An early start from Brook Furlong Lane and along the River Weaver and Manchester Ship Canal and then around No.6 tank this morning. The ‘mixed singer’ Willow Warbler was vocal in its usual area at the south-east corner of No.1 tank and was joined by Wren, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat. Both Reed and Sedge Warbler were numerous during the length of my walk with a brood of fledged sedge’ seen along Lordship Lane. Onto the River Weaver and the water level has dropped exposing a sand bank mid river which looks promising for future visits.
A pair of Great Crested Grebe was on the river and one of them was giving a youngster a piggyback ride while the other was fishing successfully. Several Pied Avocet had young on the far bank and the parents were kept busy chasing crows and gulls away from them.
On the Weaver Estaury were 28 Mute Swan noted alongside many Canada Goose and Common Shelduck with a brood of 10 young shelduckings crossing the river with their parents. There were a pair of Eurasian Oystercatcher on the Manchester Ship Canal between Marsh Farm and the dredger berth and I noted Tufted Duck and Gadwall being on the water and a family of Pied Wagtail were on the bank.
The ‘phalarope pool’ held a Canada Goose family with Mallard, Common Shelduck and again Gadwall being present. The Common Redshank pair were contact calling to their young ones hiding in the grass and were buzzed every now and again by a Northern Lapwing. Linnet and European Goldfinch were feeding along Lordship Lane with more Reed and Sedge Warbler seen and heard, as were several Reed Buntings. Looking over No.6 tank and the 22 Red Knot were in amongst several hundred Black-tailed Godwit and several Pied Avocet.
Walking back and close to my car a Eurasian Cuckoo was calling and was seen to fly over Brook Furlong Lane towards Redwall reedbed. If you plan to walk along the Weaver Causeway footpath take some insect repellant as clouds of midges rise from the vegetation as you brush pass.
Close to home a check on a local Peregrine site and one of the 2 nests had left and the nest site and was sitting close by being watched over by a male.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).
While PR was on his long tramp we waked in from Frodsham Bridge and at the sluice gates a Kingfisher darted out from a cuvert into the river narrowly missing colliding with a speed boat.
As Paul had mentioned earlier the River Weaver is at its lowest for a considerable time. The lack of run off from the hills and surrounding lane and the recent low tides have produced a area worthy of attention a few weeks back if it had been this low.
I managed a count of 57 Pied Avocet and that included several downy young and theere could have been more on the raised Weston Marsh tank but that was not viewable from my elevation. A couple of Great Black-backed Gull and flyover corvids got the Common Shelduck up from Weston and Marsh and the Weaver Bend and I estimated that we have c450 birds, the sky was full of them. Mostly 1st summer Black-headed Gull were all along the river and numbered into their hundreds.
A walk past the birdlog half way along Brook Furlong Lane produced the second ‘mixed singer’ Willow-Chiffchaff.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 1 & 4-24).
The riddle of the leucistic passerine which was initially thought to be a Reed is infact a partial leucistic Common Whitethroat…unless you think otherwise?
Images 25-26 by Jon Gilbody.