Category Archives: Burton Marshes

Fire on the marshes

I paid a quick visit to Burton Marshes on Tuesday. There wasn't an awful lot to see, but I saw a few skeins of Canada geese flying in V-formation:

Canada geese over Burton Marshes.
Canada geese over Burton Marshes.

Oh, yes, and some people who seemed to know what they were doing had set fire to the marsh for some reason:

Fire at Burton Marshes
Fire at Burton Marshes.

Catching up

I'm a bit behind with this journal, so a quick catch-up:

I went for a walk on the Moor in search of sundews the other week, and wrote about it here.

Then I had a go at photographing butterflies in my garden:

Green-veined White butterfly.

Then I took a short walk at Burton Marshes: Continue reading Catching up

Serendipitous snaps, and two new bird species

I made another visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Mere on Tuesday.

Canada geese.

The recent prolonged spell of hot, rainless weather meant that much of the wetland near the Marsh Covert Hide was, in fact, dry-land, which meant that there weren't all that many birds close to the hide. But there were still plenty to see in the distant pool. Continue reading Serendipitous snaps, and two new bird species

Two new life-list entries (in black and white)

Plumbers, a joiner and an electrician are wreaking havoc in what was once our bathroom and will, in ‘a good week and a half at least’ (plumber's promise), be our superb new bathroom. Radio 2 and power tools have been on at full blast. The house has been filled with alarming banging. I have been exiled to the dining room. So, on Tuesday, for a bit of peace and quiet, I left for Dad's much earlier than usual, and paid my first ever visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Marshes.

As I entered the new visitor centre, I was surprised to see my friend Carolyn's teenage son greeting visitors. He explained that he was on work experience. I embarrassed him something rotten by insisting I take our photo and text it to his mum.

Dudes
A pair of dudes on Tuesday.

To test him, I then asked Carolyn's son to tell me what birds we could see in the scrape about 100 metres away. He pointed out shelduck, black-tailed godwits, lapwings, little egrets, and a few other species, then delighted me with my first ever sighting of an avocet. It was feeding in the shallows with sideways sweeps of its upturned beak. Continue reading Two new life-list entries (in black and white)

Burton Marshes

I took a walk down the new cyclepath at Burton Marshes to Burton Point yesterday afternoon.

To be honest, I'm in two minds about the cyclepath. I can see the appeal of a bike ride along the edge of the marshes, away from traffic. But it's turned a place of solitude and quiet reflection into something of a thoroughfare. One local dog-walker I met yesterday was extremely vocal about “all these damn bikes!”. (Actually, I paraphrase, he used a different adjective.) Still, at least it's a clearly defined and well-maintained path, which any would-be off-road cyclists will stray off at their peril, thanks to the nearby military firing-range. And I suppose it keeps the cyclists off the hills.

Southern marsh orchid
Southern marsh orchid.

I was pleased to see the yellow flag irises and southern marsh orchids out in abundance. As were the swifts, skimming low overhead.

Yellow flag irises and alder carr
Yellow flag irises and alder carr.

The Burton Point sandstone outcrop is the location of a disgracefully out-of-bounds Iron Age fort. At the time that the fort was built, it would have been on the banks of the River Dee. But, in the eighteenth century, the river was canalised upstream and its route diverted to allow the navigation of larger vessels to Chester—which is when the marshes began to spread. Had this not happened, I suppose the heavy industrialisation on the Welsh side of the Dee Estuary, where the river now flows, would have taken place on the Wirral side. In which case, Burton would not be such a Mecca for birds. Or cyclists. Or me. So hats-off to those eighteenth-century Dutch engineers who inadvertently enmarshed the English side of the Dee Estuary!

Dee edgelands
Dee edgelands.
Burton Point
Burton Point.

Full set of photos from my walk »

Whitethroat snaps

I managed to get some more whitethroat photos at Burton Marshes yesterday afternoon:

Whitethroat serenading the flies, Burton Marshes
Serenading the flies.

Whitethroat, Burton Marshes

Whitethroat, Burton Marshes

Lapwing and sedge warbler

I've been busy the last week, so I haven't had time to show you the pretty decent photo I took of a lapwing in my farmer friend's field on the evening of 22nd May (my second walk of that day). Here it is:

Lapwing
Lapwing

This Tuesday, I spent another couple of hours at Burton Marshes. It was pouring down, so I decided to just sit in the car and wait to see what came along. I didn't have to wait long. Within a minute of my arrival, I was visited by a sedge warbler, which perched on some cow parsley right next to the car. I didn't want to scare it off by opening the window, but I managed to take a couple of quite nice shots through the glass:

Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler

Still busy, I'm afraid. Better dash!