05.01.20. Birdlog.

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A short walk today from Ince and by the Holpool Gutter. A clay pigeon shoot was taking place at Ince which disturbed the wildfowl in the area, so not much on the pools apart from c40 Eurasian Teal, c15 Gadwall, numerous Mallard and a pair of Northern Shoveler, a Little Grebe being noted.

A raft of c60 Eurasian Coot were on the Manchester Ship Canal no doubt disperbed from the nearby ‘Canal Pools’ alongside 2 pair of Gadwall.

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The wildfowlers were out on the salt marshes so it was only Little Egret and gulls which were present. The fowlers had gathered their haul of dead birds and boarded their boat to make their way back to Marsh Farm and within 10 minutes all of the Canada Goose made their way back to the salt marshes, followed by a Marsh Harrier, closeby two more Marsh Harrier were hunting the reed beds.

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A flock of c100 Eurasian Curlew were in the stubble fields with a single Little Egret and 2 Grey Heron. Mean while a Peregrine was sat on the ground watching the waders, but didn’t seem too interested in giving chase. A mixed flock of Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting were feeding in the same field.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

I couldn’t make my visit to the marsh until the last hour of the day, so I decided to attack the birding from the Ship Street end.

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The ‘Weaver causeway’ track alongside the River Weaver was churned up by quad bikes, and a muddy mess it is to walk through. Nevertheless, I persevered and saw 10 Northern Pintail, 10 Common Shelduck, 45 Eurasian Teal and 10 Mute Swan, one of which have a severely broken wing (reported to RSPCA).

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A look to the Weaver Estuary produced c75 Tufted Duck, the 1st winter drake and female Greater Scaup, female winter Long-tailed Duck, 10 Common Goldeneye, c100 Eurasian Teal and 10 Common Pochard. A Common Chiffchaff was calling from the reeds and a Cetti’s Warbler called as well.

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My walk back to Ship Street was uneventful, although masses of Black-headed Gull were heading from their inland feeding sites to spend the night on the Mersey Estuary…or the FA Cup Merseyside derby?

Observer: WSM (4-6).