North Cheshire RSPB ON Saturday, August 15 a group of 15 enjoyed our trip to Burton Mere Wetlands.

For most, this is their local RSPB reserve and one which has been supported by the group.

It was a bit chilly and we spent the first part of the morning in the visitor centre.

The visitor centre doubles as a hide and is great for keeping warm and dry, even having a fire for those cold winter days and lovely hot chocolate hmmmmm....

We had two new ladies in the group, and one of them was the first to spot the kingfisher and the common lizard.

Not bad for their first trip with us.

We saw nearly 50 species of birds altogether with a number of dragonflies and some butterflies.

The most common dragonflies were darters and hawkers, and for butterflies it was gatekeeper and meadow brown.

We clocked up a good number of birds without even leaving the visitor centre, including common sandpiper, house martin, mute swan, shoveler, teal and heron, to name just few.

The only small rain shower we had came while we in the visitor centre.

The rest of the day was lovely, the early chill having quickly disappeared.

We walked round to the barn which was very quiet but the bridge at the end of the trees was very productive.

We saw a number of tits, a female blackcap and goldcrest.

Also before lunch we had a walk around the meres which added kingfisher, male blackcap and the regular birds at the feeders.

Lunch was eaten in a range of locations including cars, the visitor centre and picnic tables in the car park.

We shared our lunch with the sound and sites of a number of small flitterers.

We also heard a treecreeper but were unable to locate it.

All fed and watered we set out to Inner Marsh Farm (IMF) hide, stopping on the way at the viewing screens and being rewarded by the addition of a little grebe and gadwall, as well as a number of species already seen.

On the way down we also got good views of whitethroat and mistle thrush, and a real treat, a charm (flock) of about 40 goldfinches.

When we arrived at IMF it was quite quiet but after having a good look at black tailed godwits and other water birds we were rewarded with excellent views of not one but two water rails, one of which was smack bang in in front of the centre of the hide and could be seen clearly, even without binoculars.

Feeling very positive about our day so far we decided to pop to Burton Point.

Crossing the field we had great views of a kestrel that posed quite happily for us.

The views at the top were fabulous and Wales could be seen clearly.

On our return to the visitor centre we were feeling good about the day, but it just got a whole lot better when our most threatened bird of prey was spotted, the hen harrier (ringtail).

A great day was had by all.