My time on the marsh this morning was concerned with my monthly WeBS count on No.6, No.3 tanks and Lordship Marsh.
I started with counting the Eurasian Teal (1,300) which were again hiding and feeding on seeds in the thick vegetation of the Michaelmas Daisy beds. During the course of my watch it was interesting to see the behaviour of these ducks to five different raptor species. Typically the Common Kestrel feeds only on rodents and small birds so its presence was tolerated by the ducks. On the other hand a very optimistic female Sparrowhawk made a few attempts at flushing the teal but without any success. A maurading male Peregrine took a couple of stoops but failed.
A female Merlin perched on a dead tree close by the teal flock and they didn’t even raise their heads. One raptor was more stealth like and while the teal were busy feeding in cover a Common Buzzard dropped from a brick drainage tower and walked through the daisy beds and managed to grab a teal, the rest of the feeding birds were totally oblivious.
Other ducks were very much in reduced numbers and included: 26 Northern Shoveler, 16 Northern Pintail, 12 Mallard and 4 Common Shelduck.
A female type Marsh Harrier that was hunting over the expanse of the reed beds on No.6 tank was missing flight feathers to its left wing. A second younger bird with complete undamaged wings appeared later in the afternoon.
A look over No.3 tank was rewarded with a count of 485 Eurasian Wigeon feeding on the short turf, frequently spooking each other and flying back to the relative safety of one of the shallow pools. Thousands of Lapwing and much smaller numbers of Golden Plover were a constant sight when they rose into the air.
Common Buzzard were again competing with several Raven over an old decomposed sheep. A few Northern Shoveler were present in the ‘Splashing Pool’ with Mallard.
My walk continued to the corner of No.4 & No.6 tanks for its elevated position on the ramp track. Looking south over the fields and the herd of 26 Whooper Swan were again by Hillview Farm with 283 Pink-footed Goose grazing alongside the blue slurry tank. A dead swan spp was below one of the turbines which may or may not indicate its demise.
The entire skein of Pinkies were seen to head out to the Mersey marshes at dusk flying over No.6 tank.
Observer: WSM (images and video).