07.04.18. Birdlog.

A short walk this morning from Ince and around the Holpool Gutter. There were 3 Little Egret feeding in front of the Pig Farm and a small flock of calling Curlew passed overhead. A pair of Mute Swan were on the first pool with Mallard, Common Teal, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck being noted on the adjacent pools along with a single Redshank.

A Fox was sitting on its haunches watching me walk on by then slinked away into the ditch but reappeared 100 yards away and then ran across the field.

On to the Manchester Ship Canal path and a Chiffchaff was calling, while 40 additional Curlew left the salt marshes to settle in a field alongside the gutter. There wasn’t much to report from here as the ditch had recently been dredged with the vegetation still bare on the banks.

A flock of Pied Wagtail with a Grey Wagtail in tow was on the path near to the GrowHow Works. The rookery at the plant was busy with birds incubating on their nests and typical arguments over territory taking place unabated. A Green Woodpecker was heard calling and was immediately answered by another bird, then both of them calling simultaneously for a period.

Walking back to the pools and a Little Egret was foraging while 3 Little Grebe were fighting each other in the reeds.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3).

Pacing to and fro in my house while it was raining continuously outside was pretty frustrating so, I fired the car into action and headed head first into the deluge.

Walking along Brook Furlong Lane with my intention of seeing some Wheatear on and along the pipes that cross No.1 tank but apart from a few released Red-legged Partridge there wasn’t much to keep my interest.

I headed over to the River Weaver where a flock of 70 Tufted Duck were busy in their nuptial displays and the piping of several Oystercatcher kept the noise level up. There were still several Goldeneye present and three drakes were busy impressing the females. There was just the one drake Scaup left from previous visits and this bird is here for its third weekend, presumably it will be on its way soon.

I decided to walk along Hares Lane that was the scene of a Great Grey Shrike and two Otters (about this time last year) but alas the lane is blighted by fly tipping. The fly-tippers have blocked the track and is presumably here to stop other fly-tippers from tipping? I know it sounds daft but that’s what a reliable source recently told me. Nobody wants to take responsibility for its removal.

Back to what really matters and a pair of boxing Brown Hares were in a field alongside Hares Lane, which was most apt.

The flooded fields off Lordship Lane harboured the usual c20 Linnet with a few Pied and the first White Wagtail of the year. In the distance was a herd of 40 Mute Swan and c300 Black-tailed Godwit.

Walking around to where the salt marshes are at Frodsham Score was very productive. There were c500 Pink-footed Goose still spread widely on the marshes with c200 Common Shelduck. An adult Peregrine flew in and settled close to a group of pinkie’s whilst it devoured its Common Teal dinner. There were a few Little Egret popping in and out of the tidal gutters, but not the Great White Egret that Dave Craven spotted from the Hale side of the river. A distant herd of 8 Whooper Swan could have contained the 2 Bewick’s that DC also saw, but the distance was way to far out.

Walking back along the track that borders No.4 tank and the four Marsh Harrier were out and about while c100 Raven very much made their presence felt. The song of a couple of Cetti’s Warbler rung out from the distance while Chiffchaff were everywhere today.

The mitigation pools on No.3 tank have had a refill after the days rain, so it was pleasing to see a flock of 10 Avocet, 5 Ruff, c600 Black-tailed Godwit busy sleeping and/or feeding in the soggy wet field and a Spotted Redshank calling from the area on No.6 tank but could not be relocated.

There were 43 Shoveler, 21 Common Teal, 43 Tufted Duck and a few Gadwall present as well.

A black thrush perched up on the top of an Elder bush turned to reveal the richly decorated white chest bling of a male Ring Ouzel. It was disturbed by a low flying Raven and was joined by second ouzel and both flew east along the track calling as they went.

No.6 tank was flooded so it was no surprise to see the godwits feeding elsewhere but a flock of c300 Redshank was impressive with 3 Ruff and a tiny flock of Blackwits. The ducks that were still hanging about were: 41 Tufted Duck, 164 Common Teal, 24 Shoveler and 67 Common Shelduck.

Observer: WSM (images 1 & 4-12).