A yomp across the marshes today staring from Moorditch Lane, Lordship Lane, Holpool Gutter, No.4 tank, Frodsham Score, No.6 tank and Marsh Farm.
Walking along Lordship Lane and the flooded fields on Lordship Marsh didn’t conjure up either the winter swan herd or the wintering Water Pipits. A Redshank with a broken wing was a sorry sight but a flock of 120 Curlew feeding in the fields were encouraging. The only swans present were 14 Mute’s occupying the area where the whooper’s have been present (yesterday) and just maybe they have departed for pastures new?
Another herd of 16 Mute Swan were with 4 pairs of Greylag Goose alongside the Holpool Gutter.
A look across the salt marshes of Frodsham Score were worth the walk after spotting c1100 Pink-footed Goose on the salt marsh edge and hiding within their mass was at least one Barnacle Goose and two dark-bellied Brent Goose. A Great White Egret was channel hopping in the tidal gutters, surprisingly I didn’t see any Little’s today? A female Marsh Harrier flew in from Hale and settled into an area of rough grass. Distantly a Peregrine was at the edge of the river.
A pair of Marsh Harrier were calling to each other above and close to the wind machines. A Common Buzzard was perched up on a dead tree inside the reed bed of No.4 tank and the pale morph is still present by the Pumping Station.
A Stonechat and a Cetti’s Warbler were visible and not visible from the edge of the tank.
Walking along the track alongside No.3 tank and another Great White Egret flew over the ‘Splashing Pool’. The mitigation area was flooded but only a few Lapwing, Common Teal and Shoveler were the only birds of note.
No.6 tank looked a shadow of its former self with most of the Shoveler having departed, I countered only 43 birds and despite the low count it was good while it lasted. A pair of Pintail, c200 Common Teal, 23 Tufted Duck and 29 Common Pochard made up the rest.
There was a gathering of Canada Goose on No.1 tank but the Bar-headed Goose must have slipped off the radar today. There were 3 Stonechat on the pipes across the tank there.
The Weaver estuary again had the majority of Gadwall with 24 male posturing to each other and to the females present.
A look across the Manchester Ship Canal and Frodsham Score to the mudflats on the Mersey estuary produced 9 Grey Plover, 300 Dunlin, 7 Oystercatcher, 12 Black & 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. 2 Knot all ahead of the advancing tea time tide.
My first Small Tortoiseshell of the year.
Observer: WSM (images).