21.12.13. Birdlog (The Shortest Day)
A day to celebrate with the Winter Solstice finally here and from now on the daylight begin to lengthen.
A walk along the ship canal to view Frodsham Score before the WeBS count on No. 6 tank was again well worthy of the time put into it. A flock of 18 Whooper Swan included a juvenile bird. 81 Pink-footed Goose and a gathering of 2000 Canada Goose made for a raucous cacophony out on the salt marsh. c300 Wigeon and smaller numbers of Common Teal with a half-dozen Pintail were sticking to the tide edge.
The wintering Great White Egret and 4 Little Egret were distant and I wasn’t really that surprised they came any closer without a bigger tide to bring them in.
I flushed a Green Sandpiper from the pools below the northern bank of No. 4 tank and it then headed out to the Canal Pools calling on its way.
A Peregrine went on a killing spree and was forcing the Lapwings into some impressive wheeling murmaratations over the score and a single flock of 500 Golden Plover over No. 3 tank was just as spectacular.
I managed to connect with the 1st winter Marsh Harrier twice today. On the first occasion it flew overhead at No. 4 tank and by the time I struggled to get my camera out of its bag I only managed ‘going away shots’. On the second time I saw it, it was approaching late afternoon and the harrier was quartering the red beds on No. 6 tank before gliding away over to Marsh Farm.
The usual Raven gathering on Frodsham Score and adjacent areas totalled 20 birds. Finch flocks on No. 3 tank included 300 Goldfinch and smaller numbers of Chaffinch. A single Chiffchaff also on No. 3 tank were using the reed beds/trees for cover and feeding. Two other Chiffchaff were together on No. 5 tank. All three were of the nominate form ‘collybita’ but we’re hoping that perhaps a ‘tristis’ will surface sooner or later?
The WeBS Count on No. 6 tank was pretty lacklustre with 67 Common Shelduck, 43 Common Teal, 5 Tufted Duck, 12 Pochard and 12 Shoveler.
Observer: WSM ( and upper images)
A walk around No. 6 tank this afternoon produced, c50 Curlew, 6 Buzzard, c30 Common Snipe in a single flock and a Kestrel.
A solitary Jay on No.4 with a Redwing flyover and 4 Raven performing aerobatics along the south bank of No.6.
Observers: Paul Crawley (and images), Paul Ralston