Straight after work I made by way down to the marshes a few hours after a mid afternoon tide out on the River Mersey. I was hoping there would be enough shorebirds still lingering on No.6 sludge tank to keep me entertained…and there was.
A quick look over the eastern part of the tank where perhaps the water is at its deepest there was a circular flock of 159 Tufted Duck. It was strange behaviour to find them in this formation and I suspected that they had been scared off (perhaps) the Weaver estuary earlier? Whatever the reason they were presumably non-breeding birds? A female Tufted was with 8 ducklings below the bank so some are breeding here. A gathering of 14 Little Grebe were mostly juvenile birds that had been born on this tank and a healthy population at that.
The Black-tailed Godwit flock were back in their rightful place gathered on and in the western section of water. There were again various stages of plumage moult from handsome orange-billed russet red post breeders, to large pale watered down tea coloured non-breeders. Hiding in their throng were the 3 Ruff and 100 Redshank, so even the latter are beginning to pass through here now. A flock of 230 summer plumaged Dunlin were of various sizes and bill lengths but no sign of any Curlew Sandpiper or Little Stint just yet.
Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM (images).