The day started off fairly well with the female Marsh Harrier flying through from the west stopping briefly to put the frighteners on the ducks present on No.6 tank. Soon after the first signs of rain were felt smattering the optics and the beginning of almost continuous lens clothe wiping began.
The waters of No.6 tank were covered with ducks and they were soon joined by a couple of Curlew Sandpiper which were struggling to find somewhere firm enough for them to settle. The Curlew Sands were relocated some time later on the mitigation pools with a third bird alongside 17 Black-tailed Godwit. We were briefly joined by Merseyside Naturalist Association’s field trip to the marsh where they enjoyed the calidris plus a Sparrowhawk perched on a dead tree while ducks swam about it unconcerned. Other birds seen included: 15 Grey and a single Golden Plover, 20 Dunlin, 10 Common Snipe and 6 Black-tailed Godwit.
At the west end of the tank the conditions for some species were a little more favourable with 15 Ruff keeping company with 6 Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper. A gathering of 25 Alba wagtails were actively engaged feeding while a Grey Wagtail flew over.
Generally passerine passage was steady with another 45 Alba wagtail, 25 Skylark, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 30 Swallow and numerous Meadow Pipit could be seen/or heard as they passed overhead. There was a smattering of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest with a male Blackcap along the hedgerows and isolated elder bushes. A substantial flock of 300 low aerial feeding hirundines were mostly House Martin with some Swallow
A Kestrel that was perched up on a pole on the banks of No.5 tank was seen to cough up a pellet (see image).
Earlier AC had already done a watch from the Marsh Farm and some of his sightings are listed. We both had a go at watching from Marsh Farm and the Weaver Sluice gates where we found: 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, several hundred Dunlin and a Little Egret. There was plenty of birds out on the mudflats but the rain clouds rolled in again and viewing became a burden so we retreated back to the car and existed stage left.
Above image as seen from the marsh, Runcorn’s contribution to the world…an incinerator!
Observers: Alyn Chambers, WSM (all images).
As mentioned earlier the MNA field trip to the marsh continued after they left us. Soon after sheltering from the (at times heavy) rain they continued to the Weaver estuary and discovered two Black-necked Grebe on the river there. They also saw a Peregrine devouring a pigeon, so a good day all round.
Observers: Alexander Mansfield and MNA.