Despite the continuous rain we made our way up the embankment to watch over No.6 tank and view the birds present on the tank there. A couple of Avocet were tucked in with the Redshank flock feeding in the shallow waters where a few Black-tailed Godwit and a single Ruff were also feeding. A couple of hundred Golden Plover (mostly summer plumaged birds) were gathered on the marginally drier areas. Duck numbers were lower than of late, they were still in good numbers with 120 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, a drake Wigeon, Shelduck and Gadwall present.
After taking in what was on offer on six we walked out to view the birds out on Frodsham Score. Although the light and rain wasn’t conducive for some decent birding we did manage to seek out 9 Whooper Swan, 120 Pink-footed Goose and 4 Little Egret. Two Swallow were noted heading east along the Manchester Ship Canal.
A hasty retreat back to the car and on route we found a dead Coot in the out flow ditch which was infested with Fresh Water Shrimps, the Coot and the ditch.
After Ray left to dry off en route home I hitched a lift with MacDuff, who drove us along the heavily pot-holed track to the mitigation area and the north banks of No.6 tank. A few more flocks of Black-tailed Godwit started to arrive from the river and by the time we had reached No.6 tank (north side) the Avocet had increased to 5 birds with a pair in the act of mating. A female Marsh Harrier was briefly flying over No.4 tank but didn’t linger and departed to the east. There were several Common Buzzard in the area with one or two attempting dry their wings after the rain eased.
Frank made his farewell and I continued to Ray’s earlier watching spot at the pipes on No.1 tank. There was no sign of any Wheatear and it appeared they had departed. A watch from Marsh Farm produced a further 8 Avocet out on the mudflats. 34 Raven were feasting on several dead sheep and the female Marsh Harrier which had shown earlier reappeared over the reed bed by the farm. A small flock of 10 Sand Martin were over the ship canal to the west of the farm and then a passage of 50 mixed Sand Martin and Swallow headed out across the river from ‘The Point’.
Returning back along the track PC was parked up close to the pipes and he pointed out 10 Wheatear there. They were either new in or were hiding in the pipes during the rain. All were giving some excellent views in the late afternoon sunshine.
Coot in the culvert.
Observers: Paul Crawley (images 6-10), Frank Duff, Ray Scally, WSM (images 1-5).