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Biggest Twitch
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Moor, Mist, Marsh and Mere

A custom day tour for Jan and Stuart, they wanted to see Black Grouse and then some gentle-paced birdwatching with some identification help along the way, so that is what we planned for them.

Our plan went wrong within minutes. Thick fog blanketed the moor as we climbed up the hill. We made slow progress in the pea-souper but eventually reached the spot and we could hear Black Grouse but not one to be seen. Slowly the fog thinned a little and we had our first glimpse of a fine male Black Grouse strutting his stuff.

Blk Grouse one 11Mar

A hard frost and the mist made for a very atmospheric experience as the grouse displayed in the cold damp air, they are tough birds. Gradually the visibility improved and we enjoyed some of the closest views of the grouse we have ever experienced!

Blk Grouse two 11Mar

Blk Grouse four 11Mar

Blk Grouse five 11Mar

Blk Grouse six 11Mar

Blk Grouse three 11Mar

Suddenly the male Black Grouse became more alert and stepped up the intensity of the lekking, and we soon saw why. Two females, Greyhens, had arrived at the lek and all the males wanted their attention,

Greyhen March 11

The Greyhens were very wary and soon melted away into the mist leaving the males still in a frenzy of display, wonderful for us to watch.

We moved to the other side of the moor where the mist was breaking and blue sky was above us. By the time we had enjoyed a hot drink and some tasty cakes it was mostly sunny. A male Ring Ouzel was in a small bare tree near the larch plantation, a lovely surprise, our first of the year.

Worlds End view Mar after mist

We then headed down to the Dee Estuary and enjoyed a breakfast by Burton Marsh where the sky was blue and the sun shone. Plenty of birds out on the marsh including lots of Pink-footed Geese, wildfowl and waders.

At nearby RSPB Burton Mere we enjoyed more sunshine and the wonderful sight of 31 Avocets on the lagoon. A Hen Harrier and Merlin hunted over the reserve and a Kingfisher perched over one of the pools as a Chiffchaff sang from the trees.

Goldfinch BMW 1

The bird feeders were busy including Goldfinches coming down for lunch. Black-tailed Godwits were massed on one of the islands and Little Grebes dived for fish while Grey Herons watched from their nest sites high in the pine trees.

All those birds had given us a thirst and we enjoyed a drink and biscuits before taking Jan and Stuart to their car and heading for home. A great day at a relaxed pace allowing plenty of time to really enjoy every bird.

Birders BMW


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