I made an after work visit to the area beside the River Weaver at Redwall reed bed hoping to see a Short-eared Owl or two at dusk. It was drawing a blank so I switched my attention to the water side instead. A couple of displaying male European Stonechat were vying for the attention of a female while 2-3 Cetti’s Warbler were giving it large over territories. A very vocal Chiffchaff gave the evening a feel of Spring.
A look further up into the Weaver Estuary saw all the c200 Tufted Duck sheltering from the cold wind racing across the water. A flock of 29 Common Pocahrd, 7 Common Goldeneye, numerous Common Shelduck and the female Long-tailed Duck were paying for the time I made.
A black blob on the water infront of me meant it could only be one of the auk species and immediately it crested a wave to revealed it to be a summer plumaged Common Guillemot. Guillemots have a chequered history on Frodsham Marsh with records coming from either dead birds or usually being found moribund in drainage ditches. This is the first summer plumaged bird to have occured here and although more often seen across the River Mersey at Hale, where access to the shoreline is much easier than it is here, it still remains a very rare bird on this side. I would suggest this is a result of the current storms and the afternoon tide with the River Weaver giving the bird a sheltered havern to regain its strength.
Observer, video and images: WSM.