Neston Old Quay is an old sandstone quay, not very large, on the Dee Estuary salt
marsh edge. It has not been used for a long time, by the looks of it not for a 100
years at least! There is a small stream that flows out onto the marsh just by the
quay. It's not a fantastic place for bird photography. There are lots of birds about
but getting close enough with little cover is not easy. However, there are some
interesting species to be found around here, especially in winter, so it's worth
giving it a go.
Apart from the gulls and crows, that are plentiful, there are also little egrets,
grey heron, curlew, redshank and a variety of other waders as well as ducks and
geese. You may be able to get some good flight shots of the curlew, egrets, herons
and wildfowl but on the ground they are usually too far out and not easy to see
amongst the vegetation. Stonechats can be found here and do occasionally get close
enough for a shot or two. No doubt the short-eared owls, hen harriers and merlins
that winter along the Dee can also be seen from here from time to time. It's probably
best known for the water pipits that visit the stream by the quay. These are reported
regularly most winters, and this winter (2007/2008) a number have already been reported
here on several dates. Sadly for me, I've been along there a few times after work
but no luck so far. However, as they are reported so frequently here, I guess a
little patience is called for.
The quay lies on a footpath along the salt marsh edge between Neston and Burton.
I usually park up South of the quay, on Marshlands Road. However, you'll need wellies
or good walking boots as the path can be very, very muddy in places. The hedges
can get large numbers of redwings and fieldfares in early winter, but again it's
not easy to get close to them. Both the foot path and the marsh itself are popular
with dog walkers and so early morning might well be the best time to try. This is
especially if you want to have a go at flight photography over the marsh as the
low sun will be behind you.
A little way south of Neston Old Quay, and just a short walk from the place where
I park my car is Denhall Quay. Another disused quay by the Harp Inn. The same sort
of birds can be seen here (with the probable exception of the water pipits) and
you may get a better photo opportunity for birds like the stonechat.
Taking the path even further south brings you out at Burton Marsh. This is an even
better place to try for short-eared owls in winter as it has the added benefit of
a road alongside the marsh where you can park and use your car as a mobile hide.
Richard Smith's excellent Dee Estuary web site has more information and a decent
map. See the links below.
My photos from Neston Old Quay
Map on Bing Maps
Map on Street Map
Richard Smith's web-page on Neston Old Quay