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A Day on the Dee Estuary

Our "Day on the Dee" birdwatching tours are always popular and we hope you will see why here.

We met at Burton on the Wirral and were soon scanning the huge expanse of Burton Marsh. Birds came thick and fast within minutes! A Short eared Owl floated over the grassland like a giant moth as a male Hen Harrier skimmed over the marsh on the look out for breakfast. An enourmous Great white Egret flapped heavily across the distant creeks but soon dropped down out of sight. A flock of Pink footed Geese flew low north up the estuary over a gang of nine Whooper Swans which also took to the air.

The rough field behind us also held plenty of birds, both Fieldfare and Redwings fed, a pair of Stock Doves showed well on a large nest box, a Jay jumped up onto the fence and both Kestrel and Buzzard hunted the field.

We walked north to overlook pools where Shoveler and lots of Lapwing were feeding. A Merlin powered over the marsh and then climbed high into the sky above us. Lots of Little Egrets were out on the marsh along with a fine Grey Heron stood statue like in a pond.

We then headed over to the west bank of the estuary where we quickly found our target bird, a flock of Twite! These lovely mountain finches that winter on the saltmarsh showed off very well feeding just below us and the flying up to land on the walls of Flint Castle. Through the Leica APO 82mm telescope we could clearly see the pink rumps and yellow bills of these lovely finches. A Hen Harrier hunted over the distant saltmarsh on the east side of the estuary.

Flint Castle Dee Estuary

Nearby we found a mixed flock of swans, Bewick's, Whooper and Mute Swans all feeding on the grazed saltmarsh. The views were distant but again the telescope brought the birds closer allowing good comparison of the bill colours and structures. It was very cold out on the marsh with a real edge to the east wind. Time for a hot drink! We enjoyed a warming cuppa and even here we still saw birds as the cafe overlooked wet fields with Redshank, Lapwing, Shelduck, Pied Wagtails and a lovely singing Skylark.

Back on the east side of the estuary we had our lunch over looking Parkgate Marsh. Again plenty of Little Egrets here and a female Peregrine swept low over the marsh scattering waders and ducks before her. A ringtail Hen Harrier hunted low over the marsh to the south of us and worked nearer and nearer. This lovely raptor showed off right in front of us giving us some of the best ever views we had ever enjoyed!

Next stop was nearby RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands reserve and we timed our arrival perfectly as a Water Rail was showing very well below the reception hide! This great bird was in full view and alongside both Moorhen and Coot for comparison.

The lagoons on the reserve were busy with birds as always. A stunning Golden Plover, well into its breeding plumage, was resting amongst a large number of Lapwing. Black tailed Godwits waded amongst Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall and a single Dunlin dropped in.

We walked down to the Marsh Covert Hide and enjoyed great views of four Grey Herons and a feeding flock of Wigeon, loads of Teal, Shelduck and Tufted Ducks. Then we noticed a raptor sitting on a nearby gate post, a Merlin! This cracking little falcon was preening and totally relaxed allowing us scope filling views! It was brilliant to soak up the views of these scarce bird of prey. The Merlin sat there so long we were able to show everyone in the hide this lovely bird through the scope, including two young children. Always great fun to share a great bird with lots of people.

We finished the day back over looking Burton Marsh where hundreds of Pink footed Geese were feeding and lots of Little Egrets again. Then we saw a huge Great white Egret flying low over the marsh, this time we were lucky and this monster egret landed in full view and we had great views. The Great white had landed right next to three Little Egrets allowing great comparison.

A lovely way to finish our our Day on the Dee and we look forward to our next visit to this bird rich estuary.

For details of all our day trips and tours please drop us a line at


We look forward to enjoying great birds with you soon!


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