An early start this morning from Ince along with the sun rising over the wind turbines.
The first Reed Warbler was alarm calling from the reed bed at the start of my walk which then gave a brief performance before diving back into cover. A pair of Greylag Goose have taken residence on one of the ponds along with several Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and a single Common Shelduck.
Onward and forward to the Manchester Ship Canal path and a sudden sharp blast from a Cetti’s Warbler rang out from Ince Berth followed by numerous Chiffchaff calls in the hedgerows alongside the path. On the ship canal were more of the same species of ducks and a pair of Great Crested Grebe were making the most of the spring weather.
Several Curlew and 2 Little Egret were feeding out on the salt marsh and a large roost of Great, Lesser Black-back and Herring Gull were settled on the shortly cropped grass. Four Mute Swan were still on their wintering field on Ince marsh fields and another 16 were making their way along the canal.
The ‘Splashing Pool’ held more Common Shelduck, Mallard, Eurasian Teal with the addition of several Northern Shoveler and Canada Goose. The spring silence was disrupted again by a very vocal Cetti’s Warbler.
A Coot was sat on its nest in the shallow water of the ‘phalarope pool’.
Walking back along Lordship Lane and I saw several Linnet and the odd Meadow Pipit busy collecting nest material, and a final blast from…yes you’ve guessed it Cetti’s. Also seen were Reed Bunting on territory and 2 Wheatear in the stubble field where c40 Curlew were feeding. A Blackcap was singing on the banks on No.6 tank, while a charm of c50 Goldfinch were keeping an eye on a Kestrel perched nearby.
A couple of Peregrine were high overhead and another Blackcap was in a melodic mood on my meander home.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images).
It was a very cold south-easterly that greeted us on the marsh this late morning into the afternoon period, so it was best to keep moving and not to linger for too long.
We walked along Moorditch Lane and then through Lordship Marsh before taking a look over Frodsham Score salt marsh. Two Cetti’s Warbler gave out a powerful song from deep in cover while the sounds of Curlew filled the air with melancholy.
A couple of Marsh Harrier ranged widely during our walk but provided some close views. The Raven were still enjoying the fringe benefits of some very organic farming methods here.
Looking across the salt marshes at low tide did provide a couple of Little Egret possibly the birds PR had seen earlier and a group of 65 lingering Pink-footed Goose must surely be thinking of heading north to the land of fire and ice very soon.
There were 9 White Wagtail on the Manchester Ship Canal tow path and No.4 tank echoed to the tunes of Willow Warber and Chiffchaff while Swallow and Sand Martin raced eagerly north.
Walking along the track between No.6 and No.3 tanks a Ring Ouzel flew out of the same elder tree as one did last year, so now I’m calling it the ouzel bush.
No.6 tank was again busy with ducks and Common Shelduck have arrived in force with 111 birds being present, some Tufted Duck and Northern Shoveler made up the rest.
I counted 7 singing Cetti’s Warbler today, so it’s firmly established itself in the Mersey and Weaver valleys.
Observers: JS & WSM.