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Wirral's Wonderful Wildlife

6th January 2017

Categories: News

birdwatching in Wirral

(Image by Sheila Ryde)

In winter, Wirral is one of the best places in the country to see wading birds. Thousands of birds such as dunlins, knots and oystercatcher gather over the high tides.  One of the best places to see them is Hoylake promenade as the tide pushes them very close.  Sometimes a peregrine falcon visits looking for lunch, and there is always a chance of seeing one of the grey seals that live near to Hilbre Island.       

Hilbre island marshes

(Image by Sheila Ryde)

Whether you are an experienced birdwatcher or just beginning to learn about them, there is a wonderful programme of birdwatching events coming up in Wirral. First up, come and join the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens, Wirral Rangers and the RSPB at a high tide bird watch on Hoylake promenade (CH47 3AL) on 14th January 2017, meeting at 10.15 am or 11th February, meeting at 9.30am.  These are free events, no need to book, just dress warmly, turn up on the day, and if you have binoculars bring them along.

Purple Sandpipers are birds that can be very difficult to see in other parts of the country, but not on Wirral!  Over winter high tides they gather in small numbers on the pontoons in New Brighton’s marine lake with turnstones, redshanks, dunlins and the occasional greenshank.

owl wirral

If you prefer owls and harriers head to the Wirral border to meet with the RSPB on the last Sunday in the month between January and March.  This will take place 1.00pm until dusk at the Old Baths car park in Parkgate. Marsh and hen harriers are often seen as are short-eared owls, peregrines, merlins and possibly great white egrets.  If the tides are high enough, they can push small mammals close to the wall and if you’re very lucky you may get to see an elusive harvest mouse.

Harvest mouse Wirral

(Image by Mike Davenport)

In the mouth of the estuary is the magical Hilbre Island Local Nature Reserve.  Atlantic grey seals haul out on the nearby sandbanks at low tide and can be seen swimming around the island at other times.  Rock pools are always worth a look for starfish and other animals.  If you’d like to walk out to Hilbre and learn a bit more about it then why not join Wirral Rangers at 9.00 am at the Marine Lake car park, Dee Lane, West Kirby on January 7th, February 4th and March 4th?  These events need to be booked and cost £5.00 per person.  Please contact 0151 353 8478 or deeestuary@rspb.org.uk.

If you like to learn about wildlife in the warmth then why not join Cheshire Wildlife Trust at Heswall Hall, CH60 0AF for one of their evening talks.  They all start at 7.30pm and cost £3.00 for adults and £1.00 for children.  13th January 2017 is appreciating the wildlife of the shores, 10th February is discussing badgers, 10th March has a young naturalist discussing his work saving raptors, and 7th April focuses on bats.

Whether you want to attend one of the events or just want to wander the many footpaths and walks that crisscross the Peninsula there is always some fabulous wildlife to enjoy.

For more information about birds and other wildlife in Wirral: Wirral Nature Guide

Karen Leeming, Chair of Wirral Coast Partnership

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