I came on to the marsh this morning via the M56 bridge at Brook Furlong Lane and made my way straight to Marsh Farm. From here I sat out the worse of the weather watching a field full of Lapwing and Golden Plover. Every other fence post seemed to have a Raven sat upon it waiting in turn to feast on dead sheep lying in the field. After the rain eased I left the farm and made my way to No.6 tank which had good numbers of ducks and waders.
The highlights included 2 Little Stint and some Ruff. Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal path and a look over Frodsham Score salt marsh. There were even more Raven out patrolling and several Little Egret were seen on the rising tide. Raptors were in short supply with only Common Buzzard and Kestrel seen during my walk. There was also 24 Mute Swan and 14 Greylag Goose present near the Holpool Gutter and a pair of Stonechat sat on a bramble bush. The Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance near the blue slurry tank but a better view was had on the way home looking over the marsh from Helsby.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 5 & 7 & 9).
The wet and miserable weather started from the off and initially it was difficult to wring any birds from the morning watch. In between periods of rain the birds began to appear. It started with 3 Little Stint on the edge of a 900 strong Dunlin flock. The stints could be seen until dusk as the sun finally appeared towards the end of the day. A flock of 450 Black-tailed Godwit were scattered all over the shallow water and again the Bar-tailed Godwit perform nicely along with 110 Redshank.
The cold wind was from a south-westerly direction and most of the ducks were seeking shelter from the chill under the southern banks. Common Teal numbered 331 with 100 Shoveler, 20 Pintail, Wigeon, Common Shelduck, Mallard, 34 Common Pochard and 30 Tufted Duck.
I made my way to the banks overlooking Frodsham Score where the Great White Egret was seen in the distance and a Peregrine was sat on a washed up tree stump. On the ebbing tide several hundred Grey Plover and 5000 Dunlin were waiting on the marsh edge for the mud to reappear. A couple of Stonechat were on No.4 tank with 11 Meadow Pipit dancing up out of the grass and the odd Song Thrush flushed from cover.
The Raven flock were hanging out on the fence line above No.2 and at one point there were ten of them sat in one elder tree. The presence of numerous dead sheep was providing ample sustenance for crows, a couple of Great Black-backed Gull and some scavenging Common Buzzard. A Stonechat was along a reedy ditch and the Starling flocks were gathering prior to their push to the roost sites elsewhere. The highlight for the day was a bedraggled Short-eared Owl flapping across No.6 tank in glorious evening sunshine.
The flock of lingering winter thrushes were again in fields alongside Moorditch Lane with 130 Fieldfare, 60 Redwing, 4 Mistle, 10 Blackbird and 6 Song Thrush.
Observer WSM: (images 1-4 & 6 & 8).