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Wirral’s Wonderful Wildlife in Winter

10th November 2017

wader birds wirral

Image by Karen Leeming

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.      
  Whether you are an experienced birdwatcher or just beginning to learn about them, why don’t you come and join the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens, Wirral Rangers and the RSPB at a high tide bird watch.  These are free events, no need to book, just dress warmly, turn up on the day, and if you have binoculars bring them along.  See Facebook: Wirral Wader Festival for details.

Purple sandpiper bird wirral

Image by Karen Leeming


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.
If you prefer owls and harriers, then make your way to 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. 

owl wirral

Image by Sam Ryley

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. The RSPB hold free events here throughout the year, see http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/events-dates-and-inspiration/dates-with-nature/327690-wild-wirral- for event details.

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 the islands please ensure you follow the safe route instructions in the Dee Lane noticeboard.


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.
 

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