I started with a watch over Lordship Marsh this morning from Smithy Lane in Helby where the herd of 14 Whooper Swan were feeding in the flood water by the farm.
I then moved on to Moorditch Lane and the first of many Redwing and Fieldfare were again present in numbers sharing a telegraph line with a couple of Common Kestrel.
Onward next to No.6 tank where Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Northern Pintail, Mallard and Eurasian Teal were all feeding in the shallower waters with 4 Mute Swan.
The local Common Buzzard were hunting the reed beds and flushed a group of 10 Common Snipe, it’s clearly evident that without persecution, raptors like the buzzard can thrive and adapt easily to a variety of different habitats and situations.
Looking over No.3 tank and a flock of c800 Northern Lapwing were with a few Golden Plover which dropped into the fields close to Marsh Farm.
Across the Manchester Ship Canal and on Frodsham Score saltmarsh the wintering flock of (now) 14 Egyptian Goose were sharing the area with several Little Egret which spread out with the Canada Goose herds. A Cetti’s Warbler was singing in a reed bed along the path and a male Stonechat was playing hide and seek with a Common Kestrel, which eventually lost interest and moved on.
The stubble field alongside the Holpool Gutter had a few hundred Northern Lapwing and Eurasian Curlew with a Merlin sat on a bale of hay watching over them all.
Hundreds more winter thrushes were feeding along Lordship Lane attracting the attention of at least 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine. Many Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Dunnock were all active along the lane, and a Jay flew off the bank of No.4 tank.
Early afternoon and a look over Lordship Marsh from the junction of No.4 and 6 tanks gave me the opportunity to observe a group of egrets could be seen in the distance, and on closer inspection revealed 3 Western Cattle Egret and 2 Little Egret with c80 Eurasian Curlew. The new Cattle Egret flock brings the total number ever sighted here to 6 records.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.