A right old miserable day it was as far as the weather was concerned. It didn’t really stop raining from start to finish but with a weeks work under the belt and a Saturday free to go birding even the weather couldn’t put me off.
I started off watching the duck from the east side of No.6 tank and between wiping the rain drops from spectacles, bins and scope and repeating the process time after time I managed a fair old count. The Common Pochard (and 40 present) are in the news with regard to their dwindling numbers and I’ve been sending my counts to http://www.ducksg.org/ for their records. A gathering of Tufted Duck included 52 birds with an additional 12 at the Splashing pool noted later. There was a pair of Pintail, 34 Gadwall, 100 Mallard and 145 Shoveler present with 200 Common Teal hiding in the flooded daisy beds. I met PR who was on his way back to Godscroft and his car and we both enjoyed a chat and he told me about a Marsh Harrier over on No.4 tank.
After filling my boots with ducks I walked over to No.4 tank in the hope of seeing the harrier and tried to ignore the persistent rain. Stopping off at the extensively flooded No.3 tank it was good to see c1000 Lapwing gathered with a couple of hundred Golden Plover, the occasional Dunlin, 4 Redshank and a Ruff.
The Lapwing flocks were edgy and frequently took flight. Eventually I got to my destination and looking out to Frodsham Score gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in watching out on the river and marshes. A Chiffchaff momenterally drew my attention to its presence in ushes close to the bank by calling.
It was good to see the tall white duke aka Great White Egret strutting its stuff in one of the tidal gutters while the smaller Little Egrets were busy flying about. The herd of Whooper Swan are staying further out on the salt marsh along with a couple of presumed Icelandic Greylag Goose in close attendance.
The many hundreds of Canada Goose out on the score included a flock of c100 Pink-footed Goose, 100 Wigeon and a few scattered groups of large gulls.
Walking along the tracks on No.4 tank I flushed a Water Pipit that rose from the ground calling before flying high. It disappeared without returning over and down onto the flooded No.3 tank. A good size flock of 200 Linnet were good to see in their energetic bouncy flight.
Returning back to Moorditch Lane and the Ravens were everywhere in the fields, on the marsh and just generally hanging about waiting to clear up the sheep and lamb carrion that is surely about to provide a feast for them.
Observers: Paul Ralston, WSM (and images).