Out again this morning starting off from Ince. I got out of the car and immediately thought I heard a Green Woodpecker calling in the distance? I couldn’t be sure as it didn’t call again so I dismissed it.
The first of the new pools still hosted a pair of Mute Swan and several Common Teal with both Mallard and a single drake Pintail. The Curlew were again feeding in the field close to the last of the pools which had a pair of flighty Gadwall. A dozen Stock Dove were busy feeding at the waters edge.
Onward as always to the Manchester Ship Canal path and there were more Gadwall on the canal with Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Mallard and a large raft of Coot. The grebes were again here with 4 Little and a single Great Crested. A gathering of 5 Great Black-backed Gull were washing and preening the blood and guts off their plumages after gorging on the sheep and lamb carcases on the salt marsh. The Mute Swan and Greylag Goose brotherhood are still faithful to their fields near the Holpool Gutter. Three Common Buzzard were sat in the hedgerow and looked well fed after the marsh food bounty.
There wasn’t much to report from No.6 tank because the mud was partly frozen but a flock of Dunlin with at least one remaining Little Stint from yesterday were huddled together waiting for it to thaw. A flock of Black-tailed Godwit were likewise bunched together a short distance away.
The Whooper Swan herd was again near the blue slurry tank and the nearby flooded fields either side of the tank had Redshank and a few Dunlin.
A large flock of Goldfinch were busy feeding on the teasles on No.4 which drew the attention of a passing Sparrowhawk. Retracing my steps along the canal path and I spotted a pair of Kestrel were engaged in bonding manoeuvres, while wisely a couple of Stonechat sat in the reeds were keeping a careful eye on their activities (another pair of chats were seen back near Ince Berth).
The Great White Egret was seen out on the salt marsh and 5 Little Egret were counted. Finally back at the Ince Berth and there were c200 Lapwing with a small numbers of Dunlin. Both species joined a Starling flock which suddenly rose into the air as a Peregrine passed over. Looking out onto the marsh a Merlin was seen to leave its driftwood perch and fly low over the ground only to settle down in the grass. When I eventually reached my car the Green Woodpecker could be heard calling from the trees on the Growhow Works road!
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3 & 5).
Image 4 of the Whooper Swan herd feeding in fields close to Hillview Farm as seen from the M56 westbound carriageway (WSM).
This post in memory of MSG.