Out early this morning with the sounds of Spring in full swing. There were Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler singing in the first few hundred yards of leaving my car at Ince village. Walking towards the Manchester Ship Canal and both Sedge and Reed Warbler joined the dawn chorus.
Duck numbers were low on the pools with just a handful of Tufted Duck and Mallard alongside with Coot, Moorhen and a pair of Mute Swan.
The canal path had the first of 3 pairs of Oystercatcher at the berth. Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Common Teal and yet more Mallard and Tufties on the water there.
A pale phase Common Buzzard came off the salt marsh and rested in a tree on No.4 tank where it was mobbed by a Carrion Crow which then turned their attention to the much maligned Raven.
A Wheatear was on the canal bank near to the Holpool Gutter and several more near the canal pumping station. Swallow and Sand Martin were hawking overhead near the canal pools where the resident pair of Mute Swan have nested. A pair of Great Crested Grebe were busy displaying.
A secluded pool held more Tufted Duck with two drake and a single female Common Pochard.
A Whitethroat was watched on the bank and a Greenfinch was a flock of Linnet.
No.6 had good numbers of Shoveler, Common Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and Common Shelduck were noted with 20 Mute Swan on the watery section of the tank.
Along Lordship Lane and even more Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warbler were busy drowning each other out with their tunes. A Stoat crossed the lane and disappeared in to the rape seed crop. There was just 3 Curlew in the fields where a couple of weeks ago a flock of c100 were feeding.
A Peregrine was perched on a stack at the GrowHow Works and the Rook colony were busy feeding young in the rookery.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
70 lingering Pink-footed Goose on Frodsham Score and 10 Avocet at the Weaver Sluices as seen by Sean O’Hara from Hale (darkside) side of the Mersey estuary.
Observer: Sean O’Hara.