A very odd sighting today in the form of a small worker sized (one of the) white-tailed bumble bee species. Unfortunately could not narrow it down to species but I’ve never seen other than an obvious queen in November before. Some very early morning vis mig (after a pre-dawn Barn Owl over No. 4 tank) included two separate Brambling calls (amongst a small movement of seemingly SW-bound Chaffinch), 145 Fieldfare (3 flocks), 12 Redwing, about 350 Woodpigeon (8+ flocks) and a southbound Rock/Water Pipit. 3 Stonechat (m/2f) along southern edge of No. 6 tank.
Observer: Pete Marsh.
Out on the Weaver Bend 6 Black-necked Grebe were found on the WeBS count by John Gascoyne.
Frodsham Score on a good tide should never disappoint and this mornings watch produced 10 Whooper Swan with a further two flying low over No.3 tank. Also present were 10 Little and the (and I thought I’d ever say this) usual Great White Egret were spotted on the incoming water. Big counts of 5000 Canada Goose and 13 Greylags. Golden Plover numbers peaked at 420 birds and there were 20 Raven on the salt marsh competing with the more brutish Great Black-backed Gulls over a sheep carcass. The Rock Pipit from last week resurfaced calling several times on the score but remains elusive.
Elsewhere a Merlin on No.6 flew to No.4 tank and 6 Common Buzzard included a pale phase bird along the track on four. A Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper was on the Canal Pools and 4 Common Snipe frequented No.6 tank. Kestrels were seen on tanks 3, 4 and 6. A Water Rail calling from the willows on No.4 are typically vocal during this period of the autumn. 12 Jackdaw noted flying east and a Tree Sparrow is a rare bird, so one at the Pumping Station was a welcome surprise before it then flew out towards Marsh Farm. Also by the station jetty was a Kingfisher perched up.
A further walk out to the junction of No’s 6, 5 and 3 tanks overlooking the western part of six was worthy of the effort. Several hundred Starlings were gathered on No.5 tank and were joined by more from the west before creating a small mushroom cloud murmuration prior to moving off elsewhere.
The juvenile Marsh Harrier from yesterday reappeared and another more well-marked imm/female was over on No.4 tank. The first ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier of the autumn put in an appearance and was fairly showy from No.6 then out on the fields and working area of No.3 tank.
A Chiffchaff which was contact calling from the scattered willows below where we were standing above No.6 tank. 54 Fieldfare passed over to the south to end the day.
Observers: Sparky, WSM (image 4).
Summer still lingers on with a Red Admiral on the marsh today (JR, PM) and a Migrant Hawker at Blakemere, Delamere Forest (JS, WSM).