Pallid Harrier: A first for Cheshire

On the 30th of September confirmation came through of an adult female Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) on the Dee estuary marsh as viewed from Neston Old Quay on the Wirral peninsular. The confirmation of an adult female comes as only the second of its type to be discovered in the United Kingdom (majority are juveniles/1st winters with occasional adult males), whilst Pallid Harrier its self is a first for the county of Cheshire.

Pallid Harrier at Denhall_edited-1
Adult female Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) – A distant bird throughout the day; if takes up residency the roost site would be best bet for

Having made several distant observations of the Pallid Harrier I popped over the road to Burton Mere Wetlands having noticed a constant stream of Black-headed Gulls heading down the estuary and onto the reserve. On arrival besides the plenty of BHG logged at Inner Marsh Farm (175c), all was quiet with Curlew Sandpiper (x3, 1st winter), Black-tailed Godwit (74) and Little Stint (5, one rufous juvenile).

Afterwards I went walked over back to the Harp Inn to gain more views of the Pallid Harrier before making my way to Parkgate to wait dusk, why ? Traditionally the Old Baths car park at Parkgate have been where the wintering Harriers on the Dee estuary gather to roost; so with a Pallid now one at least 10 harrier sp on the Dee, it would make perfect sense for it to join in the Harrier roost. Something which a short while after arrival the bird followed suit and joined the rest of the Dee harriers in the roost.

All in all a great day out with my 2nd Pallid Harrier of the year, this being my 234th bird for Cheshire and a good supporting cast of Eurasian Hobby (1), Peregrine Flacon (2) & Great Egret (6), as well as catching up with some old mates and meeting new faces.

Burton Buzzard_edited-1
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) – A fresh 1st winter feeding on the remains of another Common Buzzard.
burton ad hen harrier_edited-1
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) – Bird was observed going into roost with the Pallid and several Western Marsh Harrier later that evening.
burton juv sand_edited-1
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) – An above average year for Curlew Sands on the Wirral peninsular with over 30 records this autumn.

Header Image – Gavin Thomas



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