The sun was shining and a cold blast was blowing from the east but spirits were high to unwrap a new birding day on the marshes.
My first port of call was to the pipe line on No.1 tank and 4 Wheatear there were 4 Greenland forms. Another two (Northern) were out on the banks of Frodsham Score opposite Marsh Farm. The big female Peregrine was sat up on the blue-topped chimney but didn’t linger there for long.
Walking along the southern track on No.5 tank to view the birds on the flooded sludge deposit tank. The most prominent species were undoubtedly the summer flock of Black-tailed Godwit numbering 1200 birds and the majority in splendid summer plumage. Hidden amongst them were 7 winter plumage Knot, 74 Dunlin, 2 Ruff (partial summer birds), just a few Golden Plover left with the godwit flock with 39 birds here. A flock of 100 Curlew were out on the much drier area of the tank to the west.
Ducks were reduced in the species stakes and their numbers are also dropping off too. 87 Shoveler, 70 Tufted Duck, 70 Common Teal with low counts of Common Shelduck, Gadwall and Mallard.
A few hardy Sand Martin were heading north while a handful of Swallow were lingering a little longer.
A female Marsh Harrier swoop in but didn’t stay for long. A few hours later a calling male was spotted very high overhead drifted off to the west.
Observer: WSM (images 1-9).
3 male Wheatear on No.1 tank and half a dozen Swallow feeding low over the fields. The gates are all open so the sheep are roaming free? Sedge and Willow Warbler singing along Moorditch Lane and 4 House Martin flew over Moorditch lane onto No.5. Other Wheatears included a male and 2 female in the ploughed field near the model airfield along Lordship Lane.
Observer: Paul Crawley.
I was out for a couple of hours this afternoon from Ince berth and over No.4 tank. There were c30 Swallow over the small water treatment plant on the road to the Pig Farm with Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler also in the area.
At the berth were both Raven and Great Black-backed Gull which filled their bellies full of salt marsh mutton across the opposite bank. Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, Coot and a single Great Crested Grebe were on the Manchester Ship Canal waters with Redshank and Oystercatcher both seen and heard. A flock of 60 Raven were drifting around the salt marsh and smaller numbers were seen about the walk chastising the local Common Buzzard no doubt all benefiting from the glut of lamb and mutton carcasses strewn about the marshes. The ‘Splashing Pool’ held more Tufted Duck and Gadwall and a Coot was showing off her new clutch of chicks. On No.4 tank a White Wagtail was along side a drainage ditch and more Swallow and Sand Martin passed overhead.
The female Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed bed shadowed by a Kestrel. Back by the Holpool Gutter and a Peregrine was high up over the Growhow Works and the Mute Swan herd was feeding in the crop field at Ince marsh.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 10-11 & 13).
Images 12 by Tony Broome.