I started my walk of at the Weaver estuary this morning and the sickening sight of a Rabbit blinded by myxomatosis and sat forlornly in the lane before stumbling into the undergrowth (it would be quicker if a predator finished it swiftly.
There were 5 Great Crested Grebe on the Manchester Ship Canal with an additional pair further up the river. Ducks included: Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Mallard, Common Shelduck, Common Pochard and Goldeneye being noted. A group of Mute Swan flew east along the ship canal and 7 more were on the river. The long staying female Red-breasted Merganser reappeared and small number of Black-tailed Godwit made their way out to the estuary to join the hundreds of Curlew, Cormorant, Canada Goose and Common Shelduck out there.
A pair of Stonechat were in the reed bed and a Kestrel was disturbed and took off clutching a small rodent.
A Sparrowhawk flew low over the tank flushing a couple of Common Snipe on its way.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2 & 9),
While PR was checking out the east end of the marshes I was hiking west along Lordship Lane where the shrinking violet of a herd of Whooper Swan were hiding behind the hedges close to Hillview Farm.
The four Eurasian White-fronted Goose were still present in fields on Ince Marsh fields (west of the Holpool Gutter) and best viewable from the track adjacent to GrowHow Works. Also with them was a Greylag Goose and several Mute Swan. Walking along the lane at dawn was rewarded with 100’s of Pink-footed Goose skeins heading south (presumably) to spend the rest of the day out on the Dee marshes and surrounding fields.
Frodsham Score salt marsh was covered in Canada Goose with 100’s of Wigeon disturbed by the ebbing tide. Also on the move were several thousand Dunlin. A Great White and 7 Little Egret were about the area. The injured Whooper Swan was sat on the banks between the salt marsh and the ship canal.
No.6 tank had a return to form with 1100 Common Teal taking advantage of the flooded daisy beds to conceal themselves. Whenever anyone’s head broke the skyline along the path they rose into the air circling before resuming their feeding pattern. A few Shoveler, Gadwall and Pintail attempted to make up the rest.
A Marsh Harrier put in its final appearance of the year.
…and one for Roger Wilkinson, an Earthstar fungi at Weston village at dusk today.
At this point we would like to wish all our readers some great visits or reports from these posts in 2019.
Observer: WSM (images and video 1 & 2-8 & 10-11).