A day off work and at last some time to devote to my patch on Frodsham Marsh. A walk out from Marsh Lane to the distant realms of the marshes produced some good birds and some frisky bullocks.
The hedgerows bordering both Moorditch and Lordship Lanes where heaving under the weight of the mass of Fieldfare still taking advantage of the bumper crop of hawthorn berries. Also in attendance but in very much reduced numbers were Redwing, Song Thrush and Eurasian Blackbird.
The flooded maize fields alongside Lordship Lane had flocks of Black-headed and Common Gull with c100 Western Jackdaw and Carrion Crow. It wasn’t until I got to the elevated position overlooking Lordship Marsh and the fields by Hillview Farm. I managed to pick up one of the long-staying Cattle Egret from this position. Taking the public right of way that edges alongside the field I made my way out and obtain some closer views of the egret(s). A frisky herd of bullocks were typically curious by my pressence and uninvitedly they approached as I walked along the edge of their shitty field.
After negotiating a couple of stiles which were attached to electric wires, I got in a reasonablby good position to view the egret. Almost immediately it was joined by two others and all three settled in an adjacent field…
…I set up my telescope and looking through my angle eye piece I locked onto one of the birds, suddenly a large pink rasping bovine tongue blurred out my view and proceeded to lick the objective lens of my scope. The slimey ouze dripped off the scope and down the legs of the tripod. I was surrounded by a herd of overly attentive cattle and blocking my view of the egrets. After a little of persuasion from me the herd stood back but were never too far away to lick or snort snot over me and my optics once again. I gave up after a while and wandered back to Lordship Lane where a couple of Little Egret were feeding with the now flushed (by the cows) 3 Cattle Egret. A herd of 18 Whooper Swan were by the M56 motorway in the flood affected fields.
I walked out to look over Frodsham Score and without any cows to bother me this time. I had unrestricted views of several hundred Pink-footed Goose, tens of hundreds of Canada Goose and 6 Whooper Swan which were additional to the birds seen earlier. A huge flock of Northern Lapwing including several hundred European Golden Plover were settled deep into the swarthy grass. There were 4 Great Egret and singletons of scattered Little Egret numbering 20 birds.
I also heard and saw loads of bubbling cries of Eurasian Curlew and a distant Western Marsh Harrier was quartering the saltmarsh further out. A Common Sandpiper was again on the muddy banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and a single Great Crested and 2 Little Grebe were on the water. The Raven were gain enjoying the updraught of the canal banks whilst annoying the Common Buzzard present.
The mitigation had several hundred Eurasian Wigeon with most of the Eurasian Teal from No.6 tank here and a big herd of Pink-footed Goose munching the grass with c400 Northern Lapwing.
A walk over to No.6 tank revealed two more Western Marsh Harrier veying with Common Buzzard and Raven for dominence. A flock of c40 Common Snipe were flushed from cover and a Stonechat was being coy for a change in the reeds. Ducks were keeping a low profile with c21 Tufted Duck, 12 Northern Pintail, 11 Northern Shoveler and 18 Common Pochard.
Observer and images: WSM.