These after work visits are beginning to slow down with the evening light a bit hit and miss lately. This evenings sunshine was reasonably good but still a little flat to get any decent photos. l guess you have to deal with what light there is. That’s the photograph excuses sorted then.
A gathering of small waders revealed 30 Dunlin but they didn’t settle and soon left to find security out on the river. 6 Greenshank, 4 Ruff and 300 Lapwing were the best of the bunch here.
Ducks again featured Common Teal with 100 birds. There were 3 Pintail, 8 Tufted Duck, 24 Common Shelduck and the Ruddy Shelduck from the river finally put in a show on the tank at dusk.
A link to this evenings Ruddy Shelduck video: http://vimeo.com/107638784
Observers: Paul Booth, WSM (and images).
I was out and about this morning along the Holpool Gutter taking in No.4 and 6 tanks producing the following birds: 9 Common Buzzard feeding on worms in a field alongside the crossroads at the Growhow works. A Kingfisher flew under the bridge on Lordship Lane with a Grey Wagtail feeding amongst the vegetation. A Common Snipe was flushed as I walked along the path there. 2 Grey Heron and a Cormorant fishing in the shallow waters of the gutter with Moorhen and a few Common Teal. On to the bank of the Manchester Ship Canal were 2 Green Sandpiper flew overhead. Frodsham Score was quiet with only Curlew, Lapwing and Raven noted. On the shallow pool alongside No.4 a party of Teal left the water accompanied by a single Black-tailed Godwit. On to the Canal Pools and another Snipe was flushed, Coot numbers are down from my last visit but a Little Grebe was also on the pool. On to No.6 tank and a single Greenshank with 5 Ruff amongst the Lapwings.
A small movement of 3 Jay were noted. A Chiffchaff and a Reed warbler were below the new viewing area. On the way back to the car 2 more Chiffchaff with a party of tits and more Jays over No.4 tank. Robins and Wrens seemed to be in every other bush on this mornings walk.
Observer: Paul Ralston.
Later in the day and an evening vigil overlooking No.6 tank was a little understated but 2 Ruff, 200 Dunlin (brefly), 120 Lapwing, 1 eclipse drake and 3 female Pintail, 8 Tufted Duck, 160 Common Teal, 3 Shoveler and 40 Common Shelduck.
A Sparrowhawk and Kestrel put in a show, while the big female Peregrine was again sat on top of the blue chimney at Weston Point.
A party of Long-tailed Tits pulled along 2 Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff, Blue and Great Tits in hawthorns along Moorditch Lane. 12 Swallow lingered on telegraph wires at Marsh Lane at dusk.
Observer & images.: WSM
The Ruddy Shelduck continues to be seen out on the Mersey mudflats.
During the High tide on the river eyes were focused watching No.6 tank where Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint. 9 Ruff and 200 Dunlin were rewarding.
Observer: Frank Duff.
Image by Tony Broome.
An early start and Marsh Farm was the venue for a watch looking out to the Mersey estuary beyond the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.
Several small flocks of Skylark and Meadow Pipit with singles of Swallow were the only proper passerine migration underway. The highlight of the smaller birds was a Stonechat which was fairly mobile but captured here by Tony at Marsh Farm. An ‘Acro’ warbler was “tuck tucking” by the ‘Splashing Pool’ while several Goldcrest and Chiffchaff were out and about along the tracks.
Out on the Mersey mudflats an adult Ruddy Shelduck was evident and appeared a little darker in plumage than the birds seen last month, so perhaps a new individual out there? A Little Egret just about made the audition today. 45 Oystercatcher, 2 Grey Plover (surprisingly, the first this autumn), 16 Ringed Plover, 500 Dunlin, 700-850 Black-tailed Godwit and 200 Curlew were on the move.
We made our way to No.6 tank as the tide ripped through the river and arrived in time to see the Dunlin flocks beginning to arrive. A concerted effort revealed 16 Ringed Plover, 340 Lapwing, 4 Ruff, 780 Dunlin, 4 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 8 Greenshank and a solitary Common Snipe. After the tide a Golden Plover was on then over No.3 tank.
Ducks featured 130 Common Teal, 24 Common Shelduck and 9 Tufted Duck.
A kettle of 8 Common Buzzard were circling high over the blue-topped chimney where they were watched over by the ‘big’ female Peregrine. A Sparrowhawk was noted stealthy hunting the waders on No.6 tank and a Kestrel was active at Marsh Farm.
Landscape images taken during early afternoon but the sunshine broke out and provided excellent light soon after.
Observers: Tony Broome (images 1, 5 & 6), Frank Duff, WSM (images 2, 3 & 4).
High tide on the river forced 300 Dunlin, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 9 Ruff and a Greenshank to No.6 tank.
Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson
It’s always a good sign when you are walking along the track between No.6 and 5 tanks and you can hear the call of a Greenshank in the near distance. A quick glance over No.6 tank and the Greenshank is immediately evident with a further five birds. A further short walk and a total of 17 Ruff (all juveniles) were feeding along the waters edge. The evening light was not the best so it wasn’t a surprise to see Lapwings winging in to roost along with 39 Cormorant.
Ducks were surprisingly scarce but 120 Common Teal, a solitary Shoeveler and group of juveniles Shelduck was really about it until 24 Tufted Duck joined them and were presumably birds from the Weaver estuary.
A Peregrine was high up on the blue-topped chimney and a Sparrowhawk which flew low over the mud flushing all the gulls. A couple of Raven left the marsh to the east. Finally, a Yellow Wagtail flew over and a few Chiffchaff were contact calling within the Spindle bushes.
Observers: Paul Booth, WSM (and images).
A brief trip to No.6 tank after work had a feeling of autumn with the low cloud rolling in from the Atlantic and a cooler feel in the air. 22 Cormorant flew in from the river to roost with others arriving as I left. The Common Teal flock (one being a little bashful, image opposite) was widely scattered and amounted to 190 birds. 5 Pintail, small numbers of Shoveler, Shelduck and Mallard were also noted. Just like the Cormorants, Lapwing also arrived early and shuffled for position along the waters edge for the safest sleeping spot. 3 Ruff were too busy feeding to care.
There were many Alba Wagtails feeding on the muddy margins on the tank. Nearby Chiffchaff were practising singing and a Reed Warbler was ‘tacking’ low down in a reedy ditch.
Observer & image: WSM
An early visit to the Marsh this morning by Heather and Findlay Wilde was curtain for an enjoyable watch and in their own words they saw…On their journey south we were sure the 20 Swallows were discussing journey plans on the telegraph wires just before the bridge. Walking alongside No.6 Tank we could hear several Chiffchaffs and we followed a Jay most of the way down the track. The drilling rig that was on the corner had gone? Several fence posts were occupied by Ravens and there were Robins darting across the track every 50 m or so.
No.6 Tank didn’t disappoint with plenty of ducks and waders, but nothing out of the ordinary. Our eyes were drawn upwards as a Sparrowhawk did a very lazy looking fly by. It circled the tank a couple of times before flying off towards Frodsham Hill.
But by far the highlight of the trip was the group of 13 Buzzards riding on the thermals above No.6 Tank. Some were making weak attempts at locking talons and there were a few mid-air scuffles, but the overall sight of those 13 stunning raptors gliding effortlessly against the blue sky is an image that will stay with me for a long time.
Observers and images: Heather & Findlay Wilde.
Not to be out done Alyn pitched in with a really big bird!
The highlights of a trip out today around midday were 5 Pintail and 4 Ruff on No.6 Tank, a Whinchat at Marsh Farm and 3 Little Egret on the Mersey estuary. Whilst at Marsh Farm a PYB5A Catalina flew south having been at Southport Air Show earlier.
Observer and image: Alyn Chambers
The hedgerows bordering Brook Furlong Lane were notable for the mixture of passerines there which included a single Willow Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, several Chiffchaff with a few Blackcap, a ‘tacking’ Reed Warbler, 2 Goldcrest and 10 Robins thrown into the sortie.
Marsh Farm was less productive today with a light passage of mainly Meadow Pipit moving over although more were over Brook Furlong Lane later in the day. A Kingfisher was calling from the ship canal below the farm. Also noted there was a Common Sandpiper.
Further out from Marsh Farm on the Mersey Estuary was a collective flock of 750 Black-tailed Godwit, smaller numbers of Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Golden Plover and a solitary Greenshank. Everything rose into the air when a female Pererine powered through the flocks.
A caterpillar earth mover crawls along Moorditch Lane with barely an inch to spare either side.
Across the marsh on No.6 tank was a little more stable but it could do with an injection of some new stock. 173 Common Teal, 2 Pintail, drake Pochard, 4 Shoveler and 6 Tufted Duck. 4 Ruff joined 340 Lapwing. Also heard was a Reed Warbler
Observers: Tony Broome, Frank Duff, WSM (and images).
Another amble around the marsh this aft. A gathering of about 400 Starling on pylons above Spring Farm with attendant Peregrine and the usual Kestrel plus six Common Buzzard nearby. Along Lordship Lane a few Linnet, Reed Bunting and still singing Chiffchaff. Very quiet in view of the easterly winds.
Observer: Brian Rimmer.
After Brian handed me the baton I shuddered to a halt finding it hard to run up a list of anything worthy of an inclusion this evening…a veritable birding wasteland! For what its worth a gathering of 430 Lapwing dropped in to roost with 5 Grey Heron, 2 Pintail, 234 Common Teal, 4 Gadwall, 34 Common Shelduck and 23 Mallard. A Sparrowhawk was about its business hunting the track between No.5 & 6.
Observer and images: WSM