Waiting for Spring which turns back to Winter and the seasons are all topsy-turvy at the moment. I started my morning walk from the Ince side of the marshes where foraging Fieldfare were eking out food from the frozen fields near to the pig farm. In addition several flocks of Curlew made their way off the salt marsh to feed inland.
The frozen pools had Mallard, Common Teal, Common Shelduck and Gadwall with a dozen or more Little Egret taking shelter in the reeds at the edge of one of the pools.
Onto the Manchester Ship Canal path and c150 Pink-footed Goose were watched dropping on to Ince salt marsh. Along the ship canal were several Tufted Duck, more Mallard, more Common Teal and yes more Gadwall with smaller numbers of Wigeon and 3 Great Crested Grebe also present.
A flock of Golden Plover circled round the fields alongside the Holpool Gutter which for the first time this year did not hold any of the Mute Swan herd. A flock of Redshank made their way along the canal and 2 pair of Oystercatcher were on territory on the opposite bank. Both Raven and Great Black-backed Gull competed for the spoils of sheep carcasses left on the marsh after the tide.
The mixed Mute and Whooper Swan herd could still be seen by the blue slurry tank and several Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit with 2 Ringed Plover were in the flooded field at the junction of No.4 and 6 tanks from Lordship Lane. More Curlew were in the stubble fields and Lapwing were displaying along Lordship Marsh. Walking back at Ince and another skien of c100 Pink-footed Goose flew in from the south to join the others on the salt marsh.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).
I managed just over an hour after my weekend working day had finished and fitted in both the Weaver estuary and No.6 tank for the Sunday WeBS count. A herd of 546 Canada Goose were on No.1 tank with the majority uplifting and settling on the river between the Weaver Bend and the Weaver estuary. There were 7 Goldeneye on the ‘bend’ with 56 Tufted Duck at the jetty on the Weaver estuary. A pair of Oystercatcher were noisy on the river while small numbers of Redshank and a flock of fifty Curlew flew in.
A quick look over the pipes on No.1 tank didn’t reveal any Wheatear but two very obliging Stonechat were entertaining.
No.6 tank felt and looked bleak in the bone chilling mini beast from the east wind whistling through the marshes. Most of the duck were sheltering in the water at lea of the bank and included: 46 Common Shelduck, 3 Pintail, 46 Shoveler, 134 Common Teal, 7 Common Pochard and 23 Tufted Duck.
A Marsh Harrier was being harassed by a group of Raven over No.5 tank.
Observer: WSM (image 3).