A dull start weather wise which eventually turned into a very wet finish. I am on other duties tomorrow so, I took the opportunity to do the WeBS count today. The weather conditions were not favourable and it was a much reduced count on No.6 tank, and the adjacent mitigation on No.3 tank also included in the adding up. The totals include: 21 Mute Swan, a solitary Cormorant (carbo), 23 Wigeon, 24 Gadwall, 2 Common Pochard, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Common Shelduck, 130 Common Teal and 12 Mallard being the highlights or should that be lowlights.
A couple of Black-tailed Godwit feeding close to the bank attracted the wintering Spotted Redshank which fed unconcerned by my presence and due to the rain fall the water level has increased somewhat. Also noted were two Ruff.
I continued my visual but on a more bird friendly watch point at the corner of No’s 3, 5 & 6 tank. The lack of shooting in this area was rewarded with ‘birds’ a plenty! The site of mitigation on No.3 tank held a healthy concentration of 150 Curlew with 15 Golden Plover and 400 Lapwing. A few pools are filling nicely with rain water which usually fills up at this time of year.
However, the recently created scraped depressions (on the north side adjacent to the Canal Pools) lined with membrane to create habitat have got a long way to go before they have any usage.
I moved out to look over The Manchester Ship Canal towards Frodsham Score where a single Pink-footed Goose was swimming with 800 Canada Goose. Swirling flocks of Dunlin were like a Starling murmuration and created some interesting forms high above the salt marsh. Also present but in much reduced numbers were wintering Grey Plover but Lapwing were again impressive here with several thousands present.
Whooper Swan were back on their wintering marsh with three birds opposite the Holpool Gutter. Also seen were 8 Little and a solitary Great White Egret.
The Canal Pools held onto a pair of Green Sandpiper and a substantial flock mixed finches included Gold, Green, Chaffinch and Linnet. A Goldcrest joined up with the roving tit flock and a Lesser Redpoll was mobile.
Several hundred Golden Plover and Lapwing were in the fields alongside the Holpool Gutter, while a Sparrowhawk hunted the many finches on the bank of No.4 tank. A female Stonechat looked forlorn along Lordship Lane.
Spotted Redshank video: https://vimeo.com/145727980
Observers: Paul Ralston (image 6), WSM (video & images 1-5).