15.12.18. Birdlog.

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I was out and around No.6 and 4 tanks this morning before the change in the weather came along. Several Raven were feeding on a sheep carcass in a ditch on No.3 and a mixed flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover were feeding nearby in the rough grass. The ‘phalarope pool’ on the south-west corner of No.3 tank has extended and was full enough to attract c30 with both Mallard and more Shoveler on the ‘Splashing Pool’.

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A skein of c40 Pink-footed Goose made their way to the Frodsham Score salt marsh where a couple of thousand Canada Goose were resting. A single Great White Egret and a lone Little Egret were feeding in the tidal gullies on the river marsh.

There were 19 Mute Swan feeding on the fields alongside the Holpool Gutter with there Greylags for companions. Further south and c100 Curlew were again in the field adjacent to Rake Lane and the Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance. Fieldfare and Redwing were in good numbers along Lordship Lane.

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 10).

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A walk up to No.1 tank in the hope of seeing the Cattle Egret was dashed when I met PC who had drawn a blank but he offered me a lift in his car to Ince Marsh fields via Lordship Lane (where we met PR briefly as he was heading home) to check the fields for the egret there. There were plenty of Fieldfare and Redwing to seen feasting on the hawthorn berries but they were skittish and wouldn’t allow close approach.

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The weather was rapidly deteriorating with a raking south-easterly wind whipping across the marshes followed by cold persistent rain. The Whooper Swan herd was finding some shelter below the hedgerows on Lordship Marsh. There with c20 birds present close to the motorway but, with the wind and rain dripping off my optics it would have been impossible to pick anything other than Whooper’s from that distance. I left PC to his own devices and walked along the track between No.6 & 4 to the ‘Splashing Pool’ where the Shoveler flock were still present.

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A small skein of Pink-footed Goose flew over to Lordship Marsh (presumably the birds from earlier?). A Stonechat briefly popped out of the vegetation but wisely found shelter and stayed put.

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A gathering of 25 Raven were riding the wind above No.6 tank and spooked the entire flocks of ducks from the water there. They soon settled and apart from c23 Wigeon, some Common Shelduck and 73 Shoveler the majority were c1300 Common Teal. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t pick out a Greed-winged Teal but the weather conditions had taken a turn for the worst and regrettably with failing light, cold wet hands and the after effects of my man flu…I called it a day.

Observer: WSM (images 2 & 4-6 & 8).

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After I left Bill all alone I made my way to Marsh Farm and got some ok(ish) Fieldfare images, as you know the light was very poor, that’s my excuse. When I got near to the cattle grid a Merlin (one for you Guy Groves) chased a Blackbird and then landed on one of the brick towers on No.2 tank for a bit and I got a couple of images before it flew off. On the way back from the farm it flew across and back onto the brick tower and I got some more photo’s.

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No.1 had a mixed flock of Golden Plover and Lapwing but the Goldie’s were to far away to photograph, there was also a female Stonechat.

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Observer: Paul Crawley (video & images 1 & 3 & 7 & 9 & 11).