One of my regular haunts is the upper reaches of the Wyre estuary at Little Singleton. It doesn’t get the birds of the better known Skippool Creek area to the north west, but it’s relatively easy to get to and has its charms.
The standard fare of the Wyre on this stretch is wildfowl, waders and gulls. In terms of wildfowl the area can be very popular with both feral and wild geese. Today for example there were around 160 Greylags, over 450 Pinkfeet and a few Canadas. Unusual visitors can turn up in both goose groups, and recently have included Greenland Whitefront, Barnacle and Bar-headed.
Ducks including regular wintering Goldeneye and sometimes decent numbers of Teal and Wigeon. There were three fine drake Goldeneye on the river today. Waders include regular Greenshanks and Green Sandpipers and occasional Spotted Redshanks in spring and autumn, whilst a sizeable Whimbrel roost occurs in spring only. Britain’s third Great Knot must have used the site having been seen either side on the Wyre.
The saltmarsh south of Waterside Farm looks like it should be good for raptors, but I haven’t had a great track record for them here. Merlin do turn up though, and in the summer there can be a sizeable hirundine pre-roost gathering before birds head into nearby Maize fields and Hobby must turn up in late summer.
Numbers of gulls tend to be lower than the peaks at Skippool, but sometimes roles are reversed and larger numbers favour Little Singleton. Mediterranean Gulls are regular in the autumn.
The fact that only a couple of people regularly watch the estuary here is in many ways a reflection of the fact that it isn’t generally going to turn up anything too exciting. But if you are already visiting Skippool it may be worth stopping off on your way home. Avoid normal high tides and days following significant inland rain as in these conditions the river banks are covered and there are few birds. Spring high tides can be a different matter as the saltmarsh floods extensively and birds can be displaced into view.
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