22.03.20. Birdlog.

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I watched the sunrise this morning while watching a Black Grouse lek on a moor in North Wales before making my way to the south Mersey marshes. Starting and walking around No.6 and No.4 tanks a pair of Common Buzzard were challenged by a Western Marsh Harrier over the reed beds.

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The mitigation pools held more Eurasian Teal, Common Shelduck and Mallard with 15 Black-tailed Godwit feeding amongst them. The first of several Common Chiffchaff was seen on the bank of No.6 and 3 Cetti’s Warbler were heard on No.4 tank.

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My first Northern Wheatear of the year was seen on the Manchester Ship Canal path and 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were on the wing on this fine Spring day. There were hundreds of Pink-footed Goose out on Frodsham Score saltmarsh with Canada Goose and Common Shelduck, 4 Little Egret were feeding in the tidal channels.

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I went back to Ince this afternoon where c80 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in the flooded shallows with only 5 Little Egret noted, possibly due to off road bikes in the area and the fact that no pigs were out in the fields.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).

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I’ve always taken the opportunity for social distancing particularly in the birding community and today was a beautiful day to practise it once again. A walk around No.6 tank was pretty uneventful with numbers of singing Common Chiffchaff and a couple of Cetti’s Warbler. Common Buzzard were utilising the warm current termals to circle over head and to spar with Common Raven.

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The herd of 21 Whooper Swan were still in the field by Hillview Farm on Lordship Marsh and for the time being looked settled for a week or two.

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We reached the track that looks over No.6 tank and scoured the ducks on the water. A small flock of 6 Northern Pintail, 54 Northern Shoveler, 200 Eurasian Teal, 57 Tufted Duck, 6 Common Pochard, 7 Gadwall, 10 Common Goldeneye, c100 Common Shelduck and the hide and seek female Long-tailed Duck that was very difficult to locate moving across the flooded water with remarkable ease.

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We did have some social interaction (at the required 2 metres) with Jacqui & Idris Roberts who had seen Northern Wheatear along the pipes on No.1 tank by Marsh Farm, when we arrived there were five birds. The first birds of the year for us and in addition to the bird Paul had seen earlier.

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Sunset over the Mersey Estuary as seen from Weston Village.

Observer: JS & WSM (images 7-12).

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