I saw a flock of 30 Waxwing in flight over Runcorn Railway Station this morning. Then at 12.05 pm Don text me to say he refound his flock from two days ago and were back at the Co-op car park, High Street, Runcorn. So, after work I called to the site and in the trees at the top of Regent Street (adjacent) to Co-op car park were the Waxwings but now they had increased to 43 birds. I managed a few record shots before the camera batteries died on me.
Observers: Don Weedon, WSM
I received a text today from Don Weedon to say that there were 16 Waxwing in a Cotoneaster (tree) by Co-op car park (off High Street, Runcorn Old Town) from 12.20 pm. When I eventually got there at 16.30 they had flown to roost.
Observer: Don Weedon.
A muck maker on No 5 tank this morning.
Scaup (1st winter) doing what these ducks normally do here and that’s sleep.
Scaup (bottom left of picture) with tufties on No 6 tank.
400 Common Teal, 4 pairs Pintail, 32 Pochard, 43 Tufted Duck with only one (1st winter) Scaup viewable from yesterdays birds, 11 Wigeon and 100 Mallard.
100 Fieldfare sharing the ‘worming’ with 800 Starling and 10 Ravens on No 5 tank.
4 Waxwing in trees adjacent to Picow Farm Road Recycle/domestic depot, Runcorn at 10.50 am.
Driving along the A56 by Frodsham swing bridge in the late afternoon I spotted a Mink roadkill on the kerb edge. Much to the disdain of my partner we parked nearby and I duly picked it up and then carried it to a safe area to get a photograph (above) for your delectation,
.Observer and images: WSM
No 6 Tank: 4 Scaup (1 male, 3 female), 1 Goosander (male), A pair of Pintail along with Wigeon, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Pochard,
A pair of Bullfinch along Brook Furlong Lane.
Frodsham Score: Great White Egret, 10 Whooper and Bewick’s Swan.
Observers: Frank Duff, Alyn Chambers.
4 Waxwing by Picow Farm Road Recycle/domestic depot at 4.05 pm for 5 minutes before departing.
4 Waxwings in trees by the recycle/domestic tip along Picow Farm Road, Runcorn.
Observer and images: WSM.
Lordship Marsh: Little Egret flew over, 300 Chaffinch, 26 Brambling and Skylark numbers doubled to 300 in the stubble and obviously an influx after the snowfall we had last night.
Marsh Farm: 2 Peregrine, single Merlin and a male Stonechat.
Manchester Ship Canal below Marsh Farm: A solitary Green Sandpiper here and 3 Gadwall flew along the river.
Weaver Bend: 150 Tufted Duck,17 Goldeneye and 150 Skylark were notable.
Observer: Frank Duff.
Some time ago I came across a small Canada Goose albeit distantly on Hempstones Point on Astmoor salt marsh, Wigg Island, Runcorn. Initially the goose was identified as one of the Lesser Canada Goose races on its small size compared to the larger Western Canada Geese which it loosely associated with. The identity of small Canada Geese are fairly complex but generally the species most likely to occur in the UK is hutchinsii, Richardson’s Canada Goose.
The Wigg Goose from the initial find was paired to a Barnacle Goose of which it was of comparable size.
Some doubts were raised to the birds identity and eventually the expressed view was that the goose was a hybrid.
Following this revaluation I obtained some video footage of the goose and images from that video are included here. I believe the bird was a Cackling x Barnacle Goose which I have nicknamed the ‘Barnana Goose’. After some resource on the web I found David Sibly’s online guide useful in Distinguishing Cackling and Canada Goose . Other informative images and text were gained from Dave Appleton’s site gobirding.eu click here. Dave’s site shows images of a Cackling x Barnacle hybrid at Amner and Shernborne, Norfolk, from 6th January 2011. Although very similar to the Wigg Island bird that particular hybrid showed a small white band on the forehead.
The Canada Goose chart above may help with size, structure and variety of the races.
The video grab images of the ‘Barnana Goose’ above give a general impression of a Cackling Goose. The rule of exception is the black neck sock which is uniform with the breast colour and an indication to its Barnacle parentage Also noted is its size compared to the adjacent Canada Goose.
The video was taken on 28.11.10 and the birds were present from early November throughout the winter of 2010-11. With frequent disturbance by dog walkers the flock kept its distance and were difficult to observed generally. The origin of the Wigg bird will never be determined but nonetheless an interesting winter goose.
There are loads of photographs of Waxwings in various close up views from this winter. So, this mobile phone image of the two Waxwings (you’ll have to take my word for it) are seen as the birds were found at or near the top of this tree.
Waxwings in trees above a pond at ‘The Copse’ off Palacefields Avenue, Runcorn at 12.05 pm.
Observer: WSM, Mike Thompson.
Short-eared Owl (5 reported) hunting along the south banks of No 6 tank soon moved out towards the estuary. Lordship Marsh stubble fields held a similar collection from yesterday with an increase in the numbers of Skylark to a flock of 200. Also present were 25 Brambling, 300 Chaffinch, 100 Linnet (in three flocks) and 2 Yellowhammer. A huge flock of 1000 Wood Pigeons and a relative high of 3 Jay.
The Weaver Bend: 8 Goldeneye and 4 Pintail.
Observer: Frank Duff, Guido D’Isidoro.
Mixed finch flock in willow tree alongside track to the north of Lordship Marsh. This is the site and banks where the Shorties have been seen
.9 Brambling in with Chafinches and the odd Reed Bunting. All images by WSM.
9.15am: Lone Waxwing on track to No 6 tank viewing spot, looking for none existant berries. Flew off towards Marsh Lane area. Teal sitting out their time on the frozen tank.
Observer: David Kennedy.
A winter wonderland with the track leading to Marsh Farm. Not long after I took this photograph a flock of 200 Golden Plover flew from No 5 tank (left of the snowy path) and alighted on No 1 tank (right of snowy path).
Weaver Estuary: 198 Tufted Duck, 25 Pochard, (3 male & 6 female) Goldeneye and 10 Common Shelduck. Also present was a minimum of 8 Raven.
Weaver Bend: 5 Goldeneye (all imm/females), 138 Common Teal and 8 Little Grebe.
Weaver Bend/The Lum: A small mixed flock of 10 Reed Bunting, 2 Goldfinch, 6 Linnet and a single Twite.
Lordship Marsh: 25 Fieldfare, 150 Skylark, 2 Yellowhammer, 4 Greenfinch, 300 Chaffinch and c25 Brambling. Also 3 Short-eared Owl disturbed by shooters here and flew out to Frodsham Score to avoid them.
Guido D’Isidoro, Frank Duff, WSM.
All images by WSM.
If you are planning on doing the marsh tomorrow and it’s snowing or there is a heavy frost overnight it my be wise to park on the motorway bridge or in Marsh Lane. The icy road down from the bridge to the marsh was difficult in anything other than a four wheel drive.