I started my walk and subsequently my monthly WeBS count for the BTO at Ince this morning and then for the high tide period. The pools at Ince are overgrown making it difficult to assess an accurate count, but 18 Mallard, 6 Common Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Little Grebe and 2 Oystercatcher were viewable.
Walking alongside the Manchester Ship Canal there were more Mallard and Tufted Duck with the addition of a single Great Crested Grebe being on the water. Passerines featured Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff which were busy feeding their young by the canal path.
The Long-tailed Duck was again on the ‘phalarope pool’ with several Eurasian Teal and a single Black-tailed Godwit for company. Further along the track were many Common Swift hawking at head height with both House and Sand Martin present.
Back near Ince Berth a pair of very agitated Little Ringed Plover were trying to draw me away from their territory by faking a broken wing display, and did likewise when a Brown Hare approached them to close.
Observer and images (1-6): Paul Ralston.
While Paul was doing his part of his count, I was making my count on No.6 and No.3 tanks and around Lordship Marsh.
A single drake Common Pochard was with 32 Tufted Duck, 17 Common Shelduck, 19 Mallard, 16 Eurasian Teal, 10 Northern Shoveler, 21 Gadwall, 53 Eurasian Coot and 2 pairs of Little Grebe. The Black-tailed Godwit flock consisted of c500 birds feeding in the vegetation at the edge of the water and a Common Redshank was with them.
The Marsh Harrier was quartering the area (for a change) and kettles of Common Buzzard were riding the thermal updrafts. There were plenty of hirundine activity alongside Common Swift (as PR mentioned earlier).
The Long-tailed Duck obviously made it on the WeBS count, so fame was secured. The pools didn’t have much apart from a couple each of Common Shelduck and Eurasian Teal during my visit, but the ‘Splashing Pool’ conjured up 4 Tufted Duck.
The ‘phalarope pool’ at the west end of No.3 tank.
Along Lordship Lane the Reed Bunting, Reed and Sedge Warbler were still vocal but not as enthusiastic as before. The fields adjacent to the lane were flooded and if the Lapwing pairs breeding here had it bad when their nests were ploughed over by the farmer, they also had the indignity of having their second clutch waterlogged. The same fate befell a pair of Oystercarcher which abandoned their nest as well.
Some images of the flooded No.6 tank.
Observers: JS & WSM (video & images 7-14).