The fresh breeze wafting across the marsh from the south-west brought out the songsters today and for the first time this year many birds were in full voice. Walking along the track between No.s 3 & 6 tanks the air was filled with the melodic tunes of Skylark. A Cetti’s Warbler gave a burst of song above No.6 and a Chiffchaff added to the mix.
I made my way to watch the incoming tide on the river but it wasn’t high enough to move much from its shoreline and most of the birds were distant. However several hundred Curlew were along the edge of the salt marsh where Wigeon were riding out the channels.
The skein of 300 Pink-footed Goose with far away across Ince salt marsh. A small number of Little Egret occasionally popped up out of the gutters and an even briefer view of a Great White Egret was the reward for all my efforts.
I retraced my steps to the main track and headed out to Lordship Lane. A Chiffchaff was singing from the reed bed while a male Stonechat flew up from No.6 and another was on No.3 tank. There was a small passage of Pied Wagtail which had dropped in to feed. Overhead the calls of Siskin could be heard.
I continued my walk and took the Cheshire countryside restricted byway to look at the Whooper Swan herd present in the fields by the M56 motorway. There were 20 birds including a juvenile. A couple of Mute’s were in the flooded field where 8 Ringed Plover were busy chasing each other and two Ruff were more sedate.
Whooper Swan video here: https://vimeo.com/208026369
Walking back the way I came I bumped into Alyn and we continued our walk back to the mitigation pools. The place was almost full (for a change) with Shoveler, Common Teal and Pintail.
Although the water level is frustratingly high there were still plenty of birds to watch including a party of 10 Avocet. Ruff numbers reached 15 and a flock of 200 Golden Plover were wheeling above attempting to find a suitable spot to pitch down on. A flock of 30 Black-tailed Godwit and some Redshank were the other contenders.
Most of the 230 Common Teal were feeding in the daisy stalk and reeds where the water had flooded further into the tank. Shoveler numbered 90 while Pintail were scattered everywhere today but in small numbers. The Tufted Duck flock reached 50 birds while Common Pochard mustered 10. We were walking back when all of the teal rose from the water and through the swirling melee emerged a fine adult Peregrine. The falcon’s target was not any ducks but the large numbers of Wood Pigeon feeding in the shrike stubble fields by Hares Lane. We couldn’t see if the raptor was successful but it caused quite a commotion.
A small flock of Redwing were along the hedgerow by Brook Furlong Lane and the Marsh Harrier put in an appearance.
Observers: Alyn Chambers, Frank Duff, Matt Gillet (images 8 & 10 & 12), WSM (images 1-7 & 9 & 11).