It was a fine evening to be out bird watching and I couldn’t find any excuses not to be down on the marsh.
It was immediately obvious by the chattering calls from the waters of No.6 tank as I walked along the track (concealed by the line of trees that shielded me) from the keen eyes of the Avocet and Black-tailed Godwits that were feeding in the shallows below the bank. When I eventually popped my head over to see the birds most of the godwits flew up and headed out to the Mersey Estuary. This is usual behaviour by them and being naturally suspicious, I’m wondering if there’s been some recent disturbance here?.
Anyway, back to the Avocet flock which were bunched up close together and difficult for me to count. After several attempts at getting an accurate number I settled on 63 (yes! Another new record!). The birds were a mixture of adult with lesser numbers of juveniles. Tim Vaughan who is compiling the Avocet section for the Lancashire Bird Report suggested that these could be displaced from Martin Mere, because, some of their birds departed the area at the end of June?
The first non-breeding Dunlin have started their return passage with 10 birds feeding with the remaining godwits, Redshank and Lapwing. A couple of new Ruff were also noted.
The 3 Little Egret were in deep vegetation on the south side of the tank and didn’t emerge much from their cover. Tufted Duck were back to three figure counts along with a handful of Common Pochard, numerous Mallard, Gadwall and 24 moulting Common Teal.
The surprise of the night was Hale’s Egyptian Goose and the image at the top of the page also shows a Swift spectre photo bombing it. A pair of Common Shelduck were guarding a crèche of 50 shelducklings.
Little Ringed Plovers on No.3 tank.
The mitigation on No.3 tank was woefully deserted with just a Shelduck and a pair of Little Ringed Plover with their juvenile present.
A Peregrine was sat up on the blue-topped chimney and is separate from the bird that sits on Ethelfleda railway bridge, Runcorn/Widnes during the day (pictured above).
A flock of 500 Sand Martin with resting up in the daisy beds while Common Swift continue to provide a spectacular display of how close can they get to you before veering off at the last second! One particular bird had a gorget of leucism (pictured above) and many were seen with bulging throat crops.
A few butterflies were noted including a couple of tatty Painted Ladies on the dusty track.
Observer and images: WSM.