An Avocet was new in to the marsh but the Glossy Ibis across the M56 on Gowy Meadows just needs a little shove.
Observer: Alyn Chambers.
Out this morning from Ince Berth over to No.4 and around No.6 tanks and back along the Manchester Ship Canal path. There were 3 Little Egret flew over the berth and out on to the salt marsh where several more were feeding. The Great black-backed Gull v Raven v Common Buzzard were sharing the spoils out on the Frodsham Score. A few Redwing and Fieldfare were in the hawthorn bushes along the canal path and a mixed flock of finches held a few Reed Bunting. A walk over to No.4 and Blackbird and Song Thrush were in good numbers as were Robin, Wrens and Dunnock. A couple of Common Snipe were flushed from the reeds as I walked by. I met Tony B on the path along No.6 tank who was on a mission to find Jack Snipe which are quite rare to see on marsh. More Common Buzzard and Raven sat on the fence overlooking the lambing fields and a Sparrowhawk left its perch and crossed 6 putting Common Teal into the air.
There were good numbers of Pochard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard and Shelduck were on the partly frozen water. Lordship lane was quiet apart from more finches feeding on the bank of No.6 and a couple of Kestrel hunting in the area. Back on to the canal path more Common Shelduck and Gadwall on the ship canal and a Merlin flew fast and low over the score putting Lapwing Golden Plover and startling up a small party of Redshank which flew back and forth calling in alarm. 2 Foxes were noted on the walk looking splendid in there winter coats and their location is withheld for obvious reasons.
Observer: Paul Ralston (and images 1-3).
I thought that I’d brave the low temperatures and headed for the marsh via a coffee infusion to pick up and to pick me up a latte with mint. I parked up by No.4 tank and sipped on my hot drink. It was bitterly cold and the NE wind was strong enough to make scoping the Score difficult. A Great White Egret and at least 6 Little Egret stalked about in the distance.
I had a look for snipe. No.3 held 8 Common Snipe but no Jack Snipe. Skylark were in evidence with at least 10, one of them trying to sing, but the wind was too strong. The tank was covered in lambs and a sense that Spring was on the way was tangible. Around 2500 Lapwing and 200 Golden Plover fed on the cropped grass.
Common Kestrel numbers seemed to have dropped with only singles on No.4 and No.6. No.6 held 3 male and 2 female Stonechat, feeding actually in amongst the phragmites rather than along the bank as usual. There were a lot of small flies in the air and out of the wind on the south-facing bank it was positively warm. But it was quiet generally.
I decided to go and have a look in the wooded area for a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker and Willow Tit that were reported on Bird Track last week. The LSW would be a first for the patch! 3 Fieldfare noisily chacked away as I passed by and as I returned to Lordship Lane, a Kingfisher hurtled past me down the ditch.
Around 48 Curlew fed in the fields as I headed back to the NE corner of No.4 for the tide. Apart from around 2000 Dunlin and a handful of Grey Plover, I couldn’t see anything clear enough to identify, the wind strong enough to still be buffeting the scope and making my eyes water.
I saw that a lot of gulls were coming in from the south over No.5, so headed for the corner of 3, 5 and 6. There was an obvious movement in from over Frodsham Hill with some birds dropping in to No.6 before moving on to the Mersey. In about an hour, over 2000 Black-headed Gull, 500 Common Gull and 300 or so big gulls flew over No.6 and No.5, and I’d missed lots by the time I got into position. The best of the pick were 2 Mediterranean Gull, both coming off the water on No.6, a second summer firstly, followed by an adult some twenty minutes later.
I waited in the bitter cold for the owls, but none appeared and I left for home, the heating in the car turned up to full to thaw me out.
Observer: Tony Broome (and images 4-20).
Additional information includes 2 Ruff on fields near the Growhow works, 13 Ring Plover on No.6 again, 4 Fieldfare on Lordship marsh and 30 Black-tailed Godwit flying over No.5. There was also a Great Crested Grebe on the Manchester Ship Canal.
Observer: Paul Crawley (and images 21-24)