I was out around No.6 and No.4 tanks this morning before the worst of the weather set in.
A host of Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, 2 juvenile Mute Swan, c500 Black-tailed Godwit and several Common Redshank were on No.6. Several hundred Northern Lapwing were on No.3 tank and were flushed by a Western Marsh Harrier, 2 Common Kestrel, Common Buzzard were hunting in the same area and a Common Chiffchaff was contact calling from the north pathway.
Flocks of European Goldfinch were feeding on the burr-heads while a mixed flock of Linnet and Chaffinch were feeding amongst the stubble.
The herd of 20 Whooper and 3 Mute Swan were on Lordship Marsh and a Little Egret was seen flying alongside the M56 motorway. Very few winter thrushes were present the large numbers from previous visits have now moved on.
A Merlin crossed the track at the junction of Moorditch and Brook Furlong Lane.
On to Ince where c250 Eurasian Curlew were foraging in the fields along Kinsey’s Lane pushed off the salt marsh by the very high tide which covered the whole marsh.
Flocks of Dunlin and Common Redshank were swirling around looking for somewhere to land and Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove and feral pigeons left the marsh and flew inland catching the attention of a Peregrine.
Two Western Cattle Egret and a dozen Little Egret were in amongst the pigs.
Driving west along the M56 motorway we spotted 4 Whooper Swan in the fields by the slurry tank, but there could of been more hiding behind the hedgerows.
We called into Marsh Lane at Ince on our way home and found 3 Western Cattle with 11 Little Egret at the pig farm. The sound of yelping Pink-footed Geese could be heard out on the gloomy salt marsh with Eurasian Curlew coming into roost in the nearby fields and a dog fox scurried away alongside the winter whet field.
We took a walk through Delamere Forest and was treated to a free (they were testing the system) show of their illuminations deep in the heart of the forest. Lesser Redpoll flock of 26 birds were in the alder trees on the west side of Blakemere where a pair of Common Goosander were present.
After the forest we took a walk along Moorditch Lane and then along the north side of No.6 tank. A flock of c350 Eurasian Teal were widely scattered with very much reduced numbers of Northern Shoveler and Pintail, some Eurasian Wigeon and Common Shelduck.
Further out on Frodsham Score were scores of Dunlin flashing light and dark as they were flushed by a predator. The European Golden Plover flock were joined by Northern Lapwing and soon settled on No.5 tank for the evening with tens of Eurasian Curlew.
Observers: JS & WSM (images).
A Western Marsh Harrier was over the reed beds and the 20 Whooper Swan were still on Lordship Marsh per Jacqui & Idris Roberts and Arthur Harrison..
Met Kane Brides down at Spike Island who was catching and ringing Black-headed Gulls for their #NWBHGs project. After a brief chat Kane mentioned that they had caught the long-staying Norwegian bird (J2LC) who has been visiting Spike Island since the winter of 2012 and he very kindly donated its old white leg ring to me. There will be a few additonal colour rings to spot over the coming winter.
A decent selection of ducks on No.6 tank this morning with Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Shelduck and Common Pochard all noted with c300 Black-tailed Godwit in shallows.
The herd of Whooper Swan have increased by one to twenty birds and nearby 3 Mute Swan Lordship Marsh.
There were numerous Redwing. Fieldfare, Common Blackbird and Song Thrush and Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Linnet and Common Reed Bunting along Lordship Lane.
I stopped at the pig farm in Ince on my way home where 2 Western Cattle Egret, 10 Little Egret and numerous Pied Wagtail.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 3-8).
A JCB digger was working in the centre of the reeds on No.6 tank today?
An early morning walk along Brook Furlong Lane where Redwing. Fieldfares and Common Blackbird were plentiful feeding on the hawthorn berries eside the lane. Also 5 Eurasian Greenfinch were also present, and then 2 pairs of European Stonechat being noted along Alder Lane. A flock of c1500 Northern Lapwingwere with c200 European Golden Plover and smaller numbers of Eurasian Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit were foraging in the fields close to Marsh Farm.
A large flock of Northern Pintail made their way out to the Mersey Estuary and there looking regal were 4 Great Egret out on the mudbanks with several Little Egret. A herd of 23 Mute Swan held 7 juveniles and more pintail were on the river with Eurasian Teal, Mallard and Common Shelduck. Four Common Snipe dropped down in to Redwall Reedbed and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk was hedge-hoping in an attempt to ambush the thrushes. Also seen were Common Kestrel and Common Buzzard were also active in the area. T
At Ince the clay shoot was in full swing and no egrets were present, but the ducks on the pools at Goldfinch Meadows LNR were also on high alert and easily flushed as I walked past, The usual species being present and again 3 Mute Swan flew in to settle on one of the ponds. More winter thrushes were stripping the berries off the canal side hawthorn bushes and closeby a raft of c60 Eurasian Coot were flushed by a passing ship as were 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe and several Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Eurasian Teal.
A Western Marsh Harrier flew from Frodsham Score and onto No.4 tank while a male Peregrine checked out the plovers on the stubble field before settling on the fertiliser plant.
Back at Ince the clay shoot was over and 2 Little Egret joined the pigs but did’nt look happy in the snow.
Observer: Paul Ralston (image 1-4).
There were two Great Spotted Woodpecker chasing each other along Moorditch Lane this morning. Amonst the finches, thrushes, buntings, wagtails, skylarks and pipits feeding by the model flying field on Lordship Marsh were a Tree Sparrow and a Brambling. A Peregrine launched an attack over the mostly frozen No.6 Tank, flushing at least 10 Common Snipe.
Further out were 46 Common Pochard with the Tufted Duck on the Weaver Estuary along with 12 Common Goldeneye.
Observer: Alyn Chambers.
We took a walk along Lordship Lane where the 19 Whooper Swan looked the part as the snow began to fall in small flakes before drifting down in thick and fast. The maize fields were mostly frozen and the damper patches held a few Pied Wagtail, Eurasian Skylark and Linnet flocks.
The ‘splashing pool’ held several Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler with the only bird on the ice of the ‘phlarope pool’ being a lonely Black-tailed Godwit.
No.6 tank had its share of Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon and Eurasian Teal but not in any great numbers and all tucked into the think vegetation on the margins of the ice.
The snow began to fall thicker and the light was fading fast so we headed home.
We independently took a windy walk around No.6 tank this morning. A small number of Northern Shoveler were viewable with the rest sheltering in the vegetation, again foraging Eurasian Teal were difficult to count but c400 would be about right, Mallard, 20 Common Shelduck, c150 Eurasian Wigeon and 2 Mute Swan were all sheltering from the Storm Arwen on the tank. A Western Marsh Harrier was hunting at the edge of the reed bed and spooked the Northern Lapwing there, 3 Ruff and c450 Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the shallows.
More Northern Lapwing were joined by a flock of c160 European Golden Plover on No.3 and a small lighter coloured wader was seen speeding over towards the Canal Pools. Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, a Common Chiffchaff, Eurasian Skylark, Common Reed Bunting and Meadow Pipit were abundant during our repective walks and were feeding in the stubble fields and hedgerows.
The herd of 19 Whooper and 4 Mute Swan were close to the path on Lordship Marsh, 4 other Icelandic swans flew overhead but ignored the herd below.
Flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare were feeding on the berries of hawthorn on the banks with many continental Blackbird amongst them.
Observers: Paul Ralston (images), WSM.
I stopped at Ince on my way home where several trees had been toppled by the storm one blocking the path to Goldfinch Meadows LNR. There were 18 Little Egret and 2 Western Cattle Egret were foraging amongst the pigs and a single Mistle Thrush joined them.
I spent the day walking around No.6 tank and ended up walking back in the dim wet half light. Lordship Marsh was again productive with the herd of Whooper Swan (now numbering 19 adults, and still no juveniles) and quite close to the westbound carriageway of the M56.
A flock of c150 Linnet, 30 Chaffinch, Redwing and Fieldfare included a locally rare Tree Sparrow feeding with them in the maize stubble field close to the track of Lordship Lane. A Grey Wagtail added to the picture.
A Cetti’s Warbler was proclaiming its existence to others of its kind from a bramble patch on the edge of No.4 tank.
The ‘splashing & Phalarope pools’ on No.3 tank have a nice selection of ducks with a tame drake Northern Pintail alongside c54 Northern Shoveler, 114 Eurasian Teal, 12 Mallard and several Eurasian Coot. Further along the track and the Weasel was seen again hunting along the grassy margins. A skein of 50 Pink-footed Goose were feeding on the mitigation of No.3 tank and several hundred Northern Lapwing were moving about the area with European Golden Plover.
A quick look across No.6 tank in the steady drizzle produced 28 Common Pochard, numerous shoveler, pintail and teal.
Went on a 18 km ramble around the marsh with a stop off at Rocksavage where a young Peregrine was keeping tabs on the goings on at the Weaver Bend (that’s when it could stay awake long enough). Goldcrest were roving along the hedgerows without any urgency and a Common Kingfisher was fliting across the Weaver Navigation.
Arriving at No.6 tank and a flock of c600 Black-tailed Godwit were busy feeding through the buttonweed beds whilst the water was alive with c140 Northern Shoveler, 61 Northern Pintail, c300 Eurasian Teal, 87 Eurasian Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 34 Mallard, 4 Tufted Duck and 27 Common Pochard.
A Western Marsh Harrier was drifting over the reed beds. A Common Chiffchaff was calling from the reeds while more bloisterous were the Cetti’s Warbler at variuos localities.
Further out off Frodsham Score were 6 Great Egret.
Today was cold but beautifully sunny. As we walked down Lordship Lane, we saw lots of Fieldfare, Chaffinch and European Goldfinch. Walking up the slope to the tank we saw 6 pairs of Eurasian Teal and 4 pairs of Northern Shoveller on the ‘splashing pool’ next to the ‘phalarope pool’. The pool had one Northern Pintail, a couple of Black-tailed Godwit and several Northern Lapwing.
Continuing on, we saw a pair of European Stonechat.
Observer and images: David Eisner.
A quick after work visit to Kinsey’s/Marsh Lanes, Ince. Two Western Cattle Egret, 8 Little Egret close to the pig farm. Also nearby were Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen and a pair of Mute Swan at Goldfinch Meadows LNR. Three Little Egret went to roost in the trees near to the screen pond. There were 3 egrets still foraging in the dark then flew to join the others in their roost .