After yesterday’s gloomy, misty and thoroughly murky conditions I was slightly apprehensive about how today would dawn. As it happened I woke to a wintry blue sky interspersed with high streaks of cumulus and a weak sun slowly rising above the horizon to the south-east. Food and flasks prepared and I whisked myself westwards, not even stopping for a latte! I arrived around 09.45 hrs and as I was due to do the Webs count for 14.30 hrs at the fields west of No.4 tank, I headed straight for the track between No.6 and 4 tanks.
All the big flocks of thrushes hve long gone and only around 20 Fieldfare and 15 Redwing fed on haw berries along Lordship Lane. Apart from c15 Song Thrush and a handful of Blackbird during the day, they were the only thrush counts. I met Arthur Harrison walking back along the track and we stopped for a chat. Not a lot was the summation. I carried on and parked up by the ramp to the mitigation on No.3. It was a glorious morning with a pale blue sky, not a breath of wind and a bright low sun. Unfortunately that’s the last thing you want for No.6 as it’s in your eyes all the time. I did a brief count of Common Pochard from the east end and got 39.
I also had a look at No.3 and No.2 tanks. Up to 30 Raven, some lined up on adjacent fence posts like the grim-reaper’s very own clean up mob, sat waiting their turn as some shepherd-less sheep got devoured by more corvids on the ground. As many as c2500 Lapwing fed on No.2 with a couple of Golden Plover in amongst them. They would all take to the air in a blizzard every now and again before returning to feed.
There were 3 Song Thrush perched up briefly, uttering their high ‘sip’ calls. Meadow Pipit flew back and forth and a lisping call brought my attention to a Water Pipit coming off No.6. They are frequent across at Hale, and I guess must have been at Frodsham, but they’re rarely pinned down here. I went back to the car and drove around No.6 and onto the track towards the west end of No.4 to count the fields. Gorse was in full flower, a dash of golden-yellow in an otherwise somber back drop. A female Kestrel perched up obligingly, intent on unsuspecting prey beneath her and she ignored me long enough to get a few shots. A flock of 25 Linnet ignored me completely and continued to feed on teasel heads.
Another stop and a bit of “pishing” brought a few birds close and a chance to use some more memory card up. I sat and ate the salmon sandwiches, a change from cheese butties, but still with soup and crisps. Two quad bikes went past noisily, expensive bits of kit.
I finished up and walked out along the Holpool Gutter. 20 Curlew and about 35 Lapwing took off from the field and apart from 4 Whooper Swan, 3 adults and a juvenile, in the distance, there were no other birds at high tide, maybe due to a four-wheel drive parked up on the track in the middle of the fields and a man and his family who were throwing something for their dog.
I walked to a point overlooking the Frodsham Score but by 14.30 hrs it was already going dark, made worse by cloud coming in from the south-west. Out on the Score there was a lone Great White Egret and 3 Bewick’s Swan, the first of the winter, all adults. I headed back to the car, suddenly noticing that I was covered in burdock seed heads, stuck to my Wellington’s in bunches, my fleece, binocular strap and lens cover. It took me ages to de-bur myself. As I got back to the car, two more off-road, two bikes and a car sped past through the mud. I followed slowly and turned off to go around No.6 again, stopping to look at the water. There were a few more waders on including 200 Dunlin which flushed when a noisy family looked over the fence. I didn’t wait for the sunset finale, but chose to head in the opposite direction and the quiet of home.