An afternoon tide out on the Mersey estuary didn’t bring in an expected arrival of Dunlin with just two birds noted on the marsh today. That wasn’t a good start but the arrival of 3 juvenile Little Stint certainly raised the spirits higher. A total of 31 Ruff was quite an impressive count and they freely roamed around No.6 tank. Taking up a more sedate position were 5 Common Snipe, 400 Black and a single juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit which favoured the edge of the flock. A fidgety 200 Lapwing were up and down like a yoyo.
A Great White Egret joined the ducks and waders for a short period but it didn’t settle and flew off to the south-east over Frodsham Hill. The same or another GWE was seen from Marsh Farm out on the Mersey estuary earlier.
The female Marsh Harrier was active in the western side of the tank while both Peregrine and Hobby were nearby.
Ducks were also present with 98 Tufted Duck, 14 Pintail, 10 Wigeon, 248 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, a few each of Mallard and Common Shelduck with Common Teal reaching c230 birds.
Emerging from the reed bed below our position was a Water Rail.
There was a small passage of passerines moving south with Swallow, Skylark and Meadow Pipit being the most obvious. A big flock of 30 Raven were moving around the Canal Pools. No.1 tank had 3 Stonechat, Yellow Wagtail, elsewhere 3 Jay, 1 Goldcrest and a Common Whitethroat were seen.
Paul Ralston carried on his walk taking in the pools where there were c20 Black-tailed Godwit on one of the scrapes on No.3. The Canal Pools didn’t offer much really with a few Tufted Duck and a pair of Mute Swan. There were 3 Kestrel hanging in the air together and a large number of Raven over the Manchester Ship Canal and Frodsham Score salt marsh. The ship canal also had more Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Teal and 4 Great Crested Grebe.
A cargo ship heading east along the canal flushed out a Green Sandpiper from the bank and nearby a family of 4 Stonechat were in a reed bed and on the bankside. Two more Kestrel were over No.4 and a Sparrowhawk shot through. Several Little Egret were out on Frodsham Score and a Collared Dove made its way across the marshes.
I eventually found my way to a the flooded field alongside Lordship Lane where there were 8 more Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Snipe. My walk ended watching a party of Raven making their way over Helsby Hill to roost in Wales.
Observers: Alyn Chambers, Paul Crawley (image 3), Paul Ralston (images 5-8), Mike Turton, WSM (images 1-2 & 4).