Whenever there’s an exceptional spring high tide, the Dee Estuary, in the north-west is a magnet for birders and a few nature photographers.
Tides are normally in the 8 metre range but spring tides come in at 10 metres. The Dee Estuary opens onto Liverpool Bay, a vast area of sand banks at low tide and home to thousands of waders. At normal high tides there is still sufficient sand and marsh areas for these waders to feed and roost. At spring tides their roosting opportunities are limited and the Dee Estuary is a favourite spot, especially Hoylake. The marshes near Parkgate belong to the RSPB and on exceptional spring tides they are inundated. Resident voles and mice make for the higher ground and Parkgate with its mile long old sandstone quayside provides quite a spectacle as many raptors and gulls enjoy the easy pickings as these rodents come close to the Parkgate’s busy promenade.
The RPS event was organized over two days, Wednesday February 23rd and Thursday 24th. The highest tide was on 22nd and together with a north-westerly wind on the day, the tide came right up to the old sandstone quay wall. However, the light was flat but as you can see there were many good images taken by members. The light was better on Thursday, but the wind direction had changed and the tide was just less than 10 metres, so not too many opportunities.
However Hoylake at the mouth of the Dee Estuary and near Hilbre Island is another spot for the photographer. This time wader flocks in their thousands looking for a roost. The high north Westerlies on Wednesday also attracted kite wind surfers and a wind off Hoylake and so prevented any roost. Thursday was better.
So do take a look at the images taken. Waders were taken at Hoylake and all the rest were taken at Parkgate and the footpaths north of the old baths car park.
Images by Bruce Kendrick, David O'Neill, Claire Pettingale, Maggie Bullock, Janet Richardson
For more events to attend go to Nature (rps.org)