I arrived early, but not too early and met AC on Moorditch Lane who had already seen a Scaup and 12 (5 juveniles) Whooper Swan at dawn We went our separate ways, me to do my WeBS count on No.6 tank and Alyn to ‘find himself’ over at Marsh Farm.
After a while of scanning across No.6 tank I managed to find both Scaup which have now both been present for 6 days. The Goldeneye immatures had increased to 4 birds but generally duck numbers were quite low compared to earlier in the week. There were 246 Shoveler, 63 Pintail, 36 Common Pochard, 31 Tufted Duck, 67 Mallard, 12 Gadwall, 123 Common Teal, 7 Wigeon and two Fulvous Whistling Duck which flew around the open water a few times before exiting stage right.
A small flock of 43 Dunlin flew in and out during the height of the tide.
A Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed bed for most of the afternoon into the evening while a Merlin put in a couple of appearances, mostly in pursuit of its lunch and supper.
A Little Egret flew through and headed out to the estuary while several skeins of Pink-footed Goose totalling c500 headed from the south-west and pitched down on Ince Marshes (presumably they are overspills from the Dee Marshes?).
A couple of Cetti’s Warber were calling from the willow thickets and a Chiffchaff was towed along by a roving band of Long-tailed Tits.
A Buff-tailed Bumlebee flying past me was a bit of a surprise. The clouds produced some interesting formations with Herringbone, Mare’s tails and the above rib cage effect.
I put out an invite to my Twitter followers to join me on the banks of No.6 tank for the Starling dusk roost. It was a nail-biting end of day spectacle but eventually from nowhere c30,000 birds streamed in from various locations and wheeled around in front of a dozen or so admirers. Although there wasn’t any bendy shaped murmurations on offer, there were plenty of oo’s and awe’s to keep everyone entertained. The majority of the roost relocated and pitched down for the night in the reeds in the centre of the bed and I presume our presence may have contributed to that?
During the course of the evening numerous flights of Common Snipe were moving about with a combined total of 109 with 40 Black-tailed Godwit, c100 Curlew and another Little Egret.
A great evening to share one of our local nature events…for free!
Observers: Alyn Chambers, Shaun Hickey, Paul Ralston (images 2 & 6 & 8-9), Mike & Mandy Turton, WSM (images 1 & 3-5 & 7 & 10) and twitter friends.