Out and about this morning with a start along Lordship Lane. The winter thrush flocks were again feeding in the hedgerows with Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbird being dominant along the track. There were also much smaller numbers of Chaffinch and Reed Bunting being noted. A flock of Long-tailed Tit roving the hedges included a couple of Goldcrest while a mixed flock of Goldfinch and Linnet were feeding on the weed seeds along the bank.
A juvenile Mute Swan was in the ditch while the rest of its family were in the flooded field with a large flock of Black-headed and Common Gull. Also present were c70 Black-tailed Godwit which were seen to drop down in a field alongside the M56 motorway and joined a flock of Curlew and Redshank.
The Holpool Gutter was quiet as it has been recently dredged and is now bare of any vegetation or cover. A herd of 18 Mute Swan had a single Greylag Goose attached for company, but generally the fields were devoid of any waders possibly due to a mechanical digger working in the area? A pair of Stonechat were in the brambles alongside the gutter as well.
A WeBs counter was watching the tide out on the salt marshes and a few Little Egret were dotted about the area. The Raven hoard were abundant and they found the dead sheep left on the marshes much to their liking and appetite. A much quieter morning for raptor sightings with just Common Buzzard and Kestrel noted. No.6 tank held good numbers of Shoveler, Common Pochard, Mallard, Common Teal, Tufted Duck and Gadwall.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 3-4).
Also noted today were the semi-resident Scaup and 2 Fulvous Whistling Duck both on No.6 tank. While the flooded fields on Lordship Marsh still hold 15 Whooper Swan and Little Egret.
A Cetti’s Warbler was calling from the south banks of No.4 (FD) and another from No.5 tank (WSM).
Observers: Frank Duff, Jacqui and Idris Roberts and Arthur Harrison.
The evening sun dropped nicely behind the clouds behind the GrowHow works, and soon after the first dusk flight of Starling began to arrive. A gathering of birders were stood on the south-west corner of No.5 tank but on this occasion the birds didn’t perform to their previous roost. I guess this was probably attributed to us standing above the normal roost spot?
Anyway, they gathered in huge flocks of thousands and like the past few weeks their numbers haven’t disappointed those making the effort to watch the spectacle (please note if you intend to watch this Starling roost nothing is guaranteed with their appearance or numbers, such is nature’s way).
The birds relocated and settled in the reed bed behind the belt of willow trees close to the north banks (at the western section) of No.6 tank. I would estimate that again 40-50,000 birds were present and on this occasion they even did a few murmurations.
The only birds of prey present at dusk included 2 immature Marsh Harrier and a Sparrowhawk.
Observers: Arthur Harrison, Jacqui and Idris Roberts, and a few other friends, Sparky and WSM (images 1-2 & 5-9).
I saw a leucistic/albino Lapwing in flight with a flock of ‘normal’ birds in fields beside the M56 (west of junction 10) at Stretton today. If anyone is covering that area keep your eyes peeled (WSM).