Felt like Winter hasn’t relinquished her grip on the cold and an east-north-easterly breezed blow across the marsh as I was sat on the embankment overlooking Frodsham Score with the ebbing tide draining out of the river. Despite this there were plenty of birds moving about.
A gathering of 340 Wigeon on the distant banks of the Holpool Gutter out on the edge of the salt marsh was nice to see. A herd of 170 Pink-footed Goose were lingering birds from the winter but small skeins of 23 and 27 didn’t linger and flew north en route to their breeding grounds. 8 Little Egret and the usual Great White Egret were again on the score marsh. Talking about winter the herd of Whooper Swan which have been present throughout had grown to 23 birds (including 2 juvenile). A Stonechat was on No.4 tank.
The mitigation area of No,3 tank are filling nicely for the coming Spring and a small cluster of duck included some Common Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall but it was interesting to see 8 Ringed Plover here. A flock of 32 Raven flew over with bellies full of fresh meat from the carcasses laying abandoned in the fields.
The water on No.6 tank is slowly draining away and is becoming attractive once more for the Black-tailed Godwit flocks which totalled c1000 birds (FD), with several in fine ruddy red breeding plumage. A flock of 50 Redshank, 500 Golden Plover, 60 Dunlin and 13 Ruff also found conditions more than suitable. A couple of male Grey Heron were in a battle royal for the favours of a female and at one moment one bird had its competitor in a half Nelson. All of this was watched on by a young male Merlin who found a convenient perch in the middle of the flooded water.
Duck number were again impressive with Shoveler slightly reduced from the WeBS count down to 178, 16 Pintail, 300 Common Teal, 46 Common Shelduck, 46 Tufted Duck, 30 Gadwall, 34 Mallard, a Great Crested and 5 Little Grebe. Out on top of the blue-topped chimney sat the ever-present Peregrine.
Observer: WSM (images 1-2 &-4-11).
Meanwhile, a Goldcrest was along Brook Furlong Lane with another two at Twiggery Wood. The Weaver Estuary held 85 Tufted Duck (7 male and 10 female) with 14 (9 males) Goldeneye, there was a build up of pairing of birds with 13 pairs of Gadwall noted. Common Buzzard included a kettle of 7 birds. A big arrival of 18 Avocet were out on the mudflats off Frodsham Score banks, then 2 more flew north over the Weaver Bend (total of 21 birds). Also present on the score were 21 Oystercatcher with 6 on the River Weaver along with 201 Curlew. There were 4 Stock Dove in the Twiggery Wood fields, where 15 Fieldfare and 5 Redwing hung out with a flock of 20 Linnet, another 40+ were along Lordship Lane. Finally, a female Stonechat ended my observation.
Observer: Tony Broome (images 3 & 13).