A skein of Pink-footed Goose were heading south over the A56 through Helsby on my way to the marsh this morning. Arriving at No.1 tank a pair of Stonechat were sat on the fence line that crosses this tank. Raven were riding the breeze above the steep banks and indicated the stiff wind that blew through the marshes today.
Onward to the path by the Manchester Ship Canal and 2 Mute Swan, 5 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Little Grebe were noted. A Common Sandpiper was flushed from the bank and settled after a short flight.
A walk along the river revealed a flock of 300 Canada Goose heading to the Weaver estuary leaving Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and Common Shelduck behind. Curlew were flying inland to their feeding grounds and a dozen Black-tailed Godwit went out to the Mersey estuary in the other direction.
No.6 tank and its stretch of open water held the usual ducks with c 40 Pintail and Eurasian Teal being notable as were a flock of Black-tailed Godwit.
No 3 tank held onto a flock of flighty Wigeon on and off one of the scrapes with more Eurasian Teal, Mallard and several Common Shelduck also present.
Looking over Lordship Marsh from the junction of No.4 and No.6 tanks produced the Whooper Swan herd which were near Hillview Farm hidden behind the hedges. A small flock of Black-tailed Godwit dropped into the same field to feed.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2 & 4).
During my period of observation I checked on the Eurasian Teal flocks that were quite impressive last weekend. The heavy leaden grey clouds and stiff wind provided some challenging light to view and photograph in those conditions and was reflected in the dull grainy images attached. I estimated a flock of c800 Teal hiding mostly in the daisy beds with 24 Shoveler and some Pintail (PR had seen earlier). A young/2cy Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds with another two over No.4 tank.
A walk over to the Weaver estuary on the chance of seeing a couple of Scaup that Dave Craven had spotted flying over from Hale drew a blank. On my arrival a good selection of ducks included: 19 Common Pochard (18 adult male and immature male), 20 Goldeneye (imm/females), 21 Tufted Duck, 23 Gadwall and a flock of 70 Curlew flying low over the water. A couple of Stonechat sat up on dried grass stems by the rivers edge.
Walking back in the dark and only illuminated by the neon lights flickering off the water from Ineos Chlor works across the river was made even brighter by an imm/female Red-breasted Merganser which flew up settled by the Sluice Gates. This bird is the one PR had last year.
Observer: WSM (image 3).