A walk around No.6 tank early this morning started with a charm of c200 Goldfinch on Moorditch Lane with a Kestrel taking a keen interest. Onward ever onward to No.6 and there were just c300 Black-tailed Godwit resting in the shallow waters with 2 Avocet and 2 Ruff in with them. A few Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Mallard and Common Shelduck were joined by a flock of 20 Shoveler. A large flock of Black-headed Gull were on the water while a flock of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gull were roosting on the drier mud. A low flying Common Buzzard flushed a Green Sandpiper out of a ditch on No.3 tank. Another flock of Black-headed Gull with several Common Gull were feeding on the cut crop fields alongside Lordship Lane where more finch flocks had gathered with one containing over 200 Linnet!
Observer: Paul Ralston (archive image 1).
After work today I made my way to the succulent wader magnet that is No.6 tank. On arrival the afternoon tide was quickly slipping back into the Irish Sea so time and tide were being stretched a little further than they should have been. A colossal gathering of c3000 Dunlin were again present and this time I slowly gathered my patience and systematically worked my way through their bustling numbers. It can be hard going tiptoeing along lines of these birds with the magnification at its ultimate limit. Counting up 2997…98…99…Dunlin! I drew a blank again in finding those two Siberian waifs that I look forward to every August namely the Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper but 3 Ruff added some variety.
The flock of Black-tailed Godwit were again in big numbers and the level of juvenile birds has increased since yesterday. An adult Hobby spooked the wader flocks and was watched chasing down a Dunlin which it forced high into the sky, then detached the poor wader some distance away from its companions. I don’t know if the falcon managed to catch its prey because they both disappeared from sight. All this activity unnerved the rest of the Dunlin flocks and with the tide well receded they took the opportunity to head back out to the estuary. Just when things looked like they had settled the big blundering juvenile Peregrine wobbled through and flushed the godwits which followed the Dunlin to the relative safety of the Mersey mudflats.
A juvenile Marsh Harrier was quartering the distant reed bed and while I was heading home a juvenile Sparrowhawk was sat on the dusty track. It stayed put long enough for me to get lots of photo’s but alas I have exceeded my WordPress media limit so you’ll just have to imagine the birds.
Observer: WSM (archive images 2-3).