With the weather finally breaking today a strong fresh south-westerly swept across the marshes with the threat of thunder and rain lurking on the outskirts of the marshes.
I made my way to No.6 tank and settled up on the banks looking across the now damp patch on the sludge tank. The only water to talk about was beneath the decayed tree stumps and a submerged ditch that crossed the eastern edge of the tank. The dead cormorant from yesterday had been removed and presumably a Fox made short work of it.
Apart from a flock of 50 Black-headed Gull the only duck present was the Ruddy Shelduck that performed well (it or another was seen on the Mersey side of the Weaver Sluice Gates). After an hour four Common Shelduck gave the exotic visitor some company. A small flock of 19 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin flew in and settled head into the wind on the crusty mud, while a Sparrowhawk spooked everything it flew over.
A juvenile Marsh Harrier joined two other birds high over the western edge of the tank.
I took a hike out to the River Weaver and then to the Weaver Bend. A flock of c300 Black-tailed Godwit were with 2 Ruff, 40 Redshank, 1 Curlew, 3 Oystercatcher, 4 Avocet, 12 Lapwing, 12 Little and a juvenile Great Crested Grebe. Other species sharing the Weaver estuary included: 30 Common Shelduck, 400 Canada Goose and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull polishing off an Eel.
I continued to the ‘bend’ where a smart mixed flock of Black-headed, Common Gull, 142 Black-tailed Godwits (a new colour-ringed bird) and after careful scrutiny the river revealed a partial summer Curlew Sandpiper with a single Dunlin, a summer Knot, 9 Ruff, 21 Redshank, 4 Ringed and a single Little Ringed Plover with a combined (Weaver est included) count of 12 Common Sandpiper. A couple of dead Redshank were laying close together on the waters edge, which was very peculiar.
A few House Martin, Swallow and Common Swift were moving through via the river and both Reed and Sedge Warbler could be found in Redwall reed bed.
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (images).
Some details of the above colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit (YY-OO) was an adult male when first caught in NE on 02.06.04.
It commuted between Iceland, Spain, England, Scotland and the Netherlands before I spotted it on the Weaver Bend (WSM).