It was frighteningly quiet on the marsh this afternoon when I walked along the River Weaver and around to No.6 tank.
A Lapwing and 8 Avocet were on the opposite bank with two equally monochrome Oystercatcher. The young of Reed Bunting were moving about in front of me as I walked along the river path and a couple of Reed Warbler are still prolonging summer with their singing. The Weaver Bend sandbank be stricken by industrial noise from the old I.C.I plant across the water and was empty for a change apart from the ever-present Black-headed Gull flock.
No.6 tank lacked a touch of variety apart from a few Common Shelduck and a couple of Common Teal. A single Black-tailed Godwit dropped in amongst the few Lapwing on the cracked mud surface despite a late bout of short-lived rain.
There was a swarm of fearsome tiny toadlets crossing the path as I walked along the track, but not as scary as a pair of released Red-legged Partridge which scurried away.
Lordship Lane was equally less productive except for a Kestrel which was hunting the bank and caught a small rodent. Again Reed Warbler were feeding young still and a returning Curlew passed overhead followed by a family party of cronking Raven.
Observer: Paul Ralston aka Jason Voorhees.
Also a Hobby close by to the Weaver Bend as seen and then a Cetti’s Warbler as heard by Guy Groves.
I took the morning off work and took timeout in the early morning walk to walk around the marsh starting at Brook Furlong Lane. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were busy feeding along in the hedgerow and a family party of long-tailed Tit joined in.
Onward ever onward and the River Weaver Causeway bank produced 2 Common Sandpiper which were feeding with a Redshank and 6 Avocet. Sedge and Reed Warbler are still in song and a Reed bunting pair were busy feeding their youngsters.
The water level is still low with little if no rain washing back into the water courses. The sand bank island situated in the middle of the ‘Bend’ was exposed with many Black-headed Gull adults and juveniles feeding there. Another group of 30 Redshank, 80 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, Lapwing and yet more Avocet.
On towards the Manchester Ship Canal and an additional 21 Avocet were in the shallows with 2 more Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed and a single Little Ringed Plover, 6 summer Dunlin 4 Oystercatcher and several more Lapwing. Common Shelduck and Tufted Duck were on the water with their broods and keeping a close eye on the Black-backed gulls which were overhead. More Common Sandpiper were noted on the Manchester Ship Canal making a total of 15 during my walk. 4 Raven were sharing a Mallard carcase (it makes a change from the dead mutton they’ve been sampling this year) on the canal bank.
The Canal Pools were quiet with just Mallard and Coot present.
On further to No.6 tank beckoned where the water level there has dropped to a fraction of the winter level. there were 8 Grey Heron waiting to pick off the eels that dared to slither from their muddy hiding places. The only waders noted on No.6 were Lapwing, a handful of Mallard and Coot on the remaining water.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
An early evening jaunt along the river and past the Manchester Ship Canal where butterflies were aplenty along the river bank with Meadow Browns, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Large Skipper and several White’s. The water level on the river was low and exposed the sandy banks with many of Black-headed Gull but not much else as a trials bike was on the footpath causing a lot of disturbance. A pair of Avocet were on the far bank still with 3 small young alongside a Lapwing its chick. There were 3 Common Sandpiper also along this part of the river.
Walking towards the ship canal another flock of Avocet included 40 birds with a small number of Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher and another Common Sandpiper were at the waters edge with a single Dunlin. At the junction of the ship canal and the Weaver estuary there was a flock of Lapwing and at least 10 more Common Sandpiper were in the same area.
A pair of Raven ever the optimists were keeping watchful eye on a brood of Common Shelducklings.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.