Fieldtrip to Marbury Country Park – 10th March 2013.

Anyone who likes walking in an icy cold wind with snow blowing around would have loved this trip. Even so, the snow was only fine and didn’t stick on the ground, so it didn’t hold us up. However, when we arrived at the car park for Marbury Country Park it looked as though there was snow on some of the trees as the Blackthorn blossom was now open.

We made our way to the hide by the side of Budworth Mere and saw a number of smaller birds in this area, including four different members of the Tit family, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Reed Bunting and Nuthatch. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming, a Jay was seen and just behind us a Song Thrush was trying out its song. One of our members who had arrived well before we did had also seen Treecreeper and a Kestrel. The Mere itself gave us Great Crested Grebes, of which two birds were doing the head shaking part of their courtship display and we also saw Cormorant, Tufted Duck and a Grey Heron. A single Sand Martin which was flying round over the water must have been wondering if had it taken a wrong turn with the cold winds, snow and everything else it was having to face.

Onto Hayden’s Pool where we saw Lapwing, Teal, Gadwall, some more Tufted Ducks and it was near here that we had some good vies of a few Buzzards flying low as they took flight from the trees they had been perched in. The only other plants I saw in flower were some Gorse but all round there area I was seeing Cuckoo Pint, Ramsons and Bluebells leaves now through the ground and growing well, although as yet not in flower.

We moved to Neumann’s Flash for our last stop where we saw Shelduck, Shoveler, Mute Swans, Black-headed Gulls, a lot of which now had their dark heads, more Great Crested Grebes, Grey Heron and two Oystercatchers which flew past us.

On our way back to the start we managed to get a good look at a male Great Spotted Woodpecker on a dead tree and on a small pool was a single Black Swan by the side of two Mute Swans. As we watched these birds preening it gave us a good chance to compare the difference in size between the two species and could see how much smaller the Black Swan was.

Finally we arrived back at the car park and it was time for home but as we travelled back we could see hills in the distance now white on their tops with a covering of snow. Thanks to Al for organising the trip, Martin Ansell for his knowledge of this area and leading us round and to Martyn for my lift.
Jeff Hurst

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