03.12.18. Birdlog.

A day off and I spent a few hours of it on the marsh with a start at No.6 tank where the usual ducks were out on the water. Common Teal, Shoveler and Mallard were again present. The teal were a bit jumpy and took off and flew around the tank putting a flock of c30 Common Snipe into the air with them.

On to the Manchester Ship Canal path and a pair of Stonechat were occupying their winter territory on the banks of No.4 with several Meadow Pipits flighty nearby. A look over the Frodsham Score and there were 2 Great White Egret and several Little Egret were spread widely about the salt marsh. A flock of waders were putting on a grand show alongside the River Mersey and a skein of Pink-footed Goose dropped on to the marsh.

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A mass of Lapwing and Golden Plover sprung into the air disturbed by an unseen predator but soon settled back to normality.

The fields alongside the Holpool Gutter had 23 Mute Swan and 14 Greylag Goose, while further out a flock of c150 Curlew were in the fields adjacent Rake Lane.

A quick check to see if the Cattle Egret was still in the area and I was rewarded with what at first appeared to be two Cattle Egret but on closer inspection one of them revealed itself to be a Little Egret at one end of the field, and the Cattle Egret was teasing the cows in the herd.

The stubble field near the ramp track to No.4 and 6 tanks held a few hundred Linnet, Goldfinch, Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting which all panicked when a Merlin on a mission attempted to snatch one of them, but it witched its attention to a flock of Redwing and Fieldfare before disappearing in hot pursuit beyond the blue slurry tank.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.