09.12.18. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning starting my walk at Ince where the fields on the marsh side of the village held c200 Curlew. The birds were feeding in a field adjacent to the service road to the GrowHow Works with a much smaller number of Curlew in the field by the front of the Pig Farm.

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On the Ince Marsh field pools were 7 Coot, 2 Little Grebe, 6 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Little Egret and 1 Common Snipe.

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The arable fields alongside the Holpool Gutter was pretty much devoid of plovers but, did hold 22 Mute Swan, 19 feral Greylag Goose and 4 Eurasian White-fronted Goose.

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On to the Manchester Ship Canal path and a look over the Frodsham Score salt marsh where the massive plover flock could be seen. A couple of Great White Egret were noted and a mass of waders were snaking their way along the Mersey estuary as the tide came in.

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Fieldfare and Redwing were busy feeding in the hawthorn hedgerow along the canal path and a flock of 20 Redshank flew low over the ship canal. The skull of a long dead Badger was lying in the grass along the path leaving nothing to indicate its demise.

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The ‘Splashing Pool’ held a dozen Shoveler and 2 Gadwall. Further out and along Lordship Lane the Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance and the Cattle Egret was back after a week off (or more likely unseen) amongst the cows where it was nut megging the feeding cows.

A male Sparrowhawk was hunting the finch flocks and 3 Carrion Crow were ganging up on a Common Buzzard.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-11).

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It was WeBS count day today and I walked out to view the ducks on the expanding watery spread on No.6 tank. There were masses of Common Teal with c1100 birds tightly gathered along the vegetated margins of the west side of the water and trying to avoid the brisk wind coming in with the tide. Other ducks were few but they did include a drake and female Pintail, 5 Mallard and 76 Shoveler.

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A walk further along the track to view No.3 tank to see if the Pink-footed Goose which have been utilising this area of late were still here. Unfortunately, the flock had vacated the fields leaving it to a host of 30 Raven chilling out during the period of the high tide. They were waiting for the high tide to drop so they could feast on the associated dead and dying sheep that will be available once it has receded.

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Walking along Moorditch Lane and the hawthorn hedges were full of both Redwing and Fieldfare, suddenly the whole place erupted as a female Merlin burst through, scattering the flocks hither and dither.

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Observers: Sparky & WSM (images 12-18).

Image 18 by Shaun Hickey.