A really great day to be birding out and about in North Cheshire. We walked out from Marsh Lane along the track of Moorditch and Lordship Lanes hoping to find our first summer migrants on the marsh this Spring. Eventually, we were encamped on the banks of No.4 tank watching the 9.2 metre tide slowly edge its way up river. There wasn’t much movement on the salt marsh to keep the scope hot, but there was a few lingering winter species enjoying the bright light and warm sunshine. These included 67 Pink-footed Goose and 13 Whooper Swan. A Peregrine was sat out on a piece of drift wood but didn’t cause much concern (other Peregrines were seen at Marsh Farm and on a pylon close to the go-cart fields). Small numbers of Little Egret were tidal channel hopping with the ubiquitous Canada Goose scattered far and wide. The River Weaver had 3 male and 4 female Goldeneye sharing it with a couple of Common Pochard.
Retracing our steps we stopped to check the birds on No.6 tank which as always doesn’t disappoint. A gathering of 1000 Black-tailed were taking advantage of the much lower water level on the tank. Also present were 100 winter plumaged Dunlin looking all grey and nondescript (just wait, hopefully they’ll start to look good before they move north). The Redshank flock contained 50 birds with 9 Ruff, 600 Golden Plover (several in beautiful summer plumage) and the occasional Common Snipe to bolster their numbers.
The open water had 178 Shoveler, 3 pairs of Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 34 Common Shelduck, 6 Pintail, 150 Common Teal, 78 Tufted Duck and 56 Mallard. No.3 tank had 3 Ringed Plover while across No.2 tank a Oystercatcher was feeding on worms along the track from Marsh Farm.
Other birds of note: 4 Avocet were on the Weaver Bend with another 16 on Frodsham Score. 30 Raven including a pair performing their aerial courtship flight high above with 7-10 kettleing Common Buzzard soaring above and a Sparrowhawk flying north over No.3.
The smaller perching birds (passerines) include: 2 singing Chiffchaff – old log and No.5 tank, a female Stonechat close to the old log area, a late Redwing and a migrating Coal Tit at No.3-6 tanks.
A few Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, Ladybirds and Buff-tailed Bumblebees were on the wing.
Observers: Tony Broome (images 5-9), Paul Crawley (images 1-2 & 4), Sparky, WSM (image 3).