Over the last week or two Dave Craven and Ian ‘Iggy’ Iggsden have been picking up an increasing number of north bound white-winged gulls passing Hale Head and Within Way at dusk over on the north banks of the Mersey Estuary. I thought I’d give it a go after work but looking via the south bank from Marsh Farm.
When I arrived after work I had an hour and a bit to play with so after sensibly parking up at the farm I set up my scope. The first spectacle to greet me was a huge flock of Starlings gathered on the banks of Frodsham Score across the Manchester Ship Canal from the farm. There must have been 20,000 birds getting a last feed in before their flight to roost (presumably) on Runcorn Bridge. During the course of the hour birds started to gather from all directions. I have witnessed Starling flocks in various numbers in this area on many occasions but the spectacle of these birds was truly awesome. I would estimate that there were in excess of 50,000 and as the smaller groups glued onto other smaller groups and in turn latched onto much bigger parties they streamed out in a funnel out over Weston Point. It was gobsmackingly brilliant to watch. A Merlin perched up on a fence by the farm was similarly gobsmacked because she didn’t even make an attempt to attack them!
Anyway, this wasn’t the reason why I subjected my car to the bone jarring pot holes on the way along Brook Furlong Lane. I had come to watch the gulls pour through the narrows at Runcorn and filter out into the estuary. There were thousands upon thousands of them flooding in with Black-headed, Common, Lesser Black and Greater Black-backed and Herring Gulls. During the time I was there three separate adult Iceland Gulls flew in and pitched down on a sand bar close to the area adjacent to the gantry wall opposite Christchurch. A remarkable period of observation condensed into 30 minutes before I tried to squeeze as much light from the gloom through the objective lens on my scope before the darkness cloaked the day.
Observer and images: WSM