I started at Ince this morning. The pools were quiet with just a few Mallard, Eurasian Coot, a pair of Little Grebe and a pair of Gadwall seen.
The usual Barn Owl was taking in the sunrise at the entrance to its box. There were Common Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat were feeding young while others were still in song.
Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were easily c1000 Canada Goose out on the river and the 2 Egyptian Goose were closer to the Manchester Ship Canal. A pair of Eurasian Oystercatcher were agitated as I walked along the canal path and must have young in the maize field alongside the Holpool Gutter.
Several Reed Warbler were active in the reeds along the path and a flock of c500 Eurasian Starling were feeding on the far bank of the canal. The water lilies are showing well on the canal pools with just Canada Goose and Eurasian Coot noted.
The first Green Sandpiper of the summer was an unexpected visitor to the silted up pool near the dredger berth and took off when it spotted me, but it dropped down amongst the reeds nearby. A Western Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reed bed on No.4 and No.5 tanks. There were many young Barn Swallow waiting to be fed on the fence of the pallet yard, a juvenile Grey Wagtail was close by.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-6).
My start was a little later in the morning and a walk along Brook Furlong Lane was pretty uneventful with just Cetti’s Warbler making a racket as usual (I would never had said those words 15 years ago).
The River Weaver and Estuary was full of birds with c80 Tufted Duck being the most prominant with broods of Gadwall, Common Shelduck, 54 Eurasian Coot and Great Crested Grebe adding to the picture. There was 15 Pied Avocet making a noise with many defending their numerous young from would be predators and a nice Common Sandpiper to round them off.
I found a dead semi-grown chick on the bank and may have succumed to the recent weather and chewed up by a scavanger…or not?
Looking across the Manchester Ship Canal onto Frodsham Score from Marsh Farm provided me the opportunity to spot 3 Common Tern fishing the edge of the score, 4 Little Egret fishing the Weaver Sluice gates, 5 non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Eurasian Curlew and 25 Northern Lapwing.
A flock of 181 Pied Avocet were flushed by a Peregrine flying over their high tide roost on Frodsham Score. After scrutinising several photographs of the flock and adding a further (minimum) 15 adults on the Weaver Estuary (my count excludes chicks/downy young and birds not counted on the Weaver Bend) I counted a new record high count for Frodsham Marsh and Cheshire (?) totalling 196 birds. I would expect this total to rise above 200 birds in the next week or two.
The salt marsh and Mersey Estuary was chocker with Canada Goose and the distant ince marsh appeared to have a couple of thousand birds.
The wing injured Pink-footed Goose chose to keep company with a Canada as it swan in from mid river. There were c20 Great Crested Grebe and nice to see their head shaking display performed on the wild River Mersey.
A Feral Pigeon was taking the piss by sitting on big burtha’s the Peregrine’s perch on the blue topped chimney towering above the Mersey Estuary.
There was a flock of several hundred Eurasian Starling at Marsh Farm but none of them were tickled pink. A Western Marsh Harrier flew in from the score mobbed all the way by just a few of the big numbers of Pied Avocet.
The pair of European Stonechat were again performing well on No.1 tank and a small flock of Linnet perched on the barb wire fence had a Lesser Redpoll with them.
Don’t you just miss all this…T
Observer: WSM (images 1 & 7-15).