On this day 29.09.96 I recorded the third highest ever count of Little Stint in Cheshire when a flock which was (under) estimated to be 250-300 birds. The actual number was probably much higher with birds departing without alighting and not included in the totals. I only countered those that settled but as you can imagine it was always going to be difficult to extract the exact number. The previous high counts were: 22.09.60. with c350 at Shotton and on the same day 311 at Frodsham (Source: The Birds of Cheshire, T.H Bell, p131).
Other birds present included: Lesser Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck with a Cape Shelduck (type), Merlin and the long staying Black Swan all seen on the River Mersey or Frodsham Score.
Apart from the high stint numbers there was a flock of 2500 Dunlin, 15 Curlew Sandpiper (including a leucistic bird), 5 Knot, 200 Grey Plover, a single Bar-tailed Godwit and 15 Ruff.
Observer: WSM. Image 1 by Brian Rimmer.
It was with great anticipation that I made my way out from Brook Furlong Lane via Moorditch Lane to look over the now flooded No.6 tank. The usual group of 7 Ruff were still present with a smart flock of 104 mostly juvenile Black-tailed Godwit. A skulking Green Sandpiper was coaxed out of its hiding place when I peered over the edge to look at some Common Teal. 7 Common Snipe were bold enough to feed out in the open in the bright sunshine while 89 Lapwing were crouched together on the margins of the water. Gulls were coming and going with higher than normal numbers of Common loafing Black-headed Gulls for company. The ducks that were present included: 2 Shoveler, 45 Common Teal and a few Mallard.
Continuing my walk along the track between No.6 & No.3 soon featured a juvenile Marsh Harrier that flew overhead and disappeared over the bank.
A look across Frodsham Score was rewarding with the wintering flocks of Canada Goose encouraging the migrating Pink-footed Goose skeins to drop in and feed up. A couple of presumed feral Barnacle Goose were concealing themselves in the Canada flocks. Small flocks of Dunlin and Curlew could be seen in the distance but a little disappointing to see their numbers so low during the high tide. A Great White Egret was shimmering in the heat haze while 7 Little Egret were fairly noticeable. Sitting out on the edge of the salt marsh a Peregrine was bird watching.
No.4 tank had a singing Cetti’s Warbler while the last Chiffchaff and Whitethroat were still hanging around.
Walking back along the track and it was good to find a pair of Whooper Swan settled in a flooded part of No.3 tank.
Butterflies were enjoying the late warmth with Painted Lady, Red Admiral and some smaller White’s being seen.
Observer and images: WSM.