A good hike across the marsh today. I Started from the horse paddock by Marsh Lane, to No.4 tank, along the Manchester Ship Canal to the Holpool Gutter then retracing my steps and headed to Marsh Farm, passing No.1 tank and round to the Weaver Bend. Again retracing my track and along Brook Furlong Lane via the horse paddock to No.6 tank and a final watch from the junction of 6, 5 and No.3 tank…Phew!
A solitary Redwing was in the hawthorn hedge by the horse paddock and looked forlorn with most of the berries striped away by its fellow thrushes.
No.6 tank again attracted ducks in a variety of species. An increase in Common Shelduck numbers to 50 birds with both Pochard and Tufted Duck having a combined count of 34 birds. A couple of Wigeon were left over from last night and 140 Common Teal sheltered in the lee of the southern banks.
No.3 tank held a high tide roost of 450 birds with 130 Golden Plover with both species numbers increasing later in the day. The young Marsh Harrier was hunting over the Canal Pools/No.3 tank.
The northeast corner of No.4 tank is an exposed location so the wind can be cruel here at the best of times. So, with the wind whipping in from the river it was only for the bold or foolhardy to linger. A walk out to the Holpool Gutter was more for the exercise than the birds with a Little Egret battling the breeze and flying low to the ground. A much larger roost of Lapwing and Golden Plover hunkered low on the score marsh to equally avoid the cold air blast.
Walking along the Manchester Ship Canal produced little of note except for a tame Raven and Buzzard feeding off a sheep carcass there.
Two male and a female Stonechat sheltered in the corner of No.1 tank and proved to be very photogenic.
The Weaver estuary and bend were notable for a big flock of 200 Tufted Duck with 10 Pochard and 12 Goldeneye. Overlooking all of this was the big female Peregrine perched on top of the blue-topped chimney above the estuary.
Returning back via Brook Furlong Lane resulted in hearing a Chiffchaff. Continuing wearily along the track on five to the junction of No.6, 5 and 3 tanks for the sunset Starling roost. Another exposed viewing position to watch the evening flight was chilly. 10,000 Starlings did the usual murmurations and before dropping into the Pumping Station reed bed, while another roost of 4000 birds used the reed bed on No.4 tank.
Stonechat video: https://vimeo.com/115068746
Observer: video & images 1, 2 & 6: WSM.
Tony’s take on the day: A cold day, but nice to be out and about, with an early start on No.6 tank from 08.30-09.30; 164 Great Black-backed Gull, 25 Herring Gull, 50 Black-headed Gull, 60 Common Gull, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 100 Golden Plover, 300 Lapwing, 46 Redshank, 15 Dunlin, 2 Wigeon, 16 Pochard, 9 Tufted Duck and 130 Teal.
No.3 tank: 1000 Lapwings and 500 Golden Plover.
Over on Frodsham Score 14 Raven and 5000 Lapwing.
Observer (images 3,4 & 5): Tony Broome.
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