No.4 tank: A Time of Change.
Following on from my previous post for the 20th March 2015, I thought it would be a good time to give you a visual update on the work undertaken on the huge reed beds of No.4 tank and the infrastructure of roads that are being put in place on the marsh.
The final set of images No.3 tank and the wetland area of mitigation.
All images by WSM.
Out again this morning along the Manchester Ship Canal and around No.4 and No.6 tanks. The female Marsh Harrier was again pursued by Lapwings over 4 while a Fox took advantage of the absence of contractors being about and was searching for the Lapwing nests.
An arrival of summer migrants included Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed and Sedge Warbler and they didn’t waste anytime making themselves known throughout the mornings walk. A single Little Egret was out on the salt marsh keeping company with the many Common Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall and smaller numbers of Common Teal.
There were 23 Golden Plover sat on the waters edge with a small number of Redshank.
Along Lordship Lane both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were evident by their song. A Little Egret flew over No.6 then was forced to avoid a mid-flight collision and rapidly changed course when a model aircraft flew to close. Many Common Buzzard, Raven and a pair of Kestrel seen during the walk with Sand Martin over the Holpool Gutter.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2 & 4).
After work I made my way along the top newly widened track above No.6 tank and stopped to observe the ducks there. 3 Little Grebe, 17 Tufted Duck, 64 Common Shelduck, 67 Common Teal and a few Mallard.
The Golden Plover flock from earlier in the day was still present and were bathing and constantly calling to each other.
Three Little Grebes were calling and displaying in the corner of No.6 tank.
Onward and forward brought me to the mitigation area and 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank, 4 Shoveler and 10 Common Teal. 3 Swallow and 4 Sand Martin were over the pools.
Observer: WSM (images 3 & 5-7)
Out and about this morning for a short walk along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince Berth to the dredging berth .
Several Swallow over Ince Berth with one sat on the telegraph wires and then a singing Chiffchaff in the hawthorn bushes. 2 Wheatear were sat on the canal bank and a Sedge Warbler sang in the reed bed alongside No.4 tank where the female Marsh Harrier was being mobbed by a pair of Lapwing. Out on the salt marsh were a couple of Little Egret which were sat at opposite ends of the marsh and both had the company of a Grey Heron. Sand Martins were prospecting along the canal and 2 to 3 Common Sandpiper were noted.
A male Blackcap was at the dredging berth as was a White Wagtail. Gadwall, Mallard, Common Teal and Common Shelduck were all on the canal and were disturbed by a police boat making its way west on the canal. Only Mute Swans on the field by the Holpool Gutter.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).
Taking over from Paul for the evening watch I made my way along the track above No.6 tank and bumped into Frank and Arthur. A splendid assembly of 43 summer Golden Plover were bunched up with a solitary Dunlin along the waters edge. I guess it’s only a matter of days before they up sticks and move north. A small group of 4 newly arrived Whimbrel were dozing in the evening light and several pairs of Lapwing made themselves vocal.
A smaller than usual assortment of ducks included Tufted Duck, Common Teal and Shelduck. The Grey Heron pair looked established on their nest. Lets hope the water level doesn’t get any higher or the nest will get waterlogged.
The drier areas of the tank held a solitary Yellow Wagtail, 17 White Wagtail and 7 Wheatear.
No.3 tank is attracting migrants with two Common Sandpiper hopefully the harbingers of things to come. Nearby fresh in Reed Warblers were n song dueling by the secluded pool.
Other birds of note were 2 Swallow over the Weaver estuary, 6 Wheatear at Marsh Farm and 2 House Martin over the hill.
Over No.4 tank was a fresh in female Marsh Harrier and had the look of the female from last year? A Peregrine put in a show over the area.
Observers: Arthur Harrison, Frank Duff, WSM (images4-8)
A couple of Chukar were along Brook Furlong Lane and presumably released by the shooters close by. 2 Swallow and a Sand Martin noted flying west.
Observers: Arthur Harrison, Frank Duff.
You know when you’re in for a good watch when you don’t move a foot for the best part of an hour. I was rooted to the spot watching a gathering of Wheatear on, along, by and over the pipe line on the southern edge of No1 tank. At least 12 birds were present and an additional 9 more across the Manchester Ship Canal from Marsh Farm.
A pair of Swallow look to be the birds that normally set up territory at the farm with display and bonding already in progress. Small numbers of Pied Wagtails were about but a flyover Yellow Wagtail was a first for the year.
The Peregrine was again sat preening high up on the blue-topped chimney.
Eventually, I dragged myself away from the action to take a look over No.6 tank. I met Barry Jacks and Nigel Case there briefly and we watched, a solitary Little Egert, 110 Common Shelduck, 67 Common Teal, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, c30 White Wagtail, 24 Pied Wagtail, 54 Meadow Pipit and another 9 Wheatear.
Over on No.5 tank more Wheatear could be found with birds scattered across the fields and brought the evening total to at least 50 birds.
A last visit of the day to No.3 tank where there were 3 Ruff, a Ringed Plover, 6 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall and 23 Common Teal.
The female Marsh Harrier was quartering what’s left of the reed beds on No.4 tank and was seen earlier in the day by Moorditch Lane from the M56 (per Paul Crawley).
Observer:and images: WSM.
33 Raven left the marsh at dusk and wandered over the hill to their roost.
Observer: Jean Roberts.
36 Ringed Plover on No.6 tank.
Observer: Jean Roberts.
Some additional local bird news: Several Willow Warbler singing in park on Runcorn Hill. Also, two other birds singing by Blakemere, Delamere Forest. Also seen on the mere were 13 Mediterranean Gulls (including a retarded 1st winter bird, a single 2nd summer and the rest all paired adults). Three birds had leg rings, one was wearing a white coded ring, another had white/metal ring above right knee and the last with metal ring.
A stiff westerly wind blew in cold air from the Atlantic and morning rain gave way to cobalt blue skies interspersed with puffy cumulus clouds.
Digger machines ripping out the reed beds on No.4 tank took timeout with work suspended for a weekend break.
No.6 tank was pretty quiet compared to previous days and a smattering of ducks included low numbers of the usual suspects. A Grey Heron preparing a stick nest at the base of an old tree didn’t look to have the confidence of it lasting long.
The mitigation on No.3 tank had a Ringed Plover, several Lapwing, 4 Shoveler, 23 Common Teal and a few Shoveler.
The south-west corner of No.6 tank had 23 passerines including 8 White Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, a single Chaffinch and 10 Meadow Pipit. A male Blackcap was singing on the banks bordering Lordship Lane along with numerous Chiffchaff..
Along the tracks on Ince Marsh fields were a gathering of 150 corvids with mostly Rooks. The Whooper Swan was again present in the heat haze of the Ince marsh fields with a small herd of Mute’s.
Marsh Farm was an exposed spot in the unforgiving wind but 5 Wheatear and a couple of Blackbird were more concerned by fueling up for the big push north.
Another male Wheatear was in the horse paddock at Moorditch Lane.
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and images).