Another weekend and another storm to greet my birding on the marshes. I started along Brook Furlong Lane where a small mixed flock of Fieldfare, Redwing and Eurasian Starling were about. A band of Long-tailed Tit were briefly serenaded by a Cetti’s Warbler.
When I reached the River Weaver the wind was whipping up a houlie and made it difficult to view through the telescope with my eyes streaming tears (it can be emotioal this birding game;O). I huddled down and found a safe sheltered spot to view the birdlife out on the choppy waters. A herd of 15 Mute Swan gathered together with a flock of 67 Tufted Duck.
A further flock of 134 Tufted Duck was again joined by the 1st winter female Greater Scaup and 39 Common Pochard, female Long-tailed Duck, 14 Common Goldeneye, 31 Mallard and a single Pink-footed Goose tucked up close to the Weaver Sluice Gates (presumably an injured bird). There were 4 Great Crested Grebe and 240 Common Redshank
A wintering Common Sandpiper, 6 Eurasian Oystercatcher, 1 Dunlin and 4 Common Ringed Plover were forced in by the tide out on the Mersey Estuary, while the big female Peregrine was sat on her windy tower above the old I.C.I power plant.
There were three European Stonechat which were very curious and gave me ample opportunity to phone scope them at close quarters.
I made my way over to No.3 tank where I just managed to catch sight of the 3 Western Cattle Egret that had reappeared after their excursion over to Ince and were flying from Marsh Farm out to Lordship Marsh.
A further look over Frodsham Score on the rising tide produced several Little Egret and 3 Great Egret popping out of the tidal channels. Several hundred Pink-footed Goose were out with the Canada’s and ducks were few in species, but there were hundreds each of Common Shelduck and Eurasian Wigeon. A spiraling flock of Dunlin in the distance, small flocks of Grey Plover and 3-400 Black-tailed Godwit were added to the days tally.
A Western Marsh Harrier flew over the saltmarshes and spooked several flocks of Northern Lapwing and European Golden Plover, including a bird in partial summer plumage.
Walking between No.6 & No.4 tanks and the ringtail Hen Harrier flew over but continued its flight out to Lordship Marsh. A further 4 more Western Marsh Harrier including a fine male were over the area. A small group of Black-tailed Godwit dropped in and a flock of c60 Common Snipe were flushed by the numerous predators in the area.
The fields of Lordship Marsh had 11 Mute Swan and 23 Whooper Swan, but no sign of the 3 Western Cattle Egret though.
My final destination was to look across the flooded No.6 tank where a drake Common Goldeneye was head tossing to 2 females. Also noted were 5 Northern Pintail, 64 Northern Shoveler, 350 Eurasian Teal, 21 Mallard and 43 Tufted Duck.
Observer and images: WSM.