I was out this morning around the River Weaver and No.6 tank. A male Sparrowhawk was sat on the roof of a house on Marsh Lane as I made my way on to the marsh itself. There were the usual juvenile Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff being noted along Brook Furlong Lane.
Onward to the river and Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck were guarding their broods from the patrolling Great Black-backed and Herring Gull while the Avocet which are made of sterner stuff took the challenge of the raiders and openly fought their foes.
Shorebirds returning south included Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher all were feeding at the river edge, and Common Sandpiper were numerous along the river and Manchester Ship Canal.
The canal pools held a pair of Mute Swan and the Eurasian Coot had a second brood with still the earlier brood present. A Common Snipe flushed from the pool edge while Common Swift and Sand Martin hawked flies over the fields. Several well grown Avocet chicks were on a hidden scrape alongside c 40 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Raven were feeding on a sheep carcass nearby.
The’ phalarope pool’ held 8 more Black-tailed Godwit and a Green Sandpiper dropped in but left a short while later.
The Kestrel brood were trying their new wings out by flying back to their nest site.
On No.6 were c30 Redshank and several hundred Black-tailed Godwit fed in the shallows alongside Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Mallard and Gadwell were all noted.
Two Brown Hare were noted during my walk.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images ).
Additional images by WSM ().
An afternoon visit to No.6 tank and a couple of female Tufted Duck with their respective 4 & 5 brood of tuflings. Coot were leveling out at c60 birds and the first Common Snipe either local breeder or passage migrant were all present.
The Black-tailed Godwit flock is increasing and c750 birds were gathered on the edges of the shallow waters bordering the dried out vegetation. The female/juvenile Garganey was again with 10 Eurasian Teal.
There was a gathering og Common Swift and Sand Martin riding the wind over the eastern banks.
A family party of Yellow Wagtail were also at the edge of the water.
Observer and images: WSM.
I started my walk at Brook Furlong Lane today where Chiffchaff could be heard contact calling from the hedgerow, while a Ringlet Butterfly was seen in the reeds extending its range from the River Weaver.
The first of two Brown Hare were seen in the meadows alongside the lane and it flattened its body to the ground as a Common Buzzard passed over.
On the River Weaver a Tufted Duck hid her brood in the reeds and a Hobby was seen in hot pursuit of a Common Swift.
Common Sandpiper are still in double figures along the river banks and were joined by c50 Black-tailed Godwit and several Redshank including an odd looking bird with legs and bill longer than the other birds.
Several thousand Canada Goose were out on the Mersey estuary and a male Stonechat was seen near to Marsh Farm.
Walking back along Lordship Lane and a brood of Kestrel were ready to leave their nest site complete with leg irons. There were c200 Common Swift were hawking over the banks and both Reed and juvenile Sedge Warbler were noted in the ditch.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).
An after work walk around No.6 and an impressive c500 Black-tailed Godwit in shimmering red summer dress wading through the shallow waters of this sludge tank. Small numbers of Redshank, Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover were busy stocking up for their respective marathons ahead.
Perhaps the highlight was a Little Egret that was in with the godwit flock. I can only assume this is a locally bred bird?
There were hundreds of Common Swift about the edges of the tank with Sand Martin keeping low over the water of the sheltered from the stiff breeze in the lanes.
The ‘Splashing Pool’ had the majority of 68 Tufted Duck and most being drakes under going their summer moult. Adjacent to the ‘Splashing Pool; is the ‘phalarope pool’ named from its first ever rarity, a Red-necked Phalarope a couple of years ago. This pool had an adult and juvenile Little Ringed Plover, no doubt a product from the mating ritual I witnessed earlier in the summer? A small number of Black-tailed Godwit were also present.
Observers: JS, WSM (images 7-9).
A swift visit to the marsh before the rain sets in produced a Marsh Harrier being mobbed by an Eurasian Hobby over No.5 tank.
No.6 tank was surprisingly alive with stuff including a family party of 5 Yellow Wagtail. Hundreds of Common Swift were hawking low over the eastern embankments while an absence of hirundines was notable. A Green Sandpiper was with the Lapwing flock, while c80 Black-tailed Godwit shared their space with 20 still in summer plumage Dunlin, 30 Redshank, 2 Ringed Plover and 1 adult and 4 juvenile Little Ringed Plover. The ducks were increasing slightly with Eurasian Teal reaching double figures and with them was the first female/juvenile Garganey of the autumn. A small flock of Tufted Duck included their now growing rapidly ducklings.
Observer: WSM (and image).
An after work stroll along the River Weaver and Manchester Ship Canal this evening.
A few Common Sandpiper were dotted about the canal and river at least 10 in number with 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Redshank and several Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher.
The Avocet pair are still making a commotion at interlopers into their territory and a juvenile was seen at the edge of the river.
Looking over the Mersey estuary and a Peregrine powered along the shoreline putting a mass of gulls and waders in to the air c60 Avocet flew along the River Weaver then turned back and settled on the Mersey shore and were joined by a Little Egret.
The Canada Goose and Common Shelduck were out on the river and shore as were several Greylag Goose and Great Cormorant.
A Brown Hare was noted in the meadows.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
Out and around No.6 tank this dull morning with Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck and Little Grebe all with young on show this morning.There were c100 Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the shallows and were joined by a noisy Avocet for a short while. A pair of Avocet on one of the scrapes was guarding their 2 well grown chicks. They were joined by another 2 Avocet which combined their forces to drive away a Common Buzzard. They continued to vent their anger by bullying a Common Shelduck that were sharing the scrape with them, the duck stood its ground and refused to budge.
Linnet and Goldfinch were feeding on the thistle heads and had several young with them.
Along Lordship Lane Reed and Sedge warbler were busy feeding young as were Common Whitethroat and Reed Bunting. On one bush along the lane held Linnet, Goldfinch, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Dunnock, Robin, Blue and Great tit.
A Lapwing took offence with a juvenile Kestrel sitting on a post and chased it over the bank.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
An after work walk along the River Weaver early evening saw 7 Great Crested Grebe resting together on the river alongside Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck and Mallard.
There were clouds of butterflies rising up from the nettle beds as I walked with mostly Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper being active.
A single Black-tailed Godwit fed on the river bank and was .joined by a flock of c200 Eurasian Starling.
There were wo pairs of Avocet which had 3 chicks with them and a single Lapwing chick being noted. Common Sandpiper were in double numbers with a group of 8 birds seen flying out of the Weaver and on to the Manchester Ship Canal where a Little Ringed Plover was also noted.
Out on the Mersey estuary were c2000 Canada Goose trekking in single file along the mud flats.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.