25.12.16. Birdlog

25-12-16-wader-flocks-roosting-no-6-tank-frodsham-marsh-bill-mortonThe big day’s arrived and I’m doing it free food preparation via the marsh (I’d only be in the way). With only a brief hour or so I encamped on my usual spot above the open water of No.6 tank and this time the shorebirds that had arrived from the morning tide was still present.

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A mass of plovers and Dunlin were gathered below me on the mud with a couple of yesterday’s Little Stint still weaving their way through the throng of birds. I estimated that there were c1000 Golden Plover, c2000 Lapwing, 230 Black-tailed Godwit, c100 Redshank, a single Common Snipe and 9 Ruff. Faced with the little time I had available it was a fair return with the variety of species and numbers seen. During the course of my observation the whole shorebird flock exploded from the ground when a Peregrine bolted through and later a similar melee occurred when a Sparrowhawk glided by.

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I didn’t really have time to work my way through the ducks but Common Pochard had increased to 41 birds, while 500 Common Teal will surely feature their American cousin in the next few weeks?

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There was a collection of gulls present bathing out on the water with 200 Common, 130 Black-headed, 20 Great Black-backed, 4 Herring (argenteus) then an adult and a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull which given the numbers that are sometimes seen out on the Mersey estuary is still actually a rare gull on the marsh.

I didn’t see the harrier from yesterday but one of the two Peregrine was sat on the blue-topped chimney like a  predator version of the proverbial angel (of death) on top of the  Christmas tree.

Oddly, my first ever Wasp for Christmas Day was flying about my yardinere this morning.

Observer and images: WSM.

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