The weather threatened something black and ominous as it loomed over from the south-west. I was hanging out for it to bypass us on the track above No.6 tank. It wasn’t to be, when finally the heavens opened, AC and myself sought sanctuary in the remaining shelter of the trees bordering No.6. The trees didn’t afford much cover and when the cold rain found a way through my “waterproof” overcoat it didn’t become a pleasant birding experience. The storm clouds eventually moved through and when it did, it did become a birding spectacle as the Swift hordes flew low down and through the dancing mosquito clouds that hung above the trees. Each bird appeared to line up in flight to pick them off with snapping bills and swooshing wings.
Emerging from the comfort of their dry vehicle was Heather and Findlay with Nan Stewart in support. Findlay wisely produced his dry optics and expertly picked out a couple of summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper within a gathering of 40 Dunlin. Their appearance was short-lived when a midday fly over Short-eared Owl flushed everything. The 216 strong Black-tailed Godwit flock that had been roosting out the rain storm rose into the air and added the owl to their mobbing tally. When eventually the waders settled the two Curlew Sandpiper joined up with a Ringed Plover flock and hid in cover (mostly) out of sight in the daisy stubble. They didn’t reappear until some hours later.
AC had earlier watched a couple of drake Mandarin drop into the ditch along Moorditch Lane/Marsh Lane bridge but they never reappeared. Likewise, a female Marsh Harrier flew over but didn’t put in another appearance.
A Sparrowhawk and several Common Buzzard were noted and a Raven flying towards Frodsham Hill with a full crop suggest a local breeder.
Water birds were lesser in number on No.6 tank and a flock of 26 Coot and a nesting bird were interesting additions to the day. Common Shelduck and Gadwall were the commonest species while 3 Common Teal and 67 Tufted Duck added to the count.