A watch over Frodsham Score was rewarded with distant views of a Great White Egret hiding in the rough marsh grass. A flock of 87 Pink-footed Geese were along the marsh edge close to the water line with a lone Barnacle Goose loitering on the periphery of the group. The Whooper Swan herd was too far out on Ince salt marsh for a real count. Generally a below par performance by the birds, although a ‘low’ high tide wasn’t going to push much closer in today.
A huge gathering of Black-headed Gull that flew in for a bathe after spending much of their time in the flooded fields close to the motorway were notable. Also present were the county high flock of 178 Shoveler and with them 26 Pintail which is a good count on the marsh these days. The Common Pochard have reduced in numbers with just 14 birds and c250 Common Teal continue to like the flooded daisy clumps.
The usual gathering of several hundred (nervous) Lapwing included several hundred Golden Plover including a few sporting black bellies and a lone Ruff.
A view across the M56 motorway looking north-west to the raised banks of No.5 tank.
A Curlew count along Lordship Lane revealed 80 birds and a sizable movement headed out to and settled on the river. Their numbers have been increasing lately and are birds preparing for the big push north.
A watch from Marsh Farm was a bit hit and miss with the Peregrine pair watched preening on the tall chimney standing high above Weston Point. Out on the Mersey Estuary were 7 Avocet, 120 Oystercatcher, 400 Curlew, 50 Redshank and small numbers of Dunlin.
One of the features of the day was the sight of a Common Buzzard sat up on a fence post on the mitigation area of No.3 tank. It was feeding on worms when a male Pheasant walked beneath the post it was sat on. The buzzard didn’t even give the game bird a second glance (a lesson here).
The Starlings gathered again in fields adjacent to the farm with another impressive flock streaming out and over Runcorn Hill.
A small flock of Fieldfare and Redwing were in the hawthorn bushes along Moorditch Lane in the last sunlight of the day.
An incredible movement of gulls pouring into the Mersey Estuary at dusk is bewildering to watch and with the Starling flocks over head it is difficult at times to find a point of concentration. Two young(ish) birders over at Hale covered it nicely tonight. Read about it here: http://birdingtheboundary.blogspot.co.uk/
Observers: Tony Broome, Frank Duff, WSM (images 1-4 & 6-9). Image 5 by Paul Crawley.