and Treecreeper were heard and fleetingly seen.
Further on down the path we were treated to a closer view of a male Blackcap.
From the Marian Mawr hide, facing into a cool breeze, we saw Little Egret, Coot, a few Redshank and a brief view of a couple of flying Snipe. A black-tailed Godwit was identified, alongwith Teal, Wigeon and Gadwall on the water. A Reed Bunting appeared briefly on the willows beside the water.
Outside the hide, in the warmer sunshine and sheltered from the breeze, views down to the estuary added Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and Curlew to the list. Two Pied Wagtails were seen on a large dead branch, a Meadow Pipit on the willows, and a Cormorant was spotted flying over the water. Walking on to the Saltings Hide, we spotted a fidgety Wren and and pair of Reed Buntings showed themselves beautifully on the bank.
From the Saltings Hide, we were treated to further views of Teal, Redshank, Canada Geese, and Meadow Pipit. A pair of Stonechat showed themselves well on a fence, and six to eight Curlew were seen on the grass in the distance. A pair of Great Black Backed Gulls were displaying, and a Raven flew over, adding itself to the list.
Walking from the Saltings Hide back to the Visitor Centre for lunch, the distinct song of a Willow Warbler was heard. The path cutting through slate rock was edged with Navelwort and wild Primroses. Lunch was taken at the picnic area outside the visitor centre, where a Cetti’s Warbler was heard and a Buzzard flew overhead.
The afternoon route took us through the woodland, where we spotted Treecreeper, a female Stonechat and a Wheatear standing out well on the grassy area. Further on was a Heron, and a Cormorant with visible breeding patch, and a Cetti’s Warbler once again called for attention.
From the Ynys Feurig Hide there were further views of Canada Geese, Heron, and a Great White Egret added itself to the list. From here we also had our first view of Lapwing – just the one.
After leaving this hide, following the boardwalk, we saw a Rook before ascending the woodland path lined with Wild Strawberries, Violets, Wood Anenome and Lesser Stitchwort to the Ynys Hir Hide. Despite a wonderful view of the estuary, no further species were seen from here, and we returned to the Visitor Centre. A total count of 52 species seen and/or heard.
Field Trip Meeting to RSPB Leighton Moss – 20th March 2022 – report by Ian Baggley
On a glorious spring day, and having to put up with road works & lane closures for what looked like no purpose (!!), 7 members met at the car park. The group proceeded to the Causeway with a first highlight being a close and prolonged views of a Marsh Tit, followed by at least 2 Bittern booming. Other notable species seen were Peregrine Falcon, Cetti’s Warbler, and the first of many sightings of Marsh Harrier, together with lots of comer wetland and woodland species. The Group then moved on to the coastal trail where lunch was taken, and watching huge numbers of waders mainly Black tailed Godwits, Redshank, Dunlin, Oystercatcher and Avocet. The group then went to the central part of the reserve where Marsh Harriers performed almost constantly for everyone. Other highlights were Great White Egret, Pintail, and Garganey, a nice male that slept all the time. All told over 60 species were seen by the Group. (NB. Thank you to Ian for substituting me in leading this field trip due to health issues. Sue Brealey)
Field Trip Meeting to Wood Lane NR – 20th February 2022 – report by Sue Brealey
On a blustery day, with Storm Eunice & Storm Franklin, 3 stalwarts arrived at Colemere for the published field trip to Colemere. However, after discussion, it was felt that walking around the mere in unknown conditions if trees had felled etc with very slippery conditions, it would be safer to move the meeting to Wood Lane NR. After waiting to see if any other members would decide to come, the agreed move took place.
Once sheltered in the hide, initial species included a couple of Oystercatcher, a few Black headed Gulls, Canada Goose, a few Cormorant, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck & Woodpigeon. A Kingfisher flew through very quickly. Around the feeding station by the left of the hide, Blackbird, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit & Robin were seen. At the other side, the birds seen including Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch and Coal Tit were much more reticent about staying on the feeders, but then a Sparrowhawk flew through and proved why the birds were so shy. A Grey Squirrel was also using the feeders. Otherwise, the birds seen included, Lapwing, a Raven flying overhead, Carrion Crow. Moorhen & Coot.
With the weather beginning to get a bit blustery, and early finish was decided on.
Return to Field Trip Reports