18.01.20. Birdlog.

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I sat and watched the sunrise over the Mersey Estuary this morning before making my way to the marsh.

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A mass of Northern Lapwing and European Golden Plover took to the air over No.3 tank when spooked by a Common Buzzard and then by a Sparrowhawk.

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Looking over No.6 tank and the duck numbers were lower than they have been recently but still held reasonable counts of Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Mallard, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal. A male Peregrine flew low over the water trying to flush the ducks, but without success and then targeted the plover flocks over on No.3 tank.re were charms of European Goldfinch feeding on the teasle heads with Chaffinch and Reed Bunting mixed in with them. A Common Chiffchaff was seen near the ramp between No.3 and No.6 but hid in the cover when a Common Kestrel hovered nearby.

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Corvids were feeding on a dead cow on No.3 with 3 Common Buzzard perched on the fence line waiting their turn. The shallow pools held both Eurasian Teal and Wigeon alongside No.4, while a few Grey Heron sat out, a Marsh Harrier made its way to the reed bed on No.6.

Walking along the path beside the Manchester Ship Canal a pair of Stonechat were at the waters edge and a single Great Crested Grebe was fishing on the canal and was flushed by a passing ship.

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The salt marsh held several hundred Canada Goose and 5 Little Egret were noted. There were 9 Mute Swan in the field close to Lordship Lane with a large flock of Eurasian Curlew feeding on Lordship Marsh. Another pair of Stonechat were near to the model flying field and a Kingfisher flew off No.6 and followed the ditch between the flying field and the hovercraft field. Several small parties of Redwing were feeding in the area.

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Stopped off at Plover Lane in Helsby on my way home and the Whooper Swan herd could be seen feeding close to the motorway.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.