A brief encounter with a Yellowhammer near to Marsh Farm before it flew away, at least 6 Wheatear in and around pipes on No.1 tank and female Marsh Harrier over the farm reed bed. There were 2 Grey Heron on the Shooters Pools’. A Oystercatcher was feeding on the track to the farm.
Observer: Paul Crawley (images 1-3).
A total of 80 species seen on the marsh today with the highlights being: A male Blackcap and two Lesser Redpoll along the south bank of No.4 tank.
3 Wheatear at the back of the Splashing Pool and another, along with a Jay, by the model flying club field.
A female Merlin was perched on No.3 tank and the female Marsh Harrier was hunting over No.3 & 6 tanks.
2 Little Ringed Plover were at the Weaver Bend with at least 3 Avocet.
8 Willow Warbler and 27 Chiffchaff were seen across the marsh.
The incoming tide out on the Mersey marshes is a typically slow process but as it reaches its optimum time it gives a kick and fills the salt marsh quickly forcing everything to seek shelter elsewhere. The number of shorebirds was very low with several hundred Curlew perhaps the most notable. Small flocks of Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank were really the only shorebird species worthy of mention. Ducks were also low in numbers with a couple of Pintail, 150 Wigeon, 200 Common Shelduck and 300 Common Teal.
Just before the incoming tide was flooding the Mersey Estuary the lingering Whooper Swan (5 birds), 14 Pink-footed Goose, and 6 Little Egret were still present. A female Sparrowhawk was pursued off the salt marsh and sent packing by a Carrion Crow while a female Merlin sat out on the edge of the river prior to the tide.
There was a good supply of washed up mutton on the salt marsh which encouraged the Raven flock to gather around like a group of bored youths. They rode the tide out literally in the air with an impressive flock of 24 tumbling high above the score marsh.
A couple of Siskin flew east and 2 Willow Warbler were singing along the north banks of No.4 tank with one of them throwing in the odd chiff chaff note? A Swallow moved east.
Walking back along the track bordering the mitigation on No.3 tank and the flooded fields had a couple of Ringed Plover, a solitary Black-tailed Godwit with 30 Redshank, 10 Gadwall (4 of which were paired up and displaying), Shoveler, Common Teal and Mallard making up the numbers.
The highlight of the whole day was the shore birds present on No.6 tank with 1200 (mostly summer plumage) Black-tailed Godwit and one particular section of the roosting flock packed so tight they appeared like a red brick wall. 180 Golden Plover looked handsome but soon they’ll be leaving the marsh bound no doubt for Iceland with them were 50 Dunlin and some were in their beautiful summer plumage. A solitary Knot, 4 Avocet, 6 Ruff and 120 Redshank.
Duck numbers were reasonably good and the Shoveler flock on No.6 tank reaches 134 birds with 56 Tufted Duck, a par of Pintail, several Common Shelduck and c100 Common Teal. The only migrant seen before the rain started was a Swallow over the east side of the tank.
The Royal Iris ferry cruised (with paying passengers) along the Manchester Ship Canal sailing by en route to Salford Quay.
A view looking south-east from Lordship Lane.
Observer: WSM (images 4-12).