The New Year weather forecast was for a wild and windy morning throwing in wet from the afternoon. It didn’t turn out quite as bad but it was still windy enough. No.6 tank held an increase in the numbers of Common Teal with 430 birds being present.
Other duck species featured 6 Pochard, 9 Shoveler and 5 Pintail with 43 Mallard and 10 Common Shelduck. A few hundred large gulls were birds dispersed from the local rubbish tips being closed for the bank holiday. Also present with the Lapwing roost were 37 Redshank, 2 Ruff and 9 Black-tailed Godwit.
A Cormorant with white thigh patches gave a hint that Spring isn’t too far away. The immature Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds at the west end of the tank and close by on No.3 tank were 500 olden Plover with 1000 Lapwing and a few Redshank. A Chiffchaff was calling from the parking area at the junction of No.5, 6 and 3 tanks. Also present was a pair of Stonechat.
No.5 tank saw a female Merlin perched on the ground close to a Common Buzzard and a covey of 4 Red-legged and a single Grey Partridge and are presumably game birds set down by the shooters.
On the out skirts of the marsh was a Kingfisher, Treecreeper and a roving tit flock.
Observers: Arthur Harrison, Frank Duff, WSM (images 1-3). Image 7 by Tony Broome.
Findlay’s New Year Post.
Me and mum had about an hour at the Marsh this afternoon in the rain, but the dark clouds were a great background for the flock of Golden Plover that rose off the field near the farm. When the light caught them as they turned, it was like turning lots of small golden lights on and off. There were some Lapwing flying with them so the black and gold looked spectacular.
There were 2 Buzzards flying together along the Lordship Lane bank of No.6 tank. One was carrying food and the other was I think mobbing it a bit. The one with the food was feeding mid-flight which I have only seen once or twice before.
A Kestrel was hovering over the pony field and getting a bit blasted by the wind, so it gave up and settled in one of the trees.
I could hear a Raven croaking and then it flew past at eye level along the cattle field. I have to say, I do like those calves which are all black but have a white stripe round their middle. Another tune caught my ear and had me looking round to find the Meadow Pipit making all the noise. It flew straight overhead towards Helsby HIll.
We decided to go round to the Lordship Lane side to see if we could find the Buzzards again. One was on a telegraph post and the other was on the fence near the mobile planes green shed. It kept dropping into the field then jumping back on to the fence post.
Everywhere we looked there were big groups of Starlings, the biggest group was about 400 feeding in one of the field along Lordship Lane. Also in the field were about 120 Black-headed Gulls and another 80 Lapwing.
The rain was getting heavier so we decided to head back home. On the way out 3 Pied Wagtails were feeding round the big puddle in the pony field and a single Fieldfare stopped for a quick drink before flying on.
Just a shame we never spotted WSM, but hopefully we will next time.
Observers: Findlay Wilde (with images 4-6 & 8 by Heather Wilde).
Find out more about Findlay’s birding year ahead here: http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/