A lot more shoe leather was used up again today with a walk out to the Weaver estuary to cover for the one of the WeBS counters absence.
Redwall reed bed held a couple of Stonechat with another bird (male) on the pipes that cross No.1 tank.
There was an impressive count of 22 Great Crested Grebe with the first (10) Goldeneye of the autumn/winter by the wooden jetty. The (132) Tufted Duck were in three groups and one group had 5 drake Common Pochard for company. There were also 9 Mute Swan, several Gadwall, 6 Moorhen and 17 Coot. A Common Sandpiper hung out with c56 Redshank, c300 Lapwing and 17 Black-tailed Godwit on the marshy margins.
A watch over Frodsham Score from the Weaver Sluice Gates and the incoming tide on the Mersey marshes brought 15 Little Egret with 5 attendant Great White Egret and 12 Grey Heron. All these along with the Black-headed Gull flocks made short work of any voles or fish that may have been forced out from cover with the flooding water. There were several thousand Dunlin swirling around in the distance with a few hundred making landfall close to the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal, c400 Curlew, c150 Golden Plover, c100 Redshank and 2 Oystercatcher. No Knot, Grey Plover or wintering Bar-tailed Godwit was unusual.
Walking back along Brook Furlong Lane and small numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare were in the hawthorn hedgerows.
There was a much reduced count of aytha on No.6 tank with 286 Common Teal, 23 Shoveler and just the 5 Mallard. Further out over the reed beds a ringtail Hen Harrier was sparring with one of three Marsh Harrier. I assume the ringtail was the same bird which frequented Woolston Eyes and Hale as well today?
Three Common Buzzard flew over together while a couple of Kestrel were actively hunting. The usual Peregrine was sat aloft the blue topped chimney at Weston Point.
Before I set out it was unseasonal to hear and see a singing Chiffchaff in my yarden this morning.
Observer and images: WSM.