You have to take the birding as and when you can and now that the days are drawing in and the opportunity to stay out later is getting less and less. The ploughed fields alongside Moorditch Lane again attracted 300 Black-headed Gull and it didn’t take long to extract an adult Mediterranean Gull from their number.
I went straight to the mitigation area on No.3 tank to basically check it out first before continuing back to No.6 for some proper birds. The mitigation had 3 Black-tailed Godwit and a dozen Common Teal (a return to form). No.6 tank rarely disappoints and there is always something to see whatever floats your boat or bird. I had an idea that the Shoveler flock presently residing here was increasing and after my WeBs count on Saturday which exceeded the previous record count, I had another go this evening. It was no surprise really when that count was again exceeded with a record reaching 310 birds!
The usual build up of duck species continues with in excess of 450 Common Teal and 20 Pintail. Other ducks worth mentioning include Common Shelduck, Gadwall and Mallard. There were 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 10 Ruff either roosting or feeding.
There was a pair of Peregrine on the blue-topped chimney, they were both sat there preening until the male launched itself (bungee like) from the chimney edge and dropped like a stone hurtling to the ground 107metres (354ft) below. No sooner was it out of sight than it reappeared high over the power station building to rejoin the female again on the chimney’s lip and she didn’t appear to be too impressed.
Observer and images: WSM.
The blue-topped chimney
The history of the power station is a little vague. There are only a few references to it online. It was constructed sometime between 1910 and 1920 to serve the new Castner Kellner plant at Weston Point. The plant, originally built to produce various acids and alkalis through electrolysis later came under the ownership of I.C.I and today is run by Ineos Chlor. The original turbine sets were replaced by more up to date Parsons units in the 1930s (two of which remain in situ) and sometime during the 1950s four of those were replaced with upgraded AEI/Vickers sets. In 1998 the more modern ‘Rocksavage’ station opened on the other side of the I.C.I Runcorn site rendering Weston Point’s generation capacity obsolete.
Have a read of this article about the inside of the power station building and watch the video here: http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/weston-point-power-station-runcorn-may-2011.t60571