Due to work commitments and the lack of evening light, I haven’t had the opportunity to birdwatch the marsh for the last seven days. It was with some eagerness that I dropped into the marsh for the last hour or so of the daylight. Bright sunshine greeted me on arrival and a compact flock of 400 Common Teal were along the flooded margins of No 6 tank. The flock was throughly scrutinised for something other than that species but alas, nothing worthy of note. Also with no sign of the reported Scaup from yesterday (per Birdguides?) I had to make do with 6 Tufted Duck, 2 male Pochard and a couple of Shoveler settling into roost with the female Ruddy Duck.
46 Common Snipe and a single Black-tailed Godwit flew in and then duly opted out and left almost immediately heading out to Frodsham Score. 200 Lapwings on No 5 tank included 56 Curlew and the odd Golden Plover.
A couple of Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk were noted hunting the tanks in the twilight but the highlight was an immature female Marsh Harrier hunting No 4 and 6 tanks at dusk. This raptor was very mobile ranging widely over No 4 and giving some reasonably close views mobbing a Buzzard and in turn being mobbed by a Raven.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker along the track above No 6 tank was presumably the same bird which has been present here for the last month.
Observer and image (of No 6 tank and works beyond): WSM.
A female Scaup was visible distantly from Weaver Bend way out at the confluence of the ship canal and the Weaver. It seemed to swim off up the ship canal out of sight.
First winter female Stonechat on No.5 viewable from the track between there and No.6.
330 Lapwings, 6 Great Black-backed Gull, 92 Curlews, 8 Little Grebe, 45 Coot. 570 Teal (500 on No.6), 42 Black-tailed Godwit (22 on No.6 over the high tide), 61 Tufted Duck were mainly on the Weaver with the Scaup. Aythya ducks seem to have largely deserted No.6- I wonder why. 4 Pochard, 250 Shelduck on No.6. c 80 Redshanks were mainly at Weaver Bend. Everything else was at No.6. c30 Linnet, 11 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, Little Egret.
Observers: Andy Spottiswood, Phil Oddy