A walk from Marsh Lane out to the Holpool Gutter was most rewarding. I started off looking over the Common Teal flocks on the margins of the flooded daisy beds on No.6 tank. A total of 600 birds were often spooked out of hiding by the marauding young Marsh Harrier but alas no sign of the GWT.
The duck numbers were also much reduced with 43 Mallard, 34 Shoveler, 14 Gadwall, 6 Tufted Duck, 24 Pochard and 44 Common Shelduck. A couple of resting Cormorant contained the same ‘senensis’ bird from previously.
The mitigation area on No.3 tank was devoid of any birdlife so I continued to my walk and took the opportunity to do a count looking over Frodsham Score. The birdlife here was very productive and it started with me flushing a Woodcock from a tangle mess of an old fallen Elder bush and a Green Sandpiper draw my attention by its call as it flew over head from the ‘Splashing Pool’.
I met PR and we both watched out on the salt marsh where the usual thousand plus Canada Goose herds with a flock of 100 grazing Pink-footed Goose and sometime later another skein flew in from the west which contained c200 birds.
A couple of Egyptian Goose were with the Canada’s and several hundred Wigeon were along the tide line but were a little flighty when the Marsh Harrier seen earlier hunted along the shore. The Whooper Swan flock has increased by one to 17 birds but had moved further up on Ince salt marsh.
A Great White Egret was watched flying across the river towards Hale lighthouse and the flock of 14 Little Egret were again on Ince marsh west of No.4 tank while a few others were out on the score marsh.. The harrier later flew back onto the marsh and was seen on No.4 tank. Shorebirds were surprisingly scarce today but 2000 Lapwing were frequently spooked from the river and flew around in flowing ribbon flocks and smaller numbers of Golden Plover were also present. Along the canal path was a male Stonechat with two females in tow.
On my return to No.5 tank I met Paul Crawley who I hadn’t seen for a while and we shared a couple of juvenile/female Merlin who were vying for the best hunting post. Elsewhere, the female Peregrine was sat sheltering on the lea side of the blue-topped chimney.
Finally the bird watch ended just before the rain came 2 Short-eared Owl was observed quartering the rough pasture on the tank.
Observers: Paul Ralston (image 1), Paul Crawley (image 8), WSM (and images 2-7)