14.10.17. Birdlog.

An early morning walk around No.6 and No.4 tanks started with 400 Canada Goose on 6 alongside good numbers of ducks.

High up c300 Golden Plover circled over 6 but decided the water level didn’t suit them.

Continuing my walk along the Manchester Ship Canal path a pair of Stonechat were still on their territory while out the water a Great Crested Grebe was present. Frodsham Score had a Great White Egret with several Little Egret for company. Another 5 Little Egret made their way west along the canal  and were followed by a single bird which was mobbed by gulls and nearly ditched in to the water.

A large flock of Black-head and Common Gull fed in the stubble fields along the edge of the Holpool Gutter with several Curlew. The flooded fields along Lordship Lane had a further flock of c100 Curlew. A couple of pairs of Stonechat were sat on the fence  as I made my way back to my start point.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

A little later I took over from Paul and set up overlooking the flooded sludge tank. The unusual warm 20C weather and bright sunshine encouraged the fluttering and zipping by of Red Admiral, Small White’s and Comma with a couple of darter dragonfly in the act of amore

The 246 Shoveler on the water of the tank must have been good decoys with a return of Pintail in double figures (31). A flotilla of 46 Tufted Duck included 4 eclipse drake Common Pochard with 23 Gadwall and 320 Common Teal. 7 Mute Swan and a small number of Little Grebe were close to the reedy fringes to the sludge tank.

Waders present included 247 Black-tailed Godwit with 24 Redshank, 56 Lapwing and the continuing gatherings of currently 117 Ruff although a few were feeding in the sea aster beds and against the sunshine to be sure of their numbers?

Birds of prey included: 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, male Marsh Harrier and 6 Common Buzzard.

A juvenile Peregrine hurtled through the mass of waders and ducks on the sludge tank sending everything high into the sky. One particular Black-tailed Godwit was the first to raise from the water and then became the target for the falcon. After a spot of aerial dog fighting the godwit was caught in the crosshairs and was duly scooped up by the falcon. While the raptor was readjusting its grip on the wader it momentarily lost its hold and this gave the godwit the opportunity to escape! The partially stricken bird fell spiralling into the water, and after several stoops by the persuer to recapture its quarry, the godwit dived beneath the surface and the falcon soon gave up. Another Peregrine this time an adult was sat out on the tall blue topped chimney at Weston Point.

There was no obvious passerine migration on offer but a couple of Stonechat were attached as they usually are on No.5 tank. The same location had a blurting Cetti’s Warbler with another one blurting away on the banks below where I sat.

Over on the (committee designed folly of a conservation project by Peel Energy and “some wildlife groups”) mitigation a small number of Black-tailed Godwit, Common Teal and Shoveler were present but this area is reserved for the farmers cattle to wallow in when the sun shines.

Observer: WSM (and images 1 & 5-7).

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