Our monthly BTO WeBS count had counters scurrying along the banks of the River Mersey and some inland sites to record the autumn movements of shorebirds and wildfowl that find the estuary a vital lifeline for their journey onward or to stay here for the winter months.
The duck numbers are down on recent visits, so I stopped off at the pools at Ince marsh fields where 4 Mallard, 21 Gadwall, 5 Eurasian Teal, 7 Little Grebe, 18 Eurasian Coot, 7 Common Moorhen, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Northern Shoveler, but typically no sign of the recent 3 Garganey. I carried on my walk to the Holpool Gutter where 8 Gadwall, 7 Common Moorhen, 4 Mallard, 4 Eurasian Coot and a Common Kingfisher was seen speeding along the gutter.
Looking over Frodsham Score salt marsh as the tide came in and displaced numerous Little Egret and 2 Great Egret were fishing in the channels, joined by hundreds of gulls. Eurasian Curlew and Common Redshank were feeding at the water’s edge.
Onto the ‘phalarope pool’ and surprienly a juvenile Garganey was present amongst the Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallard resting or foraging on the pool. There were 3 Common Snipe and 2 Black-tailed Godwit also seen.
Over at Weston Point an adult Peregrine was sat on the blue topped chimney and another at the fertilizer plant watching across the marsh.
Dragonflies were out in force making the most of the hot weather and Barn Swallow were busy feeding up over the pig farm at Ince.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).
A build up of the high tides over the last week produced a monster 10m one today. No.6 tank was again the focus of my attention. The big flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit was cut short by the inconsiderate overflying one of their smoking battle of Frodsham model aircraft over the deposit tank.
Anyway, those godwits that remained tallied c500 birds and within their midst were 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Ruff, 2 Common Greenshank, 3 Red Knot, 32 Common Snipre and 120 Northern Lapwing.
Ducks were mostly gathered on the eastern sector of the water and 161 Tufted Duck, c200 Northern Shoveler, c400 Eurasian Teal, 29 Northern Pintail, 14 Eurasian Wigeon, 4 Common Shelduck, 14 Gadwall and 78 Mallard. Also present were 7 Common Moorhen, 7 Eurasian Coot and 24 Little Grebe.
The mitigation area on No.3 tank included 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Eurasian Wigeon, 14 Northern Shoveler and a Western Marsh Harrier.
Observer: WSM (images 4-5).