The morning ahead did not look promising with a steady drizzle falling from a heavy grey sky and a brisk breeze. By the time I arrived on the marsh it began to clear up and the temperature was steadily rising.
No.6 tank was surprisingly little with ducks gathered in clusters and apart from a ‘in and out’ flock of 200 Dunlin, 1 Ruff and a heard only Golden Plover there was no other waders. However, there was some compensation when I managed a count of 293 Shoveler a new record for the marsh! 267 Common Teal, 21 Pintail, 11 Gadwall, 20 Common Shoveler, 56 Tufted Duck and 10 Common Pochard were the best of the rest.
I met up with AC and we wandered across to look over Frodsham Score with the ebbing tide. It soon became apparent this wasn’t going to be a good day for shorebirds and apart from a couple of flocks of murmurating Dunlin, 12 Golden Plover, 14 Little and a single Great White Egret that was about it! Three Green Sandpiper were flushed from the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal as a ship passed by.
Walking back we bumped into a pair of Stonechat that were behaving nicely in the bright sunshine and another female was on No.3 tank.
We carried onto Marsh Farm where there was 2 male and a female Stonechat by the farmers discarded metal dump. Looking out from the last cattle grid it was good to catch up with some of the 29 Avocet that Alyn had seen earlier on his visit (see next paragraph). Scanning out across the estuary from the farm and using my telescope on full mag, I managed to poached a Mediterranean Gull from several hundred Black-headed gulls following a tractor ploughing a field adjacent to the lighthouse.
Alyn watched from Marsh Farm this morning and produced the following: 82 alba Wagtail, 12 Meadow Pipit and 5 Skylark south. 39 Linnet, 11 Goldfinch and 4 Chaffinch east along the ship canal. A Merlin flew through a couple of times. 29 Avocet and 3 Ruff with Lapwing on the Mersey estuary. 2 Common Sandpiper on the ship canal.
There were a few butterflies encouraged out by the warm afternoon sunshine which included Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral. Elsewhere a Migrant Hawker or two were still patrolling the tracks on No.5 tank. A Common Sexton Beetle was on the canal path from the Pumping Station.
Observers: Alyn Chambers (image 5), WSM al (images 1-4).
My first visit to the marsh for ages this afternoon and I saw.2 Stonechat near the farm, 1 Green Sandpiper on canal until flushed by a passing ship. The Weaver bend, 2 Ruff, 5 Redshank, 6 Common Snipe,1 Green Sandpiper (probably same bird), 17 Black-tailedGodwit..and no birders, think they’ve all headed off to Spurn!!
Observer: Sean O’Hara.
There were literally tens of thousands of spider silk strands (“ballooning”) cast across No.2 tank and glistening like a cloak between the thistle beds.
Earlier while we were watching from the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal a large ocean-going vessel the Camsol sailed back disturbing the huge rafts of Canada Goose from their slumber and little parties of duck and Coot including the 3 Green Sandpiper mentioned earlier.