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Avocet - Don't mind if I do! 12/4/2018

Headed a few miles from home down to the bottom of The Wirral for a prolonged visit today that involved some work and some play!

First port of call was the excellent Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB reserve where there is always a cheery welcome from staff, volunteers and old friends. The highlights on the reserve included two pairs of stunning adult Mediterranean Gulls from the Reception, the birds displaying to each other amongst the Black-headed Gulls. Also 2 Spotted Redshanks showed intermittently from Marsh Covert Hide in with 3 Common Redshanks. A Ruff was scoped from the path near the pool, down on the wetlands, and a very showy Cetti's Warbler was in brambles and trees by the path by the pool from the same area. Over 100 Avocets were on the reserve, every pool having good numbers of this elegant, but belligerent, wader wading around (pictured). Blackcap and Chiffchaff were noted singing around the reserve as well as Swallows, Sand Martins and 2 House Martins, to make up the spring migrant quota! On a more wintery note a couple of Gadwall were seen as well as lots of Teal.

After Burton Mere RSPB I ventured a bit further afield. I was rewarded with a Cattle Egret in a wet grassy field with 5 Little Egrets by Puddington Lane, not far from the A540 junction on the left-hand side when travelling towards Puddington village. The birds were quite distant but the Cattle Egret was identifiable through binoculars, although a scope showed it up even better.

Later a walk down to Burton Point produced the third egret species of the day with a Great White Egret distant on the marsh, this time a scope was absolutely necessary. Also seen here were two Black Swans, how long before these escapees colonise the UK properly?! A more gruesome discovery here was a dead Mole, it had been decapitated and then abandoned. This is often a sign of a raptor kill and some say that moles can be distasteful, but I reckon that is more to mammals than birds. So why it had been abandoned is unknown, maybe disturbance.

Another fun day out, with over 60 species of birds seen, and several year ticks with a couple of rarities to add too.

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