A dull gloomy morning morphed into an even gloomier afternoon, and after spending most it walking around Blakemere, Delamere Forest we decided to call at the marsh and catch up with what was happening there.
A Kestrel was very obliging and sat on top of a bush long enough for me to digi-scope it. The open water on No.6 tank held 500 Lapwing, 1 Ruff and 370 Dunlin with 15 Pochard, 17 Shoveler, 2 drake Pintail, 10 Gadwall and 178 Common Teal also present.
A walk out to the junction of No.6, 3 and 5 tanks was where we set up camp and waited to see what was passing by in the remaining time before the evening light faded from grey to black.
The wintering immature Marsh Harrier flew in from No.4 tank attracting the attention of a few nearby corvids before the raptor settled on top of a willow tree and spent an hour tending to its feather traits. Another Marsh Harrier (immature/female) drifted through without stopping and a large female Sparrowhawk was perched in a willow shrub waiting for meal time to fly in and short;y after the first gatherings of Starlings began to assemble.
Part of the Starling murmuration gathering before being vacuumed into the pumping station reed bed at dusk.
A bewildering number of Lapwing exploded into flight over Frodsham Score with an estimate of c10,000 birds. The cause of their concern was not immediately evident but nonetheless an impressive spectacle. The spectacle soon got a lot better with part of the Lapwing flock joining the Starlings! Over the last half hour of daylight the Starling numbers got larger and larger with c 20,000 birds streaming in and performing their aerial acrobatics before eventually being sucked into the reed bed at the Pumping Station.
Other birds of interest was the usual departure from the Mersey marshes of Raven heading out to the hills beyond Helsby. A Chiffchaff was contact calling from the reed bed by the secluded pool on No.6 tank was notable.
Walking back along Moorditch Lane and close to the horse paddock a Barn Owl was perched low down in a Poplar tree before flying around for a few minutes and then flipping over No.5 tank and was then lost to view.
Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).
Additional information concerns two more Chiffchaff on No.4 tank, one in the east and one in the northern corner. Also 16 Winter Moth on the marsh in the car headlights (Lordship Lane to the single-car motorway bridge) and another 20 or so plus Mottled Umber between there and the speed camera turning. Scarce Umber en route to Manley.
Observer: Jean Roberts, Pete Marsh (moths).
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