A bit of a mixed bag as far as the weather was concerned today with it starting off dull interspersed with showers and becoming sunny later all backed up by a brisk westerly airflow.
A look along the south banks of No.4 tank looked promising but eventually only produced 10 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 7 Greenfinch, 30 Linnet and 50 Goldfinch.
Over to No.6 tank to see what the mediocre high tide on River Mersey would push onto the vacant mud. It was evidently clear that it wasn’t going to be high enough to push anything onto the tank so, ducks were encountered and then countered.
The winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe was giving close views as it floated by preening, drifting and fishing. There were 5 Little Grebe within the duck numbers which featured: 213 Tufted Duck, 23 Wigeon, 12 Shoveler, 13 Gadwall, 45 Mallard, 7 Pintail and 45 Common Shelduck.
A juvenile Hobby was hunting an impressive hirundine flock numbering 550 birds on, over and across the marsh today. Later in the afternoon it reappeared over Marsh Farm. With the dispersal of the hirundine flocks from earlier the Hobby didn’t have a lot to select from and moved on.
Marsh Farm also provided views of 2 Sparrowhawk and a pair of Peregrines giving the local Ravens a bit of grief. Meanwhile, a Stonechat was feeding along the fence line/pipes on No.1 tank.
Out on the river from Marsh Farm the hoped for Kittiwake that Hale birder Dave Craven had found loitering off Hale Marsh was unfortunately, nowhere to be found. Some compensation for missing the seagull were hundreds of shorebirds. The mudflats held: 550 Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Oystercatcher, 130 Curlew, 200 Redshank, 200 Dunlin and 400 Lapwing. Other birds present close to the Weaver Sluice gates where 8 Great Crested Grebe, 19 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron and Shelduck were taking advantage of the food source here.
A couple of adult Peregrine were perched up on the blue-topped chimney but when they spotted a local Raven, they both took umbrage to and repeatedly swooped at it both in flight and on the iron works of the power station.
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (images 1-6 & 10).
A walk around No’s 6 and 4 tanks this afternoon taking in the Manchester Ship Canal and the Holpool Gutter. A Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler and male a Blackcap were all in the same Elderberry bush by the entrance ramp to No.6 with more Chiffchaffs seen and heard along the walk. The water on six held many Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Mallard with Common Shelduck, Pintail, Wigeon and Gadwell in amongst them.
A male Sparrowhawk was hunting the far bank and two juveniles were hunting the hedgerow bordering Lordship Lane hoping for some of a flock of 200 or more Goldfinch. The same birds took to the air as a Kestrel honed in on them. Frodsham Score was quiet but a Great White Egret could be seen in the distance.
The Holpool Gutter held only Coot and Moorhen with 3 Buzzards sitting on the straw bales along the bank. Back along Lordship Lane more Chiffchaff could be heard contact calling and a Kingfisher was in the ditch alongside No.6 tank.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 7-9)
A fridge freezer dumped sometime ago in a ditch along Lordship Lane was adopted and adapted by Mrs Nature. This careless fly tipping of a kitchen appliance is being utilising slowy being converted into a wildflower garden (WSM).