I was out and about this morning with a quick start at Brook Furlong Lane where a family party of 6 Raven broke the silence as they flew overhead cronking. A mixed flock of autumnal tits made their way along the track hedgerow with a couple of Chiffchaff tagging along.
My way to the river path was made a little harder with the thick reed vegetation. A male Sparrowhawk sat under a sycamore tree plucking away the feathers off a Blackbird it had caught.
A Stonechat was sat in a bramble patch on the river bank giving a feel of a new season but in reality a local breeder.
The river had a groups of 10 Little Grebe close to the bank and another flock of 26 were a few hundred yards upstream while smaller groups seen on the Manchester Ship Canal.
A flock of c80 Black-tailed Godwit took advantage of the water level dropping to feed on the sandbank mid river with several Lapwing and a single Redshank. Good numbers of Tufted Duck, Mallard with a few Common Teal and a pair of Mute Swan on the water.
Further out on the Mersey estuary there were Common Shelduck on the mudflats and a single Little Egret fishing in the channel alongside several Cormorant.
A pair of feral Barnacle Goose flew over the Canal Pools and the fields near Marsh Farm held a flock of c200 Black-tailed Godwit with the first juveniles of the autumn making landfall. c100 Curlew feeding with a large flock of Starling were also on their return.
Butterflies included Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Large White were all noted on my walk.
On a sadder note a juvenile Peregrine lay dead on the hard shoulder of the M56 a sad end for such top predator.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.