24.06.18. Birdlog.

Out early this morning with a start from the M56 bridge.

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A Moorhen was sat on its nest in the ditch alongside Moorditch Lane as I made my way to No.6 tank. There were both Reed and Sedge Warbler warbling away in the reeds.

On No.6 a single Avocet fed at the north end and c250 Black-tailed Godwit were at the other end of the diminishing water with a small number of Redshank. Common Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Common Teal were all on the water in small numbers and a female Marsh Harrier was sat on its favoured perch in the reed bed. A (released) Red-legged Partridge with its brood made their way along the track and ran for cover as a Kestrel appeared.

On No.3 and there were 6 Black-tailed Godwit were on the ‘phalarope pool’ at the extreme west end of that old sludge tank with several Lapwing.

On to the Canal Pools and the Mute Swan family were complete with a brood of growing cygnets and keeping company with them were several Coot and Canada Goose broods.

There were plenty of other winged critters out today in the glorious sunshine including Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Ringlet and white’s, not forgetting the blood hungry Cleg biting well, its best to carry repellent with you if you decide to run the gauntlet.

Onwards to the Manchester Ship Canal and Weaver estuary where some waders seem to be on the move already. A juvenile Little Ringed Plover and several Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin,  5 Common Sandpiper, Redshank and more Avocet.

A Raven was disturbed feeding on a long dead sheep on the canal bank but gave its self some distance when it saw me. Lesser and greater Black-backed Gull were on patrol over the river again but were kept at bay by a combined effort  of Common Shelduck and its wading equivalent the Avocet. The Avocet troop took their frustration out on me as I passed by and were speeding by just above my head.

More Reed and Sedge Warbler were along the river bank and an alarm call from a Magpie brought a Fox to my attention as it made its way through the meadow in search of a tasty morsel.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-7).

It was Butterflies today with Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood,and fewer White’s all over with 1 Comma on top of the ramp up to No.5 with a Common Blue Damselfly here too. No.6 had 300 Black-tailed Godwit and 20 Redshank. As I said earlier the Clegs were relentless so I gave up after 2 hours.

Observer: Paul Crawley (images 7-9 & 11-12). Image 10 by WSM.

23.06.18. Birdlog.

I had dozens of Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on the track towards the Marsh Farm on a sunny afternoon and a pair of Bullfinch were along Brook Furlong Lane.

No.6 had c500 Black-tailed Godwit spread all over the tank and they were spooked by a female Marsh Harrier that almost took my head off as she flew over. There was also 5 Avocet and 3 Dunlin.

A small rodent, probably a Bank Vole ran across in front of me too. The “shitigation” lived up to its name, enough said.

Why is the bank along the top banks on No.6 tank has been cut back this week as there are nesting birds along here and as your sign a few metres away points out it is a sensitive area? If it’s to maintain the towers :1. The pathway should have been kept clear since February, preventing nest building and 2. The towers aren’t in use now as the water is but a big puddle. Either way they have destroyed nests in breeding season.

Observer and images: Paul Crawley.