The morning started well with a spiraling flock of 2,000 Common Swift low and high over the River Weaver at the marsh. Walking out to the river and the male Cuckoo was serenading a female close to the stile on the approach to Redwall reed bed.
Out on the Weaver estuary an exotic Black Swan joined the bachelor Mute’s. 4 drake and 2 female Pochard were roosting up on the Weaver estuary marsh with 187 Tufted Duck, 2 Common Teal, Gadwall and Mallard. The Great Crested Grebes were again present and Common Shelduck were numerous and amorous in equal measure.
Down river 8 Avocet were on the Weaver Bend and an impressive c700 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Dunlin and singles each of Ringed and Little Ringed Plover. Watching all of this from above was the sentenal male Peregrine perched on his Blue-topped chimney.
High tide brought some fresh blood to No.3 tank with a partial summer Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 32 Black-tailed Godwit and presumably the same Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers from earlier in the day. During the course of the watch a young male Marsh Harrier flew by and was actively seeking out young birds from the grassy borders to the mitigation area.
Two Avocet were on No.6 tank and with pumping of sludge from the Manchester Ship Canal into the basin it is beginning to get flooded again…happy days ahead we hope.
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (images 1, 3 – 8 ).
A successful Cuckoo marsh mission this afternoon with Fin.
We went straight down to the Weaver Bend and saw a male and female on the fence across the field, but before we could get the scope out they were off, crossing over to the other side of the river. We heard them calling and decided to hang around to see if they would come back.
Whilst waiting we were entertained by Reed Bunting, Reed and Sedge Warbler popping up to the tops of the reeds and calling to each other. The Swifts were flying between us again and party of 8 Mute Swan were making their way up the river.
Fin kept a watch on the field and then gave the loudest “whisper” of CUCKOO! And there it was, sitting on the fence just behind us, feasting on what seemed to be Drinker Moth Caterpillars. I bet it had been there for ages. We watched and photoraphed and scoped and mainly just enjoyed. Fin ran off to get the guy (whose name we didn’t catch) who’d come especially to see the Cuckoos. He came back with him just in time. We all just stood their grinning!
After that we headed to No.6 tank and the mitigation (No.3 tank) which held 33 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Ringer Plover and 16 Dunlin, along with Lapwing, Shelduck, Coot and Mallard. A pair of Marsh Harrier (male and female) flew low over the mitigation tank causing panic and lifting everything. The godwits re-settled on No.6 tank with half the Dunlin. No.6 also had 4 Little Ringed Plover feeding on the mud.
As we left we driving back alongside No.6, another female Cuckoo was sitting on the fence on the tank side of the road. So I think it was 2 males and 2 females we saw today?
A day of Cuckoos, Caterpillars and Chaos. Perfect!
Observers: Heather (images 2 & 9 -10) & Findlay Wilde.