An evening ramble took me to the north banks above No.6 tank and below me was a smattering of shorebirds. There were 200 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Avocet, c200 Redshank and a single Dunlin. Nothing unusual there really but one of those well wishing helium filled party balloons flew over from the direction of Helsby. This didn’t go down very well and everything alive on the tank flew up and circled around for ages. Most of the ducks and the Avocet flock soon resettled but the Redshank and godwits headed out to the estuary…not to return!
The Tufted Duck were as always clustered close to the eastern side of the sludge tank but yesterdays absent Common Pochard were back to normal with 8 birds present and accountered for. Common Teal were numbering a couple of hundred with 120 Shoveler and 11 Gadwall. A couple of Great Crested Grebe and 4 pairs of Little Grebe were back for the spring.
Pondering my next move I spotted a raptor heading over from the east. The young male Marsh Harrier I saw yesterday circled and attracted the attention of a couple of Raven but their attention was soon distracted by the appearance of two more harriers. A female and the sub-adult male spiraled high joining up with the first bird. The male dropped down to quarter the reed beds while the other two drifted off towards No.4 tank.
The mitigation pools had 66 Common Teal competing with a similar number of Shoveler and 12 Gadwall. Another 4 Avocet were engaged in squabbling with each other and some territorial bullying towards the godwits feeding nearby.
The Ravens were heading out earlier this evening to the south but the advancing rain clouds probably contributed to their premature departure.
Observer and images: WSM.