After work I took a walk along the track between No.5 & No.6 tanks. A flock of c350 Black-tailed Godwit were either feeding in the water or sleeping on the dried muddy areas. Also present were 14 Pied Avocet, 15 Common Ringed Plover and c200 Dunlin. A couple of Western Yellow Wagtail were slashing sunshine colours on the earthy ground. A Western Marsh Harrier was on its usual perch.
A Greenland bound Northern Wheatear was on No.3 tank.
I spent a couple of hours early evening along the River Weaver and along Brook Furlong Lane. The Willow Warbler with a mixed identity song was showing well alongside several Common Chiffchaff, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warbler.
A large flock of Black-headed Gull were on the water with a single Common Tern noted skimming the water. There were c400 Common Swift hawking over the river and passing within a couple of foot from where I was standing.
A Barn owl feather lay in the grass alongside the path evidence of a bird hunting the area.
I started my walk at Brook Furlong Lane early this morning and the Willow Warbler with the mixed song was vocal near the old bird log at the south east corner of No.1 tank with several Common Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat and Cetti’s Warbler all added to the soundscape. A Common Raven was being escorted out of the area by a pair of Eurasian Oystercatcher.
Out on the River Weaver were Pied Avocet defending their territory and mobbing any crovid or gull species that they deemed a threat. Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Shelduck and Gadwall were all in good numbers amongst the many Canada Goose, and 17 Mute Swan.
There were 3 Adult Great Crested Grebe grouped together and fishing mid river. A pair of Little Ringed Plover and singles of Common Ringed Plover and Common Redshank were noted. Sand Martin were busy around their colony with a few birds excavating burrows at a different sight along the Manchester Ship Canal. A Common Buzzard came under attack from a pair of Carrion Crow and a Eurasian Oystercatcher as it crossed over the ship canal.
On to No.6 tank and c500 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Dunlin, several Common Ringed Plover and 2 Pied Avocet were foraging in the shallow waters .Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Coot and Common Moorhen were abundant with several Canada Goose and 7 Mute Swan.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images).
I am in work this weekend but at lunch time I was at Pickerings Pasture where I noticed a Eurasian Jay harrassing Blue Tit parents and their recently fledged young. It was interesting to see the jay single out one of the young and chase it into a hawthorn bush. The anxious parents were calling to the young bird and at the same time scolding the Jay. The jay circled the bush and flushed out the tit which then flew towards its parents. The jay being much quicker caught the tit in flight throw it to the ground and was seen then to drop on the passerine and carry it away.
An early dart from work and a walk aroundNo. 6 and No.4 tanks. There were c400 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Pied Avocet feeding in the shallow water of No.6 with Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Mallard, a few Northern Shoveler and 7 Mute Swan in the deeper water. Common Swift, Sand Martin and Barn Swallow were enjoying the strong wind and put on a fine display over the tank.
A family party 0f two pairs of Eurasian Coot were on the ‘secluded pool’ with a one of the pair of Little Grebe showing while the other was possibly incubating out of sight.
The ‘phalarope pool’ held Mallard, Common Shelduck, Tufted Duck, a pair of Canada Goose and their 2 goslings, the Common Redshank tried to drop in but was seen off by the Northern Lapwing parents.
There were c150 Canada Goose on the Frodsham Score salt marsh and a flock of c50 Lesser Black-backed Gull resting on the cropped grass, Four Eurasian Oystercatcher were being blown along the Manchester Ship Canal in the blustery conditions.
Linnet and European Goldfinch were numerous during my walk today.
I was out this evening along the River and Manchester Ship Canal. Pied Avocet were busy defending their young chicks along the river, whilethe many Black-headed Gull on the water and 2 Great Black-backed Gull gulls waiting on a concrete plinth on the far bank watching and waiting. Common Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Gadwall were all present in reasonable numbers and a group of 10 Mute Swan were gathered together.
A single Dunlin foraged at the edge of the shore with a Common Ringed Plover closeby.
A Northern (Greenland) Wheatear was on the canal bank and another along the pipeline on No.1 tank.
c200 Canada Goose were grazing amongst the sheep and the European Stonechat pair were attending to fledged young.
An after work visit and a walk out to the ‘phalarope pool’ where the only wader was was 3 Northern Lapwing with their respective chicks. Four western Yellow Wagtail were on the water edge with a single Pied Wagtail.
The mitigation pools had a couple of Pied Avocet with c300 Black-tailed Godwit which relocated to No.6 tank sometime later.
No.6 tank was active with 234 Dunlin, c300 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Eurasian Oystercatcher and 6 Common Ringed Plover.
Common Swift were flying low over the embankment zipping to and fro.
A Hobby took an interest in the Common Swift numbers and flew over per Simon Costin.
Earlier in the day Keith took his first trip out for 56 days since the lockdown was put in place and he managed to capture a photo of Eurasian Cuckoo.
He said, It was an eerie sight to see all the spindle trees covered in Spindle ermine caterpillars all leaves stripped from the trees, makes you wonder how the trees survive.
The BTO WeBs count this morning on the tide. Very quiet at Ince Marsh fields and not a great deal showing.
On the pools were 4 Gadwall, 9 Mallard, 3 Little Grebe, 7 European Moorhen, 8 Eurasian Coot, 3 Grey Heron and 1 Little Egret.
The Barn Owl could be seen at its box entrance.
The field alongside the Holpool Gutter held 8 Northern Lapwing and 2 Eurasian Oystercatcher and many Rook, Western Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.
The Manchester Ship Canal fared slightly better with good numbers of Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Mallard, 2 Mute Swan and several Canada Goose.
A tired looking Red Fox made its way along the edge of the Frodsham Score salt marsh and dropped down to drink from the ship canal but struggled to climb back up the bank, it then curled up and went to sleep
The ‘phalarope pool’ was also quiet with a single Common Shelduck, a pair of Gadwall, 4 Eurasian Coot and the Northern Lapwing families.
I was out this morning around No.4 and No.6 tanks starting at Lower Rake Lane. There were Chaffinch and Reed Bunting were active in the hedgerows along the lane and a Grey Heron stood out in the middle of a field. A pair of Grey Wagtail were feeding along the Holpool Gutter with several Pied Wagtail close by.
Along the Manchester Ship Canal path and Eurasian Coot and its chicks were in a pool alongside No.4 and a Western Marsh Harrier drifted over and made its way out to Frodsham Score.
There were anglers on the ‘Canal Pools’ which resulted in fewer sightings, but a pair of Mute Swan and a pair of Great Crested Grebe were noted. A Northern Wheatear (Greenland form) and several Eurasian Skylark were also present.
Another Northern Wheatear was seen close to the ‘phalarope pool’ as was a Common Redshank which was still getting harassed by the resident Northern Lapwing. Also a feature was again Western Reed and Sedge Warbler being vocal with the Sedge’s happy to show themselves, while the Reed’s kept out of sight.
On No.6 were several hundred Black-tailed Godwit sharing the pool with 8 Pied Avocet, 8 Red Knot, c60 Dunlin 2 Eurasian Oystercatcher and a Common Ringed Plover could be heard but not located.
Several Cetti’s Warbler were heard on my walk with more Western Reed and Sedge Warbler with Common Whitethroat noted along Lordship Lane.
A pair of joggers making their way along Lower Rake Lane let their large dogs run wild over the fields disturbing the ground nesting birds.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).
During this period of restricted lockdown there hasn’t been a BTO WeBS count for the last couple of months, so today I made an attempt to add to our citizen science inputs for the BTO. All of what was mentioned earlier by PR added to the count for No.6 tank, and different times produced different counts. I estimated that the flock of scattered feeding Black-tailed Godwit numbered 834 with a single Pied Avocet, 8 Red Knot including a mostly full plumaged bird and one with some red patches on its flanks),19 Common Ringed Plover and 150 Dunlinwere also seen. Also noted 3 Western Yellow Wagtail shimmering white hot on the tank.
A Western Marsh Harrier drifted over and a Common Redshank was obviously concerned by the cattle drinking from the ‘phalarope pool’. I heard a Little Ringed Plover but failed to see it. A couple of Western Yellow Wagatil put in a performance.