Looking out of the kitchen window this morning and I the view didn’t instill me with a confident weather window ahead. Charging the metal road steed I headed down to the marsh and once clearing the swing bridge the sun started to poke its head above the fog.
I sent a text to Tony to find he was down by the waters edge along the River Weaver at Redwall reed bed. I decided to park up at the motorway bridge and embark on a long haul trek along Moorditch Lane, through the tanks 5 & 6 then cross by the ‘Splashing Pool’ down to the Mersey marshes adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal, circumnavigate No.4 tank, along Lordship Lane and the track between 4 & 6 before finally meeting up with Paul and then Mr Broome at the junctions of 3,5 & 6..Phew!!!
No.6 tank was frozen apart from a few patches kept clear by the Shoveler and Common Teal flocks present. A fine drake Goldeneye had the looked of like a celebrity as it was tucked in with a few Common Pochard, Pintail and Gadwall. A small gathering of Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls were standing on the ice. A Green Sandpiper flew over calling and dropped into the daisy beds.
The elder bushes on No.5 tank sometimes shelter feeding finches and when I spotted a few Chaffinches I noticed one had a white or pale yellow colour ring on its leg. This is the second bird I have seen locally over the last couple of days. Anyone know if there is a colour ringing scheme going on nearby?
The mitigation pools were totally frozen, it wasn’t worth lingering here and I made my way out to the salt marshes. A few Little Egret were out tip toeing through the skeletal remains from the previous high tide death toll on the river. Further out towards Ince Marsh a herd of 8 Whooper Swan could be seen and PR managed to get some photographs later in the day.
I took position on the embankment attempting to get some elevation but the fog blanket lay across the marsh and the distant river was lost from view.
The same fog made an eerie view with wind turbines standing above the low laying mist giving them the look of marching aliens from the film the ‘The War of the Worlds’. It was difficult to extract much from this birding day but sometimes you have to put a hard slog down to experience.
I bumped into Paul en route back to my car and we had a chat befor going our separate ways. I finally met up with TB and he kindly donated a hot brew to warm my tired limbs.
The misty sunset was one of the finest with no difference between the sky and water at No.6 tank.
Unfortunately the Barn Owl didn’t make a reappearance from last evening (per Arthur Harrison).
Observers: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 5-6 & 8), WSM (images 2-4 & 7 & 9-10).