An afternoon visit to the marsh and we started off at Marsh Farm, in the hope of some late migrants using the pipelines as a feeding resource; however despite my hopes, the only birds I could conjure up were a single Pied Wagtail and a few Meadow Pipit. Raven were plentiful, and at some points I managed to get quite close up these corvids, reminding me of what a beast of a bird they are.
Scanning the Mersey estuary from Marsh Farm, waders were in short supply, but I mange to pick out a flock of 100 Knot relatively close in and mixed with the masses of Lesser and Great Black Backed Gull numbers roosting on the sandbanks. The surrounding fields held numerous Curlew and Lapwing, with the latter displaying an impressive flock of 500 birds.
Next Stop was No.6 tank where I viewed the birds on offer from the northern bank, waiting to see if any other estuarine birds would be pushed in with the tide. Ducks were plentiful with counts of 400 Common Teal, some still to moult into their most recognised and smart plumage. 150 Shoveler were also settled on the water, however the passing visit of a Common Buzzard soon startled them. 60 Gadwall and 70 Pintail were also present in terms of wildfowl.
There was a lack of waders in terms of quantity; however there was on the other hand a nice variety. I first picked out a small flock of 100 Black-tailed Godwit, with a good majority of them moulting into their winter plumage. In with this species were 12 Ruff, 11 Redshank and a small flock of 20 Dunlin. The high tide didn’t really live up to expectations, however it still pushed in a further 25 Dunlin, and with these were 3 Curlew Sandpiper, one of which flew tremendously close showing off the charismatic white rump to help distinguish them in flight. The highlight though came in the form of a Little Stint, which was keeping close with the Dunlin feeding as they traversed the shoreline.
It was nice to catch up with Jeff Clarke, who was leading a small group around the marsh and it was great to show these people some of the waders on offer as a few hadn’t seen the likes of Curlew Sandpiper before. Sadly by this point the Little Stint had moved off with a small flock of Dunlin; presumably heading back out onto the estuary.
Other species of note included a male Stonechat, hovering in an unusual position over a fence line, a Kingfisher that flew along the edge of No.6 tank and another 3 Common Buzzard circling high over the tank.
Observers: Findlay and Heather Wilde. Images 1-4 by Heather. Image 5 by WSM.