27.01.18. Birdlog.

Walking out this dull wet morning and my normal start from Ince village. The usual suspects were on the pools at the pig farm with Mallard, Common Teal, Gadwall, Coot and Moorhen along with a of pair of Mute Swan for good measure.

There were 19 Little Egret in the fields near Ince berth while a flock of 30 Curlew were busy refueling. On the Manchester Ship Canal were more Mallard, Gadwall and Tufted Duck with 4 Great Crested Grebe.  The salt marshes was being shot over by the wildfowlers, so flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover were kept in the air as was a Great White Egret and several Little Egret.

The ‘Splashing Pool’ had 30 Tufted Duck with a pair of Little Grebe and a large charm of Goldfinch added a bit of glamour feeding nearby on the thistle seeds.

A sign of Spring was the bobbing catkins on the bank of No.6 tank as I walked along Lordship Lane. A pair of Kestrel were hunting  together  but moved on when a Common Buzzard  decided to hover in on their area. Further west along the lane was the Whooper Swan herd seen in the distance and close to the M56 . The Curlew and Stock Dove flock were feeding in stubble fields near to the GrowHow Works and a Grey Wagtail was in the ditch by the bridge there. A herd of 30 Mute Swan were resting in the fields alongside the Holpool Gutter.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

I delayed my visit until after the morning rain eased to a trickle. Looking across the open water of No.6 saw a much reduced flock of c250 Shoveler with Common Teal reaching c300 and a poor showing by Tufted Duck and Pintail. Common Pochard were back to their best with 49 present. It was good to see the shorebirds back resting up on the sludge tank with a mixture of 16 Ruff, c540 Lapwing, 100 Golden Plover, 220 Black-tailed Godwit and 23 Redshank. A Peregrine kept the waders busy with the usually timid Goldie’s heading straight out to the estuary while Lapwing were circling around and around with the godwits, both undecided to settle for any length of time. Another Peregrine was sat out on the blue topped chimney overlooking the Weaver estuary.

I took a stroll over to the ramp at the south-west corner of the tank to look out across Lordship Marsh but the Whooper Swan herd was hiding behind the blue slurry tank, I could only see 5 youngsters in the open while the rest were partially obscured.

A local rarity are two Brent Goose on Frodsham Score.

A further walk to look over the Mersey Marshes produced a couple of dark-bellied Brent Goose feeding by the Holpool Gutter that crosses the saltings. A small skein of 18 Pink-footed Goose headed inland but towards dusk c250 headed north over No.4 tank.

The only passerines of note during the day were 4 Stonechat at Marsh Farm and a Cetti’s Warbler on No.5 tank.

A male Marsh Harrier was joined by a female where they were exchanged in some talon grappling over the marsh. The pale morph Common Buzzard was again hanging out by the Pumping Station while a female Merlin was perched up on the fence line before causing havoc with the thousands of Lapwing murmurating over the score. At dusk 4 Marsh Harrier were present and it appeared that two of them headed west while the other two drop into the reed bed for the night.

Observers: Paul Crawley (images 4 & 7), WSM (images 5 – 6 & 8 – 10).

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