24.08.13. Birdlog (WeBS count)
Waterfowl featured 408 Common Teal, 43 Tufted Duck, 2 male Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck (and hybrid type), 156 Common Shelduck. Also noted was the adult and juvenile Black-necked Grebe present on the eastern corner of No 6 tank.
High tide brought in an impressive 1500 Ringed Plover, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 1 Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Ruff, 2 adult Curlew Sandpiper, 500 Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, single Green Sandpiper and 15 Common Snipe. It was inevitable that raptors would be in tow and an adult male Peregrine (with prey) and both male and juvenile Marsh Harrier to No 6 tank duly obliged.
A juvenile Common Tern didn’t linger and passed through on its way to the river.
Observers: Frank Duff, Alyn Chambers, WSM.
Frodsham Score had notable concentrations of Shelduck with in excess of 700 birds and with them was a Ruddy Shelduck vieing for attention. This bird later flew to No 6 tank.120 Oystercatcher roosted on the edge of the salt marsh, 33 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Golden Plover and small parties of Dunlin fluttered about. A Little Egret was feeding in the tidal gutters and presumably the same bird alighted with the Dunlin a few hours later on No 6 tank. 22 Raven over the banks of the MSC were eagerly harassing any large bird en route to the marsh.
The Marbled Duck (colour ringed on left leg and potentially ringed on right? per FD) was again present spending time in the centre of the tank and eventually sought solitude on the edge of the reed beds. A couple of interesting articles supplied by James Walsh on ringing/tagging/status of Marbled Duck.
…and finally perhaps the last word on this bird which although a diversion from normal sightings really points to the duck being from a captive origin. Below is a letter received by James Walsh from Andy Green. Thanks to James the ‘dead-eyed birding detective’ in first not taking the normal assumption and secondly for pursuing Marbled Duck origins in Spain.
Hi James, Nice to hear from you. You might also want to look at this other paper: http://www.ebd.csic.es/andy/BritishBirds2010.pdf Although there have been releases of marbled teal in Spain in recent years, and it is possible that someone has used a colour ring, I think it much more likely that such a bird is an escape from a collection somewhere in northern Europe. I think using colour rings to mark birds in collections is standard practice. Best wishes, Andy Green
Butterflies noted today included a Brimstone near to No 4 tank, a female Common Blue and numerous Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral.
Images: Upper two WSM and lower Alyn Chambers. Perhaps not the egret that most wanted to see today but this Little Egret left Frodsham Score to settle on No 6 tank. A distant view of two and a record shot showing the red belly colour of the Curlew Sandpiper.