The Wirral peninsula is one of the best places in the UK to see wading birds in the winter months, feasting on the rich mudflats of the Dee and North Wirral shores.
To celebrate this natural spectacle, Wirral Coast Partnership has organised a busy programme of events for Wirral Wader Festival on the 1st and 2nd of October.
Karen Leeming, Chair of the Wirral Coast Partnership, said: “Last year, the enthusiasm and ‘can do’ efforts of the Wader Festival Partnership delivered the first UK Wader Festival despite the adverse weather thrown at it by storms Abigail and Barney. It was very successful and by popular demand it will be held again this year.
"The Wirral Wader Festival is a real community effort to showcase Wirral’s wading birds and a full weekend of events will take place at Wirral Country Park, Thurstaston visitor centre and at other coastal sites."
Wirral was approached to hold the first event of its kind in the UK in 2015 by Rick and Elis Simpson of Wader Quest. They came on a visit to view the remarkable efforts of the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens (DEVW) who protect the thousands of birds roosting on West Kirby and Hoylake beaches at high tide.
Wirral Wader Festival was created by DEVW with Wirral Council’s Coastal Rangers, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and Wader Quest.
Wirral Country Park in Thurstaston will host a range of activities and stalls for everyone from keen birdwatchers to those who would just like to know a bit more about local wildlife. There will also be children’s activities including a painting completion.
Nearby Shore Cottage Studio, a family-run art centre located at the foot of Thurstaston cliffs, is also offering drop-in sessions that give families the chance to get creative.
There will be high tide watches to marvel at the knot and dunlin roosts on Hoylake beach and at Cheshire Wildlife Trust's Red Rocks nature reserve. At West Kirby there will be live footage beamed direct from Little Eye, showing off the oystercatchers and curlews up close.
Leasowe lighthouse will host displays and tours of the historic building.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust will be holding guided walks around the Red Rocks SSSI nature reserve and Wirral Rangers will be guiding a walk to Hilbre Island.
For full details of the events and activities during the festival, visit www.facebook.com/wirralwaderfest, or wirralwaderfestival.blogspot.co.uk. Most activities are free but some have a small charge – see websites for details.