An after work walk out from Marsh Lane and along Brook Furlong Lane where the hedgerows were still filled with summer bird song.
The tunes of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler were the background music to my walk. After a 15 minute ramble I was on the banks of the River Weaver looking into a stiff breeze coming in from the Irish Sea. The water was filled with c350 Black-headed Gull battling into the wind and feeding on the thousands of airborne fly’s that were hanging above the waves.
I was conscious of the number of Avocet that have breed and/or are passing through the area recently. I managed a count of 96 birds with again the majority being adults/ fulling flying juveniles, a fair number of feeding chicks from tiny balls of fluff to leggy young. Several adults (probably 4 birds) were brooding chicks under their bellies and wings, so, I’d estimate that there was over a hundred birds and probably in excess of that. This is now a new record for this species and hopefully to be exceeded in time.
There was 3-4 Little Ringed Plover and an adult colour-ringed Ringed Plover, the bird that has been in the area since the Spring and originates from a SCAN ringing programme in North Wales. A Common Sandpiper and (what looked like its) chick were skulking around the edge of the reedy island. A couple of Oystercatcher were busy making a lot of noise while on the ‘bend’ itself were a flock of 634 Black-tailed Godwit feeding in an area that was traditional their first inroads into summering in Cheshire in big numbers. It was great to see this old stomping ground looking like its former brilliant self.
The usual Tufted Duck and Canada Goose flocks were again present on the Weaver estuary.
The low flying Common Swift certainly tested my reaction of pressing finger to camera shutter button and capturing blank space or blurred image. Also adding value were both Sand and House Martin feeding closely overhead.
I wanted to check the godwit flock on No.6 tank and really didn’t expect to see much considering the large flock on the ‘bend’ when I eventually arrived it was surprising to see a group of 583 birds roosting in a tight bunch in the shallow waters. Apart from a couple of Lapwing that was about that. The ducks were very much in reduced numbers with 31 Common Teal ans barely double figures in Mallard and Common Shelduck.
A couple of distant Marsh Harrier added to a great evenings watch on the marshes.
Image by Paul Ralston.