17.12.16. Birdlog

17-12-16-little-stint-no-6-tank-frodsham-marsh-bill-morton-9A peek out of the kitchen window first thing this morning and a blanket of fog was laying overhead. Sometimes you have to question the gods for their weekend weather choices. Nevertheless, I persevered and headed down to the marshes for the high tide and my day early WeBS count.

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On arrival at No.6 tank it was evident that the fog on the marshes was present only along the Weaver valley and out onto the Mersey estuary. This did change later when it extended out onto the marsh and beyond to the M56.

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17-12-16-grey-heron-and-dunlin-no-6-tank-frodsham-marsh-bill-morton-1I set up overlooking No.6 from the northern banks. The late morning/afternoon light was causing a few headaches but the volume of birds were well worth the effort. Ducks were back to their winter best with an incredible 43 Common Pochard, 130 Tufted Duck, 23 Pintail, c600 Common Teal, 56 Mallard, 2 Common Shelduck, 10 Gadwall and 2 Goldeneye. 12 Mute Swan were lingering in the eastern side of the water.

Shorebirds were also back in numbers and a Little Stint joined 1000 Dunlin spending the high tide here along with 2 Ruff, 130 Redshank, 25 Common Snipe, 200 Lapwing, 300 Golden Plover and 560 Black-tailed Godwit. A short video of the feeding Dunlin here: https://vimeo.com/196115498

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A fine male Stonechat was again in the area of No.5 tank from my previous visit while the Raven hoard were still bothering the Common Buzzards on the fence line above the deserted mitigation area. A Sparrowhawk was harrying the Goldfinch flocks while a couple of Kestrel looked on.

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Not a brilliant day compared to Dave’s tally from across the water, but it did have an atmospheric effect a tad like Turner’s ‘The Fighting Temeraire’

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Observer: WSM (images and video).

A Marsh Harrier and 5 Ruff were spotted by Keith @warringtonmoon .