There was a definite Autumnal feel about the evening and with the wind coming from a northerly sector and heavy cloud cover it was difficult light conditions for my old camera to cope with.
I stopped off at the first viewing area just past the ramp onto No.5 tank and overlooking No.6 tank.
A gathering of 128 Tufted Duck were the birds from previous days (more or less) but 3 Pochard ( a male emerging from eclipse plumage and two juvenile males), 12 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, Gadwall, Shelduck, 56 Common Teal and 4 Wigeon were birds in a wide-spread across the open water.
One bird some distance away caught my attention as it slipped into the water with a little jump. My initial thoughts was that it was a Black-necked Grebe but it didn’t resurface again in my line of vision. I walked further up the track and found my usual spot where I sat and waited for the BNG to reappear. After ten minutes it didn’t so, I scanned the birds on and over the water.
There were c 1000 hirundines which were in equal number of Swallow, House and Sand Martin. The birds were feeding low over the water surface but suddenly the whole flock rose to form a spiralling column and then streamed out of the tank to the west chattering nervously as they went. I did a quick scan and over Frodsham Hill a Hobby was in hot pursuit of a splinter group of hirundines. I’ve never seen so many birds depart a spot en masse in a few seconds.
After things settled back to normality, the winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe reappeared and provided some close views but in failing light. A Little Grebe kept its cousin in company for a while. Video: https://vimeo.com/138233152
Time was knocking on and I thought I should make a visit to our local back water. Viewing from the twist in the track I watched a Green Sandpiper dropped into the pool. A little creative repositioning later and there before me was 12 Ruff, 2 Greenshank, the Green Sandpiper and a very timid Wood Sandpiper (record image/shot above).
To finish the evening off it was reassuring to see the female Peregrine sat face turned to Hale Marsh and all those tasty morsels that Mr Craven had feasted on at high tide today.
Observer, video and images: WSM