With the access ramp and track to No.5 tank closed by the dithering wind farm contractors, I decided to watch from the southern banks. As expected most of the birds were pushed against the north banks sheltering from the brisk north-west wind. The air was nonetheless warm so it didn’t detract from the situation but it did afford some crippling low flight views of hundreds of Common Swift zipping past and at times so close you could hear the snapping of their bills.
Out on the water there was a good selection ducks and other waterfowl which included: 126 Tufted Duck, 9 Common Pochard, 4 Shoveler, both Common Shelduck and Gadwall with ducklings, 16 Common Teal, 21 Mute Swan, a family party of Canada Goose and 3 Little Egret.
The Black-tailed Godwit flock were hard to count as the kept mostly to the emerging vegetation on the margins of the tank but they all rose as one when a predator shot through revealing 350 birds. 14 Avocet were back on the same water with the odd Redshank for company.
A Common Buzzard flew through with a heavy crop whilst to the right of my position another bird was hovering unconcerned by my presence. The female Marsh Harrier was seen briefly quartering the reed beds on six but didn’t linger for long.
It was good to see the Raven families back with c20 birds rolling and tumberling in flight over Frodsham Score.
There’s been a build up of Sand Martin onto No.6 tank this month so 340 birds perched up on the dead stems of last years daisy stalks was a little odd? A short video of Common Swifts zipping past the camera here https://vimeo.com/172243558. Also the image 5 shows a Swift about to swallow a gnat.
After a few hours birding on No.6 tank I headed off to bird watch the Weaver Bend and the adjacent I.C.I tank, both of which I have neglected lately. As it turned out I wasn’t to be disappointed. A Grasshopper Warbler ‘reeling’ away in a willow thicket was almost drowned out by the fiddling grasshoppers in the grass on the bank of the tank. Also noted was a ‘rattling’ Lesser Whitethroat with Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap joining the cacophony.
Nature Notes #52 (Part 2)
Butterflies are always a distraction during the high summer months so it was a big thrill to find a few Ringlets on the eastern banks of the I.C.I tank. I texted Frank Duff and he joined me and we found even more, with an estimate of c80 individuals. Also present were Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, a tatty Painted Lady, a female Common Blue, 3 Meadow Brown and 4 Large Skipper. All in all not a bad tally for the day.
Local to the area and a selection of orchids could be found with Southern Marsh , Bee Orchid and Marsh Helleborine producing fine displays.
Observer and images: WSM.