A whopping 9.7 m tide out on the Mersey estuary was eagerly anticipated over the last week.I was joined by Alyn on the north banks of No. 6 tank watching and waiting for the birds to come in…that was the plan but somebody should have told the birds.
It was a surprise to find that all of the Wigeon and Pintail and a good proportion of the Common Teal had vacated the sludge tank? Those that decided to stay included: 268 Shoveler, 26 Gadwall, 12 Common Shelduck, 4 Common Pochard, 67 Tufted Duck, 200 Common Teal and 12 Mallard. A juvenile Great Crested Grebe joined a few Dabchick.
There were quite a few Black-headed and Common Gull resting up with 7 Herring, 3 Great Black & 30 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull (a local rarity).
Big tides usually mean big numbers of shorebirds but I mentioned earlier these things don’t always go to plan. There was already a flock of c230 Black-tailed Godwit in situ and it wasn’t long before 3 Bar-tailed Godwit dropped in to join them. A flock of 100 Lapwing and 45 Ruff were enough for 40 Grey Plover, 16 Curlew, 2 Knot, c70 Dunlin and 7 Snipe to join in the fun.
A further c100 Black-tailed Godwit were in a field by the River Weaver and a single Pink-footed Goose flew over towards the Mersey estuary.
Raptors were in short supply no doubt sampling the bountiful selection out on the salt marshes. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds on the tank dislodging a feeding flock of 250 Goldfinch. A Kestrel flew over the unconcerned waders.
A Wheatear was on the pipes of No. 1 tank.
Observers: Alyn Chambers (image 1), WSM (images 2-5).