A herd of 24 Mute Swan and 14 Greylag Goose were in farm fields alongside the Holpool Gutter (another 4 Mute’s were in the flooded fields of Lordship Marsh at the junction of No’s.4 and 6 tanks). Also in the same field was a flock of Curlew, Ruff, Redshank with a handful of Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit. A pair of Stonechat were on the Manchester Ship Canal path whilst another pair were close to the gutter.
I arrived on the marsh mid morning with the intention of watching No.6 tank but the overnight frost covered the shallow muddy margins and most of the waders excluding caldris types were feeding in the deeper shallows. A scattered flock of 190 Black-tailed Godwit included a small gathering close to the north banks. This group again included two Bar-tailed Godwit presumably from the previous weekend. Both birds were giving excellent views alongside the BtG’s and were easily picked out by their much paler plumage, bill shape and supercilium. A good little lesson if you fancy comparing the two species side by side? Eventually the Dunlin flew in, in smaller bunched flocks and one such group had a Little Stint leading the way (as usual). My only Ruff of the day was asleep knee-deep in water with the godwits while the usual noisy, head bobbing and anxiety laden Redshank were forever wary.
As the day progressed the distant flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover eventually took a break from flighting up and down at the sigh of any threats and settled on No.6 for the night.
There was an impressive assembly of Shoveler on the tank with 217 birds countered also c600 Common Teal, 29 Common Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, 27 Pintail, 23 Mallard, 8 Wigeon, 100 Common Shelduck and 6 Mute Swan.
A pale morph Common Buzzard (see video here: https://vimeo.com/200485921) was mewing from a telegraph post at the ‘pumping station’. The pair of Marsh Harrier were engaged in prenuptial flight over No.6 tank at dusk and caused quite a bit of pandemonium amongst the plover flocks on No.2 tank.
A walk out to view Frodsham Score from the banks of No.4 produced a Great White Egret and a handful of Little’s. An adult Peregrine was surveying the river from the salt marsh edge.
A couple of Pink-footed Goose were on No.5 tank (MG).
The lambing season is underway on the marshes and this produces numerous stillborn. These in turn provide ample opportunities for Raven to cleanse the fields and salt marsh which otherwise would lay unattended. I made a rough count of 57 birds. A pair of Stonechat were by the track on No.5 tank and the usual roving band of Long-tailed Tit flock included a Goldcrest.
Cormorants heading to their roost site on No.6 tank included two white-headed birds.
The fields by the motorway bridge off Moorditch Lane had several hundred Fieldfare and Redwing with a few Blackbird, Mistle and Song Thrush present and a Green Sandpiper flew over calling and dropped into the ditch by the bridge.
Observers: Arthur Harrison, Jacki and Idris Roberts, Matt Gillet (image 8), WSM (images 1 & 3-7 & 9-10).