Birdwatching Group AGM – 15th January 2019

By | February 1, 2019

1. Waders and how to recognise them

Ruff in winter plumage (Photo by Pete Gately at Martin Mere, 2018)

The meeting started with a very interesting talk by Bill Hale on ‘Waders and how to recognise them’ focussing on Curlew, Whimbrel, Ruff, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Knott and Stint.

Aggressive Black-tailed Godwits (Photo by Peter Banks at Martin Mere, 2018)






Despite the unreliable sound system, Bill’s recordings of birdsong were memorable, and in the case of the curlew, haunting.  The video of clouds of Knott in murmuration over the Wash in Norfolk was spectacular and the aggressive Godwit behaviour was unexpected as were their ‘bendy bills’.

Bill also mentioned current research he is involved in into apparent seasonal changes in colouration of some birds without a second moult implying that mature feathers must be changing colour – you heard it here first!

Bill had prepared information about several more waders, so we look forward to ‘Part Two’ of his talk!  Bill’s immense knowledge and dry Lancastrian humour made it an enthralling session, we are lucky to have him in our group.

2. Review of 2018 visits and sightings

Peter Banks presented the summary of visits and sightings for 2018, copies of which had been emailed to members before the meeting and are also appended to this report.

Two of the visits planned for 2018 had to be changed.  It had not been possible to arrange group transport for the small number who would have been able to visit Conway RSPB on 29th May, and the wildfires that ravaged Rivington Moor prevented our planned visit on 10th July.

All of our group sightings are recorded on the group’s web pages and also logged at BirdTrack a national project run by the British Trust for Ornithology in partnership with RSPB (and others) that records distributions and migration movements of birds throughout Britain and Ireland.

3. Proposed venues for 2019

Peter Hatfield presented his list of proposed venues for birdwatching in 2019. Six of last years reserves are revisited this year but in different seasons, one site not visited by the group is re-introduced (Rivington) and four local venues not seen last year will be seen this year (Marbury CP, Woolston Eyes, Speke Hall NT, and Hesketh Outmarsh RSPB).

4. AOB

There was a discussion about future possible venues for visits, Sand dunes beyond Hall Rd. Hightown, Seaforth Docks Bootle, and last year we put Sizergh Hall (NT) and Bempton Cliffs on the list. More comments please, we look forward to an interesting year ahead.

Attendance: Fourteen members of the group attended this year’s AGM, and apologies were received from seven.  The list of attendees is recorded on the group’s database and is available on request.

Peter Hatfield and Peter Banks, joint leaders.


Click ‘continue reading’ for the summary of visits and sightings for 2018 and the list of planned venues for 2019.

Birdwatching group – Summary of 2018 visits

Birdwatching group – Species seen 2015-2018

Visits planned for 2019:

  • 12th February – Pennington Flash Country Park
  • 12th March – Marshside RSPB, Southport
  • 9th April – Marbury Country Park nr. Northwich
  • 14th May – Woolston Eyes SSSI nr. Warrington
  • 11th June – Lunt Meadows nr. Sefton
  • 9th July – Burton Mere RSPB & Dee marshes, Wirral
  • (No meeting in August)
  • 10th September – Rivington and Anglezark CP
  • 8th October – Speke Hall (NT)
  • 29th October – Leighton Moss RSPB nr. Silverdale
  • 12th November – Hesketh Outmarsh
  • 10th December – Martin Mere WWT

Last Updated on February 1, 2019