Had a walk around the River Weaver and then a look over No.6 tank after work today.
A pair of Stonechat were on the fence on No.1 and a Brown Hare tried to flatten itself in the short grass before making a dash for it while I past by. There were many ducks species on the river with Common Shelduck, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and c300 Canada Goose being present. A pair of Great Crested Grebe also being present.
A small flock of Avocet made their way out to the Mersey estuary to join a group of Redshank and Oystercatcher feeding on the mud bank.
Onto No.6 tank the 2cy ringtail Hen Harrier made its way over the flood water and settled in the reed bed much to the concern of the resident Lapwing pairs. A Short-eared Owl flew high over the tank hassled by a couple of Raven which were en route to their bed, the owl was later seen hunting over the Hoverforce field along Lordship Lane.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3). Other images from archive by WSM.
An after work trip down to No.6 tank after a tip-off from Paul Miller who had earlier found a couple of Water Pipit on No.6 tank. It didn’t take long before the pipits which were with 12 Meadow Pipit and a couple of possible additional wipits.
The sound of distant Pink-footed Goose echoing from Frodsham Score.
There was an increase in the numbers of Eurasian Teal with c780 birds present. Also noted were 31 Tufted Duck, 6 Gadwall, 21 Mallard, 7 Common Shelduck and 34 Northern Shoveler.
The real treat of the evening was to have female Marsh Harrier, ringtail (1 winter male) Hen Harrier and a Short-eared Owl in the same binocular view. The ringtail flew through and landed for 15 minutes out in the open while c30 Common Snipe were disturbed by all this raptor action. A Common Buzzard once again took its opportunity to take out a teal from the deep flooded vegetation.
The movement of Raven leaving the marsh against a stunning sunset to their Welsh homelands was again impressive.
Observer and images: WSM.
We took a hike from Marsh Lane out to the banks of the Mersey estuary…and back.
The rain didn’t relent once during our walk and the birds were hunkered down on the salt marsh or hidden deep in cover to avoid the worst of it. A look over No.6 tank revealed c350 Eurasian Teal feeding deep in the flooded vegetated areas of the shallower waters. Once in a while the whole flock spooked themselves out to the open water. Also present were Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Common Shelduck and 4 Ruff. A Sparrowhawk caused a minor panic with the local tits along Moorditch Lane.
The area where the proposed sand works at the north-west corner of No.6 now has a series of shallow pools and may be productive if they stay moist.
Our walk continued to the Holpool Gutter where 31 Mute Swan were in the grassy fields on Ince marsh fields and with them was a single adult Whooper Swan and 4 Greylag Goose.
Looking across the Manchester Ship Canal (which had 41 Coot floating along it) out towards Frodsham Score featured 25 Golden Plover with several gaining their ‘northern’ summer plumage. A small flock of Black-tailed Godwit headed inland while 5 Little Egret, 7 Whooper Swan, c200 Pink-footed Goose and several hundred Wigeon were feeding by the edge of the River Mersey. A female Marsh Harrier dropped down into the tall grass for a rest from foraging and both Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff sang from dense cover nearby.
Walking back along Lordship Lane and another much larger flock of Black-tailed Godwit headed to flooded fields by the M56 motorway.
A big female Peregrine reined supreme on top of the blue chimney.
Observers: JS & WSM (images & video).
I was out and around No.4 tank this morning with a start at Ince. Curlew were feeding in the fields near to the ‘pig farm’ alongside a Rook flock from the nearby rookery. The pools held a few Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and a single Little Egret. Onwards to the Manchester Ship Canal path where more Mallard Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck and more Gadwall all on the canal. Common Shelduck and Canada Goose were plentiful on the salt marsh and a small flock of Pink-footed Goose were noted grazing far out near the river edge.
A flock of Golden Plover were circling above the marshes and moved off to the east. 3 Oystercatcher were on the canal bank and a group of 10 Redshank passed by.
A family group of 5 Whooper Swan were in with the Mute Swan herd alongside 7 Greylag Goose and c60 Curlew.
Myxomatosis was showing in a couple of Rabbit on No.4 with one particular Rabbit looking to recover from its infection showing scarring around the eyes, but otherwise healthy!
Looking over Lordship Marsh only 3 Mute Swan were present alongside Curlew and a handful of Lapwing. A group of Redwing were making their way along the hedgerow much to the annoyance of a Mistle Thrush but all scattered when a Sparrowhawk made an appearance. The Rook flock were all gathered around their nests in the rookery and were fighting each other over nesting material and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling as it flew overhead.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
A quick walk around No.6 tank with a start along Moorditch and Lordship Lanes. The flooded fields past the model aircraft field had a small flock of Linnet. The Whooper Swan herd have shifted location and can’t be found in the fields by the motorway and tonight just 4 Mute Swan were settled there. The hedgerows had flocks of north bound Redwing.
A look over No.4 tank revealed the tatty Marsh Harrier floating as majestically as you can with a bunch of flight feathers missing.
The fields everywhere are flooded with the aftermath of Storm Gareth but Storm Harriot should keep the pools topped up. Many Northern Shoveler and 18 Tufted Duck were utilising the area.
A look over No.6 tank produced c300 Eurasian Teal with 16 Tufted Duck and the usual numbers of both Common Shelduck and Northern Shoveler.
A Peregrine was sat high on her blue topped chimney above the Weaver estuary.
Observers: JS & WSM (images).
An after work visit and maybe the last before Storm Garth muscles in from the Atlantic.
The choppy waters of No.6 tank harboured c320 Eurasian Teal with 21 Northern Shoveler, 20 Mallard, 18 Common Shelduck and 16 Tufted Duck. A Black-tailed Godwit shared the edge of the daisy beds with a solitary Ruff.
A steady passage of Raven heading off to their evening roost continued throughout the period of my watch. One bunch of 5 birds mobbing a raptor high in the sky draw my attention to a Short-eared Owl. The owl eventually hunted low over the reed beds but without the close attention of the corvids making life difficult for it.
A Cetti’s Warbler sang out loud and proud and Meadow Pipit were parachuting in display flights.
Observer: WSM (image 1). Image 2 by Paul Ralston.
I started my walk at Moorditch Lane this morning where a Chiffchaff could be heard calling above the din of the M56 traffic. A flock of Chaffinch were feeding in the bushes along the lane also. No.6 tank had Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck were all present in reduced numbers on the flooded water .of this sludge tank.
Both Raven and Great Black-backed Gull were all scavenging on No.3 while Common Buzzard and Kestrel were hunting in the area.
A single Marsh Harrier was sat in its usual place in the reed bed of No.6.
A flock of c300 Golden Plover left the Frodsham Score salt marsh and gained height and headed east along the Manchester Ship Canal, and c80 Black-tailed Godwit dropped on to the marsh and joined a flock of Curlew already feeding there.
There was 40 swans alongside the Holpool Gutter and included 32 Mute and 8 Whooper Swan with 8 Greylag Goose and the long staying and 2 field dwelling Great Egret.
A flock of c100 Curlew and c40 Black-tailed Godwit were spooked by a Peregrine circling overhead.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).
Above a couple of images and a video by WSM of the proposed sand work development on No.6 tank. It is assumed that work will not commence until after the breeding season?