A couple of hours around No.6 tank this morning started with skeins of Pink-footed Goose struggling in the wind as they flew inland over Helsby. A flock of c1000 Wood Pigeon came in over Helsby Hill and dropped down on to Lordship Marsh.
Also on No.6 tank were c300 Canada Goose with more on No.3 with Mallard and Northern Shoveler which chose the scrapes to settle. The numerous Raven were out in numbers cleansing up the marsh of carrion and riding in the wind.
Looking over Lordship Marsh from the ramp track and the distant Whooper Swan herd could be seen near to the farm. There were more Pink-footed Goose looking for somewhere to land but deciding to move on. 60 Curlew were in the stubble field along with 5 Common Snipe, and a male Stonechat was on the fence.
2 Marsh Harrier were flying together over the reed bed on No.6 and a Sparrowhawk was hunting the bank.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).
With Storm Erik having past through what better place to watch the marshes then the lofty heights of Helsby Hill. I set the telescope up by the trig point on the hill and watched the tide rolling in on the Mersey estuary below and in the far distance. The hill is a great place to watch from and with the sunlight behind me I could see a wide vista with a hazy Beeston Castle along the Sandstone Trail, Connah’s Quay and the Dee Marshes, the Clwyd Hills, the Gowy Meadows, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester and St Helens just a few of the places visable.
The River Mersey, Lordship Marsh a herd of Whooper Swan close to the M56.
Looking down onto Lordship Marsh and the herd of 27 Whooper Swan were again in the fields by the M56. It was a little disturbing to see two dead swans laying beneath the pylons by the farm (I wonder if these are the two Whooper’s from this herd?).
Looking across to No.6 tank and a wide span produced the Eurasian Teal flocks which I’ll put on hold until later.
As I have mentioned the tide was filling the basin of the Mersey estuary and lots of birds were on the move with a Great Egret (pictured above) feeding on the salt marsh. There were thousands of Canada Goose with hundreds of Pink-footed Goose out on Frodsham Score, plus Eurasian Wigeon and Common Shelduck standing out even from the distance I was at. Thousands of Lapwing and Golden Plover were on the salt marsh close to the Manchester Ship Canal.
The Peregrine could even be picked out sat on the lip of the blue topped chimney above the Weaver estuary at Weston Point.
A contact alling Chiffchaff by the trig point on the hill was my que to depart and try the marsh below for the teal flocks.
I arrived on the banks overlooking No.6 tank soon after leaving Helsby Hill and was greeted by c1500 (probably more) Eurasian Teal feeding in the dense flooded daisy beds close to the banks of my view-point. A small number of 8 Pintail, 1 Tufted Duck, 6 Northern Shoveler and 14 Mallard were very much outnumbered. A couple of Marsh Harrier were quartering the reed beds with a Sparrowhawk spooking the teal.
A selection of images I took from the trig point on Helsby Hill.
Frodsham Marsh in all its glory.
The west end of No.6 tank where the current exploration for sand extraction and the ensuing eradication of its reed beds.
The east end of No.6 tank and its flooded basin. This area was completely dried out for the best part of the last summer and early autumn.
A view of the River Mersey, the darkside, No.4 tank, Lordship Marsh and the M56.
A ship sails along the unseen Manchester Ship Canal sandwiched between No.5 tank and Frodsham Score. Frodsham Score salt marsh and the Holpool Gutter runs out to the river.
The GrowHow works (there spelling) and Helsby Marshes.
No.6 tank is probably the most likely place to find a local rarity on the marshes.
The Weaver Bend a dramatic twist in the River Weaver as it approaches the Weaver estuary.
Hale lighthouse on the ‘darkside’ of the River Mersey.
The blue topped chimney at Weston Point is the best safe place to spot a Peregrine.
Observer: WSM (image 1 & 4-26 plus videos).