The bright sunshine and crystal clear views were much-needed from the incessant dull, wet and windy conditions of late. The recent big tides on the River Mersey was an incentive to watch over Frodsham Score from No.4 tank today.
The tides edges close to the salt marsh slowly at first then suddenly spilling out across the swathes of short green marsh grass. This is followed by huge masses of silvery white flashes of some of the massive 68,000 Dunlin that have been countered on recent counts. The Dunlin often mesmerise as they fly to and fro in swirling pulsating flocks. Smaller groups gathering together looking for safe shelter to see the tide out.
We also estimated a flock of 4000 Lapwing which were visible by the naked eye from a good mile and a half away high over Ince Marsh.
A herd of 16 adult Whooper Swan included no juveniles this winter and was a little surprising (perhaps, a poor breeding season for them in Iceland?). There was no sign of the dark-bellied Brent Goose today but a partially concealed flock of Pink-footed Goose were with the Canada’s.
With this amount of fodder on offer it was not difficult to find raptors in attendance. A female Merlin was sat on the fence line on the score and later relocated to a washed up tree. The Peregrine was again on the blue-topped chimney and, it or another was sat on the salt marsh on the ebbing tide.
The two Great White Egret chose to spend the tide fishing the Holpool Gutter out on the salt marsh with 10 well scattered Little Egret.
A charm of 150 Goldfinch along the banks of No.4 tank overlooked a small flock of 40 Linnet on Frodsham Score.
On the way back we stopped to watch a couple of Short-eared Owl (3 seen by Rob Creek) put on a fine display with one particular bird performing nicely as it sat perched on a post close to the pot-holed track on No.5 tank.
A hidden flock of 400 Common Teal eventually showed themselves later in the day when they were flushed from the thick daisy beds on the flooded tank. After a thorough grilling the drake Green-winged Teal inevitably appeared in its usual spot close to the northern banks close to the viewing area on No.5 tank. Other species of ducks included an increase of 174 Tufted Duck making a substantial comeback from previous low numbers. 30 Common Pochard are still increasing and bucking a national trend for the decline of this duck. Also noted were 16 Gadwall, 17 Shoveler and 45 Mallard.
An adult winter Mediterranean Gull appeared briefly for a bathe before flying out to the Mersey Estaury.
A Sparrowhawk added to the day tally along with Common Buzzard and Kestrel.
Findlays Short-eared Owl video from No.5 tank: https://youtu.be/MGOdlSbtLmU .
For further birding notes from across the boundary check out Dave’s blog here: http://birdingtheboundary.blogspot.co.uk/
Observers: Frank Duff, Nigel and Findlay Wilde (image 1 and video), Idris and Jacqui Roberts, WSM (images 2-8).