I was out at dawn this morning with a beautiful sunrise over the Manchester Ship Canal at Ellesmere Port and then continuing on to Ince where I began my walk. The pools held the usual suspects Common Teal, Mallard, Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Coot and 2 pair of Mute Swan and a pair of Greylag Goose.
Sunrise over the marshes as seen from Ellesmere Port.
A Chiffchaff was seen and heard calling along the track and 2 Little Egret were on the bank of one of the pools. There were c60 Curlew were in the fields near to Ince Berth.
Onwards to the ship canal path and there were 7 Whooper Swan out on the salt marsh with several more Little Egret.
A group of Chaffinch were alarm calling which then alerted me to a Merlin sitting on a post on the canal bank. There were c300 Pink-footed Goose out by the river, Raven and Great Black-backed Gull still enjoying Spring’s fallen sheep bounty on the salt marshes.
The Canal Pools held more of the same ducks as the Ince pools with just a pair of Mute Swan still with two juveniles from last year. The first Sand Martin of the Spring sprung through the area.
The sky was full of the song of Skylark and Meadow Pipits which were performing their parachuting display. Not to be out done the Oystercatcher got in on the act with noisy displaying along the ship canal bank and a flock of Redshank flew along the canal. A couple of pairs of Great Crested Grebe and a flock of Tufted Duck, Gadwall and a single Wigeon.
On to the River Weaver and there were 4 Ringed Plover one which was wearing a ring. There were at least 20 Avocet seen. The Scaup flock (5 drakes 2 females) that have been seen over the last week started to draw in a steady trickle of admirers.
A Marsh Harrier was being harassed by both Carrion Crow and lapwing near the shooters’ pool and a single Black-tailed Godwit fed in the field alongside a Common Snipe.
Another Chiffchaff was calling along Brook Furlong Lane and a pair of Bullfinch were noted.
Walking back to Ince along Lordship Lane several Common Buzzard were seen in display flight and a Long-tailed Tit were busy carrying nesting material.
Many Lapwing were defending their territories and the swan heard could be seen in the distance by the M56.
Rooks were sitting on their nests near to the Growhow Works and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was spotted. Back at the car and a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were both seen near to the Pig Farm.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.