Blog Post: Marshside – Hesketh – Roundup

Marshside Large flocks of birds love our Marshside reserves this time of year. Peak counts of black-tailed godwit still surpass 5,000 while over 20,000 pink footed geese regularly roost on the saltmarsh and graze the inner marshes. Wigeon are mobile, but have been giving up super views from Marshside rd recently often accompanied by teal . Scarcer ducks can be found, with a sleepy scaup settled in by Faircloughs platform and a visiting goldeneye. There have been up to two long tailed ducks at HOM and reports of short-eared owls across the NNR. An unseasonal Avocet has also made an appearance at HOM - and unusual sighting for this time of year. Grey Phalarope on Rimmers A grey phalarope has stayed for a few days on Rimmers marsh as I write. This is the second of the year, and much more visible than the last. We just love the way these birds spin and forage. Ron Jackson's video of the bird below puts this 'dance' to music. Video - Ron Jackson Moths and Spiders on the marsh A late flying moth made an unexpected appearance - an aptly named; feathered thorned moth was found on the reserve. A relatively common moth that's caterpillars feed on deciduous trees, not so common at Marshside. A more expected bug encounter came in the form of furrow orb spiders, many of who had colonised the electric fence posts. This particular orb spider prefers wet grassland, preferably with reeds, which we guess the posts were making up for. Reserve Team The reserves team have been out on the islands on Sandgounders' pool to knock back some of the club rush that develops on the edges. As well as hampering views, this plant has a tendency to take over valuable wet areas. Its also not very palatable, so the cows don't help us out with it. Strimmers at Marshside: Martin Campbell Clearing work has continued along the road and sea wall. Its important we prevent these areas from 'scrubbing' up and encroaching or providing nesting and perching for generalist predators. It may also help provide better view of parts of the marsh. With winter months fast approaching, the reserves are beginning to hold more and more surface water. As well as providing for some of the winter visitors now, this water is creating feeding areas for returning birds in spring. Settling Down The large works at HOM and Marshside have started to bed in and be put to use. We are waiting for the mud (its deeper and softer than it looks!) to calm down before we can finish the fence on Rimmers marsh and start the fence on HOM east. We are very happy with the water controls that are now in at Marshside. The connection between the outer and inner marshes has already proved invaluable in keeping the marsh wet/dry in the right places. We have taken delivery of a set of new signage, the first of which has been put on the recycled notice board in the carpark at Marshside. Look out for these popping up at strategic points around the reserve. We hope that they will help new visitors find their way around, and may even help the most seasoned of visitors with the names and locations of some of the pools. (Excluding the labelled Phal video and strimmers) - all other images Wes Davies on the reserves