14.01.17. Birdlog

14-01-17-kestrel-frodsham-marsh-paul-ralstonI started my walk this morning from Brook Furlong Lane at the M56 bridge. A small flock of Fieldfare were in the hawthorns along the track and the first of several Kestrel was hunting the bank. There were Chaffinch and Goldfinch flocks in abundance along the lane as were thrushes like Blackbird and Song Thrush. Onward to No.6 tank and c30 Common Pochard were amongst the many Tufted Duck with Common Teal, Mallard, Common Shelduck and a few Pintail also present. A couple of hundred Black-tailed Godwit where gathered and were busy feeding while a Great Crested Grebe continues its stay here. Nearby feeding in the shallows were a flock of Dunlin but were to distant for me to give them a thorough grilling.

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Eventually I made my way further out on the marsh and walked along the Manchester Ship Canal path where Meadow Pipit were nervously feeding while a Kestrel was hunting close by. A large female Peregrine was intolerant of the Raven pack and flew screaming at them and forcing them to flee.  Out on the salt marsh a couple Great White Egret were again patrolling the edge of the river and even more Raven were looking out for the sheep afterbirth. A big high tide due today would surely contribute many sheep and lamb casualties for the corvids to recycle.

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The Mute Swan herd was again in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter and the Greylag Goose numbers now stood at 10. A Marsh Harrier was hunting through the turbines and settled on a small bush for a short while before resuming its hunt. Back along the path and a flock of Wigeon were on the mitigation pools and were joined by both Common Teal and Shoveler.

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A large flock plover rose into the air over by Marsh Farm which drew my attention, so I made my way to the farm where c2000 Lapwing and Golden Plover had settled in the sheep field. With the numerous amount of afterbirth laying about the field there were also numerous Carrion Crow. A Little Egret was seen flying over the Horns Mill public house in Helsby as I made my way home.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4 & 6).

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The three wintering Little Stint were joined by 5 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Ruff and 3000 Dunlin (including one bird in full summer plumage) along with Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank.

On the water were 37 Common Pochard, 26 Tufted Duck and 23 Pintail.

A Marsh Harrier was over No.4 tank and 37 Pink-footed Goose flew south.

Observer: Alyn Chambers (image 5).

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The 15 Whooper Swan were still present adjacent to the M56 motorway on Helsby Marsh.

Observer: Shaun Hickey.

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I managed a few additions to Paul’s sightings with, 111 Shoveler, 312 Common Teal, 16 Dunlin, 77 Curlew and 200 Lapwing. Nearby the male Stonechat was again on No.5 tank while the mitigation area held 109 Wigeon, 45 Common Teal and 54 Shoveler all at dusk.

The sub-adult male Marsh Harrier flew in at dusk and did a couple of circuits before finally dropping down into the reeds for the night.

N.B. The Nordic Jackdaw was again by the model boating lake off Park Road, Runcorn today.

Observer: WSM (image 7).