01.12.19. Birdlog.

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I started this morning’s walk at Brook Furlong Lane where a smart male s>urasian Sparrowhawk sped past me at knee height and tried in vain to catch one of the many Fieldfare and Redwing that were feeding in the bushes.

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On the Weaver River a small flock of Tufted Duck joined the usual duck species and a group of 9 European Goldeneye which were all females.A herd of 12 Mute Swan and c300 Canada Goose which were sheltering on the river away from the shooting parties out on the salt marsh.

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A large mixed flock of Northern Lapwing and European Golden Plover were moving about on the Mersey estuary with several Common Buzzard keeping them on the move.

A wintering Common Sandpiper flew east along the Manchester Ship Canal and a single Great Crested Grebe was fishing and managed to catch a small fish.

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The Canal Pools held many more Canada Goose with c50 Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard and Tufted Duck.

A pair of Stonechat were along the path and a flock of c60 Eurasian Curlew passed overhead towards Lordship Marsh.

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The sound of gunfire put a mass of Canada Goose into the air which soon was followed by several hundred Pink-footed Goose and the Eygptian Goose flock were with the Ruddy Shelduck in with them.

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The stubble fields alongside the Holpool Gutter were empty apart from a few Eurasian Curlew and Northern Lapwing.

Walking along Lordship Lane and Reed Bunting, Chaffinch and European Goldfinch were commonplace and were being shadowed by another Eurasian Sparrowhawk.

Looking over Lordship Marsh from the junction of No.4 and No.6 tanks and the Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the far distance and back in their winter fields after being disturbed yesterday.

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A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over No.6 and another bird was seen on No.4 tank.

A Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed bed on No.6 and another pair of Stonechat were on the path edge. A family group of 5 Mute Swan joined the usual ducks on the tank with c80 Eurasian Curlew and European Golden Plover were feeding on No.3 tank.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

29-30.11.19. Birdlog.

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A long weekend off from work and a early morning walk around the Ince and Frodsham Marshes where I started at Moorditch Lane with 2 Common Kestrel were hunting in the pony paddocks and several Raven were struting about in the stubble fields.

On to No.6 tank where the duck numbers were reduced but still held Northern Shoveler, Cmmon Pochard, Eurasian Teal. Tufted Duck and Mallard alongside a few Canada Goose. A Sparrowhawk was flushed from the path I walked along and took off carrying a European Blackbird.

Three Common Buzzard included one sat in a tree drying out in the early morning sun, the other two were hunting the reed beds and were joined by a Marsh Harrier which flew over No.3 tank flushing a flock of Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler off one of the scrapes.

Reed Bunting, Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit were numerous during my walk as were European Goldfinch and Linnet flocks.

A look over Lordship Marsh from the junction of No.4 and 6 tanks in an attemp to locate the Cattle Egret flock from last week proved negative, but c50 Eurasian Curlew were feeding in the fields there.

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Walking along the Holpool Gutter and more Eurasian Curlew (c80) were feeding in the stubble with 6 Black-tailed Godwit and c60 Northern Lapwing. The calls of many Pink-footed Goose could be heard over the saltmarshes and a large flock were dropping down to feed amongst the Canada Goose herd which were already settled on the marsh.

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A gathering of c15 Little Egret and 3 Great Egret were dotted about the marsh and another Marsh Harrier was out by the river.

On the Canal Pools were c50 Eurasian Coot and a few Eurasian Teal and Mallard being noted. On the Manchester Ship Canal there was 3 Little Grebe and 5 Great Crested Grebe and a Common Sandpiper crossing to the far bank. Another Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew over the canal to ambush a European Starling flock feeding in the long grass and managed to nail an unfortunate victim.

A mass of Northern Lapwing and European Golden Plover were their usual nervous selves and took to the air time, time and time again as anything they took be a threat. Fieldfare and Redwing were feeding along Brook Furlong Lane and a flock of c40 Black-tailed Godwit flew east.

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Driving back home I stopped off to look over Lordship Marsh from Helsby and could see the Whooper Swan herd and 3 Cattle Egret were in the distance but would have been invisible to see from Lordship Lane on the marshes itself.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

30.11.19. Birdlog.

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I had an hour to kill this morning so a walk along Rake Lane from Helsby was rewarding with a flock of c30 Reed Bunting feeding along the lane with House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail.

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A flock of c100 Eurasian Skylark dropped in to the stubble to feed alongside c40 Eurasian Curlew and a Stonechat was sat on the fence.

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Shooting was taking place on Lordship Marsh which forced the Whooper Swan from the frosty fields herd and the 3 Cattle Egret equally got a frosty reception and they too look for somewhere quieter to feed.

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The Whooper Swan flock made their way towards theĀ  Mersey estuary while the egrets circled around and landed by the Holpool Gutter before moving again towards Ince.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.