It was blue skies and fluffy clouds kind of marsh visit with a surprisingly cool feel to the evening air. I met AH along Moorditch Lane and we both eventually en camped on the northern banks of No.5 looking out over the flooded No.6 tank below. Arthur immediately picked out the female Marsh Harrier that was literally harrying the juvenile Coot flock which were feeding in the daisy beds. The Coot typically panicked and kicked up lots of water splashes to discourage the raptor from taking one of them. She soon gave up this hunting tactic and flew out to the south end to drop down out of sight.
The Tufted Duck were obviously cautious of the harrier and they flocked together into a loose nervous wreak raft. The 300 Common Shelduck weren’t too bothered with all the nervous energy and continued with their upend feeding. Along with the ‘tufties’ were numerous Gadwall and 5 Common Pochard but the surprise was the first returning drake Wigeon of late summer.
A couple of Water Rail were being noisy in the reed bed below us while equally vocal was a singing Reed Warbler.
As mentioned earlier No.6 tank was flooded and with pumping of sludge into the north-west corner it will still be likely flooded for a while yet. A small flock of Black-tailed Godwit were wheeling around looking for their usual feeding area but they wouldn’t settle and appeared to fly out to the estuary. After Arthur left I walked up to the mitigation area on No.3 tank and it was soon evident that part of the flock of godwits had relocated here. Along with the 100 Black-tails (including a Portuguese colour-ringed bird details below) were 20 summer Dunlin, 3 Redshank and 4 Ruff.
The returning Raven flock were gathering over Frodsham Score with 20 birds. While I was leaving the Marsh Harrier reappeared and flew overhead and spent some time on No.5 before hunting the reed beds back on No.6 tank.
A halo sun gave a reasonably good display for the duration of my stay.
There were a few Common Swift dropping down to feed on the descending midges over the tracks.
A Portuguese colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit from No.3 tank.
Details of birds history:
15.02.14. Samouco, Tagus Estuary, Setúbal, W Portugal
20.03.14. Oud-Alblas, Molenwaard, Zuid-Holland, S Netherlands
06.04.15. Lawling Creek, Blackwater, Essex, E England
29.08.15. Hortas, Tagus Estuary, Setúbal, W Portugal
14.07.16. Frodsham Marsh, River Mersey, Cheshire, NW England
Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM (and images).