Down to the marsh late via the usual coffee emporium for a couple of sandwiches and take-out lattes, arriving at midday. I blame the fact that the clocks went back last night and I completely forgot! Anyway, I can only claim an hour for that.
It was really a last-gasp effort for any lingering Yellow-browed Warblers passing through but it wasn’t to be, so it was a couple of hours around the old bird log, Redwall reed bed, the River Weaver, Marsh Farm and No.6 tank.
The high pressure gave a feel of November as the overcast grey cloak of clouds gave a hint of drizzle every now and again, with no wind at all. We would have been becalmed had we been on a yacht. It was quiet, very quiet. No tit flocks despite my coaxing. A walk around the reed bed at Redwall put 7 Common Snipe up, with 5 Reed Bunting and a few Meadow Pipit flying over. A bounding shape from the west dropped into the bottom of a willow bush and slowly emerged before heading off SE. A Great-spotted Woodpecker. A ‘plik-plik’ call from the reedbed gave away the presence of a Cetti’s Warbler and with a bit of “pishing” it showed itself briefly but remained in cover for much of the time. There could have been another below the old birdlog but it only called twice. 12 Redwing, 10 Blackbird and 6+ Song Thrush exploded out of bushes, did circuits and came back down, but no big flocks, despite the Hale counters seeing many heading south-east. 4 Raven noisily played about overhead as we headed for the Weaver.
As I walked along the top of the bank and came to the end of the sallows, two ducks were sat a third of the way out and immediately caught my eye. Their low jizz shouted diving ducks and a look through the bins confirmed 2 Common Scoter, probably juveniles, swimming left. They spooked as some people came towards us down the bank and flew off towards the Weaver Sluices. Great views of what are normally dots out on the River Mersey. A vocal Chiffchaff called from the reeds.
There was nothing at the Marsh Farm except for another 15 or so Raven, and 2000+ Lapwing out over Frodsham Score in a long straggly line, probably flushed by a Peregrine? So it was a turn-around and the short drive to No.6. Even at 3 pm the light was so gloomy and it was damp and miserable. There were lots of birds on the water but nothing stood out as out of the ordinary. I estimated 200 Lapwing and 6 Ruff, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 50+ Pintail, 150+ Shoveler and 200 Common Teal. The M56 was lit up as cars drove on headlights, so it was where I headed. In the direction of a hot cuppa. Not too bad considering the time put in and weather.
Observer: Tony Broome (images 1-3).
Images 4-5 by WSM.