Out this morning and through the afternoon taking in No.4 – No.6 tank, including the Manchester Ship Canal, No.6 tank and out along Lordship Lane. The numbers of swans out on the fields of Ince Marsh included 28 Mute Swan, 9 Bewick’s Swan close alongside the Holpool Gutter. In the afternoon 29 Whooper Swan flew in from the fields bordering Rake Lane and settled with the swans already present .
A single Great White Egret and 6 Little Egret were out amongst the 550 Canada Geese on Frodsham Score salt marsh with 30 Raven and some Great Black-backed Gulls fighting over the spoils of plentiful carrion to be found out there.
A lone Fieldfare was in an Elder tree on No.4 tank but of some concern was (PR) finding a dead female Kingfisher in the outflow along Lordship Lane and considering the mild weather of late rises a few questions to its demise?
A list of recent bird casualties include: Mute Swan, Common Buzzard, Grey Heron and Kingfisher. Although there may be natural causes why these birds died, it is always worth keeping an eye open for people acting suspectiously. For more information on wildlife crime see this link: http://birdersagainst.org/
Walking back along No.4 tank and the female Marsh Harrier was being mobbed by a gang of Carrion Crow as it tried to hunt over the reed bed. Later in the day it was flushed from its prey from the tracks on No.4 tank and glided out of sight with prey tightly gripped.
Song Thrush were in full song and Reed Bunting were claiming territory along the lane. Returning back along to the Holpool Gutter and a Green Sandpiper flew of calling as it went and was seen later by the Canal Pools and then the nearby ship canal. Finally. No.4 tank had a Chiffchaff calling from the reed beds. A male Stonechat was along the fence at Lordship Lane while another was frequenting No.3 tank.
The mitigation area on No.3 tank had the feel of Spring with Redshank, 5 Dunlin, and paired up Common Teal present. A flock of 64 Pied Wagtail feeding in the flooded fields moved to No.6 tank at dusk. A bit bizarrely a Common Buzzard was feasting off a dead Common Buzzard. We can only assume the dead Buzzard didn’t die at the claws of the raptor? There are strange goings on, on the marsh lately!
No.6 tank held a flock of 1000 Lapwing with several Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Golden Plover, 4 Ruff and Dunlin. Out on the open water were 64 Mallard, 14 Tufted Duck, 247 Common Teal, 14 Tufted Duck, 21 Common Shelduck and 23 Shoverler.
A Merlin was watched briefly on No.5 tank. A Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were along the track on No.5 tank and a Brambling were noted with the Chaffinch flock but proved difficult to relocate.
Observers: Paul Ralston (images 3-4), WSM (images 1-2 & 5-8)). Also additional reports from Frank Duff, Arthur Harrison, Sean O’Hara and Phil Oddy,