Rostherne Mere Fieldtrip - 15th December 2013

Our last trip of 2013 was to Rostherne Mere, the largest of the Cheshire Meres and an English Nature site. On arriving we were met by some volunteers that were going to show us round the area so on the payment of £1 each we were soon walking through a small wooden area where we had Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, a few of the Tit family and Nuthatch. Redwing and Fieldfare were flying over, some of which landed near the top of the trees as did a few Goldfinch a little later.

There were some good sized trees in this wood, some of them having Ivy growing up them and I noticed one particular tree where the main stems of the Ivy coming from the ground were at least three inches in diameter so even that had been around for a few years.

We soon reached a small hide and because of the limited space inside we were split into two groups, one to go in the hide and the other to walk part way round the mere to where there was another wooded area. In their return we would change over so everyone had done the same things. Once in the hide we were told of a Bittern that had been seen in the reeds just by the side of the hide but we were not lucky enough to see it this time. Most of the ducks were quite a distance away towards the middle of the mere but we did manage to pick out the different species such as Goldeneye, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Wigeon. On the far side of the mere we could see a group of Cormorants perched in some large dead trees and were told that these trees are where the Cormorants usually nest each year and some members also spotted a Heron not far from these. We heard Water Rail squealing in the reeds not far from the hide and the other group had a good view of a Marsh harrier that they disturbed as they walked round. The bird flew towards the hide but dropped into the reedbed on one side before all of us in the hide managed to see it and it didn’t show itself again after this.

Eventually it was our turn to walk round and as we approached the other wood I saw a Bullfinch in some bushes and we could see Woodpigeons keep flying up from the tops of the trees. A little later we found out why when we spotted a Buzzard flying round over the trees. As we walked by the side of the water we saw both Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe and the other group had seen Reed Bunting.

As we walked round I spotted the last remaining flower on a Red Campion plant and up in one of the trees a Grey Squirrel’s drey. We had earlier seen a Grey Squirrel in the smaller wood running along the thing branches of the trees much faster than we were walking on the solid ground.

We met up back at the small hide so we could all walk out from this area but had one last stop off in their observatory from where we had views across the whole mere. From here we saw a number of birds we had already seen but also saw a Kestrel that landed near to the building and watched 2 Ravens flying over the water as they flew towards each other they would tumble, twist and turn in their flight.

This finished our visit off nicely and thanks must go to the volunteers for showing us round and for all the information they gave us. Thanks also to Al for setting up this trip and to Martyn for my lift.

Jeff Hurst

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