04.03.18. Birdlog.

A short walk from Ince to the Manchester Ship Canal path to look over the high tide. It all started with a group of Common Teal with a few Gadwall, Mallard, Common Shelduck and a single Little Egret on the pools at Ince pools. A Grey Wagtail was on the track while a Sparrowhawk was hedge hopping close to the berth.

Out on Ince salt marshes was a Great White Egret several hundred Pink-footed Goose were moving about the marshes.

As the tide was coming there were flocks of waders in some spectacular murmurations (who says it’s only Starlings that can make shapes?). The whole thing had literally a cast of thousands, mostly Dunlin with the support act of Knot, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Common Snipe all in the air at once. The villain of the act was none other than a Marsh Harrier and (not punching above its weight) a Merlin in adding to the melee.

The lambing season often has its casualties and both Raven and Great Black-backed Gulls were there to mop up the salvage of a high tide on the estuary. Farmer Chris was doing what he needed to gather his flock.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).

A Sunday jaunt to Cheshire Oaks and the usual quick glance to the right as we travel west along the M56 opposite Spring Farm on Helsby Marshes secured the required Whooper Swan herd. A couple of smaller birds had the Bewick’s look but at 60 mph we’d be hard push to get them on the day list.

After the ablutions of shopping were assigned and ticked off we made our way down to the marshes. There was a reason for this visit (apart from the usual birding) after I lost the adapter sleeve from my digi-scoping ensemble. The sleeve had slid off my telescope in an area of wash wreak by the side of the Weaver estuary yesterday. I retraced my steps with Sparky and her eagle eye spotted it hidden on the bank, it was duly secured back onto its apparatus.

There were plenty of waterfowl about after their cowadly sheltering from the beast that lurked from the east. The Common Pochard flock tallied 41 birds with 32 Tufted Duck, 14 Goldeneye, 6 Gadwall, c800 Canada Goose and 40 Coot. There were plenty of Common Snipe on the river today.

A look across to the Gantry Wall at Weston Point didn’t reveal the Glaucous Gull from yesterday but Mr Craven managed to see it over on ‘the darkside’ sometime later. The receeding tide revealed a good sized gathering of Dunlin busy feeding close to the ship canal banks with 12 Avocet and loads of Curlew with a few Oystercatcher and Black-tailed Godwit.

Walking through Marsh Farm there was a small group of partially summer plumaged Golden Plover in the fields but they soon rose into the air calling…the sound of Iceland.

Walking back and the Bar-headed Goose was still lingering with the Canada’s on No.1 tank.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (images 6-8).

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