A dry start ended up with continuous rain but this time I had multiple dry clothes to keep the old optics dry.
I met up with Alyn and we headed along Brook Furlong Lane to walk along the edge of the River Weaver. There was little passerine activity along the track with just a couple each of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest to keep the interest level flickering. The Weaver estuary had a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying over while a Common Sandpiper, a solitary Black-tailed Godwit and c200 Redshank with a few Tufted Duck, 1 Great Crested and a few Little Grebes for company. A watch over the Weaver Sluices beyond to the Mersey estuary produced 4 Little Egret, a few Curlew, 2000 Canada’s with a single Barnacle Goose and the Bar-headed Goose again after a long absence.
The rain had started by the time we arrived at Marsh Farm which unsurprisingly was quiet with only a flock of 60 Goldfinch moving about but we met up with Paul and then Mike en route to No.6 tank.
Alyn had already had a look over the sludge tank earlier and countered an impressive 110 Ruff! There were 550 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Common Snipe and 1 Golden Plover so not a bad return for a flooded wader unfriendly tank.
Wigeon numbers have risen remarkably with 306 birds present feeding on the flooded daisy bed seed heads. The Pintail was a common bird to see over the Mersey marshes throughout the 1970’s, but today numbers have dropped almost off the chart. It was really good to see this species back in low but healthy looking counts today. The Shoveler continues to push its numbers higher each autumn and the 304 birds present on the water may increase in the next week for my WeBS count here? Common Teal had already reached 500 birds and we expect their numbers to rocket over next month and today a juvenile Garganey was them and is just the sole representative this autumn. There were several cluster groups of nuptial pairs of Gadwall displaying they didn’t leave it long for this summers end. Towards early evening big herds of Canada Goose were whiffling in and when I left there was over 1,000 present. Alyn had 2 Little Egret earlier with an Egyptian Goose here so it was obvious these were birds from Hale Marsh where that bird has been lingering during the summer.
Other birds seen include Little Egret and juvenile Peregrine over No.3 tank plus 6 Swallow heading south.
A Stoat was running along the sodden lane on No.5 tank.
Observers: Alyn Chambers, Mike Turton, Paul Ralston, WSM (and image).