I had a walk along Lordship Lane to the GrowHow works at Ince and started off at the model aircraft flying field by the junction of Lordship/Moorditch and Hare’s Lane this morning. A single Stonechat was on the fence line at the flying field and Reed Bunting and Chaffinch were again in good numbers. Several Curlew dropped on to Lordship Marsh and were feeding alongside the Mute Swan family. There wasn’t much else on the marsh as a couple of shooters were out looking for a festive Pheasant… or two.
The Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance with 14 birds (including 4 juvenile) and a few Mute’s amongst them.
A couple of Goldcrest were in the hedgerow and a Grey Wagtail fed in the field. Another pair of Stonechat were near the Holpool Gutter and a Peregrine passed overhead and presumably the same was later seen over No.6 tank.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3 & 11).
Parking up in Marsh Lane I was greeted by a steady shower of rainy sleet and it wasn’t long before the obligatory soaking ensued. My options were to turn back, head home, put my feet up and read a book…or carry on and chill out (literally). I’m not one for staying indoors especially on my weekend off and I duly continued and headed out to the north banks of No.6 tank.
The rain/sleet/snow never really stopped during the first period of my watch. I was beginning to feel an imminent repetitive strain injury with my action of drying cloth to wet lens eye piece scenario. There were dryer periods and during these I managed to make a count of the ducks.
A record flock of 426 Shoveler were very much the main attraction on the water with 56 Common Pochard, two immature Greater Scaup, 36 Pintail, c300 Common Teal, c100 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck, 23 Common Shelduck and a few Wigeon.
I wasn’t going to linger for too long in one spot today, it was far to cold for that, so I wandered along the track between No.3 & 6 tanks. There were more Common Teal and Wigeon on the mitigation area but generally it was quiet there.
I continued and I was stopped in my tracks when a flock of Starling were feeding and bathing along the track between No.4 & 6 tank. One of them caught my attention with a very quick flash of a Rosy Starling! I immediately reached for my camera but in that brief moment, the only person I had seen all morning was jogging along the path and flushed everything, including the pale Starling! I did manage to get another brief view and it revealed itself to be a biscuit brown (leucistic) bird with normal coloration to its head and breast with the rest a mixture of pale brown and white’s (pictured above below the cows, lower centre). The bird relocated with a flock of Starling on No.3 tank much later in the day.
I stopped at the corner of No.4 and 6 above Lordship Lane were I saw the Whooper Swan herd in the fields closer to the GrowHow works. A very confiding male Stonechat was nearby with yet another two further out on the tank. A bathing flock of c300 Goldfinch included a couple of Lesser Redpoll (an uncommon bird on the marshes).
Retracing my steps and a slight diversion to watch the salt marshes from the corner of No.4 tank revealed a Great White Egret along with a few Little Egret and a flock of Pink-footed Goose with the Canada’s out on Frodsham Score.
A couple of Chiffchaff and two Cetti’s Warbler were heard from No.3 to No.5 tanks.
I bumped into Guy Groves and his partner and Jacqui and Idris Roberts who all braved the adverse weather conditions today.
Observer: WSM (images 1 & 4-10).